She stands in the bathroom, her head tilted to the side, and she looks grown to me. The hairbrush moves through her hair in long sweeping motions and she grins when she sees me looking at her.
“Is it always going to be like this?” she asks.
“Like what?” I respond.
“The way we clean up all day and make snacks and let all the kids into our bedroom.”, she says.
It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m swishing the toilet clean, one more time.
My first-born has cleaned her bedroom and helped the others with their spaces and she is now readying herself for our evening service. She has helped me decorate the food table and make coffee and she’ll help me again later tonight when everyone else is long gone.
I stop the swishing and sit on the bench in the bathroom and watch her smooth her hair. She brushes her teeth and puts on clear lip gloss and I hear all the things she’s really not saying because I play the same tape in my own mind everyday.
“I don’t know. What do you think?’
“Umm, I don’t know. It seems like we’ve been doing this forever and I thought by now it would feel like a real church. Like our home church.”
She slips on her shoes that remind her of home and she slips out of the bathroom to meet the neighborhood kids in the yard.
I watch her walk across the room and I wonder if we’re messing them up. Are they getting what they need from us, their parents, or are we too preoccupied with people and coffee and the bible and the ever looming question: What is a church anyway?
The hubs is at his desk, reviewing his sermon, and I wonder if he has overheard our exchange. His hands are on his head and I know he can’t bear the weight of my heavy questions right now. Although often unspoken, I know he’s asking himself the same sorts of questions. He’s worried about the toll this church planting is taking on all of us.
The clock on the wall reads 4:30 and in thirty short minutes, our quiet home will be a rowdy home. Legos will be dumped out again and coffee poured. Crumbs will pile on the hardwoods and my sink will fill with dishes. Babies will cry and we will muddle through the chaos to find a seat at the feet of Jesus.
At 8, our home will be an empty mess and I’ll put our 6 partners in ministry in the bed and choke back tears as I wonder if we’re doing the right thing by them.
And at 8:30, I’ll sit across the table from their dad and we’ll pour more coffee and spill our own crumbs and pray that Jesus will make something beautiful from everything that we spill.