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A Bundle of Myrrh

"My beloved is unto me as a bundle of myrrh." Song of Solomon 1:13

Of Hearth and Home – The Sundays Part I

June 5th, 2017 by Aubri

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For some it’s a bad “Case of the Mondays” they come down with. For this pastor’s wife with a bunch of kids, it’s a case of the Sundays I get. The Sundays start on Saturday. It used to be Saturdays were the time of the sighing, the dreading, the prepping, the praying “Lord please help me get through tomorrow morning!” Thankfully Sundays are getting better.

Our first months in this new church were so hard. I dreaded Sunday morning. It hung over me all day on Saturday, sometimes brought me to tears the next morning and left me in a bad mood that took me all Sunday to recover from.

In our former parish I was not used to this “going to church” gig completely on my own. Before we’d leave the house our neighbors would stop by to go with us. Of course they’d help with the last minutes, we’d walk to church together and they’d sit helping me in the pew once we got there. We had it down. Like clockwork. Sundays were butter.

I didn’t have that when we first came and it was a long learning curve!

I tried to keep things as they had been. We sat up front in the sanctuary, just where I liked to be and where I thought all babies should be. That only lasted a couple weeks.

Our pew was a little bit like this:

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You get the idea.

The babies were mostly quiet but the movement. SO.MUCH.MOVEMENT in our pew. And when the Mama is waaaaaaay 2 babies down from one of the naughty baby cats it’s really hard to snatch that baby cat bald without causing a scene:

Denver Bronocs vs Kansas City Chiefs

Know what I’m sayin’?

It was hard and I fought my dread for months wishing it weren’t so hard every week.

I decided after those early weeks that I would have to give up on sitting in the front and move to the back of the sanctuary. I was much more at ease hidden or at least out of eye sight, not worried about the enormous distraction I believed we were. And eventually my wish for an “easier” Sunday began to become reality…mostly.

Pretty soon members of our church came to the rescue with letting some of the older kids sit with them and a dear lady held Martha for me for months since she was still wee. This meant I only had Mercy, Ephraim and Josephine (via Womb.) Granted these were my hardest ones.

Ephraim couldn’t figure out how he had even gotten to church let alone how he was supposed to sit quietly through a whole Service. There were weeks we kept the ‘Going to Daddy’s office for a Spank’ routine on repeat.

And then there was the Wild almost 2 year old Mercy. I’ll admit it. I kept giving her a bottle just to get us through.

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Today sitting through church is different. Some Sundays I get to the Sanctuary and have to scan the congregation to even find most of my children. I do a head count or shrug it off and sit down in the pew in the back that has become ours.

Some Sundays I only have Martha and Gerhardt. Some I might have 6 or 7 with me. Those days are hits or misses. But we actually have more hits than misses lately.

Some Helpful Rules in our pew:

Kids 6 and up-must participate; standing and/or following along in the Service Book. If you can read try to speak with the congregation and sing hymns. You may color during the sermon and other miscellaneous times. Rules on coloring subject to change once kids reach 9 or 10….
Kids 5-3-can color or look at books, must choose their seat and stay in it. No talking, no playing. No snacks, No toys.
Kids 2 and under- WHATEVER GOES! Well, not whatever. I bring a bottle with water for Martha which keeps her quiet most of the service. I sometimes bring a small snack for this age and a couple small toys, though snacks and toys can be a help they can also make things worse for the bigger kids. So. There’s that.

Then I sit back and cross my fingers. (It works, you should try it.)

I’ve tried so many things as “punishment” for breaking rules during church. I’ll admit there have been times I’ve waffled and panic and fold.

But the “plan of action” I have right now is:

1. Warning and The Don’t You Dare face.
2. Child loses valuable minutes of Sunday Afternoon Showtime
3. If I can leave the Sanctuary it’s SPANK time in Daddy’s office and maybe a sit for a while hands folded and quiet, then right back to the pew. If I can’t leave the pew there’s a bunch of pinching going on plus repeats of 1 and 2.

*I mix it up but try to keep the fact that there will be some kind of consequence fresh in everyone’s mind.

*I have also found it helpful to review with the kids the Expectations every week before we get to church. We go through the What We DON’T DO and the What We DO DO in church lists. (Yes, I said doo doo.)

But for better or for worse we have settled. The kids are slowly learning and doing much better during the service most weeks.  At least I don’t have to leave in tears every Sunday now.

That’s what goes down after we get to church. My next post will share some of the things I do to help get us there each week.

 

 

5 Responses to “Of Hearth and Home – The Sundays Part I”

  1. Jody S. says:

    I’m not sure if it qualifies as toys or not, but we have this little clear-looking thing that has a different color liquid of some type inside. . . and it dribbles through little obstacles on it’s way to the bottom of the clear-looking thing. They sit and stare at it over and over and over. Multiple kids can stare at it. It’s not electronic. It doesn’t make noises.

  2. grandmere says:

    Hahahaha! I’m glad to be able to laugh at this post, having been there to share it with you on occasion! I don’t know how you find all the right images to portray what it is like! :-)

  3. Kaethe says:

    Every time I struggle in church with my six little ones, I try to remember that wives of pastors have it even harder. At least I have my husband in the pew with me! Honestly, the thing that has helped me the most (other than having older kids grow into good role models for the younger ones) is to keep the perspective that the devil does not want families in church. He makes each part of it a struggle and therefore we respond as we do with any temptation. We pray for strength and mercy to our Heavenly Father.

  4. Carrie H says:

    oh Aubri, those cat images are too funny! We were just talking to our boys about their constant movement in the pew and how we expect them to sit still. Perfect timing!

  5. Leah Washburn says:

    YOU CRACK ME UP!!!!!! I love your style of parenting and writing about it.