I left church today, and I knew I needed to write when I got home. God had convicted me, and there was a course of action I wanted to take. If I recorded my thoughts and my plan of action, then I was more likely to follow through instead of having a fleeting idea. Now that the kids are all in bed, and Matt is asleep beside me, I can begin on this journey to inconvenience….
For a couple of years now, I have struggled with wanting to go to church. I want to attend and participate in church–it’s the actual going that’s the struggle. Matt is the leader of our church’s tech team, which means he arrives at church every Sunday somewhere between 6:30 and 7 a.m. and, as of late, does not come home until around 2 p.m. Therefore, I have the sole responsibility of getting our three children three and under clothed and fed and packed in our minivan for the drive to church. Satan works very hard on Sundays, and I normally feel very angry by the time I’ve gotten to church after rushing around getting everyone ready by myself.
I used to attend the 9 a.m. service, but after Chloe was born, I didn’t think I could make it that early, anymore. Also, my sister and her husband began attending church at 10:45, so I switched services so that we could all attend together, even though I preferred going to the first service. Having my sister to sit next to helped quell the frustration I felt every Sunday that I sat by myself as my husband worked in the sound booth. I don’t think we’ve sat together in the actual congregation from start to finish of a church service in two and a half years. For me, church has been a lonely and disappointing experience, and every Saturday night, the tension would start to build. I knew the morning chaos that would ensue the following day and how I would feel when I actually got to church. And Matt knew it, too.
I made sure on many occasions to let him know that I was unhappy with the time he spent volunteering at church. He already got home late from work; why did I need to give up Wednesdays, some Saturdays, and half of Sunday to the church? Where did the kids and I fit into this picture?
Today I got my answer. Our pastor began a series on inconvenience–allowing ourselves to enter into inconvenient situations for the greater good. To have great success in marriage, faith, work, etc., we have to allow ourselves to be inconvenienced; nothing worth having comes easy.
I had already been mulling this idea over in my mind as our pastor had previously asked for some people in the congregation to attend the 12:30 p.m. service so that visitors could have plenty of seats during the earlier services. 12:30 would be the most inconvenient time for me to attend. While I would have more time to get the kids ready for church, getting them lunch before church would be difficult but necessary so that they could immediately take naps when they got home. They would be cranky since church would get out after nap time normally begins. And we’d probably still arrive late to church, anyway. People with kids know that the time doesn’t matter; it’s the fact that kids are involved that makes all the difference! And when we finally got home from church, half the day would be over. Even with all my reasons for never wanting to attend the 12:30 service, I felt a pull to start attending, and now I know why.
God showed me the big picture today. Going to church at whatever time I attend, whether with my husband by my side or not, is not about me. It’s about Him. I go to worship Him, and Matt serves to worship Him. If I constantly drop negative comments to Matt about the time he spends away from me, he’s not going to want to spend more time with me. If anything, he’ll find another ministry at church! I am so blessed to have a husband that wants to serve the Lord and not an addiction at a bar or an internet site, and I need to remember that fact. If this ministry is how Matt feels called to serve God, then I need to allow myself the inconvenience of coming to church without his help.
That is not to say that I don’t think Matt and I can strike a happy balance between our two situations, but he knows how I feel. I have to trust that he is doing the best he can to recruit other volunteers so that we can attend church together once in a while. In the meantime, I have to let him take responsibility for this issue without my commentary…
…and I have to attend the 12:30 service. Allowing someone who has never enjoyed church the chance to sit and hear the Gospel instead of possibly standing in the back is worth my attending a more inconvenient service time. I, also, have a responsibility to make Sundays the best day of the week for my children. Going to church is supposed to be a joyful, stress-free time, so we are going to relax starting next Sunday. We will sleep late (is that possible with a three-month old?), go downstairs in our pajamas, and enjoy a huge brunch. Pancakes, eggs, and bacon will become a regular part of our Sunday routine. We’ll go to church full and happy (and probably late). And after church, the kids will fall asleep in the van and stay asleep as we transition them to their beds…
…ahem. Okay, now I’m dreaming, but so what? Cranky kids will be a minor inconvenience for the greater good.
This blog might not be my most entertaining or well-written, but I had to write it. By writing, I’ve committed myself to doing. Feel free to ask me next Sunday about brunch and my new attitude, and if you are interested in hearing more about inconvenience, check out http://www.12stone.com. Podcasts of the sermons are available.