Church dismissed at 7:30pm. Or so I thought. What I didn't bank on happening was that Bruce would want to stay and throw a game of spades with some of the guys (is a pastor supposed to throw spades after church, at church ...that's another blog post). So as I meandered to the parking lot I ran into a couple of moms....and for the next hour and 15 minutes...we had...dare I say it, an extended church service.
Oh, the conversation actually started with talk of my new ride. Humbly I got to share again how good God was to give us such a blessing...(thanksgiving). Then one of the moms started talking about mom stuff...you know, kids, school, discipline, parenting, struggles, failures, concerns. In my heart and with my voice I too admitted some of my "stuff" and how God was teaching me some of those very uncomfortable lessons. Each of us casually shared verses and encouragement and wise counsel (edification). We talked of God's faithfulness, God's wisdom, God's patience with us as we learn our way, His Spirit guiding us (worship). And after an hour of sharing and listening and admonishing each other to stay faithful to this eternal job of parenting and mothering and womanhood, I left feeling blessed, encouraged and motivated. And hopefully they did too.
Sometimes you just need the after church church service. The one that takes place in the parking lot or the church foyer or at Dairy Queen eating an ice cream cone. Sometimes you need those iron sharpens iron conversations...the ones that aren't meant to condemn, but to create an atmosphere of motivation to do better...do your best...get focused. Sometimes you need a good swift kick from a friend to get your act together, to get back on track, to high tale yourself out of a sticky situation.
God isn't limited to meeting with us within the walls of our auditoriums in our church buildings. I love gathering corporately with my church family. I enjoy the time we spend together in worship and fellowshipping and teaching and preaching. But, forbid it Lord, if I miss YOU in the parking lot, where three moms happen to meet after church. Help me to see Your timing as a means to minister and be ministered to, instead of an interruption. God's busy all the time...He does not slumber or sleep....
I'm keeping my heart more open to where and when He wants to meet with me in unexpected places.