Toddler Worship

Can a two year old worship God?

I stood in the pew. The music soaked into my soul but all the while my attention was split between the corporate singing and being mindful of the little bodies squished around me. Those little bodies don’t ever stay still during waking hours and church is no exception. And neither should it be. The old tradition of sitting still in the pew in fear and trembling, not able to move all the while uncomfortable in stiffly starched clothes are mostly gone.  The church now is an inviting place and my children enjoy coming into our Spiritual home on a Sunday morning. Why would they not? They have friends to play with and adults who indulge them and give them attention and love. There are formalities, but when the talking gets interesting for adults but boring for young minds, they are able to disperse to various locations that cater for their age group and have fun, play games  and all the while learning about a faith that embraces their innocence and nourishes their spirit.

And at the start of church, there is music. There are hymns, (not played on an organ though) but mostly we sing songs about our God that have been composed in accordance of contemporary rhythms, melodies and strong beats.

While the band plays these tunes and people join and sing enthusiastically all around, my Toby worships. For three Sundays now I have particularly watched his involvement. Treasuring his enthusiasm in my heart in the way only a mother can.

His favourite position to worship is standing on the back of the seat in front of him and leaning against an adult. Toby is easy going and will be held by different people on a Sunday morning. Jayden, despite his tendency to be social, is being snobbish right now and making a point of clinging only to Daddy whenever he can. But that is another story.

And so I stood singing, Toby perched like a little bird in front of me as the music played. My boy bounced up and down, up and down. His eyes gleamed and he smiled. He watched and he continued his movement. It was deliberate and it was joyous. You could see him concentrating on his own rhythm and toddler bop. I watched him recognising that he was caught in the moment. This was his way of making a connection in the atmosphere he was a part of. I smiled as I watched him. And the words of the music confirmed my feelings,

“You are good, you are good, when there is nothing good in me.”

My heart overflowed with thankfulness. “Thank you Lord”, my spirit sang, “That you are good to me, that you have given me this opportunity to be a mother. To watch these little spirits blossom.”

The child in front of me continues to bop up and down, up and down. His funny little dance. This is my child who has limited concentration skills. Normally he would have lost interest.

“You are Lord, you are Lord. All creation will proclaim. You are here, you are here. In your presence I’m made whole.” The song continues.

As does my prayer. “Thank you Lord for being here. Thank you that my child can feel you.”

The worship ended, the service was concluded, the week progressed. The toddler was a toddler. There were giggles and laughter, tantrums and tears, cuddles and snuggles. And then we were back in church.  The music played and this time as Toby stood with me, once again perched on the pew in front, he swayed to the music. And swayed and swayed. He was worshipping again. In toddler style, doing what felt right at that moment.

Today, another Sunday, he stared and stared at the band. And then he started pointing the instruments after examining each person playing their craft. And then, probably copying those around him, but nevertheless in an expression of his contribution to the worship, he raised his little hand and kept it raised all while humming tunelessly.

My little Toby loves to worship. He is only two, but in his own little way he participates in the worship at church on Sunday mornings. Some may not think it is possible, but little ones are remarkably perceptive and pick up on far more than grown-ups often give them credit
for. It doesn’t matter if their worship lasts for two, five or ten minutes. It is them expressing themselves at the level they are at. No one is too young to connect with God. Because that’s the way God designed us. Mortal beings with need for an Immortal connection.

Toby, my darling. Always stay connected. Always worship. May your life give Glory to Him.

(And always keep on the helmet of Salvation Toby boy.)

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Photo A Day – "Routine"

OK, so I know the real title is “Daily Routine”, but Chantelle did say it could be open to interpretation. So, since this is a Sunday. I thought I’d photograph a part of our Sunday routine. Church.

Here we are, all packed up ready to go home. Except for T-Star. He’s wandering. I’m constantly losing him at church. It kind of stresses me out a bit. Luckily there’s plenty of people who watch out for him, or go chasing him if I’ve got a baby in my arms and he looks like he’s about to get into mischief. In the photo J Boy is complaining that he’s hungry. Most kids do that sometime after the service is finished. There’s also the sweet Mandy. Mandy is brilliant to have around when you have babies. I think she’s the only adult I know who can outlast a kid when playing ‘peek-a-boo’. She is also a favourite with children because she makes them little bead bracelets which is a hit with many girls, including my neices. She makes the boys little plastic keyring thingies. My boys have oodles of them!

Today I was in the mother’s room for the entire service. I fed the first baby, packed up, opened the door to go back to the auditorium and there was my sister with a baby. So we swapped. She then appeared with the third baby before I’d finished feeding the 2nd. By the time I finished I got to sing most of the final song.

