i have a secret.

We haven't been to church since Aaron was born. Actually since before Aaron was born. And I feel tremendous guilt about it. Like a lot. Not because I really think that I am doing something "wrong" but that others do. I feel guilty because I want my boys to grow up going to church...I didn't and feel like I have had to do a lot of "make-up work" in my spiritual journey. And it's not like we don't LOVE our church because we do. And even though we haven't been going we have been working on relationships with other believers...which I feel are just as important.

Our reasons are generally schedule related...or lack of a schedule. While Aaron's night schedule is pretty predictable...his daytime nap schedule is still working itself out. And he doesn't nap well "on the go"...meaning crying cranky baby. We take each Sunday as it comes...reevaluating the situation one week at a time. At this moment I still feel like it's not a good idea...but yet an opportunity for disaster. I just don't feel ready. I miss it...but don't feel up for the stress of it with a baby who will be miserable. Miserable baby = miserable parents.

So my question to all you Jesus loving mom's of two or more...Is this normal? This is just a phase of life right? And my boys aren't going to suffer spiritual damage because of it...right?

Or not?
I could really use your input...and encouragement.

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Kelley said...

I think we have to take it one day at a time. We haven't been in a couple of months. We've been sick, moving, potty training, etc. In fact, my husband JUST asked me if we were going this morning. I really don't WANT to go....now that we're all feeling better....because my boys will probably catch something nasty and we'll be sick once again! I don't think they will suffer for short seasons like this. Life happens and it's our responsibility to teach and live God's Word.

Trish said...

I can totally relate...

This too shall pass!

My suggesstions would be if you aren't ready don't go. or If Doug is home on Sunday's maybe he could go with Moses and then the next week you could go with Moses? We did that for awhile, just so one spouse wasn't always missing the service. It worked for us.

Grace said...

Absolutely! We've all gone through that when we had our babies and when our children were toddlers. The most important thing is, your heart is in the right place with God and most importantly, remember... Jesus loves you and has always. Never stopped loving you for one second! I truly believe the Lord understand and wouldn't hold this against you. Enjoy your time with your beautiful children and go to church when you have the strength!

Tasha said...

I totally hear you. I too find Sundays hard. Currently I am sitting here with my husband at church meetings all morning, the 3 month old sleeping, the other 2 keeping me going a little crazy and I am trying to finish my lesson to teach the children (I work with the kids during the last two hours of our church) and hoping I really have the energy for it. My suggestion, pray for strength. Pray that your children will not get sick and that you can handle the baby while you are there and pray for strength to make it back. It may take a few more weeks, but I always know the Lord is listening and will help us. I think you are amazing. I know you don't know me, but I gain strength from reading your blog.

Jennifer said...

With my first two, we were at church the first sunday out of the hospital. With #3, it took me several weeks, just with recovery and sleeping and it was so hard b/c I just figured we'd be back just as fast. But he is now (7mos) the "church baby"...passed from one old lady to another. They just eat it up and so does he!

You have to do what's best. We had another family who didn't come for almost an entire year b/c service ended up right smack in the middle of their babies naptime. They were in the same boat as you, you just didn't miss naptime. Now their daughter is 4, they come every week, the mom teaches the preschool sunday school.... They were out for just a blip of time really, in the whole scheme of things. We all kept in touch, just b/c they weren't there on sundays didn't mean they fell off the radar.

Remember, going to church doesn't make you a christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car! You can read stories and sing songs...there are all sorts of things you can do at home if you're worried about Moses missing anything...and tons of printables online for coloring pages, etc.

It'll all be okay. It's hard fitting in a new schedule! You'll be back in a snap, so enjoy this extra mid-day naptime while it lasts!

Traci said...

