Dear Woman struggling with infertility

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Dear Woman struggling with infertility,

I know how you feel. I’ve been down that road before. Maybe it’s your body that doesn’t function the way most people think it should. Maybe it’s your husband that can’t produce children (most people don’t even think of that element). Regardless, none of your situation takes God by surprise. God did not make a mistake when he joined you and your husband together. Can I take a few moments and dispel a couple of myths? I just want to encourage you as you travel this journey. You are not alone.

Myth #1-“Having children completes your family.” Have you ever noticed when God created this world, he created 2 people: Adam and Eve. THIS was the first family. God did not create children with the first family. The first family was comprised of two people, and that family was COMPLETE. In Genesis 1:31a the Bible states: “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Notice it doesn’t say: “and, behold, it was lacking, so he created children.” When God created everything, it was finished. Complete. Perfect. When you get married, your family is complete. God may or may not add children to that union, but regardless your family is complete. Hannah, in I Samuel 1, desired to have a child. Elkanah, her husband, asked “Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?”  If I say “now that I have children my family is complete”, that will infer that if you don’t have children your family is not complete. What utter nonsense! My life is to be complete in Christ, not in my children. Children are an addition, not the family unit itself.

Myth #2 – “Marriage was instituted for procreation.” My husband and I were able to sit down and talk with a couple not too long ago. They do not have children yet and they have heard it all.  If marriage was designed for procreation, why do people stop having children after 1 or 2? If that were the case, why don’t more families have 20 plus children? If that were the case, why do some families have no children, even though they’ve tried? Many people argue the Bible says “Be fruitful and multiply.” Yes, the Bible says that, but do you know it was a command given to specific people?

The first time we read that statement is in Genesis 1. Verse 22 says “And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful and multiply.” Look! There it is! The command. Yes, but read the rest of the sentence, “and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.” He is speaking about creatures in the water and birds! Not man! Context is an important thing. The second time is in verse 28 where He is talking specifically to Adam and Eve. “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” Yes it says be fruitful and multiply, but I believe the command was specific to two people. Genesis 9:1 God tells Noah and his sons, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” (He repeats this in Genesis 9:7 to Noah and his sons.) In these two scenarios, He makes that command because they are the only people on the earth. (He makes the command in chapter 8 as well, but again, he is referring to the animals on the ark.) In Genesis 26:4, God tells Abraham, “And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven,…” God would give unto Abraham as He saw fit. In Genesis 28 Isaac tells Jacob, “And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people.” Again, it was up to God to multiply his seed. And lastly, again in Genesis, God tells Jacob, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply;” He was speaking specifically to Jacob because from Jacob would come the nation of Israel. This command is not found anywhere else in scripture. If God truly meant for marriages to be baby factories, there would not be infertility issues within Christian marriages.

Myth #3-“Just adopt a child, then you’ll get pregnant.” Ugh. Because every person who has adopted a child gets pregnant, right? That’s not how things work. I know some people who have adopted children and have ended up having a biological child. I am one of those people. But I know just as many people who have adopted children and have not had biological children. Just because it happened for your hairdresser’s sister’s best friend’s daughter’s sister-in-law does not mean it works that way for everybody. Plus, that thinking puts less value on the adopted child. They are just a means to an end. That’s NOT why you should enter into adoption. Adoption should be considered when you are willing to love someone else’s child as yours. Fiercely. Without reservation. And for the record, my adopted girl is just as much mine as my bio girls. If you know me and my husband at all, you’ve heard us say things like, “She’s your child” or “She has your DNA” or “She gets that from your side.” Adoption is a beautiful thing, but it should not be taken lightly.

So if you are a woman struggling with infertility, you are not inferior. You are not worthless. You are not incomplete. God has a plan for all of His children. We may not always understand it, but nothing happens to us that does not first pass through the hands of God. Don’t let thoughtless and flippant statements steal your joy.

