It’s Sunday morning and you snoozed your alarm one too many times. You got to bed later than normal last night because you finally decided to use your Saturday night for some adult time and spring for a babysitter. Now you’re exhausted and running late. How in the world are you going to make it to church on time? How many meltdowns will be had before you finally open that car door in the church parking lot? At least a hundred, you already know. Whew, the thought of it all just makes you want to pull the covers over your head!
Don’t we all have these Sunday mornings? I honestly feel that Satan works harder than normal on Sunday mornings as we try to get our families out the door to church. He will try to put any and every obstacle in our way so that we will just wave the white flag and stay home. Not today Satan!
My husband is a pastor, and I have learned a few habits that have helped me get my family out the door on Sunday mornings without needing an exorcism by the time we get to church!
1. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare!
The more we can prepare the night before, the easier our Sunday morning will be. This can be hard if you have a busy Saturday or are going to be out late. But even investing just 15 minutes right before you hit the sack will save you so much headache the next morning. If I find myself wanting to just go to bed and push it off until the morning, I always tell myself, “I would rather do this right now than when I’m running late, frustrated, and tired in the morning.”
Make it easy and able to take on the go! My favorite kid-friendly breakfast is this recipe for super yummy, nutritious muffins (scroll down to the bottom for the recipe). It even has veggies and flaxseed hidden inside! You can make these a day or more ahead of time, keep in the fridge, then chop some fruit to go with them. My son also likes a piece or two of turkey bacon to go with it.
My husband and I usually do a protein shake on the way to church. Our favorite is Premiere Protein’s chocolate flavor. We put it in our coffee, and it tastes like a white chocolate mocha from Starbucks!
Get everyone’s church outfits laid out, including your own! Don’t forget all the little accessories, too: socks, shoes, bows, ties, etc. And go ahead and iron/steam them, because ain’t nobody got time for that on Sunday mornings!
I swear my son is hungrier at church than any other time in his life. The amount of snacks I have to pack is unreal. I pack his diaper bag the night before and make sure it has all the essentials: diapers, wipes, bibs, bottles, etc. If I feel like walking down the stairs into the garage (every ounce of energy on Saturday night is precious, am I right?), I will go ahead and put the diaper bag in the car.
Don’t forget those comfort items, too–the teddy bear, extra pacifiers, or blankie. Kids don’t always feel the most comfortable in their nursery care or classroom. It can save you from getting called out of the service to tend to a tantrum if your little ones have their comfort items.
2. Set the Tone
Attitude is Everything
As a mother, you are the CEO of Culture and Experience of your home. Your attitude sets the tone for every single person in your family. If you wake up Sunday morning grouchy, short-tempered, and complaining about going to church, your children are going to do the exact same thing.
From the moment you start your Sunday morning, be intentional about being joyful and excited, even when you don’t feel like it. We teach our children what is valuable in life by our own actions. If we make church every Sunday a non-negotiable, we are showing our children how important it is. Remind your children how much of a privilege it is that we can worship freely in our country. It is a blessing that we can openly meet together with our church family, and we should be very thankful and excited about this.
Utilize the Commute
We don’t have to wait until we get to church to worship the Lord! Instead of leaving a gap for a fight to break out between the kids (or worse, the adults) on the ride to church, crank up your kids’ favorite Christian songs and jam out together. Or choose a Bible verse each month that you practice each Sunday on the way to church as a family. Create some hand motions to help remember the verse and work on memorizing it together.
3. Get Yourself Fed
As easy as it can be to put all the focus on getting our kids situated and settled where they need to be on Sunday mornings, we have to make ourselves a priority, too! I have spent one too many Sunday mornings in the nursery instead of small group or the worship service because my son was going through a clingy phase or had an ear infection. I felt terrible leaving him in the nursery crying his little eyes out!
But we have to remember that those tears usually stop a couple minutes after we leave them anyway. They get distracted by toys or friends and are happy again. The longer we linger at the drop off, the longer the tears typically last.
Trust your children with the amazing people in your church’s children’s ministry, knowing they will 100% come get you if something is wrong. Get yourself to your small group or worship service and enjoy yourself.
We don’t get too much time by ourselves as moms. We usually have a little person hanging on our legs, crying to be picked up, scraping their knees, hitting, biting, or fighting. Use this time at church to truly engage with your church family and get refreshed by the Holy Spirit. If you are like me, it is hard to spend the amount of time in God’s Word that I really want and need to during the week. So when we have this uninterrupted time on Sunday mornings, let’s take full advantage of it.
I See You, Mama
With all the obstacles in our way on Sunday morning, it is amazing we ever make it to church on time. As a pastor’s wife, I see you, Mama. I know what it feels like. I have those same mornings. My family has the same struggles your family does.
If you could only see all the chaos that goes into getting my people out the door wearing their nice pretty outfits and standing up in the pulpit to preach the sermon each Sunday! When your family shows up late, with tears streaming, fighting, and crying, don’t be embarrassed. The devil works hardest on Sunday mornings. I promise your pastor and other church leaders know that. Don’t worry about showing up looking like the perfect family.
Life is hard, and we are all struggling. Your church family is the one place you can walk in, be completely yourself, and not be judged for not measuring up to our culture’s picture of perfection. Embrace the mess, cling to Jesus, and keep showing up. You’re doing great, Mama!