Today, I borrow my Mother’s story – thoughts shared from mother to daughter that touched and inspired and left me thinking about the kind of person I want to be. Not on paper or in lofty conversation, but in deed, in the actual going and doing of my everyday life.
She was working on a baby quilt – a project that needed to be finished and somehow kept falling to the bottom of her priority list. Other things, necessary things, worthy things kept climbing to the top, demanding her time, her efforts, her energy. Finally, an afternoon was available, so she pulled out the quilt and started to work. And then, the phone rang.
“Someone is sick,” the caller said. “Can you take them dinner?”
My mother hung up the phone and to herself, to the heavens, to the cat sitting on the stool beside the counter, she wearily said, “My life is not my own.”
And then she stopped. The words flooded into her heart and mind with such clarity, she knew they came directly from God.
“Now you finally get it.”
Perhaps she heard those words so she could speak them directly into her daughter’s heart. They have been simmering here, on the surface of this person that I am ever since. But I want them to sink in, to permeate the very core of this imperfect mother, wife, disciple. I want my life to be His…
I’m here, Lord. Use me, mold me, take me as an instrument in Your hands.
And He would! Oh, how he would long to have us all standing ready, willing, open to His promptings if we could just shake off the shackles of distraction, of pride, of thinking that we really know what is best for us and for others all on our own without His help.
I’m not there yet. But I long for it – for that day when I will be able to say unequivocally, joyfully, “My life is not my own.”
A few weeks ago, I was discussing a scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants with my seminary students.
“And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my father.”
One of my students, in wisdom surpassing her age, looked at me and said, “You have five souls to bring unto Him.”
Five souls – Jordan, Sam, Lucy, Henry, Ivy.
For me, this scripture has always been about missionary work – about preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those without. But is there a greater missionary effort than that which goes on in the walls of my own home? Is there greater joy than what comes from teaching your children to love the Lord?
This mothering work that I do is so much more than maintenance and cleaning and work, work, work.
This is a holy experience. A divinely designed opportunity for all of us within this family, within your family, to experience joy. And it is the best way – a perfect workshop – for us to learn how it is that we can serve and love and say without resentment, “My life is not my own.”
See, serving your children IS serving God. A clean kitchen, a cooked meal, a wiped face, a skinned knee kissed. Think of them as chores, as obligations… well, there isn’t any joy in that. But think of them as offerings, and there, there is the joy.
Thanks for the lesson, Mom. I’m not there yet, but I’m closer because I have you to follow.