 

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Why My Daughters Won’t Buy Ties

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There was a story floating around Facebook a while back. Wait a while and I’m sure it will come back around, just like bell bottoms, leg warmers, and banana clips. If you are a hopeless romantic, it is a great story. A girl buys a tie and prays over it for seven years. In the mean time she meets a young man, gets engaged and presents it to her husband-to-be right before their wedding. As she walks down the aisle, she sees her groom sporting said tie (amazingly, it has the exact colors as her wedding colors). Please don’t get me wrong: it’s a sweet story. Who doesn’t like a sweet, romantic, sappy Hallmark ending? But let me explain a couple of reasons why my daughters will not be doing the same thing.

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First, growing up we are bombarded with stories where they live happily ever after. Cinderella? She is neglected and abused and yet she ends up marrying a prince. Snow White? She hides out with a bunch of dwarfs, eats a poisoned apple, falls into a deep sleep, is kissed by a prince, and lives happily ever after. Sleeping Beauty? See Snow White (minus the dwarfs and poisoned apple.) Rapunzel, the Little Mermaid, and don’t get me started on Hallmark movies. If you’ve never seen a romantic Hallmark movie, allow me to spoil it for you. Boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl have a falling out, boy and girl make up, boy and girl live happily ever after. (and for the record, I think I’ve seen every one ever produced. Except “The Christmas Shoes.” That one is dumb. And so is the sequel. Or so I hear.)

Yes, they are good, clean movies. But that is not real life. I don’t want to assume my daughters will get married. I don’t want my daughters thinking they will definitely marry. I don’t want them thinking every story has a Hallmark happy ending. What if they stay single? I don’t want them to think they are second rate because they are single. I know quite a few single women. Fabulous single women. Beautiful single women. Humanly speaking, I have no idea why some guy has not snatched them up. But my counsel and advice? It is hard enough being married to the right man. Imagine being married to the wrong man. (Thanks, Mrs. Dunbar!) A woman is not a reject because she is single. There is nothing wrong with her. (Most of the time. There is the occasional crazy cat lady.) Many of these ladies are content with where God has them, and they should be. Being single is not inferior to being married. You just have to learn to be content.

I know some women who have been so desperate for a man they continue to lower their standards until they snag a man, any man. Sometimes standards and scruples are thrown out the window as long as a man notices them. I know women who have married for money. I know women who have married for security. I remember a student sitting in my studio crying because she was about to graduate from college and was still single. I explained to her that if God wanted her married, He’d bring the right one along. If not, God had another plan for her. Not a plan B, not a worse plan, not a second rate plan, just a different plan. She was not a failure. She was only 22! She had all the time in the world. (and she did end up meeting and marrying a young man a few years after graduation.)

file-2We used to pray for my daughters’ husbands as we put them to bed at night, but then I had a change of heart. Praying that teaches my girls we expect them to marry. I don’t assume that anymore. I want God’s will for their lives above wanting them married.  I pray God brings them the right man IF He wants them married. If not, I pray they will be content being single and embracing all they can do that a married woman cannot. I think many times we, especially Christians, put so much pressure on young people to marry, they marry for the wrong reasons. Unfortunately, that causes numerous issues and the divorce rate among Christian young couples is on the rise.

Another reason why I don’t care for this story is this: too many girls plan their wedding out before they are even engaged, many times before they are even seriously dating/courting someone. I have seen many times girls pick dates, dresses, flowers, colors, etc before there is even a ring on their finger. It seems as if the husband is just another thing on their checklist. “Okay, I have everything planned, so now I just need… oh, you’ll do. Check!” It makes me sad (okay, truth, it irritates me) when I hear some girl say,

“When we get married on May 31…”

“Really? Ooooh, can I see your ring?”

“Well, I don’t have a ring yet.”

