Raising kids. Keeping House. Choosing joy, every day.

How Not to Get Ready for Church on Sunday

It was a Sunday morning, and we were getting ready to worship. Truthfully, I was just getting ready to go to church. I was in no frame of mind to worship. I was trying to get five kids ready for church alone (Peter was at the church early because he’s on staff).

It was one of those mornings. I dressed my seven year old and put her at the table for breakfast. Five minutes later, I noticed her using her white dress as a napkin for her juicy, strawberry-covered hands,

and I lost it.

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“Hope, how many times have I told you to use a napkin, not your clothes? You’ve ruined your dress! Why aren’t you paying attention to what you are doing? Now I have to change you and we’re all going to be late for church!”

I was mad and she knew it. She cried, but I didn’t care.

One forgot their Bible, another their memory verse. One had on shoes that didn’t match and one hadn’t remembered to comb his hair. (HOW do you forget that?)

I huffed, scolded and rushed us all out the door, all the while lecturing that they don’t take worship seriously, that they were so preoccupied with other things that they hadn’t prepared for worship properly,

and at this age, and with all this training, I expected more.

And there was mistake number one.

I wanted children who didn’t need parenting. I was annoyed that I had to remind, check-up, and re-train again.

I wanted the easy version of motherhood and these kids were not it this morning.

Mistake number two: I was already worshipping, but it was the wrong god.

That morning, I worshipped the gods of convenience and ease, the gods of efficiency and order and good reputation. God had given me one thing (my children) and I wanted something else (children who make no mistakes).

We drove to church in silence, and the Holy Spirit was convicting me.

We conversed in my mind and heart, God and I.

The yelling, nagging, threatening all has to go. They are children. They need training. Hope was not being rebellious, she was being childish. Had it happened on another day, a day when I had no where to go, I would have responded better, I’m sure. But I had somewhere to be, a reputation to uphold. What Youth Pastor’s wife shows up late for church with kids smeared with strawberries, no Bible, bed-head and shoes that don’t match? God, why am I struggling with anger like this? How do I train them and not give way to anger? Giving grace doesn’t mean saying that bad behavior is good behavior, does it? How do I balance this and get anything done?

Externals had been the rule of the day for me and I knew I had to make it right.

God reminded me that He doesn’t deal with me this way. Mercy, patience and loving discipline is how God deals with me. He never calls wrong right, but calls us to His loving arms to find forgiveness.

Before I worshipped, I had to ask forgiveness of five children that day. I called my anger and impatience what it was. I didn’t blame them. I told them that when we sin, we can confess it and find forgiveness because Christ already paid for our sins on the cross.

It’s all forgiven and under the blood and that’s what makes grace so amazing. Grace is for sinners. And we all need it, both mother and child alike.

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If you’ve ever struggled with anger or impatience, I highly recommend these books to help you gain victory over this struggle:

  1. Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate
  2. Turn Away Wrath: Meditations to Control Anger & Bitterness
  3. Lord, Change My Attitude: Before It’s Too Late
  4. A Woman’s Walk with God: Growing in the Fruit of the Spirit

*These are my Amazon links. Thanks for supporting JFD’s.