Because maybe. . .just maybe, God needed to show me something. Until recently, I was a very lonely person. We moved to a new town just over a year ago and right around the 1 year mark, I was feeling pretty down. I missed the support I had in San Antonio. I missed my parents, my siblings. I missed my friends. I thought I'd never have that feeling of "belonging somewhere" again.
We'd been invited to church several times by our dear neighbors but I had always declined the invitation. I thought: we can't do that! Isn't it enough that we live next door to these poor people; Matt and I with our hodge podge of high maintenance, LOUD children? We don't want to invade their church too! It will be too much for them! They won't be able to escape us!
But over the summer, they invited us again. This time to Vacation Bible School. I tend to take my kids to more than one VBS in the summer anyway just because it's wholesome, it's fun and it's free! This seemed like a good opportunity to get my kids out every evening for a week and finally show up to visit my neighbor's church. We walked in and immediately saw people that my kids knew. The nurse from Daniel's primary school was there and knew Daniel by name! The church was small. It was much smaller than I ever thought would feel comfortable for me again, even though I was raised in a small church. My neighbor told me that they only sing hymns in the services. Surely that wasn't for me, right?
But we went. The kids had a great time. They said it was the best VBS ever! I thought, really? But it's so small! There aren't very many kids! It's not fancy like other churches we've gone to. There aren't lots of programs and people and loud music. They don't even have a special needs ministry! But we went again. . . and again. . . and we stayed. We are home. I still marvel at the people that go to my little country church in the middle of no where. They are family. My family. I can't believe how big their love is and that they have just accepted us in to their lives like we've been the missing piece that they have been waiting for. Our pastor called me Wednesday afternoon to make sure he knew what time Willow's surgery was going to be. He plans on being at the hospital with us. I had no idea people still did that sort of thing. Never, has anyone offered to come to the hospital and stay with me when Willow has surgery. . . and she's had a lot of them.
When he offered to come I said "Well thank you, that's very nice but you don't have to do that." Thinking to myself, that's a long drive and it will probably be very early in the morning.
He replied without hesitation and with complete sincerity "But I want to show Willow the love of a church."He wanted to be there, not for Matt, not for me but for Willow. . .my 11 year old, broken, sickly child, my child that talks with words so slurred and nasally that much of the time people can't understand her speech, my child that can't keep up socially, emotionally or physically. He wanted to show her what it means to be loved. I thought for sure that when her surgery schedule changed that he would have other, more important plans. It made no difference to him. He's still taking time out of his day to drive the 40 minutes plus it takes to get to the hospital because he wants to be there for my child. Amazing. Lesson #1 We have a family. We belong.
As soon as I got the call that we were going to have to do the surgery on Saturday, I had resigned myself to the fact that I was just going to have to take Willow to (yet another) surgery by myself. I've done every surgery by myself since we've moved here. Matt was going to be at home watching the kids. I posted on my facebook page that I was looking for a place for my kids to go. . . individually of course because certainly no one would be willing to take on all 3 of the other kids. Within a few hours, I had offers from 4 people to take all of them. It used to be hard for me to find someone who would take Daniel. . .even by himself but today, no one refused. Everyone who offered wanted Daniel too! I had so many offers that I was still able to divide them up and I didn't feel guilty that I was over burdening one person. Lesson #2 I have friends. I belong.
So God, tonight I repent for all those frustrated words I spoke this afternoon when I got that phone call about postponing Willow's surgery and I thank You that You gave me this opportunity to feel loved and accepted in my community but most importantly in your kingdom.