Going to Church Alone

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OK, I admit, I didn’t really go to church alone this morning.  As I’ve said before, I’m rarely alone because we have 3 children.  What I mean is we went to church without my husband.

While there are many things the girls and I do without my husband (since he works many of the hours others are off), church is the hardest place to go without him.  It seems to go in phases.  He’ll be able to attend for many weeks/months in a row and then miss a few weeks/months in a row because of work.  Right now it seems to be more miss than hit.

I know chefs are not the only people who have to work on Sunday mornings.  I have friends who are married to police officers, fire fighters, doctors, nurses, or any profession that requires traveling, all of whom have probably felt the same way as I do at some point or another.

I was at first reluctant to write this post as I don’t want people to judge my husband, or draw any sort of conclusions about him.  However, if you met him and watched him as he interacted with our family, it wouldn’t take very long for you to see his love and dedication to both the Lord and to us.

So with that being said, here’s a glimpse into my evening last night and this morning.  This post is about me, not him.  It’s about my feelings and what I struggle with.  Please don’t judge.  🙂

My chef/husband always calls on the way home from work.  It’s actually one of my favorite parts of the day.  My cell phone displays my favorite picture of him in his chef coat and it brings a smile to my face as I walk over to answer the phone. We talk for a few minutes about both of our days and then I have an idea when when he will be home.

During the conversation last night, he said he was going to need to go to work in the morning and not going to be able to go to church with us.  My heart sank.  I tried to hide my disappointment as we talked on the phone, but he knows me too well at this point for me to really hide anything.  This morning as we talked as he was getting ready, I could hear it in his voice and see it in his very tired eyes, that he wished he was able to go with us as well.  I am grateful for that.  I could have a husband who tried to work on purpose each Sunday morning to get out of going to church.  However, that is not the case.  Sometimes he just has to work.  🙁

I really struggle with disappointment and how to not let this one little thing suck all the joy out of my morning and day.  My husband knows this is hard for me.  I’m sure he hates having to tell me he as to work the next morning.  I think my reaction to the news is better than it was a few years ago (at least I hope so), but you’ll have to double check with him.

Phil 4:8

I tend to dwell on this and can’t get it out of my mind.  Then it affects everything . . . my conversations with my husband, my patience with the girls, etc.  Clearly I need to print out Phil. 4:8 and pull it out on mornings like this.  “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”  I need to be letting my mind dwell on something else – a scriputre, a worship song, etc. so that I’m not allowing this to be a distraction.

Then there’s the thought, “What are people going to think?”

Yep.  LAME!!  Why in the world would I even worry about that.   I know that it really doesn’t matter what people think, but I admit, that is one of the first things that comes to mind.  (And if you knew my church and the people there, you would think it was even more lame that I was thinking that.)

This became a distraction to me as well.  It was a distraction as I rushed to get the girls and I out the door to worship team practice earlier than I expected.  It was a distraction as I sang this morning during practice.  It was a distraction until a friend/elder at church said this . . . “We serve an audience of One.”  (The One, referring to God.)

Ugh!  I hate it when I am convicted of something.  OK not really. Being convicted of a sin is a good thing.  It’s just not easy.  I was allowing this to distract me from worshiping God this morning.

God is the only one that matters, not others.  I needed the reminder that as I served this morning at church I was there to serve God and should be focusing on Him and not worrying about what others were thinking.

I was convicted of the same thing again during the service by the words of the song “I Give You My Heart” by Reuben Morgan.  (I LOVE this song!!)

This is my desire
To honor You
Lord with all my heart
I worship You
All I have within me
I give You praise
All that I adore is in You

Lord I give You my heart
I give You my soul
I live for You alone
Ev’ry breath that I take
Ev’ry moment I’m awake
Lord have Your way in me

All morning I had allowed myself to be distracted by something that didn’t matter, instead of focusing on the Someone who does matter, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  This morning God used His Word, a worship song and a friend to remind me to stay focused on Him and not the fact I was at church by myself.

So now it’s mid-afternoon.  We are home and the girls are resting while I write.  I am grateful to live in a country where corporate worship is still allowed.  I’m grateful for a church that teaches the Word of God without compromise and I’m thankful for the job that God has provided for my husband to supply our physical needs.

