Connie Edwards remained seated in the church pew well after the morning worship service was over. It was time to pick her children up from the nursery, but she didn’t want to get up yet. Church was her new refuge, a place where she didn’t feel pulled in so many directions. Each Sunday, she devoted two hours to serving God and renewing her spirit without the usual distractions she had at home. It was very liberating. As she sat back against the seat, tears began to well up in her eyes.
Deacon Jerry Myers was in the back of the church collecting bulletins when he noticed Connie was the only person left in church. As he walked up the aisle, he remembered that her husband was serving overseas and she was raising three small babies by herself. Her husband John left for Iraq six weeks ago but he had orders to serve over there for at least a year. Jerry cleared his throat to get Connie’s attention. When she looked up at him, he noticed that she had been crying.
“Connie? What is the matter? Is John alright?” He asked with concern.
“Yes, he is doing fine, Deacon Myers.” She sobbed.
“Well, what is the matter dear?” He asked in a fatherly tone.
“I’m just so tired.” Connie wiped her face with a tissue from her handbag.
“It is not easy raising small babies, especially without any help. Are you picking them up from the nursery?”
“I’ll walk over with you. My wife is running the nursery today and you should talk to her about what you’re going through.”
“I don’t want to burden her with my problems.”
“Connie. We are here to support you, John and the kids. That is a pledge we made when you joined this church. You just need a little help and that is what we are here for.”
Connie wiped her face again with the tissue and blew her nose.
“Come on. Let’s go.” He held out his hand to help her stand up.
The nursery was practically empty. The only babies left were Connie’s three children. They were beautiful children, a set of twin boys, barely a year old and a three-month old girl. Trish Myers was sitting in a rocker holding Connie’s youngest child, Emma Jean and the twins were sleeping peacefully in nearby cribs. Trish looked up and smiled at her husband and Connie as they entered the nursery.
“Oh, Connie. These children are a blessing. We really enjoyed taking care of them.” Trish said.
“Thank you.” Connie said as tears welled up in her eyes again.
Trish looked at Connie with compassion.
“Sweetheart, it’ll be ok. I promise. You just help with these babies.” She placed her arm around Connie’s shoulders.
“I feel guilty. Other people have real problems. I just need to get some rest.” Connie admitted.
“You could certainly use some help.” Deacon Myers reassured her.
“I feel like I just cannot do it all. I’m not getting enough sleep and I’m tired all the time. I know that cannot be good for the children.” She said wearily.
“Well, did you know that we just started a support group just for new mothers?” Trish said as she stood up and adjusted Emma Jean’s blanket.
“No.” Connie replied.
“The women meet several times a week for a few hours. Plus there is free child care.” Trish informed her, placing Emma Jean into Connie’s arms.
“That sounds pretty cool.” Connie responded.
“We have a lot of new mothers so Pastor Clarke started the “Mommy Break” Ministry, where the college class volunteers to give new mothers a break from their daily routine. You can go shopping or take in a movie...”
“How about just taking a nap?” Connie interrupted.
“That is completely up to you.” Trish laughed. “You should stop by the support group tomorrow morning at 10:00 and we’ll go over the program in detail.”
“I didn’t even know that this ministry existed.”
“That’s probably why we had twice as many teenagers and only a handful of mothers attend. I see that I need to promote it a little more, but I’ve been a bit swamped.”
“Sounds like you need a mommy break too.”
“Yeah, but empty nesters don’t qualify. Our children are grown.” Trish said smiling.
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