I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children live in the truth. 3 John 1.4
Last night Brenda and I attended the service where Bethany joined the church she’s been attending the last couple of years. There were eight baptisms at the beginning of the hour, most of them associated with church membership, and TWENTY (count-em’ … 20!) life-story testimonies of others joining the church. I was encouraged by the wide variety of people-types and sets of circumstances to whom God has shown His faithfulness.
Due to her last name Bethany was next to last in alphabetical order, but the young woman whose name began with “V” is engaged to one of the young men who was baptized so gave her testimony in conjunction with her fiance’s. That put Bethany last. She did SO well ! My heart swelled with gratitude to hear her describe how she loved her childhood, growing up as a preacher’s kid. She described how her heart turned in middle school and she rebelled, taking it upon herself to permanently break the mold of the typical PK and I remembered. Then the encouragement of her journey back over the last few years, the beginnings of her book four years ago about how life in the glass house of a preacher’s family can be a wonderful experience if a kid will work with God, or let Him work with you (- my words, not hers). She told of how she came to Spring Creek alone in early 2005, about the time Pastor Chip began his series: “Life Hurts. God Heals.” She came to escape the drama in her surroundings, thankful she could sneak in the back row, worship and listen anonymously without talking to anyone, then go home and think about what Chip said each week. God did a lot of healing in those weeks.
We smiled and joked afterwards that dating the pastor’s son now has her sitting in FRONT these days, and her anonymity is long-gone. She’s the special event coordinator for the church’s 20-something group.
I won’t attempt to re-write her story here, but it was SO good to see and hear her walk with God is doing well. Her ending reminded me of the way a gymnast sticks the landing at the end of a good routine: When I started coming here I was crying out to God, “Do you think I’m made of steel or something?” Learning and discovering who I am in Christ here at SCC, I’m now saying
How wonderful. How marvelous.
And my song shall ever be.
How wonderful. How marvelous
Is my Savior’s love for me.”
Though this Sunday night service had a handful of songs and 30-some testimonies (including the baptisms) in place of a sermon, it was a sweet time in the Lord; a nice way to conclude the weekend and get ready for the week to come.
John was right. There IS no greater joy than to know your kids are walking in the truth!