I have had my nose in this book all week--reading Richard G. Scott's thoughts and teachings on our desire as human begins to find peace, happiness and joy in this life. The past few weeks have been a bit challenging in "mommyland". We moved to a new home (which is always stressful) and my husband has been working out of town for the past 3 weeks as he is in the midst of a huge trial. Thankfully, he's been able to come home and spend time with us on the weekends, which has been so nice. But during these past few weeks between our move (packing and unpacking) and being a single mom --I've had some challenging moments where I have felt so tired and exhausted as I'm trying to set up and organize the new home--all the while taking care of the kids (a few of which who have been sick) and other household "stuff" in the hubby's absence. I have felt overwhelmed and a bit frustrated with myself for getting short with the kids here and there when I was stressed and tired. Boy, there is no question--trying to be an effective, loving, thoughtful, engaged mama takes a whole heck of a lot more work and patience than I ever imagined. And so I've enjoyed reading Elder Scott's inspiring book this week. His teachings have put some of my frustrations and feelings of inadequacy as a mother in perspective. I have been reminded that so much of our happiness here on earth depends solely on our relationship with the Savior and in the understanding that we are going to make mistakes--especially when it comes to parenting.
As Mother's Day approaches--my heart always begins to swell with this immense gratitude for the gift of motherhood. It's a tender reminder to me that not too many years ago, I would sit at church during the annual Mother's Day service trying to face my infertility and come to terms with the fact that I most likely would never bear children. I remember biting my bottom lip as hard as I could to hold back my tears as the loving messages were shared from the pulpit about mothers and how it is a divine calling from the Lord. As I would listen to these messages--I remember feeling this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that I'd never have the opportunity to be a mother. It was almost too much to bear. And yet, as I sit here today--I have learned that my Heavenly Father had a different plan all along. I am now graced with the opportunity to love and raise our three beautiful children through the blessing of adoption.
As I've pondered this past week the idea of being at peace in this journey of mine and finding joy in motherhood--I thought I'd share a particular passage from Richard G. Scott's book that touched my heart with regard to motherhood. It's about the righteous influence of a mother. Something that I personally am trying to focus more on as a mother. To be more spiritual and intentional as a mother and to not allow myself to take for granted the "teachable moments" I am presented with each day with my children.
When a mother is consistently in the home, at least during the hours the children are predominately there, she can detect the individual needs of each child and provide ways to satisfy them. Her divinely given instincts help sense a child's special talents and unique capacities so as to nurture and strengthen them.
Consider these examples of how compassionate love and sensitivity of parents, particularly mothers, bless children's lives....
A mother overheard her son, four, tell his brother, six, "I don't believe in Jesus." The older brother responded, "You have really hurt my feelings." Sensing a need, the mother reinforced the younger boy's understanding of the Savior. She placed a picture of the Redeemer in his room and continued to teach all of her children more about the Master. Sometime later the younger son commented, "Mom, you're my best friend, next to Jesus."
Another lovely mother has consistently read scriptures to her children to teach them truth. While overseas with no satisfactory schools, she spent much time and energy painstakingly tutoring them, with amazing results. Once her husband went to help their five-year old daughter with evening prayers. He found her kneeling, sharing her tender feelings with her Heavenly Father. Sensing his presence, she looked up. He said, "Do you know how wonderful it makes Father in Heaven feel when you talk to Him?" She responded, "Oh Daddy, I will always talk to my Father in Heaven."
Such is the heart of a five-year old who has been carefully, spiritually nurtured.
Another mother read gospel stories to her children from a young, formative age. Once, as she read of the crucifixion of the Savior, her two-and-a-half-old son sobbed. She realized he was a spiritually sensitive child.. Through the years, this child has become a righteous, disciplined young man who loves the Lord and keeps His commandments. Profanity, so prevalent today, is particularly offensive to him. As he shuns it and other evils, he has been criticized for being too "churchy". While it is difficult now, as he continues his resolve to be righteous, he will become a powerfully strong husband, father , and leader.
If you are a mother carefully nurturing your children, how grateful you must feel as you see some of the fruits of your sacrifice. You have a vision of the power of obediently, patiently, lovingly teaching truth, because you look beyond the peanut butter sandwiches, soiled clothing, tedious hours of routine, struggles with homework, and long hours by a sickbed."
--Richard G. Scott, Finding Peach, Happiness, and Joy, pp. 293-294.