Sunday, February 13, 2011

And God Was In The House


Hellfire, and damnation, I don't even know where to start!

At the revelation?

At the goosebumps?

At the baptism?

At the tears?


How about at the beginning?

Yeah, that's a good idea.

I'll start at the beginning.

In the beginning......

On THIS very cold West Central Florida Sunday morning (39 degrees), THIS family struggled to get to worship.

All of us had our own issues.

A couple of us didn't/don't feel well.

A few wardrobe malfunctions.

Lots of crankiness.


Rough morning.

Before we left the house, there were tears.

And a pow-pow.  (Piratese for spanking)

The ride to church was UBER-quiet.

We arrive at church, thirty minutes early.

SOMEONE is in OUR parking space.

Two Swords thinks we 'own' it.

Like 'our' pew.


I know.

But another 'omen', of, Good Lord, can this day GET any worse?


Of course it can!

But, at that moment in time, struggling with all of these 'struggles', I neglected to see the other side of the coin.

Good Lord, can this day get any BETTER?


Of course it can!

And friends, it did. Soooooo much better.

We had no idea what this worship service had in store for us today.

How could we?

How does anyone know, on any given Sunday, when God will be speaking to YOU?

Like, on any given Sunday, either football team can win, right?

And on any given Sunday, your ears and eyes just might be opened to a message you weren't expecting to hear, but man oh man, you certainly were in NEED of hearing.

I flipped through the bulletin and noticed the sermon title was "The Beatitudes", but the big projector screens kept flashing the word "BLESSED".


VERY intrigued I was.

Considering how I know how blessed we are and always have been.

But for a really long time, it's been hard to muddle through the muck and pampas grass that has been our 'life', to 'see' those blessings and focus on THEM each and every day instead of being brought down by the muck and the muddling.

Worship started with our future American Idol, "Reilly the Red", singing with her "Graceland Singers" troupe.

She was AWE-SOME.

I mean, all of a sudden, she can really S I N G!

She held that really long high note, for a really long high time!

I couldn't believe it!

See, she's been inspired by American Idol.

Most of the winners/contenders on American Idol all got their starts in:


So Reilly has Carrie Underwood and American Idol on the brain.

As she headed for her 'first' trip to the microphone this morning, I said, "Jesus at the Wheel" baby girl! Jesus at the Wheel!"

She looked at me like "My mom is a complete dork."

And sang her BUTT off.

So proud.

Daddy has tears running down his face.

Jake is all, "YAY SISSY!"

I have goosebumps in places I didn't know there were goosebumps.

And THEN....for the first time ever.....she and her pardner Eva were invited to sing with the grown ups!

No practice.

Winged it.

Held her own for two songs.

How did she know the words, with no practice?

Well, in case you didn't know, these days, little church-goers have Contemporary Christian music on their i-Pods. Which my Contemporary Christian friend and pew-mate and fellow Steeler fanatic, Mister Bill finds hilarious for some reason. But she knew all the words, that's the point.

One of the songs that they sang was "Sanctuary".


Meaning, the song that MOMMY sings to him, and has sung to him since the day he was born.

So, Jake was sitting in my lap, still steamed about the "I hate this boring shirt that my Dad made me wear to church this morning menagerie", but when he hears the first notes, he lights up and says:


And I said, "Sing it baby! Just like Sissy. Loud and proud."

And he did.

If you don't know the words, this is them:

Lord, pre-pare me
To be a Sanc-tu-ar-yyyyyy
Pure and hol-yyyyyy
Tried and truuuuuuuuuue
With Thanks-giving
I'll be a li-ving
Forrrrrrrr you

And he sang it, loud and proud.

And I realize, God is in the house today.


Next up - and I gotta tell ya, this was some special service today - a middle schooler, and friend of our family, Tanner, read the scripture today.

When he approached the podium, Tanner said, "Good morning."

The congregation pretty much mumbled, "mornin'."

And it is dead quiet, as we await Tanner's reading of the scripture when Jake says in his normal voice, but it seemed super loud because nobody was talking, says:

"Goooooddddd        mornnnnninnnngggggggggg,    Tannnnnnnerrrrrrrrr."

Thankfully, Jake and Tanner are 'peeps', and Tanner smiled, and I think Jake's own way of saying, "hey, Tanner way to go, making it to the pulpit, to the big time!" kinda broke the ice for Tanner and calmed any nerves he may have had.

And I gotta give props to Tanner too.  It was some kind of gold medal service today, I'm telling you.  You really do wish you had been there.  Trust me.

Reilly returns to 'our' pew (which was not 'stolen' from us today, thank goodness. Ha.)

She informs us that Pastor Carrie asked her to ASSIST WITH A BABY'S BAPTISM today.

Billy and I looked at her, looked at each other, and both went, "WWWHHHHAAAATTTTT?", not angrily, but whoa so thrilled and honored and surprised and man, I don't think this has happened before in our church EVER and I can tell you that ME, well I am thinking, "Is this why she died and came back to life?  Is it?  Is this part of God's plan for her?  Is it?  Would she be helping with a baptism if she hadn't had that life affirming, life-altering, life-saving, died and gone to heaven experience?"

There was shock in the pew.  (Well, I don't think Aunt Jodi and Mister Bill were in shock, because they had no idea how God was working for us this morning, but 4/6 of the pew was in shock.)

Next came the Children's Message.

Ya just never know what's gonna happen at the Children's Message.

When the Jakester is present, that is.

Because, the Children's Message is always a Q & A between the Pastor and the kiddos.

And as we all know, Jake has all the A's.  Just ask him.

So Pastor Shawn had all the kids sit in the very front pews today, instead of on the floor, because he was giving them a first row seat of the baptism that was about to occur.

