Song of the month: Gone,Gone,Gone -by Philip Phillips
So when is it time to quit anyway?
Here we are again. In the ER room with my Beautiful Micro Premie Eden Hope.
“Eden,” I repeat to the nurse who keeps saying the wrong name, “as in The Garden of…”
She’s my perfect little flower. It’s times like this I wish for Deja vu…or even just the Vu. I much rather just feel like I’m repeating the same scene in my life than actually repeating it. All the Doctors, and new Doctors, the nurses, the tests, the beeping of Eden’s Oxogen monitor…again.
When we first walked into the NICU last year and saw our 1lb baby girl on the ventilators and monitors and heard the incessant beeping, all I could think was, We are going to get this girl healthy and she’s going to be just fine. In my optimism I assumed the easy task of “loving her to health”. If only… Nine months on and my Eden is still the size of a small five month old. She struggles to sit up, to breathe, and even at times to smile, which happens to be her favorite past time. If the wind blows the wrong direction, she will catch a cold. If she drinks too fast, she chokes.
If I set her down, she fears for her dear life and screams the house down, sure at any moment some masked, rubber gloved, probing, podding maniac will come her way. Her own version of Scream 4, 5 and 6 I’m sure. I watch as her eyes scan the room and when they finally lock on me her arms raise in an even louder scream. It’s mama-mania at its best…Justin Bieber has nothing on me…When she looks at me like that though, I worry she’s blaming me in her little baby brain for her pain…I know it’s not my fault…I’m a lover not a hurter, but still Little Eden fears she will be left alone in this scary world. Still she hurts. Still she doesn’t really care that I’ve had to pee for two hours now.
So when is it time to call it quits? To throw in the Towel? To quit the hard task at hand? To give up on holding my bladder for hours because of one little thing that only three people in the whole wide world would really miss? I mean she screams, she’s demanding, she never bothers to thank anyone let alone me, she doesn’t even pull her own few pounds of weight around!
…anybody thinking of slapping me yet?
Sound like the problem at hand for you? Who would really care if you called it quits? Sure for a little while a couple of people would hurt,need to find a new church, but in the long run, would it really matter? Everyone would just go on with their life right?
When we first start out on this adventure of church planting, like parenting, it’s all starry eyes and “I’m just gonna love, love, love,love-a-love!” But as with most valuable things in life, it’s just not that easy. Yes the scripture, “Love never fails” (1 Corith.13:8) is true, but we fail don’t we? We can’t possibly meet half the needs of all the people around us, and there will be times when the steam of good intentions is not enough to push us up the hill once again.
Church planting is like raising children. Even if you jump in with six limbs instead of four, someone will still be screaming at some point…perhaps you. But as with my Eden, I don’t just love her so much and then say, “Oops, that’s it, no more love in my love-tank for you now… That last need you had? Ya well that just pushed things too far little missy and I’m done!” Why is this? Is it because she came from my flesh and bone? No, she was adopted. Is it because I hope she’ll someday become a famous surgeon and provide me with a cushy retirement home on a lake with a horse ranch, billy goats, chickens, and a trained monkey?…maybe…
Reality is, it’s nothing less than letting a Divine work of love transform me. Eden is my heart, and she has done nothing except be the recipient of my heart, to deserve it. I honestly believe that the love between a parent and child is one of God’s key ways of communicating His Grace to this earth and into our selfish little lives. There is literally nothing Eden can ever do which will cause me to give up on her, throw in the towel, turn my back and walk away.
It’s this challenge that I face when I look into the angry eyes of someone I once “ministered” to and am at a loss as to why they are in so much pain. It’s this parental example of grace that keeps us going when there seems little external reward from the ones we are caring for, or the hard task at hand.
So who would it hurt if I were to give up on Eden? If I just left her to herself? Yes it would hurt her, that is until her protective Father in heaven said “enough” and took her back, but mostly it would hurt me. I would be the one to live on, to know that I was missing out on the blessing of loving and parenting and experiencing the gift of God’s beautiful example of grace on earth.
Keep going dear church planting parent. In the end you will find all you need and more when your heart is full with that parental Divine Grace and you love the Church for no other reason, than that they are there for you to pour your life into.
James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brother, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.