I was glad when they said unto me

…let us go into the house of the Lord. 

Northshore church 2  
(This is a church near the lake that Bill loves to take pic of)

I was raised in church – probably spent the first Sunday of my life in the nursery of Northside Baptist Church in Odessa, Texas – and it was a very rare thing for my family to miss a single Sunday, much less several in a row!  We most always went on Sunday night and Wednesday night, as well.  I guess I was made to go, but I don’t remember ever thinking about not going.  It was simply what we did.  And I loved church!  I especially loved Sunday School and the evening classes that we called Training Union. 

Allens go to church
Headed to church. I’m the one waving!

Sunday School was filled with Bible stories, and I LOVED those stories, the beautiful pictures, and the wonderful songs that went with them.  Songs like:

“Jesus lived in a little house where there was lots to do.
Like rolling up His sleeping mat and filling oil lamps, too!”

And the choruses we used to sing – “Deep and Wide,” “This Little Light of Mine,” and “Zacchaeus,” and so many more – oh, how I loved those songs! 

Training Union was more skills oriented.  We  learned the books of the Bible and had “Sword Drills,” learned of missionaries, and how to share Jesus to a lost and dying world.  I especially loved the Sword Drills, I think because I was good at it!

Allens go to church 2
Easter Sunday, probably 1967/8

“Big Church,” as we used to call the Sunday morning worship time, was very different, but not necessarily unenjoyable.  As small children, we were allowed to nap a bit, but it wasn’t long before we were expected to stay awake and listen.  Of course, the singing was my favorite.  I loved the hymns – still do – and learned early on that you didn’t sing the third verse of any hymn in the Baptist Hymnal!  (At our current church, where we’ve been attending for 14+ years, we sing all verses, even if there are 47!  I love that, too!)

I remember Mama making a doll out of her hankerchief when we got figgety.  She would fold it this way and that, and then put her wedding ring around the neck, like a beautiful choker.  Daddy would let us play with his watch – I wonder why that is so intriguing for a child?  Sometimes the pastor would call on Daddy to pray, and we kids would be so proud!  He would say, “Bill Allen, would you lead us in prayer?” and we would look at each other and say, “That’s our Daddy!!”, and fall into gales of laughter – joyful laughter, that our Daddy was praying outloud in church!

Northshore church

Mama and Daddy both taught Sunday School at various times through the years.  Dad had boys, Mama taught ladies.  Mama loved to teach!  I don’t remember Dad saying much about it, but whether he enjoyed it or not wasn’t the issue – he was needed, so he did it.

Allens go to church 3
After Church, probably 1977ish. Notice my big brother is not in this photo –
He is home with Jesus by this time.

Through the years, the Lord has flooded my life with amazing things through the Church.  Most importantly, I learned of salvation at my church.  I met my husband at church.  I learned (and still am learning) the deep things of the Lord from mighty men and women of God at church.  I made many deep and lasting friendships within the church.  And in many times of need, it has been mostly through the church that the Lord has met those needs!  All of these things shaped me and molded me, and showed me Jesus in the most beautiful, lovely way. 

So, all that to say….

I think we Christians, especially we OLD Christians, don’t appreciate the wonder and beauty of going “into the house of the Lord”!  Now that Jeanne and I take turns on Sundays, and since the care of our parents has prevented us from even going every other Sunday, I realize how very important consistent church attendance is in the life of a Believer.  I miss the Bible study and preaching so much.  I really miss the corporate worship and singing.  Most of all, though, I miss the love, encouragement, and friendship of my church family.  The corporate church.  Individuals write or call, or send messages home with Bill and Dannye, and that is so precious!  There is, however, something amazing and supernatural in corporate church fellowship.  That is what I miss!

Dedication 003.jpg

 Dedication 121.jpg Dedication 104.jpg Dedication 088.jpg

Florida Trip 022.jpg

 This truly raises a desire in me to encourage people to not only attend their church, but to love their church family, and to encourage one another, truly listen and hear what is going on in others’ lives!  “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25  I never thought about a day that I, or others, wouldn’t be there every Sunday!  I took the good teaching, the precious worship, and the friendships and the possibility of friendships for granted, and now it’s doubly hard to enjoy those things.

 may 22 thru may30 random dads camera 066

My prayer is that I will press on, even in my forced “part-time” attendance; that I will find ways to connect with my church family; that I will focus on my Lord through worship during the little time I am able to be there; and that I will look to Jesus for the strength I need for life when I am not able to go to church.  He is so faithful – I pray I will be, as well!

God bless your day!