I so badly want to say, if you ain’t got a ring, you ain’t got a thing, sweetheart. Another Hallmark movie faux pas: girls that have their weddings planned complete with idea boards/books since elementary school. Seasons, dates, dresses, etc. Life doesn’t always work out like that. Planning a wedding before an engagement seems so antiromantic. (Is that even a word?) “It’s about time you gave me the ring, I have everything planned.”  What happened to the element of surprise? Just wait. Let God bring you your husband in His time. You’ll have plenty of time to get things done.

20181123_125858So, if my daughters do grow up and remain single, please don’t greet them with questions like, “So when are you going to find a nice young man and settle down?” or “What’s wrong with you? You’re not married yet?” or “Have you met my great nephew Irving? He has a great personality.” My goal is to raise them to be godly young ladies. Smart ladies. Faithful ladies. Even independent ladies. If God sees fit to bring them a husband, great! If God sees fit to have them remain single, great! Their worth is not tied to whether or not they are married. Their worth is tied to whom they belong: Jesus Christ.

You Say Independent Like its a Bad Thing…

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I admit. I am an independent woman. I can do most things by myself. I was raised by an ultra independent woman. I never saw being independent as being a bad thing. A few years ago, someone made this statement: “Oh, I KNOW just how independent you are.” They clearly did not mean it as a compliment. In fact, they find my independence offensive. This statement bothered me for quite some time. Am I not to be independent? Am I to be, as the world sees meekness, powerless or even brainless? I have many friends who are single and who are told, “you’re too independent to be married” or “you’d never submit to your husband you’re so independent.” Some are told, “It would take a very strong man to rein you in.” So I went to the Bible and started digging. Do you know what I found? Some extremely independent women!!!! Women who are heralded as being virtuous. So, let’s begin in no particular order.

The first woman who comes to mind doesn’t have a name, but she is clearly defined as a strong, independent woman. Proverbs 31 describes this woman as a hard worker, industrious, business minded, frugal, fearless, and an entrepreneur. She is compassionate, kind, and wise. She is not a slacker. Her husband is not threatened by her. Quite the opposite. His heart trusts in her and he praises her. He is known in the gates and is a respected man. Do you think he’d be held in high esteem if his wife was so independent he was emasculated? Her children rise up and call her blessed. They are not afraid of her. Verse 29 sums it all up by saying, “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.”

Secondly, meet Abigail. In I Samuel 25 Abigail is described as “of good understanding and of a beautiful countenance.” (verse 3) We read that her husband was “churlish and evil in his doings.” His name is Nabal and Nabal means fool or senseless. Here is an abbreviated scenario. David, who was to be king, was in the area and sent servants to Nabal to ask for provisions. Nabal, being foolish, says “Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse?” (Even in the day before social media, I’m sure David’s encounter with Goliath got around.) Nabal harshly refuses and sends David’s messengers on their way. Long story short, David wants to right this wrong in blood, a servant of Nabal’s finds out, tells Abigail, and she springs to action. She gathers food and drink for David AND his men, rode out to meet David, and fell at his feet. She took the blame (verse 24-“upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be:”), intercedes and mediates on behalf of her husband and household, and convinces David to not shed blood. Nabal ends up dying either by stroke or heart attack and Abigail goes on to marry King David. This is not the work of a weak woman. This is a wise, strong, and independent woman.

In Judges 4 we find a woman named Jael. Allow me to set the scene.  Sisera was the captain of King Jabin’s Canaanite army. As they were being defeated by the Israelites, Sisera fled (real hero, huh?). He sought refuge at the property of a man named Heber, a man who had an alliance with King Jabin. Heber’s wife, Jael, was very accommodating. She welcomed him in, gave him some nice warm milk to drink (maybe some fresh cookies?), and covered him with a blanket. Once Sisera was lulled to sleep, Jael quietly and expertly drove a tent spike through his temple, fulfilling the prophecy that a woman would receive the honor of killing Sisera. In Judges 5, Barak and Deborah sang her praises. Literally.

