An Unexpected Lesson in the Church Nursery

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Welcome  My daughter was born the week I turned 29.  It was, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful moments of my life, which words truly fail to describe.  It was assumed by all, myself included, that she would be our first child.

When I was 33, I had my ovaries removed due to health conditions.  At that point in time, my husband and I agreed that we didn’t want anymore children.  Pain and stress can help one reach a decision quickly without fully grasping long-term effects.  Then my late 30’s hit.  By this time my husband was in his 40’s.  We both were feeling an emptiness from not having a bigger family.  Please don’t misunderstand, we love our daughter beyond words and know how blessed our lives are because of her.  We were just taken by surprise by the emotions we experienced as we realized that, as a matter of fact, our family would stay small, indefinitely.

My husband was much more quiet and personal with his disappointment.  I was more vocal and emotional about mine.  Among my wide range of emotions, were guilt and blame.  I was regretting not having another child when Alyssa was still very small, before my reproductive health became an issue.  My doctor tried to reassure me by saying that it was unlikely I could have become pregnant again, anyway, but that was certainly no comfort.  I also went through all the ways I could have taken better care of myself and my body.  I feel like it’s my fault that my husband didn’t get to have more children, although he’s never made me feel guilty.  Medical procedures and adoptions were not only beyond our financial ability, but our age was beginning to work against us, too.

So I’ve basically been avoiding anything having to do with babies for the past four years, or so.  Baby showers, television or movies about babies, the baby department at Target, social media posts, the church nursery…well, you get the idea.  If I’m going to be honest, I’d have to say I’ve been a bit bitter.  Which is terrible, not just because we’re not supposed to have bitterness, according to Ephesians 4:31, but I have a beautiful blessing that is my daughter.  How can I be so selfish when I’ve been given so much?

Food For Thought  I’m not sure why my life went this direction, when my younger self envisioned a house full of kids.  I’m not sure why I didn’t feel the emotional pain of it all until I was in my late thirties.  I’m not sure why I had to, or rather chose to, spend several years fighting bitterness, sadness, and tears.  And I’m not sure why half-way through my fortieth year, God decided this was enough.  And I found my healing and peace in a very unlikely place.  When this happens, I feel most sure that it is, in fact, a lesson from God.

At the beginning of the summer, our church was in dire need of members to sign up for shifts as nursery attendants.  Additionally, there was a need for children’s education teachers for the fall quarter.  As I was looking at SO MANY empty spaces on the sign-up sheets on the bulletin board, I was compelled to sign up for, not one, but TWO slots as nursery attendant for the month of July.  I had not been around babies, I mean really connected to any infant, since my daughter was little.  When I signed up I felt it was my duty to help serve and I was long overdue.  I had no idea that there was a greater purpose for this experience.

I was nervous that first Sunday, not because I was rusty with my baby care, although that became quite evident later that morning.  I was more nervous about any possible breakdowns on my part, or a potentially emotional afternoon at home.

My first nursery duty ended after a 15-year hiatus and I left with a range of thoughts, not limited to the fact that I am indeed out of practice with diapers and potty training!  But my other thoughts were more intense and impactful.  Heading home in the car, I told my husband about the valuable lesson I learned that morning, even though I couldn’t hear the sermon on CCTV, due to the boisterous 1-3 year-olds that were in my care.  I turned to him and said, “I have peace, finally.  I absolutely, without a doubt, do not want any more babies!”

I went on to say that maybe God knew I wasn’t meant to have more than one child.  After all, I’ve been taught to believe that His plan is always better than what I can devise for my own life.  I am not speaking for anyone else’s life here, only mine.  If you are struggling with having children, I pray for you.  It’s hard and emotional and wears on your faith and your marriage.  I cannot begin to explain why there are people having many children and cannot take care of them and why other good people with kind hearts cannot have any children.  But I feel it has been revealed to me, when I finally was willing to see and hear, that only one child was best for my life.

I am now teaching a toddler’s Sunday School class at church and I’m enjoying it.  This one hour on Sunday morning is just enough time to enjoy little children and teaching again, without being overwhelmed.  And there’s no need to avoid the nursery anymore, at least for emotional reasons.  When God brings me a lesson, and along with it, peace, I don’t want to ignore it by continuing to be bitter or sad about the things I am meant to put aside.

Today’s Scripture

 

Today’s Recipe  I am so addicted to mini-muffins right now.  I’d like to say I’m working on my portion control.  I’d like to say they’re healthier.  But when it comes right down to it, I just think they’re so stinkin’ cute!  They are also very portable for our family’s lunchboxes.  And I love using my Wilton 24-Cup Mini-Muffin Pan.  Last week I made some amazing Nutella-filled Cinnamon Mini-Muffins.  I’m going to be real honest with you here, today’s recipe is just not quite as good as those muffins were, so be sure to check those out, too.  But today’s Banana Mini-Muffins with Chocolate Drizzle are still yummy.  They are a little smaller, more dense, more moist, and full of delicious banana flavor, if you’re into that.  This is not your typical banana bread  and the chocolate drizzle adds just the right touch, but are perfectly good without it, too.

Banana Mini-Muffins with Chocolate Drizzle
Sweet, dense, moist bite-size morsels of banana flavor with just a touch of chocolate.

 

Banana Mini-Muffins with Chocolate Drizzle (makes 30 mini-muffins)

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate morsels

 

Set oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 24-cup mini-muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

  In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

  In large bowl, mash bananas.  I like using my OXO Good Grips Potato Masher for this task.

  Mash the brown sugar in with the banana.  Add the butter, milk, egg, and vanilla.  Stir to combine.

  Fold the flour mixture into the banana mixture.  I use a rubber spatula to gently fold the ingredients together.

  Fill the muffin cups with prepared batter.  I use a 1/8 cup scoop to fill the mini-cups.

  Bake muffins for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove pan to wire rack to cool about 5 minutes.  Move muffins to rack.

  Finish baking the rest of the batter.  Place rack over a rimmed baking sheet and prepare chocolate drizzle.

  Melt chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe dish at 30-second intervals.  Stir until completely smooth and melted.

  Using a spoon, drizzle chocolate back and forth across the muffins.

 

Love baked banana flavor?  Check out these two recipes from faith-family-food.

“Banana Bread” Baked Oatmeal Calls

Banana Peanut Butter and Chocolate Donuts