And We’re Off…
The blaring sound of the alarm clock is ringing in your ear! You jump out of bed, run through the halls shouting for the kids to wake, hurry, and get ready for church. As you load up into the car, you notice that one of your lovely children has somehow managed to wear clothing that looks like it has been balled up in a corner for days. Your tires screech into the church parking lot, your children file out of the mini-van like circus clowns, and you manage to make it to your seats just as the first note is played by the worship team. You think to yourself, “Hey, at least I made it, but man we could use some sanity savers to get here!”
Does this scenario sound a bit familiar? Do you find your family consistently just making it to church each week? Are you so flustered by the time you get to worship that you are unable to really receive all that worship has to offer?
As a large family momma, with 6 kiddos still home, this was our normal for so long. I started to dread going to church. It felt like another task and obligation added to my already overflowing to-do list. I was so overwhelmed with the thought of getting there, that I couldn’t even hear God over the silent sound of the chaos that came into the sanctuary with me.
Two years ago, our family moved to a new state. In the process, we also had to find a new church home. Through God’s infinite wisdom, he led us to an amazing new body of Christ.
It was at this time, my husband and I realized that we needed to come up with a new outlook on “HOW” we would make it to church. We were very clear about why we were there, but we knew that we no longer wanted to continue the chaotic mornings.
We prayed, met with our children and brainstormed a list of all the things that created chaos in the morning. Then, the real work began. We knew that it was now or never. We worked together and created a list of 6 Sanity Savers for Getting to Church on Time!
Sanity Saver #1- Pray
When our family first started on our quest to get to church on time, we knew that we had to first come in agreement with the will of God for our lives. Our family didn’t want church to feel like one thing we could check off each week. Learning God’s word is important to us and we realized we needed to treat it that way. We took time as a family and prayed, asking God to order our steps and help us come up with a plan that worked for our family. We knew that this step needed to be the foundation for controlling our chaos. With God’s direction, everything else would fall in line.
Sanity Saver #2- Manage Your Mindset
Saturday nights are notorious for events to take place. Everything from a wedding reception, birthday party, cook outs, family game nights and more, are planned for Saturday. I can’t even begin to count the number of times that my husband or I have woken up on a Sunday morning too exhausted to go to church. We would look at one another hoping the other would be the initiator to get the house moving. It never worked. Our kids are also involved in sports. In our community, a lot of teams would hold games or practices on Sundays, right during the middle of church.
This is where Manage Your Mindset comes into play. After we decided that we were going to make church a top priority for our family. We knew we had to shift how we planned and scheduled our time. Don’t get me wrong, we haven’t stopped going to special events and spending time out as a family. Our kids also still participate in sports and extra-curricular activities. We have just changed our tactics! We no longer stay until the party is completely over unless it is truly necessary. So, instead of leaving at midnight, we now leave an hour or two early. We also have decided that we would not sign our kids up for activities that required participation during church. At first, some of our kiddos were a little upset, but after reminding them about “why” we were making these changes, they got on board.
Sanity Saver #3- Organize Your Wardrobe
When you look in your family’s closet, what do you see? Too many options for church? Too little options for church? Absolutely no clue because things are toss all around. Organize Your Wardrobe is something that might sound like a daunting task. With 6 kiddos and 2 adults in our house, this Sanity Saver lived up to its name. Our church does not have a formal dress code; however, I still like my kids to look presentable when going to church. We decided to go into the closets and pull out clothes that were designated “church clothes.” These items were placed on hangers and put to the side. This allows the kids to be more independent when it is time for our Saturday night routine of pulling out our church clothes. All clothes are taken out and hung on the over the door hook, like this one all the way down to socks, underwear and shoes. When we rise Sunday morning, the hassle of scrounging for clean clothes, matching socks or shoes is eliminated!
Sanity Saver #4- Lend a Helping Hand
With 6 children in our home, we have managed to create an instant buddy system. Outside of being a good sibling, we ask that each of the older siblings helps with one of the younger kiddos. Task can range from helping a little one put on shoes and socks, overseeing morning hygiene, such as washing their face or brushing their teeth, or being a mother’s helper and entertaining the baby as I get dressed. Regardless of the task, the idea is to be a help and not a hindrance to getting out of the door. Ultimately, my husband and I give the kids a once over, but having helping hands makes a world of a difference.
Sanity Saver #5 – Basic Breakfast
When I grew up, my mother would cook an elaborate breakfast on Sunday mornings. I am talking about eggs, bacon, biscuits…the works! It was almost without fail that we were late or really cutting it close to church. Although I love the memory of those great Sunday morning breakfasts, I decided to forgo the Sunday morning breakfast routine. Those Super Breakfasts are not scheduled for Saturdays or days where we have nowhere else to go. In our home, we have a Basic Breakfast using recipes from Easy Kids Breakfast: Quick Healthy Recipes which can range from pre-made casserole dishes, cereal to toaster waffles. I find that this Basic Breakfast makes our mornings run much faster and smoother! I even use an amazing free Recipe Binder that Cara Harvey put together over at A Purpose Driven Mom.
Sanity Saver #6- Plan to Arrive Early
If you are on time, you are late! This has become our new motto for our home. Gone are the days when we say church starts at 9 am. Yes, Sunday School starts at 9 am. However, it takes approximately 15 minutes for our family to find a parking space, take the kids to their classes, drop the baby in nursery, walk to our classroom, and find a seat. If we plan to get to church at 9 am, we are not leaving any time for all the possible obstacles we face, such as, traffic, last minute bathroom breaks, a whiny 4 year, or my favorite, a baby blow out! Although it only takes 10 minutes to drive to our church, we have set it in our minds that we will arrive early. Since I am the one who absolutely HATES mornings, my husband is the gatekeeper to ensuring that everyone is up, moving, and out of the house by 8:30 am.
Being a mom to many is not easy task. Getting us all out of the door on time is an adventure. Regardless of your family size, time management and organization are essential to relieving stress and chaos in your home. Take some time out and call a family meeting. Discuss what is important to your family and develop a plan.
What are some Sanity Savers your family has put in place?
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