Toys packed – check.
Snacks – check.
Diaper bag – check.
4 hats, 4 coats, 8 mittens, 4 pairs of boots on – check.
4 hats, 4 coats, 7 mittens, 4 pairs of boots off because I forgot to take them to the potty – check.
4 hats, 4 coats, 5 mittens (nobody knows where they went) 4 pairs of boots back on – check.
By the time we arrived at the church we were frazzled and wondered if it was worth the bother. However when we stepped inside there were many loving arms reaching out to help with our little brood, hands to help with their coats, hands to wipe noses, arms to catch the “runners” before they ran out through the parking lot, and arms to help us settle in.
We did not get to relax very long before one child, naming no names – (Rianna) would crawl under the pews like a greased pig, fast as lightening all the way to the front before someone could catch her by the feet before she got to the pulpit and hand her back row by row to until she got back to us. Another child of ours which we cannot disclose – (Lieneke) would “visit.” She would toddle to a face she knew and stay with them and “visit” for the entire service looking back to us from time to time with a look that said “see, I’m being good.” Aneke and her cousin Devin would be at our feet and colour and the smell of crayon wafted over the back pews. We thought they were not aware of anything going on in the service until Devin would call out an answer to one of the pastor’s questions. Arjen would build Lego towers (which by the way are very dangerous for high heels). Don’t ask me how I know this.
If you ask me now, was it worth it, I would say indeed it was!
Today I get a warm fuzzy when I see little ones in church. I love the little one who dances in the aisle lost in the music unaware of all the people around her. We could take some worship lessons from her.
Welcome little one. Are you our future worship leader?
Occasionally a little one gets carried out, protesting all the way. When this happens there are smiles on the faces of the older Moms. It is a “knowing” smile. It is a “I remember those days” look.
It’s okay little protester. You are welcome here.
One Dad and Mom got their kids settled in the nursery and Junior church then promptly nodded off during the service. No one woke them because we remember all too well those sleepless nights with teething babies, the night owl toddlers, and feverish kids. We knew it was probably the first moment of quiet the entire week. We appreciate your efforts Dads and Moms. Don’t give up.
Tired, frazzled, sleep deprived parents are welcome here.
Those of you who have been through these days don’t forget to extend those “hands” to encourage all of the parents who make the effort to bring their children. Enjoy all the sights and sounds of little people. Crying and cooing babies, chattering toddlers and preschoolers, excited grade school kids, and even the misbehaving ones are all a special music to our ears. It is a precious sound, the music of our future church. Without their song our church will die.
Hello next generation church. Pleased to meet you next generation leaders. You are our future and you are welcome here!
And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. Matthew 18:5 NIV
Copyright 2013 November 3 Cyndi den Otter – All Rights Reserved May be used with author’s permission