We just got home from church. Many of you know the sigh of relief that accompanies making it home from church. We made it through another Sunday.
Making it through church with a handful of littles in tow isn't for the weak of heart. Like many spouses, Paul works lots of Sundays, so I go it alone at church with my four littles frequently. (But single moms or pastors' wives, you totally take the cake on this one. My "every third weekend" alone is nothing compared to your "every weekend" alone at church. My hat is off to you.)
Making it through church without another parent to help calm the chaos is one tough rodeo. Today by the end of the service my boy was ferociously stabbing a styrofoam cup with a pen. No joke. But, our pastor was preaching powerful stuff about the return of Christ, and since the cup-stabbing scenario was actually far quieter than he'd been the rest of the service, I just ignored the stabbing so I could focus on the sermon. I'm not sure what the people behind us thought of my parenting at that point, but so be it.
Prior to the cup-stabbing, my boys had been fighting over mama's lap, and then every time I succumbed to holding them both on my lap, they erupted into laughter as they poked one another's faces and talked to each other through plugged noses. In the meantime, one girl was sulking throughout entire service because her sister got to make a "way cooler big-kid" craft in Sunday School. (The other girl actually participated the entire time, just like we had discussed on the way there, so that was a total win right there.)
It was a rodeo indeed. But we made it.
And it was worth it. We must never let ourselves think it's not worth it. When kids see their parents ignoring the trite things going on in front of them for a few minutes to focus on the massive things of eternity, it helps kids understand the enormity of this God we worship. He is bigger than the chaos of the church pew. His Word demands our attention more than reading the bulletin to our kids. Our kids were created to worship, and they learn how by watching us. Let us never forget that we have an enemy of our souls who hates family worship and will do his best every Sunday to convince us that it's not worth the effort. But it is.
In fact, nothing could be more worth it.
Moms and Dads teaching their kids to worship Jesus by worshiping alongside them carries an eternal significance that we likely can't even grasp. When the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, sending him off as an ambassador of the Gospel, Paul thanked God for the faith of Timothy's mother and grandmother which was passed down to Timothy. Because likely they worshiped with him, in front of him, alongside him. When mamas worship, it impacts generations for eternity.
In church you can often find me standing and singing with a boy in one arm while the other arm is raised in praise (and three other kids doing who knows what at my feet). Today as I was in this posture singing, I heard God whisper to me, "All the time, Rebecca...not just here."
All the time, Rebecca. With a little boy in one arm and one arm raised in praise...All the time, Rebecca. Love your children and simultaneously praise Me. Care for your home and simultaneously praise Me. Cook your meals and simultaneously praise Me. Honor Me while you discipline your children. Praise My name while you shop for Christmas presents. While you wash your dishes and fold your laundry and hug your children and write your blogs and love your husband.
One hand in the world, one had reaching to Heaven. All the time, Rebecca.
Today as our pastor taught about the return of Christ, he said that the first time Christ came into the world, His people were occupied by the Roman government. But this next time Christ comes, probably someday soon, too many of His people will be pre-occupied by the things of this world.
Immediately I was struck at God's persistence in teaching me...I love it when He makes things obvious for me. Just minutes before He had whispered to me about always having one hand in the world and one hand raised to heaven. Now our pastor is preaching about not being too pre-occupied by the things of this world. In other words, don't get both hands tied down in the things of this world.. One hand in the world, one hand reaching to Heaven. All the time, Rebecca.
So now that's my prayer..."Make me a praising Mama. Let me be a mama who worships...not just sometimes, but all the time and in all things." May I be a praising mama not just at church. And not just when the Christmas music is blasting in my kitchen. And not just when it's calm around my feet (is it ever?) but also in the chaos and the stress of family life. When I'm dong laundry and disciplining ninja-boys who get out of control and helping with 2nd grade homework and cooking meals and packing school lunches and running kids to the dentist and breaking up kid squabbles and picking up train tracks.
I'm not good at this. I get distracted and pre-occupied and worried and frazzled.
But I'm praying for it. "Make me a worshiping mama."
May I have one hand in this world doing the tasks God has given me to do, and may I always have one hand reaching to heaven praising the God who gives breath to my lungs and grace to my soul.
Sisters, let's be a generation of mamas who worship, because when mamas worship lives are changed for Jesus. One hand in the world and one hand reaching to Heaven. All the time.