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"Being That Mom in the Pew" by Lauren Eberspacher
There I found myself . . . being that mom in the pew again—the one who is interrupting the service, dragging out her two small toddlers (who are begging for fruit snacks), flinging an oversized diaper bag over her shoulder, shoving her rear in everyone’s faces as she shuffled down the pew aisle. Yep, that was me. And it was just another Sunday at church for me and my ragamuffin crew.
Some Sundays, I wonder if it’s really worth it.
Is it really worth it getting myself put together just to get goobered on, fighting my kids to get dressed in their Sunday best just so they can beg to take them off, arriving late just to leave early, or coming with a heart eager to worship and learn only to find myself chasing kids in the back foyer?
Can anyone else feel me? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Will I ever sit through a church service again? Will church always be this exhausting?
I have asked myself these questions so many times as I bounced newborns, chased toddlers, calmed tantrums, and swayed kids to sleep in the back of the church. I have stormed out in frustration, sighed under my breath, and cried in the nursery wondering when things will get better—when I will feel church isn’t just another crazy day at home but a morning of learning, worship, and community. But God is gracious, isn’t He, mama friend? Just when I’m at my wit’s end, about to let my tired, grumbling heart win, I find myself blessed with these moments . . .
On a Tuesday afternoon when my daughter starts singing “Blessed Assurance” at the top of her lungs, then turns with a smile and says she learned it in church and proudly states it’s her new favorite song.
When I see my smallest little smiling at the older couple in the pew behind us, knowing how much joy her smile and laughter bring them each week.
That my husband sees the message title, knows my heart needs to hear what the pastor has to say, and offers to take the girls out so my soul can be filled, making me a better wife and mom.
When I see my daughters running up to the pastor and hugging him, knowing that they are learning to love the church and the people in it, and realizing the church is theirs, too.
When I find myself sheepishly carrying my kids out kicking and screaming from the service, I remember kicking and screaming kids mean young families, and young families mean the church is preparing and growing the next generation of Christ followers.
As I sat with tears streaming down my face last week, my daughter walked over, put her arms around my shoulders and said, “It’s OK, Mommy. I love you and so does Jesus. He’s always here with us.” I know she is listening.
And then there is that moment . . . that moment when the tantrums subside, the kids are distracted, my heart is open and He speaks to me.
His presence is felt in the depths of my soul. A familiar peace washes over me and for a few short seconds, my hands are free to be raised in worship and surrender to His will of this crazy, tired life He has blessed me with.
And when I drop my tear-stained face and look down at those two sets of eyes staring up at me, I realize how worth it all of those “scurry out the door” Sundays are.
So keep going to church on Sundays, tired mama. Those tiny souls—and your own—are so worth it.