Speaking of Deborah, she was Israel’s only female judge. Talk about your independent woman. Queen Esther entered into the presence of King Xerxes without being summoned. In the days of the Persians this would mean death, but she was determined and grace was extended. Jochebed defied the king’s orders and hid Moses. She eventually put him in the Nile, he was found by a princess, and Jochebed was able to nurse him and raise him for a few more years, and was paid to do it. Time does not permit me to expound on the daughters of Zelophehad (Numbers 27), Rahab (Joshua 2), Jehosheba (II Kings 11), and many others.

So to you independent women: Good on ya! Don’t be embarrassed to be how God made you. There are obviously boundaries, but don’t pretend to be something you’re not. God used many independent women throughout the Bible. Don’t let someone try to put you down by saying you’re too independent. If you are living in accordance with God’s Word, you’re just fine.

 

 

Tutor Gifts!

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Even though we are a homeschool family, we are a part of a wonderful program called Classical Conversations. On the elementary level we meet once a week for 24 weeks. It  a formal program (as opposed to a relaxed co-op) and the students are split into classes by age. We have been CCers for 6 years now. And we have about 15 years to go.

At the end of the year I love to give out tutor gifts. (The class leaders are called tutors, not teachers. CC believes the parents are the teachers and have the final say.) The gifts are not always extremely expensive, but we want to show our gratitude for those tutors who have invested their time to be with our kids. I also hand out student gifts to the students I have had the privilege to tutor.

This year the girls picked out what they wanted to give their tutors. Even Courtney, although she was only there 2 times because she was not officially enrolled. (She will be next year!) Lydia has 2 tutors: one for Foundations and one for Essentials. Emma is only in Foundations.

Emma chose a teal plastic basket, beach theme beach towel, teal cup with a straw, some rice krispy treats, granola bars, and juice mix ins for water. Her tag said “Thanks for helping me shine!” She was pretty proud of herself for picking all that out. Lydia gave her Essentials tutor a basket of tortilla chips, salsa, queso, and bean dip. Her tag read “you are NACHO average tutor.” I’m still working on her Foundations tutor gift. I’m thinking a gift card for $100 or some new LulaRoe pieces, but daddy is not on board yet. (For those of you who don’t know, I am Lydia’s tutor.) Courtney gave her tutor some chocolate chip cookies with a tag that said “Thanks for making me one smart cookie.” We also presented our campus director with a platter of 3 dozen cookies. Her tag said “you are sweeter than chocolate chip cookies.” (and I forgot a picture for that one.)

Finally, my students received a personalized bookmark, an educational book, and a bag of “bookworms” to eat as they read. I have had the privilege of tutoring in CC for 6 years. Every year the Lord has taught me something through each of my students.

For those of you on the homeschool journey, CC or not, keep going. It is worth the good days, bad days, the steam coming out your ears days. It is not easy, but nothing worth having ever is.

 

Don’t Be That Wife: Part Dos

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One of my last posts was Don’t Be That Wife. This is the second installment. Sometimes we need to be reminded of some basics. First, the Bible doesn’t want us to be hateful, angry individuals. Anger is equated to foolishness (Proverbs 14:17, 29; Ecclesiastes 7:9). Our first priority is to be a godly woman. Married or single. Children or no children. God’s Word clearly outlines how we are to conduct ourselves. Secondly, if you are married, you are to be a godly wife. You are to mirror Christ through your marriage. Lastly, you are to be a godly mom. Our attitudes will greatly influence our families, both our spouses and our children.

In Titus 2, we read that the aged women are to teach the younger women. I have all girls. They have some wonderful examples to look to at our church. Godly women. Faithful women. Discerning women. But this verse also applies to me as a mother. I can pretend to be all that and a bag of chips at church and I can post all the right things on Facebook but do you know who really sees whether I am sober, discreet, chaste, and a keeper at home? My children. It is my responsibility to teach my daughters these principles. I can give lip service all I want, but my actions and my attitude will speak volumes. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “More is caught than is taught.”

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This man is amazing!

