A few Sundays ago I had both boys dressed and ready for church and standing by the front door.
I dashed back to the bathroom to brush my teeth.
When I returned, my youngest son was completely undressed.
Of course I flipped out because WHY IS HE NAKED?!
He informed me that his clothes fell off.
Of course they did.
But here’s what happened – I got mad. Because we were late. And I had been telling them to be ready for 30 minutes. And also someone had spilled an entire box of Cheerios in every crevice of the couch. And no one can find their shoes. And there I was standing in the foyer yelling at everyone to just GET. IN. THE. CAR.
Which of course led to crying. And someone tripping and getting injured in the driveway. Which led to more crying and one mama white-knuckling the steering wheel and wondering maybe we should all just stay home.
Has this happened to you? Have you ever driven to church absolutely fuming and falling apart?
The struggle is real, my friends, and today I want to share with you my secrets for not letting satan have your Sundays.
Because that is precisely what the enemy wants to do. He wants to distract us, discourage us, and make us feel shame before we walk in the doors of church so that WE WON’T WORSHIP.
So, dear mamas, here’s our battle plan…
Now that I have written a whole blog post on this matter, it is out in the open. We are confessing this mess for what it is. We are weak and so very human.
Knowing this, we can get one step ahead of it. We can be prepared for the madness. We can be on guard against the enemy’s attacks. We can visualize everything unraveling while we are getting ready to go to church and then we can say NO to impatience and unkindness when it does start to unravel. We can remember to gather the kids in advance and cast vision for the morning routine – setting clear expectations and consequences, if necessary – and get your troops on the same page.
There might be times, however, where you need to let go of expectations. I have often let my kids attend church wearing superhero costumes or pajamas under their nice clothes because I knew that those were not battles I wanted to pick.
Armies do not march into battle without strategy. So prepare yourself to respond well to whatever the enemy tries to do to thwart your plans to worship.
Repentance and Restoration
While I am getting better at being prepared and responding with grace to my kids’ clothes falling off while we are racing out the door to church, there are still days like the one I described above when the flesh wins. I snap. I holler. It’s not pretty.
After this happens, I am very good at letting shame convince me that I am the worst mom on the planet. In fact, I can talk myself into a ditch pretty fast. But shame and condemnation have no place in the Gospel. You have been forgiven! Set free! Tell Jesus you’re sorry. Tell your hubby and kids you are sorry and then be filled with joy that your behavior is not what God is looking at when you walk into His sanctuary –
It is a heart that is covered by the blood of Christ.
But if you sense that everyone in the family is still grumbly en route to church, try putting on a worship tune. Try telling a corny joke. Try tickling legs when you’re stopped at red lights. Try a game of I Spy. Try a quick family prayer.
The point? Refocus those attitudes. Remember your freedom as believers. Your steps into the church do not have to be heavy. Repentance and restoration will help you remember that this day of church-going is really not about you and your problems. It’s about Jesus. It’s about glorifying and exalting His name.
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!” Psalm 118:24
And in doing so, our problems – our messy clothes-falling-off meltdowns – will fade away in light of the One whom you have gathered to praise.
You’re Not Alone
Don’t think that you’re the only family at church that felt like a hot mess clown car pulling up next to the steeple.
Church is not meant to be a place filled with perfect people. Jesus made that very clear as His ministry was devoted to a bunch of train wrecks.
When you’re looking around the worship center and you see your brothers and sisters in Christ lifting their hands in worship, they are probably doing so not because their morning went perfectly but because they realize how desperate they are for JESUS.
Those who are forgiven much – love much (Luke 7:47).
One of the great blessings and benefits of church is looking around the room and being edified by the faith and outward expression of other Christians.
Outsing the devil
So next time someone has a poop explosion as you’re walking out the door to church, take heart, dear mama! These events did not come to you without passing through the very hands of Christ first. He knows what you need and is glorified that you are choosing to go to church AT ALL.
Prepare your heart for Sundays. Open up your hands and offer all the crazy to Him. Repent when things go awry. Be restored to one another and to your Savior.
Then march confidently into your pew next to all the other imperfect believers and sing Amazing Grace so loud that that old devil flees.
*Special Note – A mentor in our church always encourages us women to show no respect to the devil – not even to capitalize his name. So that is why you find his name in lowercase letters in this post.
Check out my other post for moms with little ones about the importance of going to church HERE.