I love the church. I grew up in the church. Any time the doors were open, we were there, and not just because my daddy was a preacher but of course, that added another level of commitment. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned that while the church is perfect, people, are not. Like in any family, there are days when everything feels hard. When people seem distant. When it’s not so easy to sit in the pew. BUT – and that is a big but – the church is a beautiful, breathing body of broken people who love the Lord and much, much more than a building with a steeple. The church is a light in a world full of darkness. A constant in a fluctuating world.
As the church, we are to be the hands and feet of Christ. What does that mean? Serving others. Spreading the Good News to others. Rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep. Doing life with our people and bringing others into our tribe.
I have seen the church support countless missionaries and raise thousands of dollars for sick members. I have been apart of special prayer services and helped lead ladies days and youth retreats. I have been loved on by members of all ages and learned countless lessons from seasoned teachers and mamas. I love reading about the early church in the book of Acts and how they shared everything and in 1 Corinthians, one of my favorite verses: “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)
God does some of His best work through the hands and hearts of His church, and these past few months I have been moved by the love of His people once again. Our church family – those who live nearby and those who live far away – loved on us big during a wonderful and challenging season of change and growth as a family and it made all the difference.
They took care of meals
I didn’t cook for five weeks after we brought Ollie home from the hospital. FIVE. Our church family completely took over in the best way possible and someone took care of dinner each night. Some made their famous dish, some made special desserts just for Annie (like the amazingly giant M&M cookie spelling her name!), and some had our favorite pizza delivered. Some brought their kiddos to play with Annie and some came solo so they could sit down and chat a while. Even now, they’ve had us over for lunch and asked us to dinner and double dates without the kids. There’s just something about sharing a meal that brings you closer together and gives so much joy.
They called, texted or dropped by just to check on us
Those first couple months with a newborn and toddler are a haze of dirty diapers, fetching snacks, nursing and trying to get everybody fed and bathed. We so appreciated the constant stream of calls and texts from our friends checking on us. They were genuniely interested in how we were doing – and yes, surviving! – and it was so encouraging to hear from our people in the midst of such a crazy season. They brought food and games and sat down and talked to us while the babies slept.
They cheered us on
They have high-fived me during the highs – “Both kids slept through the night and I got to drink my coffee hot!” – and let me lean on them during the lows – “Taylor is gone all week and Annie is irritable thanks to teething and Ollie is eating around the clock.” When I get frustrated that I haven’t heard a sermon in ages they tell me I’m a good mama and that motherhood is hard, but holy work. Last week when Annie had a major meltdown right before Taylor got up to preach and I had to drag her to the nursery with a sleeping Ollie on my shoulder, they told me it was good to hear babies in the church because they’re the future.
They loved (and continue to love) on our babies
Our first Sunday at church I had completely forgotten a diaper for Ollie and a fellow new mama jumped in there with one. One Wednesday night I needed to go change Ollie and Annie was not interested in coming so my friend who sits in front of us came and sat with her, no questions asked. They love my kids like their own and jump in there without hesitation – changing diapers, wiping noses, getting snacks, holding the baby while I took a bathroom break.
Our people were the literal hands and feet of Christ and continue to be that for us as life goes on and we settle into our new normal. I say it all the time but I have no idea how we would make it without the love and support of our church family. What a blessing God gave us when He created the church and gave us a group of people to do life with and to spread His light into the world in tangible ways. We are His hands and feet and what a beautiful responsibility that is.