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Sunday Wiggles

Sunday Wiggles

In retrospect, we shouldn’t have been running late to the evening service. And we probably shouldn’t have squeezed a family of five onto an already tight pew near the back of the church.

But the early summer day had been pure magic—mild, sunny, and a glorious playground for the afternoon. The girls had expressed reluctance to end their time of play and to prepare for the late worship hour. But mom and dad had insisted, and here we were.

Mid-way through the sermon, I’d had enough. With an official mom-look, I dared them to fidget in their seats—again. More than once, I placed a hand on a shoulder or touched my foot to theirs. Lord, if they would just be still and quiet.

A few minutes later, one daughter did get still and quiet—and nodded off, hitting her head on the back of the pew loud enough to make me give a little squeal. Answered prayer? Not sure.

In time, I learned that the Sunday wiggles didn’t start with what we as parents could see on the outside. The squirming actually began in the heart and shimmied its way out through little hands and feet. My expectations for our time of family worship that day was a bit unreasonable. In the span of a few minutes, I asked my girls to transition from foot races and cartwheels, to a quiet time of communion with God.

No wonder they couldn’t sit still.

Are grown-ups so very different? We may appear calm and composed on the outside, but are we bowed for worship in our inner being? How often have our thoughts jumped from the sanctuary to the week’s activities, and back again? What time will we get home? The kids need to lay out their clothes. Which day was the orthodontist, and which day was the ballgame? Who in the world is kicking my pew?

I wonder if our Lord gives us “the look,” wishing we would just settle down and be still in His presence.

Corporate worship is a treasured time and we want our children to cherish these moments. Here are three ways to help our offspring (and ourselves) prepare for worship:

1—Plan ahead to make sure attending services doesn’t involve a hurried, chaotic transition. As a family, have a few moments of prayer to prepare for corporate worship.

2—Initiate conversations about why we come together as a church family and about the importance of glorifying God together. Share a personal story of a time you were encouraged by someone else praising God.

3—Encourage children to be actively engaged with the music and scripture reading. Older children can take notes during the message or jot down questions for later. And the trip home is a great time to share thoughts and insights as a family.

Once in a while, we all get the wiggles. But our Lord is loving and patient with His children. And He continues to invite us into His presence.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God (Colossians 3:16).

By: Leigh Ann Thomas is a wife, mother, grammy, and the author of Ribbons, Lace, and Moments of Grace—Inspiration for the Mother of the Bride (SonRise Devotionals). A regular contributor to and, she has also published with Southern Writers Suite T, Power for Living, and Southern Writers Best Short Fiction. You can find Leigh Ann on her front porch daydreaming story plots or blogging at

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