This morning during worship service, I caught myself thinking it:
I am so ready to be past the stage of occupying small children in church, bringing the things you bring and doing the things you do just to get the family through the service without being disruptive.
Don't get me wrong: We're glad we're doing this, and we made a deliberate choice not to make use of the attended nursery during the service. No dispute with anyone who does, but we decided we wanted our boys to get used to remaining in the assembly without being taken out.
So we chose this, and we knew reasonably well what we were getting into. And it has been a good thing for our family. We can't even remember the last time either one of our boys had to be taken out of the assembly, and they have no expectation of doing anything other than sticking it out.
But, as you can imagine, none of this means what we have chosen is easy.
It takes planning, teamwork, and coloring books to pull this off, and I'll admit it can be tiresome.
For whatever reason, it was especially tiresome this morning, and I let myself think it:
Man, am I ready to be past all this!
Now that a few hours have passed, I'm really hoping no one "up there" heard or took to heart what I thought. Actually, someone probably did, and supplied the thoughts that occupied my mind for the latter part of this morning's service.
It occurred to me that, while this phase of our children's upbringing is indeed challenging, it is only the very beginning, and will end up proving to be anything but the most difficult part.
Very soon, we won't have to worry about bringing coloring books to occupy the boys during the service. We won't have to worry about taking them to the restroom, keeping them quiet, and making sure they stay put.
While those changes will surely be nice, consider the cares that will then occupy our minds:
*What is the state of our boys' spiritual development?
*Do our sons love the Lord? Do they believe the gospel? On their own? Apart from us?
*Are we demonstrating spiritual discipline in our everyday lives?
*Do our boys know the Word of God? Do they pray on their own?
*If we died today, would our boys be left with a faith that could stand on its own?
*If our boys had the choice, as they will in a few short years, would they be here in worship?
*Whose voices threaten to drown ours out of our children's ears?
These are questions with a direct impact on eternity, and the time will come very soon when these questions will take center stage.
Of course, what we're doing now will in many ways lay the foundation for these more consequential things, but...
Maybe the coloring book bag isn't so bad for awhile longer.
It's so easy to think things will be easier around the next bend. That somehow parenting gets easier when you're not changing diapers anymore.
Two foolish thoughts:
First, to want to hurry into a spiritual war-zone with our children's souls in the balance.
Second, to think we're not already there.