November 24, 2015

Weariness is Christlike

Recently, I was struck by a verse in the New Testament.  

In John 4, we read about the Samaritan woman who Christ speaks to at the well.  As He speaks to her, He teaches her who He is, acknowledges that she is an adulterous woman, and invites her to drink the water that He has to give.  Water that if men drink, they will never thirst again.

I LOVE the analogy of a spiritual thirst and a spiritual quenching.  I see that thirst in the world today.  I sometimes feel that thirst in myself.  

We find ourselves scrolling through Facebook looking for a quick drink, but our spiritual yearning cannot be quenched by superfluous 'likes' on Facebook.

Do we feel our spiritual thirst quenched as we feast upon the scriptures each day?  Do we drink deeply the water He has to give?

My own daily devotional has become more sweet since I have taken it off my daily 'To Do' list and moved it to my list of favorite treats.  I imagine that as I read or study, I am drinking the hot chocolate of God's word.  I feel eternal truths warming my soul and filling me with God's love.  Somehow, my scripture time had morphed into the same category as my dreaded morning exercise.  I've made a deliberate effort to think of scripture reading as sneaking dessert. And, I feel filled with His grace and His power as I feast.  

In my opinion, we place too much emphasis on works and not enough emphasis on grace.  Works are good, but Grace is everything.  He is ready and waiting to pour His light and His grace upon us.  Milk without money.  

The lesson above is why I turned to this story in the New Testament, but it isn't what struck me about the verses I read.  Let me share them with you...

6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 
7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (New Testament, John, John 4)


Jesus was weary.
Jesus sat at the well while his disciples looked for meat.
Jesus asked the Samaritan woman to give him a drink.

Sometimes I feel weary and in my weariness I wonder what I am doing wrong.  Sometimes I hear young mothers or mothers of many, feel that they need medication or wonder if they are depressed because they are weary.  

Can I tell you something?  I believe it is absolutely Christlike to feel tired, concerned, and weary.  When we love others, when we serve others, when we heal others, and especially as we physically create life, the 'virtue goes out of us'.  Our physical bodies get tired when we serve!  That is a mortal limitation that teaches us to rest and prioritize.  Weariness is good.  

I promise you two things.  

First, a selfish life is not as weary, and not as fulfilling as a life of service.  If you spend your days seeking entertainment while trying to 'find' yourself, you may find comfort but you will always be thirsty.   Selfish comfort is not soul quenching.

Second, selfless service is exhausting but satisfying.  Christ promises that as we loose ourselves we will find ourselves.  

Christ rested, He was weary, He was thirsty, He asked His sister for help.  Even as He was offering eternal water to the Samaritan woman, HE WAS THIRSTY.  He was weary.  He took time to rest at the well and because He was resting, He had time to teach.

Spiritual thirst is different from physical thirst.  

Where are you on your journey?
Pay attention to what you are needing.

Sometimes my body is rested but my mind and my soul are racing and hungry.  The drink I need is spiritual.  I find this peace as I read the word of God, as I pray, as I repent, as I set new goals, as I share my testimony with others, as I hear the testimony of others, or as I attend the temple.

Sometimes my physical body is weary.  I find rest as I eat healthy food, drink water, take a nap, and take some quiet time to recharge my nervous system.  Pure, unified, physical intimacy is one of the best ways I have found to help reset my racing emotions.  

President Monson has said,
"To all who so despair, may I offer the assurance found in the psalm “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” 8

Whenever we are inclined to feel burdened down with the blows of life, let us remember that others have passed the same way, have endured, and then have overcome."

I believe in Christ.
I feel His power to cleanse and fortify in my life daily.
I know He is near me as I draw water from the well for my family.

14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 
15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. (New Testament, John, John 4)

Give me this water, that I thirst not!
Give me this body, that I can  learn from thirst.
Give me this day, that I may draw water from this well to "Give [him] to drink."

Being weary is Christlike.

I have felt His power the strongest on days and even months when I was the most weary.

Our physical bodies can thirst even as our spirits are immersed in His power.

I know it and today I am grateful for that knowledge.

November 23, 2015

Three days before Thanksgiving

Someday, one of my five daughters will call me three days before Thanksgiving.  She will be at that place I know so well, where dreams and realities crash.  
Perhaps, a broken foot, will have put a quick halt to plans to caulk and touch up the basement walls, or sew the most adorable table cloth for a folding table.
There is a fine line between enjoying a rigourous swim and drowning.  It's the little things (like sassy teenagers or an aching foot) that can just tip the scale and leave you water logged.

I know the weight that is felt when you have a day and a half before 20 people arrive at your home and a list of jobs that would take a non-crippled woman a week to accomplish.

Here's what I'd tell my daughter--

Hang in there!!
Don't let worry and stress add to your burden.
Write a list, and do one thing at a time.

Start with yourself.
Shower, get dressed, eat a healthy breakfast, feast on the scriptures like you're sneaking a piece of pie for breakfast.

Love your little ones.  Everything you do is to serve and celebrate with them.  They don't care if the basement walls aren't perfect, but they will remember the FEELING of your home as you prepare for company.  Let them feel your joy and excitement.

Love your company.  Trust them to love you even if your garage is messy and you forgot to buy evaporated milk.  They are coming to do Thanksgiving with you, they aren't coming to be dazzled by all you did before they came.  

Go through your list and prioritize.  If sewing a table cloth is something you really want to do, then do it!  Just do something, keep moving gently forward.  Remember what Dad always says, every year our holidays are magical.  He never stresses about them and they are always magical!

Really, Thanksgiving is just one big dinner.  And, you are the host of four amazing families who cook dinner every night at their homes.  You'll be fine!!

Those cranky teenagers, they feel your stress.  The best thing you can give your family is a happy mom for the holidays!

Give them an assignment-- let them be in charge of all the pies, figuring out the seating chart for mealtime, making a map of sleeping arrangements, finding videos for our starvation dinner, or put them in charge arranging a kid craft for Thanksgiving day.  Kids love responsibility.

Don't cry if your 4 year old cuts a big chunk of her hair off.  Don't doubt yourself if your older girls complain every single day about caring for the horse they begged you for.  Don't feel overwhelmed if your clean laundry sits for a weekend on the floor of your bedroom because the morning you planned on folding was spent at the hospital.  Honestly, it's ok if you didn't get your Christmas cards mailed before Thanksgiving.  You're just normal and normal is good.  Chicken won't die if their water freezes before you have a chance to set up extension chords and hot water heaters.  

Holidays are FUN.
Without the joy of the season, you are missing something.

This last bit of advice I've really been contemplating.  What would I say if my daughter, who was already overwhelmed, then mentioned she really wanted to pull out some Christmas decorations?!

This is what I think I might say...
Write a list.
Do first things first.
And, go for it!
You might not get your whole house decorated, but a little Christmas greenery and some twinkle lights will make your Thanksgiving festive.  A lofty goal will pull you through that laundry folding quickly.

Thanksgiving is such a great holiday.
I am SO Thankful to have a home where I can welcome friends and family.
I'm Thankful for food and I'm Thankful for health!!!  
A little limp is no big deal.

This year, I know that my mental state IS teaching my children how to host holidays in the years to come.  I hope they learn to be happy and to feel the joy of the season.  

Life is good.
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