This coming Sunday, our church is going to merge with another church. We are becoming one church with two locations. This is a big adjustment for my husband and I as we become pastors to a whole new group of people. It's also an adjustment to our current congregation that we have pastored for twelve years, as they now have to share us with that whole new group of people. Thinking about it today, and praying about it, I thought of something I faced as a young wife and mom, that was similar in some ways.
When I had my firstborn daughter, I was overwhelmed with the powerful love that I felt for this perfect little person that God had entrusted to my husband and me. I was so overwhelmingly in love with her, that I began to wonder if we should have any more children because I wondered how it was possible to love someone as much as I loved her. I seriously thought that maybe it would be a good idea to just stop with one child. And let's face it, how much easier would life be with only one child to raise?
Three years later, however, we had our second little girl. In looks as well as in temperment, she was as opposite as can be from our firstborn. But did I love her as fiercely as my oldest daughter? You bet! Was it more work to have two children. Obviously!
Another three years later, and surprise! Daughter number three arrived on the scene. Again, the love in my heart just grew to include her, of course, and amazingly, three kids didn't seem to be all that much more work than two.
I think back now, and can't imagine my life without any one of my three girls. Each one has blessed my life in a different, immeasureable way. I also can't imagine what I would have robbed from my oldest daughter's life, if she hadn't gotten to grow up with her strong-willed middle sibling, or her shy, more quiet youngest sister.
Also, how would my choice, back then have changed history? For example, who would have parented my two precious grandchildren that my second daughter and her husband have adopted? Who would have reached the people she has ministered to on the continent of Africa, or those she will reach when she returns in the future. How would history have been effected if my youngest daughter didn't exist? Who would have been robbed of her sweet, caring spirit? Who would have ministered in worship or in her prophetic gifts, or to the youth in the church? Some day, God's man for her will come along, and she too, will continue to affect history for generations by raising godly children.
Am I saying all this to promote having more kids? Not at all. I am seeing an analogy between that choice then, and this choice now. God is increasing our family...our church family. Part of me then wondered if I could love another kid like I did my firstborn. Now I know, that your heart and your love can grow to include how ever many God gives you. Back then I wondered if I could handle the job. Now I know, that as long as you lean heavy on God, He enables you, gives you wisdom, and covers you with grace when you make mistakes. Now I also know that somehow, my firstborn would have been robbed of something valuable if she didn't have her sisters, and history would have been robbed of something if they never existed. If I , if we, turn away from the new kids God is adding to our church family, what might we rob our current "kids" from as they learn to know and love these new members of the family, and how might we affect history if we refuse this addition that God wants to give us?