Sunday, November 6, 2011

30 Days of Thanks: Day 6 -- Rally On!!

"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." --C. S. Lewis

Today I am thankful for my church. 

As I write this, I find myself choosing my words very carefully because I know there are people in the world who want to criticize me for loving my church. So let me be very clear up front: I love my church, but I worship and adore my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We celebrated an event called "Rally Day" at my church today. We'd never had one before, so I was excited to see what it was all about. 

It ended up being more like a homecoming. Past choir members returned to sing in the choir, church friends brought their friends and parents and children. The smallest choir members (my own little cherub included) opened the worship service in song. The biggest of the small ones (my 10-year-old gentleman included) were recognized for their hard work in learning the Catechism. The adult choir was full, and there was a general sense of renewal.

Centennial ARP Church
I love worshipping in my church. The building is granite and impressive. The pews have comfy cushions. The pulpit is marble. Brides love getting married in it; it's just that beautiful.

We are Associate Reformed Presbyterians, sometimes jokingly called "the Frozen Chosen." You won't hear lots of clapping and "hallelujahs" there. The organ is massive, with huge pipes that round out the choir loft. The songs are traditional. I love them. The church has history.

I have a history with the church as well. My grandparents are/were members. My parents were married there. My sister and I were baptized there. I met my Stephen there, we were married there, and our children were baptized there. I've known a lot of the members my whole life. And there are relatively new members that keep things fresh.

That church has introduced me to some of the best friends I've ever had. If not for the church, I never would have met these wonderful women of God, who lead our children, teach Bible studies, work in missions, and offer unconditional love and friendship to me. When things in my life get blurry, these women help me to see with Christ-inspired clarity. 

And in addition to the group of women I consider my besties, I have close relationships with men and women of such varying ages and backgrounds, who are all joined together by a common desire to know God. It's really a beautiful thing. I cherish them all.

My favorite example of the unselfish spirit of our church is when Mo was sick. She was just a little thing, not yet walking, around 9 months old. She was hospitalized by her pediatrician (who is also a fellow church member) for RSV (it's a respiratory thing). She had been in there several days, Stephen was getting ready to leave the hospital for the night, and I started feeling sick. 

This is when things get hairy, so bear with me. 

I would say that I threw up, only that's not really what it was. It was more like my stomach turned itself wrong-side-out, climbed up my throat and literally fell out of my face. It was all I could do to drive myself home without compromising the interior of my trusty Honda. I crawled up the stairs and spent a fitful night on the couch.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, my dear Stephen got sick at the hospital after I left. He called early the next morning to let me know he was on his way home, leaving our little wheezing daughter to fend for herself. I tried to heave (a little pun intended) my aching body off the couch to go be with my baby, but Stephen and I had contracted rotavirus (I'm assuming from the elevator buttons or doorknobs in the hospital. Wash those hands, folks.), and neither of us was allowed back in the hospital until we were free of the yucks. 

I immediately started crying. You mothers out there will understand the fear and horror that accompanies the idea of a 9-month-old in the hospital with no one to look out for her but strangers in white coats. 

Then Stephen told me that the pediatrician (C. Guy Castles, III at Pediatric Associates, for anyone needing a doctor for their baby; the man is a genius and a super great guy) had taken it upon himself to line up childcare for little Mo around the clock -- not nurses and hospital volunteers, but fellow church members who we knew and who loved Mo. 

I can't even describe the relief and gratitude I felt. Some of them would work a full day, get off work and come to the hospital to spend half the night holding my baby while she got breathing treatments or IV fluids. One poor soul even took on the unfortunate task of calling to tell me that they were having to put my sweet girl on oxygen because her lung had collapsed.  I'm tearing up now as I remember their sacrifices for my sake. 

Of course, most of those selfless people also contracted rotavirus, which I still feel just awful about. 

To make a long story just a bit longer, I got better in a day or two and was able to once again care for my patient, but the way the members of my church rallied around our young family is simply astounding. And it wasn't an isolated incident. I have seen them do it time and time again when tragedy strikes. 

Those are Centennial's true "Rally Days."

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