And he was (I think), trying to explain to them that the baptism was going to be our way of 'blessing' this baby.

He starts with, "Does anyone know what a blessing is?"

And Jake responded, "Yeah, a blessing is a prayer before you eat your dinner, like we bless our food when we say 'God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food."

And Pastor Shawn gave him a "Yes!"

And then a second later, I hear Pastor Shawn say, "Can I have that please, Jake.  Thank you."


Jake tried to jack the microphone.


RIGHT after giving the RIGHT answer at Children's Message.


The life of Jake.

Then, to give another example of a blessing, Pastor Shawn said, "So, if I were to sneeze, what would you say to me?"

Duh, the obvious answer is, "God Bless You!"

Unless you are Jake.

Jake responds to the question, "So, if I were to sneeze, what would you say to me?", with:


And the usual eruption of laughter occurs, when ummmm, 'Jake' is in the house.

So Pastor Shawn wraps up his message (thanks to the other little disciples who gave 'right' answers), and Pastor Carrie proceeds with the baptism of baby Cody, who I think is going to fit quite nicely into our little country church's group of young'uns, cuz he was a smiling little ham the whole time.
Pastor Carrie motioned for Reilly to come to the altar.

Reilly helped her to pour the water into the baptismal font.

More tears from Dad.

More goosebumps from Mom.

Complete curiousity from Jake, who sneaks away from his seat to get a better glimpse of what his sister is doing, as he has never witnessed a baptism before.

And 'we' were all reminded of our baptismal vows.

We, the congregation.

But most importantly, 'we', the parents of Reilly and Jake.

I need to rewind a couple of days....

Surreally, earlier in the week, my wise sage friend PJ and I spoke.

About a lot.

I'll cut to the chase.

When he asked me how we were doing, I said, "better than 6 months ago, better than 3 months, better."

He said he was glad to hear that.

And then I said, "But one thing is for certain - we are 100% committed to the raising of those babies TOGETHER, in the SAME house, as ONE family.  That has ALWAYS been the committment, that has ALWAYS been the plan, and that IS what we are DOING right NOW.  And they are thriving, and they both have AMAZING hearts for Jesus...and....and...and...."

And PJ says, "Heather, I want to thank you."

"Ummmm?  For what?"

"For honoring the baptismal vows you made for your children."


Didn't really know I was or was not doing that, but okay.

And he told me that he cannot count the number of couples who come in and join the church and take the baptism 'class' and baptize their baby, and then he NEVER SEES THEM AGAIN.  He says it breaks his heart that he doesn't know if these children are being raised in the faith, if the parents are still really bothers him. 

I said, "Well, I have to tell you.  Most of the time, it's the kids that pull us out of 'it'.  It's the kids who pull us together."

He said, "that's what being married and having a family is all about.  No matter how down or how lost you are feeling, or how you feel like you are about to lose everything, you and Billy have somehow held it together for all this time." 

God was in the house during THAT conversation, because it hit me pretty hard, and I haven't stopped thinking about it since.

Forwarding back to this morning -

The parents of Baby Cody took their baptismal vows.

I listened VERY, VERY intently, as it had been awhile since we took our last set of bapitsmal vows, in February, 2005.

Yes, in fact, PJ was 100% correct.

Billy and I have honored our baptismal vows.

We have declared Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

We have OPENLY and OFTEN-LY declared our faith, and have KEPT our pledge to raise our children as Christians.

Yes, we HAVE relied on God's grace to live the Christian faith, and teach that faith to our children.

We DO renounce evil and its power in the world, which defies righteousness and love. 

Although we are sinners and will be 'til the day we die, we certainly do RENOUNCE the ways of sin that separate us from the love of God.  We certainly RENOUNCE it, but when we COMMIT it, we CONFESS it, and we are FORGIVEN.  But RENOUNCE it, heck ya, we do.  I can't tell you how often I pray for the binding of Satan from my home, my marraige, my children, my life, my friends, my family, my church, our world.

We ABSOLUTELY intend to be Christ's faithful disciple, obeying His word, and showing His love, to our life's end.



We ARE honoring our baptismal vows!

I wanted to chest bump somebody, I was so filled with the Spirit at that moment!

Vows completed, baby baptized and toted around the aisle to 'meet' the congregation, Reilly back to her seat, and it's sermon time.

Now, I've already seen God today.  A whole bunch of times.

I hadn't seen nuthin' yet.

It started like this:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

  Matthew 5:3-10 
I am not even going to ATTEMPT to paraphrase Pastor Carrie's sermon.

All that really matters is that she translated THAT gospel to the Fallon Family, that WE ARE BLESSED.

If we're suffering, we're blessed.

If we're grieving, we're blessed.

If we're weak, we're blessed.

And Pastor Carrie expounded a bit on how people over the centuries have tried to grasp how it can be possible to be all these 'things', yet be 'blessed' at the same time.

Finally, she summed it up.

Because Jesus said so.

That's why.

It's right there.

In Matthew.

She just read it to us.

Because HE said so, that's why.

Man, have I been stupid.

I looked at my baptizing rock star-to be.

I looked at my entertaining preaching mayor-to be.

I looked at my husband.

I looked at my AMAZING church family.

I looked at my hands, one of which still wears a wedding ring.


Because HE said so.

God was in the House today.

And I am so prayerfully thankful that I was a guest there today.



  1. Fallon. If you don't go to seminary and become a minister... I will be forced to ask my saintly mother to begin praying that God will expedite things and get you headed in that direction. You do not want this. The moment she begins, it's on. It's like she has this two-way Motorola radio thing going with the Almighty.

    Don't make me.

  2. You did it, didn't you? You told her to pray for me, didn't you? You ain't gonna believe what you will soon be reading...