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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Valentine

In the Beginning

“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24 (NLT)

While the realization of raising 3 sons was daunting, it is fun to look back at some of our adventures. One of our favorite memories is of our church services in our living room. When the guys were young, it was important to establish routines or patterns so everyone understood what to expect. For my own sanity, I needed to get to church at least twice a month. Not only would I get the spiritual charge that I needed, but I would get the encouragement from the men and women in the church. We refer to the mature women as the mothers of our church. These are the wise and respected women who had raised their children and were in a good position to cheer you on. In these modern times, there is a children’s church or nursery for children to attend. We didn’t have this option until much later so we practiced the fading art of expecting children to pay attention in church. Stand when it was time to stand, sit still when you were expected to. I think most children have trouble paying attention in school because they don’t get this practice. (Tip: If they are participating in the service, they don’t have as much energy to squirm around in their seat and they learn to reverence God’s house.) I see cell phone play, tablet play and everything else while valuable lesson time is wasted…but back to the story.

We had a mother who was 70 at the time. Let’s call her Mother D. (She turned 99 in July.) I trained my guys to watch her. When they would give me grief about being too tired to stand during service I would say “Mother D is standing. When she sits down, you can sit down.” Knowing that they were younger and maybe stronger, I never had to address this with them again. Never mind we had spent the entire Saturday running, jumping, and playing games at the ballpark. Each child was also responsible for bringing their Bible to church. It was the same expectation I had for them going to school. Do you have your school books? This has really served them well and now it is an automatic thing even in their adult life.

When they were little boys, sometimes I just didn’t have the energy to get them to church every Sunday, but to be consistent, I committed to getting us there every other Sunday. On the days we stayed home, we had a service in our living room. One person was responsible for the prayer, one person led the song (praise and worship) and one person read a scripture and explained it. We even had meet and greet time where we would go to each other and hug (mimicking our experience at church). “How are you? It’s good to see you.” The mothers at our church would always remark “Look at those fine boys and how they are growing.” One of the mothers would always turn to me and say “You are doing a fine job and we are praying for you.” I can’t describe how encouraging those few words were and how they buoyed me through the week.

Inevitably the song at the home church services was “This is the Day That the Lord Has Made.” Someone would get the Fisher Price piano (the one with colorful 8 keys), one person would get a pot and a spoon (percussion) and whatever else would make a sound and we would bang out the song.

This is the day, this is the day, that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made.

I will rejoice, I will rejoice and be glad in it and be glad in it.

This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.

This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made.

Someone would always yell, “One more time!” and we would sing it again (several times) with gusto. There was lots of rejoicing in the room. From my perspective I was glad to see them enjoying the song. Any time children are praising God there is a pureness about it that I really enjoy. I believed the fellas enjoyed it because it was a chance to be as loud as they wanted to be. It was also a good reminder to me to focus on what was important. No matter how overwhelmed I may have felt, my responsibility was to find a way to rejoice and be glad.

When we sing the song in church we look at each other and smile knowing how important this song is to our family. We of course sing it with GUSTO.

A later rendition of the song adds the following words:

When I look back over all the years that I made it through, I couldn’t imagine where I’d be now if it wasn’t for You. How Your favor rests upon me I could never explain.

This is so applicable for our little journey. I can’t explain His favor, but I certainly appreciate it!

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