I frequently get asked why I take my eight-month-old baby to church. Our Sunday church services are filled with hushing and feedings and changing diapers. We move between the mother’s room and the main service and the foyer, trying not to disturb the other childless churchgoers. I’ve spent entire church services nursing my baby and trying to get him to sleep. Jacques and I are like popcorn, jumping up and down to tend to our baby’s needs, catching maybe a sentence of the service here and there. Most of the time it’s exhausting so I sometimes wonder if it’s all really worth it. But there are very specific reasons why I go through all that trouble, even though it sometimes feels worthless.
I am teaching my child to prioritize the things of God. Christianity finds itself in the state it is because most believers base their belief on how they feel. If it feels like too much trouble, then it’s probably not worth it. If it feels like an inconvenience, then I won’t do it. Does that sound familiar? Every Sunday I face this uphill battle of getting my baby to church and then leave a few hours later feeling like I’ve accomplished nothing. But just like William notices what we say and where we are, he also notices what we do. I’m hoping to lead by example. In order to show him that if we can move his routine around to go to a braai, then we can surely move his routine around to go to church. I want him to learn to submit and listen to someone in authority. Yes, private worship is extremely important in our household, but so is community and leadership. It might not be this Sunday, or the one after, but very soon he’ll be able to recognise commitment and sacrifice in his parents. Going to church does not make me, my son or anyone else a Christian, but it does mean one very important thing: God is a priority in our family.
And regardless of how he acts during worship or church services, if worship means that I enter the presence of God, then what better time to experience such a presence than with a crying, fussy baby on my hip. I want William to come into the habit of seeking God through any and all the life experiences that he’s eventually going to go through. I want him to purposefully and willingly choose Sunday’s and God and community over Sunday-sleep-ins. To me, even distracted worship is worth it. God’s Word is powerful, and I’ve found that it can uplift my soul when both my body and brain are tired.