Sunday, August 13, 2006

What A Difference A Week Makes!

Today, I was able to truly worship! The praise and worship time was meaningful and God used the sermon to convict my heart of some of that stubborn hurt and bitterness that I need to deal with. The kids were like totally different kids than they were last week! Annie sat through the whole service looking at a book and the other kids did pretty well. There were a few bumps in the road, but I am grateful that I was able to worship today.

So my experience today and last Sunday taught me a few things. Even though there are going to be bad weeks, like last week, they aren't the norm. On average I'd say we have more good days than bad ones. If I would have given up after last week, and believe me it was tempting, I would have missed the joy of worshipping today.

Secondly, I need to have some grace in regards to my kids. They are kids, not robots. They are learning and will be a little wiggly and loud at times. Sometimes I think my expectations are too high and I over correct. When I get too obsessed about every little thing (like a marker on the floor) then I am unable to worship at all. Then who is standing in the way of sitting through church? It's not them, it's me! If my expectations are too high, we're all miserable.

And sometimes I wonder why it is that I am so worried about how they act in church. Sure, part of it is because I want to worship. But sometimes I think it is a lot more about how we look to others than I want to admit. We must all sit nice and still in church so we will look like a "good little christian family". I hate having to admit to those attitudes.

Here are some of the things we've tried with our family. We sit in the front row. There are a few reasons for this. One is I want Mike to be able to sit with us when he's not directly involved in the service. Also, the kids can see what is going on and hopefully feel more involved. And I want to leave the back open for visitors. We visited a church once where the only open seats were in the front. Most people don't want to march right up to the front when they are in a new place.

We have special "church bags" that have a notebook and some colored pencils in them. Each kid has one. They can use them after the singing time.

I try to talk to them in advance about what I expect and get them to use the bathroom before church starts. I'm trying to remember that I'm teaching them not just to sit still and quiet, but to participate in worship themselves.

I'm grateful that God gave us a good worship experience today. Hopefully bad ones like last week will be few and far between. Does anyone have any comments or ideas on what works for them?

Psalm 95:6-7
"Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Regarding how to get your kids to sit through the service, I've heard this idea: Ask your children to listen for a word/words that they hear the pastor say a lot during the sermon. Then tell them that they should draw a picture of the meaning of the word or what the word makes them think of. This gives them practice actually listening to the pastor and picking out main ideas (words) as well as lets them draw purposefully. After the service, their drawings can be a good tool for discussion.