10.19.2014

Sunday Thoughts: Nursery

Alright. From the beginning. 

Joseph and I got married almost exactly a year and a half ago. We lived in SLC for about five weeks before moving to Layton. When in SLC, we held no official calling in the church. This was mainly because we were only going to be there for a few weeks. When we moved to Layton, I was quickly called to teach the 5 year old Primary class, and Joseph was called to work in scouts. After living in Layton for 7 months, we moved again, to where we are now. We were quickly called to work as a team in the Nursery class.

This was a calling that met me with a bit of distress. On the one hand, I was excited to work with kids and play with them. On the other hand, that's what I was doing for my job already, and I essentially lost, in that moment, my one source of communication with adults, besides Joseph. 

Yet I got over it. There were other young couples working with us in Nursery and Joseph and I got to be friends with them. The class was smoothly run. We were enjoying ourselves. A few months later, all of those young couples we worked with had either moved away or had been released from their callings in order to work in other callings. 

We were alone. We had 20-30 kids in our Nursery, depending on the week and month, and it was just Joseph and I in a very small room. It would have been far better in a big room, but we were in a small, tiny little room, with more kids than we could care for. Five of who were screaming at any given point, three of who would hit and bite and scratch, ten of who needed to be on someones' lap at all times, and several others who were apparently marathon runners and needed to be constantly running in a circle around the room. Constantly.

I wiped my brow and said I've dealt with worse. I said it'd be fine, it was a challenge, and we'd get through it. But weeks wore on and our cries for help seemed to go unheard. The nursery was up in the far corner of the church, away from all of the adults, and the problems going on in nursery weren't very apparent to others. But Joseph and I were suffering. Our energy was running low. And each week it got harder and harder to say things would be fine. 

It came to a point one Sunday. I choked down my toast for breakfast and put on my shoes, already feeling exhausted, already getting a headache in anticipation. I felt like this calling was too much to bear and I was searching for the words to tell Joe that I wanted to ask the bishop to be released. Sacrament meeting started and I listened as many callings were issued. Callings to work in Primary, in Sunday School, in everything but nursery. I buried my head and tried to take deep breaths. I couldn't do it anymore. Very quiet tears stung my cheeks as I prayed to Heavenly Father and said that I couldn't take this calling anymore and that I needed help. I needed a break. I couldn't do it. I told Joseph I had to go get a drink and instead shut myself in the bathroom to cry for a while and then went for a walk outside. 

The time for nursery came and I cleaned my face and brushed my hair back and put on a brave smile and went up to the nursery only to be turned away. Several girls from the Young Women's class had come and told me that today I was needed in Relief Society. I almost broke down crying in that moment. I felt that God had heard my prayers. He heard that I needed a break. Sitting in Relief Society, I had the chance to talk to the new Primary President. She expressed that she was worried about Joseph and I, that it seemed we were struggling, and she asked what she could do to help. I quickly blurted out that we were extremely short on help in nursery, we needed more people called to work in nursery to come help us. 

And that was the moment things turned around. In the next few weeks, two more couples were called to work in Nursery. The large class of children was able to be divided, and Joseph and I were able to do our actual calling as coordinators, helping the teachers, rather than being teachers ourselves. The new Primary president spoke to us today and told us how important the nursery is to the ward, because it is there that children are first experiencing church, where they receive some of their first lessons about Jesus and loving each other and loving their families.

This was a big long story just to say that God answered my prayers that day. I have a testimony that Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to succeed. He needs every one of us in the church, and every calling is important to help the Gospel of Jesus Christ move forth. I'm so grateful for the trials this calling has presented me because it's helped me strengthen my testimony in this aspect. 

We need everyone’s wisdom and insight and spiritual strength. Each member of this Church as an individual is a critical element of the body of the Church.- President Boyd K. Packer

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