It’s a beautiful Sunday morning and my family of six is nestled together in our church pew, listening intently as the pastor brings a good word from the pulpit. No more than five seconds pass and I look over to see my 3 year old has drawn a mural on the cover the hymnal and my 5 year old has torn his bulletin into about 800 tiny pieces. While I’m distracted by this, my one year old in my lap manages to tap her snack bowl in just the right spot to baptize the women in the row in front of us with a shower of Cheerios. Yep…church is hard right now.
Can I just say that again? Church is hard!!
We have been at our current church for about 3 years. We’re Reformed Presbyterian (PCA) and we were searching for something pretty specific. We wanted a church where the children were welcome with the family and stayed during the entire church service. I realize some people don’t like that, but this is very important to me and Barry – a necessity.
We want our kids to be with us on Sunday mornings.
Why? Because we want them to experience Sunday morning worship with us from birth to adulthood. We want them to become familiar with the order of church service, to learn how to sit quietly and reverently, to listen to the pastor speak from the pulpit, to experience communion, baptisms and watch new families join the church. We don’t want our family to be separated during the church service. That doesn’t mean this is the only way, but this is the choice we made.
Because we have made this choice to worship together, church is hard right now. Ridiculously hard.
Every Sunday, I have to give myself a pep talk to go. Because 9 times out of 10, I don’t want to go! But between Barry and me, we always make the decision and go – even though we know church is going to be hard. It’s hard to teach them to be quiet and sit still. But we believe it’s a very important lesson for them to learn.
That may mean sometimes, when church is over, I have no idea what the message was about and I don’t always know what is going on. I am trying to keep my kids from throwing a Bible up into pew number 8 or pulling each other’s hair, y’all – I can’t always do that AND follow along with the sermon! But, even though church is hard FOR ME – I know my kids are listening, learning and growing. I have to do it – even when it’s hard.
Besides the fact that church is hard, some Sundays, it might even be embarrassing! Like the aforementioned Cheerio baptism. But we have to suck it up and go anyway! I promise there are some Sundays when I just don’t want to go to church. Does that mean I stay home? No! All the parents out there who are worshiping together as a family on Sunday mornings are right there in the trenches with you! Even if our churches are 500 miles apart, I’m fighting this Sunday battle with you in spirit!
Keep going – even though church is hard.
Don’t give up the habit of meeting together and being in church as a family. It’s important to go – even if you may think it’s not worth it. Even though you don’t think your kids are listening or paying attention, a few days, weeks, or years down the road you will see the fruit of those long Sundays. The word has been planted.
Disclaimer: This is not a shaming session for parents who handle church differently, nor am I asking for advice on how to make Sundays easier. This is just meant to be an encouragement to those of you that might be struggling and wondering if it’s all worth it. I am right there with you. Don’t give up.