Reader question: "What's the point of turning up to church with small kids when I miss most of it?"
Why go when I spend the whole time breastfeeding out the back? What's the point of going when all I do is walk the block trying to desperately get my baby to have a sleep for five seconds? What's the point of going when I all I do is sit in creche with my 18 month old who won't separate from me? What's the point of going when I can't follow the sermon because I only get to hear bits of it? What's the point in going when I can never finish a conversation at morning tea because I have to take a child to the toilet/sort out a tantrum/stop them killing themselves on the steep steps outside the front of church?
Why go? Well, here's what I think.
Because it's not so much about you and it's quite a bit about serving other people. It's turning up because it encourages others that you too care about meeting together enough to make the effort (even though it feels pointless). It's about turning up because maybe your short snippet of conversation will mean you share your life in a way that helps someone else. It's about turning up because it encourages others to keep coming ("well, if she does it, then maybe I can do it too").
So, if it feels pointless or a waste of time, ask yourself what it is that makes you feel like that. "I miss hearing the sermons" - ask someone to tell you about it afterwards, or get a copy of the talk to listen to later. "I miss the great singing" - buy some Christian music and pop it on in the car (a much preferred option to 14 long years of The Wiggles, let me assure you!). "I miss good conversations with people" - make a time to catch up with people at another time that is better or make the most of the time you have in creche/crying room/waiting outside the toilet/standing near the precarious steps to chat to people. Follow up unfinished conversations with an email, if you got suddenly cut off with the, "there's a poo coming... NOW Mummy" cry.
And believe it or not (I did not believe it would), it truly gets easier. Be kind to yourself, be impressed with your own ability to just get out of the front door dressed and recognise your presence for the encouragement that it is to others.