Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Do-Overs by BIllie TImmons

  There are few times in life we are allowed "do-overs". In school, I remember having a practice spelling test on Wednesday. If I failed, I had a chance to take the test again on Friday. Some teens may have to take a driving test more than once to get a driver's license. A spoiled friendship can sometimes be repaired if both parties are willing to forgive and forget. But once time has passed, it is gone for good. You just don't get a "do-over" for that.
  I'm sure we have all said, "If I could just go back and do it over again, I'd do it differently." Some are minor things like, "I wouldn't have eaten that second piece of pie!" Some are major things like, "I wish I'd told that loved one how much they meant to me before they passed away."
  One of the most important things we will not get a "do-over" for is raising our children. It is natural, I guess, for most parents to want to make their children's lives on earth wonderful. Some parents want to give their children the latest fashions and electronics. Some want to give their children less rules, less discipline, and more freedom than they had. I'm guilty on all counts at one time or another. But what our children need is for us to introduce them to Jesus and make sure their eternal future is secure. What better gift could we give them than that?
  Even though both of my parents worked hard to give me most of the material gifts I wanted, more importantly, they gave me what I needed. They raised me in church, in a Christian home, and made sure that I met Jesus. Oh, I rebelled some, and I strayed for quite a while, but we all know Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." So many children are not so lucky to be brought up the way I was. I'm so glad my parents trained me up the way they did.
  I don't remember ever not going to church when I was growing up.  We not only went on Sunday morning, but we went on Sunday night, Wednesday night, and every other Saturday for youth recreation.  There were times on occasion when my sisters or I would say we didn't want to go, but unless we were throwing up, running fever, or had a gaping wound we went to church. 
  My rebellion came after I "grew up"...and I use that term loosely! I went through a phase where I didn't think I had to go to church.  Sleeping late on Sunday morning or going places with my friends became more important to me.  I strayed big time!  The more my Mom told me I needed to get up and get ready for church, the more I didn't want to go.  I was over 18, so I could do what I wanted, right? I would pacify her by saying I would go the next Sunday, but I wouldn't.  I'm sure I broke her heart more than once over that.
  The longer I stayed out of church, the easier it became to not go.  I felt conviction for a while after I stopped going, but that conviction only crept in occasionally after so long.  I knew that I needed to go, but I always convinced myself that it didn't matter if I stayed home.  When the conviction overwhelmed me, I would watch a church service on television. That would justify my not going to my home church a half mile from my driveway. 
  After I married and became pregnant with my first baby, I often thought I would start going after he was born. I did go on occasion...Easter, Christmas, Mother's Day, and Father's Day.  Then my second baby came along. We still rarely went, but I felt I had my hands too full with two babies 21 months apart in age. Then I told myself we would start going when they were a little older, so I would be better able to manage them both.  At that time, my husband worked on Sundays. It was up to me to take a very active toddler on one hip, an infant in a carrier on the other, and a diaper bag weighing heavily on my shoulder. It would just be easier when they were both walking I thought.
  They both reached the walking-on-their-own stage, and then we surely couldn't go!  They were both way more active than the typical toddler, and the younger being deaf; it was just a nightmare to go anywhere! They hit the ground running in two different directions. It just wasn't safe for them. I thought one may run out in the road and get run over. I know now, and I knew then that every reason I gave myself for not going to church was just an excuse. While I was staying home, women were dragging themselves into a church building with children hanging all over them, spit-up on the front of their dress, glasses cock-eyed on their faces, and cheerios hanging on strands of hair. But they were at church with their children, and I wasn't.
I don't remember which one, but one of my sister's children made their profession of faith.  That weighed heavily on my mind. My children were not being raised in church, and I was to blame. No amount of excuses would help if my children grew up not knowing Jesus as their Savior. If they left this earth to spend their eternity in hell, no excuse I gave could undo that. That is a huge burden to bear, and one I didn't want to carry.
   If only I could have just one "do-over". I wish I had started my children in church soon after they were born. Fortunately, I came back to my training while they were still young. I have them in church, and I pray for them and with them. Both of them have met Jesus securing their eternal future. I am blessed beyond measure. Thank you, Momma and Daddy!
Billie Timmons

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