Sunday, February 16th, 2014 will forever go down in Posthuma family folklore and history as THE. MOST. PEACEFUL. SUNDAY. MORNING. EVER! No fighting, no tears, no fits, no bad attitudes, no lost shoes, no nothin’. One of my children was away at Winter Camp, so that meant there was just one at home (plus me) to get ready for church. We arrived at church early, with no bad attitudes to confess and make right with Jesus before we entered into worship – this is no small miracle! *smile*
Sunday mornings can be challenging for any family trying to get to church. However, they can be especially challenging for ministry families. Can I get an amen? Normally, there is just one parent at home to get the children ready on Sunday mornings. Plus, ministry families are among the first to show up to church to prepare for the morning and among the last to leave, which makes for a very long day, especially for little ones, bless their hearts.
As I basked in the glory of last week’s peaceful Sunday morning, I realized we have been having more and more of them these days. It used to be the calm Sunday mornings were few and far between, maybe one per month. Thankfully, it has now evened out and the peaceful mornings outweigh the chaotic ones. Of course, it helps that my children are, for the most part, self-sufficient and can feed, bathe and clothe themselves in addition to ironing their own clothes and styling their own hair. As I stop and think about it, they have come such a long way and I am proud of them!
But for those of us in the throes of raising young or several children, I offer some tips and strategies I have learned through the years to help with what I (non-affectionately) call the “Sunday Morning Scramble”:
- Prep as much as you can the night before. Does everyone know what they are going to wear? Is it clean? Are (both) shoes easily accessible? This includes you, mom – don’t wait until Sunday morning to decide what you are going to wear, take the extra few minutes to decide what you will wear. I can’t tell you how many times my husband has come home to find our bedroom looking like the mall exploded in the closet and flowed out into the bedroom. Trust me, this can cause terror in the heart of a husband. *smile*
- Have as many people as possible shower or bathe on Saturday night. One church where we served had a Saturday night service. Because my children were very small, we didn’t attend that service. Instead Saturday night became bath time, pizza and movie night and though we missed my husband each and every Saturday night, this became a fun tradition for the kids and me. When they woke up Sunday morning, they were all clean and ready to go.
- Pray. “Help me Jesus” is a common prayer of mine on Sunday mornings. However, several years ago, I wrote a more specific prayer that I prayed over my family and our church on Sunday mornings. Feel free to make it your own. Click here – Sunday Morning Prayer.
- Play soothing music. Either worship music or instrumental music works best for us. Soothing music sets the stage for a peaceful morning, whether or not the characters on the stage cooperate with the soothing environment any given Sunday, is anyone’s guess. *smile*
- DONUTS & Gospel Music! Whatever you can do to make getting ready for church fun, do it. We want our kids to be excited to go to church, not dread it. For my kids, making time to stop for donuts on the way was the trick! Also, several years ago, I found a great gospel song, “In the Sanctuary” by Kurt Carr. Every Sunday morning, on the drive to church, we listen to this song and sing along. Sure, my kids have gotten to the age where they act like they don’t like it and I’m the craziest mom on the planet for singing my heart out, but I know deep in their hearts, they love it.
Give yourself and your children lots and lots of grace. I believe that the enemy tries to come against ministry families on Sunday morning. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve arrived at church feeling out of sorts and sometimes even defeated. But because of Jesus and His grace, I’m not defeated, the enemy is! Jesus gives us grace when we blow it. Receive His grace and be sure to extend it to your family as well. A little grace goes a long way!
I hope some of these tips are helpful for you as get your family ready for church on Sunday mornings. I know most people don’t realize all that you and your family has to go through just to get to church in order to serve others. But, Jesus sees your faithfulness. Hear Him whisper to your spirit, “Well done good and faithful servant! ‘You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” Matthew 25:21
Your Friend in Ministry,