The past few weeks in my Bible class we’ve been reading about Matthew, Luke, Jesus, Paul and his letters of the New Testament. I wish I could say I’ve been taking the time for diving in deep and drinking this class up for all it’s worth. Instead it’s been more like enjoying a lazy river ride from the surface. This class is the kind where as long as you are doing the work that is asked, then you’re going to get credit for the assignments.
Over the next two weeks, in addition to our normal readings, we’re supposed to read through Hebrews and Revelation. Our final exam is a six page essay on Finding Our Place in God’s Story using the readings we’ve covered through the semester. I don’t know what I’m going to say for that yet, but the idea of finding my place in God’s story resonates with me, particularly as I consider what it means in regards to church life.
If you spend enough time with the older women in church, you’ll hear questions wondering how to get more of the younger women involved. The reality gaps between the generations frustrated me. I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t see that with everything else younger women had going on with their families, showing up for a meeting and dessert at 9PM was like the last of their desires and priorities. The older ladies, having put in their years, were ready to retire their service to the more able-bodied.
Meanwhile, the younger women are feeling good most nights to get supper on their own tables, dreaming of the day when they’ll have time for such trifles (I’ve talked to another pastor’s wife about this so I know it wasn’t just me). For a long time I have felt cut-off when it comes to church. One of the things I had to grieve last year was the way church involvement had ended up looking in my life. The day my baby rolled down the handicap ramp and tipped over in his stroller while we were finishing up our VBS meeting, I was done. When I felt like I had richer fellowship with the ladies’ Bible study than I did with my own husband, I stopped going to be home on those evenings.
I can’t say any of that made anything better. One of the things I’d go back and do over if I could is to not cut myself off completely from the outside things that I was doing and enjoying. I remember last year around this time praying that God would bring back my strength with the return of the leaves. That’s not exactly how it happened. Even a year later my leaves have not completely returned. Sometimes it feels like I can see what God is doing in my life in a more personal way, and I do think we can see more in retrospect. In real time, however, we really don’t know, other than turning to the promises he’s made to us. I think sometimes it’s good to come back to the truth of simply trusting God, without the attachment to an earthly outcome or story. Being with God is enough to grow into the story we are daily living.