When I set about organizing myself to begin writing here instead of Facebook this weekend, I anticipated writing in the Revelations and God in the Public Square categories here. Those have been the areas of growing pressure to write, and silly as I sometimes am, I figured I would dive right into those without a problem. Yet, for two days now, the words that needed to be shared have been of a more self-reflective nature, a better fit in the continuation of that first series I started so long ago. It shouldn’t surprise me, coming on the heels of weeks of upheaval. I think we are often led to really look at where we have come on our faith journey. Now and then, we need to stop a moment and search our own hearts to understand the wonder of what God is doing in us, and to allow Him to reveal the places we still need some work.
This Sunday morning, much to my chagrin, I recognized another area where that pesky control freak had crept back in, or perhaps it really had never gone away: my family. Specifically, my youngest child. I did something during the Sunday morning service that I instantly knew I should not have. It was out of bounds enough that I found by Sunday afternoon, shortly after we returned home, God required that I seek this child’s forgiveness. And that I seek God’s because in the end it was an act driven by fear, the kind of fear God has banished in pretty much every other area of my life. For more than two years, Jordan has been taking the microphone that is handed around during prayer time to lift his prayers and praises with our congregation. It began the very first day the practice was started in our church with a simple prayer that God would heal his dad.
Since that time, every Sunday except when he’s been visiting his grandparents in the summer, his hand has been one of the first to raise at prayer time. The prayers have grown since that first time. They have changed to a praise along with the prayer for continued healing for his dad. He’s added in the other people in his family when we have had joys or trials. He prayed for his great grandmother when she was ill, and his grandparents when she passed away, even as he gave thanks for the time he and his dad got to spend with her this past summer. He has even lifted prayers for those he has never met but knows about through videos or hears about on the news. He is so consistent in his prayers there that when he is absent, others have lifted his prayers for him.
Over these years, these prayers have shown me a truth about my son that baffles and delights me. He expects God to hear him. He expects God to answer him. He values that time talking to God as much as he values the time talking to the friends and family he has there in that place. He doesn’t really have that disconnect I had for so long in my teen years all the way up into my 30s. He does not have the sense that anything is too small or too large to bring before God among his brothers and sisters in Christ. He has no sense that there are things he should not share out of fear or embarrassment, or even concern for making others uncomfortable. For him, church is what it is supposed to be for the rest of us, his Daddy’s house where he comes to share his life, the messy and the majestic, with God’s children.
Sunday morning I had forgotten that. I had forgotten that he has always spoken there as God leads him to speak, and that his prayers have never failed to be a blessing. Instead, I flat out panicked because I heard him begin a sentence I did not know the end of. It began “I understand there are some people who are blaming my mom for what’s going on-” at which point I reached across my husband and yanked the mic out of his hand, then proceeded to offer a prayer I had intended to offer anyway for a friend who had been unable to attend because he was sick. And I stopped my son, this young man who prayers whatever is in his heart without fear, from speaking. Two weeks or more of modeling trust in God in the midst of turmoil. A week of encouraging my husband and my older sons to work through the turmoil going on around us in their own fashion so they could find the peace and joy I have found. Two weeks of finding grace in the struggle over things that happen when we are not open and honest with the people we love, and talking through how important that is and what an opportunity it is for God to move. And in a split second, with one action, I behaved as though all of that had been a lie, that he should feel there were things that are “unmentionable” as he put it.
I cannot tell you how grieved I am to know that I have learned to trust that God will lead me, I have learned that I have to be willing to let the other people in my family walk in their own faith, not mine, and yet such silly panic could still hit me out of the blue. That it could hit me so hard that I would break one of the things I hold dearly, not speaking over someone else particularly in church where Paul tells us that everyone who God moves to speak should speak, but we should do so one at a time in an orderly fashion. I could not even say what fear it was that possessed me. I certainly am not ashamed of anything he might have repeated. I have no concern that he would have said anything untoward. In fact, when I spoke to him later, his only goal was to ask that God would help the situation. It finally hit me that I had fallen into the trap of letting the attitude of hiding problems, trying to deal with upset behind closed doors where it won’t cause ripples, caused me to react out of fear. I did not want to make anyone uncomfortable, or upset anyone that might not already be aware of the coming changes. I did not want to risk causing further problems for the leaders in our church. I did not want to rock the boat.
Be blessed and be a blessing.