There you are at church. Your baby or toddler is restless. Perhaps even a little boisterous. You try to silence them, and nothing. You try to pacify them with food or toys, and nothing. Eventually, you resort to the last thing you wanted to do: you pick them up, and before a watching audience, you make the march out of the church. All the while you’re a little embarrassed, maybe a little frustrated too. You might even think to yourself, “There’s no point in coming to church. I get nothing out of it because I have to constantly care for my kid.”
I want you – mothers and/or fathers – to know just how encouraging you are to so many. The elderly woman who often feels alone beams with a smile at the sight of you wrestling with your little one. She’s been there before. She knows how hard it can be, but she smiles because to hear that brings back precious memories. Seeing young parents and their small children brighten her day; she may have just received bad news about her health but seeing the vitality of young ones removes – if but for a moment – her fears. The older man who always seems to be grouchy notices you too. He’s always talking about how children in this day have no respect or sense of goodness. But he sees you – a young family – in church every week. Like clockwork, he can depend on the sight of you and your young family. You give him hope that maybe the Church isn’t doomed after all, because there are still young parents who love God enough to bring their restless children to church.
Bring your children to church! If we don’t hear crying, the church is dying. As hard as it might be for you as a parent who’s half-asleep, keep on doing what you’re doing. You are an encouragement, and you’re starting off your children’s lives as you should.