Tuesday, July 28, 2009

No More Tootsie Rolls

I visited my dear friend Emily today and I may have created one of my top five favorite memories with her.

I got to her house while she was still getting ready, so I sat on the potty-training chair in the bathroom so that I could visit with her while she straightened her hair.

Disclaimer: I actually didn't realize I was sitting on the potty-training chair until she informed me that it was her niece's potty chair, NOT a step stool as I had previously thought. But I digress.

Em told me that her niece gets a piece of candy every time she uses the little potty and I became instantly convinced that I deserved a piece of candy for sitting on the little potty for as long as I did.

After her hair looked straight and beautiful, we moved our party into her bedroom. At this point I was still fixated on getting my piece of candy.

I took a seat on her bed, casually mentioning the fact that I still had not been rewarded for my time on the "special" seat.

Emily walked over to the candy stash on her dresser, asking, "Do you want a tootsie roll?" at which point, with perfect Subway-commercial timing, the bed collapsed underneath me.

No lie.

I found out later that the bed has been broken for several days and was only feebly propped up to look like it was a normal bed, but I did not know that in the moment.

We immediately collapsed into fits of giggles. And by "giggles," I mean "face-scrunching belly laughter." Somehow, between the bouts of laughter and the gasps for air, I managed to squeak out a response to her candy offer - "Not any more!"

After I caught my breath, I asked her bed if that had been a fat joke.

It didn't answer. Jerk.

I laughed so hard, I had to go to the bathroom.

Except this time I sat on the big potty.

And I didn't ask for any more tootsie rolls.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The One Where I Talk About My Church

Last Saturday, a friend of mine asked me why I drive all the way up to the cities to go to church.

Her question caught me slightly off guard and I fumbled for words to express the reasons that I feel so clearly in my soul.

I typically meet some form of friend or family for whatever service I am attending, but last week no one else was there, so I attended alone. I have noticed over the last two years that I desire to go to church with people more than I used to, but there is still a part of me that really enjoys going to church alone.

The solitary peace gave me a chance to ponder why exactly I drive an hour and a half to attend church at Bethlehem only to turn around and drive another hour and a half back home, and I came up with a few more words than I had for my friend last week:

  • 91% of the time, I feel like I leave Bethlehem more in love with Jesus than I was when I walked in.
  • Every week I am reminded of how desperately depraved I am and every week I am reminded to find hope and rest in the beauty of God's saving and sustaining grace.
  • They sing sings about God, not about me.
  • They are a Bible-believing, Bible-memorizing, Bible-loving church. One example of this is the congregational prayers from last week. They took a few moments to let members of the congregation shout out prayers of praise and petition and all but two of them were straight up Scripture breathed on behalf of the church, the city, the nation, and the world.
  • They preach more about who God is and less about how I ought to live. They do give practical application for Scripture (indeed, they apply the Word often and well), but their primary focus is a clearer vision of God since seeing God for who he is serves as the first (and often overlooked) step toward a proper response.
  • They commission missionaries well and often.
  • I often feel blessed even before the announcements are done. Every. single. thing they do is covered in the hope that it would make God look beautiful and glorious.
  • The benediction always leaves me feeling blessed and commissioned.

Those are the reasons I thought of as I sat in church last week. I am sure there are other reasons that did not cross my mind that morning and I am sure there are reasons far beyond my ability to comprehend.

I love my church.