Sunday, January 19th~ I woke up with a migraine and a horrible ache on my left side. My dear son climbed into bed with us in the middle of the night and spent the rest of the night having a kicking-fest. I couldn’t be angry at my sweet boy for long however, he is just so darling when he smiles in his sleep. However, this was going to be a double coffee type morning. John is brilliant with the cappuccino maker but until he starts the machine up, I enjoy tea.
I hobbled aching bones into the kitchen to make a cup of my favorite spicy tea and read my Bible. No matter how quiet I am, the puppies always wake up needing attention. As I opened the door to let them out, Pippen, our 6 month old clumsy giant, stepped hard on my foot. I breathed deep, searching for some sign that this would not be one of ‘those’ mornings. Taking a step outside and into the beautiful morning, I was greeted with our rubbish strewn across the front of the yard and on down towards the pond. This was definitely not the sign I was looking for. Ugh.
It wasn’t getting any better as I walked back into the house. The day before, my girls earned their cooking badges for the American Heritage Mother Daughter International Dinner. We spent the whole of the day cooking our amazing delicacies and had to leave in a hurry. After such a long and exciting day, we arrived too late and tired for tackling the kitchen catastrophe. I opted instead to catch up on some reading and promised myself I would wake up early enough to do the dishes. Now, I found myself I marching past the kitchen and mumbling to myself about the kitchen as well as the two rather large piles of washing that needed tending to. So much to do, always so much to do.
Being a missionary momma of six gorgeous children, caring for a large missions facility as well as homeschooling and running a food ministry for the poor in our area along the border takes a lot of time. This was the first week back to school for my college girls as well as the younger ones, and my first full week of physical therapy. My shoulder throbbed from the work of the previous day, how was I going to get through today?The mess began to crowd its way into my soul. Perhaps the mess about me was a reflection of the mess within me?
I rambled on to a sleepy husband about the mess outdoors and he graciously woke up to help me. My mood lingered in a dangerous place as we picked up the nasty rubbish. The puppies thought we had surprised them with an early morning play so we spent quite a bit of time fighting scraps of cardboard and tins cans out of their slobbery mouths. I muttered, “dumb dogs, wretched morning, I’m probably not going to go to church now.”
Water came out in a trickle as I tried to wash my filthy hands in the kitchen sink. We live out of county and sometimes we have no water pressure, and because we have spent nearly 3 decades in missions, it usually does not bother me. However, today was the exception, why did this have to happen now, with not a clean dish to be found? No water. Mountains of washing, dishes and people that need to be cleaned up and no water. Sigh.
At least, there would be coffee. I was determined to grab a nice cup of love that my dear hubbie makes us all every morning along with my Bible and get this all right before someone (namely me) popped a gasket. It was at that moment, John declared our most beloved appliance’s final demise. The cappuccino maker simply would not get hot. Nothing would coax that precious caffeine out of it. Destined for the rubbish heap, the broken cuppa-maker was indeed the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak. Unbelievable.
Why is it that there seems to be so much more tension on Sunday mornings in comparison to the rest of the week?
Eventually, I was able to sneak away and have my devotional time with the Lord. It was in this place that I found the determination to go to church. I was praying when the children awoke and for whatever reason, they too, wanted to add to the fun of the morning. My special needs Ella is not a morning person and this morning was a particularly bad one for her. She had too much social interaction the previous day and she was not faring well at all. After her fifth meltdown I was beginning to wonder if we would make it to church.
The comical series of events that transpired this morning could not have come at a more opportune time. You see, just this week a dear mom had posed a similar question at the Women’s Bible Cafe. I shared some of my Sunday Survival Secrets and was asked if I could put it into a more readable post. So I worked on an article but it seemed boring with not enough excitement for my liking. Boy, did I get a lot of excitement this morning!
I have to admit that we did in fact make it to church today and what an awesome time we had. We have been praying and fasting in this New Year with our church and the worship team have been so in tune to the Holy Spirit. The Lord met me in such a wonderful way. My eyes were wet with tears and my heart full of His sweet presence. He knows just what we need when we need it. I wanted to stay home, but needed to be in church. When the Pastor rose to share the Word, he spoke eloquently about Needs versus Wants. It was so powerful.
