AMEN

I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17

I consider one the best things of parenting is that we can get a glimpse of the relationship that God wants to have with His children. I am surrounding by living, breathing pictures of what Jesus is talking about when He admonishes His followers to have the faith of a child.

Timothy is turning into quite a prayer warrior. He’s always been pretty tuned in to prayers. In fact, I just found a post that I wrote just over a year ago that is about Timothy praying.

About a month ago, Timothy’s teacher had lost her voice. On the way to pick Emily up after school, I heard his sweet voice from the back of the van saying, “Dear God, Thank you for our family (which is how we start our bedtime prayers). Please help Mrs. Robertson’s voice get back in her mouth. What else do I say mommy? Oh yeah, in your name I pray. amen.” It wasn’t long before Mrs. Robertson’s voice was back.

Timothy has, I think in response to our move, regressed some in his potty training. He’s been trained for two years, but has been having some trouble lately. It’s really driving us crazy. On Tuesday, he had an accident. I sent him up the stairs to change his clothes. While he was changing, I heard his voice through the baby monitor that is downstairs in our bedroom. He was saying, “Dear God. Please help me be a big boy and stop pottying in my underwear. In your name I pray. Amen.” And, what do you know? He hasn’t had an accident since.

Yesterday, we were driving to an appointment after picking Emily up from school. Once again, Timothy said a prayer. This time, the prayer was, “Dear God. Please destroy the whole world and put it back together and put robots on it and put a robot in my house. In your name I prayer. Amen.”

I think Timothy’s about to learn about unanswered prayers.

🙂

A Little Resistance

We have decided to visit Calvary Baptist Church again. It’s proximity to our house and the fact that they’ve given me a job appeals to us. We visited there at the beginning of the summer, but really didn’t a clear picture of the church since it was the day before VBS. Emily and Timothy attended VBS there and really liked it. So, we thought we’d give them another try.

We had actually planned to visit there last week, but poor Zachary went tumbling down the stairs after he had gone to retrieve a toy dog that had been tossed up the stairs. Poor kid had quite a bump and bruise on his eye all week.

So,we went this past Sunday. About 10 minutes into the worship service, the nursery worker came and tapped me on the shoulder. They suspected that Zachary had a fever and needed me to come to the nursery when I had a chance. Well, I headed right on over there. Poor kid was just laying on the floor next to his teacher, who was rubbing his head. He walked over to me and I held him for a bit in the rocking chair. He fell asleep pretty quickly. I tried to lay him down, but he woke up immediately and expressed his disapproval at that. So, I decided it was time to go home. We went to get Scott and the others from worship. As soon as we stepped out the door of the church, Zachary threw up on the sidewalk. I was actually prepared for such an event, so we changed his clothes and made it to the van with no more incident. We got home and he slept for about three hours. I think he was worn out from our day full of tax-free shopping the day before. He was still a little sluggish the rest of the day and part of Monday, but is back to his normal happy self today.

With all this happening as we visit this church, we can’t help but wonder if someone doesn’t want us there.

🙂

Thirsty

Have you ever experienced thirst? When I went to Kansas City a few weeks ago with the Acteens, there were five different ministries being focused on. One that really got my attention is the Blood:Water Mission. This ministry, brought about by the Christian music group Jars of Clay, works to raise money in order to put water wells in poverty / disease stricken areas of Africa. I’ve never experienced physical thirst. I’ve been thirsty, but a drink has never been far away. I can’t even imagine not having acces to water.

On the way home from the trip, the Acteens asked me if I was going to lead the Acteens group at our new church. I told them I didn’t think I would for a while. When they asked why, I tried to explain to them that I am in a place right now where I need to refilled spiritually. I had been so involved doing work at the church and pouring myself into the Christian development of the children / youth of our church that I have really neglected my own relationship with Christ.

I’d like to say that I came home and started really working on having a daily quiet time and am just on fire now, but I didn’t and I’m not. As often happens after attending a church youth event, it didn’t take too long to fall back into the routine. Swimming lessons and setting up house took over. In fact, I had forgotten about all this until last week.

Last week, Scott and I had a conversation in that we both decided that we were missing our faith. By not attending church regularly, we were missing out on spiritual nourishment. In other words, we were thirsty. That day, Scott found a Bible Reading Plan that we are going through together. It has been wonderful to get back into the Word and read. We are following a Biographical Reading Plan using The Message. I have really enjoyed reading stories I’ve read a million times using a new translation.

