One thing I have always been aware of, is the profound affect church life has on children.
In the best of ways.
I grew up in a tiny Presbyterian church full of people with gray hair who pulled gum out of my ears, and the same Sunday School Teacher every. single. Sunday. No one rotated out there - the pastor's wife faithfully taught a range of ages, all at the same time, every Sunday for my entire childhood.
It was radically life-altering stuff for a troubled little girl who would herself grow up to become a preacher's wife.
There is something sweet that happens - all quiet and hidden - when parents decide to commit to one local church, and go and grow there together. Continuity is important. There is a sweetness that only comes with creating continuity - whether you have children or your nest has emptied. Week-in, week-out, month-in, month-out, year-in, year-out...
...memories are built no other way.
Lives are built no other way.
The smallest things go a long way in a child's sense of stability - something as "simple" as church services, having the same four teachers in Sunday School, who rotate week by week all year long, and the same person making the pre-church-service announcements.
I won't go so far as to say that your church life is THE most important constant in your child's life. But I will go so far as to say that your church life easily ranks in the top five Things Your Child Can Depend On - ranking right up there with their trusty blankie, their parents' unconditional love, a consistent bedtime, and teeth brushing.
She has the most incredible birth story you will ever encounter - but that is another post for another day.
Eryn's momma's name is Vickie, and I got her permission to share a little short something she shared online with our church ladies group. Here is the cute, cute story, in her own words:
Eryn and I were in Fountain City today, on our way home from school when she heard the bells chime at one of the churches on Broadway. She immediately wanted to know what it was...I didn't realize she had never heard church bells before. I explained that a long time ago that's the way the church let the community know that services were about to begin, or sometimes the church would double as a school and they were used like the bell at her school. So she pipes up and says, "We don't need bells at our church. We have Mrs. Sheila and she doesn't need a bell. She just says (in her best Mrs. Sheila voice) 'Hellooo, Harvest Church!' and we all know we better sit down."
Who needs bells when a familiar friend is always there to let you know it is time to get started worshipping the Lord?
Take your kids to church. Be consistent. Let your one life testify of God's great worth, and of His great love for His bride. And if you want to be really bold, in the words of Eugene Peterson "Go to the nearest small church and commit yourself to being there for 6 months."
Warning: You'll want to stay forever. And God just might be really, really good with that idea.
More than ever before, there's the lie that's gone viral: the lie that says it doesn't matter. Every storybook read, every bath, every song matters. All the work it takes to dress, feed, and take them to church every Sunday...it matters more than ever, momma and daddy.
It matters precisely because too many so-called "important people" live like church is unimportant. It matters precisely because the devil is working overtime to tell us it doesn't.