So, I’ve been thinking. And thinking and praying and thinking. This has been on my mind for quite some time now and was sparked again by the article that is all over Facebook at the minute! I have been wrestling with it, struggling with it, talking about it, praying about it, studying God’s word on it….church on a sunday morning with my 3 young kids, all very close in age, and what does that look like?!
This past week this article http://veritasvenator.com/2013/09/25/to-you-who-bring-small-children-to-church/ and this one https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=638596362838620&id=151699051528356 have been shared on Facebook a large number of times. And, while I absolutely agree with the sentiments behind these articles I want to add another dimension – sometimes getting out to church with small children is JUST.TOO.HARD. Not because they are noisy, not because they are shouting out, not because they are fussing, not even because I think other people are looking at us, BUT because some weeks it is just too much like hard work. And yes, I agree completely children need to be in church, they should be in church, but church is more than just a Sunday morning, is it not?
I read these articles on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and while they gave me some great encouragement they also made me feel a little guilty. I know what the authors were trying to get across and I really appreciate their efforts and do not want to take away from their wonderful words. But, did I make it to church on Sunday morning? No. Why? We were tired, the kids were tired, it just would not have been worth it. It wouldn’t have been worth the frantic morning of trying to get everyone washed and dressed and out on time with bags filled with snacks, colouring books etc to keep them amused. It wouldn’t have been worth me and daddy snapping at them to ‘hurry up’, ‘stand still’, ‘come on’ because we are tired and lacking in patience. It wouldn’t have been worth all the sssshhhhiing and desperate scrambling around in those bags during the prayers. It wouldn’t have been worth trying to settle all 3 in the nursery for the sermon….only for me to catch the last 5 minutes. It wouldn’t have been worth the grumpy afternoon that we ALL would have had then, because they missed their nap and had fallen asleep on the way home in the car – only that doze wasn’t enough, so now they are grumpy! It wouldn’t have been worth J being really tired from the day before and so is grumpy/upset at nursery. Because, this is what church looks like when we are tired and they are tired. So, instead we had a relaxed, peaceful, stress free, restful morning at home…we read our Bible, we sang praises to God, we prayed as a family and I felt refreshed. There had been no arguments, no shouting, no rummaging around for food, no over tired kids, no hungry kids (church is at the worst time – nap time AND lunch time 😉 ) no shushing, just enjoying being in the Lord’s presence and learning about Him.
Don’t get me wrong, I want my kids to grow up knowing the importance of going to church. We try to make it as often as possible and we often succeed. But I want to encourage maybe some other mum or family out there, who too, just find it too hard some weeks…..don’t be discouraged. Do not be disheartened. Jesus knows and sees your struggles. He knows your heart. He knows you WANT to be there and He cares. He will meet you where you are. I have come to accept that for us right now as a family, this is the season that we are in. Church EVERY Sunday morning is just not possible, for so many reasons. I look forward to the time when we will be able to make it church every week again as a family, when it will not be as hectic to get out on time or as stressful to sit through a service….but for now we will go when we can and not feel guilty about that, believing that church is about so much more than an hour on a Sunday morning.
Hugs and blessing to you all.