Nap time/quiet time is almost over and soon the evening “circus” of clean-up, bath time, dinner time, and bed time will begin. I wanted to take a quick moment to jot down a lesson I’m learning from Brooke. When Brooke gets hurt and comes to me for comfort (which can happen a lot because she doesn’t always look where she’s going), I often find myself telling her that whatever hurts (her toe, finger, knee, etc.) will be okay. Once I say it will be okay, she accepts that as fact and is no longer upset. She just says “okay” and moves on. She doesn’t question if what I’m saying is true or not. I think that God, our Father, often offers us comfort through scriptures or personal impressions, yet we often question His reassurance and question if things really will be okay. Observing Brooke’s trust helps me understand the power of having the faith of a child and the value of becoming like a child in our relationship with God. I love my sweet and sassy Brooke and the lessons she teaches me!
Happy Belated Mother’s Day! I am so grateful for my mom and for the opportunity I have to be a mom.
I wanted to record a life lesson that I’m in the process of learning…
Before Brooke was born, David and I had a simple, daily routine that was fairly predictable. Early on in David’s life, we had implemented sleep training techniques that helped him develop the ability to sleep through the night and nap daily. I could count on his sleeping time as time for me to get things done or time to relax with John. David was also becoming more and more self-sufficient during play time. He knew where the toys were he liked, and he was beginning to really understand what things around the house he could touch and play with and what things were off-limits. Although, he did like to push those limits sometimes haha!
I knew that once Brooke came along, that daily routine would shift and that life would once again become more unpredictable. Life would revolve around the constant feeding of a newborn and learning to understand what all her different newborn cries meant. Newborn babies are learning how to adapt to this new world just like we as parents are learning.
The hardest part for me of this new role as a mom of a two kiddos under two is when they both are crying at the same time and need me. I remember telling this to a more seasoned mom. She joked that when she had her second child, she felt like she was constantly asking herself, “Which one of you am I going to ignore?” As just one person, you can only help one child at a time. And it’s hard to think you’re ignoring the cries of another child. (Side note: When John is home, I don’t have this problem. He’s a terrific dad and helps out a lot. He’s actually the one who bathes David and gets him ready for bed each night.)
Some days are easier than others. Like today for example, both my kids went down for a nap about 1 p.m and now it’s 4 p.m., and they’re still sleeping (cue heavenly choirs singing!). Some days are much harder than other days. Even on the “easy” days, I sometimes stress that I’m not going to be able to handle the future. For example, I feel anxiety about what I’m going to do when David learns to climb out of his crib. While we implemented sleep training techniques to help him sleep, some afternoons he just doesn’t nap. Thankfully though, he plays happily in his crib alone during that time, so I’m still able to have some “me time.” But I worry that when the confines of the crib are gone, I will lose that much needed and rejuvenating “me time.” I feel like this “me time” enables me to be a better mother, wife, friend, daughter, etc. It’s an opportunity for me to re-charge and be productive around the house or in my consulting work. This is just one example of an anxious place my mind can sometimes go when I think about the future. Social media seems to be filled with moms talking about how hard it is to be a mom and that makes me feel nervous. While some days are challenging, for me, I wouldn’t classify my role as a mom as hard. This makes me fear that I’m in the “easy stage” and that hard times are ahead.
While trying to calm my anxieties about the future and how I’ll be able to handle the different stages of motherhood (and life in general), I thought about the children of Israel and their journey to the promise land. During this journey, God provided literal manna from heaven that allowed them to have the sustenance they needed to continue this journey. This manna came each day. This is a great video (below) that talks about this manna.
I realized after reflecting on the experience of the children of Israel that God will provide me each day with what I need to be the mom, wife, daughter, friend, etc. each day. He will give me what I need daily. I shouldn’t let myself wade in anxiety about the future. I’ve started praying each morning for “motherhood manna.” Before going to bed, I’ll say a prayer and express to Heavenly Father how I received my “motherhood manna” that day. I realized I need to take each day as it comes and realize that while I don’t know how God will provide for me tomorrow, He will provide.
