I see you, momma. I see you walk through the church doors on Sunday morning. I see you holding the hand of a strong willed miniature version of yourself. She looks so precious in her Sunday dress and sandals. She looks just like you.
You settle into a seat at the end of the row so you can make a quick exit. You have your purse filled with your ammunition to fight all the toddler meltdowns. Pencils, paper, toys, snacks, sippy cups; you are prepared for the battle ahead.
The music begins and you sway to the song in hopes that your little one will be lulled by the worship team and drift off into a midmorning nap. The clapping at the end of the song has your toddler clapping along with them. The preaching begins and you’re not even sure of what the message is because you’ve spent the last couple minutes trying to get your child settled.
I see you get discouraged and frustrated when your bag of tricks is empty; you’ve lost the pencil and the snacks are now crushed up bits on the floor. The squirming and whining has begun. You’re still not quite certain what the message is. Your bible remains in your purse because it is replaced by the child in your hands. I see you await anxiously for the worship team to sing again because you know that it will hold that baby’s attention for a couple minutes, or at least drown out the sound of cries and whimpers.
I see you in slight panic because you feel like the congregation is staring at you because you are “that woman with that baby”. You think they’re asking themselves, “Why doesn’t she just go drop her child off at the nursery?” You know that your child will cry for you the entirety of her stay and that’s not something your mommy heart can handle right now.
I see you breathe that sigh of relief when closing announcements end and you can grant your little one some freedom and “let her wiggles out”. You say goodbye to your friends and you toddle out the door.
I see you momma, because I am you. This is me. Every. Sunday. Morning.
There was a time when I simply stopped going to church. I told myself the battle wasn’t worth it, that it was too exhausting and that we would just listen to sermons at home. Those sermons never happened and my personal relationship with Jesus became strained. I used the excuse of my child and that her daddy was on the road to keep me away from the church and from its body.
Stand firm, Momma. You may not realize it, but you are setting the example for that strong willed child of yours, examples that they will remember when they are older. Today, during a prayer, I looked down and saw my little girl’s eyes closed, her head bowed and her hands folder in prayer. I heard her, like me, whisper “amen” when we were finished. I will continue these battles every Sunday. Though it may be hard, so hard, now, these moments will be memories later. When you think everyone in the room is staring at you, they really are not. In fact most of them have been in your shoes.
You’re doing a good job, Momma, and I’m here rooting you on.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
-Proverbs 22:6, ESV