If I am constantly hateful to my husband, it shows my girls that I don’t truly love him (Titus 2:4), it shows them my disobedience (Titus 2:5), and it blasphemes the Word of God (Titus 2:5). My attitude toward my husband will greatly influence my children. My girls will more than likely pick up my habits and be hateful to their spouse, if they get married. They can overcome it and break the cycle, but it is a difficult journey. It can affect sons as well. They may be more likely to marry someone who will verbally abuse them, thinking that is normal.  Not only that, but my children will quite possibly treat their friends with the same disdain they observe day in and day out. Eventually, they will complain they don’t have many friends. Is it any wonder with attitudes such as theirs? I don’t think we realize how much our stinky attitudes are soaked up by our children. Even if you are pleasant as punch to your children, having an antagonistic relationship with their dad makes them more likely to resent you as they grow older, if they don’t grow up just like you. Even if they don’t grow up to resent you, biblically, your attitude is wrong. Just remember: What you do, your children will do in excess.

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Denver/Seattle Game

If my husband and I do have intense fellowship, which is not very often, apologies are not only made to each other, but to our children as well. My children need to see forgiveness, not harboring a grudge. My husband and I were raised 2 different ways. My parents fought to the death so to speak, and I don’t remember apologies ever being made. It eventually blew over. Guess what I brought into our marriage? An antagonistic spirit when things didn’t go my way. And I expected my husband to argue with me. My husband’s parents never argued in front of the children. The problem with that is my husband never saw conflict and resolution. So guess what he brought into our marriage? If you love one another, you NEVER argue. That’s not healthy either. We’ve had to work extremely hard to find the right balance. (We have, by the way.) I never want my children to live in fear of “Is today the day one of my parents leave?” and I never want to hear my child plead with me: “Please don’t fight with daddy anymore.” Your relationship with your husband will affect your children. (Anyone remember Jon and Kate Gosselin?  Were you really surprised when they split up? Did you ever watch some of the earlier episodes?)

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Bedlam, Baby!!

I’m going to be transparent here. You also need a healthy intimate relationship with your husband. Of the couples I know that have a nonexistent intimate relationship, there are issues. Do you know how it feels to go through weight ups and downs, fertility issues, weight ups and downs, miscarriage, traumatic birth, cancer, more weight ups and downs, and your husband still find you attractive?! Oh. My. Word. It’s amazing. You have to question his sanity sometimes, but man, is that true love or what? Hold hands, hug, let your husband kiss you. Kiss your husband. There is security in that for your children. (And it’s so much fun to gross our kids out when we kiss.) Our children will be bombarded with the world’s view of intimacy and marriage. Teach them what is right and godly by modeling it for them.

Ladies, your relationship with your husband is vital to the development of your children. (I’m not talking about an abusive situation here. That’s a different story.) Please, please, please understand what an effect you have. If you are a ministry family, your home life, church life, and social media life must be consistent, or your children will see the hypocrisy and want nothing to do with it. If you are a Christian family, your home life, church life, and social media life must be consistent, or your children will see the hypocrisy and want nothing to do with it. Do your best to model a godly marriage.

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Isn’t he handsome?!?!

Don’t be that wife.

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Have you ever considered how much power a wife and a mother wields? If she has a bad day, the whole house suffers. If momma is having a bad day, everyone knows it. We laugh at the signs at craft shows that say, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” but there is so much truth to this statement. Our attitudes set the tone of our homes, and the Bible speaks to this numerous times. God has given us clear instruction how to conduct ourselves as women, wives, and mothers. (I put them in that order on purpose.)In order to have a happy and successful marriage, we would be wise to read God’s Word and heed it.

Proverbs 14:1 reads, “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” I picture this verse as a game of Jenga. You know, the game that starts out with all the wooden blocks stacked like a tower and one by one each player removes a block. As the game continues, the structure becomes unstable and eventually crashes to the table. At the end of the game, the pieces are put back together like nothing happened and the game starts all over again. My house is that Jenga tower. As I destroy my husband with my words, my “structure” becomes more unstable. But my family, my house, is not a game. It is real life, and I can’t place the blocks back like nothing happened. The words that are said can never be shoved back into my mouth. The words spoken and the tone with which I speak has already done the damage.

