Last night, we managed to get out of the house and go to the Christmas worship night at church. We nearly aborted mission at the last-minute, because I knew an event like this would be really difficult with the kiddos. We decided to push through and go, because it is the only church-wide event all year (that I’m aware of), that children are allowed to attend, and I really wanted Caleb to experience worship as a church community. Sean front-packed Evie, and she did better than expected because she was mesmerized by the lights and sounds, but Caleb was as crazy as anticipated 🙂 I spent the first 30 minutes chasing him as he ran down rows of chairs, dancing with him in the back, and full-body tackling him before he could run up the stairs into the stadium seating. (I was sorely mistaken when I chose to take Caleb, thinking he would be easier on me physically than holding Evie the entire time – ha)! I contemplated leaving with him on several occasions, but I really didn’t want to, since 1. It had been a month-and-a-half since we had gone to church due to Evie’s surgery and I really missed worship, and 2. I didn’t want to take away a unique opportunity for Caleb to experience God.
Our friend Becky was singing in the choir and Caleb wanted to see her, so I decided to take him up closer to the stage (I know…a highly risky move). I noticed some empty seats in the front row on the far right side (I thought he might be more engaged if we were closer to the action), so I sat down with him and bear-hugged him so he couldn’t escape for half the time, and jumped him up and down on my legs the other half (not so easy anymore at 2.64 years). It was exhausting, I was obviously more focused on keeping him under control than singing, and I kept wondering if he was bothering other people and making it difficult for them to worship.
After each song (and even during songs), Caleb clapped loudly and woo-hooed in the highest-pitched woo-hoo I’ve ever heard…it was really quite impressive (it was like a 13-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert, but higher…back me up on this one, Bauer’s). He also kept turning around to loudly exclaim: “mama, we’re saying hallelujah!” After each disruption, I half-smiled nervously, glanced around to see if anyone noticed (they did), and sternly whispered to him – “Caleb, please stop [fill in the blank].” But in the midst of the chaos, God spoke to me through scripture. He said – “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). After all, we were there to celebrate BABY Jesus. I also felt Him impress upon me: Melissa, I know your attention is split and you can’t quietly focus, reflect, and worship Me like you once could before children, but I accept your worship just the same. You are doing your best to give what you have to Me, and I am loved through your love for this boy…and let the boy worship!
After that, I tried not to care what other people might be thinking, and I clapped, sang, waved my arms, and hollered as loudly as I could with Caleb. It was pretty cool, and my throat hurt afterward 🙂 Life is so different now with kids, and God is constantly redefining and teaching me what it looks like to be in relationship with Him in the throes of life with littles. All I can say is – I’m sure glad God is a God of patience, grace, and understanding, because I definitely don’t have it figured out. I love God, I love my crazy boy, and I love that I got schooled by him through his reckless abandon, as he praised God in his special 2-year-old way!