I miss church.We missed church yesterday. Three of the four Littles were sniffling, sneezing, stuffy, and grouchy. We figured parents would appreciate it if we stayed home and kept them away from the other children. (You're welcome. Ha!)
But I miss church.
We’re at this stage of life when the slightest sneeze, fever, or cough will travel from one child to the next, until all four have shared the same germs. It would be manageable if they could all be sick at the same time. But each virus takes its time, usually a good two weeks.
And don’t get me started about the times when the fourth child gives it back to the first one. Again.
By the time a virus has moved through our family, we’ve missed about two to three Sunday services at church.
Yet even on the Sundays that we’re all healthy and can attend services, I still don’t get to sit and soak in the words and message that is being preached. Devyn’s asking for help with a pen in the kid folder, or Ashlynn is hungry or fussy or sleepy. I have one hand on the nursery beeper, waiting to see if Reagan is actually going to stay in her classroom, and the other hand on Ashlynn’s blanket and pacifier just waiting for the first peep out of her mouth.
The last time we were in church, two weeks ago, we had just sat down after worship and I was getting ready to soak in some Truth, when the beeper went off. I sighed. As I headed to the classroom, I could hear Reagan’s screams from the stairs. I picked up my sobbing, hiccupping, hot mess of a child (bless her heart!) and headed back up the stairs. I begged Reagan to be good during the service, even grabbing another kid folder so she could color with Devyn. Within minutes, it became obvious that this just wasn’t going to work. She is, after all, just two years old.
I took Reagan and Ashlynn with me, leaving Devyn with her Daddy, and set all three of us up just outside the sanctuary, behind glass doors. Hoping beyond hope that I’d still be able to catch snippets of the sermon. As I sat there, alternating between telling Reagan to stop running and keeping Ashlynn from crying, I grew upset.
I just wanted to hear a sermon. One sermon. Something that would feed me, that would speak to my soul, something that would sustain me during the week, something that would challenge me. Just. one. sermon, Lord. Is that too much to ask?!
Then suddenly I stopped.
I looked at my baby girl, sitting and watching her older sister run circles around the foyer, eyes wide and awed. I looked at Reagan, bouncing curls and infectious smile. And knew in that moment, that somehow my attitude was skewed. I wondered what they’ll remember from these early years at church… the impatient, short-tempered mama I’d become lately? Or a woman who closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and tried being an example of the very man she’d come to worship?
In twelve to thirteen years, when my youngest is getting ready to start middle school, I’m going to look at the overwhelmed, harried, exasperated young mom and smile in understanding.