Jennie Allen, you stole my heart when you said “let’s crave God and run our guts out… let’s get real…let’s get literal” ok maybe she didn’t say all of those things, but it’s what I heard between the lines.
Every week day morning I join hundreds of other girls to talk about a few scriptures on Jennie Allen’s website.
Currently we are reading through Acts. Of the New Testament, Acts has always been my favorite book. I believe it’s the OCD in me that is drawn to all the clear lines. The order. The very paired down commission given in this book. It answers questions:
What should the church do?
How should the church help?
Who the heck is the church anyway?
Where did Jesus go?
Who in the world is going to help me through this nut house?
Will there be food involved?
What do I do while I wait for Jesus to come back?
The answers are simple and so easy to read, but impossible to do on my own. Outside of God. Outside of community. And I never do them well really even when I get close to living them out at all.
God’s doing something weird in me. I’m getting the church less and less and craving the company of the hurting more.
Yah. I’m confused, too.
I’ve spent more time studying the word and with Jesus than ever before. Family crisis does that to a lot of people. But instead of gaining clarity of how much I love church, I am only recognizing how much we are doing it wrong. More wronger says Larry the Cucumber.
Today’s passage in Acts 4 says the people in the church sold everything including their lands and their houses and brought that money and laid it at the disciples’ feet. They gave everything they owned. Sold what they could. Used the money for outreach. For inreach. To help anyone as they had need.
As they had need.
Sold their houses.
Gave it all away.
These passages are literal. They didn’t metaphorically sell their houses. If you sell your house literally, you have no house. And they didn’t use some of the money to buy a smaller house. They didn’t have a house. It doesn’t clearly say where they lived, but we know they dedicated themselves to the apostles teachings about Jesus and who God is, to worship, to prayer, to food!
That’s it. They sold everything and lived their lives doing four things.
Listening to God’s word
This is my kind of party. This is my kind of church. This is how I like to picture Gatsby’s parties. It’s what I want in my everyday.
I run a preschool. It’s full of broken people, starting with me. All the way down to broken parents and this broken little clown.
Well he is pretty great, but one day he will know he is broken. I pray already that he craves God and runs his guts out.
And this is my mission field. I am only now beginning to grasp the weight of my role. I thought it was just preschool. Educators have this snobbery about preschool, as if it’s fake school. But I’m seeing how vital it is. And the academics have little to do with it.
This morning one of our two year olds is appearing in court. His mom makes bad choices. She showed up yesterday reeking of pot. They both wept when she left in separate cars. Today the courts get to decide if he gets to go back to mom’s house.
Last week, a mom cut me off when I tried to tell her how beautiful her daughter is. I was recapping how well she is doing. This mom does not love being a mom. I don’t think she likes it at all really. Mom stopped me mid-sentences and said she needed to get to work. She was offended by my words.
Two weeks ago a little girl told me her mom hits her.
Yesterday a little girl wouldn’t stop holding my hand.
A few months ago, a little boy told me he never sees his mom. He goes to school only and he wants to see his mom. Then he got angry and hit me in my face and started kicking me. He was supposed to be napping. I held his feet away from me and told him he was handsome and great. He told me to leave and pushed me. I told him I wasn’t going anywhere. I loved him and rubbed his back between kicks. After 45 minutes of this, he sat up and abruptly hugged me and said, “I love you”. It was his first day at school. He needed someone in his life that wasn’t going to quit. Who didn’t have a line he could cross that made him lose their love. He bear hugs me every time he sees me.
A few weeks ago, we had a mom complain (not quietly) about our hours. She fumed. She cussed. She stormed. She threatened to withdraw. I called her as soon as I got to work. She wept. She confessed that she is at her limit with working and just can’t decide if it’s worth the money to be away from her kids. The answer for me is an unequivocal “no”. Not if this is where her heart is. I encouraged her to take a look at her cost to work, financial and otherwise, and decide from there.
I want to sell my house and give it to her. Only I don’t own a house. I want to bring my money to be her money, so she can stay home with her girls. I want to take that mom and her two year old to lunch and remind her of her amazing qualities. She has them for days. I want to hold that little boy and teach him that even when he feels alone, he has God. I want him to know that the Holy Spirit isn’t figurative.
I want to be New Testament bold. I can’t even figure out how except to dedicate myself to these kids and their parents and my staff. None of us is exempt.