Janet, a Mormon woman, shares thoughts on how we can grow spiritually as we focus on the daily responsibilities and important relationships in our lives
“Our busy lives force us to focus on things we do day to day. But the development of our character comes only as we focus on who we really are.” (Elder Russell M. Nelson). As women in today’s world, this insightful quote from a recent posting here on Mormon Women requires reflection relative to our complicated roles as daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, and grandmothers. Our demanding lives can leave us exhausted unless we determine to not be consumed in the chaos. Out of necessity we learn as we go to simplify and to streamline.
But what of the character development Elder Nelson speaks of? Where is the time to “Be still and know that I am God?” Where is the time to meditate on the things that matter most? I submit the answer lies in “having the eyes to see” the small seemingly insignificant things we do each day.
I recall a particular morning 27 years ago as a stay-at-home-mom of two little boys. My husband and older children had hurried off to work and school leaving a cluttered home behind as my teething 8-month-old Kendal fussed in my arms. My usual techniques to soothe him were not working. My 26-month-old son, Bridger, seemed to sense my anxious mood and grew demanding, tugging at me to mend a toy or to play with him. As a family, we were planning a Thanksgiving trip the next morning and I had many “things” to accomplish on my list.
The morning wore on and I grew increasingly frustrated. Finally, in a desperate attempt to accomplish ONE thing on my list, I knelt and pleaded simply “Heavenly Father, please, please, help me with my list!” Immediately I heard His still and penetrating voice, “The most important thing you have to do today isn’t on your list; love and care for your little ones!”
Humbled, I turned my full attention to my babies. I sat in the rocker with little Kendal, and held him to me, weeping. It seemed as though the earth stood still as quiet revelation flowed. I had been entrusted with life from God’s realm! And nothing I could be doing at this time–even on this day–was of greater value to my Heavenly Father than loving and caring for HIS precious little ones. And so I sat rocking my baby in reverent awe, gazing upon him with new “eyes”, and understanding more fully this miraculous gift of life that God himself had entrusted me with. As I rocked, I spoke to him softly and once again tried to feed him. This time he accepted, and within minutes was asleep in my arms. I gently placed him in his crib, and then turned to Bridger, asking him to choose some books he’d like Mommy to read to him. He laughed happily and sped away to retrieve them. We snuggled together on his bed reading his little picture books and soon he too was asleep. I was astonished for Bridger hadn’t taken a morning nap in months! And as left his little bed, a surge of energy enveloped me and I scurried through the home, picking up and cleaning and even packing before my babies awoke.
I know a loving Father awaits us and is anxious to bless us in our eternal roles as women if we remember Him. And that the development of our character can be found in serving Him through our eternal family roles.