I had a meeting at my church last night. I am a member of our vestry (similar to an administrative board). This is my first year and second meeting. I came from another denomination, so the way this church works is new to me and is often extremely frustrating.
I am a very busy person. I work - I am the office manager at the ballet studio and I teach handbells twice a week. I was recently asked to be on the AGEHR Board - which I agreed to do because this is something I've wanted to do for quite a while. (They still have to vote on me, but I really hope I get picked.) I am a member of our local PTO - I don't go to many of the meetings, but I help out with a lot of their programs. I am a member of our church's handbell choir, youth board, ECW, and festival committee (I'm in charge of crafters this year.) Oh - and I have two children I cart from activity to activity, help with homework, love, nurture, and feed (ok - so I only feed when Mr. Bug is out of town, but still -- it counts).
So I'm sitting at this meeting. There was something going on, but I couldn't pin point exactly what. We finished the business portion of the meeting - some of that annoyed me, but... whatever. Then it was time for the pastor's report. She brought us away from the table and sat us in comfy chairs. Then we basically got a slap on the wrist for not attending Ash Wednesday services. Huh? Excuse me? I had no idea that this was a day of obligation. I'm not Catholic. I don't like the idea of ashes on my forehead on a good day. It seems that none of the vestry members went to any of her 2 services - one at 7am and one at 6pm. That said, the morning service had a few people and the 6pm family service was well attended.
Do you know where I was on Ash Wednesday? Let me tell you...
I took the children to school, did laundry, went to a late lunch with my parents and my sweet Mr., taught my class until 3:35, picked up the children and went to the nursing home with their Leadership Club so they could distribute valentines and flowers that they didn't get to distribute because of snow days, drove them home and dropped them off with Mr to feed at 6pm (okay - so he feeds them better and more often...), turned right around and went to the PTO meeting (that started at 6 - I was late) I absolutely couldn't miss (this was my first attendance in over a year), attended a seminar on test anxiety, came home, and did a few items that had to be done for the festival. By then it was 10:30 and I fell into bed. Did you see dinner in there for me? No... me neither, but I had that late lunch so I wasn't all that hungry anyway.
Oh and I'd already been at a church meeting on Monday night and I have bells on Thursdays. Never mind that I rarely - if ever - miss a Sunday -- that's Adult Sunday School and the service, thankyouverymuch.
Was I fit to be tied when I got reprimanded for not being at the service? You betcha! Sorry honey, but my children come first. Most people - including our priest - think my children are well mannered, smart, and all around terrific kids. That doesn't happen by osmosis. That all takes a ton of time, effort, and discipline.
Did I tell her off? No, but I wanted to...
Am I still annoyed? Ummm.... yup.
What am I going to do about it? I dunno yet. You got any suggestions?
Well... firstly ... I wouldn't take this TOO personally. This was a group reprimand -- she didn't single you out specifically - so it's possible that she really does understand your personal issues - but you were caught up in the group.
Really I would say a private meeting with her would be best - but it doesn't sound like you really have time for that! Soooo... My suggestion is a letter. A well thought out, totally NON accusatory letter. Just to let her know what your schedule is like and how her words made you feel. I would NOT mention that your children come FIRST -- pastors don't take well to family coming before Christ. What I WOULD mention is that God GAVE you your children and he expects you to take care of them properly. (of course, she may mention that bringing them to service on Ash Wednesday would be part of that...) But be humble. There's a lot to be said for humility...
... or ... you can let it go! Give it to God - ask for HIS understanding and forgiveness and let that be it. HE knows what your schedule is ... and if He feels you sinned, He will forgive you!
Aw girl, you won't take any of my suggestions, trust me.
All that stuff you did would have worn me out after the first 2 hours. You women have some kind of inner strength, I'll tell you that.
My stars woman!! Where do you find the time??? Mind if I borrow some?
Turn the other cheek.
I'll just say that luckily the godmother and the guy in charge had met with her at the execuative meeting the week before and reminded her that people have other obligations, so just the FYI that there had been some perspective given before the meeting. Also, that is why I got to leave:-)
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