On Nursery and Taking His Name and Love Upon Us

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I never knew what an act of trust it was to send your little munchkin to Nursery and put them in the care of strangers for a couple of hours each Sunday until I had a mini munchkin of my own. BH and I served in Nursery (a sunday school class/playtime/snacktime/songtime for children 18 months to 3 years old) in our first ward after we were married. I loved it, did my best to be kind and firm with the kiddos, loved on the ones that that worried when they were away from mom and dad, played with the shy ones, encouraged the rambunctious ones to care for the others, just tried my best to treat them like their moms would want them to be treated. But mostly we just loosely controlled chaos and doled out handfuls of fruit snacks and animal crackers.

Then after we moved, bought a house, and had a kiddo of our own, I find myself serving in nursery again. It has been fabulous to have somewhere to take our Baby Bear to play with other kids and do activities and keep her attention during church. I love playing with all the munchkins and hugging the ones that are fussy (especially since our church is during universal toddler nap time hours). It's even more controlled chaos with a lot more three year olds and just one or two younger kids, but there's still a lot of animal crackers and fruit snacks.

One week when there were a few of us working in nursery, we had more people than we needed and the other gals offered to let me go to the adult Sunday School and Relief Society. Normally I would jump at the chance to sit still for a couple of hours discussing the gospel with other adults, but instead a rush of anxious questions ran through my mind.

Would they watch and make sure she sat in the middle of her chair instead of on the edge so she wouldn't fall off? Would they watch and make sure she only tried to eat one cracker at a time instead of shoving a whole handful of them in her face? Would they notice if she started to eat the crayons or took liberties as to what was considered appropriate coloring surfaces? In a class full of three-year-olds would they be in tune with the needs of a little 15-month-old who wasn't even old enough to be there in the first place?

All the ladies in nursery with me are responsible, caring individuals, but I found myself suddenly worried about leaving her with someone who wasn't me.

Now that she is 18 months, her chair sitting, cracker regulating, and appropriate crayon use skills have all improved and I don't worry about her so much. She has even stopped taking toys from other kids unless it's really really cool.

I no longer worry about leaving her in nursery, but I have learned how important a responsibility it is to care these adorable kiddos and the huge amount of trust their parents have in us Nursery ladies. I may have accidentally set a precedent that the kiddos (and adults) can all take their shoes off and pile them in a corner, but otherwise I try my very best to treat each child as lovingly and carefully as their parents would.

Now this would be a good place to say, "What a wonderful lesson I've learned!" and move on to some lovely thought about Easter and bunnies and rolling colorful eggs down hills. However, as I am learning is the pattern, there was a even more powerful lesson to be learned.

via LDS Media Library

I had all the kiddos gathered around me on the floor for lesson time. I sat on the table in front of them and held up the picture from the lesson for the week. In a crazy rare moment, they were all paying attention at the same time. I asked my favorite question, "Who is this?" They all cried out in unison, "JESUS!", or rather "Je-bis" or "Zezus" or some other adorable variation. I told them the story about how Jesus loved children, how He gathered them around Him, how He sat them on His knee and hugged them, how He wanted them to live with Him in heaven forever.

I looked around at these little mischievous angels gathered around me, sitting at my side. I looked at the one darling little blonde who was always so nervous when her daddy left that she would sit on your lap for an long time just snuggling with you. I looked at my baby girl and knew just how much I wanted her to be mine forever.

via LDS Media Library
These little kiddos probably wouldn't sit at the Savior's feet in their mortal childhood. They probably wouldn't hear His voice or talk with Him in person. But they would grow to have a relationship with Him. The lessons and hugs and images of heaven would have to come from those who represented Him, those like me who had taken His name upon them in covenant, who were tasked with the incredible responsibility of caring for His darling children, not just for a couple of hours, but for a lifetime. What an incredible trust He places in us to represent Him, to teach our children about His love by loving them ourselves, to show them the love of their Heavenly Father and Elder Brother through the love of their imperfect parents.

Oh how He loves us, our Savior, our friend. Oh how God loves us, our Creator, our Father. I know because I have sat at the feet of those who love Him and have taken His name upon them. I have been loved and hugged and taught by those that took seriously the sacred responsibility to be His representative not just in name, but in mission and love. I guess I just realized that it's my turn to share His love, not just with the little kiddos in Nursery, but with all of God's beloved children.

Love you all, Happy Easter.

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  1. Beautiful!!! Now that I have my son and became an official mommy club member, I can relate to the love you are describing. There is nothing in this world like it.


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