Browsing Tag

Family of God

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

“I just don’t want to miss out…”

We heard all through the late summer and fall about how Colleyanna wanted to be a kitty cat for Halloween. We heard, also, how that Ezra wanted to be a battle character of some sort. ( What “sort” kept evolving.)  I’m not sure how it was decided, but he and his mom decided on the Star Wars theme, for the two of them and the three-year-old would be Baby Yoda. Colleyanna was assured that she could still be a kitty cat and all was well. 

One day, about a week before Halloween, I was talking to Colleyanna and she told me that she was going to be “Princess Leah”. (She meant “Leia,” of course, but she didn’t even know how to say the name, much less who she was going to be.) In fact, I then asked her if she knew who Leia is. Her reply was just candid and yet profound: 

“No, I do not really know, but I just don’t want to miss out on being part of the family.”

If only we could appreciate the goodness of God in adopting us into His family. If we could be willing to give up our own preferences in deference to the needs and desires of others in that family. If we could be about sacrificing our own plans for the good of this great family…how blessed we would be. He has made us His family, and we are so much better when we are together. 

It was fun to be a cohesive little group of Star Wars characters, tromping though the neighborhood. About two nights before the event, Ezra double-checked to be sure that Papa and I had planned out our Star Wars costumes. Whaaa?!! I was in another state and would not even be home till the 30th! Let me tell you.…That was a pretty fast (and tired) work of crafting and assembling. 

But I agree with Colleyanna. It’s important, when somebody in the family really is counting on you, to come through. I didn’t really know who I was, in that costume, either,.. But when I walked out into the yard and welcomed the kids in for their pre-trick-or treating grilled cheese sandwiches, Ezra had no difficulty with the identity of the Emperor. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I do know how to google images and I  knew I could quickly make that costume right there! 

If you can make fast plans, accommodate and step a little bit out of your norm for the family of God, you will find a lot of blessings. I want to do better in the family of God. “I don’t want to miss out on being part of the family.”

And just for fun, here are a few pictures of the other kids in Jackson, TN. Ellis is Humpty Dumpty obsessed and he was so excited to have the “great fall.” And Merida is pretty brave!



Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

One Big Family

Friday was a pretty regular kind of day. But as I neared the end of it, I realized that I had depended on my family in the Lord for my regular-kind-of-day maintenance. I thanked God for being part of His family and realized that it’s true….I count on my spiritual family to a much greater degree than I do my physical family. 

Someone from a congregation in Jackson, Tennessee hosted me for my breakfast. Then I headed home and, when about halfway home, I had a flat tire. I called on someone from a congregation in Huntsville, Alabama (who I knew would be passing me on that highway), to see if he could stop and give me a hand. But that person knew someone from a congregation in Tuscumbia, Alabama who was only five minutes away and that local Christian was right there where I was in about ten minutes. Then I came on toward home, but stopped into a church secretary’s office in Decatur, Alabama to retrieve items left at a camp and returned to me from a congregation in Winchester, Tennessee. My friend in that Winchester church had sent them through a brother in the Decatur church.  I came on home and got the cabin ready for some of the sweetest people on the planet from another congregation that’s dear to my heart in Salem, Virginia. In the meantime, I had a little help from someone else who was from a second church in Huntsville, Alabama. 

I had help from folks in six churches that day and, though I was thankful, I didn’t even count it a particularly unusual blessing. I take the family for granted, sometimes, but I shouldn’t. I thank God that I am in a family. 

And the comforting thing is, all of those people with whom I was interacting, were also busily involved with other people in the same family of God. The family where I was eating breakfast showed me a curriculum they were making that will serve thousands of people in hundreds of congregations. The person I called on when I realized my tire was flat was returning home from a camp where he and his wife had influenced young people from scores of congregations all over the United States. The person from the congregation in Tuscumbia was on his way to Oklahoma to visit a college campus and he spoke to me about the congregation with which they would worship on Sunday. I know folks from that Oklahoma church, too. His wife was returning home from a camp on Friday, as well, where she had counseled girls from multiple congregations. When I stopped into the church in Decatur, I also delivered books to an elder who plans to use them in local family ministry. The person who returned my items from camp had just returned from follow-up disaster relief work with a church in Florida, and is on his way to another church in Oklahoma to help launch a boys leadership/ministry camp there. The woman who sent me the lost items is on her way to Oklahoma to work in the kingdom, as well. (It’s an Oklahoma week!) And the reason I was doing all this without my husband, in the first place, was that he was on his way to a Lads to Leaders board meeting in Montgomery, Alabama where he would help make plans for the program that involves hundreds of churches around the world. The family in the cabin came to town to visit more family, both in the flesh and in the Lord, who have just completed a three-year stint in England, where they became deeply involved with the family of God in Britain. 

