I find it very difficult to let things go and not bother me. I usually hang on to the hurt and review the play by play in my head long after. This past Sunday, when we visited a local Byzantine Catholic Church, an old lady was visibly annoyed with us. During the sermon, little Eric was unable to stay still.
I was holding John on my lap because he was a bit overwhelmed in a new place, and Nathaniel was dealing with Gregory and David. So, Eric slipped away and decided to spin around in a circle right in the middle of church. Then he looked up and smiled at everyone. He was as sweet as can be, but he was a disruption.
Then I heard a loud “humph” from the back and looked up to see the woman staring daggers at me. In a parish as small as that one, Eric’s distraction could go unnoticed. Nathaniel quickly grabbed him and placed the wild little man on his lap. Just a bit after that, another child was being incredibly defiant, so I picked up Eric while I was pulling the other child by his arm and left the church. What a great first impression we had made.
Needless to say, I was incredibly discouraged by the time we drove out of the parking lot. At our parish in Kentucky, we had a system that worked for us. That doesn’t mean it was easy; dealing with five young children in church is never easy, but we did have their godparents and friends who would help out. I rarely felt completely alone, even if I did feel overwhelmed.
Recently, Sarah wrote a good post called “How to Encourage that Young Mother at Church.” I recommend this for everyone, whether you have children or not. It is so important to encourage those who are struggling. And I guarantee that, at one time or another, every parent is struggling in church. Thankfully, in the end, the struggle is worth it.