I see you: you’re tired, and sweet little Sally has pulled every personal item out of your purse and now your lip balm has rolled under the seat behind you.
Little Sally also giggled (several times, very loudly) at the quietest point of the sermon.
During the second song she tried to dart out of the pew and into the aisle. (Remember when she did that last week? You didn’t get to her in time and she went right up front and tried to start a conversation with the organist.)
After church, you’d like to be friendly and spend a few minutes chatting, but Sally has missed her late morning nap and is having a meltdown in your arms.
You wonder why you even try to come to church.
You feel overwhelmed. You feel like you’re not getting anything from the sermon because you can’t focus on what the minister is saying. You feel like your child is a distraction to the families seated near you. You feel like everyone is looking at you and critiquing your parenting skills.
Please keep coming, keep trying.
Sally is a toddler, and she is learning how to act at church. It takes time. There will come a day when she won’t disrupt the service, and you’ll look over and she’ll be worshipping Jesus with tears streaming down her face.
There will come a day when you’re riding in the car, on your way home from church, and she’ll say something like, “Wow, mom! Today’s message really made me think about _____ differently!” And then a thoughtful conversation will continue for the rest of the ride home.
That day is coming.
See, not only is little Sally learning, but you are learning, too.
You are learning how to train up a child in the way she should go.
You are learning how to be a patient mama.
You are learning how to keep your sweet girl seated next to you during the sermon, instead of back and forth between pews.
You are gleaning ideas for inspiring a heart of worship in your child while she’s young.
You are learning how to be intentional about raising up children to walk in the Truth.
You are learning about blessed motherhood in the midst of a community of believers.
You may feel like everyone is watching you, judging you, but every young mama has been there. A few of them may have forgotten, but it’s happened to us all in some form or fashion.
Have I ever told you about the time I was in church (at a special, annual, state-wide conference service, actually… with lots of new faces) and my toddler’s diaper overflowed? My pretty dress was soaked all. down. the. front. Yes, this happened to me – the pastor’s wife.
Or maybe I should pause and mention that one of my boys hated being confined to our pew and constantly darted into the aisle. If I found a way to keep him in the pew, then he would creatively find a way to climb under the seats and into the aisle or the row behind us. I’d close my eyes, raise my hand to worship, and then – poof! – he’d be gone.
You’re not alone, precious mama. We’ve been where you are. I’ve been there, too.
Our stories may be slightly different, but we share the same mission. Keep your chin up, fix your eyes on Jesus, and don’t be discouraged. Give yourself grace.
You are doing important work by sowing seeds of faith into your little one and allowing them to grow in the Body of Christ.
One day you will reap a harvest of blessings from this season of sowing. It’s hard work, and you must be intentional, but one day you will take joy in knowing your children walk in Truth! The seeds you plant in their heart today will transform into firmly rooted trees that will help them weather the storms of life.
Yes, church is for busy toddlers and tired mamas, too. Embrace this season and the important work you get to do today. You are building up a home that has a solid foundation!
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Go in grace today,