Twice the Bible tells us “It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.” (Proverbs 21:9, 25:24) Can you imagine? It is better for my husband to sit on our roof than to hang out with me while I’m having a moment? And notice it says in a “wide house.”  I believe it means no matter how big the house, there is no place to hide. Proverbs 21:19 states, “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” Of course, this was written before modern camping conveniences. It is sad to me that any man would choose isolation in the rugged wilderness over the comforts of home because of a contentious woman. Also, don’t be a nag. Proverbs 27:15 tells us “A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.” Now, I like a rainy day every now and then. But think about a continual dropping of water. That sound. Over and over. No relief in sight. No other sounds to listen to but drip. drip. drip. drip. blah. blah. blah. blah. nag. nag. nag. pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little, cheep, cheep, cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more…

These verses don’t specify a wife. They say “woman.” If you are single, these words still apply to you. First and foremost, we must desire to be a godly woman. We must desire to please the Lord in our actions and our demeanor. The Lord often links anger with foolishness. Proverbs 17:28a states, “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise:” In other words, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” (Lincoln, Twain, no one really knows.) Later in Proverbs you find, “A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both.” (Proverbs 27:3) Picture being stuck in quicksand and someone comes and hands you a curling stone. A fool’s wrath is heavier than that.

The book of Genesis explains to us that Eve was made a help meet for Adam. The article adjective “a” indicates a noun. According to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, help is defined as “Aid, assistance, strength or means furnished towards promoting an object, or deliverance from difficulty or distress.” Also, as a verb help means “to assist; to succor; to lend means of deliverance.” Lastly, “to remedy; to change for the better.” My job as a wife is to help my husband. To assist him, to lend strength towards effecting a purpose. (In a Christian marriage, our purpose should be to glorify God in all we say or do.) The word meet here is an adjective. It means “fit; suitable; proper; qualified.” I should assist him in a proper way. I should desire to assist my husband and lend a means of deliverance from a hectic day or antagonistic workday. I want to create an environment where my husband WANTS to come home. Do you realize there are men around the world who cringe at the thought of going home to their wives on a daily basis? I don’t want to be known as the “old ball and chain.” “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.” (Proverbs 12:4) “For three things the earth is disquieted, (made uneasy, restless, or disturbed) For an odious (hateful) woman when she is married;”. (Proverbs 30:21a, 23a-parenthesis mine)

I would like to encourage you, Don’t Be That Wife. Don’t be odious or hateful. Don’t be a nag. (Ever notice you can’t nag without getting hateful?) Don’t be constantly argumentative. That being said, I’m not advocating you to be a personal door mat. If you know me even just a smidgen, you know that I am a little outspoken. Okay, a lot outspoken. But, I try to defer to my husband when needed. I have respect for my husband, and he has respect for me. I want nothing more than for my husband to say that his heart, “doth safely trust” in me. (Proverbs 31:11)

 

 

 

Who cares about the nursery?

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I believe a church has one main purpose: to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. If a church loses sight of that purpose, it ceases to be effective. I also believe that any ministry a church has should support that purpose. In my mind, one of the most important ministries a church can have is a nursery. I am a firm believer in the church nursery for a multitude of reasons.

First, we should always remember the pastor has a responsibility. He is called by God to preach the Gospel and minister to the saints. In that same vein, we have a responsibility to help him. How do we do that? By being attentive to the Word and engaged in the service. We have a nursery to allow our pastor the freedom to preach whatever the Holy Spirit has laid on his heart. It is much easier to do that when the service is free of distractions. You might not see the little kid 3 rows behind you that is waving his hands in the air (waving like he just don’t care) and twirling around, but the pastor sees it. We should determine to do our part to keep the services free of distractions. We should also remember that services are not just for the saved. Hopefully, there are lost people in your service. (A wise pastor once said, “If everyone in your church service looks just like you, you’re not doing something right. You should want those that look different to walk through the doors.”) Satan wants nothing more than to distract them from hearing the most important message they need to hear.

