Sunday, October 14, 2018

Come As You Are!

Due to a series of events yesterday, my eight year old son, Jeffrey, ended up with his first stress induced migraine. It was so horrific that he ended up wrapped around the toilet. Due to this, I was certain that he was not going to feel up to going to church this morning. However, he was the first child to rise out of bed today and low and behold his first question was, "Aren't we going to church Mom?" Rather taken aback, I asked, "You feel good enough to go?" He answered, "Yes, I just have a tiny headache now, but do you think it would be okay if I just went in my pajamas?" To which I replied, "Absolutely!" I've had my share of migraines over the years and from experience, I know movement amplifies the pain. I was simply overjoyed to know that my kiddo even when he was down and out wanted to hang out with God. I didn't even make him slide on shoes, barefoot clothed in pajamas is how he entered God's house.

I guess I am silly in some ways because to me it doesn't matter how one is clothed when they enter into God's house, what matters is that they showed up. Some people worry about their outer appearance and they forget that God is not focused on your outside, rather, His focus is upon your heart.

As service progressed and worship began, my little tike moved from sitting in the first pew to laying on the floor, I knew why and silently asked God to help his head feel better. I too was in the front so I was unaware of the looks and the gossip that would proceed. After the initial singing, the children leave to go to their own rooms according to age and Jeffrey got up and went with his siblings. At the end of service, I went down and collected everyone. It was as I was filling my cup of coffee that one of my older children approached me with the news that I was the subject of gossip due to Jeffrey and the fact that I had allowed him to come to church without shoes and in pajamas no less. It was also mentioned how disapproving they were of my parenting skills in allowing him to sprawl on the floor when there was a person of high importance that had come to speak that morning.

Luckily for that person, I did not know who they were by name. Knowing my tongue I did not ask that they point them out, instead, I went to the Pastor and asked if he had a problem with Jeffrey arriving as he was. I was reminded that in every church there are those who lean toward legalism and I know this to be true, regardless, my feelings were bruised. I took that negative energy and used it to push myself all the way through my taebo workout. I punched, kicked and processed my emotions all the way to the end.

The cool thing about holding one's tongue is that it allows God time to show you things. As I worked out, I reflected on serval points in Scripture that had almost seemed to play out in real life this morning. In James, we are reminded to reflect upon how God views both appearance and stature:

My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your [a]assembly with a gold ring and dressed in [b]fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you [c]pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil [d]motives? (James 2:1-4, NASB,

Now granted, no one told us where to sit due to how we were dressed and funny enough, Jeffrey chose to be on the floor, the fact remains that we were being judged by someone who truly has not taken the time to get to know me nor my family, but rather who is too busy criticizing what they view as wrong.

Another thing that I realized is that this person needs prayer. If they hope to be a worker in God's army, they are going to have to take a look at their own interior motives for why they even show up at church. It is my belief that God wants us to 'Come as we are'. He does not care about our outer clothing. If you truly believe He does, then find me two places in Scripture that speaks to such things. I can find countless Scriptures that tell me otherwise. As proof, here is my second one:

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full [a]of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. (Matthew 23:25-26, NASB,

I would rather be viewed as poor and misdressed by those who count themselves among the elite, than to be counted dirty on the inside by Jesus. When we place more value on perfection and performance than we do on simply having a heart for God's people and loving them right where they are, we are not living out the Christian life we are called out to live.

This morning, thanks to Jeffrey, my family put God first before anything else. While evil tried to ruin that today, I did not allow it to triumph. Instead, I came home, changed into my workout clothes and finally made it all the way through my 45 minute workout!!!!! Which brings me to one of my favorite Scriptures of all for I have seen this one play out in my life again and again:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28, NASB,

and from the book of James:

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various [a]trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces [b]endurance. And let [c]endurance have its perfect [d]result, so that you may be [e]perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4, NASB,

I have to laugh, which has healing elements of its own, because today is the first day since I gave myself a 30 day challenge that I hit all three goals in order. (1) I placed God first, went to church, had fellowship, and contemplated his word in depth (2) I worked out physically and for the first time made it all the way to the end of my workout! (3) I blogged on my life with God and how He keeps me on the straight and narrow path come what may!

Father, today I thank you that my children have a heart for you and even when they are down and feeling bad, they long to seek you. How incredible that is. I know they have a love for you because they have witnessed the love you have for us. I cannot thank you enough for all you do, nor all you have done. All I can do is share my love for you with others. I pray that is enough. All I want out of this life is to end it with you telling me 'Well done, good and faithful servant'. I want to be remembered as a girl who was after your heart. Please if you see something in me that needs work, then help me work on it Father. Help me to be kind to those who talk about me behind my back. It is in my flesh to strike out, but it is in your teaching for me to hold my tongue and allow you to do my fighting for me, help me be obedient to your instructions always. In Jesus name I pray. Amen!

Wendy, girl who walks with God, Mom of many!

(c) Wendy Glidden