Sunday mornings

Published 11:00 am Saturday, July 6, 2024

Wet cats dressed in smocked dresses were behaving better than my children. As I herd them across the church parking lot, whispering death threats, I glance up and smile at one of the church matriarchs serenely gliding into the church doors. “How are you this beautiful Sunday morning?” she asked pleasantly. “We’re here Mrs. P—” which is all I got out as I used one arm to shove two kids into the building while using my leg to loop around the waist of the toddler, who must have picked up a demon somewhere between the house and the church. 

It takes 10 minutes to chase them into the nursery wing, where I throw my chil-dren into the nursery and quickly close the door to prevent any escapes. Leaning my head against a bulletin board on the wall, I close my eyes, wondering how in the world taking my children to church could possibly be glorifying to God.

Let no unclean word come out of your mouth? I curse more strapping my kids into car seats on Sunday morning than some sailors. 

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Parents, do not provoke your children to wrath? The hatred I incur from squeezing my child into bishop dresses, tights, and dress shoes (which are NOT itchy, I don’t care what she says) would send me into the parent hall of shame.

On the seventh day you shall rest, and on it you shall do no labor? How does car-rying an infant, rebellious toddler, and two diaper bags (not to mention my study Bible!) across a raining parking lot count as rest?! 

How many times have I woken up exhausted on a Sunday morning thinking, God would much rather me stay at home this morning? I would be a better Christian if I didn’t put myself (and my kids!) through the stress of 

A pastor once told me that it is an act of worship if a mother brings her children to church. It doesn’t matter if they are 30 minutes late or leave the sanctuary due to a tantrum before the first hymn. The weekly endeavor to bring your children before the Lord, to His house, in and of itself — half-dressed, exhausted, and foul-breathed — is something that has innumerable obstacles but just as many future rewards. 

We cannot expect our children to make Christ and a church community a priority in their lives if we do not show that it is a priority in our own. When something like a bad mood, a late night out, a travel ball game, or simply being tired keeps us from church, it shows our children that those things are bigger — and more important — than worship. 

Hebrews 13:15 says, “Therefore let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God.”  Taking children to church — especially in the spin cycle stage of young motherhood — is a sacrifice. When a day that is all about rest becomes the most exhausting day of the week … and yet we still go, we are giving a sacrifice of praise to God. He doesn’t care if you haven’t bathed in three days and your child is missing her shoes, and you’re 10 minutes late. He’s walking beside you as your carry your three year old up the center aisle as they throw a tantrum, and He’s sit-ting next to you as you struggle to stay awake during the sermon. When our lives (and bodies) feel ripped apart, being pulled in 90 different directions, sitting in a pew on a Sunday morning will keep us together. 

Sarah Reynolds is a wife, mother, columnist, and sometimes exhausted on Sundays.