Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Back to the lambs

I need a new journal. Funny how my journals always tend to run out of pages just as changes come along in life. (Maybe I should start buying thicker journals!!!)

But for now I guess it'll go here...

I'd been home from my girl's weekend less than 15 minutes when my Ben told me the Bishop was coming over.

As I (quickly) tidied the kitchen, I wondered what Ben's new calling would be. After all I'd finally reached that point in my calling where I felt like I kinda knew what I was doing--that I'd "settled"in.
I should have known. 

Instead, as I glanced up at my reflection in our darkened kitchen window, the Spirit told me.

When the Bishop confirmed it, I had one of those flash before you eyes moments (no I wasn't dying, though I could have been in a little bit of shock). In each flash, I saw all these subtle ways the Lord had been hinting--no, preparing me.

Little conversations with friends currently serving in primary who shared their love of their callings. Who spoke of their time there as a privilege and their responsibilities as joyous...who just couldn't imagine a better place to be, then feeling the Spirit with the purest of our Father's children.

Random reunions with women who had lead and taught me in my first experiences with Primary. Sisters of energy, of faith, who absolutely shone with love. I'll never forget how the one president I worked with (who just happened to have an autistic son, and who was one of the first people I wanted to talk to when Aaron was diagnosed because I knew she'd say everything I needed to hear, and she did) applied the principle taught in D& C 89 to primary, by "[adapting] to the capacity of the weak and the weakest" of the children. Who was  so open to trying new things, and adjusting to the needs of the kids, regardless of what was typical done. Who served with such delight. And such enthusiasm--it made everyone else want to give a thousand percent too! Who told me, I was important, that what I was doing made a different and was contributing to the foundation of faith in these individual children's lives and the church as a whole. Who complimented me, and thanked me, who encouraged me to put forth my very best efforts and never give into the temptation to get too confortable or "wing it". But to prepare--not just great visuals or fun activities, but to prepare spiritually, to prepare my mind, my heart and my life so I could teach and testify with power.

Gratitude for the amazing teachers who have served my children in primary. Patient nursery leaders who have pried my crying toddlers from my arms and let them cling to them while they rock and wait for the toys and activities to induce them out of their trepidation. Is there anything you're more grateful for than a nursery leader that convinces your child to stay in nursery so you can (after a year and a half of hiding in the mother's lounge and pacing the halls) finally sit through a sunday school class and a relief society lesson??? I have deep respect for good nursery workers.

And then there's those who have helped Aaron.  I recently read this quote from Pres Eyring:
Many bishops in the Church are inspired to call the strongest people in the ward to serve individual children in the Primary. They realize that if the children are strengthened with faith and testimony, they will be less likely to need rescue as teenagers. They realize that a strong spiritual foundation can make the difference for a lifetime.

Oh when I read that line phrase individual children! Instantly I saw the many wonderful brethren who have sat in primary letting Aaron sit on their knee, play with their beards, and hug them to pieces. Could there be a more Christlike calling? Then to minister to one little special boy, week after week? Their kindness and patience for our different little lamb, who some days just needs to lay on the floor, or wants to watch the drinking fountain for half of class, or gets super squealing during music time or erupts into a fit of laughter right before a prayer, has made all the difference. They have been ministering angels not just to Aaron but to our family. They have helped us make church a "doable" thing, when I remember days I would be holding Aaron in some secluded corner of the church, sobbing and thinking I might never get to really "attend" church ever again, being tempted for the first time in my life with the thought that maybe it wasn't worth it. But inspired leaders were inspired to call great people who took my boy...took him to primary, and helped him belong, and made sure I knew they were happy to do so. Happy to help in what I will always consider a miracle.

Forgotten memories of beautiful spiritual experiences I've shared with sunbeams. Miracles, I'd given up on asking for, but that were nevertheless brought to pass by the inspiring faith of one little boy who told me he was gonna pray for my son, with such ferver in his face that I was chastised instantly for my own disbelief.

