This past week while Nick was preaching a revival, he mentioned something that always humbles me.
It's a great reminder of who we were.
Where we came from.
And what the Lord has done for us.
You see, we were "those kind of people"...
You know... the kind that never goes to church but sends their kids on the church bus.
The kind that never goes to church but lets their kids go with the neighbors.
The kind of people that "churchy folk" love to shake their head at and pray for their poor children...
Yeah... that was us.
I'm not proud of that but it is true.
We were so blind we actually thought we were great parents because we made sure our children went to church. I mean, I was so proud of it I even videoed it! No lie.
I stood in the living room videoing out of the window as the girls waved goodbye and proudly climbed on board the bus in their little dresses with their little bibles tucked under their arms.
Yeah....we were awesome parents as we sat there in the living room watching TV while waiting for them to get back home. We were so ignorant and blind. We honestly thought we were doing something great.
And so do so many other parents out there who are still yet to be transformed by the grace of God.
You see..... I can assure you that this sweet neighbor with 3 kids herself to get ready on her already hectic Sunday morning had NO idea what the Lord was going to do in our family through her one act of obedience.
I promise you that she never dreamed in a million years that the very man that her kids were scared of and intimidated by would one day lead countless children to the throne of grace.
And that the very family she was burdened enough over to inconvenience herself every Sunday would one day have a church van ministry of their own.
And I guarantee you that she never ever would have imagined that just a few years later, our family would answer the call to full time ministry and that my husband would become a pastor.
That's what the grace of God does y'all!
God takes the most unlikely people and does some unimaginable things through them ....all for His glory.
The kind who need Jesus.
Just like hundreds of people you probably know. Maybe even your neighbor.
I'm so thankful that when my neighbor, Leslie, saw us out in our yard barbecuing on the weekends whooping it up with our ice chests full of beer and my often immodest way of dressing that she didn't shake her head with disgust and keep her kids at a safe distance. I'm eternally grateful that instead, she always stopped and spoke to us. She let her kids play with mine. She gained our trust. Took our kids to church. And loved us into the kingdom of God. Her one act of obedience has had a HUGE impact on the kingdom.
And you know what? When God did begin to draw us to Him and we began to seek Him to find a church...we didn't even end up at Leslie's church! Nope. We did visit it, but that isn't where the Lord eventually led us. And guess what? That's OK. It's not about gaining church members. It's about gaining brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. It's about kingdom work. The big picture.
It never ceases to amaze me that before the Lord moved us off that Navy base, we went from having our kids picked up for church to picking up kids to take to church! Amazing Grace indeed!!
What about you? Do you know any of "those kind of people" that God wants to use you to show His love to? It might cost you some time. It will probably be an inconvenience. But your one act of obedience might cause a ripple effect that continues throughout eternity. What a thought.
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21
What a great testimony! Thanks for sharing that today!ReplyDelete
I love this, Stephanie. My mom would always take us to church and drop us off. The Lord opened her eyes and changed her heart. It took years, but she began going to church with us and eventually my daddy was influenced by the change in her. I need to be aware of those who are right in my neighborhood. Thanks for this.ReplyDelete
My parents were "those kind of people" and one day, when I was 11, I did not let up on the begging and they finally came with me. It didn't happen overnight, but eventually the accepted Christ and are now faithful servants in their church. I am all grown up and serving along side my pastor husband. So thankful for those that had a heart for the children of "those kind of people". haha. I worked many years on a bus route bringing kids to church and thought of the wood paneled station wagon driven by Miss Becky that would take me to a place to learn of Jesus' love. Thanks for the reminder!ReplyDelete
Yes! This is so good. Thankfully we found the Lord not long after our oldest was born.But we were the type to think, church is good for some people, you know, those who need it. But not us. We are doing just fine on our own. So foolish. I'm still amazed by God's unfailing grace and patience. I may need to write about this! Bless your neighbor, and bless you and your Hubby for the work you do.ReplyDelete
What a POWERFUL post! Thank you for sharing. It's a great reminder about how we need to be obedient to God--regardless of how inconvenient it might seem. I needed to hear this and because of that...I thank you!!!ReplyDelete
Loving this post Stephanie, and the little insight to your sweet family. I just had to friend Lydia on instagram because ya'll are just too lovely!I fear that even though I know better, sometimes we are that couple. Not getting our acts together and putting church as a priority on Sundays. Thank you for the encouragement today!ReplyDelete
we just never know what stepping out of our comfort zone and trusting Him in obedience can and will do. we plant and HE gives the increase.ReplyDelete
oh, how i desire to trust Him more each day!
He is so very good to us.
i loved hearing your story.
to God be the glory!
thank you for sharing your story, stephanie.ReplyDelete
i've been picked up on the bus, by a neighbor. i was "those people," the ones you don't let your kids play with because she came from "that home."
He is good to us.
may He magnify His mercy and goodness through us.
What a fabulous testimony! So inspiring to stretch out of my comfort zone :)ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for sharing this. I love your honesty and transparency. I too know that label all too well. However, now I know my identity is not defined by what others say I am, but by what Christ says I am. Thanks to some simple acts of kindness my life has been forever changed. Stephanie, you inspire me to act out Love God, Love Others. Let's all make disciples together for His glory!ReplyDelete
there is just so much i want to say here.
god is so good!
love you sweet stephanie!
I think most have been there in some way, shape or form at some time in their lives. Very powerful post! Love your blog and reading about your love for Him and for all things in life!ReplyDelete
Thought I'd pop on over and check out your blog... I've been following you on Instagram (artbyameliakay). What an amazing story, and a good challenge to get to know "those people" around us and love them to Jesus. :)
It's so cool to hear your story and to know that God is using your family to reach people for Him. Thanks for sharing!
Hello Ol' Pal.ReplyDelete
Isn't it WONDERFUL to know that even when ya'll were "those kinds of people" that you were STILL winning people over to the Lord? (just think, as bad as you were...there were those out there who were worse!) ahem. Thank You for taking me to church with you. You are the reason I was saved back in '97. I love you girl.