I was at church and my kids wanted to join me for the “big church” service rather than go to their individual classes, which I love. I so enjoy having my kids in church with me. Church can feel so segregated sometimes, grade school kids here, middle school in another room, high school elsewhere, singles in another room, older singles in still another location. But that is a whole other issue.

As we sat through the service, my children would ask questions or bug one another, just a little bit, and I had to remind them to not bug one another and sometimes I worried that they were distracting other people. I try to make them feel a part of the service, to encourage them to worship and sing and look up passages when the pastor read from the Bible. I so want my children to feel a part of the church, the big church, and more importantly, the universal church.

A friend of mine, who works at Thai Orchid

Andreas Felger Andreas Felger

 had joined us for church and she brought her 3rd grader with her, and we were all in the service together.

After the service, I introduced my friend to various people and as I was about to walk out of the sanctuary, a man came up to me, as if he knew me.  He looked at me, and I thought, oh, I don’t remember who this person is. Indeed, we had not met before.

But, he approached me nonetheless and said hello. Then, what he said afterwards really impacted me. He said, “I like the way you interact with your kids.”Apparently, he was sitting near us and he had seen me with my three younger children and he decided to compliment me.

Wow. I thought about it later and continue to ponder on that interaction. What a difference it made in my life. And it reminded me of the importance of getting involved in people’s lives. To take the time to encourage others, to build them up, to risk.

In our American society, where everyone is so independent, so self-sufficient, so “I don’t want to bother you,” it was refreshing to have a person that I did not even know come up to me and say a specific comment. Especially because my kids were not “perfect” in service, and I had been concerned that they were distracting others from worshiping. This gentleman’s comment made me feel really good, and in no small way,  it validated my role as a mother trying to raise my children in the church.I think of the passage in Ephesians 4:29:  Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for building others up according to moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

 This gentleman, whom I just met and may never see again, gave me grace and light and encouragement.  And reminded me of the importance of daring to get involved, to affirm others, to talk to them, to build up one another in love, using words, which are more than words. They are grace and prayers and light and beauty.

And, they change lives. Even spoken by people we just met. And may never see again.


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