Coffee on the veranda with soft music playing in the background. A beautiful sunrise and sweet fellowship in preparation for Sunday worship. Yes, this is what Sunday mornings are made of.
Ahem. Maybe in my dreams.
Sunday mornings are a whirlwind around this house. Oh, I prepare the night before- clothes are laid out, all children are clean before bed, sometimes even the breakfast is already prepared…Yes, we have our routines and rituals in place to assist in a smooth lets-get-out-the-door experience. Whether you use your own experiences or a little imagination, if you look at our family photo on the right, you can guess that it takes a little work to get everyone to church each week.
Because we all know that the shoe fairies come out at night and hide shoes just so we have to spend 15 minutes extra looking for one. Only one. The other is in plain sight.
By the time I pull the van in the church parking lot, my hope is for no wind or rain- does terrible things to my hair. And have you ever tried to fit a minimum of 5 kids under an umbrella with you? Guaranteed bad hair day right there.
I wave to the parking lot attendants- rain or shine, they are faithful. (They probably think to themselves: How many kids do they actually have in there?)
Greeters watch as our family-swarm, huddle, whatever you want to call it… buzzes through and I smile and shrug- with no free hands to shake because, well, bags, a purse, a child or two.
Then there’s the check-in procedure. We have this thing down to a science. Praise the Lord for the church’s automated computer system. Just scan, print and go. Ahhh- population management- got to love large family logistics.
Each child goes to class, happily, willingly… my children have always loved church. No matter when or where- it’s simply a benefit from taking them regularly from the time they were born.
With one exception – the separation anxiety phase.
Ahhh yes. Ages 2 and 3 alike, no matter the church, no matter the room, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will cry. (Are you supposed to bet in church?) Because they simply want…Mama or Daddy. And typically this crying will stop shortly after Mama and Daddy turn around the corner, but initially it sounds as though they are surely dying.
With my experience of this particular childhood phase, I calculate the “window of opportunity”- you know what I’m talking about- that small frame of time assessed by your toddler that determines whether they willingly walk through the door or calmly get passed through the door opening to the volunteer OR decide to throw a very large, rather HUGE, toddler-sized FIT. Which of course, must include kicking and screaming.
Last Sunday, that window arrived. I braced myself for the tears I anticipated. After several weeks of the separation anxiety phase, I was prepared for the ultimate toddler temper tantrum. And then it happened.
The sweetest angel from Heaven in the form of a dear woman with graying hair casually looked my toddler in the eyes and in a relaxed, comforting tone, asked her:
Are you ready to play?
At which point, the toddler girl assessed this woman’s eyes and asserted her to be a fun, warm person. And for the first time in weeks, she willingly was passed over the door to enter her Easter Sunday class.
Without a toddler-sized fit.
My mama’s heart wanted to go around the corner and have my own praise and worship session right there in the foyer of the church.
Only it was 9:01 and the first worship song had already begun.
As I entered the auditorium, ready to soak up all the Spirit offered, I thought for a moment about how this wonderful nursery volunteer had no idea what she has just done for me, a tired mama who pours as much as I can into my family and friends and ministry through the week…but who needs to fill up each Sunday morning. So I can continue to pour out. And I thought for a moment:
This dear lady had no idea that at that moment, for me, she held the most important job in the church.
And then I thought of the entire church worship experience…our pastor, the choir, the worship leader, the band and orchestra, the media ministry, those parking lot attendants, the greeters… and I realized
No matter who you are…
or where you attend…
the most important job in the church should be
the one you are doing.
What do you think the most important job in the church is?Anybody relate to toddler-sized fits at church? Hope you’ll leave a comment- I’d love to read that I’m not the only one!