Most of you know these things about me but for those of you who do not… it is important I catch you up on where I am in this chapter of the story God is writing for me.
I have four young children. My boys are eight, six and five. My daughter is three. My husband is a pastor of a church in a denomination called the Presbyterian Church in America… say that three times fast.
Every Sunday, I get to go to work with my husband. Bring my kids. And sit in the front row.
In my dreams Sunday mornings are well, easy. There is a whole song about it. Easy Like Sunday Morning. So soothing to think of that song. In my dreams I hear that soothing instrument and Lionel Ritchie. And in my life, in this season, I wish this song were my truth. I want you to think it is easy and a joy and a delight to go to my husband’s work place on Sunday mornings. After all, his work is for Jesus.
But my reality. Hmmm. Even on the best of Sunday mornings, Sundays for me, are about as easy as well, the Tasmanian Devil. Dirty-dust-cloud and spit-swirling-chaos.
745 Kids upstairs. Make beds, get dressed, brush teeth.
825 Kids downstairs. Shoes, breakfast, dog out. CLEAR instructions about kids cleaning their own plates.
850 Me upstairs. Try on at least four different outfits. Stress about looking too wrong. Not pastor’s wife enough. Dry shampoo my hair. Daughter upstairs while I make-up. She wants to know about all of the eight items I put on my face. What they are and if she can use them. We have an argument because I NEED TO BE ON TIME and I don’t have time to do this on this day. I stress again about looking wrong. But reassure myself in the mirror that wrong or right to humans, I am enough. Because of Jesus I am enough. Breathe, smooth my half-washed hair again. Say it again. Because of Jesus I am enough.
915 Coats are strung across the small wooden table which was my mother’s and sits right behind my sofa. Kids did clean up their dishes. (Hallelujah Chorus) I leave the crumbs. My pre-four-children-self hates this. I shut her voice down, I can’t be that girl anymore. I give the first “get in the car” warning. I’ve had coffee but still haven’t eaten. I am caffeinated but hangry. Dog comes in. My oldest mostly cares for her and gives her what she needs to been happy while we are gone.
918 Someone has to pee. Or poo. Or the dog pooed. Or peed. My life revolves mostly around poo or pee. Vomit sometimes too but mostly poo and pee. Today it wasn’t that. Today it was about a plastic piece of fake lipstick. My daughter was in tears because one of her brothers stomped on her Anna lipstick and it had mud on it. Tell brother that the most important job he has on Sundays, is to be a peacemaker. For his mommy, for Jesus. Be a peacemaker. Go back inside to rinse mud off fake lipstick.
924 Try not to get crazy-eyed and loose my crap in the driveway. I am almost always crying or yelling by this point. Hangry lighting is not my best lighting. Breathe. Also notice stain on the skirt of the outfit that took me way too long to choose. Sunday School and Adult Community Groups are in six minutes and I have a four minute drive so skirt with stain it is. Breathe again. Check the mirror. Say I am enough. Because of Jesus. I am enough.
928. Heck who am I kidding sometimes 935. Pull into Sunday school drop-off circle and cheat park because this is the easiest way to get my four children into my husband’s workplace while I am hangry with a stained skirt and dry shampooed hair. Battle the Pop-a-Shot basketball hoop, my new nemesis which has been perfectly placed near my cheat parking spot. Shoo boys away from giant idol and into classrooms where each of them are welcomed by the very BEST Sunday School teachers a boy could have.
940 My three year old cries because I’m abandoning her. She uses those words. Abandonment. Knife to my heart. I know it’s developmental. I know she will be okay. I am beyond late for Adult Communities.
942-1000. Get stopped by friends in the hallway or heck, I stop friends in the hallway. I’m an extrovert. Sooooo. Late. For. Community Groups.
1000-1030. Go to Community Groups. Overshare waaaaaa-y too much. Feel insecure about oversharing. (Make note to no longer attend Community Groups to spare everyone from my oversharing.)
1030-1045. Pick up boys and army crawl pass my daughter’s classroom because if she sees me the abandonment argument returns.
1045 Worship begins. Inhale. Exhale. Pray that the visitors and members who are here don’t hate the fact that me and my three boys are sitting here with this giant mess of markers, notebooks, Bibles and crafts from Sunday School in the front row and that our chaos does not distract them from Jesus. Really need to be praying that this chaos does not distract me from Jesus. Also praying no one needs to pee or poo.
1046-1110 Try to keep crazy eyes and disappointed sighs towards my children to a minimum. I hear the whispers of my name in my children’s counseling sessions when they are grown. My mother was always so stressed out in church. She was hangry. And crazy-eyed.
This all goes on. Even after I drop the children’s church eligible kids off for their developmentally appropriate church program and am left with one kiddo there with me in the front row.
I hear nuggets of what my husband is saying. What God is saying. Jesus opens my ears to what I need to hear. The Word in my lap and it being taught is the thing I crave most. I mark up my Bible with the little I can absorb.
1145 I now am aware that I have four kids to pick up/get to the car on my own and three boys I need to unglue from the Pop-a-Shot before I can them out the door. Breathe and prepare for the chaos awaiting me in five minutes. For the dirty-dust-cloud and spit-swirling-chaos.
1148. Final song. The Doxology.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen
I know the words. I know them well. But in this moment. After I make sure my son is signing them, I stand with eyes closed and I listen. I barely sing a word. I stand with ears fully opened. I listen to the voices of my community. I breathe each word and note in deeply. This is my Sunday moment. In this season of life– I’m grasping at truth wherever I can get it. And this Doxology. These voices all around me. That beautiful Amen. I want to stand in it forever. I don’t want it to end. I want to hear it all week long.
This is the moment that makes it for me on Sundays. I love my husband’s sermons, he is a gifted preacher of God’s Word. I love listening to what I miss via audio on Monday morning.
But I cannot get that community Amen from a recording. You can’t pick out each individual voice and rejoice in the fact that one day you will sing this Amen with them at the feet of Jesus. The Doxology. The stillness. The skirt stains. The crazy eyes. This is where I stand in my story of this Sunday morning, with my community, in my chaos and I forget all the moments where I based my worth on how well I executed being at work with my husband with my four kids in the front row and remember why I am there.
To Praise Him. With how little I have to give. Feeling hangry, unraveled, unworthy, dirty-dust-clouded and spit-swirling–almost always on the verge of big hot-mess tears.
That Amen, that community. That is what I love about Sundays. That I can come as a Tasmanian Devil. Hangry. That I am worthy of that Amen because of a Jesus who died for me. Not when I was perfect. But when I was a skirt-stained hot-mess. That Amen. Those people singing it together. To Jesus. That makes all the swirling around worth it. That’s what I love about Sundays. I feel His goodness surrounded by community. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.