What I Learned in Church Today….Lifting Up My Cross

I have a plan that each Sunday I will write, either at nap time or after tucking the kids in bed, about what I learned in church that day. It is not really for you the reader, but more for me, so I can find my takeaway and focus on it outside of church. Which brings me to today’s takeaway.

We attended our Parenting Sunday School as well as listen to the sermon at church. And the message I heard was the same out of both of the classes which means….HELLO!!! Nicole….God here, listen to this!!!!! Basically, as a parent and a Christian, the act of Christian formation and worship does not end when we leave church on Sundays, it should be weaved in and out of your daily life and worked through the week. So I know a lot of people who would say “DUH!” and probably a lot more people who would say “REALLY?” For me I think I have days where I am really focused on lifting up God for the things in my life and then other days I struggle to even say one prayer.

In my Sunday School program, the speaker (who I am so excited to have my husband listen to her), asked the question….what do your children see you worship? Gosh, this is hard because I know right away what mine are: my phone/computer, friendships and social status, and money. I have told my children “Just a minute” or “I’ll be right there” while I update a status or talk to my husband about my struggles with friends, etc. We struggle with balancing our money and our time in so many ways and I think if we just focused on the main things that were important to us and downsized our lives in so many ways we would be happier. But more importantly, if we worshiped God and put him at the forefront of our daily lives, we would feel full and content. A big takeaway from the talk was “The call of parenting is a daily call to lift up your cross”. We need to put down the small things and carry the big thing that will ultimately get us to the kingdom of heaven.

God does not tell me “Just a minute”, God tells me, “I am here, always and forever, for you!” How powerful is this???!!!!! How amazing and what a true learning technique for me as a parent. If my children could know without a doubt that they could come to me for ANYTHING, like I know I can to God, I welcome that lesson. I want to be THAT parent. If we show our children that our first love is God, what greater gift could we give them?

In the sermon, the focus was twofold, but what really resonated with me was the story about Mary and Martha and how Mary welcomed Jesus into the home and sat down to listen to him. Martha, on the other hand, was busy being the hostess and preparing food and the house for Jesus. When she mentioned this to Jesus, Jesus pointed out that  “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Basically, that Martha is so worried about impressing Jesus and his disciples that she missed the message that Jesus was sharing with her. I loved this approach to this story….it is pointing out that Martha was worried about things far more insignificant than JESUS WAS IN HER HOME. How many times have you heard the question “If you could meet any one (two or three) people, dead or alive, who would they be?” and someone’s answer is Jesus.

Seriously, she was more focused on if her cupcake tower was Instagram perfect and her living room was Houzz ready. She forgot to look and see that God was present right there in her life. So next time I look at a sink full of dishes or fuss over having little handprints of food all over my new shirt, I need to see that God is present in my life, every day, every moment. I do not need to let these little things wear me down. I need to lift him up and in that he will lift me up.

My challenge to myself this week is to worship God, by myself, but also with my children. I want to pray with them outside of meals and bedtimes. I want to dive into explaining that God created all things and most importantly I want to thank Him for being the best role model I have as a parent. I want to lift up my cross in parenting and life.

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