When I look at the kids work in my local church I notice most of the people running it are mothers. It grieves my heart.
There are amazing women in this world. Women who spend day after day looking after their babies, their kids, their teens. Women who go out of the house to work, and then come back to their house and use energy that doesn’t exist make it a home. Women who spend all day at home surrounded by their kids, void of adult conversation and company, and who still pour out to create memories. Women who do the most important job, who raise the next generation, without getting paid, without being thanked; when they feel like it and when they feel like running away; they continue to love, to work, to raise those children.
Each Sunday there are a few hours, amongst all those other hours in the week, where they are ushered into God’s presence without fighting kids, dirty nappies, endless chatter, constant demands. An opportunity for them to have a couple of hours being with God, communing with Him without the anticipation of the next interruption. Knowing their kids are being looked after, and are also learning about and experiencing God. Yet so many of them are denied that one breathing space in their week. So many sacrifice it because others do not take on the responsibility of the kids work.
So my child-free friends. This is a challenge to you and to I.
Let’s say thank you to all those mothers out there who are busy raising up men and women of Christ. Let us express our gratitude to those mothers who day after day pour themselves out, deny their own desires, and selflessly provide with no recognition. Let us tell them that what they do is so very important, that they are so valuable, that they are noticed, and that they are appreciated. Let us step up to the plate and say you deserve these two hours of space, these times of being filled, of being refreshed. Let us take on the responsibility of kids work, let us care for their babies, let us give them a quick breather in their weeks.
We were sat in the pub, enjoying each other, the five of us. Drinks in hand, packets of crisps opened up on the table for all to share, chatter and laughter spilling out of our mouths, friendship overflowing from our hearts. He started speaking quietly at first, just to the person next to him, but slowly we all leaned in to listen and louder he recounted the stories he had just heard and watched earlier that evening. He was excited by what he was telling and we were captured, some with loud exclamations of awe, and others silently staring, trying to process. He continued, story after story, before each one promising it was the last, but unable to help himself sharing another.
He had watched these stories, a DVD to come, online, it’s streaming for just three days he told us, tonight was the last opportunity to catch it. My housemate and I looked at each other, let’s go home and watch it tonight. She was excited by what he had recounted, I was intrigued. Another asked if he could join us, we welcomed him. We extended the invitation to the others, one had to return home, but the other, the story teller was eager to watch again.
So we gathered, in our living room, laptop hooked up to speakers and a monitor, drinks and food spread out. We sat curled up on comfy sofas, blankets ready for when the night air set in, anticipating what we were about to watch. There was an air of excitement from the others, but I was a little reserved. I expected one of two things, either to be bowled over by how amazing these stories were, or to be filled with total skepticism, and I knew I was heading toward skepticism. It’s not that I don’t believe these things can be true, it’s more that I wasn’t sure if I would agree with their method for sharing them, and I wasn’t sure how genuine the stories would really be. I was eager to watch all the same, and I was ready to be stunned and amazed.
I sat ready to be challenged, expecting to be challenged. Expecting to be encouraged that God is able, and God is willing, and God still moves in power today, and that there is purpose and power in loving. Expecting also to be challenged, challenged to be bolder, to be more courageous, challenged to be more expectant, to have more faith.
When the film came to an end, I was stunned, for I had been encouraged, and I had been challenged. But not at all in the ways that I had hoped or expected. God had spoken to my heart, and I felt convicted, and stirred. It had produced emotions in me that I didn’t expect. We expressed our enjoyment and amazement to each other and as they left our house and I settled down to sleep, my heart felt full, and my mind was spinning.
Again God had spoken unexpectedly, about unexpected things, in an unexpected way. I was reminded that He will speak what needs to be spoken, when He wills, and He will not be contained in our box, or within our predictions. Oh how often He takes me by surprise the things he whispers to me, conversations I’m not anticipating having.