A couple weeks ago I picked up my daughter from school like I do everyday, on the way back to the car from the courtyard she asked me if those prayer cards at our church were for everyone. I assured her that anyone could put a prayer request on the cards. She seemed really interested in prayer cards, particularly if she could use one…the conversation became more clear:
Her: “You know how we pray every Sunday using the prayer cards that people turn in…”
Me: “Yes…” (dodging parents, children, and still oblivious)
Her: “Do you think I could fill out one of those prayer cards this Sunday?
Me: “I think you can fill out a prayer card whenever you have something to pray about.”
Her: “I have something daddy…”
Me: “Ok, do you want to share with me what it is?” (thinking she might share something embarrassing…or personal…)
Her: “Yes, I have a friend in my class and she told me that she doesn’t go to church because her family just does not go and she also told me that she doesn’t believe that there is a God…So I would like to pray to God so that He can show her that He is real.”
Me: Well then, that seems like a good thing to pray about.” (speechless really…)
About half-way through the second song on Sunday Morning, my daughter asked me if I had a prayer card. I told her I didn’t (because I never pick up one—too busy on Sundays to fill it out) and then proceeded to tell her where to go to get one. My awesome daughter stomped out of the row (she had loud boots on) and walked to the lobby area—returning with a smile and a card in her hand. She filled out her name and in the designated area she wrote, “I would like to pray for my friend ________ who does not go to church and does not believe that you are real.” (something close at least…)
She hands me the card and I glance at it because her spelling is still somewhat of a challenge to read at times…but she had made her message clear and I could decipher it! So, my daughter’s friend was prayed over in worship service that Sunday one or two weeks ago. I must admit to you I said a little prayer that Sunday Morning as well and it was, “Lord God, please help me not to mess this up…may she always have faith that you are real and that you listen and respond to our prayers for those in need.”
Sundays are busy for me. I teach. I preach. I hug. I shake hands. I field questions. I sing along. I pray along. I sometimes wonder in all of my activity if I fail to realize that God is there with us, ready to accept our offerings and listen to our cries for help. God empowers the truth we teach and revels in the hugs we share. God must be very proud of a young girl who brings her friend’s situation to Him…And God must think that I need a lesson in what it means to have faith that He can reveal himself to those who do not know him—maybe God needed to remind me that in my church activity there is time to connect with Him (The Living and Present God).
Lessons received, thank you God and B (my daughter).
This past Sunday morning my daughter was on the floor of our church building drawing the picture above, during one of the songs she asked me, "Do you remember our home in Memphis daddy?" I shook my head and continued to sing, peering down from time to time as she added the details to her picture of "home." It was a small house on Sheridan Street, and of course I remember it. It was our first home, the one in which our family came to be. Our neighbors, the best, from Mrs. V who grew up on the street and never left to young families whose children cruised the sidewalks. Mrs V is up into her 80s and she knows nothing else than Sheridan St. Then there were other families that came and gone. I mean, I was really impressed with the picture Brynn drew of our Memphis home. Here is an actual picture of the house when we first bought it.
We have lived in PA for a little over a year now, and B has made friends and seems to be really adjusting to life here. However, it isn't home to her! Home is a little house on Sheridan Street in the city that we loved, where she was born, the world she came to know in Memphis. We have three red maple trees in our front yard, they are affectionately named Olivia, Elliot, and Sophia. Personally, I think it is beautiful that B loved that little house, the friends we have, and sometimes I pray that this move is good for the family...and I must admit that moments like this Sunday scare me just a tad!
However, for most people "home" is simply a place tucked away in the past, it is a nice trip down memory lane. While there is a nostalgia for home, we rarely get to experience it as it was. I remember going back to places that I had once completely immersed myself in and being surprised at the changes. I have visited my high school, my college, and even my home congregation and they are not the same...in fact, I don't think they are supposed to be.
I remember going back to SomaMemphis when I was visiting last spring, and it had changed so much. The look had changed, the students had changed, and while there was some familiarity, I realized that it didn't feel like home to me anymore. That isn't to say I wasn't welcomed and didn't have a good time catching up with people, but my stamp, my imprint, was gone. Soma moved on as did I, and well...that's life.
On that same trip I went by our little home on Sheridan, and it has been changed to suit the new owner. It isn't the same, no longer the Woodall's home. But guess what, B doesn't need to know! She can keep our home alive in her mind, in her heart. She can be creative in her art as she represents what was. She can name the flippin' trees after whoever she wants because a sense of "home" is important and I am absolutely grateful for our home in Memphis. I am grateful for our newer, emerging home in Hummelstown.
I have rambled through some tears as I think about what makes "home" possible...so thank you to those who have been neighbors, family, and friends of the Woodalls. Home is a sacred space, and wherever you are and whatever you're doing, know that you have a home in the hearts, prayers, and thoughts of the Woodalls. To God be the praise, for God has saw fit to give us a home with him, and at the end of our journeys through this world we will all gather once again...and we will be HOME!
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.