Women have a God given capacity to handle many things all at once, but we need to spend time with the Lord daily to ensure that we are doing those things with His gracious loving kindness.
Sundays are about FAITH, FAMILY, and FELLOWSHIP~ It is the ONE day a week that will be set into the rhythm of your children’s lives forever. If children dread “Church day” when they are little, they will inevitably dread it when they are older as well. However, if Sunday is truly the day set aside for family, faith and fellowship, that will become a treasured memory for your children and they in turn will want to replicate it with their families when they are older. Plus. you just need it, honestly, we desperately need it.
So here are some Secret Sunday Survival tips that have helped me keep some sanity in my Sundays~
1. Prepare the night before: Lay out clothing, use the crock pot for breakfast or lunch, put Bibles, diaper bag etc in the vehicle. I have found that 10 minutes of preparation the night before saves me three times that in the rush of the morning.
2. Personal Quiet time: Wake up earlier than the family and PRAY. Put on praise music. Read your Bible, prepare your heart. You need this time with the Lord today and every day. My children all know, “Mommie needs this time with the Lord if she wants to be a good mommie, I cannot be good with His goodness in my heart.” Susanna Wesley is a wonderful example of a mother devoted to Christ and fervent in her time with Him.
3. Shake the Stress: Honestly, I used to try to have the house all cleaned and everything perfect. Plus, I would worry about what the children wore to church. Sunday morning is not the time to battle things out.
I have a special needs daughter who has NO clothing sense, and IF we tried to fix that Sunday Morning there would be another meltdown. Who really cares if she is wearing a hideous outfit with a gaudy diamond encrusted elephant necklace as a headdress? (I have pictures of that outfit!) During Christmas weekend she went to church with flashing Rudolph antlers. I am so thankful for a gracious church, and that the Lord has worked this one out within me. Honestly, we all love her where she is at, even if it means her hair is an unruly mess when we go to church.
What is important is that we cultivate the “want to go to church” and we do not want to ruin that by being a perfectionist. So as long as we are dressed, decent and happy we are good to go.
4. Relax about it: We, as mothers, truly do create the atmosphere of the home with our response. We need to have the Holy Spirit helping us to make Christ the center of our lives and the joy within our hearts. Church should be a joyous time. We get to go to church! In some countries, Christians do not have the freedom to worship in a church. We are privileged to have this blessed freedom.
Remember, the mess and all the rest can wait. I can say with authority that after 30 years of marriage, 6 children and fostering many other children; the mess will always be there, let it go. You, as a mom and wife need church time just as much or more than everyone else. Women have a God given capacity to handle many things all at once, but we need to spend time with the Lord daily to ensure that we are doing those things with His gracious loving kindness.
5. Reflect with the family: Actually, we do this at the end of every day but especially on Sundays. When we pray for our children before bed we ask them what they thought of the day, what they learned, what was special or what they might do differently. We have found that children are especially ready to learn a life lesson before bed. It is a great time for a few thought provoking questions and good quality time with them. If you do this when they are little they will be more inclined to come to you for more serious discussions when they are older. Our older children still come for hugs, prayers and chats before bed.
As I share all of these things with you, I am painfully aware of my own shortcomings when it comes to my personal church involvement. Being a missionary mom, there were many times that I was just too overwhelmed or to burned out to go to church. Notwithstanding, the many times where there was no church near our location. I challenged myself one day and prayed Matthew 7:7-11 believing the Lord for a good church. I can tell you He has never let me down. If you are desirous for Kingdom Things, He will always come through for you.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”A final thought…
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25Stasia is mother to six beautiful children and wife to a dedicated, loving husband. They have served as a family together on the mission field on four continents for nearly 29 years. Stasia’s passion is to share in true colors the grace of God in her life. You can read more about her and the ministry of the Women’s Bible Cafe here. Meet Missionary Mom and Ministry Leader Stasia Nielsen If this story has blessed you in any small way, please consider showing your support by clicking subscribe in the upper right corner.