Monday, October 23, 2006

My home - a place of acceptance

My mind is full, thinking about the weekend with my daughter and the two friends she invited to attend The Revolve Tour conference. We purposely did not invite our church friends, and this was an excellent opportunity – great music and lots of fun – to introduce those friends to Jesus.

The favorite among the girls, by far, was Chad Eastham. This guy had 10,000 girls eating out of the palm of his hand. During the Q&A session at the end of the conference, he received a girl’s question about whether or not to have sex with her boyfriend. In answering, he told the story of a guy who is given two days to drive a Ferrari. He drives it fast and hard, not caring about frying the engine or about dings and nicks, because he’s turning the keys in soon. But another guy sees the car he wants, then methodically saves his own hard-earned $245,000. When he finally gets to purchase the car, he's calling it “Baby,” lovingly shining it, and getting mad if anyone so much as breathes on it.

His answer to the question: “You were not meant to be some guy’s test drive.”

Run, don’t walk, to buy his book, The Truth about Guys.

For me, however, I suppose because my daughter is an athlete, and because her friends were there, the most poignant part of the weekend was Kimiko Soldati’s testimony. Here was the girl with everything – national diving champion, a member of the US Olympic team. She had no need for God – life was going according to plan, and she was in control. Yet God used people – friendships - including a Christian coach, and diver Laura Wilkinson, who was openly Christian. Some asked questions, some invited her to church. Over time, she saw that these people had something she didn’t have – peace. These folks ultimately loved her along the path to Christ.

Kimiko’s story makes me think so much about my home. She didn’t grow up in a Christian home, so God used others to point the way.

I ask myself: Would others coming here know that ours is a Christian home? Probably. Thinking like a non-Christian visitor: the Lord’s Prayer is on the wall, and there is a picture of Jesus above, yes, my TV. We pray before meals and are generally nice to each other. This is all outward and measurable.

But then the harder question: Is my home (which is a reflection of my life) inviting and accepting of those who do not come from a “churched” background? I struggle with this. In the convenience of my own agenda, I would prefer that my kids bring home only the polite, the well-behaved, and the truth-seeking. Those from intact homes whose Christian parents are doing their best to raise them well. You know, those from families just like ours.

It is so much scarier to think that God’s plan might be for us to “reflect Christ” to those whose backgrounds make me feel uncomfortable, or whose behavior has not had the benefit of a loving parent’s discipline. Yes, we have careful boundaries to protect our kids from “bad influences,” and a few standard “house rules.” But am I inadvertently reinforcing the idea (to my kids' friends, as well as to my own kids) that Jesus wants people to get it together (work hard to be “good”) before they can come to our house - I mean, to Him?

Kimiko was admittedly condescending toward Christians. What if her friends had ditched her because she wasn’t a believer?

I’ll be pondering those questions a while. I'd love to hear your thoughts, especially from those like Wendy, who tells of a Christian friend's homelife influencing her desire to know more about Christ.

Kimiko gave a wonderful invitation to accept Jesus at the end of her talk. I tried to act non-chalant as my daughter elbowed me in the ribs when Kimiko quoted Romans 5:8 (we are memorizing the Romans Road as a family). I know my daughter has this verse in her head. I pray it is doing its work in her heart, as it is in mine:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

In the end, I want to live my life knowing the light was meant to shine, not just so my own family can be blessed, but so our family can be a blessing.

So that others - through a home where all who walk through these doors are accepted as they are - may come to know Him and His peace, too.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16


Unknown said...

So glad y'all had a good time. I know that sometimes there is only so much we can say. Sometimes they listen to others more readily, and I'm glad for them to hear it straight from a guy! I'm praying that I won't have to deal with that for many, many, many, many years.

Chris @ Come to the Table said...

I am new to your blog. I came over from your sisters blog.
A great reminder of what we are to be doing and more importantly teaching our kids.

Emily said...

hey Katherine!
I was not raised in a Christian home, and came to Christ at age 12 through a girl I got to know in 7th grade. That is always how I tell my story- I noticed that this girl was not as concerned with fitting in as everyone else, I went over her house and noticed that Bible verses were plastered over everything that wouldn't get up and walk away :-), and I noticed that her family seemed solid, and, yes, PEACEFUL in a way i'd NEVER seen!! they talked about God and prayed like He was their best friend- again, i'd NEVER heard of that. i knew families who went to church but none who it was such a big part of their lives. and i timidly asked a couple questions about it, and they invited me to a Bible study. . . and. . . and. . . well, it's a SUPER long story (i think I might have told you some of it by email?) but if you want to know more, let me know!

