I want to write today to mothers of little children who sometimes go to church and come home empty. Mothers who spend their Sabbath mornings hurrying to get ready, only to spend the entire worship service chasing rowdy toddlers or walking fussy babies. They wonder if the effort was worth it. First I need to give you a little background. Our church meets from 9:00am to 12:00pm each Sunday. For those unfamiliar with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, you can learn much more HERE, but I’ll explain a teeny bit as it relates to this post.
In our church all the leadership, teachers for classes, and so on are done by the lay members of the church. There is no paid ministry at any level, local or worldwide. Each calling (position) locally is filled as the Bishop and his counselors pray about the congregation and ask someone to serve based on the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
My husband’s current calling brings him to meetings before church every Sunday beginning at 7:00am. Every other Sunday he also stays after church for yet another meeting and does not arrive home until nearly 2:00pm. Today is one of those Sundays.
Every Sunday morning I am the only adult at home to wake, feed, and ready myself and six children for church. Each Saturday I try to prepare ahead, packing the diaper bag, having everyone choose clothing, making sure the house is clean, preparing easy meals for the following day, getting showers/baths for everyone done, and then putting the children to bed at a nice, early hour. While the preparations help, I still find myself feeling hurried, frustrated by slow-moving children, and anything but rested.
We then struggle through 3 hours of church. I will be honest, with a preschooler, a toddler, a baby, plus 3 more elementary age children, some days really are a struggle. There are many days when I come home having received no spiritual feeding as I wrestled with the toddler, walked and rocked the baby, or refereed the older children. It feels as if I have wasted all that time and effort for nothing. Do you ever feel like that?
I have been doing this (church with little ones in tow) for 9 1/2 years straight. I have learned that the effort is never wasted. It may have felt as if I got nothing but frustration from going to church, but God honors my efforts. You see, I’m not the only one in this equation. My children were at church because of my efforts, and that put them in a place where God’s tender mercies could reach them through others.
Today I heard my 9 year old give a talk that she wrote by herself about God’s plan. She was nervous, she didn’t know if anyone would care about what she had to say. Not only did she know that her father and I were proud of her, three loving people stopped her today to thank her for what she said during her talk.
My 3 year old son, who is as rambunctious as they come, has a husband/wife couple teaching his Sunday School class. They have embraced his energy, his talkative personality, and so he loves going to class. Not every teacher does that.
I may never know all the ways my children have been blessed, strengthened, and uplifted because they were at church today. Even on the days when I feel that I come away empty from church because I have been caught up in the care of my children it is worth it, because they are worth the effort.
Just keep going. You may feel as if your efforts are wasted. They are not. God will honor your efforts.