We visited Indiana Avenue Baptist Church yesterday. We visited it once before and really liked the Sunday School, but weren’t so sure about the worship. We had the opposite experience yesterday. We weren’t so sure about the Sunday School, but really enjoyed worship. I visited with the Children’s Minister for a bit, and I am very pleased with what they have to offer the children. Anyway, someone in the Sunday School class made the comment that we must take our own relationship with Christ seriously, or we will be turned away. She was referring to Matthew 7:23. I believe in the sanctifying faith of Christ, but it did make me stop and take note. It really spoke to where I am right now, or I should say where I was until we moved. I was so busy feeling important for the work I was doing that I didn’t work on my relationship with Him. Then, in worship, the pastor preached from Psalm 32. He talked about the time in David’s life that this Psalm was written as he shared how we can experience spiritual refreshing. He said there are four steps — cover up (pretending there’s nothing wrong, church work is enough), conviction (when I ignored that little voice that kept telling me to quit some activities), confession, and counsel. I think I am in the confession step now.

One of my favorite choruses of all time is As the Deer, based on Psalm 42:1. I feel like I am finally in that place where I am thirsty and ready to be refreshed. I am done putting things off until the kids are older. That is the best witness I can be for them. But, I am not doing it for them. I am doing it for God and for me.

Along with the Bible Reading Plan, I have a few books in the queue to be read. I really feel my current mission field is my kids, so I am starting with some that are relavent to my life as a mom. I am starting with Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages of Children” and will follow that up with Stormie Omartian’s “The Power of a Praying Parent.” Both of these books have sat on our bookshelf for years. I am ready to get them out and learn from them. From there, I will see where God leads.

🙂

Visiting Churches

Our church search continues. We’ve started with churches close to the house and are slowly moving our way across Lubbock. We are looking for a church similar to our church in Plainview. We are fairly traditional in our worship style, meaning that we would like to have some hymns mixed in with the choruses from time to time. We want a preacher who digs in and really teaches the word, without rambling. In Sunday School, we came from a class that was taught by a religion professor, so we want to be taught by someone who spent more than five minutes preparing and who knows what he/she’s talking. And, we want to find a church with some of the standard children’s ministries. You know what I mean — GAs, Mission Friends, Children’s Choir, maybe Bible Drill would be good too. If possible, we’d like there to be some kids from Emily’s school there so church friends can be school friends too. I rarely had that growing up, so that is not a priority, but it would be nice. Finally, we are looking for a place where we don’t necessarily have to be overly involved right at first. We have had a tendency to jump in with both feet at the last two churches we’ve joined. In Plainview, we created a young couples’ Sunday School class and served as directors, Scott was part of the media ministry, I was the Acteens leader, Scott was part of the Vision team, and I was involved in the children’s ministry by leading a children’s choir, working as a nursery coordinator, serving on the MOPS steering team, and directing the mother’s day out for a while. While we enjoyed the work, it was a lot. And the fact that I actually received a paycheck there made it a little hard to make church attendance feel like anything besides a job. At the church we went to when we lived in Lubbock before, Scott was basically the volunteer children’s minister, we lead the children’s choir, we headed up the apartment ministry, and we started a couple’s sunday school class. While we don’t think it will be long before we find a way to be involved in the work of whatever church we decide to join, we are being cautious as we conduct our search. We’re staying open to where God wants us without rushing in too quickly.

Let me give you a general overview of what it is like when we visit a church. We are fortunate to have the internet available to us so we can scope out the church and its ministries before actually stepping foot in the building. We check out the schedule online and try to arrive about 15 minutes early to Sunday School so we can get the kids to their classes. So, we walk in and are either greeted by someone who will show us around (a good thing!) or need to seek someone out to help us (not great). Whatever the case may be, the boys are always quite anxious to introduce themselves and announce their ages to whoever is showing us to the class. They talk one after each the other after Scott has introduced himself. It sounds something like this, “Hi I’m Scott Franklin and this is my wife Lori. Name Zachee, I’m Timothy, I’m four years old, years old.” Emily very politely walks along behind us and answers questions about her name and age when asked. (What a difference two and a half years makes.) As we drop the kids off, the person showing us around generally apologizes that attendance is low because of it being summer and sometimes we even arrive before the kids’ teacher (a pitfall of arriving early). We give instructions about each kid and get instructions about where we can retrieve them at the end of Sunday Schol or Worship. We check with Timothy’s teachers to find out what is the “norm” for his age about attending Sunday School or Worship, and follow that procedure. Then, we finally make it to our own Sunday School class about 10 minutes late. Choosing a Sunday School class has been an experience in that we are attending classes for couples age 30 and up. Instead of being one of the oldest in the group, we are the youngest. It’s been nice to meet people our age with children the age of ours, but has definitely taken some getting used to. After Sunday School, we pick up any of the kids going to worship with us and head into worship.

