This morning in church, I sat across the aisle from the Bishop's wife. She has four kids under the age of 10 who are the cutest things ever, but super busy...because they're kids. She had things under control, but I could tell she was getting frustrated and starting to lose her patience with them. She also wasn't able to concentrate at all on anything that was being said in the meeting.
To the left of us, on the other side of our bench, there was another little family with three kids under the age of 5, I think, who were equally struggling and equally frustrated with their busy, active toddlers.
The counselor in the Bishopric who bore his testimony today said something about "when we drag ourselves to church we'll find that it's worth it." I thought "drag" was an odd choice of words because I never have to "drag" myself to church. Even on the busiest Sundays, I look forward to coming each week.
And then I looked at those two little families and remembered when I had to "drag" myself to church and my four busy kids, too. I remembered when preparing for church wasn't easy or fun, when Sacrament was neither uplifting or inspiring for me, and when there wasn't a huge reward even after I made the effort to "drag" everyone there. The days didn't always miraculously go smoothly, the kids didn't ever sit quietly and listen, and I don't think I felt the Spirit regularly until about 2010 when they were all old enough to sit quietly for an hour.
But, today in church, when I looked at my current little family, I realized that somehow, these kids have all transformed into capable people. Megan was sitting with the 4-year-old daughter of that family on the bench next to us, reading to her and keeping her entertained. Emma was the substitute chorister today and did a fantastic job despite the fact that she has that cold I had a couple of weeks ago, and the songs were super hard! McKay, after passing the Sacrament, was the official "assistant to the Bishopric" today, and was in charge of carrying the microphone to all the older people who wanted to bear their testimonies but couldn't manage the long walk to the stand. And my Savannah is off teaching and serving as a full time missionary in another country. Holy cow!
I realized in that moment looking at my little kids, who aren't so little anymore, that that Bishopric member was totally right. "When we drag ourselves to church, we will find that it is worth it." Maybe not that day. Maybe not for a lot of years. But eventually, we will look at those kids who can now help and contribute in meaningful ways, and we will see that all those years of "dragging" were totally and completely worth it.
Sometimes the blessings aren't immediate, but they do absolutely come.