Today was a bad church day.
My children are not very well behaved in church, I am the very first to admit it. They run between Dad (at the front of the sanctuary providing his musical talent) and myself. Gwen chatters quietly in the pews and Hans is unable to hold still even for a second it seems. Despite this, we’ve never really run into any issues and the congregation generally is very encouraging. Unfortunately, today that changed. During the opening hymn Gwen was pulling the hymnals from the pews and lying them on the floor, paging through them as she often does. She went to stack them on our pew and continued to rearrange them from the pew to the floor. As the pastor asked us to “share the peace” I reached towards Hans to help him say “good morning” and shake hands because he usually is nervous about this part of church. He and I shook hands with people behind me and as I was reaching back to shake an elderly woman’s hand she stuck her finger out at Gwen and said “You should not allow your kids to destroy our church’s hymnals.” I was taken aback but I still shook her hand and said good morning then promptly turned around. I quickly replaced all of the hymnals into there slots. Gwen made it very clear that she wasn’t going to leave the books alone so I gathered our personal things, took their hands and headed for the nursery.
I was upset, sad and discouraged today. I personally made a very big effort this summer to get the kids out of the nursery and into the sanctuary for the church service. Although there is a speaker connected to the Pastor’s microphone in the nursery, I wanted to get the kids used to attending church services. In the nursery they are distracted by the toys and coloring books, I know they aren’t listening because I can barely hear Pastor over the ruckus they create. As we made the switch to the sanctuary Hans realized that he enjoys the children’s message every week. He likes to be involved and that Pastor listens to his questions/comments and answers him. Gwen enjoys the childrens message too but is easily distracted and likes to wander between the front of the church and back to me. We take advantage of the busy bags provided by the church, with their coloring books and crayons, quiet toys and books. These are usually a lifesaver for me and help out immensely.
Today I felt as though we were condemned to the nursery, thrown out of the congregation so to speak.
My kids are young, ages 5 and 3, the eldest is in preschool 2-3 days a week. He takes a tumble class, dance class and attends Sunday school on a regular basis. He is learning how to follow orders and how to behave in a group of people, wait his turn and other essential life skills. He has memorized the Lords Prayer and I am very proud of the progress he’s made this year. Gwen is 3 and she is a completely different story from her brother. She has no structure in her life, she gets away with a lot of things and she tends to talk incessantly. I know that as a stay at home mom that falls directly on my shoulders and we are working on it. She is strong willed, independent, wild and free and even though we clash, I love her for it. She will be very successful someday in whatever she does. For now, we just roll with it.
I love the church we belong to because they support my husband very well. They accepted him immediately when we came to back to Miller. He is a very talented musician and provides a very good service for the church that he enjoys immensely. The pipe organ there is his favorite. It occurs to me to wonder if people forget sometimes that I am alone in my children’s church journey. Essentially I am on my own for the majority of Sundays while he is involved with the church choir and other various activities.
At this time I am undecided of how I want to deal with this. The vindictive side of me wants to skip church for the rest of forever and disappear. How easy would it be just to remove the “problem kids” all together? Take the kids out of church, sleep in a little on Sunday.. The other side of me knows how wrong that is. We baptized our children in a church and we want them to have a healthy and fulfilling spiritual life. I want them to share the joy of the church family as Collin does. I believe that they deserve that and that they will grow into it someday. I am at a little bit of loss and I will take this week to think it through.