That is something primary constantly does for me. It shows me the power of putting away all the doubt and fear and "grown-up" approaches to the gospel, so often diluted by our own biases and pride...and instead see and use the faith of a child.

I remember one little boy, he was attending our ward with his foster family. He'd only been coming a few months. Everything about church--the gospel, the Saviour--was brand new to him.

We'd been preparing for the primary presentation and I was asking the kids if they remembered who we were practicing to sing their songs to (expecting them to say their parents) This little boy looked up at me and with such excitement on his face asked, "Jesus?!?!?"

Of course! Why wouldn't he think Jesus would come listen to him sing? We'd been talking about Him, how much He loves us all. It made prefect sense, to this little boy that Jesus would show up!

And as I realized how real the Saviour was to this boy who had only been taught about Him for a few months, I knew I need to remind myself that He IS that real.

And if He did show up next Sunday...He's head to the primary room!

I love feeling the Spirit of the simplicity of the gospel, as it is taught to the believing hearts of children.

I remember, when we moved and how with a new baby on the way I was feeling a little relieved about saying good bye to my calling, as wonderful as it had been. But then sitting in the bishops office and watching as our our whole presidency was unexpectedly released. Watching my president crying because she loved serving so much. She was called right back in as a primary worker teacher. Had I not served with her and learned not only how to organize and delegate and "run" things effectively but how to make all our efforts spiritual endevers. She had the spirit of her calling directing her, helping her know what to focus on and what to let go, and always in all the administrating, never forgetting to bethinking and serving "the one".

Remember all these things, while I sat there in shock on my couch, nodding at the Bishop, helped me feel that the call had come from the Lord, who had both prepared me and would remain with me.
So it would be okay.

I went into GO mode after being called and tackled my RS binder to get it all cleaned out for the "hand off". I was just changing out the front conver picture when Ben walked in and said "Wow, you transition fast!"

And I looked at these two picture and thought, it's all just love.

I thought about the women I'd tried to know and serve and care about and welcome and pray for and unite with. I thought about how much I loved them.

I thought about all my new little lambs. (Have you seen the Seminary video about trying to save the lambs!?!) I thought about my own three little rambunctious sheep. Each so unique. I thought about the worry, about the hopes, about all th feelings of a mother's heart.
I thought abotu how much I already loved the mother sheep in our ward. How I know the constant worry of their hearts. How I've sat and talked with many of them as they've talked about their kids, with the fever of love only a mother heart can emote.

And I realized, I may be taking out this picture, but I'm still serving those mother's! I was filled with desire and determination to be the sister serving in primary that you hope your child will have. That when you prayer for help and support and for your child to "turn out"... I wanted to be part, however small, of what the Lord gave as the "answer".

Parts of this calling terrify me. But knowing that the Bishop sees that absolute chaos of our Bretzke bench at church every week, that surely would not make him or anyone else think, "Huh, see that lady who seems to have no control whatsoever over her kids??? bet she'd make a great primary president!"

Nope, the Lord knows my heart. He knows my many weaknesses as well, and blessed me with an incredible presidency to fill in my many gaps. I know the only reason I'm not paralyzed by my inadequacies is because I know I have them to lean on and rely heavily upon on their many amazing strengths.

Im gratful for callings and how they take us beyond our perceived limitations into areas were we can't "do it alone". Our service is perfectly orchastrated to help us rely on the Lord. Our Good Shepherd.

I gave a primary training once using Ezekiel 34 where the Lord talks to the shepherds in Israel. I'll never forget looking into those wonderful primary teachers eyes and saying, 
"We have the lambs." 
So young. So fragile. So eager for nourishment. So needing the protection and love of the fold.

So needing to be brought to and held by the arms of our Saviour, who knows His Sheep.
Individually. Perfectly.

I pray I can share my love for the Saviour with the little lambs in our little primary fold, because I truly do love Him and am grateful for His constant shepherding over me.


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