Sometimes getting a family to church is hard. Many weeks it feels like there’s a Murphy’s law just for churchgoers—If anything can go wrong on Sunday morning, it will! Satan hates God’s people and he despises seeing them meet to worship and gain strength from each other and God’s Word. He hates to see them challenged to let God make them more like Himself and encouraged to share that life-change with others. I think he delights in throwing roadblocks in our attempts to get to church—and if we get around the road blocks, he wants us to be bent out of shape, yelling at our kids, and in a rotten frame of mind when we get there…Just to get out of the car, paste on a happy face and tell everybody we are GREAT!!!
For a long time, Sunday morning at our house was a disaster. I hated Sunday! What should have been the best day of the week was the very worst. I dreaded it.
But I learned that there are a few things we can do to make Sunday mornings go a lot more smoothly. Some simple preparations can make a good morning great and a rough morning better. I asked some wise mamas and read insights from ladies who once had several children to get ready for church, just as I do. This is what I learned to do to make Sunday morning a happy day. It’s not a cure-all, but it’s helped me a lot. I can truly say that I love Sunday morning!
1. Go to bed early Saturday night.
Saturday is often a night for social occasions, but it’s best for a good Sunday morning if we—and our kids—get adequate rest. So enjoy a social Saturday evening, just don’t stay up too late. Exhaustion makes everyone sluggish and grumpy.
2. Lay out clothes.
Lay out everything for everyone on Saturday night, right down to hair bows, underwear, socks, and shoes. Don’t forget yourself! If you are still in diaper bag days, make sure the bag is packed too.
3. Bathe everyone Saturday night.
Don’t try to bathe everyone on Sunday morning. Put them to bed clean!
4. Plan a simple breakfast.
I ditched oatmeal, which was time-consuming, messy, and usually didn’t get eaten, for cereal bars. They don’t provide the best nutrition in the world, but at least the kids eat before we go and they don’t make too much of a mess. I’ve experimented lately with homemade granola bars too—the bottom line is just to give them something fast, semi-nutritious, and not too messy. Sometimes my kids just eat fruit on Sunday morning.
5. Simple grooming!
Keep clothes and hair simple for everyone. My girls love me to roll their hair, but it’s rare that I do, simply because it’s time consuming. I try to have everyone presentable, but not get too caught up in perfection. Anyone who has had 4 little people to get ready knows that some days we are more successful at the “presentable” thing than others! J
6. Get up early.
Sunday morning isn’t a day to sleep in. You’ll only feel more harried and frustrated. I try to get up around 6:00 on Sunday morning in order to have everyone ready for the 8:30 service. And even then, we have to keep moving.
7. Get ready first.
If I can be up a few minutes before the kids to dress, do my hair and makeup, and grab a bowl of cereal, then I don’t have to worry about me at all. I can focus on getting everyone else ready. It makes a world of difference.
8. Prepare your heart.
I try to take a few seconds to breathe and remember why I’m doing what I’m doing. Some people like to put scripture on the mirror or listen to the Bible on CD or worship music while they get ready. Church isn’t a club or social event, something I do just because it’s socially expected or a good habit. It’s a day that I get to take my family to worship our Savior with others who know Him. It’s worth going to a lot of trouble for that, and it’s worth remembering why!
I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to say here for a couple days. Ironically, Murphy’s Law for churchgoers was in full effect this morning at our house. I was up in the middle of the night with 3 of my 4 kids. I overslept by 30 minutes. Before I even got up, I had spit-up in my hair. Morning found 3 sets of dirty sheets and a baby and 3-year-old that needed to be re-bathed. Before I could bathe the baby, the 3-year-old dumped baby’s bathtub all over the floor, soaking herself in the process. The 7-year-old couldn’t find her shoes (the only thing we failed to lay out last night). Finally I got everyone cleaned up and ready to go, sat down to feed baby one last time, and…Well, I had to change her clothes yet again. (At least she missed getting me dirty again, barely.) By this time the objective changed from “getting to church on time” to just “getting to church.” We arrived and discovered that the Snugli wasn’t in the van. We made it inside in the middle opening announcements—not too bad–but there weren’t enough seats left for all of us. This was a morning I’m especially thankful for the wonderful childcare our children’s ministers provide! They always have room for my kids!
I was so glad that I had made a few preparations in advance. They kept me from melting down and giving up. If we hadn’t had a plan in place and had our things ready to go, we certainly wouldn’t have made it to church, and church is something we need. It turned out to be a great day of worship.
What I’ve learned:
Churchgoing has to be a priority, and
you have to plan for it. Otherwise it just won’t happen.
IT’S WORTH IT!!!