Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Wednesday Evening Church Debate

I am so torn. My entire life it has been drilled into me as a RULE to be at every service of church. I feel the need for church, and I want to be in church! The problem is that when Jacob is not home, all Wednesday evening church to me is a wrestle time within me. It takes every ounce of sanity and energy I have to get dinner on the table, kids cleaned up, myself cleaned up and out the door and in a pew before it starts...ALL this done without yelling and screaming from one side of the "Team" or another. So when we finally get there, LATE and dis-sheveled, I am on the brink of a panic attack or a melt down. Once we find our place in a pew, I break out the once "i would never let my kid have" crayons in church just so I can get a moments peace and try to soak up whatever prayer requests and sermon is being issued. Throughout which, I am consistently motioning to one child or another to "SIT STILL" or "SHHH!" So I sit there trying to scramble back to wherever it was the Pastor was speaking from only to really sit and ponder the quietness---only then to be interrupted in thought by "MOM, How do you spell BELIEVE? This doesn't look right!" SHHHHHH!, SIT STILL, We are praying! No you can't go to the bathroom, no you can't have my watch, Be quiet. Don't scribble on that.....
WHAT IS THE POINT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You know, I am sure I will come across as a complete HEATHEN, a REBEL as I have been labelled by many--get to know me! The Fact is that if Wednesday night church is me getting there with my mind completely else where, aggravated at everything around me, thinking how I never got to clean up the dishes or the table or the spilled milk all over the floor before we left because I had to make sure I was wearing a skirt to avoid all the evil glares-followed by possible phone calls or comments to my face, and now here I sit scolding my kids all through church like I have no control over them, so only to leave still disgusted and anxious-Does GOD even want me there? I feel like ALL I am really teaching my kids is-as long as you are at church it doesn't matter what happens before or after the service, as long as we can say we were there!--THAT is NOT what i want my kids to take away from our church attendance!
Last Wednesday Night I opted OUT of church. I took my kids and we ate a calm dinner. There was nowhere to be. After dinner we all cleaned up, and then did a craft for Daddy til it was time for bed. I spent QUALITY time with my children without yelling, without anyone fighting, without anxiety, without having to be dressed to someone else's standard....It was MUCH better than I could have done going to church. So I am torn. It is expected that I attend church on Wednesday evenings--I see the importance of getting the WORD as much as possible, but if your not getting it even when you are going, why are you going? Why am I going? To make someone else happy? To keep up the expectation? Am I letting God down somehow by choosing to OPT-OUT of Wednesday nights? Will my children be scarred for life and choose to not attend church because I chose to OPT-OUT for the short time? I don't think so....I don't know what I will choose for next week. And maybe the best thing is to take it week by week. I am just torn between what I have been drilled with and what I feel is right for me and my children right now! And yes, I know the verse "not to forsake the assembly...", but lets face it, if you didn't go to a family dinner once a week but were there 2 other times in a week-would your family feel that you have FORSAKEN them? NOOO! I do NOT believe that verse to mean if you miss church 1x a week...I personally feel that is just a FALSE GUILT TRIP legalists like to use to spiritually abuse you. Right now, not so sure about the future....If I could start my day again at 3:00pm today, I would choose to OPT-OUT today. Feed back welcome!


Chastity Gomez said...

We miss many Wed night church services- I think it would be near impossible for me to have my kids all with me in the service- that's crazy! Do they do that all the time or do they run kids programs? Wed nights is Cubbies during the fall so during the summer it is hard to get out the door- I think Sun nights is the hardest for our family. I agree with everything you said in your post. Maybe when jake gets back you can go again but take a break- you definitely deserve it! And God will NOT think any less of you:) Nothing we DO as Christians causes God to think more highly of us- including going to church!

~Abbey~ said...

thanks chas...they have "playtime" for 2/3's and Cameron goes in nursery. I have an issue with the playtime thing---teach them something from the Bible! Awana is good during the school year! its still MANIC, but at least once everyone gets to where they are supposed to be, its completely different. We (J&I) have talked about not going in the summers, but its just a point of internal conflict. like i posted about!

~Abbey~ said...

oh, and Sunday nights are really hard when he is gone too becasue someone is always just waking up or not awake yet..but the plus side to Sunday Nights is-it gets out so much earlier. I mean tonight i didn't get home til after 9PM, Sundays it would be before 8!

Jenny said...

Hmmm...I have experienced this same thing with only 1 in church - when Jason was away in January. It can definitely feel like you are not benefitting and are only causing distraction for all around. When Jason has drill weekends, my motto is "We get there when we get there, and I won't sweat about being late" (to Sunday School, that is). So maybe you could just go to as many Wed PM services as you could manage and don't stress if it's not happening. I do think it's important for kids to see us make the effort to be there as often as possible b/c it shows that we value hearing God's Word, praying, and fellowshipping. I was just wondering, though - is there anyone at the church that could help you out? A single girl or married-without-kids lady that could come over beforehand? And at church, is there a guy that would be willing to sit with Clayton so you could listen to the service and he could get some man attention? Just some thoughts we have either done in the past and/or contemplated as helps for me when/if Jason is ever actually deployed and when he's gone on his annual AT. Hopefully, your church family will step in to help before assuming the worst. Praying for you!!!

Dusty said...

