It’s Sunday night. 8:08 pm. The girls are in bed, though I still hear some faint jabbering coming from my biggest little. My husband just pulled out of the driveway to go play hockey. I’m sitting in my bed. Letting out a deep breath.
Sundays are hard on me. They are tough. So tough.
Today, the day started at 5:55 am when I was woken by the sound of the baby screeching from her crib. The screech that indicates she’s definitely not ready to be awake. After thirty or so minutes of trying (pointlessly) to convince her to shut her eyes for just a little while longer, we were up and at ‘em. The husband left to go do some scouting for a little while in the morning while I busied myself with getting breakfast fed, dresses on, ponytails done, dishes unloaded and myself showered and dressed and make upped.
By 8:00am, the baby was having her usual Sunday morning meltdown that was amplified by the early morning wake up which meant as soon as the husband walked in the door we kicked it into over drive. We raced to throw snacks and magna doodles and teething toys and milk and everything else you can imagine into the diaper bag. We pottied. We got coats and hats and boots on. We buckled kids in their seats. And we left for church over an hour early in hopes of getting a decent car nap on the way.
By the time I did up my seatbelt as we pulled out of the driveway, I already felt like I had run a marathon. We grabbed a coffee and drove aimlessly around our rural area while the baby slept for no more than 15 minutes and arrived at church thirty minutes early.
Church with kids is difficult. Today was particularly trying. After the baby’s early morning and very short nap, she was beside herself. Add into that some tummy troubles she’s been having and she was a hot mess. I fed her and made my first attempt at getting her back to sleep before service even started. No luck.
Service started and within 10 minutes I was standing at the back, tying her into the mei tei and hoping for a quick and easy nap. Again, no luck. After fighting and fighting with her and taking communion in the hallway, I gave up and headed back in. Evan kept her pacified with crackers for a few minutes but not long and she was fussing again. This time, Aunt Linda, who always has the touch, took her to the back classroom in hopes of getting her to go down.
In the meantime, the toddler, who is, all things considered, very well behaved in church, was bouncing between Daddy’s lap, Mommy’s lap, Auntie Marcia’s lap, Miss Becky’s lap, Mrs.. Smith’s iPhone photos, this book, that book, this sticker, that sticker, goldfish, fruit leather, drink of milk, magnet toy and on and on it goes.
After Auntie Linda hadn’t returned for quite some time, I popped back out to see how things were going. As soon as I made my way into the hall, I heard that noise. You know the one? The kind of crying coming from a baby who is acting as though someone is torturing her. Nap attempt #3 failed. By this time, she was getting harder and harder to soothe. Harder and harder to keep occupied. Eventually, Evan took her out for the remainder of the time.
Today’s service was the kind of service where I can’t remember a single song that was sung. I know the speaker mentioned Dietrich Bonheoffer and something about Daniel in the Lions Den … but that’s about as far as that goes.
Of course, Gwen was asleep in her car seat before we even pulled out of the parking lot for our fifteen minute drive home. And was awake as soon as we got in the house. By 2pm, I finally convinced her to go back to sleep … which lasted twenty minutes. The rest of the day was spent trying to keep a severely overtired baby happy while also attempting to finish laundry, get groceries, vacuum and tidy up … all in preparation for another busy week.
More than one time today, I caught myself thinking, “What’s it worth? What’s the point?” … why even bother going to church if I am not able to listen to a single word of the sermon, focus my heart on a single word of a single song or have a single meaningful conversation with anyone in my church family? What’s it worth? What is the point? Why was I even there?
Yet through these negative thoughts … God broke my heart.
What’s it worth? What’s the point?
What it’s worth is teaching my children that our faith in God is our first priority. It is not second to nap schedules, or convenience or exhaustion. It comes before all things. The point is showing my children that we value our commitment to God above anything else. Even when it’s difficult. Or stressful. Or, even at times, unenjoyable. The point is demonstrating to them that we believe it to be important to join with other believers in worship, even at times when personal edification may be difficult to achieve. What it’s worth is giving our children a congregation to call home. What it’s worth is giving them the opportunity to learn about Christ alongside other children. To sing songs, read scriptures and pray in their bible classes. What it’s worth is seeing my daughter learn about the importance of giving, when she asks for moneys to give to Jesus on the way to church on Sunday morning. What it’s worth is instilling in her a heart of service as she passes the collection plate with her Daddy to collect coins for children who are living in poverty. What it’s worth is doing our best to sow the seeds of Christ’s love in the hearts of our children.
What it’s worth is recognizing that our children are God’s children and they have been entrusted to us for this time on earth. And because of that immense gift and that tremendous responsibility we will keep ‘doing Sundays’. Even when we don’t want to.