Anyway- I know, because she told me :-P oh the tactfulness of 7th grade girls. . .that my friend's parents were worried that her having such a close friendship with me, a non-Christian, was destructive to her (she started a still-continuing rebellious streak the same year, I don't think it was my fault!). But they definitely had a much bigger influence on me than I could have had on her. For one thing, most of our friendship happened around them, I'm sure consciously on their part. They didn't hesitate to talk about God in front of me, sometimes offending me, but more just interesting me. All of this combined to lead me to the Lord!!!

I know that when I grow up and have a family, I will be concerned about the influences my kids are exposed to. But the strong foundation it sounds like you guys are giving your kids will triumph!! I think it's much more important to have a loving, accepting atmosphere int he house- both to reach those kids who need that, and to teach your kids that non-Christians are to be loved, not feared. It worked for me!!

Thanks for your blog, Katherine- God's spirit is so evident in your heart, and reading about His work and your thoughts is ALWAYS SUCH a joy!!!!
:-) Emily,

Tammy said...

I loved this Katherine. Such great thoughts and so well-written. And so powerful...

My girls are still pretty young, so I feel like I need to reinforce those bounderies of wholesome friends...yet, I also agree with what you are saying. I even struggle with this in meeting fellow my heart of heart, I want to be more open to everyone and gracious- whether they know the Lord or not. Because how else are the lost going to ever see Christ?

Wonderful post!
(Oh, and I'm back from my wild, incredible and a bit scary Hawaiian vacation! I have to divide my post into three parts!) ;)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an excellent way to tie heartstrings with your daughter....and the story about the test drive. Made me cry (and not for good reasons---too many bad memories) but it is sooooo true.

I was raised in a mildly Christian home. Meaning, we went to church and talked about God, but not in a very real or relavent way. Church was something we did on Sunday and the other days of the week were fair game.

I really got to know Christ personally and deeply as an adult, but would have LOVED to have a moment such as you shared with your daughter, with my mom many years ago.

Way to go mom!

Andrea said...

Oh,so very,very good. Wonderful perspective.

Kris said...

I saw this conference covered on the news and thought "what a great way to reach teen girls." I am so glad you and "A" were able to attend and that BOTH of you got something out of it.

Christa said...

I think it is so cool that you took your daughter and two of her friends to this!

The questions you are pondering at the end of your post are some that I have been also contemplating. Thank you for voicing them here on your blog! It is good to know that others are searching for answers on this, too.

In Him,

Katherine@Raising Five said...

This is from WENDY at Showered with Grace. She couldn't post a comment for some reason and emailed me her thoughts instead.

I am so glad you had such a good time this weekend and I love that you were purposeful about who you brought.

I think you have a great perspective on wanting to use your house as a mission center (as I like to call it). It shouldn't just be where we live for our family do be blessed. Our culture is so individualistic. I think one way we can reach out to others is by simply inviting a neighbor for dinner and getting in the lives of others so we know how we can meet their needs.

Some Christians I know just socialize with others at church. This is definitely in the comfort zone, but I know it is not how we are supposed to live. I am already learning that it is much easier when Bryce (6) is playing w/kids from church that obey their parents, respect adults, (or atleast they are being trained toward this) etc. There is one family in the neighborhood that I don't feel comfortable w/my kids playing at their house (chaos/yelling/broken home...all the things I grew up in), so the rule is that they play at our house if they play together. At this age, that is working out well, but I'm sure it will get harder as my kids get older w/different people they are around.

I know now that my friend Jenny's parents were praying hard for me and their daughter as she spent time w/me. :-)
Their prayers were answered in amazing ways and that is very encouraging to me.

Just some thoughts on your recent post.
Hope you have a great day. It is 45 here today. Burr!

Susanne said...

Oh, Katherine this is such a wonderful and convicting post. I have so struggled with this as my children attend a public school. Sometimes it's hard to draw lines when you have all this running through your head. When it comes to friends and the huge influence they can be. Thank you for reminding me.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing! I think a lot of the church tends to forget that we NEED to reach out to others that are not like us. That we need to be that influence in their lives, and especially in the lives of our children's friends. It sounds like it was a well-spent weekend...