Nearly every Sunday, I line my little ones up for a quick picture before we go into church. It’s just a fun thing I do because I like looking back at the photos as they change over time. I often share them on Facebook or Instagram, and it never fails, every few weeks someone comments or messages me asking, “HOW do you do it?!” The “it” being get 5 kids dressed up and to church weekly. Well, I just do. The same way some moms get 1, 2, or 6 kids up, dressed, and out the door to school every day. It’s important, so we do it, even if it’s not easy.
Over the years, there have been many, many Sundays when I have carried a baby on my hip and/or held the hands of little ones as we crossed a parking lot, found classrooms, and made our way to seats at church. Unfortunately, a larger number than I care to count of those trips were done alone, without my husband beside me, especially over the last couple of years. Neither of us have enjoyed this situation, but it is what it is. My husband doesn’t like missing church, and I don’t like going alone. He’s also super helpful when it comes to getting kids ready and out the door. However, his job complicates things, and he can’t always go to church with us. Currently, he’s only able to go every other week. The other weeks, I’m on my own. He’ll help me get them out the door if he’s still at home, but I can’t get up counting on his help because if he gets a call and has to go, I’m left scrambling and unprepared. Been there. Done that.
When I show up with our crew, I usually get surprised looks and comments like, “Wow! Supermom!” I usually smile and laugh, but if little ears weren’t listening I’d tell those onlookers, “No. Exhausted mom.” Because by that point, I am.
I’ve dressed and fed them, combed hair, made ponytails, helped with requests for cologne or “smell goods,” changed diapers, refilled sippy cups, found lost shoes, herded kids to the car, buckled seat belts, taken a kid back inside to potty, retrieved dropped hair bows and blankets, driven nearly an hour, gone over our plan and expectations, found lost shoes again, found lost hair bows again, unloaded our van, and herded them across a busy parking lot. At that point it’s only about 2/3 over. Before I get to sit down, we will make our way through a crowded building to the bathroom, help 2 go potty, wash hands, stop at the water fountain, make our way back through the crowd to check everyone in, then drop kids off on three different halls in 2 different buildings.
Sometimes Most of the time I’m sweating by the time they’re safely in their classrooms. I probably don’t even look like the same woman that walked in the door with them. 🙂
I don’t say this to brag. At all. I say all that to tell you, it’s not easy. Most of the time I wouldn’t call it hard necessarily (unless you’ve been up all night with a baby and you’re running on 3 hours of broken sleep. Then it’s hard. Very hard.), but it is work – a lot of work. It does require planning, energy, and dedication. I don’t have it all together. When we leave our house on Sunday mornings, more often than not it looks like someone broke in and ransacked the place. Not to mention, the pictures should speak for themselves. They certainly are not frame worthy every week.
But it’s worth it. Very worth it. Even on the Sundays when things have gone terribly, terribly wrong, there has always been that one part in the sermon, or one comment from a friend or stranger, or that moment of Peace during a favorite song that reminded me why I did it that morning and encouraged me to keep going. I’ve learned that God gives strength to the weak and rest to the weary. I’ve learned that people you have no idea exist (because you’re busy counting heads and rushing to the potty) are watching you and the example you set, good or bad. The few weeks I have stayed home and deemed it to be too much work, I have always regretted my decision.
Mamas, take your babies to church, even when it means going without your husband. I believe those may be even more important Sundays because the effort you put in shows your children that even when it’s not easy, and it is exhausting, it’s worth it. It’s important to go and worship with other believers. It’s important to join with a church family and learn and serve together. Church isn’t just something we do when it’s convenient or easy. It’s part of life, and life is messy.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching.” Heb. 10:24-25
It’s worth it.