Sunday, May 24, 2015

When Going to Church is Hard

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Today in Relief Society part of our lesson was on the sacrifices people make to go to church; for example, women in other countries who walk miles to attend meetings. Our teacher asked, "Have any of you experienced sacrifice like this?"

And I thought to myself: physically, no. But there are women in this room, or who SHOULD be in this room, whose emotional hurdles are as daunting as 15-mile walk though mud fields with a baby strapped to their backs.

I live with one of those people.

"Mom, I hate everyone at church. It's too bright. Too loud. People talk to me and I have to be polite. I'm expected to respond. I can't stand it. Every Saturday I tell myself I'm going to do it, I'm going to go. And then Sunday comes and I'm physically sick. You know how I always say I'm sick on Sunday mornings? I AM."

It's been four weeks since she's been. Her attendance has been spotty since she was about 11. Her dad is her Sunday School teacher and I said I'd go with her to Young Women, but it's still too much. I've bribed her with privileges, threatened her with punishment. You may recall me saying that I once tried to drag her out from under the bed while she held on for dear life. It's been crazy here--I've said and done things that make me feel like a monster.

"I see these other girls and they just have their lives together. I think to myself, why can't I do that? Why can't I be a better person? And it makes me feel bad."

"Can you take those feelings and do something positive?" I ask,

"If it were that easy of course I would," she says.

I believe her.

She has a good heart. She believes in God. She teaches great Family Home Evening lessons, shares the gospel with her friends. Is that enough? She doesn't go to seminary, won't go to the temple with her youth group, hates Mutual, rejects her nice leaders. I want her to experience all of these things because I know first-hand how beneficial they are. Beneficial for ME. My eyes are being opened to the fact that others find those things painful.

I'm the stake Young Women's president and every rah-rah-rah activity I help plan is something my own daughter can't stomach.

To people who judge her absence: You have no idea what she goes through.

Crowds can be daunting. Nice people can be overwhelming. Spiritual promptings can be uncomfortable. Getting up and getting dressed is sometimes just too hard. But you know what--despite that, sometimes my strong, sweet girl does it anyway.

So do I know people who sacrifice to go to church? Yeah, I do.


FoReVeR WeLcH said...

Im so sorry for her!!! my Noah is similar.... not to that extent..... but he is similar... doesn't like going to his classes.... he will go with greg... or come to my primary class. And the wealth of scripture knowledge he holds is amazing!!!!! He HATES school..... doesn't care for his seminary teachers.... i am beyond grateful that he goes.... as he is the ONLY one of my children that has gone steady. Thomas went some with tasha stembridge and brandy went some her first year... only because we dropped her there... Greg once caught her leaving 2 minutes after he dropped her!!! And tony went t0a magnet school across town and couldn't attend seminary . Noah quit going to mutual years ago.... it makes me sad. i wish he would be enjoying his youth years a bit more... he attends no after school activities, makes me sad thinking of all he is missing out on. NO ONE should cast judgement on anyone... for any reason. I have been one of those who at times didn't want to walk through those church doors.... because my family was the talk of the ward... i would defend my kids and cry in private at the comments of others.... people are cruel and NO ONE knows others struggles. Your family is in my prayers.... your sweet daughter is in my prayers. You have done an amazing job raising her... and one day God will see her through her issues and all will be as it should. Big hugs!!!!

Rebecca and Co. said...

Lisa, thank you so much for your kind and wise words. I love you and your family so much.

Aranne and Dan said...

I understand your struggles and I also fear for my future! i appreciate you sharing and look up to you and Bryce with such admiration for the work you do on behalf of all of your kids. They are so blessed to call you Mom and Dad! I am also blessed to call you a friend. Thanks for sharing and reminding me that no matter what it will all work out and that we must press on and not worry what others are thinking. We must love our kids - and I DO!