In Phillippians 4:6 it says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” To me, this means that God doesn’t want our hearts to become burdened by anxiety. He wants us to ask Him for what we need. My petitions to God shouldn’t be made out of fear but out of gratitude and faith that He will provide.
This lesson doesn’t just apply to motherhood but to all aspects of life. The future can make anyone feel anxious because it is unknown territory. God provided for the children of Israel, and I know He will provide for us today because we too are His children.
I want to start by saying I love the Bible and believe it is a true book of God (as far as it is translated correctly). The Bible is scripture full of wisdom that blesses my life on a daily basis. I also believe the Book of Mormon is a true book of God and is scripture.
Yesterday, I finished reading the Book of Mormon. I’ve read this book a number of times in my life, and I want to take a moment to capture on my blog my feelings regarding the Book of Mormon.
For those unfamiliar with the Book of Mormon, below is a little portion of the Introduction in the Book of Mormon:
The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel.
The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C. and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.
The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites soon after His resurrection. It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come.
You can read the entire Introduction to the Book of Mormon here.
I feel peace as I read the Book of Mormon. I gain wisdom about how I should live my life and my relationship with God. I believe the Book of Mormon is true scripture because I’ve prayed and asked God over the years to allow me to feel of it’s truthfulness. Because of the peace I feel when I read it, I believe it is true scripture. In the Bible (Galations 5:22), we learn that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, and peace. I feel all those things as I read and ponder the Book of Mormon.
I believe anyone can come to feel the power of the Book of Mormon in their life, regardless of whether or not he or she is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The very last prophet to write in the Book of Mormon wrote this admonition/promise:
Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
If anyone reading this would like a copy of the Book of Mormon, I’d be happy to give one to you.
On Saturday, we had the opportunity to go to the Philadelphia LDS Temple Open House. Before any LDS Temple is dedicated, there is an Open House. Any and all who want to see inside the Temple are invited to take a tour. John and I had the opportunity to attend the Open House. As we walked through the Temple, my heart was filled with peace. The Philadelphia LDS Temple is beautiful. You can see pictures of the inside here.
Temples are very sacred to members of the LDS faith because it is in Temples that we learn about our Savior Jesus Christ and how we can return and live with our Heavenly Father again. It is in Temples that families are “sealed” together, meaning that family relationships will last beyond death. As I walked through the Philadelphia Temple with John, I felt very grateful to know that I will be with him forever.
On the front of each LDS Temple is inscribed “Holiness to the Lord. House of the Lord.” We believe that the Temple is the Lord’s house and we can feel His presence there. When I go to the Temple, I truly feel “at home.” I feel a familiar peaceful feeling, and it reminds me that I feel “at home” because I am a child of God and His divinity is within me – it’s within all of us.
Originally posted on The Faith Friends.
On Easter Sunday, I led Sunday School music time for the children in my church congregation. As we sang songs about Jesus Christ, I asked the children, “What can we do to show Jesus Christ we love Him?” One sweet 4-year-old girl, quoting the most recent Cinderella movie, answered, “Have courage and be kind.”
Recent world events have broken my heart and diminished my courage. When I hear of terrorist attacks like the recent attack in Belgium, my heart fills with fear. I fear what could happen on the trains I take in and out of Washington D.C. each day; I fear how increasingly more dangerous the world will be for my children; I fear for the safety of my husband as he frequently travels for work. However, I know that God doesn’t want me to fear. He wants me to have faith, which leads to courage.
I need to have faith that no matter what happens in this life, God has a plan. His plan enables me to return and live with Him again and with my family forever. Central to His plan is the ability for people to use their agency here on this earth. This means that bad things can happen as people use their agency for evil and wrong purposes.
God is a loving God, and He will be with us when bad things happen to us and around us. Believing that God will help me and my family through good times and bad times helps me to have courage. Believing that there is life after death and that families are forever helps me to have courage. Having courage and trusting God shows God we love Him.
For many years, I have felt that the number one attribute I want to teach my children is kindness. Kindness is more than simply being nice. Kindness is loving others with our whole hearts and acting accordingly. Kindness can be hard. It is hard to love others who degrade us or who are rude to us. Yet, God wants us to be kind to all people, regardless of how they treat us.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ said:
“And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain,” (Matthew 5:40-41).
