This is the place for moms In The Making, who smile with the messes, embrace the unexpected, and know that every day is a blessing.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Does Church Still Count If I'm Outside?

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Does Church still count if I’m sitting outside? How do you handle getting your kids to behave during church?

We don’t have a baby class or kiddie day care during church, so they’re right there with us… I like it… in theory it teaches kids to behave… but what about when they don’t?

Or even better what about when you’re out of town and at a different church? I really started thinking about this while visiting our in-laws. When we got to mass, late (of course), we found ourselves in a tiny church with 90% adults and no noise.

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We tried to sit quietly, but our little guy had a lot to say :) He was trying to join the choir, and I’m not sure they were taking applications. Being that there was no where to go we found ourselves out on the lawn during church. I felt so guilty, I was supposed to be in church and instead we were on the grass and he wanted to sword fight with sticks.

As mothers too often we second guess our decisions and feel guilty. Has this ever happen to you? Trying to feel better we went back into church… disrupted everyone, and found ourselves outside again.

I felt guilty for the rest of the day! I kept wondering if it still counted as going to church if I was out on the lawn. After hours of feeling guilty and talking with my husband I came to the conclusion that I did what was best in that situation.

Does this mean I’m packing a picnic basket and skipping church from now on? No. But God sees your heart!

After, I was finally feeling better about my decision I realized that if I felt this bad other mothers have felt this too. We need to encourage each other. If you ever see a mom looking exhausted after church, shoot her a smile. Or if it is you leaving exhausted and burnt out, know that church totally counts even if you’re on the church lawn.

Now that doesn’t mean you can pack a picnic basket and give hubbie a kiss while you and the kiddo camp out for an hour each week… But if you’ve given it your all and you end up outside, know God is smiling on you.

To End: Motherhood is messy… But you’re incredible! Just for being a mom. God totally sees and appreciates your efforts even when you have a hard time appreciating them yourself.

How do you handle when your kiddos act up in church?


  1. I think it's really important to remember what "church" actually is! It is not a service suitable only for grown-ups and silent children and we do an extreme disservice to ourselves, our children, and the world when we communicate that it is. The church is God's family, Christ's body. In our family, we use the word sparingly and carefully - never for the building or the service. We teach our children that church happens whenever people who love God get together to love Him and love each other. And I have to be honest that I don't think Jesus approves when we structure things so that kids aren't welcome to be there as kids; I think that's what his disciples were doing when they were keeping the children away - probably so Jesus could preach and the adults hear him well. And we all know how Jesus responded. Anyway, that's my little soapbox!

    As for the guilt, I've felt it and I'm sorry you're experiencing this. What helped me immensely was this shifting of my perception of what church is. I realized that I am probably not the only person not feeling particularly welcomed in the "big room." And so I look for someone to have "church" with. Sometimes, it ends up being just me and the baby. I talk about God, sing praises, and love on my baby for Jesus' sake. But often, I find there are other moms feeling just as lost, lonely, and guilty as me, so I try to strike up a conversation about the Lord. We are in "church" after all! These have become really meaningful times of worship and learning and loving for me and I've stopped dreading church with babies so much.

    Forgive my long rant here, but I hope something here helps. Jesus did not come to bring guilt to mamas who are following Him and raising their babies to love Him but can't quite adapt sufficiently to cultural expectations (that are unacceptable anyway!) He brings freedom, life, and joy! So next time you find yourself on the lawn, revel in His freedom and joy and cast that guilt as far from you as you can!!!

    1. Tina,

      I really liked your reminder of when Jesus said let the children come to me.

      I was so refreshing when I got back to my home parish this week... Our priest came into the back and greeted all the families and kids sitting in the quiet area :) Before actually beginning with everyone else. I felt like I was home...

      Both Jesus and the people around me were ok with my little guy munching on pretzels and running in circles.

      I really like how you said to share encouragement with other mothers, and just love your baby while you're at church. Sometimes I just sit with my little guy, while everyone else is standing... I used to feel weird. But if he can be happy in church if I'm sitting with him. I'm game :)

      I was so excited to see your comment :) I still remembered your nice comments from last year when I started my blog :) When did you start blogging?

    2. I'm glad things were better and that your priest welcomed the kids! Well done!

      I'm also glad you mentioned that I'd commented here before. I had lost track of your blog, but I really enjoyed it last year. So now, I've subscribed to get email updates so that won't happen again. Glad to be back in contact! :)

      I started blogging probably about when you did, but I'd have to go look to be sure. I'm at as well as, speaking of which, I've got a really great Children's Activity Bundle Giveaway going on this week with very few entries so far. It might give your little one something to scribble on each week in church and give you a few minutes of quiet! :)

    3. Tina, I just entered your giveaway :) That is really neat that we started blogging around the same time. How can you keep up with two blogs at once? Just one keeps me busy

  2. I think church absolutely counts when you're tending a fussy child, or pacing the halls, or distracted by a little one who is animatedly showing you their newest drawing right in the middle of the sermon. (Can I tell that I've btdt ... often?) Church is about listening to edifying teaching, yes. But it's also about coming together with a body of believers, being part of that worship experience that exists when we all turn our eyes towards God. You can still very much be a part of the voices lifting praise to Jesus while you're singing and rocking a teething toddler. Even more so than usual, maybe. :-)

    1. You're wonderful! Thanks for being such a bright light of encouragement! Can I ask how you found my blog?


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