Posted by: chroniclesofgrace | February 26, 2010

Saving Sunday Mornings

In the 10 commandments, God requires us to keep the Sabbath day holy.  For most New Testament believers, it is Sunday that we do that.  But how can we keep the Sabbath day holy when we have to rush around to get all of our little ones and ourselves to church on time?  I don’t know about your home, but some of our Sunday mornings look anything but restful or holy. 

God was so good to give me some training in this area while we were in seminary.  And if I stick to that training, Sunday mornings seem to flow much more smoothly than if I try to wing it.  Like anything else, it takes discipline(the dreaded D word that I am learning not to dread so much b/c when I have discipline, my life is much less stressful). 

When we were in seminary, we attended a church of 6,000 that was 30 minutes away from our house.  First service started at 8:30, but you couldn’t arrive at 8:30 or you wouldn’t find a parking space.  And we had to drop off our children in 4 different areas of the campus(often nursing the baby before we dropped him off-they now have a nursing room, but much of my nursing was done in our van while it was under construction) before service started.  This meant leaving no later than 7:35am! with 4 kids.  Although I remember complaining about it then, I now look back so fondly on what we were taught and spiritually fed during that time. And I realize that there was indeed a method to God’s “madness” because I would one day be a pastor’s wife who needed to know how to get my four kids out the door…and now getting to church by 8:50am with a 7 minute commute seems like a breeze.

My tips that I outline below are not my own.  They are from many, many wonderful godly women(some of whom I’ve never met).

1) Start preparing for Sunday on Saturday afternoon/evening.  This means that we rarely schedule anything for Saturday evenings, and if we do, it just pushes all the rest of this earlier in the day. 

  • This includes deciding what children will wear(or if they are old enough to decide themselves they are old enough to get it all out themselves) and have it all out – clothing, socks/tights, shoes and possibly hair accessories. 
  • This includes deciding what I will wear.  I may not lay it all out, but I make sure that I have an outfit in the closet that is clean(and ironed for those of you who buy clothest that need to be ironed – I don’t:) including shoes and jewelry so that I don’t have to waste time searching for it.  
  • After dinner, bathe all children.
  • Gather together everything you need to take to church:  Bibles/notebooks, Sunday School Lessons, Stocked Diaper Bags(a season I am now out of, but was in for soooo long), check for tithe, children’s giving money and those things you promised your friend you would bring her at church.  When the kids were younger, I usually had stocked a change of clothes for each person in the van just in case there was some kind of accident on the way.  When time was very crucial, I often put all of these items in the van on Saturday night so they were ready to go.
  • Decide what you will make for Sunday meals and make sure you have the ingredients, taking out frozen meat if necessary.
  • On Saturday nights, we usually have a family devotional time together.  Brent goes over with the children the lesson they will learn in Sunday School the next day so that they are familiar with  it(our church uses Generations of Grace which enables every child in K-12 to be on the same lesson and go through the Bible every three years).  We also pray as a family for the service the next day.  Sometimes, if there have been behaviors or manners issues the previous Sunday we will offer some instruction(ex. how to shake hands, making visitors to their classes feel welcome, etc). 

2) Get up at an appropriate time on Sunday morning.  This one is crucial.  Nothing starts off a Sunday morning worse than when you are all rushing around because everyone has overslept.  Take a few minutes(mine is usually as I am getting out of bed) to pray that God would help us prepare to worship Him and fellowship with His people.  I also pray that He would be in any interactions with people at church and for those who will be serving.  This helps me to take the focus off myself.  I have often treated this as time that is a luxury, but really it’s a huge necessity.  Once I get up, I put some worship music on the CD player to help wake the kids up who are still sleeping and get me into “thinking about God” mode.

3)Plan a healthy breakfast.  I know that feeding your kids donuts before church might seem like a quick and easy treat for you, but it’s not the best way to befriend your child’s Sunday School teacher!  In order to be able to think and behave during their lesson, they need some protein in their bellies…and so do you.  Most days we don’t get home from church until around 1:00 so you need something that will last.  I generally make myself a protein smoothie.  This enables me to walk around helping others without having to actually sit down.  For the kids, I make a quick batch of scrambled eggs and very “eggy” french toast with a little cinnamon(and no syrup in an attempt to be kind to their SS teachers:).  If you are the type that can’t leave dirty dishes and you don’t think you’ll have time to throw everything into the dishwasher, paper plates are a great addition to Sunday morning breakfast.

4)Kids dressing time.  When I had infants, I often picked this time to feed them one more time so they weren’t starving right when we arrived.  This is when walking around with the protein smoothie really comes in handy.

5)My dressing time.  Once the kids are dressed, I put on a short movie(usually a Veggie Tales that is reserved for Sunday mornings) to keep them busy and keep them from fighting with each other or messing up the hair I just worked so hard to look cute. 

6)Any last minute things and then pile into the car with some worship music to get us into the mood.

When I am menu planning, I usually try to plan an easy meal for dinner on Sunday.  Making a crockpot meal on Saturday night is a great way to make your Sunday a day of rest.  We also try to practice hospitality once or twice a month on a Sunday afternoon though when we had littler ones, we were all usually ready to literally rest by Sunday afternoon. 

May your Sunday mornings be mornings of delight, rather than mornings of chaos:)

Blessings!

-J

 

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