When I lie down at night I thank God for the day and ask Him to watch over my family and keep us safe and give us rest. At that time I hand everything over and go right to sleep. BUT, if I have to get up, usually around 4 AM I have a tough time going back to sleep. That is when all of my burdens come alive!
For months I woke up at 4 AM thinking about how my mom and I were at different churches. My family sat together for years but this had changed when my brother and I felt like God was calling our families to Pine Valley United Methodist Church. I made the decision when God asked me, "Are you going to choose your mother over me?" Wow! I know we are not to put other things before Him but my mother? Matthew 10:37, "Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” So in July of 2017 we came to PVUMC!
My mother had told me she would not be joining us but gave us her blessing. Within a few months she told me numerous times that it was obvious we had done the right thing for our family. The blessings of being obedient were evident in our trip to the Holy Land, making new friends, reconnecting with old friends, our SS class, becoming part of the ministry team here and the list goes on! Looking back I know the biggest blessing was showing God that I love Him more than my mother. It was painful but it was a great privilege! He knew my pain and I believe He gave me double for my trouble. Isaiah 61:7, "Because you got a double dose of trouble and more than your share of contempt, Your inheritance in the land will be doubled and your joy go on forever."
But at 4 AM these things did not matter. All I could think about was not worshiping with my mother. I never talked to her about it because this is a personal decision. At night, I could hear the words someone had said to me, "You can't leave Jill - your mom is here." Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” I was weary and burdened. Finally, I would thank God for taking care of the situation and giving me peace. 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." Then God's peace would come over me and I would fall back to sleep.
After about a year, God gave me a peace about the situation. Philippians 4:7, “...and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." I was still sad but for whatever reason I would have to accept it. He asked me to be obedient and I was. Isaiah 55:8-9, "’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.’" I trusted Him.
About a month ago, my Mom said God was starting to show her that she was to come to PVUMC! When she finally asked God for direction, He showed her. It is easy not to ask God for direction because we really don’t want the answer. He may take us out of our comfort zones. Mom made sure she told me that she was not coming to PVUMC for her children!
So what could be better? In God’s timing, Mom came on her own obedience to God. This answer to my prayer was better than anything I could have imagined. Mom joined last week at the 9:45 service but you may also see her at the 11:15 service. She has already made many friends and gotten involved with Sunday school, the prayer ministry, the flower/visitation ministry, Bible study, Ever49er’s and serving at Celebrate Recovery.
Mom and I discussed me writing this blog and I asked her to answer one question. Why PVUMC? She gave me a list but none had to do with her children. She said the first Sunday she visited she never stopped smiling during the singing. It was so worshipful that it reminded her of being on The Walk To Emmaus - a spiritual retreat. The first Sunday School class she attended was so warm and inviting. It felt right. The Sunday after she joined strangers would come up to her and mention her nickname, “Honey” or talk about her working in the kitchen at camp. She could not believe how they had listened to Tim! She said, “It just feels right and I know this is where God wants me.”
My niece and nephew have both told me, “I’m so glad Honey is with us!” Me too! And God worked it out perfectly! Why am I always so amazed?! God remains faithful beyond belief! He always gives us so much more than we can imagine! To God be the glory, great things He has done! Welcome Mom, Honey, Sylvia Jarrell! Psalm 95:2, "Let us come before him with thanksgiving and sing joyful songs of praise." And now we can do it together!