Anonymous – Impact of Concerts
Anonymous letter written to Howard Temple on 26 August 2019 from a struggling mum in Gloriavale:
After you talked to the married people the other night, I felt brave enough to write down some thoughts, concerns and troubles that I have and have been seeking the Lord very earnestly about for some time. I wanted to say how the concerts affect me and my family. I find the concert time very draining as for the last 20 years I have been pregnant at every single one. The times that I have had morning sickness at this time have been extremely trialling. Every day seems far too much to cope with and there have been many, many times in tears that I have told the Lord that I cannot do this anymore.
I find that it takes 4-6 months for me to recover the order and structure back into my home. You might think that this is such a long time, but I will explain why. We work for 3 months preparing the concert then it takes nearly 2 months to do all the nights. By the end of this I am so completely and utterly exhausted I find just doing the simplest daily task daunting. My children are emotional wrecks, so I start trying to re-routine their life. Some of them have been so distressed by the constant leaving of Mum and Dad that will not even allow me to walk more than 3-4 steps away from them. If they think that I am going they will immediately begin to cry and fuss. It is like they are on high alert, trying to tell me with their tears that they have had enough. They need lots of time just knowing their Mum is not going anywhere, and that they know she does have the time now to listen and care for them again. Sometimes I just have to hold them and doing nothing for days.
I now work towards putting them to bed at a decent hour so they can make it to breakfast. This can take up to 3-5 weeks of constantly working at it every night. The children have become used to going to bed late and getting up late. So, the next thing is to find the time to clean the room and it is a mess, every drawer, cupboard, wardrobe, window and surface needs clearing, tiding, cleaning. Sometimes the curtains and carpet need cleaning as well because food has been eaten in the room with meals at home and the little ones can manage to put it everywhere. This process takes about 2 months because remember this is not the only job I have to do, with my children helping where they can. This is only done in between getting the family up in the morning, going to breakfast, taking the pre-schoolers to the centres, going to work myself, picking up the children, looking after them in the afternoon, going to tea, bathing the children, putting away clean washing, putting out dirty washing, doing handwashing, caring for and feeding a baby.
But because of the physical fatigue some days I can not do anything. So, it takes a while. The children’s health suffers too, because of the stress (emotional and physical) they can be often be very sick with one thing than the next over quite a few months. I live with 2 infections in my body that can only be managed in normal life, but with the constant lack of sleep over time, the sickness’s fire up and I can be fighting them for months after. After all these things slowly become more in order then I start mending and sewing the many, many jobs that are needed for a large family. I don’t ever get it all done, there is just too much to be done. A new baby is just about here again and there will now be months and months where nothing again will be done apart from the day to day current needs.
This continual cycle pretty much makes me feel just about all the time such a failure as a mother and this feeling makes me feel very stressed and overwhelmed. There are some days when I don’t know how much more I can take. Does my life have to be just one continual stressed out moment to the next? It does not make me the mother that I should be, I become so impatient with my children and others around me because of all the mental pressure and tension that is inside my head, always thinking about all the many jobs that I need to do. Sometimes I feel like my mind is going to blow. I have taken these issues to the Lord so many times in prayer and in faith I have asked for change.
We say that faith is not just asking, it is also getting up a doing. Are we able to do something? Is it time for a change? Are our mothers allowed the time to actually be the mothers that the scriptures talk about? They were at home teaching and guiding their children. I have been told by mothers that have had a child or children leave that they are continually plagued by guilt, knowing that there were times when they should have been with their children but could not be because of work pressures. Is this why so many young people leave during and just after concert time? Mum and Dad are just not available.
I have had a dear friend go after the last concert time (a mum with a large family) and I know that the work load was just far too much for her. There was never an option about getting all the work done, it was simple, do it, we don’t care how, just get it done. She would go days without eating or sleeping, someone else would feed and look after her children. She told me, when we were working on the concert that she had not seen her 10-month-old baby for 2 days, her oldest daughter had been looking after him, feeding the bottle, changing him and putting him to bed. This was so she could keep working because the job just had to be done. I wept when she told me because I knew that this is the reality of doing a concert, you can‘t be a mother. Is this right, is this the quiet, godly life that we are told to pray for in the bible? A place where the life is so busy and the work far, far more important than caring for our children. We always say that the work is not the most important thing but in reality, it is. Are our women and mums being treated as the weaker vessel, in this area, when they are being asked to carry such enormous burdens or because they are to submit and obey, they just have to do it no matter the personal, spiritual and physical cost to them or their families. There have been times when some brave mum has said this is too much, and the answer back is always you just need more faith.
