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Single on Sundays – Five Lessons Learned

I am a single mom on Sundays. My kids are 5 and 6, and my husband is a pastor. I love the church. But Sundays are sometimes hard to love.
My kids are exuberant and full of life. I think the trendy word for them is “spirited.” Navigating the logistics of Sunday’s schedule can feel like a workout. I often wish I had extra hands.
Last week I was reflective and calm despite my kids’ unruly behavior in worship. They benefit from worshipping with the church body. I’m convinced the whole body benefits from kids worshipping even if they are more distracting than I’d wish. We are the family of God, and all ages should be welcomed.
Today, however, calm did not prevail. While walking my 5-year-old to her classroom, she did a runner. And she is fast. Weaving in and out of people, down hallways and around corners she sped while I tried in vain to keep up. As I ran, the sweater tied around my waist fell, left as an obstacle to those walking by. As I ran, the faces of many flashed by, showing sympathy, shock, surprise, and dismay.
Isn’t there something in Scripture about elders being able to manage their own families?
  1. It is good for people to see that pastors’ kids struggle to sit still during worship and resist going to their classrooms, just like other kids. We are all in this together and I’m far from a perfect parent.
  2. It is good for me to be humbled by the antics of my children—it reminds me that worship is not about having my own act together but about encountering the grace of God.
  3. It is good to acknowledge that I need help. The church is full of “godparents” when I’m single on Sundays.
  4. It is good for me to taste the difficulty of “doing church” as a single parent. May I be more aware of the ways single parents could use a helping hand, even if just to chase a kid running down the hall.
  5. It is especially good to remember that God loves my daughter and so do many, many others. The same enthusiasm that leads that spunky girl to run down the hall dodging the crowds allows her to give affectionate hugs to many in the church and to dance her heart out as the music plays in worship. God has created this one with a larger-than-life personality. May I learn to love her for all that she is. And may I learn to pick up the pace when I’m chasing her.

Anna Moseley Gissing

Anna Moseley Gissing is Associate Academic Editor of InterVarsity Press. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild, and her writing has been published in Let us Keep the Feast and Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two kids, and she aspires to more reading, more writing, and more patience.

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