Last week I was in the midst of a self-induced pity party... this week I'm a little more balanced. Tuesday was a pancake dinner at my church to raise money for our summer mission trip. I wasn't really looking forward to helping because I like having low-key, non-busy evenings. Plus, the thought of keeping track of the two boys was a little overwhelming. But I went.
I don't think it's any secret that my church is mostly families with grown children and sometimes grown grandchildren. I live in an area where the average age is somewhere in the late 60's. I'm 40... There are "younger" churches in town, but this "older" church is our home. Sometimes we dream of being in a church with younger families, but God made it clear to me on Tuesday night that we are where we belong.
Ryan had to go to the bathroom and this can be a long process, so I went back and forth between supervising his activities and keeping track of Zach. While in the bathroom, I had a quick, encouraging conversation with a grandmother aged person. She didn't offer the normal "platitudes" that don't really help, and I don't remember what she said, I just remember feeling encouraged and connected.
Later, I was in charge of taking the money and Zach was off in the kitchen "helping". The men who run the pancake breakfasts were cooking for us and they have a system. They run like a well oiled machine and can serve 400+ pancake breakfasts in two hours time! I didn't follow their money system and I wasn't very good at estimating how many people were there... But that's not the story I want to share - but it is funny...
While Zach was "helping", Ryan was holding the door open for people and giving them random prayer cards. I was so touched at how people took his card and then brought it to me. The intuitively knew that Ryan was trying to help and they indulged him by taking the card. (On Sunday mornings, Ryan likes to hand out the bulletins, but he's really shy about it. He'll hand them a bulletin, but look at the ground, or he'll hand them the whole stack and expect them to take one. I think it brings smiles to the worshipers - I know it makes me smile.)
At one point, I looked to see where Zach was and he was in the kitchen helping to wash the dishes. I saw a very efficient man slow himself down and patiently work with Zach to wash dishes.
To say my heart swelled with love for my church is a huge understatement. I was ministered to in a way that I needed. I was able to chat with people and collect money while my kids were being taken care of by others. And I realized at that moment that I'm in the church I need to be in. I'm surrounded by grandparent aged people (and some younger, non-grandparent aged people - just people who love my kids right along with their own). People who have the time and perspective to "love on" my children. (I hate that term, love on, but I didn't know what else to use...) They understand that kids grow up too fast. They aren't mired down by the daily demands of parenting little children. They were God's hands and feet - probably without even knowing it. They gave me a break, my children had a fabulous time, and hopefully they enjoyed it too.
So I realized, that if I were in a church with other young families, everyone would be too busy with their own kids, that they wouldn't have the time to slow down and mine would be left behind.
I'm so thankful that God sees the big picture and delivers what we need when we need it!! Thank you church family for ministering to this momma - you have no idea how much I needed that pancake dinner and the attention you gave my kids. Thank you for seeing my kids - and not walking by them - thank you for making them feel valued and important!!
And don't judge me, this part is the hardest to say - thank you for reminding me that my children are indeed valued and important.