Secondly, kids make noise. God designed them that way. They coo, they giggle, they talk, they belch and pass gas. The nursery is designed to allow those children who do not have the capacity to be still to be a kid.  The nursery is designed for kids to be kids and to allow adults to listen in the service without distraction. I recently read an article on this where the author was adamant: Babies are NOT a distraction. I respectfully disagree. Babies can be a distraction. They are cute. They smell good. They smell bad. They smile. They giggle. They spit up. Babies are wonderful creations, but they CAN be a distraction. Again, we should do everything within our power to keep the services free from distraction.

Not only that, sometimes it’s not the child who is a distraction. Sometimes the adults accompanying them are the distraction. The baby smiles and the adults start elbowing one another to look at baby Joey. Now those adults are distracted, the pastor might be distracted, and the adults around them may be distracted. Once a child becomes mobile, they want to move. Trying to keep them penned up on your lap is a difficult job. Very, very few children under the age of 1 will sit quietly without squirming. When the child starts to squirm, the adult feels like they have to entertain them. Yes, this can be done without noise, but it can’t be done without distraction. I’ve watched plenty of parents play peek a boo or make faces at a child to keep them entertained, but to do that, the adult becomes a distraction. Also, many times they lose track of the message.

I once had someone tell me they were taking their child out of the nursery because they were starting preschool (3 years of age) and needed to learn to sit still.  Honestly, that would have been fine, had they made their child sit still. But unfortunately, that was not the case. This child didn’t even have to sit down. Sadly, one Sunday, guests sat behind them. After services the guests told me they would NEVER sit behind that family again. What a sad testimony! Our actions don’t affect only us, they also affect all those around us. This couple had a hard time paying attention to the service because the mom either let the child do what he/she wanted or she was disciplining the child right in the middle of the service.

Let me add right here that training your child to sit in services does not start at church. It starts at home. Waiting until they are in the middle of a church service to sit perfectly still and quiet is unreasonable. If you teach them little by little at home, they will be much more successful at church.

Also, a nursery frees you up to be involved in the ministry yourself. I play the piano for a majority of the services. It would not work for me to sit out of that ministry or try to juggle ministry and sitting with my child. I have friends who teach Sunday School, and one just recently told me she needed to put her baby in the nursery because the teens (whom her husband teaches) would be easily distracted by such a beautiful baby. (She didn’t say beautiful, but trust me, this little girl is a cutie!!) One teen has special needs and he would love to look and coo at this sweet thing, but taking her to nursery helps keep him engaged in the class.

Nursery workers should realize what a wonderful opportunity they have. They have a direct part in the service even though they are not in there.  I firmly believe when someone gets saved, the nursery workers play a part in that. They are lovingly caring for the children so the pastor and the adults can pay attention. Nursery workers may also be the first members a guest comes in contact with. Their attitude has a profound impact on whether or not the guest feels comfortable.  When we travel and are at other churches, the nursery is a key factor. While on vacation recently, we attended a church where the nursery was well staffed, and more importantly, very friendly. When we dropped them off, we had the feeling the workers took their ministry seriously and deemed it important. The workers were very welcoming and were happy to explain where they would be and where we would pick them up. When we went by after services, our children were called by name, we were told how they behaved, and all of this was done with a sweet attitude.

I encourage you, if you don’t already, utilize your church nursery. Give the message your undivided attention. At our church, our nursery is not an after thought. I want it to be an important ministry. I don’t want the nursery workers to be on time, I want them to be early. We never know when a guest will walk through the door and if no one is in the nursery to greet them, they assume the church doesn’t place a high priority on taking care of their children.