Advice From Mom….

If you have been following along with this blog at all, I’m sure you have heard me say several times that all of these musings are dedicated to my children; that they might have something to read and get to know my thoughts and feelings when they are older and parents themselves.
Well, today, I am going to dispense a little advice to them {and any other young person/non-parent reading that is willing to take it, ha!}. I’m going to do so by putting on my “youth pastor’s wife hat”, so please bear with me. However, as is my typical custom, this adivce will begin with a GREAT Jake story{ugh, I say that tongue in cheek :( }.
So last night we had a sectional youth rally. For those of you who are unfamiliar with our life, Brandon is over a group of churches within a couple of hours from our church who get together quarterly and have youth services. It’s called a “section”. Its a great way for smaller churches to come together and fellowship with other youth ministries. Brandon organizes the services, and any other function that they might have. We have anywhere from 200-500 students who attend these services/functions.
ANYWAY, we had a service last night. This particular serivce was held in Modesto. Normally, I try to get a sitter for at least Jake when we go to these things, because, as usual, I am sitting in the audeince alone, and I don’t want to take away from the students who are there to enjoy the service by asking them to help me with the kids.
BUT, last night my mom in law was out of town, so Mr. Jacob tagged along with us. Oh dear.
We also had a visiting minister from Eureka speaking, John McDonald, who brought his beautiful wife and adorable children. I wanted to make sure they felt welcome, so we sat behind them somewhere in the middle of the church on the right hand side- not my usual back row easy to escape seating. Jake made himself at home by spreading out all the contents of his backpack along the majority of the VERY long pew and on the ground. It looked horrible, but honestly, I’m so over how it all looks as long as he can keep himself occupied. It looked a little like this picture I put up on a previous post:
Anyway, I was feeling a little stressed out because I had both kids, was in a new santucary, and had NO help. UGH. Thankfully, I saw Kristen Mearns, one of our youth leaders, and I asked her if she could sit with us. She did and was INVALUABLE. Honestly, Kristen, I know you probably don’t read this, but thank you thank you. I could not have made it without you!
So Modesto’s youth started out the service with some great worship music, which Jake found oh so entertaining and was jumping up and down like a he had springs on the bottom of his shoes and was waving his little Woody doll along with the music. It was a bit distracting, but again, anything I can I do to keep him occupied is fine by me.
He danced, and clapped and danced and clapped. He was in hyper-heaven. I was happy to stand there and enjoy the worship for once.
We get through the worship, walked down for the offering, which he always loves, and then sat down ready to hear the message. The speaker begins, and Jake was doing marginally ok- besides several occurances of Woody’s string being pulled and hearing a mechanical, “Reach for the sky!” mixed in there, he did just fine.
That is until about 15 minutes into the message.
Something went screwy with Jake and he flipped. He decided to run out of the pew and into the one in front of us. I handed Evy to Kristen, crawled over the students who were sitting there and went to get him. Jake saw me coming and – get this- hurled himself over the pew back to our origninal one.
Yes, you heard me, my child was flipping himself over the pews…DURING the message.
I was mortified. The students sitting around us however, thought it was all hysterical and started cracking up. Which of course triggered the show off in Jake, and made him laugh VERY loudly. Meanwhile, I am sitting in the row in front of him {next to the visiting minister’s wife and their very well behaved children} and can’t get to him…my mind frantically thinking of how I could reach back and get him out of the service as quick as I could before the entire group of students started cracking up over Jake and his antics.
Finally, he sticks one leg under the pew I was sitting on and I saw my chance. I grabbed the leg, dragged him under the pew and out to the aisle. I then hauled him into my arms {mind you, Jake is the size of a very big 4 year old} kicking and screaming while we booked it up the aisle and out into the lobby.
Seriously, this kid never ceases to humble me.
I found a corner in the lobby and made him sit there, while I tried very hard to make out the message through the hallway to the sanctuary. At altar call, I marched Jake back to the pew and planted his little tooshy in the seat and sternly told him sit there. I was {as usual} bummed that I didn’t get to go down and pray with the students who were at down at the altar. But I was not about to leave that little monkey and risk him doing another one of his famous antics.
So I watched the students, while they prayed and worshipped. Some were crying, most had their hands raised, and almost all were singing along with the worship team…arms wrapped around eachother, giving their lives to the Almighty and enjoying such a beautiful time together as students.
And I realized, as I sat there, that these students didn’t understand how lucky they are. How blessed that they don’t have ANYTHING to hold them back from worshipping, from connecting with the Lord. They don’t have kids, or careers, or really anything other than school and who they have crushes on {hehe} to clutter their minds during serivices like this.
And this thinking took me back to my teenage years. How I would be able to pray uninhibedly, without restraints. I would spend time in the Word, have Bible studies with my friends, grow as a Christian. I could stay up all night at the church with other students after youth services like this one and we would encourage each other to grow in Christ.
I created, as a teenager, a spiritual foundation for my life. What a beautiful time.
So here’s my adivce:
Kids, create a spiritual foundation for yourself while you are young. Seek after the Lord, get to know Him, create friendships with other students your age who are hungry for godly things. Students who have a healthy mix of fun and a desire to understand Biblical things and  apply them to their daily living. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your beliefs, be a light, be balanced- but don’t be fake. Don’t let Christianity just become a “culture” to you, but let it become a “lifestyle”. Don’t restrict your lives by digging your nose so deep into the Word that you forget to love those around you and show the world what Jesus’ love was really all about. Be Christlike.
Create a foundation.
Because someday, you will be a parent like me. One who rarely gets to hear the sermons or participate in a serivice. One who has to renew her walk with God daily ON HER OWN. Without help of a touching message or encouraging worship service. One who relies on her spiritual foundation to help her get through life. One who, if she never created a foundation for herself, would have nothing to lean back on during the lonely times, the weeks when she never gets to fellowship with other believers or never even feels God. Those are the times that I sit back and remember and thank God that I dedicated myself as a teenager to Him. That I took the time to stop my busy “teen schedule” and spend some quality time with the Lord in prayer and Bible reading. That I paid the price and built a foundation.
Those times as a teenager bring me through some of the loneliest and most frustrating times as a young parent.
So, Jacob and Evelyn {and any students reading}, don’t be afraid to build a spritual foundation. Don’t be afraid to spend that extra few minutes reading your Bible or praying. Don’t be afraid to be a CHRISTIAN. It will save you when you become a parent.
I love you both so much. Put Jesus first in all you do.
Love, Mom
My little monkey and his Kermit. Today he asked to put on his “swim eyes” and his green crocks to look like his frog. Is he not the most adorable thing ever?
My two monkies…their first bath together. Evy was a little freaked out at how wild Jake was, but I’m sure she will get used to it!
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

