This weekend our sons who are in 3rd and 5th grade chose to be baptized. They stood in a long line with fifty-five other men, women and children spanning decades in ages. Last week as I processed what would happen on Palm Sunday I couldn’t help but remember the many churches we’ve attended over the last decade.
(Do you see the joy on these faces? I couldn’t help but smile as my sons looked at me, then their pastors.)
My sons have attended many churches in their lives, four of them for over a year each. Each church had different children’s programs, traditions and children’s pastors. Each pastor made a personal connection with our boys. Consistently, driving home our boys have been able to tell us a Bible story learned. My sons were taught at an early age what it meant to be a Christian and how to live a life reflecting Jesus.
(This one, he’s stoic 99% of the time. It takes a lot to get a smile from him.)
Those four churches alone could be considered a village, but as I looked around our home that afternoon, I was reminded that our village is much larger than our church. Our football family has gifted my boys Bibles, story books with bible story highlights, Veggie Tale DVDs and their time. Our children have always been surrounded with people who have been willing to answer the hard questions and live lives overflowing with God’s love. Vacation Bible Schools attended with friends, prayers with family at holiday gatherings, a principal who prayed with my son when the reality of our move to the mountains became overwhelming only highlight a few village moments.
Don’t get me wrong, we’ve tried to do our part as parents. Ordell does a nightly devotional with our boys when his schedule allows. This time is so sacred to our sons they don’t allow me to sub in for dad instead preferring to read on their own. As our sons have leaned towards science and asked questions about how the earth was formed, why the ocean exists and such I have looked up answers on the internet and always reminded them our Creator has made all things exist. We’ve prayed over our boys, with them and for them. We’ve worked to live lives openly. When they have asked “Why are we moving?” We’ve been honest to answer that we are trying our hardest to be obedient to God and we believe he is calling us to Virginia. “Why?” We don’t know, but we are going. Our sons know our next move will be because of God’s call and they wait expectantly while hoping like crazy it won’t be anytime soon.
I’ve been a mother for close to eleven years now and not a season of life can be remembered without acknowledging a friend and family member by our sides praying for us as parents, praying for our boys, helping to guide our family in the direction of God’s call. Without our village surrounding us, I’m not sure such early decisions would have been made.
My heart is filled with gratitude for all the amazing people who have loved our family along on our journey. Both near and far, family by blood or choice, God has answered your prayers along with ours. Sunday our boys responded to the example of you, our village. They stepped forward and publicly declared they are Christians. Your influence on their lives was present in that moment, and I can’t thank you enough for it! I only hope I can be as strong of a village member for you as you have been for us.