To the parents with squirmy children at church

I saw you on Sunday morning.

I watched you walk down the aisle at least three times. On the first trip, you held a squirmy baby in one arm and a diaper bag in the other. Your second exodus involved a recalcitrant toddler, howling like a wolf at the moon. You made your last trip carrying the aforementioned baby and a nursing apron.

I observed the frustration in your eyes. You might have been asking yourself, “What’s the point of being here if I spend fifty percent of my time ferrying kids to and from the nursery, twenty percent answering random questions, and at least ten percent picking up spontaneously dropped objects.”

You might be thinking that absence is better than attendance.

Please, don’t skip out.

It’s hard wrangling children during worship—teaching them to be still, keeping them quiet, trying to focus under rapid-fire distractions. You tire of all eyes riveting toward the back of your head when your kid starts screaming or your baby flips around and flashes her dazzling smile. You rarely get to crack open a bible, you miss half of what is being said, and by the time its all over, you’re exhausted!

Yes, there might be one or two people who get bent out of shape over a child’s outburst, but the majority of us are thrilled to see you all. That crying baby means a child will get to hear the word of the Lord as they grow. That squirmy toddler has the opportunity to learn discipline and self-control. Your presence encourages us to be there too—no matter how tired we are. (If we are fortunate enough, we might get to hold that cute baby—hint, hint—or share a high-five with your energetic toddler!)

You can never be quite sure at what age your child picks up on your dutiful attendance at worship. You never really know—unless they tell you—how much they are gleaning from the songs or the sermon. One thing is certain: children will not have the opportunity to learn how to worship if they never attend worship.

Yes, I saw you struggling, my friend.

I saw you, and I was encouraged.

Stay strong, fellow parent. In addition to juggling small humans, you accomplished much on Sunday.

Now read this: How to avoid parental burnout

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