About Petty Bunch

The Petty Bunch is what we have called our family since Bill and I (Janina) began our family back in the early 1980s. We have gone down many roads together - homeschooling our kiddoes, enjoying the freedom of entrepreneurship many years, working at "real jobs" other years. Through it all, we have been loved with God's everlasting love, and have found that underneath are His everlasting arms! We are blessed to have been married for over 36 years, and have 3 incredible adult children, a wonderful daughter-in-law, an amazing son-in-law, and SEVEN grandchildren: four precious granddaughters, three handsome grandsons - so far. We are empty nesters, still enjoy the life of an entrepreneur and the freedom it gives us to continue enjoying our kids and now, their kids!
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10 Responses to I was glad when they said unto me

  1. lilmike454 says:

    One of the things I remember about going to church with Mammaw and Grandad was him letting me play with his watch.  I don’t know why it was so interesting, it just was.  It was usually just me and him because Mammaw would be in the choir and after the service we would have to go get Mammaw from the Choir room.  I think it must have been because she didn’t know how to find us or something(thats a joke if you can’t tell),  but I remember waiting outside that room until she came out. Of course it was also a good way to get candy because all the ladies thought that little boy outside the door just must be needing some sugar before he went home.  You know thinking back now makes me realize how lucky I was to have Mammaw and Grandad take me to church and show me what it was like to be part of a church family that seemed to genuinely care for one another and love each other, and I wish I would have told them that when I had the chance.  Sorry didn’t mean for this to turn into this long of  a comment, but it made me think…  

  2. pettybunch says:

    @lilmike454 – I read your comment to Granddad, and he said he remembers not letting you put your feet on the pew in front of you.  I think we don’t realize until we are much more exposed to others’ circumstances how blessed we really were! 

  3. ABAHM says:

    What a good exhortation to appreciate that meeting together.  I know what you mean having missed church of late while ill.  I liked seeing the pictures growing up, they look remarkably similar to some of ours in dresses and style. 

  4. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, but I raised my children as Christians!  And they, like you, never knew a time when they weren’t in church regularly.  Praise the Lord that they are all strong Christians and church members today!  Loved seeing those old pictures of your family!

  5. redladybug18 says:

    I love reading about church and what it’s been like for you over the years.  Your mom sure got you all dressed up!  Love the pictures!  

  6. Beautiful post. I don’t go to church although I did when I was younger. I struggle with some things now and let that keep me away unfortunately. While reading this though I couldn’t wait to comment and share something with you. My mom used to belong to church, taught VBS, sang in church, etc. She was very active and so humble. We moved and she never did find another church that was the right fit for her. She got away from the lord and I saw a total different person at times. She became bitter almost, not the mom I knew growing up. When my pa was sick she attended with him when he would go & when he passes (as I’ve told you before) he left a great testimony behind. Since his passing mom and dad both have been attending. Dad never did attend before but hasn’t missed a Sunday going with mom. Yesterday afternoon, mom called to tell me she had rededicated her life at the Sunday morning service. I am so happy for her & I know my pa would be beside himself.Just wanted to share….Hope you have a great Monday!

  7. Hi Nina, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your post this morning.  I miss you at church – even though we don’t talk much at all, I love seeing your beautiful smile to everyone you’re around.  And when I hear you and Dannye sing, I’ll pop my head up over the soundbooth wall to see that you’re here!  🙂

  8. pettybunch says:

    @fortheloveofblogging – You made my day!  What a testimony to your Pa’s influence, and to the Lord’s faithfulness!  Perhaps it will trickle down to all generations!!@redladybug18 – My Mama was a firm believer in dressing your best to go to the house of the Lord!  I’ll admit that I have caught that from her!@piecedtreasures – I love your testimony that you began a generational love and following of the Lord!@freedomwjustice – You are so sweet!  I always look to see if you are in the sound booth, too – your sweet disposition just flows from you!  It makes me laugh to read of you hearing us sing.  Any time a new family sits in front of us, the children spend the entire song service looking back at Dan and me!  I always tell folks I have only two volume settings – “off” and “loud”!!!!

  9. These are timely words for a time when so many people in the church are discouraged.  And it is easy to get discouraged.  I was talking to an old friend yesterday, and she said, “What church is there that hasn’t had (serious) problems?”  It really got me to thinking about how much we defeat the true mission of the church when we get our eyes on each other and not our Lord.  If only more people would feel the love of going and not just go because it was how they were raised, or because they ought to go, or someone was forcing them to go — lots and lots of “if onlies” but Jesus said that our calling isn’t to necessarily figure it all out, but rather to LOVE each other, and that is where I fall short so often.Good post, Nina.  And thanks for the way it triggered some big thoughts in my head. Blessings!

  10. ellen klassen says:

    We were cleaning out a cabinet at church today. Our leader is retiring after 58 yrs in one class. Yes we have a lot to go through. I found a song on posterboard and just wanted to find the tune. I googled.” Jesus lived in a little house where there was lots to do.” anyway your blog came up. Would you happen to know the tune? I would love to bring this back to our class.
    ellen klassen

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