I have been reflecting upon today and all of it’s commercialism and blown out of proportion expectations. Today is not my favorite day. In fact, this is one holiday that I wish would just pass by unnoticed. I have read a few posts of the last 24 hours that have summed up pretty much how I feel about Mother’s Day.
Now I’m going to put it into my own words. Today is the day that nearly every mother’s imperfections come out except for the one being spoken about in a church meeting. This is the day that your house isn’t any cleaner, your children don’t get along any better, and you can’t eat whatever was made with good intentions.
I am imperfect and I will never live up to anyone else’s standards or expectations, but I have been richly blessed with 10 children, 9 living. Over the years I have made them all angry. 6 of them still live with me and I still continue to make them angry. 2 have children of their own now, and are starting their own journey as mothers. Another has been on a mission and will be home in a couple of months and will be able to move on in her life as well. With all of this I know that I haven’t always done things right, I haven’t always been patient or nurturing. I even made the comment today that I will enjoy Mother’s Day when they are all grown and out of the house.
I think it’s mainly because I don’t like to feel like I’ll never measure up to anyone else and because I don’t know every mother’s trials and triumphs, her ups and downs how can I possibly measure up? I know my trials and my triumphs. I know my ups and downs. I don’t want someone to lavish me with gifts just because I’m a mother. I just want to know that my children are productive, contributing members of society. I don’t care if people know what I did good. I just care that my children know and understand that I love them and am doing the best that I can. I don’t want the praise of society or even the congregation. I just want my kids to understand the value of work and gratitude. I know that the “Thank you’s” will be few and far between, but when they come they are much sweeter than any boquet of flowers I could get. (That’s my husband’s job anyway ;))
To me I just want time with my family for Mother’s day. I want to learn and understand my role as a mother better. I want to better myself and serve those around me. Not feel like I will never measure up and that I’m a permanent failure.
This blogger puts how I feel into words very well. But my favorite part about this post is that she wants to acknowledge all women, not just women who have given birth. And I can say that I can’t agree more. Why single out the women who have children and make all other women feel unworthy and incomplete. It’s like salt on an open wound. That doesn’t make much sense to me. All women should be honored because each woman offers something different to the children of this world. I have children who have been touched by women who have never been able to have children. They have the ability to touch my child’s heart when I cannot. She is a mentor and loves my child as well. She should be celebrated just as I am.
As I write this as usual a song comes to mind. It took me a few to find it. But this song is what I aspire to be as a mother.
“A Woman’s Heart” Jenny Jordan Frogley
I know that being a mother is very important. I know that I need to teach my children, serve them and sacrifice for them. I don’t always succeed and do things the way they want me to or the way the world thinks I should. But I keep trying and doing my best and allowing my life to be guided by my Savior and follow his example in all things. I will always fall short, but as long as I remember to reach out and take his hand he will make up the distance.
The past week I have been studying about a medical issue regarding Adrenal Glands. What I have found is quite intriguing. It is amazing how two glands the size of walnuts can control so much in our bodies. It is true that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. (Alma 37:6 Now ye may suppose that this is afoolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by bsmall and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.)
But it also reminds me how amazing our bodies are and that they were created by a loving Heavenly Father. Our Adrenal Glands are responsible for helping us deal with stress either short-term or long-term and helps us maintain balance through the stressful situation. But it is also important to note that they were never meant to sustain us through every day life for several years. Heavenly Father knew what he was doing when he created us, but more importantly he knew what each of us would need to survive in this life.
In my studying I found that the most common way to help support your Adrenal Glands is positive thinking, laughter and being at peace. We are that we may have joy. (2 Nephi 2:25 – Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have joy) These little glands control so much but we wear them out on a daily basis because we are always stressed, worried, anxious, or frustrated with the world around us. We need to give them a break and rest from our worries. But how do we do that? We can’t always be worrying about the things we can’t change and do what we can about the things we can change.
I’ve thought about rest….The world was created in 6 days on the 7th the Father rested (Moses 3:2 And on the seventh day I, God, ended my work, and all things which I had made; and I arested on the bseventh day from all my work, and all things which I had made were finished, and I, God,saw that they were good;).
We have to rest our bodies, minds, and spirits. But what does that rest look like? As I have pondered this question I came upon a thought. For me rest happens in a few different ways. Not only do I try to rest on Sunday and attend my church meetings but I rest from my thoughts as well. During the Sacrament I try to focus on the Savior not the world around me, now granted my kids don’t always allow me to do this, but I try. I try to spend the rest of my Sunday thinking of the Savior and how to improve my week. But I also find rest in the Temple. The moment I walk in until I leave I am at rest because I am overwhelmed with a sense of peace and I am able to think about the things that I can change and not what I can’t. Rest doesn’t mean not doing anything, or being lazy, or sleeping all the time. Sometimes it just means being at peace with things and not always having our bodies on overload.
