MOR Monday ~ Church
I should have written about this last week, after a particularly horrible day at church, but I didn’t. And then yesterday was bad too and I decided it was time to use it as fodder for a great Reality post. Big. Sigh.
Andy & I are Christians. Not “we go to church because we were raised to do that” Christians, but actually Jesus Freak Christians. We just love Him. And we’ve always gone to church as an outpouring of that love & thankfulness for what He has done for us. When we first had Charley I was pleasantly surprised that church wasn’t as difficult as I had worried it might be. Then we had Matthew and things were still very manageable. Then Matthew stopped sleeping for the entire service and Charley turned 2 and things got interesting.
Our service starts at 1pm. Could there possibly be a WORSE time of day to take my children somewhere and expect them to behave and even be interested in what is going on? No, there really could not be. Let me give you an example of just how bad it is for us (really? ME.)
Two weeks ago we arrived at church at our normal 12pm time. Oh, did I not mention that we only own 1 car and Andy has to be there an hour early to practice the music for service? Because he stands up front the entire service and leads worship? Yep, that’s right.
I then coral a very tired 2 year old who is sensitive and emotional and fidgety for an hour while keeping an eye on my 8 month old who needs to fall asleep but won’t. This hour is extremely difficult for me, but often other families straggle in early and Charley gets distracted by play mates which is a big help. Then church starts at 1pm. Somehow, every single week (EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK.) the 55 minutes before service drags by and the last 5 minutes that I need to get my children into the pew with all our “luggage” zips past me and I’m running to my seat, 2 kids in tow, no husband to help because he’s playing his guitar up front.
Then Charley sits with me and Matthew for the first 15 minutes of service. After that Andy is allowed to leave his post because it’s time for the sermon so he grabs Charley and drops her at the nursery for the rest of the service. I usually sneak out to nurse Matthew at that point also. Well, last week we made it about 5 minutes into service. Matthew was whining/half crying the entire time desperate for sleep. And Charley would not sit still. She was up, down, trying to go under the pew, over the pew, whining for her snack, for her juice, mad I only had water, and then when I was fed up and exhausted and beyond my limits of self-control I spoke too harshly to my sensitive girl and she started crying. Loudly. Very loudly. So with my 22 pound 8 month old under one arm I reached out and grabbed her forcefully around her stomach and literally dragged her out of the service (okay, not literally since technically I was carrying her). She was so shocked by my loss of sanity that she was totally silent (small blessings?) on the way out.
Out in the foyer she lost it, sobbing. I snapped at her (yes. literally. I snapped at my daughter like she was an animal or something…there is no bag big enough to put on my head) and quietly but very harshly said “Charlotte! Enough!”
Ugh. Oh my goodness. That phrase. I H.A.T.E. that phrase. “Enough”…I felt horrible. She ignored me of course, and I sat down in front her, put Matty next to me (who was also silent…likely wondering if Mommy had lost her mind and if so he’d better just stay quiet so I don’t notice him) and cried. I only cried a little, and quietly, so that no one would notice. But I told her how sorry I was, I gave her a hug and I asked her to forgive me. She’s 2, so you know, she didn’t really get that last part, but she stopped crying and gave me a kiss so I took it.
She went happily to nursery after that (get me away from that woman! is likely what she was thinking) and I spent the rest of service outside with Matthew sleeping in his stroller trying not to cry. I went and hid during communion. I was so sad, angry, bitter, and frustrated I couldn’t even take communion. Talk about real.
Church is hard y’all. With 2 tiny people and at the worst time of day? It’s HARD. But I keep going. Every week I go and thanks to a wise friend, now every Sunday I just say “Jesus…I need good church today.” and I believe that some weeks He will answer me. I know He is there, faithful to me and loving me even when I’m lost, angry, depressed, frustrated…He’s there, waiting for me to come back to His table.
So say it with me Mommy’s who read this and thought “I’ve been there.”:
Jesus, I need good church today. Amen.
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