A Reason to Go to Church Every Week
I cannot tell you the humiliation I have felt at church with my husband sitting elsewhere because of his leadership callings, and me sitting with little children—or teens, sometimes it hardly makes any difference. I have sat in my pew and waited for everyone else to leave so I would not have to face anyone because I was embarrassed. I have walked out of sacrament meetings with a baby twin on each hip, leaving my five- and seven-year-old sons, who would then start to wrestle under the bench. Aaaah! I know what it is like to be everyone’s worst example! So why did I do it? It wasn’t for any apparent spiritual growth, or to show off my perfectly pressed and clean clothes each week. And I did not do it to visit with friends either. Looking back, I don’t really have any answer except that I was a believer and I just couldn’t not go!
Adam and Eve prayed and sacrificed countless lambs on the altar over and over, year after year, until God finally answered their prayers one day. They did not know why they were to pray and sacrifice in that way except He told them to. Last December my oldest daughter, Jan, who is married and living in another state, called me to tell me that it had been her stake conference that morning and they were running late. She knew they would all have to sit on folding metal chairs far back in the hall where they could not see or hear very well. She was seven months pregnant and had three other children, one of which was a very dynamic three-year-old who would be squirming on her lap for most of the meeting. She looked at her husband as they were getting settled in the car and remarked hopefully, “We could stay home and listen to the Tabernacle Choir on the radio, just this week?” He readily agreed. He and the kids quickly exited the car as Jan slowly followed.
Then, as she walked to the front door that was already closed, an image of me and of her, sitting on each end of the church bench with all the children between us, just popped, unbidden, into her head. She felt like she could see us in that black door! She then remembered all the times I had taken the twins to church—and all the other children too—Sunday after Sunday, with no other adult help. She opened the door and called to her husband and kids that they would have to hurry and get back into the car because “we have to go to stake conference!” Curious, her husband asked what changed her mind. She said, “I have to go because my mother always went!” When she called me later, she wanted me to know that my constancy had become a pattern and security for her life.
Women’s lives are future oriented. What I once thought of as mundane and routine for me became a pattern and a security for my children. We never really understand or know when our actions or our traditions will have a mighty, lasting effect upon their lives!
Penny Brown is the proud mother of 10 children who have all given her a little bit of grief but unending moments of gratitude. Penny has served as a mission president's wife and as a temple matron. Penny is passionate in sharing with the world the innate beauty and goodness that all women and mothers possess.