Family, Chaos and Church
From when school broke up on Friday… I have Driven 3 children to Bognor for guitar lessons and sat in the car for an hour whilst the third climbed all over me, raced home to make dinner and enjoyed the usual screamer of a bedtime.
On Saturday morning I was woken up by the dog jumping on the bed and licking my face, followed by my youngest who jammed herself in the bed alongside the dog and spent 5 minutes jabbing me with her ice-cold feet. I took them all downstairs adopting the characteristics of a Sergeant Major and managed to get some breakfast inside them, I broke up three fights, banned them from computer usage for the day, located swimming stuff, and bundled them into the car. We managed to get Neil to the train, just in the nick of time!
At the swimming pool my eldest kindly offered to carry the bag, for which I gave much praise and encouragement only to find that he had smuggled a computer in it. The rest of the lessons were spent trying to watch the right child achieve at the right time and restrain now ‘angry I want the computer child’. After swimming we sped off to Portsmouth to find an ‘Indiana Jones hat’ for Ben’s school costume. I entered Toys R Us with three children, bright-eyed and hopeful, looking for a hat and left in disgrace 30 minutes later with three wailing, red-faced gremlins and a Peppa Pig DVD.
The car journey was not a pleasant one and resulted in me giving up and taking them to the McDonald’s Drive Thru. I don’t let them get out and eat in the Restaurant, I can’t trust them to behave!
Finally we arrived home, where I continued to break up fights and give alternate children time out in their bedrooms for the rest of the afternoon. Another mountain of a bedtime was climbed, doors shut, opened, lights on, lights off, in out, in out and shake it all about. Then Sunday morning arrives… I got up, made breakfast, Shepherd’s Pie for lunch, forced three children to wave a toothbrush somewhere in the near their mouths, found out three sets of clothes and plonked ourselves back in the car for church.
Now, Church was genuinely a break! I love being a part of a multi-generational community. The kids burst through the door. Millie Located her favourite teenager and sat herself down on her lap, Archie sat with his Neil and Ben with me and a lovely older lady who made us giggle with her funny jokes.
Please don’t think that in church people sit in judgement of your children and their behaviour or you and your ability to cope with them. In most cases nothing could be further from the truth. It’s in the church community that I am reassured by people of different age groups that they too have been there and survived, that I am doing O.K.
Often after a crazy week, it is in church that I am encouraged to see the best sides of my children. A place where I can see them interacting with others, being kind and enjoying a more diverse community. I have seen them reach out to people who have felt a bit needy and have fun with others.
I firmly believe that attending church all my life has helped me to relate to people of all ages and characters. We belong to different communities whoever we are and whatever we do. Whether it is our neighbourhood community or at work. Of course, we know that every community is flawed and has disagreements. I have found through conversation that people often have high expectations of Church, which can sometimes lead them to the conclusion that the Church as a community is hypocritical.
I disagree, I believe and have witnessed Church being a community of people who want to do good, but know they are messy. In going to Church they are acknowledging that they need help to be better. To be ‘more like Jesus’. Church is for the divorced man, the naughty child, the nervous mum and the rebellious student.
For those who can look at themselves and say “This just isn’t working and I need God’s help.”
It’s for me, a mum who keeps getting it wrong, who has high ideals for bringing up the kids but keeps missing the mark! Church is for the humble ‘messer-upper’.
Perhaps you should get yourself along?