One day last week after I put Sebby down for his nap, I found a free sermon online to listen to while eating lunch. The first in a series called "Raising Covenant Families" by Dr. and Mrs. Wilson Benton, it was both encouraging and challenging:
I was encouraged...
God intends our children to be a joy to us! Parenting is an expression of love to God, to the child and to the task of parenting itself.
Sebby brings such joy into my life! Through the process of becoming a parent, I have learned to better understand and relate to God and have experienced God's grace in countless ways.
I was challenged...
The first things that our children learn about God are things that they learn from us.
What a huge responsibility! Having an impressionable toddler around, I am very aware that children are little sponges and they quickly learn to imitate everything we do. However, I hadn't really thought about the fact that Sebby will learn truth about God from our moment by moment actions and interactions as well as from our words. I realized that I need to ask God to help me get better about teaching Sebby about God as we go about our everyday activities.
The most challenging part of the sermon for me was about how God places a high value on our nuclear family but an even higher value on our covenant family, the church, all believers, our brothers and sisters in Christ!
I had NEVER considered that the Bible teaches that our relationship with our nuclear family is only for this lifetime but our relationship with our covenant family is eternal. In other words, from God's perspective, the ties that bind us together as Christians are more important and lasting than the ties that bind us together as spouses or as parents and children. In heaven, we will no longer be husbands and wives, parents and children, we will all be brothers and sisters.
I definitely need to spend some time letting that idea sink into my heart and mind because it's a difficult one to grasp, however it certainly does help me see a new perspective for setting priorities. I recognize that I need to wrestle with finding a new balance between prioritizing my family and the Christian community.
Currently, our family of three and a half is much more of a priority than my wider church family as I spend substantially more time and energy on Sebby and Darren than I do on the wider body of Christian believers. Darren and I have recently been talking about our desire to get more involved in our church and last week I felt God challenging me to take initative to organize something with the other young moms at church.
I sent out an official invite to brunch at our place (it's tomorrow!) and I pray that it will be a good stepping stone to building relationships with some of the women from our church. I need to begin spending more time praying that God would open my heart to make more room my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I am thankful that Sebby slept longer than usual that day so that I got to listen to the whole sermon (he slept a gloriously long hour and forty-five minutes). Thank you Sebby and thank you God!