I’m Lindsey Houbre, and this is how my husband Michael and I are living deeply with our family.
When we first moved to Knoxville, Michael suggested that I go to PEP Moms, the church’s group for mothers of young children. In that exhausting season of life with a little one, getting together with large groups of women and trying to make new friends was honestly not very appealing. But Michael continued to encourage me to go, so I went, got connected, and ended up making some life-long friends and even serving as a director later on. The Christmas when Michael was out of work, I just sort of broke down with my small group, saying, ‘I don’t think we can do Christmas this year.’ The next thing I knew, my PEP Moms friends had collected money, saying, ‘You’re going to have a Christmas.’ Michael ended up being out of work over half a year, and many of our friends through PEP Moms and the Pursuit Sunday school class walked with us through that time. Several times over that difficult period, when we had bills piling up and weren’t sure how we were going to pay them, we would open up our mailbox and find monetary gifts to help us through, without even asking. We could feel that so many people were praying for us over and over.
Those weren’t the only ways CSPC ministered to our family. I remember when our middle child, Madelyn, had serious health concerns as a baby. We were really struggling to deal with the multiple hospital visits and uncertainty of it all. We had never gone in the prayer room after the service, but one of our friends said, ‘I really feel like we need to have a community prayer time.’ So we went to the prayer room and it was filled with caring people – classmates, friends, and friends of friends. They all gathered around our daughter, laid hands on us as a family, and prayed over us for a while. It was a powerful experience. Madelyn had a feeding tube at the time, and that night, she pulled out the feeding tube and started eating without it the next day before we even had a chance to reinsert the tube. Typically, it takes kids in that situation half a year to get their health back on track. But within two to three weeks, she had made extraordinary progress and was back to where she needed to be. It was a miracle. We had a really tough two or three years, and our church family reached out in incredible ways and had such an impact in our lives. So now in our daily walk with Christ we think ‘How can we serve others?’ because of the enormous concern and care we received. One of several ways Michael and I serve is being on CSPC’s Home Missions team. There were a lot of missions connections I had through CAK (Christian Academy of Knoxville), where I’m a teacher – whether it was making cards for KARM or raising money for Hope Resource Center. So there just was kind of a natural flow for doing Home Missions. I had connections, Michael had connections, and it was something we could do together for community outreach.
We also serve in the two-year-old nursery, and our children do that with us. Almost every weekend, they ask if we will be ‘helping the little ones’ in nursery and are disappointed if we are not. It brings us joy to see that they understand serving others is a privilege and a joyful thing. With everything God has given us, we feel strongly about being intentional with our time and resources to serve others. We’re also intentional about showing our kids these opportunities. Last night I had a friend who was going through a rough time. We work with KSG (Kids Small Group) at church, and the kids asked, ‘Why aren’t you staying for KSG?’ And I said, ‘Because I have a friend who I just feel needs my time.’ And they got it – that sometimes just sitting with and listening to a friend is a way to serve. Our kids are starting to understand the joy they can experience by putting others first. So many people have done that for us and we want to pass that on – that it’s not about us, but about serving others and building His kingdom. A service opportunity that stands out to both Michael and me was when we got to be part of a couple of groups taking kids to KARM downtown, where we dropped off cards for the people KARM serves and prayed over the beds where they would be sleeping. Seeing our own children taking the initiative, without us leading, to kneel down and pray over a bed for someone they have never met was just an incredible experience. I wasn’t expecting that when we went – they took it to a whole new level! I specifically remember there was one bed that we almost missed and the girls said, ‘Mommy, we have to stop. This bed needs our prayers, too.’ So I said, ‘You’re right, we need to stop.’ They were, in a sense, able to lead me.”