We went to this new church Sunday (new to us since we're members at Southside Baptist) because
a) we hear about it a lot
b) we feel like we don't have a lot of people in our age group at Southside and are looking to connect with a small group somewhere else even though we want to keep our membership at Southside (I'm hoping this will change though and we can meet more young couples at our own church!)
c) it's a huge congregation (3 services on Sunday -- 2 of which are broadcast live over to Mayfaire cinema -- so really it's 5 viewings on Sundays) and they don't even have a church building yet. They are building a facility and I mean facility it's HUGE off of Cardinal which is off of Eastwood.
d) it was started after one of the now-pastors who at the time was just studying I believe to be a pastor visited Willow Creek Community Church outside of Chicago (which is the church one of my bridesmaids, Anna attends) and I think that is such a small world!
So we went is my point haha. And although I didn't connect with the way they did everything (just technical miniscule stuff really) I believe the pastor was right on!!! The truth is the truth. He said a lot of things that made a lot of sense. And as usual, when I hear the truth spoken and I feel the spirit, I cry. Whenever I feel the spirit's presence and feel Him communicating and speaking right to me through others, I cry. I don't mean to - it just is something that physically happens - tears come to my eyes almost instantly. And as always when I hear the truth, I think of grandma.
The title of this series is Frequency - we were able to see the first sermon - we'll probably keep going to Southside and just watch these sermons online... but some of the things he said just hit me in the gut because he was talking about grandma!!! It can be watched here http://www.portcitychurch.org/ in the middle of the page, "watch online".
At one point during the sermon he was even refering to being 85 and in a hospital bed and how is THAT when will be the only time you'll have with God. Will you wait until that point before you really communicate with your maker? Not for grandma. She lived and breathed God's word and God's will for her life. Just so you know she was 85 and she did go on to heaven after being in a hospital bed for 4 weeks - that message was a direct message from God for me. "Bring me your pain, Randi, I know you realize the things that were great about grandma and I know you want to pass on grandma's legacy. Do it by seeking Me out more. I'm here --- tune in. Let me work through you. The first step is coming to me hourly."
The pastor talked about how Billy Graham still although his body and mind are failing Him knows scripture because of how much he soaked up those words all his life. I've said the same thing about my grandma. She was sick for quite a while. I don't even know how many years since it was undetected so long. She was a genius so we couldn't even tell anything was happening --- at the point where she was least-sharp she was still 'smarter' than 80% of the population. But my point is... I always said that about grandma --- until the last month of her disease she was able to FINISH SCRIPTURES when I started them!! I would even bring up a scripture I hadn't thought about in a long time and that I didn't even know the end to - and she would finish it for me. THAT is INCREDIBLE! She had marinated her mind so long in the word that it was part of her. It was her life. The last month, even though she couldn't always speak the rest of the scripture, she'd listen and do her "mmhmm" after I finished each verse. She'd even humm Jesus Loves Me, Because He Lives, and Old Rugged Cross along with me. God is so incredibly proud of her.
This brings me back to a moment that we had a couple of summers ago - I don't even remember the year. But grandma was down. We were sitting on the swing in the backporch - a beautiful day outside. we sat on the porch and I really didn't have anything to say to her. I didn't want to talk about politics, or bring up the past - because at that point she would get discouraged not being able to understand or remember what I was talking about. and I only wanted to speak of positive things together. So I just sat with her and just held her hand and hummed and just sat and existed. I felt the spirit come and sit right there with us and I know she felt the same thing. My eyes welled up, and as we sat for probably an hour I looked over and she was also crying. We both knew that we knew that we knew. We were going to be together for eternity, God was good and He was going to take care of her. That will be one of the fondest memories I have of my times with grandma. We did start talking after a while, I had been praying for the spirit to give me words -- and what came out was, "grandma, do you realize how much you're going to be rewarded when you go to heaven? Because of your work on earth, thousands will know your name (because of exponential growth). Grandma do you realize what you have done for me, for your family and for generations to come? When you get to Heaven God is going to take away all your pain and discouragement. All your sadness and worry. All your guilt and doubt and He's going to say, 'well done my good and faithful servant'. We sure will sure you a lot when you're gone, but I trust that God knows when it's time to call you home." We didn't really say much after that - she was such a selfless humble person, and as hard as it was for her to accept the praise, she knew I was right and I think that day rejuvenated us both. Grandma even to today allows herself to be used by God. That day - once again - she allowed herself to be used...to bring me back to the Lord's presence again.
Back to the sermon..... what he was saying were things I had just come to the realization well recently as well. Like just being tuned in, being aware of God's presence. He is always there. I have been thinking about that and gradually working on 'tuning in' for the past year or so I'd say but most definitely the past months with all that has gone on. Knowing He's there I mean, HERE is incredible. I remember when I was pregnant with Raymond - about a year ago this month probably MomMom and Brandon & I (& Raymond in belly) were in Sunday School and I don't remember what the conversation was about but I remember bringing up the point that God IS always there -- we try to pretend He can't see the way we talk to our spouse/treat others/treat ourselves - but He is ALWAYS there, He can see it all, all knowing. It's hard to even put my mind around. But it really makes me feel ashamed knowing that God sees me in my sin. It makes me want to throw up when I think that He was THERE all the times I was so evil. I/we must break His heart continually. But yet He still loves us more than we'll ever understand. and He makes all things new, all the time. His grace DOES flow down.
So let this be a reminder for myself now that I have it in writing -- God IS always watching you Randi. Tune in to him every HOUR this week. He wants your communication, He wants your attention, He wants YOU. Thank you Jesus for the air in my lungs the clothes on my back, the beautiful townhome you've provided for me. Thank you for this beautiful day, for shoes that I am continually marking up and ruining. Thank you for EVERYTHING EVER... Please help me God tune into you. Help me not be so darned 'busy' all the time -- what are we doing anyway!? What fills up all our minutes?!?! We have to find a balance --- we can't just go run away to some beautiful remote location and just go and do nothing but pray and 'be'. We have to DO --- God help me during my boring mundane tasks to thank you that I'm able to do them. and help me realize that I am doing those tasks for YOU!
Help me get tuned in to what is REALLY going on around me. The physical realm I see is only a small drop of what is going on. Help me be the best I can in this physical realm, but help me get connected again with the things that I should most treasure - things that can be seen by You alone. and I would tell you to tell grandma that I love her and she's my hero - but she knows that so I'll just tell her myself whenever I get to heaven.