When you’re married to a pastor, Sundays are usually the most stressful day of the week. And when it’s their turn to teach, the intensity often increases. So it’s not uncommon for our Sunday mornings to be extra stressful. Whether it’s me struggling to sleep the night before, waking up to a kid’s bad attitude, or getting annoyed at the little things, I’ve come to accept the inevitable. It comes with the job.
In our family, we divide and conquer. On Sunday mornings, Filipe is the first up and out the door before the kids are allowed out of their rooms. Most weeks he takes a kid with him (a privilege they fight over), but not always. The rest of us get there when we’re ready. (That’s a whole other thing in and of itself, but not why I’m sharing this so I’ll just leave it at that.)
I used to let the stress of Sundays get to me. I spent a lot of time orchestrating and manipulating events so the day would work the way it would benefit me most. However, that worked about as much as trying to reason with a two-year-old or trying to train chickens. (For those of you who have neither, here’s a hint, it doesn’t.)
Eventually I stopped trying so hard. I wish I could say I had a moment of revelation and wisdom, but truth is I just couldn’t keep up anymore and the joy was draining out of me before I drove into the parking lot. It wasn’t sustainable, and the more I tried, the more frustrated I got. So I stopped the gimmicks to help myself sleep better, I stopped getting angry when I woke up to two (or five) kids fighting. I stopped expecting smooth, serene Sunday mornings. I expected the fight.
And you know what? My Sunday mornings got better. Not because the stress went away, but because I stopped being afraid of it when it came, and I began to face it head on rather than getting mad it was there in the first place.
Yesterday morning was another one of those mornings. After not sleeping well the night before, I woke up in a fog. While I waited for the water to boil to make coffee, I came across an Instagram post from someone whose friend went into a coma the day before and wasn’t expected to survive. Minutes later I read a story about a woman who worked in full-time ministry and had committed suicide. I read about Steve Kerr’s health problems (head coach for the Golden State Warriors).
My heart sunk further with each story.
I couldn’t help but think about the number of hurting people. In that moment, there were many people in deep pain and stress. It pales in comparison to mine. (Someone with a position like Coach Kerr we easily dismiss. We watch him on TV never knowing he’s sitting there in unbearable pain.)
Throughout the morning yesterday, I kept those stories in my mind to remember why Sundays are such a big deal for us. People are hurting and some could be coming through our church’s doors hoping for a miracle today.
After our service yesterday, I had the opportunity to pray for several people. One after another, I listened to broken hearts and hurting souls. Some were more intense than others, but all needed God to intervene in their situation. In that moment I felt privileged to go before God with them on their behalf. Sometimes we just need someone to pray with us so we can see our situation more clearly. Clarity may be the healing we need.
Aside from praying from a distance, I couldn’t do much about the other stories I read that morning. But I was able to do something for someone that day. I was able to look a few women in the eyes who were hurting and pray for them, give them a hug, and encourage them. There is power in that simple act.
I came home that afternoon full of gratitude for the work we get to be a part of on Sundays. Does it come with a little extra stress? It sure does. But I can’t imagine anything more fulfilling. Being able to play a small part in helping connect someone to God and finding healing (whether body or soul) is more than worth the added stress. Because it’s eternal work.
It’s hard to hear stories of pain and suffering and not be able to do anything about it. And there’s no shortage of heartbreaking stories out there. But when we can be a part of the solution, we can find peace in knowing we did something.
Don’t just listen to a few sad stories and do nothing about it. Let it change you; let it break your heart.We can be a part of God’s work no matter where we are. Whether you’re serving in ministry or working a 9-5 job in a cubicle, God will use us when we’re available and willing.
You’re stressful day may not be Sundays, it may come on Mondays or at a staff meeting on Thursdays. But don’t let your normal, everyday stress overshadow those whose lives you may be able to impact eternally. There could be people around you this week in great pain and agony, and you could have the opportunity to intervene and help them in the midst of it.
God could use you to be a miracle for someone if you’re paying attention. You never know, you could be the one to pray for/with Coach Kerr.