Friday, April 05, 2013

Luctor Means -- I struggle/wrestle

Luctor CRC
This is mostly what I went home to. The church I grew up in. The church where my Mom's family has been members from the beginning. The church where my grandfather was minister in the sixties and seventies. The church I remember from my childhood. And it hasn't changed (much).

It is still adorned with the same ceiling tile and pendant lights from when I was young.

Isn't the tile gorgeous?

The same clock times the minister's sermons.

The same green-cushioned benches (different carpet today). I remember when I was young when these benches didn't have cushions.

I've never seen stained glass quite like the glass in Luctor. Did you ever make melted crayon stained glass windows when you were a kid? The kind where you spent hours shaving crayons and then putting them between waxed paper and melting it with an iron? They kind of remind me of those.

This is the window I sat next to for most sermons for many, many years. It is the back window on the left-side of church when you are facing the pulpit.

I assume they still use the hymn boards since they still have them hanging up.

The front of the church with the pipes from the old pipe-organ that once filled the church with music.

They used to be their natural brass but when I was young, someone suggested painting them to preserve the metal. It was a very controversial step. 

Don't you love the gorgeous woodwork?

I remember this banner from 1985 when the church had a huge centennial celebration. 

It was good to be at Luctor and sing the old hymns with Billy's bass voice booming behind me. It was refreshing to hear a Calvinist sermon.

Mom and the Girls
 The best part was spending time with family and friends.

My brother Dustin with K.

My sister April (mother of the twins)
Sadly, my sister, Beck, couldn't make it.

My Uncle Daryl - Mom's youngest brother

My Uncle Melvin, who farms the family farm.

My cousin Lauren.

My cousin Harlan.

My cousin Lavonne.
Thirty years ago, Lavonne started working with an organization that is now known as Teens for Christ Connection (TFC Connection). I was raised in the church but I was a wild child and I started attending the TFC group for Northern Valley Jr. High when Lavonne started her life's work. As many do when involved with evangelistic organizations. I asked Christ into my heart more than once during those years.  Yet, I do know that without TFC I would not believe today. Thirty years later and she still works with bratty kids like me. She is amazing.

My Uncle Daryl visits with my Cousin Rex

Jr Bayens. He is doing poorly.
Junior has a long history with both my extended family and my immediate family. When my Dad was in High School and my Grandpa M moved the family to midwestern Kansas to his new congregation. Junior hired my father as a farmhand.

As a doting aunt, I think the best part was my sister bringing the twins to lunch to visit with everyone.


The word Luctor is from my Dutch heritage. The motto of Dutch province of Zeeland is Luctor et emergo which literally means "I struggle and emerge."

I will not bore you with what life on the plains can be like - there are many good books and novels that would fill you in on the details but the motto from a strictly pioneer perspective is accurate. It is certainly accurate from the perspective of the Christian life.

It fits my life too. I've always been rebellious. When I was a child and a young member of Luctor's congregation I fought my faith and heritage. The song Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing has the following lyric "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love."  When I was a teenager and we sung those words in church they resonated deeply with me.

I've struggled through the years. Even after asking God in my heart as a teenager at TFC. I fought God. I fought Him at Dordt College even as He used my professors to teach me the Christian truths I would turn to repeatedly through the years.

I fought Him through the early years of our marriage and the years of working before the girls came.

I fought him hardest the first two to four years of the girls lives. I wandered and wandered and He kept pulling me back. Pulling me back like the hound that dogged the poet Francis Thompson his entire life.

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
   I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
   Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.

Six years ago, I returned to Luctor.  I wrote extensively about my thoughts at that time. I was still finding my way. I still am. But today, I am at peace in my family and home. At peace with Tim and with homeschooling. I rejoice daily in the blessings God has showered on me. He is, as the banner celebrating Luctor's centennial states, Faithful.

Seeing those who surrounded me as I grew reminded me of His Faithfulness and filled me with joy.


  1. The Hound of Heaven indeed, I can identify with that. :)

    You make me think of Brian Doerksen's song:

    Faithful one, so unchanging
    Ageless one, you're my rock of peace
    Lord of all I depend on you
    I call out to you, again and again

    You are my rock in times of trouble
    you lift me up when I fall down
    All through the storm
    Your love is, the anchor
    My hope is in You alone

    And I never did that with crayons and wax paper, but I am now! xx


  2. Dear Melissa, love your honesty here. Thank the Lord he does not give up on us. It is true that we/I step away from Him. Not only was I rebellious from time to time I allowed my first marriage to break. It was hard hard and I have trouble forgiving myself for that despite the fact I know the Lord has long since forgiven me. It was good seeing your family and especially the twins-they look healthy and happy. love, Olive

  3. Wow, isn't it strange and difficult to revisit a place like that from childhood? I love your family portraits, so much strength in them!

  4. My husband, four years ago, sat and penned with his hand and pen to paper, every verse of the hymn Come Thou Fount and then took it to the copy shop to print 15 copies for church the next day. My husband HATES to write. I filled out his job applications and sign cards for him. He HATES writing anything. But he was so moved by this hymn that he took it upon himself to write it out and lead it (he's not a singer either!) that next morning.

    One night about three years ago I was reading a very moving book in bed and the author printed the words to the hymn in one of the chapters. I felt the flood of the Holy Spirit and was deeply moved to memorize the hymn. My daughter could hear me singing the verses over and over again, quietly. I couldn't sleep until I could sing the entire thing.

    You are His. He is the Good Shepherd. He will never leave you nor forsake you and you will one day be amazed at how totally lost you are in devotion to Him. You've tasted and seen that the Lord is good and I fully believe that the best is yet to come!

    Blessings, Debbie

  5. This is a beautiful post, thank you for sharing. I can relate on several levels (and not just wax crayon shavings:) the twins looks wonderful, I have been thinking about them. Hugs and blessings, K

  6. Beautiful beautiful post.

  7. Oiii, ou hello!!
    achei seu blog, por acaso...
    e então li essa postagem, linda..da igreja..queria saber se é Igreja Luterana, ou como é a denominação dela?...pois parecem com as nossas igrejas mais antigas daqui..e me passou uma coisa muito boa sobre isso..
    Abraços , fique com Deus!!