by Peter Swann
“Dad?” It was the voice of Timothy, our four-year-old, speaking just before we headed to church one Sunday. “Dad, I love Hope Church. I just want to go there and live there forever!”
There are words that our kids say that perplex us, confuse us, or maybe even drive us crazy. But there are also words that do something within our hearts, that warm us in unexpected and delightful ways. Timothy’s words to me that day touched a deep nerve, calmed a fear, and resonated powerfully within me.
It was about one year ago that God’s calling on my family to Hope Church was becoming clear. At first, there were many nights of wrestling as Shauna and I pursued Him on it. The questions abounded...
“God, what are you doing in us?”
“What do you have for us?”
“And what does this mean for our family?”
It was a season of searching… and waiting… and begging for clarity. We desperately wanted to be faithful, but didn’t know what that meant. And we sure didn’t know how it would affect our kids.
One thing about kids is that you tend to get an honest reaction to things. There is no way to hide how Allison and Timothy really feel. Our kids will lay it out for you. They are inherently straight shooters. So no matter how Shauna and I think we feel about something, our kids are a beautiful litmus test on the reality of a how enjoyable any given situation is.
What a joy it was, then, to hear Timothy that day. And the truth is, it’s in line with what he says almost every Sunday. Our kids just love Hope Church. There’s something about Hope that has grabbed their hearts, and filled them with joy.
It all reflects what Shauna and I already feel. Now a few months in, there is so much still to be developed. But the joy of the journey… it far surpasses what I ever expected to experience in a young church plant.
It’s something about all the relationships and the genuineness and the honesty and the transparency and the hunger… all these things as we journey alongside brothers and sisters deeply passionate about Jesus. All the questioning and searching has resulted in God’s call to Hope, and we could not be more elated and honored and blessed.
So to Timothy’s chagrin, we may not actually go live at Hope Church forever. But we’d sure love to journey with Hope Church forever. The reflection of his heart mirrors the heart of my whole family. There is great anticipation about what is to come, and we’ll certainly enjoy that when we get there. But for now, we instead celebrate what God is doing today… for it is great, and special, and what a cherished journey it is.