If you are a regular reader to my blog you know that just a little over seven months ago our family had the joy of our youngest son arriving into the world! Judah is an absolute gift, and it has been wonderful to watch our eldest Nathanael become a great older brother.
There are so many shifts in life when a baby arrives into the family, new routines of how your household is run, new roles for a sibling and perhaps other family members taking on new responsibilities can happen, even your time at church is altered by having a baby.
That is what I thought I would chat about today in what I have dubbed “faith in the parenting room” The parenting room I am sure is found in many a church, it’s a room out of the way, with a live link where you can take your youngsters to feed, change, play, a space where they won’t disturb others in worship or during the preach. In my opinion they are marvellous thing I would hate if my children were distracting someone anywhere and of course this applies to church, however I would say that at times, the parenting room can be an isolating place to sit.
I hate – make that loathe being late so we are always early to church, at the worst we are on time, and after signing Nathanael up to the children’s programme I might if I am fortunate get to participate in the first two praise songs before exiting from the back.
At this point I have missed greeting new people, I have missed notices and prayer as I tend to the needs of my son.I might hear the preach but I love to take notes and that is tricky while breastfeeding or rocking a baby to sleep.
I usually have to hurry out, for naptimes or lunchtimes as our service ends quite late for a three year olds stomach. At times, as I am sure many parents have, I feel like I am just showing up but not taking anything in or serving in anyway.
You can feel over looked in the parenting room, because like I said you are in church but you are not really seen, a common phrase can be heard “ I haven’t seen you in ages” and you have lost count of how many times you have had to say “no I can’t do that at the minute”
I think it can be quiet easy to quit, or skip out on church, it can be easy to drop into a cycle of non attendance especially if you have experienced some of what I have explained, but keep going. Keep showing up, I read recently a quote from Stephen Furtick that said some of the most faithful people are often the most frustrated people, because they’re committed to the cause. I am pretty sure he might have been talking about this in relation to teams but I think this can apply to the parenting room. I am beyond committed to live out a faith filled life, not only for my relationship with Jesus but also to demonstrate this to my sons. Simply showing up when it is tricky or other things are more convenient, I am living out, what I want my sons to follow, we don’t quit.
The parenting room is a season embrace where you are at.
It can be tempting at times to imagine you had all the time before to serve on this and that, or to take notes or think about missed opportunities but thankfully the Bible counsels us on these things
Don’t ask why the old days were better than now,
because that is a foolish question.
Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze on what lies in front of you
I am amazed each day by how fast my children are growing and how quickly they are learning new things. You won’t be in the parenting room forever embrace it, the chances are you will likely romanticise it in the future!
No isn’t a negative response it is a positive choice to say Yes to something or someone else.
Your “no” to serve on that team or to attend an event aren’t personal to either those who are asking or to those that are hosing them. Your no is neither a full stop declaration that won’t participate in future, view your No as a Yes.
You are saying Yes to your children,
Yes I will pick them up straight after the children’s programme,
Yes I am the one who gets to have cuddles with my little one.
Yes I am prioritising the greatest calling I will ever have in life – that of parenting my children.
You are serving might not be obvious but it is still serving.
Those quick conversations in the parenting room, the opportunity to hold another child while Mum or Dad tend to someone else, that recommendation on teething powders or what type of food to wean with first.
I have had some invaluable advice while I have been in the parenting room and hopefully I have shared what has helped with my children too.
I think we are missing something when we don’t give God the glory for those random moments or encounters in the parenting room. You might not be on a door greeting anyone, and you might not be on the stage (who would want to be there anyway – my idea of a nightmare) it is less obvious to others perhaps even yourself, but you are still serving in the parenting room
Reach out to others.
On a Sunday you might have a crazy day, your toddler might be in a bad mood, your baby might be hungry or needing a nap, and you may have to dash in and dash out of church in some tornado like fashion. Reach out to others, I have some incredible friends who I can depend on to have a moan too and they are also brave enough to tell me to stop moaning too!
Faith in the parenting room may have those isolating moments, you may feel unseen or unheard, you may even lose touch with the next event or happening in church but you are never forgotten or unseen by God. He always sees you, he is with you wherever you go. It is in my daily parenting as I reach out to God and handover my children to him that I see his love for us so tangibly.