Ok, after reading the the others Im a bit different :) I dont believe missing a string of Sundays will hurt your boys at this age...no. And, it is very hard to get that schedule going and then interrupt that schedule...I hear ya!!! I also know from experience that WE as mommy and daddy need to be fed at church more than anything. Sometimes when you are on the roller coaster of life of raising little ones you NEED to put your sweet babies in the nursery (know they are loved) and just go praise God and be fed for an hour and refuel!!!! I actually work in the nursery and have often had a crying infant and unless mommy states to call her I have a policy to NOT call (when other workers are often quick to call)...I just believe mommy needs that time to worship and Im there for just a couple hours and can handle a fussy baby. I think once you get back into the routine and just do it you will be SO GLAD you did!!!!

Oh Mandie! said...

Totally normal. God is good ALL THE TIME, whether you and your family are up to going to church right now or not. And just like everyone else said, you can still continute to have faith and God in your life and in your heart from at home. Maybe pick up an Our Daily Bread, or some other verse a day book and read it to yourself when you catch a private moment, or better yet read it to your little guys :)

My church has a Saturday evening service that we go to, its at 6pm which isn't interfering with any naps or anything like that so my 2 year old is usually tantrum free. If your church has alternate services like that maybe that could be something you could look into when you are ready to go back.

Just keep on taking it one day at a time and reveling in the blessings of life :)

Becky said...

I have known several Godly moms who have waited many weeks to go back to church. It's all about "seasons". All you can do is take one day at a time. Geez, that's all any of us can do.

I remember when Syd was a baby we had to watch our church on our computer because we would get paged out (every week) within 15 minutes into the praise and worship time because she was screaming. And when I say screaming, I mean screaming! : ) There was just no way of going during that time. It was hard but we just had to wait until the phase passed. It took awhile but it did.

God knows your heart and desires. You'll be back at church in no time!

Polka Dot Moon said...

One day at a time. That's how we've had to do it and baby girl is 1 now.

Some Sundays are fabulous, others not so good!!
So we just take it one day at a time.

Don't feel bad or stress about it. You'll be back soon :)


ArtGirlBlue said...

I think you have to just do what is right for you. It doesn't make you any less of a person (or any less of a good person). And if there is anyone who tries to make you feel like that, just try to not let that bother you. They are wrong to judge. You're a good mommy and only wants the best.

Love the suggestion taking turns going with your oldest. I'm sure he would adore the alone time with one parent as well.

me said...

when babies are involved, all you can really do is go with the flow. our third just turned 4 mos. because she arrived in winter and it was bitter cold, we just didn't make it back for a couple of months. also, my husband plays in the worship band, and it was hard enough to get 3 of us there, much less 4. but, i will have to second traci as saying that when you are ready, the nursery is the place for him. as a teacher and a parent, it is the best place for babies to be loved on while mommies and daddies worship. i know for us, no matter what our child's nap schedule is/was, it always interfered with church, but we just always let it be the day they were off because we needed it. and, now my other children need it too. so, as hard as it is to just jump back in with both feet, i think you will be more refreshed and ready to take on whatever comes your way!

MonkeySeeMonkeyDo said...

I personally still went when my second was born, but I think it is perfectly normal to wait a little while. Especially if his day time schedule is still up in the air. I don't think it'd hurt to get in there and try some Sunday soon just to see how it goes. I know I was very nervous, but he and the other members of the church handles it very well.

MAXimum MESS said...

What a sweet picture. My little man was in church at six days old. I just couldn't wait to share him with our wonderful church family. We used to keep him in the service with us when he was smaller (and quieter), but now he is in nursery every Sunday. All the ladies (and men) in the nursery love him and give him so much love and attention. I always come back to him laid out in an old lady's lap just being loved on. I love the feeling of being able to enjoy the service knowing that he is happy and being loved on. Honestly, I don't know if I could go without the love and support we get from our church family every week. But you have to do what you feel is best for your family. You know what's best better than anyone else.

Lipstick and Laundry ~Jen said...

