January 17, 2016
One of my favorite parts about January so far is the chance to go back to church on Sunday mornings. Last July I attempted to assimilate our 3 preschoolers back into church by teaching Sunday School, but all three ended up with the hand-foot-mouth virus. Theo ended up on Oxycodone, losing weight and missing chemo doses. Strike one.
Take two: Theo is currently on a 75% dose of chemo and is handling it well so far. It has been a pressing desire of ours for us all to be in church together again as it’s been 15 months of alternative Sunday mornings. This month we are trying out a new Sunday morning routine. I bring everyone to church to sit in the sanctuary, we stay for the first worship set and then I slip out with Theo, Tim and Cali (ages 4, 3, and 2). We sit in the lobby, eat snack and (try to) follow along with the sermon on TV. After we fold our hands to pray, we slip back into church for the closing worship set. Now, you would have to ask our church family how well we “slip” in and out, but so far we are trying our best. It has been a real joy for me to teach our preschoolers once again about the Lord’s House and how all the people come together to worship and fellowship on the Sabbath.
There’s only one problem with our new routine. It has brought about an old acquaintance of mine: failure. I had forgotten how hard Sunday mornings are with toddlers & preschoolers. To compound matters, for the past 17 years Scott has always been on staff with a church. That means every Sunday morning he leaves the house while I’m still blurry-eyed and jammie-clad. This month is no different. It wasn’t until after I raised my voice with so-and-so this morning that I heard that quiet voice in my head: “You don’t want your kids to remember Sunday mornings as the one day of the week that Mom yelled the most.” Ahh, failure, my old acquaintance.
I think one of the greatest joys for me as a mom, aside from our kids, is the work of Christ within me as a result of my parenting failures. Any success, any parenting trick of value, any moment of parenting joy or satisfaction has honestly begun with a direct failure on my part. The more babies we have in the house the more my failures pile up. But, by God’s grace, I learned early on to press into my failures and not to run away from them. By confessing my failures right away, humbling myself and asking God for wisdom, I have experienced the greatest successes in His strength. Sunday mornings are no exception.
As I return to Sunday morning society I just wanted to encourage moms and dads out there. Do not run away from your failures, do not shut down, do not tell yourself you aren’t cut out for this parenting thing. Instead, press in. Confess your failures and receive the total forgiveness available to you through Christ. Then humble yourself and ask God for wisdom. Know with confidence that your job as a discipler of a mini-Christ follower is as great an assignment as any other on Earth. God cares for you and He cares about the struggles you face. He is with you as you try to get yourself dressed, while your toddler gets undressed, while your baby fills his diaper, while your preschooler tries to “help” in the kitchen, while your elementary school kid plays a video game in his underwear, while your middle schooler tells you she has nothing to wear ( just a hypothetical, of course. )
Our God gave you, and only you, your child. In His sovereign omnipotence He knew that you were the best person in human history to raise this particular child. There is no better placement for your child then with you. Know also that God’s word promises us wisdom when we ask. Know without a doubt that He will give you the specific insights, tricks, strategies and routines that will work for you and your family in your current season of life. Parenting books are a useful tool, but make sure your first go-to is time with the Father.
One more thing … Look out, because this current season will change, probably as soon as you get good at it. You’ll need to keep the failure/confession/humility/wisdom chain of action close at hand. You’re going to need it.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.