Is Holy Week for Kids?

Through the last 12 years of being a parent I have struggled with parenting and worship.

It is not always easy.  Kids have whined, screamed, thrown, (no really I had one child throw a shoe in worship), fallen in the pew and bumped their head.  I have dragged children out unwilling. I have had Cheerios spill, coffee spill (yes I have no shame-I have had coffee in church), bottles leak, diapers leak, poppy diapers and gassy babies during “quiet time.” Fights over crayons, who has the most paper and tears when pencils break.

I have walked out of church either so frustrate and frazzled or content that I never could figure out this parenting in worship concept.

Is worship for kids?  Is it for families? Am I to be feed?  If I was dealing with kids all service long-should I just stay home?

Yet every worship service we bring our kids.  Everyone.  Most of the time we are on time.  Every now and then late.  And there are even a few sightings of us attending early service.  Yes I know-early service.

Palm Sunday

While my kids during worship are coloring, or drawing, or talking (shhhhhh) I feel like-with 4-5 kids I

finally got this.  I think.  I feel good at balancing worshiping with parenting.  I think.  I hope.

They are growing and learning.  They don’t always listening -or I don’t think they are, but they know the liturgy.  And they know some hymns.  In fact they will hum the tunes through out the week.
So I have really started teaching my kids about the church year now.  And we have been focusing on Holy week for a while.  Starting with Palm Sunday last Sunday.  They knew this was the week we spent 5 days in worship.  Each worship day special and unique.

Yesterday AnnieQ woke up and asked “So today is Monday Thursday-right?”  And so more teach and learning happens. When does everything go away?  Today they were asking what happened today?  Jesus died-who killed him?  The camp fire is Saturday-right?  Isaiah will always ask, “Can I roast a marshmallow?”

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Last night at Maundy Thursday Worship.  Service started at some of our kids bedtime. They all had been looking forward to the stripping of the Altar, we had been talking about it for a few days.  Robby got to help strip the altar. But Isaiah had fell asleep before the end of the service.  I was disappointed that he missed the end of the service.

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Chances are tonight, he will fall asleep too.  While this means one less child to deal with, I have to wonder is Holy Week made for families or for just adults.  I walked into church with 5 kids last night at 7:30p.m.  when most of them on a normal night would be getting ready for bed if not in bed.  It was a calm night.  Babies fussed a bit, one got taken to the nursery.  Isaiah fell asleep.  The other two colored and drew.  Over all it was stressless worship.  But I have to wonder if there would have been kids there if worship had been a wee bit early, and if Isaiah would have stayed awake to see the end. I wondered at the end if Holy Week services were for kids and families.  I wonder these things often.

A tradition is built on something you do year after year.  Something that your family does every year.  Our family goes to church.  Sunday service.  Advent and Lenten services.  Christmas Eve and Holy Week.  We are there.  My 12-year-old is excited to Acolyte tonight at the Good Friday Service.  Excited.  My kids have been asking me all day, when is church.  This is our Holy Week Tradition.

So the question is Holy Week for Kids.  Yes, for our family. And yes, I would like to see the worship time early so more families can experience this and get their kids to bed at a good time for school the next day.  Maybe some do.  But I like the anticipation that our family has.  I like that my kids look forward to each service and the meaning held behind each one.  I like that in their own way-Holy Week is for them.  Holy Week-the journey of Jesus to the cross.

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I’m Eating Chocolate Ice Cream for Lent

The question started about a week ago.

“What are you giving up for Lent?”

Many different answers appear from foods to time killers.  Some go the opposite way and give into to something.

I have given up food items and time killers.  But I don’t think by giving them up I filled or replaced them with something that represented Lent.  I struggle with that.  What is this giving up.

I mean God gave up His Son.  His one and only Son.  How was anything I was to give up to come anywhere close to that?  And how do I fully comprehend that giving up.  How do I give up like God gave up?

And was this giving up a show?  A Facebook post would be like “Week three of no coffee- my children hide from me as I roar through the house trying to focus on cleaning and pretending the tea is just as good…..I can do this!!” OK OK  you get my idea, but should not what we give up be something we do be between us and God and not to torture others with our suffering ?

I was reading from the book of Joel last night.  I was pondering  the words and what did they mean for our Lenten tradition of “giving up”.  And what did this mean for me.  And for my kids.  For my family?  How do I get them ready for Lent?  How do I get them ready for Easter ?  Do we give up?