When we realize that all we have is from God – our coat, our cloke, the ability to walk, etc. – we will be inclined to give more and be kind. I don’t think this scripture is God’s way of encouraging us to allow people to take advantage of us. I think He’s encouraging us to realize all we have is from Him.
Mean-spiritedness is pervasive in our society. Don’t believe me? Turn on any news channel covering the U.S. presidential election. This election cycle seems to promote the opposite of kindness. However, I have learned that kindness always wins. What makes a true winner isn’t the outcome of an election or an argument, but a true winner is someone who has the inner peace that only kindness can bring.
At the times in my life when I have focused on developing greater kindness, I have felt transformed on the inside. I have felt a peace and a love that I can’t fully describe. God wants us to be kind. He wants us to feel like true winners and have the penetrating peace only pure kindness can bring.
Cinderella’s mother and the sweet 4-year-old girl at church on Sunday were right. We need to “have courage and be kind.” That is exactly what we can do to show Jesus Christ, our Savior, Redeemer, and Healer, that we love Him.
Before I go to bed, I want to take a moment to record my feelings on this Easter day. Today in church, we sang the hymn “He Is Risen.” As we sang, my heart felt so full. I imagined all of us as spirits in Heaven singing this exact hymn with joy and gusto when Christ rose from the dead. Our lives changed forever in that instant. Because He lives again, all of us will live again. Because Christ overcame sin and death, we can return and live with our Heavenly Father again. That is so powerful. One of my favorite messages on the power of the ressurection was given in a LDS General Conference. The title of the message is Sunday Will Come.
Every other Wednesday, I post on a blog called The Faith Friends. The blog was started by my dear friend Sara Picard. My favorite part of being a bi-weekly contributor is it forces me to stop and reflect on experiences that have strengthened my faith in the prior two weeks. I want start including the posts I write on The Faith Friends here on this blog. You can go back here and see all the posts I’ve written.
Below is my most recent post from February 4, 2016:
God is in the Details We Do Not See
“I am not sure what this scripture means or is referring too, however, I do have a thought about it. I think Christ is saying if we knew the amount of things that had to go right so that we could have peace in our lives, we would be incredibly grateful. However, then Christ makes the statement that these blessings are hid from our eyes. What a sad state of existence that is. Our test is to know that Christ and angels are working behind the scenes for our benefit, and yet we are blind to it. All things do work for our good, even when we do not see them. Having faith in Christ so that we can better understand and see His hand in our lives should ever be within our prayers.”
What a powerful perspective. Perhaps we are blind to many of the ways the Lord is working for good in our lives. And perhaps that is a part of the trial of our faith here on this earth while we are separated from God’s presence.
I believe pondering this possible interpretation of the scripture can elevate our perspective and gratitude for God. If we do, I think we’ll feel less forgotten by God and more grateful for the blessings we do have when things don’t go as we hoped.
One of my favorite songs is “Make Me Whole” from the “Lamb of God” by Rob Gardner. The lyrics of the song are written from the vantage point of a believer in Christ who doesn’t understand all things and wants an increase of faith and to be made whole through Christ. One line of the song in particular always stands out to me. It states, “Oh touch my heart and bid it know that every breath I take is by Thy tender grace.”
I remember hearing these words about a year ago and feeling such gratitude for the ability to breath, an ability I nearly always take for granted. I love her plea to have her heart touched to remember God’s tender goodness.
I too don’t understand all things, but I believe that we can find peace and joy by believing that God is always working for good in our lives; in ways we cannot see, and in more ways than we can number.
Today marks 170 years since the Mormon pioneers began their exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois to Utah. I believe it was their faith that God was working behind the scenes in their lives to bring them peace that allowed them to cross the rocky mountain, face sickness, death, and despair without giving up their resolve to follow Christ. Just like the pioneers of old, we will have our own metaphorical rocky mountains to traverse in life. Likewise it will be our faith that God works behind the scenes in our lives that will allow us to persevere and stand strong in our resolve to follow Jesus Christ.
