To the Moon & Back

Gather | Devotion #2: To the Moon & Back
Mary Jane Johns | Worship Leader

We have four crazy children. It seems as if our boys came out of the womb full of vinegar. My sons love to challenge us and keep us humble. The game of soccer runs deeply through their veins, and they have the stitches to prove it. Whether it is in their eyebrows, fingers, lips, knees, or cheekbones, we have been to the emergency room to stitch things back up and put them back in place. I will never forget during one particular game, my son went up for a header and crashed into another player. The player on the opposing team immediately went down. My son, however, kept playing and got blood all over the field. Thirteen stitches later, he was back on the pitch the next day. The boys have broken lamps, dishes, and clocks by juggling in the house. Sometimes they blame their sister who is also an accomplished soccer player. Almost every time it is one of our boys who are to blame. We like to think they are wonderfully stitched together.

We love our children all the same; however, whenever they ask me who is my favorite, I always say, “You are my favorite. Shhh! Do not tell your brother or sister. I love you to the moon and back.” It is just a thing we say to one another on a regular basis. It is almost habitual.

1 Peter 3:15-16 says, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” This is our family verse. Each one of our children has a ring that has this reference engraved on the inside of it. It is a reminder for us to honor and love God but mostly we need to be prepared to give an answer for our hope.

Merriam Websterdefines hope this way: “to cherish a desire with anticipation: to want something to happen, be true or to expect with confidence.” We live in a broken world with emotions, ruined relationships, and shattered families. Our family has seen serious problems. We do not claim to be perfect. The Johns’ family has been humbled and brought to our knees. There have been times our children have steered away from God’s love and forgiveness. It has been difficult for us, yet we continue to love unconditionally. I believe this is what God would want. There is hope!

Our Heavenly Father is our hope. We make a choice every single day to love our kids even when they are unlovely. Why do we do this? We do this because God first loved us. He is the ultimate example of love and hope. Sharing Jesus and giving Him honor is just part of our story. We can point neighbors and friends to Christ, but it is the work of the Holy Spirit to change hearts. For our family, this is part of our brokenness.

We gain encouragement by gathering together with other saints. We have been humbled, and we do not claim to have all the answers, yet we are willing to share our story with gentleness and respect. By doing this, we point others to Jesus. We continue to love our children to the moon and back. We continue to gather together to give God praise on a regular basis. I love the song “Reckless Love.” 

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.
Oh, it chases me down, fights ‘til I’m found, leaves the ninety- nine.
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it; still You give Yourself away.
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God. 

I am incredibly grateful that our Heavenly Father is chasing us down and loves us to the moon and back. People ask us why we are different. Why do we have this confidence? It is because of Jesus’ unrelenting never-ending love. He stitches us back up when we feel utterly broken.


Office: 8393 E. Holly Rd. Holly, MI 48442 | 248.328.0490 |

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