Monday, July 14, 2014

Crime,Cops,and Church growth:a family's first day with a new pastor

In my last blog, I detailed my first   day as a pastor's wife.    It's been neat to see our relationship with the boy who stole my husband's phone flourish over the past weeks.  On our first day, the boy would not even speak to us.  He has since initiated hugs, conversations, and smiles as we interact.  Here is the story from the mom's point of view:

"Being a parent is not an easy job.  As an adoptive parent, I have many missing pieces of a jig saw puzzle with unknowns to navigate through that birth parents do not have to experience, because they have the pieces and are helping the children put their life puzzles together.

Our journey of parenthood has been a rollercoaster of getting on and off with many bumps and turns along the way.  A couple of Sundays ago, we began a gentle climb that gave us the feeling nothing could go wrong, and the joy and excitement of a very special day--our new pastor's first Sunday!  We'd been anxiously awaiting his arrival for over a month.  My kids were ready to meet the new family--especially the  children.  We may have had unrealistic expectations, but with this new pastor was a new hope for our floundering church.  The possibililities of an awakening, of reaching and uniting the elderly and young as one, and growing with God's love, was well overdue in our church. On Sunday, my family and I each went our regular route, hoping Sunday School would fly be so we could hear our new pastor preach his first sermon.  We then stood in the longest line ever for our church, just to meet the new pastor and his family.  They were not a disappointment-- a lovely couple with beautifully well-behaved children, I noticed with a touch of envy as my two younger children loudly and rambunctiously made their way out to the car to wait for their older brother.  Their brother, my son, had finally reached the age where he was too old to attend VBS, but was old enough to be a helper and attend a VBS worker meeting down at the front of the church.  I waited with my noisy but happy girls in the van, not knowing we were in for an interesting and unexpected afternoon.  The rollercoaster ride is now increasing speed as it makes its way to the steep uphill climb.

My son comes bounding out of the church with a smile almost wider than his face as he jumps in the car to tell us the group he will be helping with for VBS.  We run a few errands into Little Rock, stop to eat at Chili's, shop at Walgreens, then on the way home where we can finally change into our everyday clothes and take a rest.  That rest was never to come as our rollercoaster ride begins to make its trip up the long steep hill to the top where it will drop at a very rapid speed that makes your heart jump clean out of your mouth and your stomach is now in your throat.

We had begun to settle into a relaxing routine at home when we hear a knock at the door.  The dogs go to barking and carrying on, and I instruct my kids to herd them into the den.  All the while my husband is precariously picking his way through running dogs and scampering children, running into the couch as he tries to avoid stepping on a child on his way to the door.   He is met by a very polite police officer.
"Do you go to First Baptist Church?" asks the policeman.
"Yes, we do" my husband answers in questioning confusion.
"Do you like your church?"
"Do you like your new pastor?"
"Yes. He seems like a really good guy and preached a good message this morning."
"Well, this is embarrassing, but the preacher's cell phone was stolen and it's tracking to the back corner of your house."
My husband's heart sank to his feet and the roller coaster car lurches forward.

Our 3 lovely children are called into the living room and asked if they found a phone.  They all three wide-eyed and innocently shake their heads no.  As the policemen searched the house, I wanted to believe my children, but had this sick, sickening feeling that one of them is not telling the truth.  This roller coaster is about to drop.

During the search, I could hear something buzzing, and though I am running through the house like a chicken with my head cut off, I could not pinpoint where the noise was coming from.  My youngest daughter informed me that her brother was buzzing.  Puzzled, I walk straight toward my son and ask if he has the phone.  He shakes his head and fear begins to creep in his eyes.  My hand instantly goes to his pocket where I pat and feel "THE PHONE"!

The roller coaster is now plunging at breakneck speeds.  The room spins and I yell in disbelief, "What is this?  Why did you lie to me?"  God placed his hands on my shoulders with reassurance that all will be well but it seemed my child stealing and lying was almost beyond the comfort of God.  However, He sent me two godly police officers and a loving pastor and his wife to our home to help with the healing I was trying to throw off.  Because God showed His love and mercy
through these people, my son was not taken to jail and our pastor and wife offered forgiveness and friendship to my son.  God again had his hand on my family--my son was spared a lifetime of lasting struggles by His love.  Relief washes over us as it all begins to sink in.

Boom, yank, screech!  The ride has ended and we have made an unforgettable and lasting impression on our new pastor and his family on their very first day.  God must have a sense of humor, and I'm sure He had quite a laugh during the episode.  I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this wonderful family is a blessing sent from God.  I also believe we have found lifelong friends and will have something to laugh about as the years go by.

My son stole the cell phone, but my children's hearts may have been kidnapped as well.  It is truly amazing how God brings people into our lives at just the right time, when we need them, even when we don't know why, and through the most embarrassing moments.  I cannot help but think this is just the beginning of a very interesting and adventurous story for our two families."