What Happened Here

Do you ever ask yourself that question?  Do you look at what’s going on around you and ask ‘What Happened Here … How Did This All Happen?’    I ask it occasionally, and at a leadership dinner the other night the question came up again.

It all started in 2005 when I started looking for daycare for my youngest daughter when she was almost a year old.  Like most parents I worried about the character of the people that would care for her and the facility that would be her home away from home while her Dad and I were working.  After meeting with five different caregivers at five different daycares I finally decided on Cedar Grove.   They had everything my daughter would need and the staff seemed genuinely caring … the only hesitation I had was that it was a Christian daycare.  You see I wasn’t a Christian myself, but I did have a vague idea of who Jesus was (don’t know where from … probably Christmas music).  So I eventually reasoned that my daughter’s time there, with this influence, may give her a chance at a better life.  I didn’t know how, but this is what I reasoned.

Generally it went very well, the staff proved to be genuinely caring and took time each day to tell us a bit about how her day went.  There was however, the occasional unwelcome Welcome … this is what I would call it when I would get an invitation to an event or program at the church.  ‘Ughh’ was usually my first reaction (in my head of course) … then I would think of a way to politely decline.  There had to be something else I had to do on that date or time … anything else.

Well a year went by quickly, and my first year back after maternity leave was exhausting.  I used to be a Cost Accountant and as some of you may know this can mean working many, many long days … I was getting worn out.  So I quit, arranged some contract work, and withdrew my daughter from daycare.  

Time went by quickly, suddenly it was 2007 and my daughter was three years old.  Time for Preschool!!  So, knowing that Cedar Grove also had a preschool department I went back and got her enrolled in the three day per week program.  There was still the occasional unwelcome Welcome … I continued to decline politely, hoping I wouldn’t get asked again.  Still I reasoned that the Christian influence would make a positive difference in her life.

The following summer, I registered my daughter in Cedar Grove’s VBS.   At four years old, I thought a week long, half-day camp was a good idea and as the week went on it was obvious she was having a great time!  When I went to pick her up on Thursday though, her group leader told me something interesting; she said “I just wanted to let you know that your daughter welcomed Jesus into her heart today.”  I thought – ‘What?!  What was that supposed to mean?!  What am I supposed to do with that?  I want to support her in whatever is positive in her life, but … What?!’  I probably had a pretty blank expression on my face – a look of ‘huh?’  We left for camping on the Friday after VBS, and throughout the trip my daughter sang the songs she learned, told everyone she met on every playground or beach we visited about Jesus … she was very sweet, but it was little unnerving, and still I thought, ‘What?!’  

Well I did little to support her, but I did take her back to Preschool for her last year.  It went well (the teachers really are amazing).  There was still the occasional unwelcome Welcome … I continued to decline politely, hoping I wouldn’t get asked again.  And still I reasoned that the Christian influence would make a positive difference in her life.  By now I had started to think a little more seriously about how I could support her in her decision to welcome Jesus into her heart.  I really had no idea how, but figured that taking her to Sunday School might be a good place to start, so I asked her preschool teacher about the when, where, and how (not the ‘What?!’).  She cheerfully gave me the information I asked for, and then I indicated that I would drop her off on Sunday … she was so indignant; she said “you can’t just come and drop her off, you have to go to the church service!"  Well, just as indignantly I thought, ‘you are kidding right – I’m not going to do that!’  And I didn’t … at first.  It took nearly five months for me to work up to taking her to Sunday School.  

Finally in January 2009 I took my daughter to Sunday School, and I went to my first service at Cedar Grove.  For the first time I heard how nothing is impossible for God.  ‘Nothing!?  Really?’  I had my doubts, but I went back the next Sunday to hear more (and took my daughter to Sunday School of course).  I wanted to know if it really was possible.   For as long as I can remember I have believed that God was real, he was here, and he was listening to me.  Many times, from childhood to adulthood I found myself curled up in a ball, sobbing and praying to God for help in whatever desperate situation I found myself.  My current life was good (or so I thought), but I was haunted by the past … and I wanted to know more, I wanted to forget … I wanted to be free.   I’m still thinking, ‘What?!’

That first Sunday at Cedar Grove started the process where I learned the how, when, where and who would take care of all the haunting pain.  I learned that yes, there really is a God, He loves me deeply, and that all the pain can be washed away.   I went on to Alpha (at a different church … another story), and in April 2009 I surrendered, welcomed Jesus into my heart … just like my daughter had at VBS.

Do You See What Happened Here?  Well it certainly took me a long time to figure it out. No, it didn’t take me this long to realize it, but at the Cedar Grove leadership dinner the other night this is what I was wondering about, in between listening to what we were supposed to be focussed on (ughh I was too tired to work).  I went from looking for daycare for my daughter to giving up my life to Jesus.  Was it an accident or coincidence we went to Cedar Grove for daycare … definitely not!  Everyone who comes in the doors at Cedar Grove is brought here for a purpose.  Whether you come in through the Childcare Centre, the preschool, Sunday school, Monday Morning ministries … you are brought here for a purpose.  You can deny it all you like, just like I did for years, but I know now that I was brought here for a purpose, and if you are already part of something going on here, anything, then you were too!  

There is so much going on at Cedar Grove, at this church … and once you get yourself and your kids in the door, just listen, explore, and start to ask questions.  You will start to get the answers you need.  Not necessarily what you wanted but definitely what you need.  You will discover that the church, or this church in particular (the only one I can speak about really) is without a doubt the best place for you to find “Hope, Help and Healing.”  You will find that you won’t find help like this anywhere else, and there are many people in this church giving grace away that will help you in a very careful, loving and patient way.  You will find that the bible is the word of God, and although you may not follow it perfectly like me (okay far from perfect), you will begin to know it is God’s word in your life and you will love it more each day.  You know what?! … I’m far from an authority on this, so instead of me rambling on some more I’d like to invite you (yes I know ‘ughh’) to watch these videos from Cedar Grove’s “What’s the Big Deal” series.  Watch to the prayer at the end, which is where I quite often find that everything gets clearer.

No Comments