4 thoughts on “Advice From Mom….

  1. 1
    Kassie Dutton says:

    I'm not a mom, but can totally see your side of things since I am a music director. It works the same way…you have to have that foundation developed, or you fall behind where spiritual matters are concerned. I went from being "fed" in services, to the person in charge of the "feeding"..or at least the one in charge of preparing hearts for the feeding..ha! I always seem to miss announcements, I'm glued to the keyboard or the microphone during altar calls, or spontaneous moves in the service, and have to concentrate on what I'm doing so much. I LOVE what I do, just like you LOVE being a mom. But sometimes, it's nice to get a break and just be able to sit back and enjoy a service and being able to worship with the rest of the congregation. Those times are far and few between. I totally understand where you're coming from. I can't imagine how it will be when I have the privelege of having kids on top of being the music director. Lord help me! Anyway, I'll bet YOU are doing a much better job than you give yourself credit for! :)Good post. Your kids will appreciate this so much when they are older.

  2. 2
    David Sowers says:

    Great post Amy. We went through that with Scout for a while, believe it or not. And it was brutal driving 45 minutes to church and then not getting anything from the service because we're dealing with a little one the whole time. I identify with you. Love you.

  3. 3
    SoShawna says:

    Stop it, Amy. Stop talking about me and my two crazy hyper kids and our church service experiences that end up making me frustrated…ha…but great advice for the youth. They should enjoy praying uninhibitedly. Either that, or go offer to take the nutso-toddler away from the young mommy so SHE can pray something other than the desperate "GOD HELP ME NOT TO STRANGLE THIS KID" plea that is silently lurking in her head.

  4. 4
    Amy says:

    Soshawna, you are killing me. too funny.

    Kassie, it sounds like you have been there! I can so see how being a music minister can be like having a baby. ha. It definitely takes up all your service.

    David…Scout is such a sweetie. I can't imagine my niece doing such crazy things. ha. I love her. and we miss you guys. love you all.

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