I am not give up “something” like chocolate ice cream. I am eating it.  Instead I am going to focus on the #40 this lent, starting Ash Wednesday. When I get frustrated so quickly with my kids,  I am counting to 40 when things spiral out of control.  I learned about 40 bags in 40 days, so I am getting rid the clutter in my house. I’m reading 40 verses a day in the bible.  I’m going to be freezing 40 meals. I have many more “40” ideas to explore. Thinking 40 ideas to make my kids laugh more.  40 ideas to make worship more enjoyable and meaningful with my family.  40 books to read to my kids.  40 songs to teach my kids.   I am going to focus on 40 days of teaching my kids more about prayer.  40 days of more.  More with God-less of worrying about what isn’t.

My giving up is what I need to give more of.  My giving up will help me focus more on God.

And I am pretty sure chocolate ice-cream will not do any of the things listed above.


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Luther’s Morning Prayer Poster

Lent family friendly Lutheran

I had decided to start at the beginning of our day.  It had been in the back of my mind to create a simple poster for the kids to put by their beds of Luther’s morning Prayer and Evening prayer.  Even to put it in bathroom rooms.  If you have been to my house, we have scripture all over.  The bible tells us to

“Take these words of mine to heart and keep them in mind.  Write them down, tie them around your wrist, and wear them as headbands as a reminder.  Teach them to your children, and talk about them when you’re at home or away, when you lie down or get up.  Write them on the door frames of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 11:18-20 (GWT)

Luther wanted to get into the hands of the father’s to guide their children in faith.  He believed that parents where the first people in charge of their children’s faith, since they where with their children most of the time.  That was why he wrote the small catechism to place it in the hands of parents to teach their children at home.

So today, my kids helped me make a simple poster to put by their beds.  Robby will help the two younger ones learn the prayer.

I love this prayer because after you pray it Luther suggest that everyone goes to work happy and singing, or reciting God’s word.

Luther’s Morning Prayer Poster

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You can use mine, Luther’s Morning Prayer Poster, or you all can make up your own.  My kids chose the fonts to make it fun.  It is their creation.  The yellow circle was for the sun.  They wanted Martin Luther’s Signature at the bottom.  Now their mornings will begin with this prayer.


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Ash Wednesday: Luther’s Morning Prayer

For some Ash Wednesday is a foreign concept.  Putting ashes on a forehead.  Every year my kids look forward to the ashes.  Every year they understand a little bit better why we do it.

Why we put ashes on our head?  As a sign of mortality and repentance.  Mortality because when we die-we become dust again.  Repentance because long ago, when people felt remorse for something they did, they would put ashes on their head and wear “sackcloth” to remind them that sin is pretty uncomfortable and leads to a sort of death of the spirit. It gets put on our fore heads as a cross – a sign of Jesus who takes our sins and makes us clean.  We then take the cross out into the world.

What do you give up?  Many people give up something.  To take that time and put it toward God.  I personally have decided to give in.  Give in to something I have wanted to do.  Give in to helping families at home learn about God and His Word and Grace.  Give in to a fear I have of can I really do it.

So for Lent we are going to dive into Luther’s Small Catechism.  Sure I teach it for confirmation.  But I want to create fun resources for families to use at home.

For the next few days is Luther’s Morning Prayer

I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that you have kept me this night form all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You.  For into Your hands I comment myself, my body and soul, and all things.  let your hold angel be with me, that the evil foe have no power over me.  Amen.

 

 

 


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Our Resurrection Garden

It was my dear friend Sheila first showed this idea to me.  Before I knew it everyone was making them.  I was also getting ready to be away from the house for two weeks so I knew that I really could do this then.   When we came back, I knew for sure I was going to do it. We did ours a little to late-our grass did not grow really yet, but the kid had fun, and I had little devotions with each time.

To make you need

A bottom of a pot (saucer)

A small clay pot

soil

grass seed

a rock (use used the saucer that fit the small pot)

Rocks (we used the broken cement that was in our yard that the kids made a mess with -yep two stones on that one)

three crosses.  Most were making them with twigs and hot glue.  I use three cross from our church.  They were used as necklaces that everyone was wearing.

As we made it we talked about the story leading up to Good Friday.  We talked about why Jesus needed to goto the cross.

My Little Ham, always wanting to be in the picture!

It sat like this till the evening out Good Friday.  My original goal was to have them write and draw sins and put it in then close it up.  But we got back too late and they were so tired.  So we just “put” our sins in there, and closed it up.

There are three cross on there, the just put two of the side also.

My grass wasn’t growing fast so I covered with plastic wrap (left over from Christmas!)

On Saturday Isaiah asked me what was going on in the tomb.  I said a big battle.  He leans in to listen…”I think Jesus wins”  Oh from the mouth of children!

And now, the first thing they see before Easter Baskets is the open empty tomb.


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A Little Lent and Easter for Kids

Hard to believe we are in our second week of Lent.  Sad to think I haven’t done anything with the kids!  We have a devotional some where that we have use in the past, but this year I am bearly keeping up with my own devotions.  And I think that our cruise at the end of the month has over shadowed our preparing for Easter vs Vacation.  I have a few ideas in mind to help get our kids ready for Easter.

