The sermon this week was thought provoking for me. It was as if our pastor knew exactly what I had been thinking about recently and wanted to push me to explore the idea even more.
Some background on my religious upbringing...I have been a Lutheran my whole life. We went to church every Sunday, attended VBS, attended Sunday School, were involved in youth groups, and prayed before meals and bed. My parents are strong Christians who have always encouraged us to form strong relationships with God. When I went to college I tried a few new churches, but ended up back at a Lutheran church. After graduation, I moved back to the Richmond area and had a hard time finding a church. I tried going back to the church that I had attended with my family (who at this point had moved away), but found that I was living in the shadow of my parents. I felt that I was still thought of as a child, and not the adult that I had become. I decided that I needed to find a church where I could build my own reputation. At this point, I met Marc (my husband) and we decided to find a church together. We tried many different churches, but still could not find the right fit. We got married and decided that we would try going to the Baptist church that he used to attend. I enjoyed the church, but was bothered by the fact that Baptists do not baptize babies, and at this point we were expecting the Princess. We continued searching and ended up at Christ Lutheran Church. We loved the people, pastors, and I loved the traditional service. We stayed at that church for a little over two years, but still felt that something was missing. We eventually ended up at Redeemer Lutheran Church and feel like we have found "our place." The contemporary service that we attend is perfect for our whole family. (Even though I thought that was the opposite of what I wanted.) If the kids make a little noise, no one seems bothered. Children's Church has been wonderful for the Princess. The sermons are easy to follow and relative to our lives. The music is outstanding and uplifting. The people are friendly and have children close to the ages of our own kids.
All this said, I have been realizing that I am not living up to the life that God wants me to live. Sure, I attend church. Sure, I say I'm a Christian and try to make Christ-like decisions. The reality is, I am a sinner. I am a "Faith-faker." I have grand ideas of what I'm going to do to share God's word and raise my children with strong faiths, but seldom do I actually implement them. I am sure to take the time to watch the television shows that I want to watch, buy the things that I want to buy, eat at the places I want to eat....yet I struggle to find the time to complete a daily devotion, read Bible stories to my children, or pray the prayers that so desperately need prayed. For years I have sat back and watched as my family has served God in countless ways overseas, yet I have done very little to serve God right here.
In the past few days I have tried to make a conscious effort to read a daily Bible verse. I found that easiest way for me to do this was to download a Daily Bible app on my phone. This offers me a daily Bible verse. This particular app also gives me a daily plan, if I choose, so that I can read the Bible in one year.
I am also trying to make more of an effort with my children. Rather than only reading the Princess her favorite book over and over, I am trying to alternate with Bible stories. I thought that she would fight me, but she has really enjoyed the stories we have read so far and has started asking for more "Jesus stories." This makes my heart so happy!
My goals are:
1. Start encouraging more "free prayer" with the Princess, rather than the memorized prayers that we use for mealtime and bedtime.
2. To be less timid when given opportunities to share God's word.
3. To find ways to serve God in my area- and not find excuses to get out of doing them.
4. To make time for daily devotions.
I plan on this being an ongoing list...and hope that you will help me to stay on track with it!