I’ve been called a superstar Mom before because I take all three kids to church on my own and often we take the subway over. I walk in and 90% of the time all of us are smiling. I look like I have it together. The truth is Sunday mornings are quite stressful for me because I have to drag three grumpy kids out of bed, spend about ten minutes arguing with each child about why they can’t wear a skirt in summer, or a bathing suit to church, or leggings on their arms, let them play with my makeup so that I can get mine done, wait for a cab to be in my area on Uber (which these days can take another 10-15 minutes). Then once at church, I need to have a bagel ready for each child’s individual taste, because no I did not have time to feed them breakfast. By the time I get to church, I am MORE than happy to drop them off at Kidstuf so that I can smooth my flyaways and have an adult conversation with anyone, just anyone, about anything BUT diapers, poop, milk, and the new creative way I’ve gotten Mya to eat vegetables.
Twice a month, I'd fulfill my parental obligation of serving for Kidstuf. Why do I do this? Why do I care for other people’s children when I’ve spent every minute of the entire week caring for my own? Because they matter to me. Kidstuf is more than just childcare on a Sunday morning but is a part of family ministry. A ministry that cares for parents and their children. Let me explain through my own experience as a parent, how the church has supported my family.
I realized how much we mattered to church when after having Misha, Maggie organized a meal train and members of the church had signed up to bring us meals for over a month. We were well fed and felt really cared for!
I didn’t feel like just another church member you saw every Sunday. I felt like I mattered.
My children also mattered. One time Stef Fontela was serving in the nursery and posted a photo of Mya in tears with her finger in her mouth and Stef with what may have been a forced grin in the background. Stef might’ve been flustered by Mya crying, but she still loved on Mya, probably taking the photo trying to make her smile. She cared for Mya’s discomfort. Mya mattered to her.
Then there was the time Misha had a really high fever and I was freaking out taking her back and forth from hospital and her doctor. I mentioned it to one person and then before I knew it three different moms were texting me asking if I was ok, giving me advice and started a prayer chain for Misha. Misha mattered to all those ladies.
Then those times when you’ve seen me come to church, with Misha on my back and Mya on her scooter on one side and Micaela on the other and you’ve asked how Mike is, or if you could grab the girls a bagel or help me hail a cab after church. You made me, a flustered Mom who is barely keeping it together, you made me feel cared for and as if I and my kids mattered to you.
I was even blessed by Wes countless number of times. We invited him to our housewarming/baby shower when we first moved here and I was pregnant with Mya. He came with a six pack and a baby carrier I had put on our registry. Yup, both Mike and I felt like we mattered to him. Then there was the time, both Mya and Micaela were vying for his attention and he gave it to them. He took turns throwing each of them up in the air and pretend chasing them. They felt really special and they felt like they mattered.
You’ve attended my kids’ birthday parties. You’ve loved on my children during and helped cleaned up after. You’ve babysat my kids. You’ve made someone who seemingly has it altogether, actually get it together. I couldn’t have been the parent I am without your support.
Why am I telling you this? Because I’m not the only flustered parent that walks in to church on Sunday. I’m not the only parent who is craving some adult time, and just wants my baby to be in the hands of someone who will care so that I can enjoy the service. I’m not the only parent who has eaten takeout for weeks because I haven’t had time to cook after the birth of my newborn or not known what to do if my baby hasn’t pooped in three days. My child isn’t the only one that needs an extra hug or high five (and certainly not the only one that wants a bagel!) My child isn’t the only one who wants you to hear what they learnt at school that week or compliment them on their hand picked outfit or want you to delight in the fact that they may not be able to color in the lines but look- they can color!
You have the ability to make each parent and each child in our church feel as though they matter. So next time you see a parent walk in with their hands full, ask if they need a hand, if they want a bagel or a coffee. Ask a child what they did at school that week and what their favorite color is. Do you love to cook or know someone that does? Bless new parents with a meal – they will be forever thankful! Or if you want to take that extra step, come and visit the kids at Student Impact and Kidstuf. Serve a Sunday helping them out. All kids, teens especially, LOVE talking to other adults, it will ROCK THEIR WORLD knowing that you value what they have to say.
When these kids feel like they matter, they start to see how they matter to Jesus.