It is PERFECTLY normal at least that was the case for us, we have 4 boys, the whole nap/feeding thing is oh so important, not to mention who wants their baby to get exposed to all those germies... I found that trying to "jump" back into the church scene too quick ended with ME and the BABY being in the nursery anyways, so I wasn't hearing the message anyway... Don't stress, you will know when it's right.

Sandra said...

Good on you for raising this question. I too found it very difficult when the boys where younger to get everyone there and then actually be able to benefit from it once we were there. I did find creche a good option but there are lots of families in our church who want to worship together as a family even with very littlies. We changed which service time we went to to try and have the boys at their best. My husband works at our church so needs to be there and if there was sickness or other problems it would mean I would stay home. For a while there too, I just didn't want to go because it was all too much effort. And that was worrying. Now they are bigger I teach them at Sunday School, but again I am missing out on church. So, I recognise the dangers. But you sound like your keeping in touch and trying your best. I like the suggestion of taking turns to go with Moses, if that works for you guys. Also praying about it so you don't fall into my trap of feeling like it was all too hard. God can (and should) be worshipped wherever and whenever :>

sara's art house said...

I totally understand how you feel - it always took me awhile after the kids were born- BUT when I did take that leap and went back- I was SO wonderfully refreshed and encouraged in the Lord. I would definitely go with Moses and have your husband watch the baby - and then switch so he could go.

Lisa said...

I work in the nursery at my church and I know that when we have a baby that comes every week,he knows us and is happy, doesn't cry when mama leaves...etc. Do I think it will hurt him spiritually this young,no. Hurt you?...could. Just pray about it and God will help you make the right decision.
I have 1 regret in life and that's not bringing my kids up in church. Praying for you and yours in Arkansas. :)Lisa

Marie said...

Hi there-
Since you asked for input and encouragement, I'd like to share what God has shown me after reading your post...First of all, I am a mother of 3, so I totally get your hesitation with not wanting to go back to church immediately after having a newborn because of a whole list of reasons (getting sick, germs, naps, cranky babies, etc..); however it is very important to keep in mind that we need to trust the Lord with our babies and know that He is in ultimate control over everything. Who do we ask to heal our children when they get sick? It's Jesus we ask the healing from, so all the more so, we need to trust that if it's our heart's desire to be at church, He will give you peace about it and protect our children.

Hebrews 10:24-25
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Obviously the Lord is stirring something in your heart that compelled you to write this post...listen to that still small voice and check everything you hear against the filter of God's word and the Scriptures. If you're feeling a little guilty about not going to church, then check that thought that maybe the Lord put in your heart against His word and not by what others have to say about it.

I don't believe missing a lot of church right now could be spiritually damaging to your children since they're so young, but I encourage you again to keep looking up and asking the Lord what it is He would want you to do.

Blessings to you and your family...

Emilie said...

Sundays are always hard for us as a family of 5. Naptime gets skipped, kids get cranky, everyone is frustrated...not at all how Sunday is supposed to go, right? As tempting as it is to skip out, I think that it can quickly become a habit. If you absolutely need to stay home, that's what you should do. Keeping up with devotions and relationships is great (good job!). But, if you can, though, I'd encourage you to at least try it. Aaron might surprise you and be really good! If you need to nurse him, sit at the back and cover up or wear a loose top that will maintain some modesty. Good luck! I know it's hard, but you can do it!

Mummy McTavish said...

It's different for every family. Our church doesn't have a creche because when it was offered for a while no one took their kids. Kid noise during church is normal and you would be surprised how little other people hear it. I have often apologised to those sitting around us only to be told genuinely that they didn't hear a thing. My advice would have to be just throw yourself back into it. The silliest things can throw out nap times but I reckon going to church is worth it. I fed during church, we sat at the back and I had a muslin wrap over all my bits that needed covering and over the entire baby. No one knew if I was feeding or putting him to sleep or just trying to calm him down. I also found wearing them in a sling during church meant that they would go to sleep happily, I wouldnt have to move them and nap time was less disrupted. As a bonus people are less likely to ask to hold or get up close to germ all over your baby that is snuggled up in a sling close to your boobs:) Often I listened to the sermon standing at the back of the church comforting my reflux babies. Honestly I had never even thought of having time off from church, I didn't realise so many people did. To me I just figured that I introduced the baby to every other part of our family life straight away so going to church is a part of that. I went grocery shopping, we went on outings, I met up with friends, introducing them to church came as a part of being in our family.

