Last night at 9:30 p.m. Nathan and I were waiting for John at church when he looked around. “Mom, Alyssa is going to have a completely different upbringing than Cory, Leslie, and me. I grew up in Montana where everyone pretty much looked like me, and she has this.”
“This” was our multi-ethnic church where we worship with people of all cultures and colors. The slogan of Mosaic is, “on earth as it is in heaven,” and that’s how I feel when I’m worshipping. This is what heaven is going to be like–all nations together.
Last night we were waiting at church because we’d just finished our teen mom support group. I was bagging up bagels that were a donation from a local business. I was thinking about all the moms and their many needs.
We were waiting because John was taking one of the young women, her baby daddy (that’s what she calls him), and her two month old baby home. We were waiting and waiting because during the meeting the young woman started feeling sicker and sicker, and so John took them to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital instead of home. (This young mom is only 15.)
As I waited, I again started thanking God for all He’s given me. We have a car. I have a computer. I have a loving family. I have my high school diploma. I have a loving spouse. I have enough clothes to wear. I have (more) than enough food to eat. I have the resources I need to take care of my baby. I have the knowledge of being a mom. I have Jesus–best of all. I hope through our meetings we’ll have these young moms with some–most–of these things.
The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve thought of other things that will be different about Alyssa’s upbringing. The weather is very different. The culture is different. The motivations and attitudes of people down here are different.
Also, we’re living in an apartment while we’re still trying to sell our house. The apartment is 1/2 the size. Yesterday I was thanking God for this safe, clean place. I’m praying daily He’ll take away any dissatisfaction.
And … the more I think about it, the more I realize it’s my “struggles” in Little Rock that help me to relate to these young moms better. As I learn about life here and discover the area, I’m reminded about the “newness” of the outside world for these teen mom. Also, I don’t have a large house to escape too. I don’t have a home that I/we can drive up to and say, “This is ours.” And going through the sale process, it’s reminded me that what we had wasn’t ours in the first place. In fact, if I go farther, I’m beginning to realize that maybe the American dream is one of the bubbles God has popped. Home ownership may be the American dream, but is it God’s?
As you can see, the move down here wasn’t only about John’s job–although he’s loving it and we’re happy we made the change. Instead, I feel like the move has been a good wake up call. Life in Montana, in my church, with my friends was getting pretty comfortable. God needed to shake things up so I could start looking around and asking, “What really matters?”
Every year I pray for God to give me a “word” for the year. Last year it was Gather. That seemed foolish since I was leaving everything behind, but I clung to it.
This year it’s “center.” I’m just starting to understand what that means, and I’m beginning to see it’s about focusing on the core of my worship and my motivations. Am I doing what I’m doing from the innermost part of my heart with the best, most God-honoring intentions?
Last year, God brought me to a new place, and I gathered my family close. I gathered new friends. I gathered relationships with a church filled with people unlike me.
This year, my prayer is that my center will be as pure as God longs for it to be. Fluff and good intentions don’t work in the core. I want to be solid in my faith and in my motivations to love God and others. I think God has put me in the place that will allow Him to do just that.