Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Morning

Sunday mornings are probably the most ungodly times of the week for many Christian families.  It's sad, but true.  Church is stressful when you have kids.  Regardless of how organized you are, something will come up to cause things to take longer than they should.  Somebody dawdles.  Somebody else can't find what they want to wear.  Another somebody snaps at someone else.  A couple of somebodies need to have their hair fixed, again, and you don't have time.  Breakfast was rushed or unsatisfactory or they weren't hungry, which practically guarantees a meltdown from empty little tummies in a couple of hours.

Having a Tantrum Before Church
Image credit: The Artist Formerly Known as Batgirl
Impatience, squabbling, irritability, frustration.  By the time we walk in the door, few of us feel focused on God.

Then it gets worse.  Little ones start squirming and making noise, expressing needs at inconvenient times and in inconvenient ways.  You feel eyes boring into the back of your head, whisper angrily as your face heats up and then finally march out into the hall way, clutching just a bit too tightly at the small hand in yours. 

Anger, pride, fear and crushing guilt at the hypocrisy of it all.  Discouragement at another seemingly wasted morning when you are trying so hard to do the right thing.  "Is it even worth it to try to go to church at all?"

Breathe.  Let His peace, comfort, mercy and forgiveness wash your soul.  Soak in His patience and remember.  God is glorified in the love and grace you show your family. Your ministry is in how you treat "the least of these," not in how well you meet other people's expectations of a Christian family.

I don't know what Sunday mornings will look like in your family.  Maybe God will lead you to a different church, or to a different worship time, or just to a different way of approaching it all.  But church isn't meant to be a burden.  I am confident that what Jesus really wants is to refresh our spirits and shower us with mercy and grace, to join in the celebration of redemption with us, and to help our little ones see what His love, His family is all about.                                                                                                                                           


Maria said...

So very true. <3 There have been times we have refrained from attending to keep the peace in our home-- when church means waking TB up early or being late for lunch or a nap-- especially when TB was younger. I would feel badly when folks would notice my absence, but in the end, I felt way less frazzled.

Virginia Knowles said...

Yes, we walked in a little late to church this morning because one child thought he would put his shoes on in the car, walked outside and got his socks wet since it had been raining. Then he had to find another pair of socks. Another child had forgotten to eat breakfast. And I don't even have preschoolers anymore.

I think our pastor is just glad to see us there.

Mrs. Searching said...

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I hardly get anything out of the service with three young children to manage alone. I only go right now for two reasons: (1) Our church has been very supportive during the past year when our family has been stressed, and (2) I don't want the kids to think God isn't important. But it's also the only day I can spend with them now that they are back to school and I work all day Saturday. So I feel a little bit cheated. I've compromised partly by going late, so we skip the singing and announcements but are there for the prayer and sermon. Our pastor isn't longwinded. :)

Anonymous said...

For reals. Exactly my thoughts on getting to church as a kid. Now I'm trying to figure out if it's worth it- haven't even really tried yet and our kid is turning 2...