It’s not a waste of time going to church though. I know people who have stopped going to church when they have babies/children because they say it’s too hard. I think this is not a good move. Yes, you don’t have to go to church to be a Christian. However, being a member of a church will most often strengthen your faith and encourage you to be a better Christian. I have also seen many families who stop going when their kids are babies, and then never quite get back into the swing of it. Before you know it God has become a low priority in their lives. There’s something about being a member of a church, especially an active member, which will spur you on to achieve greater things for Him.

It’s not easy getting out the door with triplets. Church is no exception. However, we do it most weeks. Occassionally, especially at first, we gave ourselves a break if we were to tired due to getting up too much the night before. Sometimes we might hang out with friends who don’t go to church on a Sunday. On the odd occassion we might choose to do something instead of church. But most Sunday’s we are in ‘our pew’.

As a family, it’s communicating to our children that we place God as our priority and that we will be faithful in devoting this time to Him. Our kids also get to hear about God from other passionate people. It’s worthwhile finding a place with a good Sunday school program if you have kids. That’s the beauty of having different denominations and church groupings. There ought to be a church that, while not being perfect, suits you. When you find that church. Try to stick to it and remain faithful. Placing your roots with the one congregation will assist your accountability, growth and sense of community.

Community is a huge part of being in a church. The friendships I have formed through being in my church have affected my life forever. We are built with a need for community. It’s why we crave relationship – with friends, with a partner, with our families. A church provides you with a community who will support you when it’s needed and celebrate with you in the good times.

Most of all, every Sunday, it’s another opportunity for me to hear from God. Sure, I hear from God when I’m on my own. But sometimes I get presented a whole new perspective on a Sunday. Or I learn something new about God. Or I just get the chance to worship him corporately.

And that’s why we will continue to go to the effort of bringing our children to the House of God every Sunday. There is nothing I desire more for them, that they will grow up and make their own decision to follow God. This is one way I can ensure they know about him. Plus, I need church. I need my church family, and I need that weekly connection with God that is different to my own personal quiet time.

I’d love to hear your opinions about church, whether you’re a regular attendee or not…

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Announcing our Triple Blessing at Church

Yesterday I talked about the pleasure when announcing that we are pregnant with triplets.

One of the most fun announcements was to our church family.

When I was 12 weeks and just starting to tell people, our worship pastor asked if I could speak for a few minutes about what a blessing it is to be a part of God’s adoptive family. As I started to reflect on this topic, I saw an instant connect with my current situation. So, I decided that I was going to use this time to make a mass announcement! The fact that it was Mother’s Day was a nice touch also. A bit bold, but why not?

This is kind of what I said:

It is extremely meaningful for me to reflect on  Mother’s Day what it means to be a part of God’s family. I can remember some years ago being up the front of the church and blurting out that my husband and I desperately wanted a family but were having difficulties. At the time I was really embarrassed for my blurting, but it turned out to be such a good thing to share with my church family. This was because so many of you listened to my story and had such compassion for us. So many people started praying for us, even people we didn’t know very well. People would come up and encourage us constantly. It was so good to have others standing in faith for us.

So on Mother’s Day, I feel such a great deal of gratitude to my church family, because I don’t underestimate the power of your prayers, and I consider you a part of my journey to motherhood. I know that a reason I have two gorgeous little boys is because of the prayers offered up on our behalf.

So, it is such a special thing to be a part of God’s family and have people stand with you and support you. We so appreciated it during that time, and I know that if I let you in on a little secret we’ve been keeping, you would do it again.

The secret is: We’re pregnant again. (A gentle “Ahhh”, and some tentative claps are uttered by the congregation.)

With more than one baby. (A louder “Ooooh” and some laughter and clapping is uttered by the congregation.)

In fact, this time I’m pregant with triplets! (Lots of clapping, laughing, a large variety of loud comments, smiles and ruckus erupts by the congregation.)

(When noise settles down.)

So, I’d really appreciate your continued prayers that this pregnancy which is a higher risk than normal pregnancies is carried safely. (Lots of nodding, still some comments.)

But, if you have continued to pray for our family over the years, you can probably stop praying that we have more children!!! (Lots of laughter. I hope they knew I was serious!)

And that is one of the reasons I love being a part of a church community. It’s no surprise that so these wonderful people are praying for the triplets and our family. There are so many who come up to us and love to hear progress reports or tell us that they are praying, or even prays right then and there for us.. It always bring me so much encouragement and peace.

If you want to read more of the story behind people praying for us while we were waiting to have children, click here

If you are a Christian, I’d love to you to share, What does being a part of a church family means to you?

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