For the past little over a year I’ve been serving as one of the members of our church’s spiritual nurture board. The summer before I had basically reached the point where I could no longer stand to be so disconnected from our church. I could not explain why church felt like such a painful place for me to be. Instead of feeling fed and connected, I felt isolated and lonely. There was like this never-ending hole in my heart that longed for something I’d surely known once before, but long ago.

Over the summer our DCE stepped down from her position in order to be home full-time with her son. Without a DCE it has fallen on our board to oversee/continue various things that the DCE once took care of. One of these things is the Sunday School program. I have written in the past about an exodus-like loss of people from our church not too long after we began attending there. We’d had a thriving Sunday School with five children’s classes plus a high school class. Each class had three teachers each that rotated every month.

I did not volunteer to be a Sunday School teacher. As a homeschool mom of five who was home with my kids throughout the week, I wanted a chance to be with other adults. Coming from a busy church prior to the one we’d just moved to, it felt incredible to be free from the responsibility of my husband being the head pastor. For a while we went to church together. I remember asking him one evening while standing in the garden. Could we go to the Saturday night service as a family, in the town north of us? So the kids could go to church with their dad, so I could feel what it was like to have him next to me again. I hadn’t realized that being married to a pastor meant going to church without him for the rest of your life.

I struggled and was at a loss even in the adult class. In church and then Bible class, the talking that went on mostly happened one way. I couldn’t understand why I never looked forward to church. This morning I felt slightly like I was looking forward to it. After church and Sunday School, a few of us from the board got together at Subway for lunch while the pastor did his catechism class from 12-1 before our meeting. After stepping down from the high school class once I got sick, I started teaching in the K-5th class. I did it because I felt obligated to fill one of the empty teaching spots.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wondered why it so often seems like its the moms who have to do this. Where are all of the old grey-haired women who’ve been teaching Sunday School for the past 50 years? They don’t exist, at least not in our church. I say this even as only two of the six Sunday School teachers currently have children in the program, so it isn’t always just the moms. Today as I sat next to my son during the Sunday School opening, I came to a place of accepting this “season”. I looked around at the extra parents who had joined us to be with their children. This is what we do. Catechizing our children, encouraging them in the faith, doing what we can to ensure the process happens is what Christian parents do.

Later tonight I cried thinking about it. Toward the end of our meeting, for a split second, I felt something different, something I had surely known once before, but long ago. It wasn’t isolation, or discouragement, or loneliness. It wasn’t guilt or frustration over last minute meeting planning or any other scathing vice. It wasn’t overwhelm at the ever-present desire to do the best that I can ever running side-by-side with the constant failure to do so. It wasn’t even the holy fire, the longing to image Christ in doing all things well. I wasn’t feeling, I wasn’t thinking, about anything having to do with me at all. I was there again. I felt whole.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s