Winding down, but close to my heart

It’s hard to believe that I’m down to my last few years of “formally” teaching my children – my youngest will be 11 tomorrow, and as I was working on school organization today, I had a mix of emotions rise up more than once. I know there are still several years left, but it feels weird to actually be winding down. It seems like yesterday when those middle-of-the-night panic attacks hit me, afraid that my children would never learn to read…

But we have had some wonderful years home schooling! I’ve saved so much of their work – papers written and corrected, artwork, poems, favorite books – and everything I look at brings back sweet memories. Most of them are simple, non dramatic, times no one else in the world, including my kids, would think at all significant. Any many of them probably weren’t. But they are in my heart as part of the fabric of my life — Davy sitting at her desk working on her Texas history newspaper; 4 year old Bo excitedly running into the room after he’d seen a blimp fly over the house, and not knowing what it was, drawing a picture for me; Erin drawing her sweet love pictures to me; Alyx memorizing The Swing; Cassie as a baby, sitting right beside us during all the activity.

Oh, it hasn’t always been easy…the piano being played always at the worst time -at least for someone; many tears over math; frustrations over siblings being too noisy; and never having enough time. Did we ever finish anything? Probably not. But we made so many valuable memories.

I’m so very grateful and blessed to have had these years, and I look forward to the few years left. What a privilege. I know I’ll feel a sadness, like I did today, when it actually does come to an end. But I also know that I have a wealth of remembrances to warm my heart, and every one is a treasure.

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Doing Church

I’ve been thinking about “doing church” lately, and what that really means. I think it means different things to different people at different times. I’m pretty sure that’s how it is for me. A friend of mine recently told me that, when one of his best friends and fellow elder died, he didn’t know how he would “do church” without him – he’d didn’t remember church without his friend.

So last night we went to a very expressive¬†service, and the pastor, who was (and officially still is) Southern Baptist, taught about worship and how the institutional, traditional church needs to understand the need for more lively worship…how today’s generation of young Christians don’t do church in the traditional way and don’t care about the walls and boundaries denominations set up; and how all believers need to know the meaning of the Greek and Hebrew words describing worship, and then go and worship accordingly.

The music was loud, although really very good – the band was musical, the voices pleasant and harmonies tight. But unfortunately the acoustics weren’t good and we couldn’t understand many of the words. And although I didn’t have a bit of a problem with what the pastor taught out of Scripture, I really wondered if he thought up the subject for the evening once he turned around and saw visitors, older faces that usually grace the walls of traditional churches. Possibly. But even if he was completely prepared for his teaching before the service began, it seemed to me that he didn’t give much allowance for individual personalities in worship. God made us unique, and some of us may worship deeply and fully in a loud, expressive service; some of us may worship deeply and fully in a quiet, more “reverent” environment. Either way, what matters most is the expression of the heart.

I don’t think everyone has to jump on board (or jump around the church building) with loud music and shouting in order to be spiritual. But we do need to be thankful for our differences as we give praise to the God who loves us with an everlasting love. And we need to love those who are different than we are in forms of worship. However we choose to “do church” may not make as much difference to Him as it does to us; what matters is that we choose worship. “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.” Heb 12:28