Listening to My Son Preach...

I am not a morning person to begin with, and I have been even less a morning person as I've struggled with my frozen shoulder. John has been particularly exhausted this week, and we did not make it to church last night. Since our church offers services both Saturday night and Sunday morning, we would normally have gotten up and gone to church this morning. However, when we went to bed last night, I was hurting and I told John that I probably would not be able to go. I love to go to church and I don't look for reasons to miss. But I suggested staying home.

Because of my legalistic roots (going to church four times a week and having guilt imposed for missing a service), John's favorite response is always: "We won't burn in hell for missing a service." He knows I don't go to church out of fear (I remind him every time he makes this joke), but he seems to like the joke anyway. I guess I do still feel a twinge of guilt over missing church, if I am completely honest. But not because I think I will go to hell for it. It's because I am so thankful for all that God has done for me and I don't want to be lazy and complacent in my response to His faithfulness to me.

I tell John I love him all the time (pretty much incessantly) and occasionally I will ask him, "Do you FEEL loved?" He has always answered yes. And it's not that I doubt that he does. But in many relationships where a person has told me they loved me, I have not FELT loved by their behavior toward me. So I want John to know how important it is to me that I am demonstrating how much I love him as well as telling him I love him. No matter how much I feel love for him in my heart, if he doesn't feel loved, I'm missing opportunities to convey my love in a tangible way. (This is true in every relationship.)

I don't ever want my husband to feel taken for granted. And that is the best illustration I can think of to describe this desire in my heart for God to FEEL my love and gratitude for what He's done in my life. I don't believe it's enough for me to simply tell Him I love Him and I'm thankful. I want my actions and choices to demonstrate my love and gratitude. And when I don't make a full effort, I'm not doing that. Which makes me feel disappointed in myself. I don't feel condemnation from God or fear of consequences. I just feel that I have missed an opportunity to demonstrate my love and thankfulness. So I woke up this morning thinking that I should have made a greater effort.

My next thought was that I could turn off the TV and listen to Danny's last sermon on the podcast. I love listening to my son preach. In most (if not all) of his sermons that I've listened to, he shares something about himself as an example of a particular weakness. (I love this about my son. He does not try to hide and deny his own weaknesses. He uses them to point others to Jesus.) Although I know him well and am not surprised by the things he reveals about himself, I enjoy hearing him talk about what he was feeling at certain times in his life that I may not have completely discerned. Hearing him relate events that I also remember (from a different perspective), sometimes causes me to question my parenting or wonder how I might have done a little better. But I did my best and I can laugh about my shortcomings.

When anyone gives me credit for the person Danny has become, I am quick to give the credit to God. I did some things well and some things poorly. I believe I loved him well and attempted to instill the right values and priorities in him. But I made plenty of mistakes. I know there were times he felt responsible for me when he shouldn't have because I leaned on him (when I shouldn't have). I know in my heart that he could have turned out very differently as a result of the particular dysfunction of the home (and church) he was raised in. But God had a plan for his life and I believe Danny is a product of God's mercy and faithfulness -- not only to Danny but to me, as a mom. And I never feel that more than when I listen to Danny preaching. No matter what he preaches on, I feel overwhelmed by God's faithfulness, love and mercy as I listen to my little boy, now a grown man with sons of his own, opening up to others, sharing his vulnerabilities and fears, proclaiming the Gospel.

I have never heard a sermon on the parable of the talents in quite this context of fear before. It has given me a lot to think about.

I am not sharing the sermon simply as a proud mom. Self-protection and self-preservation are instincts in all of us. They are rooted in fear. This is a very thought-provoking sermon on how to overcome fear rather than succombing to the pitfalls of self-preservation.

So here's a link if you want to listen...

Freedom From Fear

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