Sunday, June 12, 2011

Loving Church

There were definitely times when I wondered if I'd ever find church remotely enjoyable again.  For many years, church was mostly about trying to keep a bunch of very small children sort of quiet by frantically passing out toys and snacks to toddlers and preschoolers while bouncing a fussy baby on my lap.  I was lucky if I was able to catch maybe one tiny idea from the speakers while trying to quietly conduct my own three ring circus in the pew.

But now church is one of the most enjoyable parts of my week.  After 11 years of struggling and training and trying and failing, the payoff is oh-so sweet.  I love sitting with Jared's arm around me and the twins nestled on our laps for parts of the meeting.  I love having one of the kids always snuggled up against my non-Jared side.  I love playing with Eliza's curls and reaching over to give Ashton a little squeeze on the shoulder and seeing him smile at me.  I love looking over to see the kids quietly looking through the hymn book or the scriptures or reading articles in the Friend magazine (a few old copies is all we need to bring in our once-bursting church bag these days).  I love holding hands with whoever is beside me and giving that hand three squeezes - I - love - you - and then getting four squeezes back - I - love - you - too.  I love seeing the kids find the right pages in the hymn books and singing their very best on all the songs (even the twins can read all the words now and sing along pretty decently - I think following the words with their fingers in church every week from the time they were small actually really helped them learn to read). I love being able to take notes on talks and record what the spirit is telling me during the meeting (impossible for years with the squirming babies). I love whispering a favorite story about Jesus in one of the kid's ear while the sacrament is passed.  I love peeking during a prayer and seeing the sweet bowed heads and folded arms of my dear children who love Jesus.

I really wondered if the day would ever arrive where I could use "love" and "kids" and "church" in the same sentence.  We still have our hard Sunday when the twins are making loud-ish folding noises and then loud-ish swooshing noises as they fold the church programs into airplanes and wave them around in the air, occasionally letting one actually fly "by accident" or when the big kids keep poking and pinching each other or when everyone wants the same magazine at the same time.  But mostly, church is about quiet together time these days.  And on Sundays like today, I love it with all my heart.  


SADACAD said...

I love that you know the hand squeeze! We do that with our children, too! The days in the foyer wondering "why do we even bother" are worth it now. I just have to say "Amen" to your post :). Thanks for the reminder of the joy it is!

Andrea said...

Thanks for the encouragement that it will one day pay off.

Cheryl said...

we are nearing this stage...we have 5 kids as well (4 boys and a girl) and our youngest is 14 months (nursery here we come!). Our oldest 3 sit quite reverently and our 3 yr old (our girl) is quite content with a notebook and stickers. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Becky said...

wow, will that day really someday arrive? :) I know it will before I know it, but right now I'm in the learning stage. Just yesterday during church I had to run one child home during Sacrament meeting to get new underpants and I had my baby with me who forgot to nap before church and I had to resist the urge to stay home and let my baby sleep (I was thinking "why go back and just walk the halls with her anyway") :) But I'm enjoying the parts I can: I love to hear them tell me on our walk home what they learned about Jesus or how their name was picked during Primary and since they were being reverent they got to go fishing, etc. etc. everything in stages, right? looking forward to your stage while I enjoy mine. :)

Becca said...

I remember those times when I asked myself when will I get something out of church with our four little ones and then the times came like you are mentioning....ahh peace...time to listen and enjoy... and now most Sundays it's just me and my 20 year daughter (at least until after the passing of the Sacrament) as my hubby is on the Bishopric, my boys are either passing the sacrament or being an usher. And just sometimes I wish for the old days with a row full of little kids.....I know crazy, right? What I've realised is that the years we have our kids at home with us go by so quickly and we have to grab on and just enjoy the ride. Enjoy this phase for it too will pass :)

mom said...

I'm so with you on this!


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