Another Sunday in the Nursery?
To every thing there is a season.” That’s what it says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, and verses two through eight describe opposite pairs of seasons. Some seasons are easy to live; others are not.
My daughter and I were talking recently about a season that I am calling the Season of the Church Nursery. It begins the moment your baby arrives, and it lasts at least until your child leaves the nursery and begins to sit in the service with you or goes to children’s church instead.
Depending on how your nursery is organized, one or both parents will have a regularly scheduled time in the church nursery for months or years. (Let’s please don’t forget that some parents go through this season single-handedly.)
I’m here to tell you that this can be a difficult season for the young mothers in your church. Think back to when your children were small. Do you remember how many glasses of milk tipped over on a Sunday morning, how many shoes went missing that had been neatly lined up only the night before, or how many rain clouds opened wide just as you drove into the church parking lot? Surely my home wasn’t the only one that reserved household catastrophes for Sundays.
Can you remember arriving at church exhausted both body and soul? The last thing you wanted to do was care for a room full of babies or toddlers. It wasn’t that you were a diva or felt entitled to free child care, but rather that you were in an intensely demanding season of life without much left in reserve. You longed to simply sit through a full, uninterrupted service singing songs of your faith and listening to the preaching of the Word. You needed some Psalm 23:3 restoration. The young mothers that walk the halls of my church and yours are in that very season now.
Here’s my challenge to those of us who don’t currently have a regular nursery assignment. What if you and I were to assume the nursery responsibility for a young mother for the first six to twelve months of her baby’s life so that she can attend church services? Maybe you can give her a handmade gift card for “Church Nursery duty from (date) to (date)” that shares your heart with her. That would be a great baby shower gift. Or maybe you could take over her scheduled times in some other way that would speak to her. No heroics, just a quiet, motherly re-entry into the Season of the Church Nursery, for her sake.
I will be replacing a specific mother for the next few months. And when that time is done, I’ll look for the next mother who needs some help. That’s my plan. Will you join me?
By: Nancy Lohr
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