Well today was the first time in a while that we went to church. Jimmy and I got up early, got ready and rode the bike to visit a local church. We don't have a church home which will shock a lot of you, our church home is the prison, and our support group. We have church wherever God leads us to have church at the time, if it is at our kitchen table, so be it, if it is a group on Tuesday nights, ok no problem, and it always always always happens at the prison on Fridays and the 2nd saturday of every single month without fail for the last 5 years. So while we don't have a "Church home" we have many church homes that love us and welcome us and are excited to see us every week. So anyway now that we have that out of the way, we went to church this morning and heard an amazing message about being on fire for the Lord, how to many churches are dying because they have become pew sitters by nature and think that they are serving by doing nothing. That we need to get out there and do some footwork, how do we expect anyone to get saved if we aren't doing anything to show them what it is like to live as a person who is saved? Are they just supposed to look at someone sitting in a chair about to fall asleep and think "Whoo-Hoo!!! I so want some of what they have going on!!!! Let me go ask them how I can do that too!" NO! You have to get out there and start showing people how blessed you are, post it on facebook, tweet about it, put it on myspace (if it is still out there, I have heard a rumor that it is), text about it, scream it from the rooftops. Let everyone know that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, he is the only way! That a life with Him is so amazing and you don't know how you did it before you found Him. How is anyone supposed to know if you don't tell them and show them the amazing gift you have been given? Needless to say, this evening, Jimmy and I went out to pass out fliers about our ministry, to let people know about Him and what He is doing in our lives. We knocked on doors for about 2 hours, handed out fliers, told them about what we were doing (scared one guy, I guess the biker vests were a little to much for him, he wouldn't open the glass screen door). Some might show up at group this week, some might not. Either way, we got the word out there and someone who's door we knocked on, God set that up, they needed to hear that there is something out there for them, someone who won't judge what they have done, who loves them for who they are. There is a group of people out there meeting every week with piercings, tattoos, bikers, cowboys, old, young, some with bad tempers, some that are quiet, some that are loud, some that cuss then blush, some that cuss and then cuss again because they are sorry, but no one judges one another, we just love one another, and we would love to have them join our group if for nothing else, just to check it out (they almost always come back at least a few times, and some we just can't get rid of no matter what we do j/k we love all of our people).
So on to the other thing in the title of tonights post. Bedtime, yes I know it is an odd combination, church and bedtime, but tonight God just opened my eyes to something huge! I have said before that I am working on getting the girls to bed on their own, so far they have been doing really good, Ella the past couple of nights has been throwing fits when it comes time to make easy decisions for the night. She does really good up until she has to decide which blanket she wants to use and if she wants it wrapped around her or if she just wants to be covered. It is a major meltdown as if I have just told her that she will be wrapped up in fire ants or no chocolate for the rest of her life or something awful like that. I ask her first which blanket and she just sits there and looks at me as if I am speaking Chinese or something, so I ask her again, "Ella, which blanket do you want to use tonight? Poka dots or the red one?" Last night she decided she was going to choose something that wasn't one of the two choices just to see if I was paying attention, and of course it would be the one that Sierra was using. That ended up being a 10 minute tantrum. So tonight I asked her 3 times, she just looked at me so I said, "ok, you think about it, I am going to go cover Sierra and I will be back to cover you (they are in toddler beds like 4 feet away from one another). Meltdown 1 starts. I ignore her, ask Sierra which blanket she wants, she wants her heart one, and she wants it around (which is always more fun because it comes with a snuggle and a bounce/throw onto the bed), hug, kiss, I love you's, sweet dreams and she is done (have I mentioned I love that kid). Back to Ella, I ask her again which blanket she wants and she just melts down, bawling. I calmly ask again, "Ella, you need to pick a blanket or I am going to have to pick for you because it is going to get really really cold in your room tonight." Nothing. So I tell her, "Ok, I am going to cover you with the red and the poka dot kiss and hug and I am going to go in the living room, I have some things I need to do" so I cover her, she kicks the blanket off, I cover her again, she kicks it off again. I cover her, hold it down long enough for me to kiss her on the head, hug her, tell her I love her and good night, out the door. The child sounds as if she has become posessed!!! Kicking and screaming, who is this kid and what has she done with my sweet Ella who loves to sit on the couch with me and rub my hair and tell me how much she loves me?! So heartbroken I sit in the livingroom (right next to their room) and try to get lost in facebook (zombies, smurfs and sims), but I just can't get into it. I wait a few minutes in hopes she will calm down and go back in, ask her again, "would you like to pick a blanket? I will either cover you, or put it around and we can start over again." Supernanny would have a FIT!!! But it turns out all she needed was a few minutes to realize I meant business, if she was not going to pick, I would and I would make sure that she still got her hugs and kisses and her I love you's, but I was not going to mess around. I guess she either learned Chinese or I started speaking English again because she picked the poka dot one, wanted it around and gave the biggest hugs and kisses and told me that she loved me. My Ella Bella was back.
The reason I told the long verson was because this is how it was revealed to me. We are Ella, or Sierra. God tells us, you can either go this way and pick which one, I can love you through it, hug you, kiss you, tell you how much I love you and we can do it peacefully. Or you can make the decision to choose the third thing, not what I intend for you to do. But if you do this, it isn't going to go well, you are going to end up kicking and screaming and mad, throwing a fit like a 3 year old, but I will still try to help you make the right decision, still give you a hug and kiss and tell you that no matter how you act, I will always love you. Once you decide that you have calmed down, you can come to me, and we will find a way to get you back where you need to be, back to the choices that I laid out before you, the ones that I am blessing for you. We can either work together or against each other, but it is always easier to work together.
I was sitting on the couch after the last time I went in the room, when my Ella was back and I just had one of those ah-ha moments and it was like, "duh! How have I never gotten that before?!" Ever have one of those moments? The ones where you can just hear God talking to you and telling you, "This is what I have been trying to get across to you."