“What’s ‘Church’ Got to Do With It?”

by Alli Hill

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 *Painting is an Alli Hill original! 

I am 24 years old, have been married for almost four years, and we have an 11-month-old daughter and a baby on the way.

At 18 years old I had zero intentions of getting married anytime soon, much less two years later. As a pastor’s daughter I long ago declared I would not marry anyone going into full-time, vocational ministry, and here I am married to a seminary graduate applying for pastoral positions. As a newlywed I swore we would not have children until we had been married for at least five years, yet we got pregnant soon after our second anniversary.

I say all of this simply to let you know I don’t have it all figured out and am constantly learning (and relearning!) to trust the Lord and to seek Him. I am utterly dependent upon Him in every aspect of my life, but especially in the area of motherhood.

I cannot do it alone.

One of the first things I learned as a new mom was that I had to die to self daily. When Hadley was waking every two or three hours in the night, my exhaustion took the back seat. She needed me. When she is sick, I am right there rocking her and comforting her.

Seeing my daughter’s dependence upon my husband and myself has been a beautiful picture of our dependence upon Christ. We need Him. I cannot be the wife I am called to be without the Holy Spirit. I cannot selflessly love and care for my daughter without God’s strength and wisdom.

But not only do I need Christ as a believer; I need His Bride, the Church, as well.

As believers, we cannot live holy lives and continue on in sanctification without immersing ourselves in the Word, in prayer, and in community with fellow believers – the latter of which is often, sadly, neglected.

I know this becomes difficult to maintain when children come along, but I also know children need a father and mother who faithfully love Jesus and His church.

In order to “train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6), we have to make Christ and His church paramount in our lives. For Christians, local church involvement is not optional, and should be something to which we look forward.

See your local church body for what it is – the very bride of Christ. Love those people, and get to know them. The church body needs all of its members to function as God intended. One of the best ways to do this is to have a place of service, utilizing the gift God has given you. Do not let your children be your excuse to pull back from being a faithful part of your church.

If I have learned anything this first year of motherhood, it is that children are resilient. They may be fussy on Sunday afternoon due to missing a morning nap while at church, but they will have plenty of time to sleep that night. They will adjust.

I would much rather deal with a fussy child on a Sunday afternoon, than my own spiritual malnourishment due to being disconnected from the body of Christ and consistent teaching from the Word.

But simply attending church is not enough. You need to know your fellow members and allow them to know you.

Growing up in a pastor’s home, we never lived near extended family until my junior year of high school. Our church became our family. There were members we called “Aunt” and “Uncle.” We were the “adopted grandchildren” of so many sweet couples in our church. If my parents needed to go out of town for a few days, we would stay with church members. We truly enjoyed living life alongside our fellow church members.

Fellowship within the body was engrained in me at a young age, and for that I am incredibly thankful.

My husband and I have been blessed with loving church families throughout our marriage who have come alongside us and ministered to us. Lord willing, we still have a long way to go, and I know we will continue to need faithful church members to encourage us and help us along the way.

I am not saying any of this because I am a model church member. Unfortunately, I did a poor job of staying active in our church outside of Sunday morning attendance for the first few months of Hadley’s life. I suffered from the lack of Christian fellowship in my life.

So from one mother to another, please do not neglect the church. You need those fellow believers in life, and your family needs them as well.

Hebrews 12:24-25 says:

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.”

As mothers and fellow sisters in Christ, I pray that we will not neglect the gathering together with other believers. Motherhood is difficult, just as the Christian life is difficult. We were not meant to do it alone. Christ died for His church and gave Himself up for her. I’m convinced if we cherish the church as Christ does we will be better mothers because of it.

alli-hill

 

*Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below! We love to hear from you!

8 comments

  1. Cindy Weeks says:

    Alli, Don’t think I’ve told you this since you’ve been all grown up, but I am so proud of you and your brother and sisters for the fine young people you’ve become. George and I are so blessed to have been part of your young years. This is a great message to all Moms! Congrads on the news of your second little one. Keep us posted on your adventures. BTW: I love staying connected to your family via FB. Hope to see you soon. I’d be honored if you called me “Aunt Cindy”. Give our love to your Mom and Dad.

    • Alli Hill says:

      Thank you Mrs. Cindy!! We sure do miss you guys and your family definitely played a big role in my upbringing. Hope y’all are doing well as you await the arrival of your first grand baby!

  2. Jane Morris says:

    Well said Alli. Thank you for sharing this not only for mom’s but for grandmother’s too.
    I wish I had been able to have this type of encouragement when I was having my babies.
    I was a Christian at the time and in church, but oh so young. Overwhelmed would be the word. God gave me great godly friends then and now.
    Blessings to you and your sweet young family.

  3. Carla says:

    Thanks so much for this, Alli Hill! I remember as a new mom with the twins wondering why I even went to church some Sundays when I would nurse up to three times there (evenings included) and would never hear an entire sermon! I realized later the importance of just BEING with the Body. The encouragement, support, and accountability I received while sitting back in the nursery was such an integral part of my development as a young mother. The wisdom I gained from mothers who had walked the road before me and those who were walking it with me served as a means of God’s grace in my life during those sleep-deprived, early self-denying years. I also was reminded I was not the only person doing this! Whether seasoned or young moms shared their stories, we discussed the sermon together (what we got to hear of it), or I just cried – my soul was uplifted to press on! Loved this post and your wisdom in your early years of motherhood. BTW, we miss you guys!

    • Alli Hill says:

      Thank you Carla! I know I will need this reminder again after our second one arrives, but I pray I will stay encouraged the second time around! We miss y’all so much!

  4. Amanda Pinckard says:

    Alli, I felt the same way about marriage, who I’d marry, kids, what life would look like, etc. And know I’m in similar shoes to you. Isn’t it sweet how Jesus knows what will bring us closer to Him? Thanks for reminding me of my dependence on Christ. 🙂 (My pastor found your blog and posted this entry on our church fb page to encourage the moms in the church. I read it not knowing it was you!! Fun, right?)

  5. Jill says:

    Alli, I am so thankful for this encouragement tonight. As an “older” mom who is lacking in much wisdom and is continuing to seek Him for guidance, I need to be reminded that with a house full of four precious children ages 4 months to 7 years, I must continue to stay present and engage often with this beautiful body of believers that He has set before me at this present moment. It is often tempting to take that extra hour for myself on a Sunday and send my husband with the kids (no shame for anyone who does need this from time to time; sometimes it is necessary for rest and rejuvenation) . But on the whole, I agree, that the body may just be the best medicine for us and rightly teaches our children the beauty of the body of Christ at work in and through each of us, perseverance, faithfulness, and commitment amongst others. May you be blessed as you receive this next blessing into your family. Thank you again for this reminder.

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