Garbage Bags and the Sacrament

Church as a young mother can be the hardest part of the week. I am embarrassed to admit I have thought this. I would spend so much of my week giving of myself and serving my kids, that I would crave for Church to fill me back up.

Week after week, I would head to church with a glimmer of hope that I would get what I needed. And week after week, my kids would melt down, in desperate need of a nap. And I would be in the halls, not in a lesson.

I started to find myself in a bad mood, come Sunday, wishing everyone would do more for me, especially my husband, Griffin. But January marked a chance to make a change in our Sunday routine. Especially after reading the very first Come, Follow Me lesson, I realized that not only was my conversion my own responsibility, but so was how I experienced the Sabbath.

So, I thought about what I wanted it to be! I turned on Music and the Spoken Word, I picked out clothes the night before and I got resourceful! I let Griffin sleep in and put the kids in the pack’n’play while I showered. I also realized how quickly my children were changing, even each week, and that their nap wouldn’t always be in the middle of church. I could find nourishment in other ways, and during the week. Griffin noticed a change in me and we began enjoying Sundays together!

We weren’t perfect at it, but in April, when Elder Holland urged us in to give the Sacrament service the reverence it deserved, I again found ways to enhance my worship.

He helped me to refocus. As much as I love hearing what the speakers are saying, the most important reason to attend church is to take the Sacrament. Everything else is extra.

To be sure I could have 5 minutes to pray in the pews, I did everything I could to prepare. I changed diapers and had snacks right before we left. And the night before I was sure to pack my diaper bag with everything we might need.

This particular Sunday, I had taken extra care to restock and organize my diaper bag. It felt important.

Then, in the middle of the prayer over the bread, I heard the familiar sound of vomit splattering on the carpet.

I looked behind me to see a 5-year-old little girl sitting on her dad’s lap, continuing to vomit. Her dad had his hands cupped below her face, doing his best to catch what he could. We were sitting in front of them, and I quickly handed them a burp cloth. Once she finished, her dad carried her outside the chapel and her mother began scrubbing the floor.*

In the weeks leading up to this, I had been pondering more on what it really means to repent, to become new and to honor my baptismal covenants by serving others. I had found my increase in study and prayer had granted me an ear more sensitive to the whispers of the Spirit. It has also increased my heart’s willingness to act more quickly in faith. At times I would feel promptings of things to do or say, other times I just felt my body pushed or even physically drawn to do something.

As her mother tried to use the partly soiled burp cloth I gave her to clean up the mess, I turned to my well-stocked diaper bag, and grabbed my container of wipes (I knew right where they were!). Rather than just hand them to her that time, I found myself jumping out of my seat and scrubbing the floors right along with her. I even had this amazing little “baby garbage bag” I had been given at my baby shower to put all the soiled baby wipes in. We laughed and commiserated quietly as we cleaned. I think we may have even partaken of the water while scrubbing.

We used my whole container of wipes. And it felt wonderful! We got that carpet pretty clean! I had served her with everything I had.

Those wipes were one of a dozen I had at home, and those little garbage bags were one of hundreds I had received. I had used them a handful of times for a dirty diaper, but they were the perfect solution that day.

There was a study done at a Christian Seminary to test a person’s likelihood of helping someone while on the way to give a sermon about the Good Samaritin. Those in a hurry were less likely to help than those who were not. Sometimes, we forget to be who we say we are.

What I have found is that when I put the time in, and really think about what something means, it becomes not just something I know, but something I am.

The weeks leading up to this experience, I had been pondering more throughout the week about the true meaning of the bread and water. What does it mean to take upon His name and always remember Him? I made more effort to repent each day, and especially each Sunday. I found more peace and guidance during the week and more eagerness to serve on the Sabbath.

It has been recounted more than once how much “remember” is in the scriptures. We, as a human race, don’t have a great track record for remembering.

But when I can find time each day—real time—to spend in prayer, in His word, or talking of Him, it becomes easier to remember Him. He just becomes part of my day, part of my family, and He is in my home.

When we remember Him, we act as He might act.

We listen to someone share their trials. We share in the joy of someones victory. We offer solace when a loss is mourned. When we act as He would act, we glorify Him. When we prepare for the Sabbath, we glorify Him. When we see a friend in need, and offer help, we glorify Him.

And occasionally, we clean up vomit. Because that is exactly what Jesus would do.

The more I come to understand what my faith means for my life, the more I see it is about the little things. Several weeks ago I left a lesson to comfort a friend in need. A month ago I offered more of my “baby garbage bags” to a young mom whose daughter had a blow-out. She put the soiled dress in one of those bags.

Faith is all about action. But it doesn’t have to be big. Some will be asked to have big faith moments, like Alma or Moroni, but most of us are asked to take steps in small ways. Hug your friend. And offer her your package of wipes.

When I truly remembered Him, Church wasn’t about me anymore, it was about ever body else. We all hope to go about our Father’s work, that we might glorify Him through the works of our hands. Even if that means we have to get a little dirty!

*This story is shared with permission.

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