What about positive thinking and laughter….well I think of a very wise Apostle and a talk he gave in General Conference a few years ago. His name is Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin and the name of the Conference talk was “Come What May and Love It,” given in October 2008.
“How can we love days that are filled with sorrow? We can’t—at least not in the moment. I don’t think my mother was suggesting that we suppress discouragement or deny the reality of pain. I don’t think she was suggesting that we smother unpleasant truths beneath a cloak of pretended happiness. But I do believe that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life.
If we approach adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead toward times of greatest happiness.
Over the years I have learned a few things that have helped me through times of testing and trial. I would like to share them with you.
The first thing we can do is learn to laugh. Have you ever seen an angry driver who, when someone else makes a mistake, reacts as though that person has insulted his honor, his family, his dog, and his ancestors all the way back to Adam? Or have you had an encounter with an overhanging cupboard door left open at the wrong place and the wrong time which has been cursed, condemned, and avenged by a sore-headed victim?
The second thing we can do is seek for the eternal. You may feel singled out when adversity enters your life. You shake your head and wonder,“Why me?” Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character, and increase our compassion for others.
The third thing we can do is understand the principle of compensation.The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.
The fourth thing we can do is put our trust in our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. He who descended below all things will come to our aid. He will comfort and uphold us. He will strengthen us in our weakness and fortify us in our distress. He will make weak things become strong.3“
We are weak and he will make us strong. We are simple but by us he brings great things to pass. We all need to rest in the Savior to get through our adversity.
Peace comes from knowing that the Savior knows who we are and knows that we have faith in Him, love Him, and keep His commandments, even and especially amid life’s devastating trials and tragedies. The Lord’s answer to the Prophet Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail brings solace to the heart:
“My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
“And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high.”
Remember, “God is not the author of confusion, but [the author] of peace.” For those who reject God, there is no peace. We all participated in the councils of heaven that provided for moral agency, knowing that there would be mortal pain and even unspeakable tragedy because of the abuse of agency. We understood that this could leave us angry, bewildered, defenseless, and vulnerable. But we also knew that the Savior’s Atonement would overcome and compensate for all of the unfairness of mortal life and bring us peace.
Elder Marion D. Hanks had a framed statement on his wall by Ugo Betti: “To believe in God is to know that all the rules will be fair, and that there will be wonderful surprises.”
Events often occur that rob us of peace and heighten our sense of vulnerability.
Agency is essential to the plan of happiness. It allows for the love, sacrifice, personal growth, and experience necessary for our eternal progression. This agency also allows for all the pain and suffering we experience in mortality, even when caused by things we do not understand and the devastating evil choices of others. The very War in Heaven was waged over our moral agency and is essential to understanding the Savior’s earthly ministry.
President Heber J. Grant described the Savior’s peace this way: “His peace will ease our suffering, bind up our broken hearts, blot out our hates, engender in our breasts a love of fellow men that will suffuse our souls with calm and happiness.” – Elder Quentin L. Cook April 2013 General Conference
“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
We need not fear the future, nor falter in hope and good cheer, because God is with us. Among the first recorded words of counsel that Jesus gave to His newly called disciples in Galilee was the two-word admonition, “Fear not” (Luke 5:10). He repeated that counsel many times during His ministry. To His Saints in our day, the Savior has said, “Be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you” (D&C 68:6).
Trials may come, and we may not understand everything that happens to us or around us. But if we humbly, quietly trust in the Lord, He will give us strength and guidance in every challenge we face. When our only desire is to please Him, we will be blessed with a deep inner peace. – Elder Bruce D. Porter April 2013 General Conference
“Sometimes He lets it rain” Katherine Nelson (Song)
I don’t always understand the storms I have to weather, but I have faith and trust that they are for my good. I have the choice to allow Him in or walk away. I learn so much from watching my children and the choices they make. Some days I just shake my head,, sometimes I cry, and sometimes I laugh – I know they each have to learn for themselves but I don’t always understand the way they choose to go about things. It always makes me think of my heavenly father. What love he must have for each of us to send the Savior to atone for each one of us. I know a mothers love for each of my children, but can not comprehend His love for me. How hard it must be for Him to watch me walk away and the joy he feels when I choose to be nearer to Him.
