Monday, March 25, 2013

more than fair

I came back from dropping Chris off at campus, through a foot of snow over the icy roads, with the scriptures on my mind.

Sometimes I have a hard time deciding what to read for personal study. Days can go by without me thinking to do it at all, so when I remember, I want something meaningful. However, if something isn't actively pressing on my mind, finding a topic to study challenges me. Cover-to-cover reading discourages me, since I get bored and/or lose which chapter I'm supposed to be reading. And I forget the option to read the Relief Society manual altogether.

So when I woke up this morning with a desire to read the word of God, I was troubled with the question, "yes, but what?" I mulled it over as I pushed through the shin-deep snow between my car and apartment building. By the time I made it back upstairs to 152, I'd decided I'd look at my Sunday School lesson. I won't teach for two weeks, but it doesn't hurt to start to prepare early. Besides, I reasoned, if I don't find something that really reaches my heart, at least I'll have the utility of getting familiar with my lesson. 

This choice of study meant that I opened up my laptop. In true If You Give A Mouse a Cookie fashion, opening my laptop also meant deleting e-mails and scrolling through Facebook and Pinterest before I'd even thought it through.

After a few minutes, my brain caught up with me. Hey! I cried internally. You got on here to study! 

I know, I know, came the grumbled, regretful reply. Gimme a minute.

By the time that minute (or 5) had come to an end, I was sitting in rapt attention. I watched a talk someone had posted -- Elder Holland's "Because She Is a Mother" -- and wept freely as I listened to his sensible, heartfelt words of encouragement.

I knew, again, that God knows how to guide my path, even with my skewed sense of direction.

This was my mantra during the spring of 2011, and the words came back to me today. I might be weak enough to get sidetracked with social media, but I am also strong enough to want to learn meaningfully from the word of God. I believe that Heavenly Father uses our weaknesses to guide and bless us just as much as He uses our strengths. He can use my compulsive computer use, coupled with my honest desires for connectivity and obedience, as a way to give me exactly the kind of enriching experience I'd been praying for.

So what else might He be capable of, in His infinite wisdom and boundless love? How might He give my husband the perfect job, using Chris' weaknesses as well as his dogged determination to overcome them and provide for his family? I don't know. But I'm grateful for the reassurance that we will find out.

I'm also grateful for the reassurance Heavenly Father gives me in general. I didn't realize it until after the fact, but I was prepared to go to my scriptures this morning with the idea that He was going to tell me what I was doing wrong. I think one of the most valuable things about gospel study is that it gives us the framework we need to think differently. However, I forget sometimes that it's not just "you think you're doing enough, and doing right, and you're actually not." It's also "you think you're not doing enough, that you're doing something wrong, but you're not." That was the message this morning as I listened to Elder Holland's talk.

I have been scared to be a mother for a long time. I know that motherhood is putting everything you have and are on God's altar. I didn't think there was any way I could possibly handle that with sufficient grace, and I didn't want my kids to have to cope with a mother who resented the sacrifice she made for them. The sacrifice of the happy, exclusive little life I have with Chris. The sacrifice of my independence and freedom. Of my health. Of my sorely-fought-for successes against my temper and lazy streak. I've long feared that motherhood would mean giving all of that up. And in a way it does, but it's to Heavenly Father.

So there's the question: what might He give back?

What would He give me in exchange for my tiny, contented family? For my independence? My health? My willingness to take risks and have faith?

What would He give me in exchange for my everything?

His everything.

And today I'm in awe of that.

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