Take Them to Church.

It seems a little backwards for me to be writing on this subject as I’ve been far from the example. I suppose that by writing it down and having the discussion, I hope to heed my own advice. Going to church was routine throughout my childhood and there’s a lot to be said about the benefits of attending mass, especially through the wonder years.

Seek and Ye Shall Find.

…Cheerios on the floor, the 3 year old inching his way out of the pew into the aisle, the almost 2 year old under the pew playing on the kneeler, and hymnal pages that have been torn or colored on scattered about. With four kids, the oldest being 5, it’s come easy for me to justify our absence. I wake up before dawn to get us all ready, pack the snacks and “quiet” toys or books, arrive late and spend the entire hour of mass shushing, separating, and redirecting kids. Imagine this…as I finally get them all settled and behaving for the shortest moment, one of them whispers “mommy, I have to pee”. What!? Terrific. “OK guys, you all hold hands and let’s go to the bathroom”. Now that we’ve spent an entire 20 minutes in the bathroom, I instruct them all to go back to our pew…”quietly, don’t run”. “Oh thank goodness, we’ve made it back just in time for communion”, I sheepishly think to myself and begin to strategize my plan. I carry the baby and have my 2, 3, and 5 year old play follow the leader up to the alter, praying that no one decides to go rogue on the way back to our seat.

I find myself looking down at them more than listening to anything being said at the alter. “What’s the point?”, I ask myself. The work week is challenging enough, especially when Adam is out of town. I almost laugh (and cringe) at the idea of putting myself through the headache and anxiety of taking 4 kids to church by myself. Mamma’s tired…and those precious days that sandwich the work week are ones that I covet and aim to make the most relaxing and enjoyable.

Be Still.

Something unique to our church is that we have no cry room or Sunday school for kids. This should’ve be my first hint. I’m not the first parent of young children to enter our church doors, nor will I be the last. It’s long been accepted to have crying babies and ornery toddlers and I shouldn’t let that be my excuse for not going. Every member of our parish would gladly offer up a mint or play peek-a-boo in hopes of pulling a smile out of the kiddo in front of them. There’s always someone sitting close by that has a knee ready to bounce your youngest who has wandered to their end of the pew. I don’t know why I let myself feel like I or my tribe is a bother to those around us at church. They say they’re glad to see us, and it’s the truth. They’re happy to see that our church has a youth and hopeful that our youth will grow up to perpetuate the faithful cycle.

Anyone interested in adopting a child during mass; 
I'll be posting a sign up sheet in the back of church.

Parenting isn’t easy, no matter the location or environment. I take my tiny tribe all over the place; to the store, a friends house, and to see Santa. None of those things are easy, but I still do it. Church ought to be no different. I remember my parents and grandparents dutifully taking us to church most Sunday’s. We would wiggle in our pews, doodle on the bulletins, and behave no differently than my children do today. Church is where I first learned the Lord’s Prayer and slowly, but surely, those words were written on my heart and the wiggles stopped. Persistence and regular church attendance was important and my parents’ efforts were not futile.

He is My Peace.

Some of my fondest memories of church have nothing to do with the scriptures or sermon. I remember singing in the children’s choir, serving, going to midnight mass on Christmas Eve, Mrs. Mayer playing the organ, and watching the stories in the stained glass windows come alive with the summer sun shinning through. Each of those experiences are special to me and it’s because, in that moment, they brought me a sense of community and peace. We were all there together; quietly enjoying each other’s company and learning how to be our best self. I want that for my kids and I’ve been selfish for not allowing them the opportunity to experience church and to create their own memories.

This past Sunday I took my oldest and my youngest and one thing that I couldn’t help but notice was the lack of attendees compared to when I was a child. I contemplated on that for a while-ha, I’m obviously not fully engaged even when my kids aren’t distracting me. Anyway…what I realized is that I am the future of our church. I am raising the future of our church.

Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Proverbs 22:6

14 thoughts on “Take Them to Church.

  1. Live this. And I had to take all 4 of my kids to church all by myself to but it wasnt easy but I did it and lived through it
    I’m sure people didn’t like it when they were bad but they had to learn. So hang in there it will get better

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Savanna this is so inspirational. God gave you the tools you need to be the mother you are, and the strength to do it! The kids will forever remember it all too! They are precious! God bless you!❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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