And the Smallest

Beach“People were bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

{Luke 18:15-17 NIV}

They are Welcome.

Welcome to learn, Welcome to know Jesus, Welcome to his Kingdom.

They don’t have to wait to grow up, don’t have to wait till they are quiet enough, behaved enough, eaten their veggies enough, done their schoolwork enough, he is enough for them just as they are.

This same Jesus who is enough for the sick, the healthy, the rich, the poor, the sinner, the ‘saint’, the old, is enough for the smallest ones too, they are included.

This passage speaks deep to the heart for me. From my earliest memory I remember loving God. I remember wanting to know him. I remember asking to go to church. I remember sitting on a hard wooden pew, right on the edge of it and hoping to understand more about the God I so badly wanted to know. I remember not understanding what the preacher was saying, I remember hoping I would learn. I remember being sad that I didn’t understand, and how badly I wanted too.

Then one day, in another church a little while later, I remember hearing in words I could understand that Jesus loved me, just as I was. This church didn’t say I was too young to learn, but made a way for me to ask questions and know the deep things of God in childlike language with childlike faith. They truly took hold of this passage and believed as a child I was as valuable as an adult, that I too could hear the simple message:

Mountain & Valley J L M

I will be grateful forever to the minister and his family who looked after me, to the children’s minister who spoke of the God I so wanted to know in a language I understood. They will never know the depth to which their care and investment has blessed my life immeasurably, and not because I haven’t told them, because I have over and over again. But because if I had all the words there wouldn’t be enough to say,  Thank You x

Love, Grace and Welcome for your day

Rachel x

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This is Day 7 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x

Sitting In Church

Shane Dirks Preaching

This past weekend was the first weekend in I think in maybe 9 and a bit years that I sat with my husband in church and listened to him preach without distraction, I didn’t realize how much I had missed this.

I know at first I really missed it, I was fresh to the whole ‘mumming’ thing  and I remembered what it was like to have a focused mind, I remembered sitting in church and listening. I remembered going out for coffee after church with friends and talking about church and Jesus and playing cards. Entering parenthood suddenly, permanently and to an increasing degree my mind was overtaken by answering questions, changing nappies, feeding little ones… unable to ever really focus for too long on one thing without being interrupted…

In our last two churches I have led in our Sunday Morning kids programs, which has meant when my kids were in church I was right there with them. This was a massive blessing to me and something I would not change for the world, I got to be a part of shaping the ministry where they were cared for, and that I loved.

Turning up to church again in the evening with kids in tow and sitting in a room the service is streamed into really did pose the challenge to listening well and ‘feeling’ part of church on particular evenings. Mind you I love those rooms! I am so grateful to the churches we have called home for providing a space where my kids can play, be fed, feel welcomed and I can care for them well.

There was a time as a new mum when we were meeting in a hall and for that particular season of church life we didn’t happen to have one of these beautiful toddler rooms. My baby was crying, pretty loudly actually and I remember walking out into the cold and sitting in my car trying to feed him. No one asked me to leave, no one even expected me too, but as a new mum I was nervous about the fact that he was noisy in a quiet room where people were trying to listen.

I decided in this season to do all I could to learn and not expect it to all happen at church on Sunday night, not a bad idea for life really, but an important moment for me. I listened to podcasts while walking with my kids in the pram, and most recently when I got home from church on a Sunday night and the kids were in bed I have listened to teaching while I have done the ironing {it’s win win really}. This really helped me when I was having one of those nights sitting in the toddlers room.

The beautiful thing about this season for my family was standing with my kids as we sang, talking about the announcements on video and who was in them, talking about the people we love on the platform, EVERY SINGLE time they walked on {which is all of them by the way}, talking about the songs our church are producing and how we love them {City Alight you guys rock our world}, watching teenagers turn up and love church, my kids were watching and they noticed their heart for Jesus and his church and waiting to talk to their fave people when the service was over.

Church is so much more than the teaching, so much more than the hour on Sunday, but I am so thankful I got to sit with Shane and listen well again.

To all the parents out the back, it’s worth it, worth doing church with your kids, worth having a noisy journey, worth investing in learning beyond the distractions, worth being gracious to yourself and your family, worth turning up, worth serving and worth turning up again. I do not regret A SINGLE SECOND of serving and distracted listening. I have loved churching with my little ones, through noise and distraction because they belong, kids belong, families belong, noise belongs. But it really was nice to listen undistracted this week.

To everyone who welcome kids and families into the church, for the structures set up by people with a heart for families, thank you.

Love, grace and a moment to listen for your day

Rachel x