What is faith, does faith say we have a problem but we are not going to do anything about it? The women and men of faith that are praised in the scripture all did something. Is it time we did something? I have often wondered is the cost worth the great loss. I don’t see the concerts as having saved anyone. Yes, there is a witness and people are generally inspired, but at such a cost to our children’s lives. I find that there is almost no time to feed my children the word of God just in normal life, let alone when there is more pressure. I feel like they are dying a slow death.
It is almost like the concerts keep us distracted from the reality and gravity of our own enormous mountain of troubles. Does our life just need to slow down? Does there need to be less noise and clamour so the hearts and minds of people can hear the still quiet voice of the Lord. Have our concerts become an idol, are we okay with sacrificing our children and their precious souls on this altar? I often wonder what God thinks when he sees all the time, thought, money and sleep that is put toward this aspect of our life. Is our life a little unbalanced, should we not be putting all this effort and more into the tender immortal souls of our dear children?
It is not from a lack of faith that I am writing these thoughts but from an enduring and powerful belief that we can seek the Lord and find his will in these issues and changes can be brought about. This issue is so huge because it takes so much of your families’ time and life. And then when you have finished this one they are planning the next one.
Part of this planning is also done using mothers putting their energy, time and thought into the plans for the next one. This takes the focus off what these mothers need to be doing in their home and with their children. Are we living in reality or in a dreamy pretend fantasy?
I know that my story is not the only one, there are many overburdened mothers here, who are calling out to the Lord for something to happen. Some of our mums have stories worse that this, mind blowing pressures, a home that is just falling apart, years of mess and disorder, miscarriages that almost took their life. Years spent being very unwell with a lot of this owing to the fact they could not stop and heal because we need you to work and keep working.
I personally witnessed an overwhelming trauma with one dear sister. We were working at about 3.00 in the morning and she had collapse on a table, she had a complete gross motor function shut down. After 4/5 minutes I noticed that she was not changing her position even though her eyes were open. I started talking to her but she could not respond. I noticed tears running down her cheeks. I began speaking very slowly and listen very careful. It took time but she managed to say “I can’t breath!!!!’ I called to some other ladies to help and we lifted her to the floor, as we raised her up from the bench she let out a panicked gasp for breath. She could not move because of the shut down so she was actually suffocating herself. I sat beside her on the floor until she had, had some sleep. When she had come out of it she told me that she could hear everything but could not move and was lying on the bench just praying that someone would notice that she was not breathing. This dear woman could have just died on that table and we would not even had noticed because we were just so busy with the work. This crash was actually due to the enormous pressure and stress that this person was under – this had built up over years of driving herself past what she could physically handle doing work on concerts and other pressures.
What can happen after time with living in these extreme pressures, is you begin to feel that you are not loved or care for. You are just part of the machinery. People don’t actually care about how you feel or your family’s needs. So, you begin to doubt that the people here show the love of Christ because they are not seeing your burdens and if you can’t see Christ and feel his love then is this his church? If it is not his church then why are you here? Don’t we tell ourselves that this is the reason that we live this way because we can care and help one another. But we are all so busy with the work, who do we have time to care and help.
Are there other ways that we can give that are more in line with the words of Christ in Matthew 6 – Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not they left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Is it Godly to spend so much time, thought and money on the concerts? What about the excess of the thousands of elaborate costumes that are made that we don’t even have room to store? What does God think when he sees us doing these things and we are not able to care and raise our children the way he wants us to? In a quiet, Godly and simple way that he has instructed us in his word.
Our life is very busy with out trying to do anything extra. My husband works so very hard and for such long hours. Our family can go for weeks and weeks without having him at one meal. When he does come home after his day, he is so tired from the stress and physically drained from working so hard. He does not want to know that we have 9,10,11 children that need some dad time. As parents having time is our constant and continually burden, how do we fit everything in. Can we stop doing so much in areas that are not as important as teaching and saving our precious children’s souls. My caring for my children is the most important part of my life but there is just so much of my life that is spent either away from them or trying to recover from the stress of the work loads that just don’t stop.
I hope and pray that I have not spoken out of place as a woman but this burden as become so overwhelming to me. I have prayed and prayed for years about this and after you spoke the other night, I felt very strongly that this was the time to bare my heart. I am praying that you can hear the cry of my heart, not just the words that have been used but the tears, prayers and the heart cry that they come from.
God bless your Howard, thankyou for your time and care, and I know that with the wonderful leading of the Lord something can be done about this. God bless.