I posted this on The Faith Friends this morning. Since it’s been something I’ve really been thinking about, I figured I would post it here too.
I had an epiphany earlier this week. The epiphany came as a result of something I’ve always known, however, I didn’t fully understand. Even still I am not sure I fully understand.
It occurred to me that real faith can only be exhibited in darkness. If our path is lit and we can see clearly the next step, we do not need faith; we know what the next step will be.
God placed us here on earth to exercise faith. Yet sometimes when the path is dark, I find myself struggling to be happy and feel loved by God. But I know that faith is a necessary part of our loving Father in Heaven’s plan. I realized this week that I must cherish the opportunities to exercise faith. And instead of focusing my prayers solely on asking for the path to be lit, I need to also ask that my faith will be strengthened to endure the darkness.
A couple Fridays ago, a great tender mercy (a.k.a. blessing or miracle) occurred in my life. On this particular day, as I was driving to work, I made a conscious decision to park a little bit further from the metro than I typically do. I was participating in a walking challenge at work and wanted to get as many steps as possible. All week long I had parked in this one particular spot. However, on this morning, there was a dad and his son standing on the side of the road right where I wanted to park. They were waiting for the school bus. Consequently, I decided to park somewhere different.
That afternoon as I walked up the hill to get to my car, I noticed a portion of the street was blocked off. This portion happened to be right where I was originally planning to park on this particular morning. As I got closer, I realized this portion of the street was closed due to a fallen down tree. Had I parked where I had originally planned, my car would have been damaged by a fallen branch. What a tender mercy! Had I arrived even just a few minutes later or earlier on that morning, the father and his son wouldn’t have been standing on the side of the road, and I would have parked in that specific spot. I called my mom and told her what happened and offered a silent prayer of gratitude on my way home.
The next morning as I was getting ready, I realized two tender mercies had occurred the day prior. The first being that my car was not damaged. The second, and perhaps the even greater tender mercy that I had overlooked, was that I got to see the fallen down tree. Had the clean-up crew removed the tree before I arrived, would the first tender mercy still have occurred? Yes. But would I have known about it? No. As I thought about this experience, it made me wonder how many times tender mercies occur that I don’t see. I was reminded to have faith and to believe in miracles. I love this short video that reminds me that the Lord’s tender mercies are real and are all-encompassing.
Tonight I had the opportunity to go to the Washington D.C. LDS Temple (to see why Mormons build temples, click here). I am grateful for the peace that comes when I view life with a more eternal perspective. Attending the temple is one of the things that helps me remember I am a child of God, that I lived with God before I was born and will live with Him again if I have faith and keep the commandments. Life seems more peaceful when I remember these things and look at life with what I call “the eyes of eternity.”
Recently my mind has been focused on the attributes of patience and humility. A devotional given by Elder Neal A. Maxwell at Brigham Young University a number of years ago has been on my mind. A friend introduced it to me a couple of years ago, and I love reading it every so often. You can read or listen to the devotional speech here. I appreciate the reminder that patience is trusting in God. When we trust in God and have faith in Him, we trust in His timetable. I especially love this quote:
“There is also a dimension of patience which links it to a special reverence for life. Patience is a willingness, in a sense, to watch the unfolding purposes of God with a sense of wonder and awe, rather than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance. Put another way, too much anxious opening of the oven door and the cake falls instead of rising. So it is with us. If we are always selfishly taking our temperature to see if we are happy, we will not be.” -Elder Neal A. Maxwell
I am grateful for family and good friends who I can talk with about life, faith, and the importance of trusting in God. My heart has been strengthened in many moments this summer as I’ve listened to others express their faith and trust in God – such a blessing for me to hear.
Here are some moments of summer I haven’t yet captured on the blog…
My eyelids are getting droopy so I can tell it’s time for me to go to bed. But before I close my laptop for the night, I want to share this video which I’ve watched a number of times over the last few weeks. This video has helped me to remember to be patient, trust in God, and look at life with the eyes of eternity.