Monday, August 23, 2010

When Children are a Distraction

Church with children is an experience like no other.

She scratches the pen back and forth loudly. During prayer. Can a pen make that much noise?

I reach over and grab it, shake a no ma'am glance her way, and try to refocus on prayer. What was the pastor talking about?

When it's time I ask her if she wants to go to children's church, she says she prefers big church, she's been "big" since she was a year and half old .

I don't want her to be distracting to others. I say so. I have to keep saying so. She doesn't commit repeat offenses but it is obvious she is missing the point. But I let her stay, I always let her stay, how can I make her leave when she says she wants to learn about Jesus with me?

Then yesterday, it happens.

The baby's sleep schedule is off it's normal track and she is very tired and still, so I bounce her during singing, hoping she will fall asleep in my arms. Not a chance. Baby does, however, remain consistent in beginning to fuss as soon as the sermon starts. I have to leave sweet, loud Little Girl with Daddy.

I sigh. I really wanted to hear this today... about honoring God with your wealth. The grace of giving. Maybe even really giving sacrificially?

I know I can't leave Baby in the nursery when she is like this. Rather than accept defeat I decide to try letting her walk around behind the curtains towards the back, and maybe that will muffle sounds enough?

Success. All is going as well as can be expected, and I try to pray "yes" to whatever God wants for my wealth while whispering to my ever faster, toddling Baby "no, don't stick your finger in the light socket... no, don't peel that off the ground and eat it... no, don't grab onto the curtains..."

Time for communion. I join the Husband and we walk to the front together, arms overflowing with the blessing of little girls.

I think this is one reason Little Girl doesn't want to go to children's church. She loves communion. She has been heartbroken when she has missed it because of the kids coming back to the service too late. Once when I thought she didn't understand communion I asked her about it, and she gave an eloquent and soul-humbling response proving me wrong... but that is another story.

We slow up the line and though the pastor reminds that this isn't fast food I often feel we are in the way. We partake and I am soul-sensitive, tears closer to the rims of my eyes. Could there be a more natural response to thinking about what He has done and thanking Him for it? I sense it in my church family too.

Nothing But the Blood of Jesus begins and I am caught from the very first words.

"Your blood speaks a better word
than all the empty claims
I've heard upon this earth
Speaks righteousness for me
And stands in my defense
Jesus, it's your blood..."

Children squirm and distract and I am grateful when Husband picks up Little Girl. Just before I close my eyes I see her hands rise as we sing

"What can wash us pure as snow?
Welcomed as the friends of God?
Nothing but your blood,
Nothing but your blood, King Jesus."

She has never been shy, and my church is, and what a beautiful distraction from ourselves her waving arms are.

I stop thinking about distracting others, and thank God for her unashamed innocence and how can I not cry or raise my hands to His beautiful love that we should ever be washed as pure as snow and welcomed as the friends of God? Amazing Love.

He is worthy of all honor and all praise, and not just the calm kind either. And while I don't know how I would feel about a Kind David kind of celebration of His Goodness , I want to
praise Him wholeheartedly, undividedly and go out with joy and be lead forth in peace.

Thanking Him today for ways that Little Children lead, remind, distract from self, and redirect to the real Reason for this life...

#8 learning to clap hands

#9 unrushed hugs

#11 rediscovering the joy of water

#12 that sleep is necessary for health

#13 giggling, falling over laughter

#14 heartfelt, off-key singing and dancing

#15 forgiveness for harshness

#16 just wanting to be in relationship

#17 asking why and expecting and trusting that I know the answer

#18 perseverance

holy experience

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