“Celebrate what you cultivate.” – Julie Bullock
“I didn’t know what to do. My son is friends with the pastor’s daughter, but I vowed never to step into a church again. Not after what happened last time; I don’t need that kind of pressure or judgement in my life. But he was adamant. “This church is different,” he persisted. Ugh. No way; no how. Why on earth would I do the exact opposite of what I told myself I would never do again?
He persisted. And I love him. “Just this once,” I told him, “Just this once.” It seemed like it took me twice as long to get ready that morning, like we were rushing out the door to get to school on time. He was ready, of course. In fact, he was ready early, not because he wanted to see his friends, but because I was doing this church thing with him. I could not wipe the smile off his face; I’m not sure I even wanted to. I kind of like it.
The drive was almost agonizing. Memories of broken experiences rushed through my mind. At times it was as if I was out of breath. Have you ever felt that way? I could not shake it. We turned into the driveway after twelve minutes of traffic, and were almost immediately greeted by this orange-clad parking attendant. I wondered aloud, “Are we at a concert?” My son just smiled. even larger.
We parked. He ran. I smiled, almost uncomfortably. But I smiled. He was happy, and it’s every parent’s dream for their children to be happy. God, I love his smile. I really do. Less than a minute later, I met him up with him at the steps to the auditorium. It was at the local high school, which is crazy weird, but kind of cool too, I guess. He introduced me to his friend and her parents, and we walked in together.
I don’t know what happened next, because it was all kind of surreal. Here I am standing up during music, and I felt as if I was melting. Every memory rushed back into my mind, from my childhood to my teens years; it was like I was making that drive all over again. What in the world was happening to me? The rest of the morning was a blur. Like literally, a blur.
My son asked me afterward what I thought about the service. I had no answer. I still don’t. But my son still has that smile on his face, and there is no way I want it wiped off. Not a chance. I’ve worked way too hard to get it there, and there is nothing in the world that will take it away, not if I have something to say about it. And then of course, it happened … again. “Mom. Will you go to church with me next weekend?”
Before I could think about it, I answered him, “Sure.”
In the span of two weeks, I went from never wanting to step foot in a church ever again, to telling my son I would go back with him. I don’t know why I said yes. I honestly cannot think of a right answer to that question. I am not sure it matters, not to him at least. He’s just excited that we get to do this church thing together, and I guess right now, I am kind of cool with it.”
Why do we do what we do?
That is why we do what we do. We do this for Marie. For her son. For their family now and families in the future. We do it for them.
So do you.
You show up week in and week out, doing everything you can to present Jesus in a way that your audience can hear it. You pray. You wrestle with God. You write your sermons, toss them out, rewrite them, and then give it everything you’ve got. Then you take a nap. We all need a good nap every once and while, right?
What would you do to help lead just one person to Jesus?
Bet the answer is just about anything, and everything, all at once. It’s at the core of who we are. While we are here to support the church in their efforts to help people find and follow Jesus, we are here for all the Marie’s of the world.
We watched churches all over the world launch this weekend. From Houston to Anaheim and all the way up to San Jose, we are happy to say we had a hand in shaping stories for years to come. We helped empower leaders to effectively share a better story, so that Marie and her son may find a new place to call “home”.
That’s where we all want to be. May we all continue to everything we can to make sure church is such a place, for Marie, her son, and anyone else that struggles to make the drive and walk up those steps. And when they do walk up those steps and find a place to call home, may you scream it from the rooftops, that someone who was once alone, has a new family, in Jesus.
Welcome home Marie. Welcome home.