This morning before church it was calm, we weren't running late, and didn't have any major battles erupt. For those of you that are parents, especially of multiple children, you know how rare Sunday mornings like that really are. It's usually a chaotic rush of finding matching shoes, bickering between siblings, rushing out the door with not much more than a peck on the check from the husband at best. Many Sunday mornings we finally hop in the van to make the short 2 mile drive to church and I look over at Kev and let out a deep breath and say, "Good morning, dear!" because it feels like we were zipping past each other, too rushed to really enjoy each other's presence. Many mornings we walk into church and have to be VERY purposeful about turning off the rush and chaos and letting our hearts connect with the message, worship, and fellowship. Otherwise we will miss it because we are still just to very much wrapped up in the chaos of just GETTING there. I'm sure many of you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about!
Fortunately, this morning was much different. For whatever reason, I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to TRULY start the day much earlier than normal. Based on our normal typical Sunday morning schedule on weeks that we aren't teaching, I could have slept an extra hour or at the very least stayed in bed and relaxed. Mornings usually start full speed ahead with our energetic 5 year old! Kevin tries to allow me this one morning of a SLOW start. Instead of sleeping in, I was up, dressed, and ready to go as soon as Kev was back home from dropping off the big kids for the extra service they attend. I spent that extra time just trying to prepare my heart for the day ahead. Praying. Listening to worship. Reading a good devotional. Things that went ahead and put my heart in the mind-set of worship.
While I was reading, I saw a picture that said "Fall in Love with Jesus---again!".
It made me think of how I CHERISH falling in love with Kevin all over again. That has been something very obvious in our relationship. It's incredible to experience that falling in love again and again.
I thought about how our weekly dates have REALLY allowed that to happen. Our spending two hours together one night a week, ALONE, has given us the necessary tools to take our marriage from ordinary to extraordinary. For the first 15 years of marriage, we didn't have that opportunity. Now that we do, we value it, protect it, and cherish it. Those hours together allow us to fall in love all over again. It helps melt the stress of a normal week away. We literally CRAVE that time together now. We do not allow ANYTHING to prevent that time together. We may have to be flexible with the day. We may not be able to financially do anything more than grab a sweet tea and sit at the park. Other times we are blessed with being able to spend more and experience different things. Regardless of the activity, we SPEND that time together focused on each other as a priority.
I thought of how attending church allows the same thing in my heart for Christ. Spending our Sunday mornings in fellowship with other believers, listening to the message, actively participating in worship, serving others in some capacity, etc... allows that heart connection with Christ. The week is busy. It's VERY easy to let the world and its demands during the week crowd out communion with Christ. VERY easy! Attending church opens the door for falling in love with Christ---again and again. It allows for a heart connection from slowing down and focusing on Him.
I also thought about how very important date night is to us, how we protect that time together at all cost, BUT that we also have to spend time together every other day as well. The date night is the culmination of the rest of the week. It's the icing on the cake. Because we've attempted to spend the rest of the week showing each other daily how much we value, love, and appreciate each other, date night is a celebration of that love. Because we've spent time each day praying together, communicating on a deep level, and putting each other's needs first, date night allows for even deeper communication and connection.
On the other hand, those weeks that we've failed to take care of each other's hearts, date night may end up being more about "salvaging" or "making up". It may be a time of starting over. At times it has been almost a desperation. "IF, we can just survive until Tuesday, we can really connect again" kind of thing.
Church is the same way. If we are spending time in communication with Him EVERY day by praying, reading His word, and seeking His will, the time in church on Sunday mornings just allows that relationship to grow even more. Our hearts can truly just OVERFLOW because of the relationship that we have been nurturing during the week. On the other hand, if there has been neglect of that relationship during the week, it can feel like we are there grasping onto EVERY word, EVERY song, EVERY move of the Holy Spirit JUST SO WE CAN HANG ON!
No matter what, the time in church allows us the opportunity to fall in love with Christ in a deeper way. Fresh. Renewed. Just like date night with my husband allows ours hearts to reconnect and overflow with love for each other. It's vital. Just like we have to make our date night a priority be protecting our schedules to allow for it, we have to make sure that we protect that time in church as well. We are a "rush, rush" society and it's so very easy to just want to take that day off. It's VERY easy to just skip a mid-week service because we are pulled in so many directions. However, it's vital that we don't. Our hearts need that time connected with Christ. Just like I know what a difference date night has made in my marriage, I know just how vital time at church is in my relationship with Christ. Without it, we end up in survival mode. We learn to accept and settle for "ok". Ordinary is good enough.
Not for me. I live for extraordinary. I don't just want to get by. I want the best of what He offers by giving Him the best of me. I can't do that when I'm not spending time with Him. I don't want it for my marriage. We've been strangers living in the same home and we never want to return to that place. I've been through enough dark times of feeling like God is out of reach. I never want to experience either one again. Ordinary isn't enough. Extraordinary. Overflowing, Craving. That is what I desire.