And the amazing thing about all of this is that all of these hundreds of congregations are biblically autonomous. They are connected as a family—people who reach out and help when needs are identified, but they are not a part of any caucus, hierarchy or earthly organization to which they are accountable. Each congregation is governed by the Word first, and then by local elders who meet the qualifications given in Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3. These elders are there to make decisions in matters of opinion and to feed the Word of God to the local flock. 

I’m just so thankful for the family. God could have called on me to obey His commands in isolation. But He gave me a family; a family with tentacles that are long and tangled and secure. He put me in another generation of the same family that protected Paul, encouraged Onesimus and sacrificially provided for saints in Jerusalem. 

Disparaging and unfaithful voices like to publicly throw out criticism of God’s church today, describing her as unloving and judgmental, or pharisaical and outmoded. Those voices beckon us to believe that we cannot have, be and promote the church of the New Testament today. They disparage on the premise that we cannot know enough truth to emulate the church and follow the doctrine preserved by the Holy Spirit in the Word. I cannot disagree more. While, it may be palatable to some to believe I can drift along in a spiritual journey without being conscientious about being a part of the church Jesus was describing in Matthew 16:15, 16, the Word makes an ultimatum of church membership, assigned by God at baptism (Acts 2:37-47) and adherence to the doctrine of the New Testament (Romans 6:17; Acts 2:42). I cannot be saved without being part of the New Testament church…the family of God. And I’m so glad for that family!

Thanks to the people who saw me safely home on Friday and to the people who are helping to see me safely home for good! Just so blessed in the family!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Waiting on Him

Today, I have just a small moment and a smaller mind to write, but His amazing providence is sustaining. For the past several days, I’ve been living in a senior facility as we transition Glenn’s parents from Memphis, Tennessee to Huntsville, Alabama. There have been some days in which we seemed to hit a brick wall at every turn as we have diligently worked to find a situation to meet all the needs of these loved ones. In the end, the answer came through a sweet 97-year-old sister who lives down the hall from “us” in this temporary place. She remembered another couple in God’s family who were almost in the exact circumstances as were my husband’s parents. She called to refer me to their daughter, the caretaker who knew all the details about this place. Amazingly, this daughter is a sweet friend whom I have not seen in a long time, but she was my suite-mate at FHU many years ago. So very helpful, she gave me details and info that put me in the right place at just the right time. The family that was on the waiting list for the one available room in this beautiful and seemingly perfectly tailored-to-our-needs place had just decided to remove their names for a while from that list and one (only one) room became temporarily available. Another sister came to stay with my favorite mother-in-law and father-in-law while I went to look at this place. And yet another sister invited me into her apartment at the facility (an apartment that happened to be identical to the one in which the Colleys are going to be living and is also the next door down.) Then our Father brought my husband safely home from his gospel meeting in Oklahome so that he could finalize the details about this move for them. 

I know I’m on the lookout for His blessings all the time, but really…how can the answers that we need so badly be all wrapped up in His family, except that His tender care is all around His people all the time? I know that we cannot always be sure that the exact answers we identify as Providence are the paths He would want us to choose, but there are times when it seems the ONLY answer is His answer. And it does seem that He wraps up the answer we desperately need in the beautiful security blanket of our spiritual family. His family in this episode of our lives was not from a single congregation either. At least ten congregations of His people were represented in this transition, from those who worked tirelessly to help get their things on the truck to the point of this writing.  Today, I’m very, especially, deeply, and profoundly thankful for the blessings of Providence that lie in the family of God. I’m thankful for the connected prayers of all of those involved to the One who knew the answer from the start. 

I’d also add that the move to the facility that’s not right for our family may have been very providential, too. After all, the time and muscle and 24/7 effort we “wasted” at the wrong facility gave us the week we needed for a space to open up at the right one. 

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love Him dn are the called according to His purpose.”  THIS. I believe Romans 8:28. 

Maybe all this detail is not the most helpful post for you at this time. But maybe for some sister who is waiting on the Lord, the trust that sustains will be resurgent through trials, prayer and the family of God. I know reminding myself of His Providence through difficult days is a medicine that heals a weary soul!