Home church the beauty and messiness of going to church

the beauty and messiness of going to church

by Shawni

On Sunday last week I sat in the back of the gym (behind the chapel) on the hard seats surrounded by so many families we love and took in the idea of CHURCH.

How I adore it.

As I sat there and took it all in, I became so overwhelmed with the beauty of that gathering.

Not only for the sacrament, which is, of course, the most important thing we do at church. But I thought about the opportunity being at church it gives us to learn from each other, all of us imperfect. All needing to learn repentance and grace and forgiveness.

And to learn more about the Savior. OUR Savior. And how when we follow Him, we learn to use that grace. We can be forgiven. We can start anew.

I love that kids learn to stand up speak to listening audiences (The youth speaker was SO good, talking about how his dad was out of town, but was able to help him maneuver a bail of hay over the wall to feed their sheep even from far away, and how God can do the same for us).

I love that we have callings to push and move us. I LOVE gospel doctrine Sundays when I don’t have to worry about Relief Society (we switch off every other week), and I can just sit and join in a conversation about the depths of the gospel with a whole group of us trying to figure it out (we have the best Gospel Doctrine teachers, and people fill up the room with the best comments).

I love Relief Society as well, of course, and an opportunity to connect with those I love and have been so deeply in my thoughts and my prayers.

I love what we learn from the good and also sometimes the messiness of it all, this life of ours, at church.

I just got so overwhelmed that I got to be there, right then, sitting behind this sweet young family with two young boys, amazed at how they balanced those busy boys on their laps and in and out, and in again.

(And I also loved taking that baby for a little while and feeling his whole-body-smile fill up my whole heart. Maybe I am ready for grand babies after all:)

Whether it’s here:

(Newport Beach)

Or here:

Dave and I had callings to teach the “Sunbeams” when we lived in China and boy howdy, these three gave us a run for our money!:

Or here the first time we lived in China (just for a summer), with this awesome guy who took care of the building where we met (no actual church buildings in China):

Or here:

(Cambodia)

Or here:

(Japan)

Or here:

(NYC)

I am SO GRATEFUL for an opportunity to not only renew our covenants but to join our hearts together to learn through the messiness and beauty of making it to church each week, and learning so much from those around me as we seek to worship and renew and connect with God and our fellow worshippers in our own unique ways.

You may also like

16 comments

Lorella January 25, 2022 - 2:02 pm

I agree with you whole heartedly about going to Church, I always feel so much better when I get home. There is something about being there every week that fills me up, helps me tackle the week ahead. I really did not like staying home during COVID, I could feel the difference in my soul during that time, something was missing, it was worshiping with those I love and care for. I was so glad when we got to start up again in person, I am a better mom, wife, sister and friend when I can go to Church each week.

Reply
Laura January 25, 2022 - 3:54 pm

This sums up church – especially when you have young children. When we lived far away from the Intermountain west (New Jersey, Illinois, Atlanta, Germany, New Mexico), it was so important to be together with other “saints.” It wasn’t easy getting everyone ready, driving distances, & containing the children – but it’s how I survived the rest of the week!

Reply
Rachael January 25, 2022 - 8:33 pm

As a current Primary president I’m wildly envious of the “week off” from your calling (as RS president you never actually get a break but you know what I mean!). When we are on vacation I LOVE going to the local ward and just relaxing and enjoying all the meetings and remembering the “why” I am there. I think sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in all the things we have to do and to forget why we are doing them! Thanks for the reminder of the beauty in the chaos.

Reply
Kara January 26, 2022 - 7:39 am

Can you explain Relief Society for the non-LDS people? And, agree about going to church and just enjoying the community without having responsibilities!

Reply
Shawni January 26, 2022 - 8:30 am

Not sure why that link is so humongous! But hopefully it works!
xoxo

Reply
Kevin January 26, 2022 - 10:06 am

Just an FYI, the pic above labeled “Taiwan” is in Japan somewhere based on the text on the building. Thought you would want to know. Cheers! Thanks for all you do!

Reply
Shawni January 26, 2022 - 1:33 pm

Oh HA! Thank you for the correction, I’ll switch it.

Reply
Donna January 26, 2022 - 10:27 am

I am now a little confused.

In your links above, the first one says “Relief Society is the women’s organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
All adult women in the Church are members of Relief Society.”

Then in your link about your duties you say “In all my years serving in my church, I have never had a calling in this organization.”

If all adult women are automatically members of the Relief Society, why do you have to wait for a particular “calling” to participate.

Any members, please feel free to answer. Thanks.

Reply
Jill January 26, 2022 - 12:34 pm

Hi. There are lots of ways to participate in relief society without a calling- attending classes, attending activities/service opportunities, and ministering. A calling in relief society could be a teacher, a member of the relief society presidency, or other things.

Reply
Shawni January 26, 2022 - 1:38 pm

Yes, thank you for the explanation Jill! I was always a member of the Relief Society, but I was usually serving in the Primary (with the younger kids as a teacher or in the presidency), or in Young Women (all the girls ages 12-18). I love having callings in both of those organizations but had never been asked to teach or be on a service committee or any other Relief Society “calling” before this one I’m in now.

I should back up and say that I have always been a “ministering sister” though, which sounds kind of weird, but it’s a fancy way of saying “friend” in my opinion. Everyone in the Relief Society, if they’re willing, gets assigned to “minister to” or “befriend” or “look out for” another sister or two in the congregation.

Let me know if you want me to clarify that more. I appreciate the questions!
xoxo

Reply
Kara January 26, 2022 - 10:45 am

The links work. Thank you…I guess I should’ve googled it! As an outsider, it’s not what I thought it was – the use of “relief” really threw me off. It’s interesting to me how groups have evolved over time. When you mentioned it in past posts, I glossed over it and assumed it was a volunteer outreach group but that doesn’t seem to be what it is at all.

Reply
Shawni January 26, 2022 - 1:44 pm

Yes, I hope that explanation helped. The reason it is called “relief society” in my opinion is because we are all, as brothers and sisters in a gospel sense, connected and we should be looking out for each other. Whether in our own congregations or not, as a human society we can give “relief” to those around us by lifting and building and trying to understand and love one another. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we are all interconnected in this human race and how beautiful it is when we can cheer each other on and lift in our own unique ways.

Reply
Shawni January 26, 2022 - 1:45 pm

(So really it is actually meant to be a “volunteer outreach group” in that sense.)

Reply
Kara January 27, 2022 - 7:30 am

If wikipedia and my interpretation is correct, it stated off as a relief group. See the quote below. I think modern church history and the evolution of words both to be interesting. Thanks for making me a tad bit more knowledgeable than I was yesterday!! I love that woman are assigned to build each other up…nice to know you always have someone in your corner.

Smith stated “the object of the Society—that the Society of Sisters might provoke the brethren to good works in looking to the wants of the poor—searching after objects of charity, and in administering to their wants—to assist; by correcting the morals and strengthening the virtues of the female community, and save the Elders the trouble of rebuking; that they may give their time to other duties, &c., in their public teaching.””

Reply
Ashton January 26, 2022 - 4:16 pm

I think Relief Society is something so amazing, the same with Elders Quorum, you learn so much from your fellow brethren as I’m sure you do with your fellow sisters. I do love the general Sunday School lessons though because it brings so many new insights to the gospel and you see things in a completely different light that you may not have seen because someone else is saying it

Reply

Leave a Comment

UA-15801285-2