July 16, 2014

Becoming Latter-day Saints

Moms- sometimes, I think we miss it!
I think we miss the joy, we miss the "well-done Thou good and faithful servant", we miss His rest, because we crash minutes before the finish line.  (At least I know I do.)

We can have a beautiful day of service, a lovely vacation, a hard but good day at church and then (usually when we're tired or hungry, or when those we're serving are tired or hungry) we loose it.  We slip into our martyr mother mode. We allow enmity to enter as we gripe about our hard day, act snotty to snotty children, or spew "you think YOUR day was hard- you don't know what hard is" to our husbands.  We complain about the very real flaws in others and as we do so our own natural man is exposed.  Coming home from a beautiful summer day everything can unravel 5 minutes before bedtime when we are just "done".

I've thought about this often.  Satan works hard to get us to slip and fall at the end. Do you know why?  Because that slimy fellow is trying to steal that amazing feeling we will get if we hold out until the end.  He LOVES when we intensely try to do good all day and than go to bed with a big lump of guilt. He loves when we trade intense peace and satisfaction for a few words of empathy from a friend who agrees our martyr life is ridiculous hard.

I know God gets it.  He loves us cranky and imperfect.  We feel forgiven in our weakness-- BUT moms, we can be better than constantly feeling "forgiven" we can be "endowed with power from on high".  We have the power to overcome not just to hang on.  We have the power to surf not just to allow ourselves day after day to get dragged through the waves.

There are two parts to Christ's grace- both the cleansing and enabling power.  Do we feel both?  Are we settling for feeling forgiven and cleansed when He wants us to feel empowered and strengthened?

I'm so sick of going to bed with regrets.  I'm ready to go to bed with great power and knowledge of small and large victories.  

I just don't think God wants me to feel exhausted and defeated every day-- He has made it so I can see miracles, feel heavenly help, create a heavenly home and be a successful wife and mother.  My home can be a place of peace and order- like the temple.  I have been given His grace to accomplish greatness.

Every time I choose love and charity, I am becoming a Saint.  I teach my children BEST when I SHOW them my humble willingness to return peace for drama, to serve happily in my home without a measuring stick of "I'm doing more".  

Charity NEVER faileth unless YOU faileth to serve selflessly.

I think we are missing those top of the mountain "It is good" moments.  We're trading these moments for a few moments of whining, complaining, and martyrdom.

Let's stop that.

How?  How do we hold out to the end?
Don't worry if you can't do it now, because God will give you day after day after day to learn this skill.  Haha!

I asked myself and my friends what was the word I would use to describe this idea I'm aiming for?  It was similar to a martyr-- but not a complaining "martyr" a righteous, enduring martyr.  I want to learn to suffer and serve with grace.

I still love my friends exclamatory-- "I know just what you're talking about!! I call it my Zombie!  We need to learn to go to Zombie mode."  Haha!  Yes-- Zombie mothers sound so holy.  Haha!

We settled on the word "Saint".  As mothers, especially mothers who love and serve and don't complain and endure to the end, we ARE becoming Saints.  Trust me, it takes a Saint to remain calm and shepherding with a houseful of emotional girls.  (Did you feel me switching to that martyr mode?)

I remembered this scripture and it screamed all that I'm trying to become--

Mosiah 3:19
 19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

Submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things [which her children] seeth fit to inflict upon her.

It has taken me 8 children and 36 years to finally understand and desire to be a Saintly child.  Perhaps I am unable to raise Saintly children myself-- but I believe my Father in Heaven doesn't really need me to raise my children, He is using them to raise me.  Someday, they will learn these lessons as they strive to get their own children to bed happily. 

I can absolutely do this.  When I'm aware of what I loose by complaining, I can hold my tongue.  When I remember the feeling of peace and victory that comes the third time I kindly walk Eve back to bed and she actually stays in her bed, I endure to the end.  I wash more dishes happily when my kids gripe, I serve my husband more, I "suffer" with purpose.  

I feel myself modeling "Saintly" behavior and it feels like I'm holy and noble not one who is being taken advantage of in my hard life.

I remember Matthew 6:16 all day long.

 16 ¶Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

No- we don't want that reward!

We don't want the reward from a sympathetic husband who night after night has to hear us whining about our hard life.  We don't want the soothing empathy of our girlfriends as we complain about our husbands, our snotty kids, our messy house, our Church callings, our health issues... We don't want that reward.  

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 thy 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.

I really think this is the part we're missing.  We are choosing the better part- but we are so "validated" by man that we miss God's reward.  His reward is better.  We rely too much on the arm of flesh.  

When we do slip up and complain, when we receive that sisterly pat on the back-- it's not wrong.  It's not bad to cry to our husbands sometime.  I just think it's not BEST.  I think we're missing the blessing God is waiting to shower upon our heads.

The times I have endured best, have been times when I didn't even feel like I was enduring.  I honestly felt abundantly blessed.  (Again notice that internal switch from a feeling of scarcity to abundance.)  

When I endured well, I didn't have to tell everyone how hard my life was- they already knew.  I wasn't missing out on empathy by not complaining, I was actually gaining even more respect for enduring with grace.  My husband STILL hugged me at the end of the day and told me how wonderful I was- but, I heard awe and admiration in his voice not pity and frustration.

Oh friends-- let's become Saints.  Latter-day Saints!!  We might not achieve Sainthood all at once but let's try it for one day.  Let's just be more aware of our tendency to "disfigure our faces" and "sound a trumpet before" men.  

Let's look for God to reward us openly.  Because He will.  I know He will!  We need that feeling at the end of our days-- let's not numb out before we feel it!!

This life is a Saint Training Center.

We are becoming Saintly whether we like it or not.  Heaven KNOWS that nothing refines us more than learning to forget ourselves and go to work.  What ere thou art act {Saintly} thy part.

Zombie-Saintly mothers unite!

Life is good.  You are a Saint-in-Training!!

Happy Wedesday!!


Joseph and Ivy Waite said...

This is great Jen! You have such good thoughts! I've never thought about there being two parts to Christ's grace before (cleansing power and enabling power). I love your question, "Are we settling for feeling forgiven and cleansed when He wants us to feel empowered and strengthened?"

cheryl cardall said...

Saint in training I love that! And wow your thoughts about the Pharisees and getting their reward hit me hard. I totally do that with my husband (and kids) some days. It's so true that Satan wants us to slip up at the end because then we get discouraged and don't try as hard the next day. This is just what I needed today.

Heather said...

Just what I needed today as I haven't been feeling like I am enduring lately. Just going through the motions it seems like.

Amy said...

I was just catching up on your blog. This article is fantastic!! What great thoughts! I had never put together that complaining to others to get their sympathy is our reward- but it really is! And there are too many nights that I do not endure through bedtime. But when I do it feels so good! All of this is true, and very motivating- I will be thinking about it a lot. Thanks Jen!

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