Margaret said...

You'll know when he is ready. We have two, and before our second one was born we were at church 3 times a week. Our daughter changed that. She was so cranky during the night service. She just wanted to be home. We have just been going in the mornings. We have tried a few times to take her back at night, and we don't get to sit in the service. We feel guilty leaving her in the nursery at night, because we don't want others to have to deal with it. In the mornings she takes nursery just fine. We are going to start going back to Wed. night services soon, because she is old enough for one of the classes now, and we are hoping that will help. Plus she is older, and handles staying up later better. She is almost 2, so you just have to do what is right for your family. We are expecting another one at the end of this year, and we will just have to see how it goes with the new one.

Cathe Holden said...

Great questions. If I had a blog when my children were little, I would've posted the same thing. We did not go much if at all when the kids were very small. It was simply too hard to separate from them in that type of atmosphere. We didn't know who was watching them and they were in rooms full of complete strangers and I couldn't concentrate at all in my service. Now, fast forward to when my kids were around 3rd, 4th grade, we started going often and it has become a situation where they freak out at me now if I don't take them on Sunday. They love going to church. They are 12, 12 and 14 and all of them have been saved. I am terrible at bible study at home, same with school study, but they know where I stand with Jesus and they have learned much from my faith and from the awesome teachers in their church classes. When your kids are old enough to attend a church camp on their own, that is the very best beginning of their relationship with their church, church friends, and most importantly, the beginning of a beautiful relationship with Christ.

Give yourself a break, pray with your children and time will take care of things.

Live to love and laugh said...

I found your blog by accident and think it is great.
I feel at this time you must do what is right for your family in your mind. It can be a hard decision. My advice is take it one week at a time. A good indicator might be if you start feeling indifference, the time has come to work out something.
Maybe you and your husband could switch off Sundays?
With six children that has been a good (but not perfect) way to deal with a winter of illness. It will even be better when you can sit together!
I will keep you in my prayers.

Bonnie said...

You know, me and my 18 year old daughter had a very very in depth and hopefully enlightening conversation for her tonight.
It was somewhat of the same lines. She has not been to church for a little while. Not because she doesnt want to.. We live about 30 minutes from civilization and she is in her senior year. Not realizing she took Christian seminary in school for 2 years and came to find out that there isnt a credit and she was lacking in credits. she then needed to take night classes 3 nights a week to make up so she could graduate this Month. She also has a job that she works at saving for college as well as funding her driving to night school. This girls is seriously overwhelmed,,, Sunday is her only day off and she works until almost 2 am. Sunday morning sleeps and .. I let her. :-( Our conversation tonight centered around God and what he thinks. She is very secure in her relationship with God and I think in 3 weeks when things have slowed down, she is an adult etc. She can fellowship but, God isnt holing it against her and neither will the others ( hopefully) .
i think parenting is so so so hard and I thought it would get easier but I was wrong. It just morphs into different issues as they age. As a mom of an 18 15 10 and 3 year old I really wish I had taken more time when they were younger to NOT pressure myself so much in order to please others. My oldest 2 lived through that area of our lives and I think it has affected them into being a little too reactive to others satisfaction instead of the big picture.
My youngest 2 have a completely different life., So very fluid and les stressed. I realized I was the major cause of my own stress not others. too worried about others thoughts instead of the most important ones, my family and God.
I hope you are feeling a little les guilty about it and I promise when you get back into the swing of thinggs your kids wont remember NOT going to Church. LOL.

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