I shared with you our daughter's early church-going experiences. I am beyond thankful for our church and the foundation it provides for our daughter. Today, I want to look at the flip side of the coin. I can still see visions of my sweet, innocent baby in the nursery. She’d sleep quietly in the arms of a teenage helper girl.
But they grow up, don’t they? In ways we cannot prepare for, they develop a mind of their own. My pastor tells us he sees leadership qualities in our little girl. I call them the “Are you kidding me traits?” But, thankfully, not only is our church a Bible-focused one. It also offers forgiveness, flexibility and fondness.
We went through a biting stage. This did not show up anywhere on my well-planned list for her. Right before she could talk, I think communication had her frustrated. So, when someone had something she wanted, or if they tried to take said something from her, she hauled off and bit them. Every Sunday, I would pray, please don’t let her bite anyone in the nursery. Well, she didn’t. Saved it for the playground at a church play date.
Thank God for a church that offers forgiveness.
We did the potty training thing. Who am I kidding? We are doing the potty training thing. Our daughter is the oldest of about five little girls born in our church born within a few months of one another (remember our church doesn’t just do one baby at a time; we cluster deliver) Well, I read in some book you should probably start potty training around three. Unless the child showed signs of readiness before that time. Exactly what signs of readiness was I looking for? Pretty sure she did not show them and if she did, I missed it entirely.
But our daughter’s friend, Hilary, she showed those signs. The kid potty trained herself while her parents went out to dinner one night. Did I mention she also walked at nine months? Could read at three? That is the competition we found ourselves up against.
Didn’t. Phase. Her. One. Bit.
We started potty training around three. She was the kid who just didn’t care if she was wet, dirty, any of it. The girl had things to do! So, while Hilary wore her big girl panties all nice and dry, I spent weeks of Sundays praying, “Dear Lord, Could you please just help her not have to go #2 until we get home?” Sometimes, we made it through. Sometimes.
Thank God for a flexible church. For what we might not get right one Sunday, we could surely have it corrected for the next.
She grew into a confident child. I so wanted an outgoing kid and LOL because He knew the joke was on me. Signs of leadership indeed! I have mentioned I give the announcements at my church.
Well, when she was about three our women’s ministry hosted a mother/daughter event. When I told the congregation about it one Sunday I thought how cute to have her give the announcement with me. So, she started out the update, yelling into the mic, “Girls, you’re invited.” She did great, we provided the necessary information and proceeded with the rest of the service.
I can trace it back to that moment now. That moment created a monster.
This girl loves the stage. For a few months, she decided it was her job to join me on stage during announcements. Especially the Sundays dad wasn’t with us, I had to find friends for Allie to sit with during those few minutes I gave announcements. Well, she knew they probably weren’t going to do a lot to stop her from quietly stepping up to join her mom. So she did.
One Sunday, she was sitting with her grandparents, whom she hadn’t seen all week. However, once it registered with her I was giving announcements, she jetted out of her seat, saying,
I’ve got to go!
Our church is informal and this went OK for a while. But really, it proved distracting and didn’t appear all that professional. So, we talked her into staying off the stage when I am up there. For now.
Except when she’s pretending. We attend a different church for mom’s group. The room where we meet has a podium in it. During her toddler years, when she still attended this group with me, she would park herself right at that podium after every meeting. In her loudest, most professional voice, she would say, “
Good morning! Attention please, I have some announcements.
Another time at Mom’s group, our girl cornered one of the girls who provides childcare. She demanded, nicely in a cute toddler way, that the girl sit down and play piano because she was going to preach a sermon. We heard a four-year olds thoughts on Psalm 23 that day.
On Sundays, if there are a few minutes after we meet to discuss the worship order, before the majority of folks arrive for Sunday morning worship, I know where to find Allie. On the stage. One Sunday not too long ago, she gave her own version of announcements. And she was spot on. I felt like I was listening to a recording of myself, rather than watching a child speak. Believe me, our children are always watching.
I am thankful for a church who has a fondness for our daughter.
At times, I fear she may be too much. That people will wonder, where on earth is that child’s mother? But time and again, I get compliments on her. When she really needs to, she is quiet and listens and learns. We don’t know exactly what God would have for our children. But, if you’re like me, I see traces of it already. And I pray it always includes a church that show forgiveness, flexibility and fondness.