Sunday, June 8, 2008

Worth the effort

Today was a big day at our house:
It was the first time Alan (and the four of us as a family) went to church since December 23, 2007!

Alan has not been in any public places (other than hospital visits) since his transplant. He has been to 3 (if I remember correctly) homes other than ours.

Greg and I have taken turns going to church with Dale on the weekends we are not in the hospital.

The church family that has loved, prayed for, and supported us had not seen Alan since Christmas. And the four of us have not been to church together since then.

And today was the day! It was wonderful to sit together. And amazingly enough, Alan did great. He spent a lot of time in Mimi's lap, when he wasn't scooting up and down our row. But he was very quiet.

So with as great as it was, you would think we would have been 'busting' to go back tonight. But oh how easy it is to slip into bad habits. The hour for evening church rolled around and I. didn't. want. to. go.

But we did. And I was so, so glad we did. For the second time that day, the sermon was on getting through hard times. Living a victorious life in spite of circumstances. Rejoicing in the Lord always. (Philippians 4:4) Not being anxious about anything, but praying about everything, and receiving the 'peace that passes all understanding'. (Phil 4:6-7) Being content in all circumstances. (Phil 4:11) Knowing that we can do all things, but only through the strength of Jesus. (Phil 4:13)

But even better than all that, was this:

The hymn-singing portion of church services seems to be a lot more pleasant for Dale now that he can read. He will usually follow along in the hymnal and sing at least the predictable phrases... sometimes more. I often whisper to him during a song, making sure he knows that "glory" sometimes means Heaven, and that our "Redeemer" is Jesus.

Tonight we were singing "Whiter than Snow". I may have known this song before, but really grew to love it when it was part of an Easter musical we did a few years ago.

Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole;
I want thee forever to ransom my soul;
Break down every idol, cast out every foe:
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

Whiter than snow, yes whiter than snow;
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Lord Jesus, thou knowest I patiently wait;
Come now, and within me a new heart create;
To those who have sought thee, thou never saidst No:
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

At one point through the chorus Dale asked me what "whiter than snow" meant. And I got to have a small (if you were counting length of time) but priceless teaching moment to explain once again how our sins make our insides dirty, but Jesus' blood cleans us and forgives us and makes our hearts clean... and whiter than snow.

And that moment alone was worth the whole trip. Because one day, I know Dale will notice a feeling in his heart. And I want him to recognize that feeling for what it is... the realization that something is missing. No, Someone. And I want him to know that Jesus is that Someone, and that trusting Him with his life is the answer to filling what is empty.

So we teach him these things at home. We teach him these things at church. And maybe, just maybe, it will be one of those Sunday nights that we didn't really feel like getting out, but go anyway, that Dale makes the biggest, best decision of his life.


Michelle said...

And the people said "Amen".

Lisa said...

Make a Mimi cry, will you?