While doing cleaning duty at college today, I realised how much of my "growing up" process happened at church. The first time I did dishes, the first time I mopped, vacuumed, served food, stacked chairs, set up tables... were not at home, but all these are random things I picked up at church. My real extended family has been far for a long time now, but I did have a "family" of sorts at church.

1) My "brothers", my best friends, who ran around, played and fought with me. Sharing "deep talks" with from time to time. And continuing to keep in touch with me :) It's only during these holidays in Shanghai did I notice how similar our friendship is to that between my cousins and I.

2) Sisters, who I had more conflicts with in the past... but nevertheless, forgiven me for the times when I have been rude or childish. Who shopped, talked, checked out guys with me and sometimes fed me :)

3) The younger children who are not so little any more. Some were like real little siblings to me, and taught/prepared me to be able to look after and play with my real sister.

4) Aunties who told me off, sometimes gossiped about me, especially about my relationships. I think it's because they cared. The adults weren't perfect, but looking back, they are encouraging examples of people who strive to be faithful to God even in difficult times.

I'm particularly grateful for a lot of the care, corrections, parenting during Sunday school, although I may have resented it at the time. Particular things that come to mind include:

1) One of the Sunday school teachers chatting with me in Mandarin the first time I came to church (all the kids spoke in English and I didn't understand a word).

2) Letting me know that putting my foot up on the table is "not very lady-like", because I really saw nothing wrong with it at the time.

3) Another Sunday school teacher being great in presenting evidence, explaining and provoking thought. Then attempting to answer all my endless questions.

4) For being flexible and letting me continue in Sunday school instead of attending normal service, at a time when I didn't understand the reason and wasn't willing to sit through long sermons and prayers.

For those of you reading this, thank you all for growing up with me, putting up with me, forgiving me, teaching me, sharing fun times, sharing life with me :)

Reminds me of that song we sang at YWAM summer camp one year:

I will stand with you
We will fight the fight
I will stand with you
Through the darkest night
I will stand with you
As God gives us might
Hand in hand, hand in hand
We will stand

When you're tired of the battle
Feeling worn out to the bone
And you feel like you've been fending
Off the arrows on your own
Close your eyes and see the angels
Who are fighting brave and bold
In the family of God in the family of God
In the family of God
You're not alone

When life can overwhelm you
And the tears rise in your eyes
And you wish that you could find a place
To run away and hide
I'll be there to hold my hand out
And to gently lead you home
In the family of God in the family of God
In the family of God you're not alone


ND Swayer said...

aww wat a nice lil piece of writing 'tears', hmm where do i stand in this whole thing, wen u checked out guys i checked out the girls, don't think i eva fed u, more like u shoving food in my mouth, i haven't argued with u since i was 9, hmm don't think i played any significant role in ur life in general "so sad"

Winnie said...

elizabeth, you fed me the most! you liked to make lots of stuff and I got to try it, cheesecake, pumpkin soup etc :) and yeah I was more referring to the "arguments" when I was younger, cos I rarely had fights with anyone in recent years... haha


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