“Dancing in the rain” – Hilary Weeks (Song)
I hope that I can keep this perspective during my storms. I find myself wanting to run and hide but what would I be missing if I did. I am by no means perfect but when I do have this perspective I feel more at peace and more joy and isn’t that what I’m supposed to be striving for. I love the line in this song that talks about fears washing away and thanking the rain for coming. How often do I see the storm of life from this perspective. I don’t usually. But I have tried this week. One day this week I heard this song then I had a sweet neighbor bring me a Tulip from her garden to let me know she was thinking of me during a time that I was struggling. I had to go back out to my garden just to fight off the tears. I am grateful for that moment that I was able to see that the Lord truly knows me and what I needed right then. I need to stop walking away and turn myself over to my Savior. I need to take His outstretched hand and not let go because I know He will never let go no matter how the tempest rages. Peace, be still…..with patience bear thy grief and pain…..here to rescue me from danger interposed his precious blood…prone to wander prone to leave the God I love…..
Trust the Lord he knows everything and knows what each of us needs to learn lessons in life. He provides each one of us with the opportunities we need to soften our hearts and humble us.
“Be obedient to the prophetic teachings Christ would have you follow. Don’t rationalize away future happiness by taking shortcuts instead of applying sound gospel principles. Remember: little things lead to big things. Seemingly insignificant indiscretions or neglect can lead to big problems. More importantly, simple, consistent, good habits lead to a life full of bountiful blessings. ”
“Greater peace will come as you couple your efforts to be obedient with serving those around you. So many individuals who have what they perceive to be meager talents humbly and generously use those talents to bless the lives of those around them. Selfishness is the root of great evil. The antidote for that evil is exemplified in the life of the Savior. He shows us how to focus our lives outward in unselfish service to others.”
“I have learned a truth that has been…. as an absolute law. It defines the way obedience and service relate to the power of God. When we obey the commandments of the Lord and serve His children unselfishly, the natural consequence is power from God—power to do more than we can do by ourselves. Our insights, our talents, our abilities are expanded because we receive strength and power from the Lord. His power is a fundamental component to establishing a home filled with peace. Recognize the good in others, not their stains. At times a stain needs appropriate attention to be cleansed, but always build on his or her virtues.”
“When you feel that there is only a thin thread of hope, it is really not a thread but a massive connecting link, like a life preserver to strengthen and lift you. It will provide comfort so you can cease to fear. Strive to live worthily and place your trust in the Lord.”
“We need not worry if we can’t simultaneously do all of the things that the Lord has counseled us to do. He has spoken of a time and a season for all things. In response to our sincere prayers for guidance, He will direct us in what should be emphasized at each phase of our life. We can learn, grow, and become like Him one consistent step at a time.”
“We need to trust in the Lord and in His timing that a positive response to our prayers and rescue efforts can occur. We do all that we can to serve, to bless, and to submissively acknowledge God’s will in all things. We exercise faith and remember that there are some things that must be left to the Lord. He invites us to set our burdens down at His feet.” – Elder Richard G. Scott April 2013 General Conference
Proverbs 3:5 ¶Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Joshua 1:9…. Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
“You can center…. your life on the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the source of true peace in this life. Be certain that every decision you make, whether temporal or spiritual, is conditioned on what the Savior would have you do.” – Henry B. Eyring April General Conference 2013
“Hold on the Light will Come” – Jessie Clark Funk
“It is part of our condition as mortal beings to sometimes feel as though we are surrounded by darkness. But even though we may feel lost in the midst of our current circumstances, God promises the hope of His light—He promises to illuminate the way before us and show us the way out of darkness. To you and to all of us, I repeat a wonderful and certain truth: God’s light is real. It is available to all! It gives life to all things. It has the power to soften the sting of the deepest wound. It can be a healing balm for the loneliness and sickness of our souls. In the furrows of despair, it can plant the seeds of a brighter hope. It can enlighten the deepest valleys of sorrow. It can illuminate the path before us and lead us through the darkest night into the promise of a new dawn.”
“This is “the Spirit of Jesus Christ,” which gives “light to every man that cometh into the world.””
