Sunday, October 14, 2012

how I often feel on Sundays.

how I often feel on Sundays.

Sometimes I feel like church asks too much of me. Sometimes I am so frustrated and my husband is off at a meeting and I have to get the kids ready for church and loaded up and out the door on time all by myself. Sometimes my church callings seem overwhelming and unfair. Some Sundays I spend just surviving, minute by minute, and wondering if I'm going to keep myself together in one piece or if I'm going to suddenly explode into a million tiny fragments.

There was today, for example. It's a long story, but it ended up that the baby hadn't eaten or slept for three hours by the time church was just starting, and I needed to go sit on the stand to conduct the hymns and then do the ward choir between the talks so I wasn't going to be able to feed him. Josh had to make a quick exit right before the meeting began as our oldest, once again, had had an accident.

I asked a friend in the row behind us if she could hold the baby until Josh got back. A friend in the row in front of us was there to keep an eye on the two-year old. I reluctantly made my way up to sit on the stand.

This seems like a good time to tell you about my heretofore secretly rebellious feelings concerning conducting music in church meetings. Everyone singing has their eyes glued to the hymn books and they can hear the organ loud and clear, so who ever watches the conductor? It's not an orchestra with people needing cues; it's not a choir with intermittent fancy interludes. I am waving my arm around and smiling at no one in particular and I would much rather be seated somewhere, out of sight. I have wondered many times if having a music conductor in church meetings is just a holdover from an earlier time, an outdated way of doing things, an obsolete practice. And I have grumbled.

So I was sitting up there, wishing I wasn't, feeling guilty that someone else was going to be holding my squirming, hungry, tired, poor, sweet baby while I sat there watching helplessly. It was years until the meeting finally began.

But as I lifted my arm for the pickup beat to start Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, my heart suddenly leaped with joy. As my voice combined with many voices, I had a moment of clarity of thought, of perspective, of purpose.

Praise to the Lord.

That is why I am here. That is why I am up here waving my arm, looking down at my sweet husband and children and friends and fellow lovers of Jesus Christ. That is why I do hard things that are asked of me and why I try not to complain when my husband has to be at meetings and why we struggle through church with three little children.

Because I'm praising the Lord. The Lord who gave me everything. Nothing He could ever ask would be "too much."

I sat down, renewed, after the opening hymn. I had a constant, fervent prayer in my heart that the baby would somehow not be too hungry and that he would be quiet and peaceful throughout the meeting. Then I watched as he played happily with my friend who insisted on holding him the whole time so that Josh could deal with our other two. And then, amazingly, I watched him fall asleep contentedly in her arms and stay asleep for much of the rest of the hour-long meeting. He never falls asleep in my arms during church.

This may seem like something small to you, but to me, it was a miracle. I stood up there and enjoyed conducting the music. I enjoyed it in a way I never get to with kids crawling all over my lap; I felt the Spirit in a way I hope I get to every Sunday from now on for a long time.

And I praised the Lord.

how I should feel on Sundays, 
the days I get to celebrate my love for the Savior all day long.

P.S. No babies were harmed in the making of this story. Lincoln woke up at the end of the meeting and even played and laughed with his daddy for a little while before realizing that he was hungry.


Marie said...

such a sweet reminder, Adele. seriously, i needed to read this! i've been struggling to understand how i'm supposed to manage my calling as a primary teacher (the 5-6 year olds), and still be able to feed my hungry baby (a bottle would be so convenient, but i'm breastfeeding), and manage my 2 yr old (thank goodness for nursery during the 2nd and 3rd hours!), while brad is YM pres (early morning meetings, afterchurch meetings) and one of 3 piano players in the ward (meaning he is often playing prelude for sacrament, subbing for the ward organist- a sweet but very eldery and sick sister, subbing for primary music playing-- the primary piano player leaves town a lot to visit family... seriously, brad is in meetings or playing piano ALL sunday!). but then i hear from another mommy struggling to do something very similar, and it gives me renewed strength to keep going. thanks for reminding me what it's really all about. love you, adele!

Klaudia said...

I'm glad you are up leading the music it is great to see your smiling face. Also you have got to love it when you hear Josh respond to the speakers while he is coloring. That was the greatest part of the meeting. When the speaker said Do you know Jesus? And Josh replied YES, and then Do you Love Jesus and he responded again with a BIG YES!!! He is listening. You are a great mother and a great leader. Love ya

Curtiss & Ginger said...

Oh I LOVED this!!! I especially loved all the pics. :) Thanks for the awesome reminder.

Ben and Summer said...

Thanks for this Adele, you are helping more than just yourself when you post about these things. Praise to the Lord indeed!

Steph said...

Love! When I was ward chorister I always felt the same way. But just so that it makes you feel better, if I was in your ward I'd look at you ;) Way to be a great example to your kids!

Linda said...

That was a very moving account of a problem many young mothers face. Balancing church callings with the very important calling of being a good mother. You are doing extremely well walking the fine line. And you are right, everything pales in comparison to the fact that we owe everything we have and are to our Creator and all knowing Father. Hats off to you for understanding that!

Lori said...

Such a great post adele! I have forgotten the real reason for sacrament long ago... it's just so hard to keep focus with the kids and redundancy and whatnot. I'm glad you shared your perspective :)

Camilla said...

You are right. I'm glad you got that chance- sounds like a moment given to you for a reason. Thanks for sharing too. Something I needed to hear. Glad to remember I'm not alone :)

Margaret said...

I like you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)