Last month, my church hosted a large women’s conference. We put it on every other year, and it is truly a blessing. I really loved our musicians this time and enjoyed worshiping with other women from different churches and neighborhoods and backgrounds. Such a sweet glimpse of what heaven–plus men and children, of course–has in store for us!
It was especially sweet to have this time, while my sweet husband was home with our two preschoolers, because I was in pain that weekend. I have rheumatoid arthritis, and my IV meds had worn off with three weeks before the next dose. Some movements gave me the sensation of needles in my joints, which isn’t so pleasant (and some lack of movement did the same, but there wasn’t anything I could do about that).
So my heart sank a little when the vocalist said these words: “Lift your hands if you really love Jesus.”
But I couldn’t.
And it hurt in more than a physical way for a moment. “…if you really love Jesus” was the question posed, so just about every hand in the room went up. And mine couldn’t.
And I felt conspicuous.
How often each week in our churches are we doing nothing technically wrong but still wounding people? It’s not about doing the right thing, y’all. (And, for the record, I clearly consider the use of “y’all” to be the right thing, only second to “all y’all” in a large group setting. Just sayin’.)
It’s about being so wholly resting in Christ–even in the midst of activity–that we reflect Him to the wounded (including into our own wounded places). And it’s about knowing that we sometimes ask people to show their love for Jesus in ways that they can’t. How can we let each person show their love for Jesus in the ways that he is able, in the ways that God designed for her to do so?
The next song at that conference was Blessed Be Your Name, which is a favorite of mine. And her next statement was, “If you love Jesus, give me a hearty amen!”
And I was glad to do so.
Shannon Dingle (MAEd) is wife to Lee, mom to two preschoolers, and Access Ministry coordinator at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC. She is passionate about sharing the gospel of Christ with all people, including those with special needs, and equipping churches to do so. She writes about that at www.theworksofgoddisplayed.com, and she is a contributor to the Treasuring Christ Curriculum. The other passions that captivate her are coffee, books, her children’s giggles, and her husband’s smile.