With six little children in tow, I usually arrived at Hickory Grove Presbyterian Church on Sunday mornings looking not so much like a saintly wife and mother as like a weary, frazzled, bear wrangler. If the kids were fed, decently dressed, and nobody had a dirty diaper, we were doing great. Me, I always looked frumpled and smelled of either spit up or diaper ointment. On good days, I concentrated on breathing and managed a dazed smile. On bad mornings, I herded kids irritably and tried not to growl.
One Sunday morning, having deposited all my charges in their appropriate classrooms, I stood in the "fellowship hall" (we met in a vacant restaurant) and watched in jealous amazement as Teresa breezed in with her three curly-haired cherubs. A pilot, Teresa's husband was frequently out of town, and it wasn't unusual for Teresa to have sole responsibility for getting her brood to church Sunday mornings. Teresa, hugely pregnant, swept in the door with a cloud of toddlers at her feet. Attractively dressed and wearing makeup, she smiled as she entered. "Good morning!" Her three beautiful children, bright-eyed and neatly attired, bounced off to their classes.
"How do you do it?" I asked. "Here you are - on time, calm, pretty, smiling. And you got here all by yourself. You are so together. How do you do it?!" Me, I was on the verge of tears, wishing I could sneak home alone for an hour and take a nap.
Teresa looked me straight in the eye and smiled. "It's a facade!"
Oh. So she felt no more "together" than I did. She was a frazzled bundle of nerves, too, under that beautiful veneer. We laughed as we headed for the coffee pot and some hot, black comfort.
Why...WHY is it SO HARD to get out of the house on Sunday morning?!!!
I thought this would get easier, less frustrating as my children got older. In some ways, it has. We don't often have frantic, last-minute searches for missing shoes (the shoes that were so carefully set out the night before). Nobody throws up on me just as I'm heading out the front door to church, or has a blow-out diaper in the car seat en route. Yes, in some ways, the Sunday morning process is much easier. But nowadays, it seems the problem is me - not messy babies or potty-training toddlers.
As I stepped into the entrance foyer at Grace yesterday, a group of smiling faces greeted me. "Good morning!"
My reply? "WHY IS IT SO HARD TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE ON SUNDAY MORNING?!!" They responded in sympathetic laughter.
After an exhausting, late-night Saturday, I lingered in the bed 15 minutes past my absolute-latest-allowable getting up time. I was still so tired! Then, shower, dress, and rush to start the morning. Wash the dishes left from last night. (How is it that all the dishes can be clean when you go to bed, yet there are almost always dirty dishes waiting in the sink when you get up in the morning? Somebody explain that for me.) Get dinner started so that it would be ready when we returned home. Make pimiento cheese for sandwiches for the Sunday evening fellowship. Toast bagels for breakfast. Ten minutes for make-up. Take a few minutes to review the Sunday school lesson. Wash up any breakfast dishes. Make sure the oven is set to bake the pork chops. Coat, purse, Bible, and whoosh! out the door.
My neck felt like a bundle of steel cords and I was having to practice my Lamaze breathing as I walked up the steps to the church building.
I think Satan's minions work overtime Sunday mornings. And, in an odd way, that should be encouragement to persevere, to push through the stress and the chaos. What is he working so hard to keep us away from? Our adversary knows that something rich and good and precious awaits God's children when they limp to His house, week after week. Something worth the effort. But I'll save that for my next post!
6 days ago