I have to tell you about what will probably forever be one of my all time most precious memories. Like the kind of treasure I want to carefully enclose in bubble wrap and tuck into the hope chest at the foot of my bed. I am cherishing this one.
I recently spent 2 weeks with my daughter who lives more than 9 hours away. She had just given birth to our first grandson and I was there to help out (well, really I was there to get plenty of cuddle time with the little ones!). On Sunday morning at breakfast, I told little Teagan that we were going to go to church together—just me and her.
I was prepared with a bag of goodies: snacks, small books, the mini etch-a-sketch, and my Spurgeon devotional. Why my Spurgeon devotional? Because T has become quite fond of it. She calls it a Bible and loves for me to read to her from it (um, I kind of paraphrase for young ears), and she likes to carry it around with her. I have a picture with her at eleven months holding it and looking convincingly like she’s totally absorbed in Spurgeon’s message for the day!
“T” is only 21 months old, but she is way mature for her age (you expected me to say that, didn’t you?) and already very verbal. She and I headed out on our adventure with her favorite “Praise Babies” CD blasting away and for the next twenty minutes she and I were doing some serious worshipping in the car. I couldn’t understand the syllables she would sing out every now and then but the sound was sheer joy to my ears. Worship got our hearts ready for the service.
Of course you can imagine our first stop when we arrived (think: newly potty-trained toddler). After that we found our way to the Sanctuary to settle in. We had a few minutes to get acclimated before the music began. Thankfully this church likes to stand through the set of praise songs. For a little one that activity seems to help a bit before sitting a long time through a message.
I held Teagan and together we worshipped the Savior. While I was singing, I would whisper in her ear every little bit, “Sing to Jesus” and she would let out the sweetest notes of praise. What a precious joy to worship Him with our children. This is one reason I encourage young moms to let their children stay in the service with them rather than relegating them to the nursery. I think it’s so important and beneficial for the family to experience worship together, but also there’s nothing better than watching your little ones lift pure praise.
“And they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?” (Matthew 21:16)
When we sat down for the message, I whispered to Teagan “Who were we singing to?” “Jesus” was her confident twenty-one-month old response. My heart floods with gratitude every time I hear her speak His name. I don’t take it for granted. Many children only hear His name as a form of cursing.
The message that morning was on the physical resurrection of the body from 1 Corinthians 15. Yes, a passage about the dead coming to life. You might not think that would hold a toddler’s attention, but Teagan was listening. I don’t know that she understood much, but she was listening. And that’s what is important when having young ones in church—training them to sit and listen—and you’ll be amazed by how much they’ll absorb! I believe they’re never too young to start.
This passage uses the word “dead” at least twelve times. T has started repeating new words she hears and I knew what was coming. After about the third reference to the “dead,” she started repeating it. In a very small quiet voice the preacher kept getting a sweet child’s echo: “dead.” After several echoes of “dead” I handed her a cup of raisins and goldfish crackers to keep her mouth occupied.
She and I had more praise and worship as we rode home together and my eyes were streaming with wet gratitude. How can I be so blessed to have this opportunity? I am so thankful for this Sunday. I don’t know how many more days or years I have. I don’t know if I’ll be around to see this little one grow into womanhood or not, but today I was given the gift of sitting in church with her, worshipping Jesus together.
My prayer is that one day He will fully capture her heart. Now is the time to start leading her to Him.
Do you have little ones you’re leading to worship Jesus?