If you are reading this and can relate, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.  It’s always nice to hear you’re not alone!

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12 Comments

  1. Shira

    I was in the same boat Jennifer, since my husband was working this morning as well. It gets so overwhelming, week after week of going to church alone, and not because your spouse doesn’t want to be there, they’re just working. ~hugs~”

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Overwhelming . . . good word to describe it. Thanks friend! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Amy

    Oh, Jennifer! Tough things. 🙁 As you know, I am usually the one who cannot be in church with my hubby because of the needs of our precious little girls. It is hard to be the one who cannot go – just as it is hard to be the one who goes alone. I will be praying for you, that our Savior can help you find joy regardless. There will always be the temptation to be distracted, but He knows your heart and He is faithful. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing the right focus. You are in my prayers, my friend. Keep seeking Him.

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Amy, thanks for sharing that perspective as the person who is not able to be there. I’m sure that can be just as discouraging! I will be praying the same things for you as you nurture and shepherd your little ones (who are growing so fast!)

      Reply
  3. Stephnie

    Hi Jennifer

    This for me is the hardest part of dating my Chef (besides Valentines day, Birthdays and Christmas) and sometimes I forget that it is hard for him too, we both Love God and even had our first date at church.

    I have to take my hat off to you and only hope that one day I can be the Chef’s wife you and Kerrilyn (Married to a Chef) are to my Chef. Your blog is encouraging and helpful so thank you very much! you are amazing!!

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Thanks for the encouragement. It is easy to get so caught up in how we are feeling to forget that it’s hard for them too! I started dating my husband in high school and have so many memories of youth group and college group activities that we attended together at church. I would love to know what your first date at church was if you are comfortable sharing. 🙂

      Reply
      • Stephnie

        Wow Jen there must have been a lot of adjustment going from high school sweethearts to Chef/Husband and Wife so glad to see adjustments like that are possible.

        Our first date happened in church because I refused to put any man before God again. We met at the Good Food and Wine show the week before. When he asked me if I would like to go for coffee on that Sunday I said sure as long as it is before 5pm or after 7pm. My Chef asked me what I was doing in-between and I replied ” I am going to church” and he then asked if he could join me.

        That Sunday we went for coffee before church, went to church ( which was nerve wracking as I did not know what he thought of the service) and had dinner after…all I can say is that I was blown away by this mans love for God and so grateful we started our relationship on the foundation of Grace and God. It is almost two years later and we are more involved in the church and still go every Sunday (My Chef if he is not working)

        Reply
        • Jennifer

          Good for you! Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂

          Reply
  4. Kelli McIntosh

    I can definitely relate! My husband is a 3rd shift semi-truck driver and drives while we sleep and therefore, has to sleep during the day. In the last three years, he has probably only been able to attend church with us 3 times. It has been difficult on many levels. I have two children and one of them has special needs, which makes going to church hard. And I have felt the same as you; as I stand in the church service I wonder what other people think. It has become easier over the last few years and I know that my husband can’t help it, but I pray and look forward to the day that he can go to church with me again! Thank you for sharing your story!

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Thank you Kelli. Let’s keep trying hard to fight off those temptations of wondering what others are thinking and focus on the reason we are there – to worship God!

      Reply
  5. Julie

    Thank you so much for your post! We very much need to focus our minds on Christ and not our worldly distractions more at times. I have a teenager and two toddlers and my husband can rarely go to church with us. He works every weekend unfortunately. I have always struggled with feeling judged at church since I had my oldest son very young and now that I have two other children (and another on the way) I find my fear of judgement compounded. I know it’s silly to worry so much but I honestly have a hard time caring for my two young children in church by myself for very long. They end up being disruptive often and when I have to take one for a walk I have to take both which usually ends up with leaving my oldest in the pew by himself and not being able to get back to our seats 🙁

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Having little ones in the service is hard! But don’t give up! Keep going and don’t worry what others are thinking (because honestly, most of them probably aren’t judging anyways).
      Jennifer recently posted…I Told Myself I Would Never Be “THAT” Blog…My Profile

      Reply

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