Monday, March 21, 2011

“Mama Had Enough”: Battling the Pre-Church Meltdown

Being a pastor’s wife, every Sunday morning from about 7:30 until it’s time to leave for church, it’s just me and my little one.  If I’m not mostly ready to leave the house before the hubby leaves, then I’ve got a lot on my plate to keep my toddler occupied (and clean) while trying to get myself ready to go, bags packed, and out the door by 9:30 (at the latest, but as early as 8:45). 

Now realistically, this should not be a problem in the least bit as when I run errands during the week, I’m usually out the door between 9 and 10 am.  The problem was (and still often is) that Sunday mornings – for whatever reason – were just different.  Whereas on most days it seems he hardly touches most of his toys, on Sunday mornings, he has EVERY toy out and spread out in every corner of the main floor of our home.  Whereas on most days he will have 1-2 (if any) tantrums, on Sunday mornings he has multiple.  Whereas on most days getting him dressed is no big deal, on Sunday mornings getting dressed and changing a diaper is an all out wrestling match.  Okay, so you get the point.  This Mama had enough. 

For quite a while I really, REALLY struggled with my Sunday mornings.  I was to the point that I almost dreaded Sunday mornings, had little to no patience, and counted down the moments until I could put my son in the nursery.  It was a very sad situation!  I tried getting up earlier to make sure I was that much more ready for the day, but even that didn’t solve all of the issues.  Finally, (I think it was on a Sunday afternoon after another horrible morning before church) I was able to see Sunday mornings for what they really were, an attack of the enemy. 

All of our preparations on Sunday mornings are for the purpose of worshipping God and ministering in His name.  For our family, our week pretty much revolves around Sunday – sermon prep, worship team practices, special music, youth group, church dinners, nursery, junior church, etc - , so of course Satan is going to increase his attack.  So what do I do?  I go to God’s Word.

One passage of Scripture immediately comes to mind when I contemplate the attacks of the devil and that’s Ephesians 6:10-18 – the armor of God.  (I won’t include the whole passage here, but feel free to read it / remind yourself of it.) 

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:10-13)
Although I made myself think that the root of the problem is my son and all the chaos he seems to create on a Sunday morning, it’s not.  Even though I tried to remedy the problem by getting up earlier and getting as much done ahead of time as possible, the problem didn’t go away.  So, I have to ask myself, “Have I “put on the full armor of God?” (vs. 13).  Am I preparing myself daily to do battle with the evil around me?  How do I know for sure?  Continue reading in Ephesians 6.

The Belt of Truth
God is truth.  We can’t allow ourselves to be swayed by the lies of the devil.

Breastplate of Righteousness
We need to guard our hearts with the righteousness of God, admitting we can’t fight this battle alone (much like we can’t earn our own right-standing with God). 

Feet Fitted with the Gospel of Peace
In wherever we go, whatever we do, and wherever God leads, we need to 1) remind ourselves of the gospel and, 2) proclaim the gospel, not only with our words, but with our attitude. 

Shield of Faith
Deflect the attacks of the devil by purposely strengthening your faith each day (by reading your Bible, reading other Christian literature, listening to Christian music, praying, or meeting with fellow believers). 

Helmet of Salvation
Be assured of your salvation through Christ and allow that confidence to help you rise above the trials of life. 

The Sword of the Spirit (God’s Word)
Immerse yourself daily in God’s Word.  Having God’s Word hidden in your heart means you’re ready to reassure and remind yourself of His promises at a moment’s notice. 
That’s all for the actual armor, but at the very end of this passage we are reminded of one more thing at that is prayer.  Communicate with God.  Ask for His guidance.  Praise Him for His provision. 

This isn’t a recipe for avoiding catastrophe, but it is helpful in weathering and defeating the schemes of the evil one that can so easily overwhelm us – even difficult Sunday mornings.  Even if your Sunday mornings aren’t under attack, I hope that this encourages you to reclaim an area of your life that is currently a battle zone. 

“With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18)

~ Carrie ~

P.S.  If you’ve ever seen Mark Lowry’s “My First Comedy Video”, you know exactly what the first part of the title for this Monday’s blog post refers to.  I wouldn’t put myself in the category of the mother in this sketch, but I’m sure most moms have felt themselves on the urge of the meltdown this mom went through.  If you haven’t seen this and/or if you just want a good laugh, please view the video below (and try to ignore the horrendous 90s clothing and hairstyles!).  

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