I owe my family an apology today. In fact, I owe my family an apology most Sunday mornings. This is me by the time we leave for church (ten minutes late) each week.
This is usually what our Sunday morning looks like prior to that moment.
6:00ish Beatrix wakes up and I nurse her in bed. When she’s done she coos happily while we continue to doze. Love that kid.
7:00-8:00 Pippa and Romilly wake up, and instead of going downstairs and getting started with our day, we pile them into bed too and try to pretend we’re still sleeping in spite of Pippa’s chatting with Allie and Aboba (imaginary friends/stuffed animals), and Romilly whining,”No-no-no-I-don’t-want-it-I need-my-deeting(sleeping)-bag-I-need-my-Mommy” (She’s not a morning person, but we love her, too.)
8:00 Head downstairs and, for some reason, eat breakfast as though we are staying at a fancy resort and the only thing on our agenda for the day is lounging by the pool.
8:30 Suddenly realize that we should be leaving for church in a half hour and everyone is still in PJ’s with very bad hair, then scramble around bickering over who’s changed and dressed more babies until we walk out the door ten minutes late. At least. (Whose idea was it to start church at 9:30, anyway?)
This seemed like a topic worth blogging about because I think it’s a malady that strikes a lot of Christian families on Sunday morning. Maybe it’s just that a time-pressured situation brings out the worst of our own sinful nature, but maybe it’s more than that. The Bible, in 1 Peter 5 has this to say about our enemy, “8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Does he, the devil, want us going to church with quiet, joyful hearts ready to worship God and hear what His Word has to say to us? No way. He wants us distracted by our own selfishness, angry with each other and maybe, if he’s lucky, so frustrated with the whole ordeal that we throw up our hands and decide just to stay home. I confess I’ve let him have his way far too often (though thankfully, as long as my wonderful hasband is around, skipping church is not an option in our home.)
The simple answer to all this comes in the next verse. “9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” Resist the devil. Know that he is real, and he is there, and he wants the worst for us. But know that God, who wants the best for us, is stronger, and stand firm. We are told elsewhere that if we resist him, he will flee. He knows he has no real power over us. Amen!
But I was not thinking about all this this morning…
Usually, once we’re out the door, a calm settles over us all. My head clears and I regain my perspective. Then I have the ten-minute walk to church to try to focus my mind and heart on the Lord and prepare to worship Him. Today, about two minutes into our walk, I said to Trevor, “I’m sorry.”
I should have quit while I was ahead. Instead, I went on to say, “… but I feel like every Sunday morning we sleep too late and we run around and everybody gets to get all dressed up and look nice but I get whatever time is leftover and my hair looks awful and blah, blah, blah…” Whoa, where did that come from? I really thought I was going to apologize, and then suddenly, I wasn’t apologizing at all. I was excusing my behavior and trying to lay blame on everyone but myself.
I think I was particularly aware that I was doing this today because I *just* read an article on this very topic yesterday. It was written by the husband/father of the lovely ladies at Girltalk, a pastor, and though I was a little lost through some of the sports talk at the beginning, this part at the end hit me right between the eyes.
“If my so-called confession extends beyond a very specific (acknowledgement of sin) sentence or two, then I am most likely excusing my sin, and requesting understanding for my sin, rather than sincerely asking forgiveness because of my sin. So I have learned to be suspicious of any confession of sin that is lengthy. Genuine conviction of sin is evidenced by a sincere, specific, and brief confession of sin, without any reference to circumstances or the participation of anyone else. When I sin, I am responsible for my sin, and the cause of my sin is always within my heart and never lies outside my heart.”
So, to my husband, and my family, let me try this again. I was grumpy this morning. And I’m sorry. Can you forgive me?