The postman just handed it to me like it was any other letter on any other Saturday. However, the exchange of niceties I didn’t have time for today.
Of course, I knew what this letter was, it was my fifth time getting this kind of letter so I knew the date and the envelope pretty well!
This letter has kept me awake in the early hours this week. This letter meant more than just an acceptance. This letter carried with it a change of season. The end of a beautiful time which I chose and loved and had brought such joy.
It read just like this
Dear Mr and Mrs Mitchell,
Thank you for your application for a nursery place for your child, Seth Mitchell. On behalf of the Board of Governors, I am pleased to inform you that your application has been successful and a place is available.
There it was, my youngest child going to nursery. This sweet year that I knew would end of just me and him was now a reality.
Don’t get me wrong I am excited for him. There are always days when I want to hold him tight and not let him grow up and think of cunning ways I could keep him at home. That can change in an instant when I find myself counting on my calendar how many days till September!
Seth is going to love nursery, I know that. We couldn’t be happier about him going to Bloomfield. All our kids have really thrived there. Their love for school, their teachers and their friends. Our kids have had a secure and loving time at Bloomfield ,it is what we have known for the last 7 years. We are so very thankful.
However in the early hours of the night this little letter brought its own fears. Fears which I allowed in and a place in my head. They all started with a ‘What if’
What if …. he hates it
What if ……. he makes no friends
What if…. he is bullied as he moves up the school
What if…. he struggles to learn
What if……… he looks for me and I am not there
What if……. he misses me and cries
What if……. the teachers don’t know what he needs
In these moments we always have a choice. Our ‘what ifs’ can look differently, ‘what if’ we chose to look at them differently.
What if each of us look at our ‘What ifs’ and decide a different outcome.
We all have our ‘what if’s’
Can I challenge you today to change your ‘what if’ and instead of thinking ‘what if I fall’ lets think ‘What if I fly’
I had a conversation recently with a friend of ours David about pastor kids, the fact we have 5 of them heightens my overactive imagination.
We all know the drill. Some people give pastor kids get a bad press. Some say they are more than likely to be the ones who are the most messed up. They’ll reject God. They’ll reject the church. What utter nonsense but for a while I lived in fear of what if we really mess these kids up. As we lead a church what will our sacrifice mean for them?
And then David who is a ‘pastor’s kid’rewrote my ‘What if’story. David has thrived as a pastors kid, not only thrived but is serving alongside his dad in the same life giving amazing church with his amazing and beautiful wife (whose family was also in leadership). He has a passion to change the ‘what if’ stories for pastor’s kids. He loves the church, loves his dad and loves serving alongside a generation who has known him from being a kid. As we talked, he lovingly and passionately told me about how his dad led the church and always allowed him the freedom to be who he was and supported him fully in all that he loves to do! He brought a new ‘what if’ to my story for my kids. I want him to keep telling this story to all to leaders everywhere trying to lead a church and have a family.
Even my own story is a ‘what if’ story. With my past and brokenness society would tell me that I should be walking more damaged than this. Not walking with the same freedom or joy. I shouldn’t be married or even have kids. Abuse from others and my own self infliction of my body and mind should mean that my life should look different from how it does.
I found my ‘what ifs’ 16 years ago when Jesus decided to rewrite my story. When I dared believe ‘What if Jesus could really heal? What if I didn’t accept the lies and the hurt and worked hard at finding freedom and joy in the midst of a past that should dictate a different narrative. What if this Jesus that people talk about can heal not only the physical scars but the emotional ones too? What if I trust Him enough to do that for me?
And what what about now, what our time and place in this town? What if we got out of our boats of security and nice things and really began to change a culture.
What if our churches were a place everyone felt welcome? What if we really acted like no perfect people were allowed in our churches? What if everyone no matter what they believed felt they had a place at our table? What if our invite extended to all walks of life, all ages and stages and not just the people that were easy and nice but those who are flawed like me and you looking for community and family? What if we work hard at invitation and acceptance?
What if all that we become the people in our communities that write a different story of love and hope? Of forgiveness and reconciliation? What we serve the people of our towns with such a love that we gain the trust of those in our government and we begin to rewrite the story of this place?
Lets go back to Seth ‘what if’ he goes to Bloomfield like the rest of his siblings and really thrives. Becomes that boy that becomes a friend to lonely, who brings joy in the midst of sadness. What if he and the rest of his siblings become people who change a generation and bring hope to hopeless situations and joy in the midst of pain.
Amazing photo credits – Ruth Kelly ( http://ruthkellyphotography.tumblr.com )