When I was growing up (yes, in the ’80’s) there was this song by a group called the Bangles, “Manic Monday.” My young self thought that song was so fun, for some reason. Maybe it was the catchy tune, or the fact that alliteration was used within the title, or that the group was named after my favorite type of jewelry. I dunno, but they got it all wrong. It’s actually just another manic Sunday.
Deep breath in. Gird up my loins. Deep breath out. Roll out of bed. This Sunday’s going to be different. I will NOT face a child with a poop explosion right after I just put his Sunday clothes on. I WON’T face a toddler throwing a fit over which headband will be worn. No, there will be no meltdown as I try to carry them both to the car. It’s all going to be perfect.
But it’s not. If you’re a mom of any aged kid, then I am quite sure you know what I’m talking about. No amount of pre-planning on your part the night before or cajoling the day of will get you out of the house any more swiftly or any more on time. It’s a fact: You WILL be late for church. Every. Single. Sunday.
So, why is this? Let’s explore some potential reasons. Theory #1) It’s Satan attacking your attempts at faithfulness to God. Theory #2) You stink at being a mom. Theory #3) Your children are out to get you. Theory #4) You care too much about your presentation of self Sunday morning.
Theory #1) It’s Satan attacking your attempts at faithfulness to God. Okay, maybe it’s true. Maybe Satan saves up an extra-special unit of demon soldiers for faithful, Christian moms on Sunday mornings. Maybe the horde of devils have a standing date on their calendar to swarm us the first day of every week. Does thinking about it in these terms make it any easier? Nope. Can it make us more mentally prepared? Yep. I firmly believe having the right expectations about any situation gives you strength to navigate through them. Saturday night, instead of dozing off to the chick flick on Amazon Prime, maybe spend a few minutes in prayer, asking God to prepare your mind and heart for the inevitable pressures of getting out the door the next morning.
Theory #2) You stink at being a mom. Ya know…maybe this one is true too. Honestly, friends, I think we ALL stink at this thing called “mom” sometimes. Wanna know why? Because we are flesh. We are sinful, imperfect creatures that don’t do everything right. So, yeah, the truth is, I think sometimes I DO stink at being a mom. And you do too. Is that a harsh thing to say? Sure. But, the fact is that without Jesus Christ to empower me by His Holy Spirit every. single. minute. I not only stink at being a mom, but I also stink at being a human being. So, let’s pray about this too, shall we? Let’s be vigilant to pray with and for each other to cling to Jesus.
Theory #3) Your children are out to get you. Turns out this one could potentially be true as well, depending on the age of your children. Mine are 1 and 3. I don’t know that they have the faculties quite yet to have a board meeting at which they draw up their strategy for ruining Sunday morning. However, that could be what they’re doing between juice and graham crackers when my back is turned. Now, if your kids are, say, 14 and 17…well, they may be doing just this very thing. I can’t confirm it, as I’m not there yet, however most parents of teenagers have uttered this “encouragement” to me, “It’s much worse when they’re older. Enjoy them while they’re young.” I don’t know to what exactly they are referring to, but maybe it is that their kids ARE out to get them. I’ll let you know what I find out in about 10 years. Regardless of whether or not our kids are about to form a mutiny, I think we need to pray about this one too. Maybe our kids don’t like us much sometimes. That’s okay. It’s not our job to be liked. It’s our job to be faithful in raising our kids to love Jesus. And by getting their little behinds to church Sunday mornings, on time or otherwise, we are doing just that.
Theory #4) You care too much about your presentation of self Sunday morning. I grew up in a very conservative, Baptist church where wearing your Sunday best was imperative. My father owned several suits, even though he worked as a tradesman. My mother…well, let’s just say she had enough dresses to never wear the same one twice. While this mentality may be engrained in my nature, thus making it a true statement, I do believe in the come-as-you-are mentality now. Sure, I like to look nice on Sundays, but heck, let’s be real here. I’m just happy all four of us are clothed before we leave the house! (Note: If someone sees me dazedly wandering around church minus an important article of clothing, would you please be nice enough to alert me to this? Thanks.) Perhaps this one should be covered with prayer, too. Ask God to help you as a mom, relinquish a little control. If your kid must wear the neon green headband with the plaid skirt, then go ahead and let ‘em! Who cares! So what if she’s the only kid in the Sunday school class without tights and patent leather shoes. Big whoop! She also may be the only kid who feels like her mom has enough confidence in her to let her make some of her own choices.
Alrighty then. We have completed our due diligence, trying to come up with the logic behind this manic Sunday phenomenon. What have we come up with? Let’s review. In short: pray, pray, pray. We are all sisters in Christ, so why can’t we commit to holding each other up in prayer? Instead of the comparison game I know I find myself playing sometimes, or even worse, the tear-each-other down game, let’s remember the Lord calls us to love one another. And side note here to those of you who are empty nesters or do not have children: When you see a haggard mom, struggling to get through the sanctuary doors Sunday morning, it’s okay to give them a hand. Or to utter a word of encouragement. I know that these things have blessed me a thousand times over from my church family!
Lastly, there’s one theory left I neglected to ponder earlier. That’s Theory #5) God is sovereign. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then you know this is fact, not theory. At least up in your head you do. But it’s gotta make its way down to your heart. KNOW that God is sovereign…even over your manic Sundays. Every minute of every day is orchestrated by the great God of the universe to bring you into more intimate relationship with Him. So that you will know His glory and His goodness on the deepest level possible here on this earth. When the poop explosion happens, KNOW that this does not surprise God. Take a breath, and thank Him that you have such a cute little guy to take care of. Then ask your toddler to go get more wipes.
I love you girls.
PS-Here’s the link to “Manic Monday” music video if you’d like a blast from the past. Please note, I do not endorse the Bangles or anything they may be promoting in this video. I’d rate it PG-13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xybbnMbAews