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A Hard Sunday

My own raised voice was ringing in my ears as I glared at my child. Sunday mornings are physically hard, getting 5 kids ready for church by 8:00, emotionally and mentally hard trying to focus on the important things. Spiritually, an unseen battle is being fought. But today…let’s just say it had been especially trying. Mostly because of one particular child. Since the moment she woke up she had been the instigator of much turmoil. Fighting with her siblings, complaining about the cereal, spilling her sister’s milk and now a potty accident. Right in front of the toilet. Earlier in the morning I had felt the pressure building in my heart and knew I needed to calm down. Hymns playing in the background were one way to help me worship in the middle of the chaos. And now, I had completely lost control, yelled at the wet child in the bathroom, and as I drew breath I heard the quiet piano cords of “Give Me Jesus”.

How can I put into words the shame that grew up immediately, intertwining with the anger that still pounded in my head, breaking and crumbling my pride. I saw with shock that I was the child before God, who just couldn’t control herself, who had made mistake after mistake that morning and now hung her head in shame. Except God, my loving Father didn’t yell at me or berate me (as I had just done) about how I made this morning so difficult for Him. A burning need for Jesus washed over me.

It is a hard truth to swallow, but I am more like that defiant preschooler than I care to admit. With gritted teeth I cleaned the floor and the child. As I held her wrapped in a towel, I called the other kids to me. “I should not have yelled. I should not have said those unkind words. She made some foolish choices today, but so did I. I sinned against God and you. Will you forgive me?” I asked each child in turn, looking into their eyes. With the open-hearted forgiveness of childhood they said yes and we shared a group hug.

Fast forward an hour later and we are all sitting in church, singing as a family. I can hardly hold back the tears as I hear “Amazing grace” in chorus around me. Silently I give thanks for God’s mercy that holds back what I deserve and His grace that lavishes on me what I do not deserve. I give thanks for a fresh view of the weakness of my own heart. I give thanks for Jesus, dying in my place with this sin and all the others of the world on His shoulders. I give thanks for His resurrection life already at work in me, convicting and purifying me. I give thanks for my Father who does not turn away, His presence my heart’s true home.

Yes, Sunday mornings are hard. How could they not be? The stakes are so high. We have opportunities to model a worshipful heart, being a faithful part of Christian community and how to be a weak and imperfect person, completely dependent on our Savior. This should be part of our everyday life, but God knows we are prone to forget. Sundays bring us back to it again. Those of us who follow the narrow way of truth would not want it to be any other way. In the hard and the narrow, we meet our precious Savior in new fresh ways. Be thankful for hard Sundays.

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