Friday, April 8, 2011

The Cross before the Crown

"The cross comes before the crown, and tomorrow is a Monday morning."  -C.S. Lewis

A friend of mine wrote a post on his blog not too long ago about crying babies in church. It got me thinking about our usual Sunday routine and how these days we often leave church thinking "We survived," rather than "We were edified." I suppose that's how it goes when you've got two kiddies under two who can't/won't go to nursery and a class full of rowdy 6, 7, and 8-year olds to teach. But it also touched on something a little deeper. I find that if I'm not careful, it's especially easy for me to suffer from spiritual malnourishment when I have a new baby. A few reasons:

1. Lack of sleep. This, combined with hormones, is at the root of lots of problems.

2. Less time and freedom to do spiritual things. I can't go to the temple nearly as often as I once did, and when I do I have to worry about figuring out feeding/pumping, etc. I have less time to study the scriptures, and the quality isn't as good due to #1. I feel like an increasing proportion of my prayers are a desperate plea for a baby to go to sleep or eat or recover or for me to grow some patience. Sometimes I get nostalgic for my college days when I felt like I learned something new and fantastic every week in church, I had a variety callings, I took a couple institute classes every semester and there was a fireside every week, and I could go to the temple weekly.

3. Less contact with others. This was worse right after we had Ethan because I was instructed to keep him away from people so he wouldn't get sick between surgeries. Not to mention that I've had callings in Primary for all but a few months since we were married. This means fewer chances to recognize opportunities to serve outside our little family, and the tendency to stay in the microcosm of my apartment and forget the big picture.

So I loved this quote from Elder Maxwell as soon as I laid eyes on it a little over a year ago:

"Meanwhile, mortality involves teeth to be brushed, beds to be made, cars to be repaired, diapers to be changed, groceries to be bought--such an endless array of mundane matters. In the midst of these, however, is the real business of living--a friendship to be formed, a marriage to be mended, a child to be encouraged, a truth to be driven home, an apology to be made, a Christian attribute to be further developed."  -Neal A. Maxwell, Not My Will, But Thine, 125.

I also try to remember: "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose." Ecclesiastes 3:1.

I suppose the trick is to follow the Spirit to find the purpose in each time in our lives. Right now is a time for building relationships and character, and I've got a store of knowledge and understanding gained from other times in my life to build on.


  1. I completely sympathize with this. I feel like I have either been lurking in the hallways, or in primary or nursery for the last 6 years. I always get the comments from those with grown children that it's just a phase, and about how much they don't miss it. I feel like we get more edification at home with family scripture study than we do at church. However, it is SO important to create the standard for kids while they're young. Church is important. We go to church...EVERY Sunday.

    Hang in there.

  2. When my grandma passed away, I learned that as a newlywed she moved from new jersey to the middle of nowhere in Nebraska. Then she had kids. No running water, no electricity, farm hands to feed along with her family on a wood burning stove (not to mention where do you find wood on the plains in Nebraska?). I think she did this for about 6-7 years with 3 kids. It kind of blows me away.

    I guess what my point is, there is something about a funeral that puts the big picture in all of the little things about a life well lived. If my grandma hadn't been who she was my dad may not have found the church or been as hard of a worker. I think heavenly father is blessing you just for being obedient and doing our best, which for the struggles you're enduring now, might be hard to see.

    Meg, you'll always be a spiritual beacon in my eyes! One day when I have two little ones I'll come a-running for a little meg wisdom. Just remember the long run. Literally it's like you are running and really thirsty and your legs hurt, but then you see the finish line!

  3. I remember first hearing the phrase "caught in the thick of thin things" years ago in a Don Black talk, and I often think of it when I find I have my priorities know, clean house, clean laundry, extra time at work to finish another project being more important than enjoying the moment. I have regrettably let those thin things win out too often, and look back now wishing I could redo so many moments. The clean house and clean laundry were good, more balance would have been better, spending more time doing fun things with my kiddos would have been best. You, my dear, choose the best regularly, and I truly believe when you get to where I am, and look back you will see what an amazing job you are doing daily...It may be hard to see from where you are, but easy to see from where I am. You amaze me.