I don’t think my Sunday would have been any different if I had taken three pet monkeys to church instead of my own children. That children’s song “Reverently, quietly…” was not inspired by my children– maybe for my children, but not by them.
After exchanging half-annoyed, half-shocked eye rolls with my husband several times across the pew, I was beginning to feel very discouraged. I consciously had to reign in my angry feelings so that I could take the sacrament and not feel blasphemous about it. I was overwhelmed by my children and my obvious failure to teach them correct behavior or at least to wrestle them into submission. Sundays can often feel overwhelming anyway because in addition to my own offspring, I have other church responsibilities in which I feel equally as inadequate. So in one of those almost-going-to-have-tears-well-up-in-my-eyes kind of moments, the last speaker said “Amen” and we began to sing the closing hymn. I quote two of the four verses:
Shrink not from your duty, however unpleasant,
But follow the Savior, your pattern and friend.
Our little afflictions, tho painful at present,
Ere long, with the righteous, in glory will end.
Be fixed in your purpose, for Satan will try you;
The weight of your calling he perfectly knows.
Your path may be thorny, but Jesus is nigh you;
His arm is sufficient, tho demons oppose.
I won’t go into my interpretation of demons at that moment, but it’s sufficient to say that the hymn became a poignant, personal message from my Heavenly Father. I literally felt His encouragement and sensed that my shame was unnecessary. I felt His love and knew I was not alone. If it’s true for me, it must be true for all moms, even you.
I think I’ll pull up this post again next Sunday morning to help me remember that.
(This entry was originally posted on August 24, 2008. I’m trying to recreate my lost archives. And I’m still out of town, but I just scheduled this one to post in my absence.)
9 thoughts on “Shrink not from your duty”
This is my very favorite hymn. You know those meetings where you are in a small group and someone says, pick a hymn. I always say, how about 266?? And no one ever knows it, but it is the best song ever. The message is amazing, and when I have down days… I sing it to myself.
Thanks for this post. Loved it. We can all relate, unless we are childless.
So glad you reposted. Cuz I didn’t know you back then I needed to read this.
that was a great post. there are so many times, at church, that i am thinking about my children/life and something sparks me back to reality. i love it when that happens.
I love this post. You know, it seems to me one of the speakers at conference quoted the last verse. It is so beautiful. Thank you. Your posts always touch me!
I love this. I wish I had this when my kids were younger. It’s so true. Thanks for re-posting this.
isn’t it fun to be the family where the kids run laps around the chapel?
I love how often something in Church is directed just to me.
I’m often reminded that the spirits reserved to come in these Latter-days tend to be a bit more…determined? Boisterous? I don’t know the word, but my goodness. I don’t think it’s all down to parenting and environment and all that, as important as those things are. We have some pretty strong spirits to contend with and while that makes our jobs more difficult, it makes them more important too.
Thanks for the reminder to shrink not!
I love how you applied those verses, and I can very much relate. This Sunday we realized our kids had been quiet all through Sacrament Meeting, and we were amazed — we’ve had MANY times when our kids’ energy was more than we could contain. And then once in a while as a tender mercy or saving grace we get a peaceful Sacrament Meeting.