I pride myself in having a very accurate memory that stretches quite a ways back. I can often remember details of conversations from months ago, and I can remember lots of specific instances from when I was quite a lot younger.
I think one of my earliest memories; certainly my earliest church memory, is sitting on the end of a pew in church, squished next to my mom, watching my dad go up on stage- either to preach or do the welcome. In my memory of this moment, all the typical church background noise is drowned out and I was focused completely on my dad- I was so excited to see him up at the front of the church!
A few years after that, my family left that church and my parents planted a church in the backroom of our house. The next ‘chapter’, if you will, of my church memories are all from home.
I remember things like jumping on my bed with my friends and sister after my mom finished teaching Sunday school in the dining room. I remember the alphabet spaghetti some of the moms would heat up for the kids whilst the adults were finishing the services. I remember sledging in the winter and go-kart building in the summer with our church family.
Then we got gifted a building. I remember what the tiny Sunday school room looked like before the building works made it more modern. It was a strange lime green colour. I remember the first coffee bar we had- it had wheels so it could be moved out of the way after the service. I remember my friends of all different ages- my best friends who I still see today, the friends who passed through church and the unlikely friendships that I formed because of church.
I remember lots and lots of things from church over the past years. But most of all, I remember how simple everything used to be.
How I didn’t care what everyone would think of me if I danced in fancy dress during the service because I was only five. How no one at school would judge me for knowing I went to church because it was just something I did. How it was never a struggle to read my Bible or pray because it was just something my parents did with me every night.
As we grow up, things become more complicated. It sort of feels like loving Jesus isn’t as simple as it used to be.
Now, it matters what our opinions on abortion and gay marriage are. It matters if we read the Bible daily because our relationships with God are not our parents anymore- they are our own. It matters if we do our school work and our chores without grumbling because that is part of honouring the Lord.
And sometimes, it can feel overwhelming. Like we just want everything to pause- just for a moment- so we can just be in the presence of the Lord. So we can just be still and be.
And friend, if you ever feel like this too, I want to encourage you that you can just be. You can forget the worries of the world and sit at the Saviour’s feet for a minute and breathe.
Of course, these other things are super important! Having Biblically grounded opinions on abortion and gay marriage is important. Reading the Bible daily is very important! And honouring the Lord in everything we do and working without grumbling is an important attitude. It’s a way we can show little bits of Jesus to the people around us.
But if, for just a moment, you need to sit in the presence of the Lord and rest there, that’s okay too.
Matthew 11:28-29 says, ‘Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’
When we feel weary; when things are complicated, we can turn to Jesus and find true rest. We can turn to Jesus and just be.