Today was our fifth church to visit. We visited Oakwood Baptist Church. It is about 15 minutes from home. This was the church that our pastor from Plainview had encouraged us to visit, so we were fairly confident that it would have some of the qualities that we were looking for. Once we got the kids dropped off and made it to our class, we learned that the staff and Sunday School teacher had received an email about us from our pastor. Anyway, today was the first time in about a month that Timothy had gone to “big church” with us. He had gotten pretty good at it in Plainview, but was clearly out of practice today. He really struggled with sitting still and following along with the songs. We realize he’s four, so we don’t expect silence or for him to be perfectly still. But we do want him to whisper and to at least stand when it’s time to stand and sit when it’s time to sit. We also realize that most people probably don’t even notice our kids, as they are busy with their own families anyway. A couple from our Sunday School class invited us to sit with them during worship today (which hasn’t happened at any other church). They had four boys ages 4 to 9, so there was plently of activity going on in the pew. Especially when you add Emily and Timothy to the crowd. It was easy to tell which kids had been to school and had a basic idea of how to sit still.

Hopefully we’ll find a place soon so the kids can have some consistency. Every week they tell us that the church we visited was their favorite. So far, we feel the same way.

🙂

My daughter, my sister

Words cannot express how special Sunday morning was.

Now we have an important task before us — to help her faith grow.
In case you were wondering, the pastor’s secretary sent me the prayer request form that the pastor referred to during her baptism. I have it tucked away in a safe place.

🙂

Have Thine Own Way

emilyprofess.jpgOn Sunday morning, Emily woke us up telling us that she was ready to walk the aisle. She had dreamt about it all night and was ready. So, we asked her what she was going to say to the pastor. She said she was going to tell him that she asked Jesus into her heart at a Veggietales show on December 8th and that she wanted to be baptized. We asked her if she wanted to walk the aisle alone or if she wanted us to go with her. She said she wanted to go alone, but wanted us to stand with her when the pastor announces her. She had it all figured out. So, we all got ready and were off. She practiced her speech all the way there. I wonder if she told her Sunday School teachers about it too…

Every time the pastor stood in front of the church during worship, Emily asked if it was time to walk the aisle. We reminded her that it would be time when the pastor prayed after he was done preaching. During the sermon, she kept asking me what part of the sermon outline he was on. She was ready.

Finally, the pastor was praying and the hymn of invitation, “Have Thine Own Way,” began. We again asked if she wanted us to go with her. She shook her head and moved to the aisle on the first note of the song. She walked straight to the pastor. He leaned down and picked her up. She told us later that this is what he said:
Emily, are you here to tell everyone that Jesus is in your heart and that you are getting baptized next week?
Yes, sir.
That’s great! Go back to the seat and have your mom and dad come sit with you on the front row. In a minute, we’ll have you stand up in front to let everyone know about this.
Okay.
Then, he put Emily down and she came back to get us. Timothy didn’t know what was going on, but was happy to get to come with us to the front row.

A couple other people joined the church that day, so we needed to wait a few minutes for the song to end. Then, he introduced Emily and asked that we join her. He had some trouble remembering all our names, and introduced us as “Scott Franklin, Mrs. Franklin, and Little Franklin.” He told the church about Emily’s decision, and asked that they come and greet her after the closing prayer.

Here is a video of Emily’s profession of faith that we pulled off the TV recording Tuesday night.

Emily walked out of church with her head held high. She was so happy! It didn’t even bother that she didn’t get to deliver her speech that she had practiced all morning. On the way to lunch, Timothy decided to voice his objection at the way he had been introduced. He informed us that he is NOT Little Franklin, he is Timothy Reagan Franklin!

I didn’t mind being called Mrs. Franklin. I am just so proud of my little girl making such an important decision.

1 down, 2 to go.

🙂

God’s Workmanship

The past few weeks, Emily has been meeting with our pastor about salvation. On December 8, she prayed to ask Jesus into her heart. We’re delighted for her decision. Because of her age, we felt it best that she meet with the pastor before making a profession of faith and being baptized. So far, she has met with him four times. Her final meeting will be this week. Scott and I have taken turns going with her. I went with her last week. We talked about how each person is created unique and for a purpose. He asked Emily how many 6 years old named Emily there are that are just exactly like her. She seemed to grasp the idea that she is an original.

It’s so amazing to me that we are unique not only by our abilities, but also by our appearance. We often hear about how much Timothy and Zachary look alike. We used to argue that while there is no denying that they are brothers, they each have their own unique look. Lately, we’ve more inclined to just let it go. We are with the boys day in and day out, so we notice their differences more than those who don’t see them as much.

Almost as much as we hear that the boys look alike, we hear that the boys look just like Scott and that Emily looks like me. I’ve been looking at some old pictures lately, and have really enjoyed seeing the similarities in our baby pictures and the kids’ pictures.

These are some pictures of us around the age that the kids are now and some pictures of the kids at age 2, 3 1/2, and 6.

Me
lori.jpglori3half.jpglori5yr.jpg
Scott
scott.jpgscott3half.jpgscott5.jpg
Zachary
zachary.jpg
Timothy
timothy2yr.jpgtimothy.jpg
Emily
emily2yr.jpgemily3half.jpgemily6yr.jpg

This is not to dispute anybody’s opinion about who the kids look like. All three of them definitely favor both of us at times. These were just some that I found interesting.
What do you think?

We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
🙂