Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I don't think people really like me. I know myself well enough to know how big of a jerk I can be. I am also very opinionated. However, that affords me the aloofness to look around at people. If you disconnect from the friend circles when you are at social gatherings, like CHURCH, you can spot people that are hurting or alone. They are in every crowd; standing on the perimeter. Some might happily be unencumbered and enjoying some time of introspection. Others might be wondering, why they don't fit in, or simply hurting. A crowd can be one of the loneliest places to be in the world. That is not all that you see. You can see the young mom, who is absolutely worn out from trying to take care of her little ones. That is what this post is about. (Yes, I am unashamed of the eye catching first sentence to draw you in.) 

Twice in the past month, a young mom has caught my attention. They stand out to me. It might be because I have been there for so many years with little ones that I am no longer a young mom. You can see in the eyes the struggle and the question, "Is church worth all this hassle?" or the accusation, "I should have stayed home." Maybe it is the doubt, "Why is my child so bad in church, am I a bad mom?" Or it could be, "I am so tired of this." I can remember humorously thinking with one of my children, when they were terrible in church on a regular basis, "Does he/she have a demon that makes them misbehave in church." (The answer is no, but they all came equipped with a well oiled sin machine in their hearts.) The reality is that SUNDAYS ARE HARD. You are out of schedule. You have to get dressed up twice to attend worship. Naps which may usually be kept diligently are thrown out the window. Fellowship between services only makes the day more exhausting. Not to mention, training the little bundles to sit quietly in church. Ok Moms, tell the truth when is the last sermon you really were able to listen to while having your child in the pew?  

If I could tell you all the horror stories revolving around Sundays and worship that I have experienced you would be in stitches. My children have shared body fluids with me in church, including vomit. They have tried to danced. They have reflected back to the pastor the benediction, wiggled, and giggled. We have fallen off the pew, snored, and been the loud thump of a head hitting the pew. It goes on and on. 

Shew, I am exhausted just thinking about it all. No wonder our young moms are too. 

However, exhaustion is not my end game. I want to encourage you young moms out there. Church is worth all the effort. It is a special time when you are called in to worship... thus the call to worship at the beginning of the service. It is a special time when your children are called to worship too. I can hear Jesus say, "Let the little children come, and do not forbid them." He wanted to be near the children when He walked the earth and He has not changed. It is the chief means of grace for you and for your children. Waking up, getting dressed, and going to church is worth it. 

Let's be honest, though, when it comes to church the struggle is intense. It is not as hard to get ready to go out for dinner. How about that sports game? Even going to work, can be easier. It is going to church where we feel the depth this struggle. However, we must persevere for our own spiritual health and the spiritual health of our children. We make time for the things that are important to us, and we fight for what is valuable. Let us recommit to make church a priority and to value it as food to our souls. 

Let me try to encourage you in a few practical ways: 

1) Prepare for Sunday. Have the clothes laid out and lunch in the fridge. Whatever else you can do to make it easy. DO IT! 

2) Cook an easy to make and easy to clean breakfast. (My husband always cooks Sunday breakfast. He is great! ) Paper plates.... YES! 

3) Don't have a "give up" mindset. Try to train your mind to value worship and look forward to it. 

4) Listen to sermon audio. You can find a pastor, maybe even your own pastor, and hear sermons. This feeds your soul in those dry months when listening in church is limited by squirming wee ones. you can do it while you pull weeds, drive in the car, cook dinner, mow the lawn, etc. 

5) Pray and confess your weariness to the One who made you, who took on flesh, and who knows what it is like. He has called you and He can sustain you in all things. Pour out your heart to Him and ask Him for the grace, strength, wisdom, and stamina. 

Nothing off the charts amazing here. I want you to be encouraged. We other moms are not out here judging you. We see and understand how hard it all can be. We pray for you and want to see you prosper as a mom. We want to see your little ones grow in the Lord! We are on your team. Let us together, run this race, fight the good fight of faith, and seek to bring glory to our glorious Triune God!  

Let me end with one of my favorite verses for the trenches, "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9 

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