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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Being Left

When our oldest child, Lauren, was in 1st grade, we left her behind by accident. We were worshipping at a congregation about 25 minutes away and my husband and I both worked in that same town. He would drive home after work and get the kids (only three at that time!) and bring them back for Wednesday night services because I usually worked later than he did. So, we always had two cars at services and the kids would chose who they were riding home with each week.

On this one particular night after services, my husband left the parking lot. I thought the oldest two children with him. I even thought I saw both of them in the car. I had the little one with me. I guess I was the only one with a cell phone, because I got a call on the way home. The phone rang and the man (a friend, one of the elders of the congregation, and also a family physician) said, "Lori, do you think Joe has Lauren?". I said, "Does he not?" I pretty much knew by the question he asked that he didn't! I said, "I'll be right there!". I was halfway home - about 11 miles from the church building and about 11 miles from home. Joe was probably almost home, but I couldn't call him, since he didn't have a phone.

I turned around and went to get our daughter. When I got to the building, two family friends (one was the one who had called) were waiting there with Lauren. They were so kind to her, but at that time she was very, very shy and most likely didn't say anything much at all!

I got her in the van and we headed home. By then I was able to call my husband at home and tell him what happened. I couldn't understand how she got left, but felt really bad for her. She said she had gone to the bathroom and forgotten that she wasn't home so wasn't hurrying. Then, when she came out, all the lights in the building had been turned off and luckily those two friends hadn't left yet! I apologized to her - and still do when she brings it up! It's not a happy memory any of us have. Thankfully, it had a happy ending.

Leaving one of our children was nothing we ever would have intended to do. But, because we didn't communicate in a clear way, it happened. Since then, we have made double-sure we know who has each of the children if we're in seperate vehicles! Thankfully nothing like that has ever happened again!

Why is it that what should be the most important things in our lives, sometimes become what we neglect? Leaving our daughter was not intentional, and it was a mistake, but we did fail to communicate to each other the way we should have.

Likewise, things may being "left alone" in our spiritual lives. What are things we may be neglecting and leaving alone? Maybe we're neglecting reading God's Word and praying to Him, which leads to meditating on the scriptures and quiet times with God. We may be neglecting relationships that need nuturing or maybe even forgiving someone we should be forgiving. Maybe we're leaving behind our influence and example sometimes as we say things and do things that we as Christians shouldn't do. And, what if we are neglecting and leaving behind our children - not in the physical sense, but spiritually. As parents we are to "bring our children up in the nuture and admonition of the Lord", Ephesians 6:4. What are we neglecting to teach our children about God? About Jesus? About the church Jesus gave His life for? Are we neglecting to show them Christ living in us daily?

Just as my husband and I now check and double-check to make sure who has the children so no one will be left, we should check and double-check our lives just to be sure we are not neglecting the most important things.

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