During the Thanksgiving holiday a few years ago, I experienced a moving moment as I watched our younger daughter, Colleen, with her baby, Ashley Alissa, who at that time was a newborn. Colleen had nursed her back to sleep and was holding Ashley ever so tenderly, as only a mother can do. Colleen didn’t see me as I stood in the shadows, thinking . . . reflecting . . . remembering.
In my flashback, it was I who held our darling Colleen nestled in my arms. She had been born only a month or so earlier, and her arrival had brought a fresh ray of hope and happiness to our lives. In her tiny eyes, which danced with delight, I found a reason to smile. Her chubby little hands gripped my fingers, as if saying, “I love you, Daddy . . . you’re special to me.”
As these reflections passed through my mind, I realized anew the profound importance of caring for the young and being sensitive to their needs. I also realized again that both require sacrifice and commitment.
There stood the young mother, who was once our little baby, in the glow of a night light . . . exhausted from too little sleep, yet committed to her baby’s comfort, whispering, “I love you” and determined to do whatever was necessary through the silent hours before dawn.
For many, I realize, such pleasant, nostalgic scenes of home are foreign, even nonexistent. Home was a battleground where only the fittest survived. Some of you who read this may not recall even a handful of pleasant memories springing from your original family. Not until Christ found you, won you over, and entered your life, did you begin to discover what love is all about.
To you, the church—those folks who people the place, who reach out in compassion, who provide you a healthy and a safe environment in which to grow—has become “home” and “family” as well. Which is a needed reminder to us that the people of faith are the only models many have to look to, to learn from, to count on.
What can we in the church do? We can help those who have no memories of parental commitment and sacrifice to build new memories. This requires commitment and sacrifice from us, no doubt about it. But, oh, isn’t it worth it all?
Think of some young person(s) in your church who has a need for a family touch. Take the opportunity to build a memory that impressionable individual will never forget.
The church may be the only healthy, safe environment some will ever know. Let’s reach out in compassion.— Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This