“Nevertheless, spiritual light rarely comes to those who merely sit in darkness waiting for someone to flip a switch. It takes an act of faith to open our eyes to the Light of Christ. Spiritual light cannot be discerned by carnal eyes. Jesus Christ Himself taught, “I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” For “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” To all who feel they walk in darkness, I invite you to rely on this certain promise spoken by the Savior of mankind: “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.””- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf April General Conference 2013
“Every man and woman who serves the Lord, no matter how faithful they may be, have their dark hours; but if they have lived faithfully, light will burst upon them and relief will be furnished.” – President Lorenzo Snow “Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow” pg. 107
“There is no other way in which the Saints can make spiritual improvement and be prepared for an inheritance in the celestial kingdom than through tribulation. It is the process by which knowledge is increased and peace will ultimately be established universally. It [has] been said that if all our surroundings were peaceful and prosperous now, we would become indifferent. It would be a condition that would be all that would be desired by a good many natures; they would not stretch out after the things of eternity.”
“Take it individually or take it collectively, we have suffered and we shall have to suffer again, and why? Because the Lord requires it at our hands for our sanctification.Many of you may have severe trials, that your faith may become more perfect, your confidence be increased, your knowledge of the powers of heaven be augmented; and this before your redemption takes place. If a stormy cloud sweep over the horizon … ; if the cup of bitter suffering be offered, and you compelled to partake; Satan let loose to go among you, with all his seductive powers of deceivings and cunning craftiness; the strong relentless arm of persecution lifted against you;—then, in that hour, lift up your heads and rejoice that you are accounted worthy to suffer thus with Jesus, the Saints, and holy prophets; and know that the period of your redemption has approached. All that is required of us to make us perfectly safe under all circumstances of trouble or persecution, is to do the will of God, to be honest, faithful and to keep ourselves devoted to the principles that we have received; do right one by another; trespass upon no man’s rights; live by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God and his Holy Spirit will aid and assist us under all circumstances, and we will come out of the midst of it all abundantly blessed in our houses, in our families, in our flocks, in our fields—and in every way God will bless us. He will give us knowledge upon knowledge, intelligence upon intelligence, wisdom upon wisdom.” – President Lorenzo Snow “Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow”
As I embark upon each new day and the struggles that I face I take comfort in the words above. I have to trust that my Heavenly Father and Savior know me and what is best, but that they also know each of my children and the things that they need in their struggles as well. Sometimes it is hard to be submissive to His will and His timing, but right now that is all I can do. I have to be humble, submissive, and meek to gain the knowledge and understanding to make it thru each trial I face no matter how much I don’t want to go through it I know that it is something I agreed to before coming to this earth and I have to go thru it be more like Him and closer to Him.
As you listen to this beautiful song by Mac Powell read the words from the Book of Mormon out of the book of Mosiah – these words were the words of the prophet Abinadi to King Noah and his Priests but they apply to us today.
Mosiah 16:5-6 – But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. Therefore he is as though there was no redemption made, being an enemy to God; and also is the devil an enemy to God. And now if Christ had not come into the world, speaking of things to come as though they had already come, there could have been no redemption.
Mosiah 16:8-9 – But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ. He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.
Mosiah 16:10-13, 15 – Even this mortal…shall be brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged of him according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil – If they be good, to the resurrection of endless life and happiness; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of endless damnation, being delivered up to the devil, who hath subjected them, which is damnation – Having gone according to their own carnal wills and desires; having never called upon the Lord while the arms of mercy were extended towards them; for the arms of mercy were extended towards them, and they would not; they being warned of their iniquities and yet they would not depart from them; and they were commanded to repent and yet they would not repent. And now, ought ye not to tremble and repent of your sins, and remember that only in and through Christ ye can be saved? Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father.
Below is an excerpt from a Latter Day Saint Apostle this past Sunday April 7, 2013 – I encourage to click on the link to read the highlights of his talk and later go find that General Conference Address and read it Elder Holland is one of my favorite Apostles and is always so direct in his talks:
All things are possible for those who believe, no matter how small that belief may be, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught during the Sunday afternoon session of general conference.
Drawing from the New Testament account of a father bringing his afflicted son to the Savior for healing, Elder Holland quoted the father’s words: “If thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us.” Jesus said, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” The record states, “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:14-24).
You may not know me but the above paragraphs describe the things that I have studied over the past few days that have touched my heart and helped to deal with struggles and pain that I have endured the past few months. I love the song because it reminds me how much my Savior loves me; that His Atonement not only helps me through my mistakes, but also through my trials and my pain. His hands are stretched out in mercy to help carry and guide us through all we have to do is be willing to stretch out our hands in belief. He knows that we will make mistakes and that there will be times that we walk away from Him, but He never walks away from us. I hear myself repeating the words of the father above from Mark – I want Him to have compassion on me and I believe He will, but I need Him to help my unbelief.