Are you consistently late to church on Sundays?
Are you weary of the looks those perfectly manicured, always “on time” moms give you? You know, the half-pitying, half-disdainful stink eyes that make you wonder why you didn’t just give up and go back to bed? I mean, you could certainly use the extra rest, right?
Have you driven to church hoping a police officer doesn’t pull you over for shaving your legs in the car? (I actually have a friend who recently did this! Now that’s some serious skill!)
Do you feel ashamed of how you harass your children from the time they jump out of bed, right up to the moment you whip through the church parking lot, barely missing the parking attendee, and instantly replacing your scrunchy, “mean mom” face with the smiling, spiritual one?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, maybe you need a new approach to facing the Sunday morning hassles.
11 Ways Moms Can Make it to Church on Time
- Set out your family’s attire the night before. If it needs ironing, go ahead and see to it (or if you’re too tired to iron, just throw it in the dryer with a wet cloth. Go ahead, no one will know).
- If you cook breakfast, plan the menu the night before. If you give your kids cereal to save time, give them their choice that night and place it on the counter for the next morning. This avoids a five minute decision for an indecisive toddler or preschooler.
- Pack diaper bags and/or backpacks the night before. You can also gather your Bible and other Sunday materials you need and put it all in one place.
- DO NOT browse your smartphone. It’s easy to get distracted and forget the time.
- Set a timer for teens while they’re in the shower. You know, one of those really loud, obnoxious kitchen timers. If you need to, set a timer for yourself, too.
- If it’s the winter season, and you don’t have a garage, crank the car fifteen minutes prior to departure time to warm up the car. This prevents having to wait until your windshield is defrosted. If it’s snowing, be sure to start scraping ice and snow during that time.
- If your children habitually interrupt you while you get ready, be sure they’re dressed and ready to go, then get them occupied with something so you have no distractions.
- DO NOT turn your alarm off without getting out of bed first. It’s all too easy to lie back down in those comfy sheets and blankets. Sigh….See? Just get up. You can sleep during the service. Just kidding, pastors.
- If you are preparing lunch, do as much as you can the night before, and set your alarm according to the time it takes for preparation.
- To avoid chaos, be sure your kitchen and bathrooms are clean and free of clutter. In fact, make sure all rooms are as neat as possible. This will prevent wasting time trying to find things you need. There’s nothing worse than looking at the clock, knowing you just wasted the five minutes you had left looking for your keys when you could have poured that much needed “To go” cup of coffee.
- Try to leave ten minutes ahead of schedule to allow for slow Sunday drivers and traffic jams. Remember, your Bible is in the seat next to you, and you’re in your Sunday clothes. It’s probably not the best time to yell at the turtle driver.
I have found these tactics to be fool proof; however, life is not. There will always be those Sundays when no matter what you do, something happens beyond your control. Just a couple of months ago, my youngest had an accident–yes, THAT kind of accident– just as we were walking out the door. In that case, just be thankful you made it—late or not– and give yourself a break. Sometimes the morning hassle makes worship time that much sweeter. Especially when your church’s nursery and preschool are finally open again after months of wrestling kids in the service.
If you struggle with being late to church, try the above tips and see if it changes your Sunday stressing into a Sunday blessing.
Let me know how it works for you if you try them. Or, if you have any tips of your own not listed here, please share!
From a “mostly on time” mom,
Featured Image/Pexels, Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush
“Forrest Gump” is probably one of the biggest cultural phenomenons to emerge from Hollywood in the nineties. The line, “Run, Forrest, Run,” quickly became a pop culture go-to phrase whenever someone was, well, running. That particular scene where Forrest is running down the dirt road as his braces fall from his legs is one of the most popular scenes from the movie.
Yet, it’s not the scene I think of first.
Instead, I see Forrest’s beloved Jenny. She’s throwing rocks at her childhood home until her anger and grief propel her to the ground. As Jenny collapses in emotional exhaustion, Forrest poignantly states, “Sometimes I guess there just aren’t enough rocks.”
Jenny threw rocks at the now empty house where she had been abused as a child. Forrest nailed it. No amount of rocks would ever do.
In my latest story, Seventy Times Seven, my character Tara is much like Jenny. She also returns to an empty house. But in Tara’s scene, it isn’t the house where she was abused. It is the house where she experienced fond memories. It is the house where the people in it ignored what went on in her own house. Like Jenny, she sits down in that now empty house, expelling some of the anger and grief, yet finding no comfort in the process.
Anger cannot dispel pain. It magnifies it. Using anger as a method of healing is like throwing rocks at an empty house.
There were some men in the Bible that wanted to throw rocks at an adulterous woman. Jesus stopped them. I often wonder if those men saw their own sin reflected in that woman. Perhaps Jesus even wrote their vile acts in the sand. The evidence of their hypocrisy. Their pain disguised as pride. They, too, would have been throwing rocks at an empty house ( John 8:1-11).
Whether it’s guilt or shame from our own sins, or from sins placed upon us by another, there will never be enough rocks to eradicate that pain. But there is enough mercy and grace. It only takes one moment of surrender to embrace healing.
I choose to put down my own rocks and cease the futile attempt of healing with empty measures.
My character Tara does, too. You can read her story here:
Can you think of a time when you have put down your own rocks? If you’d like to share, or if you have any thoughts, please share.
Featured Image/Forrest Gump, 1994 © Paramount Pictures