I know what you mean Abbey! I wrestled with this alot too. Especially before we came to Tabernacle. When we were going to my ILs church, it was a super small congregation and there weren't nursery workers or anything so I spent EVERY service, even Sunday mornings either wrestling both children, or locked away in the nursery alone not being able to hear the sermon. I kept telling Alec that I didn't see the point in going if I couldn't get anything out it. So, we skipped alot of Sunday night and Wednesday services. It was a breath of fresh air to have a nursery to put Aron in, because he was the biggest handful in a pew. Gabby has her good moments and not so good ones, which I'm sure you know since Candice is the same age. lol I don't think you should feel bad or guilty at all. I have a book that talks about things like this and there is a part that is speaking about mothers with young children and they refer to this stage in life as the "noisy season" and it is a part of motherhood, and God understands. I love that, because it REALLY IS a "noisy season!" lol "this too shall pass", kwim? As long as you are teaching your children to love God, whether in church or not, you are doing the right thing.

I can understand the discrepancy with the playtime too, but I look at it this way, I teach her at home about the Bible, she learns about it on Sundays too from church, so if for one night at church, she is just having "fellowship" with other children, it's okay. As far as I can tell though, Gabby comes home every time from "kids church" (that's what she calls it) having learned something from the Bible, even if it was something brief before the playing. You just have to do what is best for your family. I know I have a hard enough time getting us fed and out the door with my husband here, so I can't imagine how hard you have it and you have one more child than me AND your pregnant! You're doing fine!

If I can ever do anything to help, just let me know! I know we don't know each other very well, and some people don't have the highest opinion of me on HM because I speak my mind alot, but I'm really not all that bad! lol. I promise!

~Abbey~ said...

Jenny-thanks for the suggestions-something to think about!

Dusty-when we get to knwo each other, you will see that i speak my mind too-i try to do it with tact, but most just interpret me as "against the grain rebel". The problem for us with the playtime is that when my kids come home, all they talk about is how this person or that person was throwinga tatntrum and the teacher didn't do anything, or how its funny that this one doesn't sing or obey at all. and if they can do that, why are we getting in trouble? They know WAY more about what everyone else did or didn't do than what the lesson is...These examples COMPLETELY exclude Sunday AMs--Candice can tell you the story from the Bible front ways and backways on Sundays! When Jacob is there, it is not nearly what it is when he's not. They kow that if I take ne out for a problem the other is left alone in the pew...its justa vicious cycle of discouragement!

Tia said...

oh Abbey, dont stress over it!
Its your decision, go if its a good day & if its not there are plenty of other things you can do like you said w/ your kids in peace that God sees too! They will probably be "learning" more too!
Who ever said it had to be Wed anyway? :)

DANA said...

dont beat your self up over it...i cant imagine having to do everything alone while jacob is don't want to stress yourself out so bad that you are a total wreck each are a awesome mama and you are doing a fantaboulous job!

We have the same issues going on are soooo rough for us! the kids get home from school around 4:30...then i have to get them all fed, and homework done, and the girls and myself into dresses(for the same reasons you do..:P)..and in the car by 6:00. it takes about 45 minutes to get to church.

At our church when your kid turns 6 they sit upstairs Sunday nights and wed nights for the whole service. and the 3-5 year old sit upstairs until just before the message then go down for class...Sunday mornings the kids are in there classes for Sunday school and church.during the school year they have kings kids for the older kids,then gabe and noelle have that.

but anyway...i have the most trouble with gabe..lolol..he is so fidgety and sighs and has a pitty party for himself..lolol.noelle and eden are good in church...Silas is a whole nother chapter..lolol...all i hear is he is laying down why can we, or he has a toy(a plastic horse) why cant we bring toys, or they want to play with his chewy And i kind of have a different problem, For some reason the kids listen better to me than to him.if i leave him alone in the pew with the kids they turn into monsters!..but he has the ability to tune them out because he is so focused on what the pastor is saying he honestly does not see the wrestle mania that's breaking out right beside him!hahaha!!

but there have been many a time when there was just to much to do. and i told Tristen im staying home with the kids so they can finish their homework....He HATES to miss one service..even if he is sick...

I guess im different there, i dont feel guilty....not for staying home for the fact that there is something that needs to be done, like homework, ect..or if we ever have a appointment on Thursday morning for Silas

i might feel guilty if i stayed home for some random my favorite show is on...dont want to miss it...then maybe...but when we do stay home i always have a short bible lesson with the kids, or tristen will do it if he stays home to, before they go to bed.

dont feel guilty..i would take it week by week like someone else said.

i know exactly what you mean about sunday nights!

like i said it takes about 45 minutes for us...this is houw our week goes

sunday morning have to up by 7 to get everyone ready and in the car by 9

sunday school is at 10 church 11 out around 12:30 i like to yack some mornings..usually not home till 1:30 2:00 sometimes 2:30

walk in the door, eden and silas straight to bed for naps feed the rest of us....wake Eden and Silas up at 4 so they can eat. in the car by 4:50 to make it to choir practice at is at 6..usually done around wan tot run and release some energy from sitting all through choir practice and we will chat for a little bit....usually get home around 10:00-10:30.

wed. we get home about the same time.

sometimes i feel like all we do is rush rush rush...and i don't want the kids hating church because all we ever do is rush to get there and try to rush

Tristen and i debate all the time...he thinks we should go even when the kids have a ton of homework, and cant finish it in time for church..i don' we dont go if there is allot of homework...shool is important to and we dont get home till real late adn i woudl have to wake them up so early jsut to finish it...

so long story short

i say i really believe if you feel you need a break...take one! only you and God know your heart,and i believe you are not being a "slacker" by taking a break....

Mom of 3 said...

Abbey don't stress over it. God does understand and knows how much you want to be there. Another option might be to find/buy/borrow a children's book of bible verses/devotions and do your own Wed. night service at home.