Church Cuddles

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Last week I heard a sweet story from my friend whom I’ll call Julie. Her husband who deeply loved Jesus left this world almost a year ago. Julie rejoices for her husband while missing him terribly, both for herself and for her daughter and two sons whom she continues to homeschool. One of the many things she misses for her daughter whom I’ll call Kayla is the joyous way Kayla and Julie’s husband enjoyed singing and dancing silly in the pew (in a way that was unobtrusive, but fun for the two of them). I love imagining that sweet scene between a daddy and his darling teenage girl.

When I remember being in the pews with our little ones, I remember holding, rocking back and forth, and cuddling. When Bethany was about eight, our friend Irene, who was a retired school counselor, surprised me by complimenting me on cuddling with Bethany at that age. Irene thought it was great and told me how different it was from when her daughter was a child and mothers were told that cuddling like that would give your daughter serious psychological issues. Good grief.

I know that God is everywhere and that He is with us all the time. Still, since I was a little girl, church has been a time of drawing nearer to Him and a time to stop and think about the most important things. What happened at church sank deeply into my being — the hymns lifted me, the sermons taught me, the experience helped me to think about eternity. All that pulled me toward my Heavenly Father.

A Peaceful Scene on Long Branch

I believe that church is a time for children to feel the pleasure of their earthly parents and their Father in Heaven (grandparents, too, when they can). I believe that their “in the pews” experience should be filled with loving smiles and gentle caresses in welcoming laps in the shelter of loving arms. And, if mamas and daddies and girls and boys and grandmas and grandpas have silly and fun moments in those pews, I’m confident that God smiles.

God holds us close and He doesn’t think we’re too old for Him to hold our hands.

The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.
Psalm 37:23-24




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  1. Some of my sweetest memories are of laying my head in my Mama’s lap when evening church service went way long, and having her gently stroke my hair.:-) And when I was younger, I remember that when I became restless, there was always some sweet woman or another who would tap my Mama on the shoulder and ask to cuddle me for awhile. Over the back of the pew I would go, into yet another pair of welcoming, comforting arms!

  2. So delightful! Our 8 year old daughter still crawls into either my husband’s lap or mine during church service, usually towards the last half of preaching. It always strikes me how big she is or how long her legs are and even more so when I think about how she used to fit on my lap like a little baby doll. I welcome her into my lap, as my 17 year old and my 21 year old no longer fit…at all. It goes so fast!! Having a baby later in life sure makes me appreciate the mundane!

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