They Need Your Children!
Can I get an amen???
Last Sunday morning was awesome. I rolled out of bed and the baby actually stayed asleep, so
I was able to get so much done! Not just for that morning, but in prep for my upcoming camping trip. I even got lunch in the IP while the big girls were getting the baby dressed. And yes, I was still a little late for church, but I didn’t really care because I was feeling like a rock star.
Ladies, this Sunday stands out because there have been sooooooo many that have not went this well. Like, literally hundreds of them! I am usually the hot mess that shows up ten minutes late with at least one child either wearing mismatched shoes or pants that are too small or has breakfast in his hair (or all three!). My seven-year-old does not understand that collars go on the outside of your shirt, not tucked in, and I often don't realize that he hasn't fixed it til the end of the service. And my teen is going through a phase where she thinks sweatpants work for church (Lord help me, this drives me nuts, but I refuse to criticize her about it). I sometimes can understand why some mamas just choose to stay home until their kiddos are bigger...
I can understand, but I don't recommend it. Because I feel like your children really need church. And I feel like the church really needs your children.
I'll say that again: the church needs your children.
And not just because they will be future members. The church needs your children now. In all their messy, disruptive glory. They need their loud worship, silly dancing, and loud speaking that comes at the most inopportune time ("We don't talk while someone else is talking, " how many times have I repeated this phrase during church????). They need their silly smiles and sweet little faces. They need to hear newborns' cries and see them get soothed by their mothers. They need their complete, and sometimes brutal, honesty.
Because children tie us to our humanity. Where is there a greater picture of our great need than a little child? I mean, my son can't put his underwear on correctly half the time (how can he be 4 years old and not have figured this out yet???). He can't even care for himself beyond the most basic things. At least, not very well. If he were left alone in our house and told to care for himself, I guarantee the first thing he would eat would be all the candy that is stashed on the high shelf in the pantry. And then he would refuse to wipe himself when that candy gave him bathroom trouble. It would be a disaster.
The people in our churches need to see their own great need for constant guidance, and there is no better illustration of that than a child. Jesus thought so. In Matthew 18 the disciples are wanting to know who is the greatest in heaven (again). And what is Jesus's answer? He calls a kid over. I can just imagine this little guy coming forth, probably having bed head and breakfast still on his face, dirty bare feet, most likely picking his nose or pulling his undies out of his bottom, and Jesus stands him before the disciples and says:
The word "humble" appears 81 times in the Bible. Jesus and Paul and King Solomon especially talk about it several times. It's kind of important.
My youngest's potty training journey has been an especially hard one. I can look at him having his accidents and be so frustrated or even angry that he hasn't gotten it yet. Or I can look at the wet underwear and say, "Yeah, there are a lot of things that I just haven't figured out quite yet also, buddy. Let's get you some dry undies and try again." God, forgive me for all the times I have responded the first way! And God forgive those in church who have looked at your children and judged you for their childish behavior. God, keep us humble!
I'm not saying that we shouldn't train our children to behave well in church so that everyone can be exposed to their raw humanness, I'm just saying that the church needs you children, mama. Don't give up going to church! It's worth the hard work of getting them there. It's good for your children, it's good for you, it's good for others.
When Paul was talking about the importance of the different parts of the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12, I truly believe he was not just talking about those in leadership, but every single person who belongs to the family of God. They are all important and vital. And that includes you, mama, and that includes your children.