Things I want to do

  • Resurrection Cookies–  Faithful Provisions has a wonderful step by step how to do this.
  • Holy Week banner
  • Resurrection Eggs
  • Blessing Baskets- we did this a few years ago, we put together some baskets with some fun stuff in them and handed them out to various people.  
  • Jelly beans poem.  We did this before and handed it out to people.
I also collected some great Lent and Easter ideas over at Pinterest.  Check me out.  
Other sites that have some fun ides.  
The common sense mama – has some awesome ideas including a link to Lenten Adventure.
Children’s Ministry– Has some great Palm Sunday ideas
Catholic icing – has wonderful ideas from food to crafts
Sunday school kids -a learning game for Holy Week
http://www.worship.ca/easter.html – a HUGE list of resources for Lent and Easter
raising little saints – Also a nice list of blogs and resources for Lent and Easter
CPH has a great collection of books to teach and share the story of Lent and Easter
While I am not Catholic, some of these catholic mom’s have awesome ideas!
What are you doing for Lent and Easter?  Share with me!

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Are Lenten Services really for Kids?

It seems that every year Advent and Lenten services hit me the wrong way.  Maybe cause it seems that it is a service for adults with few children- normally mine and by the time the service has ended my children are tried and cranky and not wanting to be there.  But every year it seems I drag them to the service, because I need to be there.  I need that time to communion with God, to listen to His word, to sing His praises.

Instead of feeling fulfilled, I feel flustered cause I am not sure what my kids got out of it, and I spend my time trying to keep my children quit so they don’t disturb those worshiping around them.  So days I wonder whats the point, all these people here have forgotten what it is like to be parents.  Ah I know they have not forgotten, but when a service is only for adults, with not even a children’s bulletin of anything special for them to say, “hey you are important to us we are glad you are here-all are welcomed in the house of the Lord”

Instead I get the old people walking down going-“ssshhhh”  It is tiresome.  Of course I want them to behave, but I would rather have noisy kids who listen and get something out of the service.
Tonight, one child is laughing, the other making noises, I felt like all I was doing was shhhing them.  While I know I wasn’t the only other family dealing with their kids “stuff”, by the end of the service I found my self just laughing.  Cause here is Isaiah (4), with the hymnal open, singing as loud as he can making up his own words as we go along!

I just laughed cause sometimes I worry about what everyone is thinking, and at that moment, it was like God was saying, “don’t worry about what everyone else is thinking!  You bring your children to worship Me.  Regardless of how cranky or tired, snotty or rude, giggle or quiet noise maker (darn those pencils sometimes are noisy), regardless of how many potty trips are taken or drinks to the water fountains, they are hearing My Word.  They are hearing My Word that fills them up, and even if they wonder about Me or even say I don’t exist, then you keep bringing to Me.  I am all that matters in this church tonight.  Worship Me. ”

I find myself sighing, and as always agreeing with Him.  I mean when is God wrong?    Yes Lord, regardless of everything, my job is to bring them to You.  Isaiah reminded me that tonight when he bolted out that hymn! “Train a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”  Proverbs 22: 6.

So yes, Lenten Services really are for Kids!


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Ash Wednesday – you want me to do what?

Ok while it is not my goal to go into discussion of Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent (which may come later).  To learn more about Ash Wednesday come with me to church tonight and hear for it your self.  Or do some reading, last year Pastor Terry Cripe wrote on the Ohio District page this blog post.

 I am not here to gloat at “look what I am doing!”  Nor is this some spiritual experiment or anything like that….I am just one simple momma who have identified two areas of life that needed some adjusting.  Lent for me is many things, on many levels, one of those things is a time to look at ones life and evaluate.  While I would need to make huge changes to many things, I chose two.  One does not have to do this, and this has nothing to do with food.  My adjustments are simple…less Castleville and more walking!  Thats right, I love to play Castleville, some days I find my self on it 5-6 times a day waiting for more energy to come. I love playing the little missions that come along and beating up the bad with the good.  It is a great place to escape, but I have been escaping too much into it.  So I am limiting my playing, my goal is more to get on and off once a day to send gifts and materials that my other friends may need.  I will not sit for hours waiting to see if I can finish a mission.
On the flip side-all that sitting I could be walking.  I got a Fitbit last month.  It is pretty cool.  I clip my onto my bra and off I go.  It measures my steps, how many stairs I climbed, how many calories you burn through out the day, and how you sleep (although I forget to put my wrist band on often.)  But it is my motivator to how many steps I walk.  Yesterday I walked 7398 steps.  Close.  My goal is to hit at least 5 days a week to 10,000 steps a day.

So here is it and here I go!


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