Sending Out Arrows

...having an empty row at church

empty row

We always sit on the second row at church.

I am not sure how that became the "Macias Row", but we just always sit there. I like to be at the front, but I want to have somewhere to prop my feet (very spiritual reason, don't you think?) so the second row is perfect. And since very few people sit on the first row, we have an unobstructed view and can concentrate fully on the teaching.

We have been at our church for seven years now. And for almost all of those seven years we have taken up the entire second row. If we have guests we could even take up two. But this Sunday...

I have three children married. I have a fourth child who is in pursuit of that same estate. I have my husband and two children off doing God's work.

So it was just my youngest and myself....on the entire row....because it is the Macias Row so no one else sits there.

But we just don't need the whole row anymore.

I am thrilled for everywhere my arrows were this past Sunday morning. It means that my training and investment in them has enabled them to be shot out of our quiver. It means they can begin the process of starting their own rows in their own churches. It means God is multiplying our efforts and infusing His grace and continuing the work He began in them that He has promised to complete.

And all of that is very good news. But I will risk a bit of honesty- it is also a bit sad. It is not that I begrudge my children their launch. I rejoice in that. But I not only love my kids, I really, really like them too.

I like whispering to them during church or sending notes up and down the aisle. I like talking about the sermon on the way home. I adore looking down the aisle and seeing them worshipping with their hearts while we sing or taking notes during the sermon. I like our inside jokes and our eye contact and how my kids nudge me to get me to quit talking to their Dad.

Because I like my kids, I miss my kids. But the reality is that I will have to get used to that empty second row. And I need to see that row as a testimony to work God has done. And I need to see that empty row as an opportunity.

Because.... maybe God has just opened up some seats so I can start bringing other people with me to church? Hmmmmm.....

He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 1:6

 

Maybe I Should Apologize to My First Born

caleb firemanToday is the birthday of my first born.  His 26th birthday.  Oh my, where did the time go? My husband and I were married four years before we started our family. But the moment our son joined us it seemed there had never been a time when he hadn't been there. Here was this perfect child, a mix of the two of us, a product of our love for each other. How could life have ever existed without him?

I remember staring at his contented, sleeping form and actually believing I would never let anything bad happen to him. That I would always protect him with reason and guide him with wisdom and lead him with patience and discipline him with love. And during those first heady months of his life with no other distractions or concerns I almost could pull that off.

Of course life, in all it's reality, has it's ways of shaking our dreams and dispersing our intentions. Through the years we moved with the military, we fell victim to our tendencies of being over committed and working too hard. And God continued to bless us with the addition of more glorious souls which brought with them joys and sorrows and needs and wants. Life was blessed and messy beyond description.

My husband and I were doing the best we could trying to live out the convictions the Lord had laid on our hearts in the midst of the mess and the chaos we called "normal."

And for each of those ideas and convictions you, my precious first born son, were the guinea pig.

  • You were the first I homeschooled
  • You were the first I taught to read
  • You were the first I tried to navigate through puberty
  • You were the first I experimented on "doing young adulthood"- because we didn't want you to fall into the American teenage trap
  • You were the first I attempted to guide through the adventures and perils of falling in love
  • You were the first..........and I tried

And I think maybe it is time I apologize. I apologize for all the times I thought I was making decisions out of wisdom when I was making them out of fear. I apologize for protecting you when I should have been encouraging you. I apologize for encouraging you when I should have been protecting you. I apologize for figuring out what NOT to do after I did it to you- and therefore doing it (whatever "it" was) differently with your siblings. I apologize for the times I didn't listen to the Spirit and my heart that were whispering to me to do it differently than the prescribed way. And I especially apologize for EVER making decisions based upon what someone else might think instead of only EVER basing my decisions on what God would think.

God placed you first in our family on purpose and I will be eternally grateful that He did. He knew you would be a fabulous big brother. He knew you would profoundly effect and change your Dad and I. He even knew you would be subject to goofy plans and idealistic visions- and that all that would somehow shape you to be the man you are today.

A man I admire and respect.

Happy Birthday my precious first born. May God continue to bless and redeem all my mistakes. You are infinitely worth it all.