Mothers-Don’t give up

Mother.

I think I often take for granted how strong I am as a mother and how deep my influence is. I think about how I change diapers, wash in between his toes, scrub his hair, and spread the peanut butter on his sandwiches, and wonder if what I say is even sinking in.

“Am I even making a difference? Will he remember what I’m trying to teach?”

For the first few months as a mother, I almost felt like my efforts were in vain. I talked, giggled, laughed, read to, and sang to my son that was almost completely unresponsive. I held on conversations with him, even though he didn’t answer back; I told him my deepest dreams while we played; I told him of my deepest convictions–yet nothing. I almost felt silly at times. On the surface, it seemed there was no hint of understanding.

Mothers-Don't give up

Then, he began to talk. He began to respond. Now he even talks back and we can carry on a conversation. But, now I almost wonder if he hears me when I tell him how much I believe in God, how I know He hears my prayers, how I feel peace when I read His word. He runs from toy to toy and it feels like the words of my heart go in one ear and out the other–and that’s if I get lucky and they even get in the first ear at all.

But, despite all this, I have the firmest belief that in some small way he understands. He may not hear my words or listen to a complete sentence I say–but he sees me day in and day out. He sees that I care about people, he knows that I invite him to pray with me when I’m about to lose it and need extra strength, he knows that every night-without fail-we read God’s word.

We live our beliefs.

I have to think that someday he’ll look back and it will sink in–it will sink in deep.

I hope with all my heart it does.

I know that as a mother, my daily actions have more power than I realize, even if it seems like he’s not listening, we’re both crying, and there is peanut butter in everyone’s hair. I know that the simple things I do, that I feel go unnoticed–are not.

The things you do don’t go unnoticed either.

When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? – Neal A. Maxwell

Mom’s lets remember the influence we have. Let’s remember that the words we speak, the songs we sing, and hugs we give don’t go unnoticed–even if our babies are speechless and our kids run around like crazies. Because what a sad thing it would be if we gave up–if we looked around amid the chaos and threw in the towel.

Momma–don’t give up. Keep talking to your babe who can’t talk back and keep teaching that child who doesn’t have a moment to listen. Because soon, they’ll know and we’ll be glad we taught with our hearts and didn’t give up.

Each day I choose: flaws or fabulous?

Over the years, I think I believed a marriage was made better due to both individuals changing and becoming better over time–a slow refiners fire. Although I still believe this would make for a better marriage over time, I’m beginning to realize that the biggest change for my marriage will take place within… me.

Of course there are exceptions. Some marriages are genuinely harmful in nature and degrading to a spouse. But overall, many spouses in a marriage have a daily choice, I know I do in mine. My marriage could be joyous, fulfilling, satisfying, and meaningful, because of who I am and my attitude. Or, my marriage could be full of frustration, annoyance, disappointment, and contention, because of who I am and what I choose to see.

The choice is mine to make. Every single day.

Each day I chooseEach day I choose the quality and happiness I will find in my marriage. I can choose to see the flaws of my spouse and hone in on them. I can choose to not get past them and begin to think of ways that he needs to improve or the characteristics he needs to alter. I could even make a plan for his change and try to make the change occur through “subtle” hints, encouragement, or reminding. But, most likely, I would be the one making the marriage worse.

In H. Wallace Goddard’s book, Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage, he says:

Satan knows that healing human souls is something we humans always do poorly. That is why the devil wants us to be mate-fixing do-it-yourselfers.

This is a keen irony in our dilemma. We cannot fix our partners. We cannot even fix ourselves! But we can make ourselves humble. We can recognize our dependence on God for all that we have and are.

So when we presume to set our partners and our marriage right, we are intruding on the Heavenly prerogative. We are seizing the reins from God. It doesn’t work. We mortals make poor gods.”

I was not made to fix my spouse and tell him how he needs to change and the steps he needs to take. I’m not even the one who needs to tell him what to work on. That is simply not my job, and whenever I assume it, I’ll inevitably do it wrong. Why? I cannot even change myself very effectively without the help of God and His endless and all encompassing atonement.

So, what is my job in the marriage? To simply find joy in what I love about my partner. Celebrate his triumphs, celebrate his good, celebrate what I fell in love with in the beginning and leave the rest to him and God. My job is simply to love, accentuate the positive, and have charity for his weakness, as I hope he’ll have charity for mine.

In the end, my marriage is only as good as my ability to love my spouse. In the end, my marriage is only as good as my ability to see the good. And in the end, the only lasting change I can make takes place in me.

I am the master of my fate*If you would like to read more thoughts on marriage, feel free to jump on over to my blog about marriage and relationships: Working for my Marriage. It is still in the early stages of being created & designed, but the content is all there! 🙂

Sacredness of Intimacy

This week my mind has been blown, boggled, and awe-inspired all at once. Sometimes I read an article and I’m relatively unchanged by it’s contents, but then sometimes I come across an article that dives into my heart and makes waves that last for days.

I can’t shake this last article I read and the feeling it has brought over me. Check out the article HERE.

Sacredness of life

The main premise? Marital intimacy is a sacrament that we experience with our spouse and God. Sacraments are moments in time when we come to God and feel his holy presence. We partake of a holy experience with Him. There are few times in life when we get more close to divinity itself, then when we join with our spouse with the potential to create. And not just to create anything… but to create a living, breathing, loving, dreaming human being.

This concept boggles my mind.

“You and I who can make neither mountain nor moonlight, not one raindrop nor a single rose–yet we have this greater gift in an absolutely unlimited way. And the only control placed on us is self-control–self-control born of respect for the divine sacramental power it is.

Surely God’s trust in us to respect this future-forming gift is awesomely staggering. We who may not be able to repair a bicycle nor assemble an average jigsaw puzzle–yet with all our weaknesses and imperfections, we carry this procreative power that makes us very much like God in at least one grand and majestic way.”

This quote is the essence of my thoughts. I cannot believe that me–so very imperfect– and quite unable to put together a rubiks cube–am right this minute creating fingers and toes, a nervous system, eyes to see the sunrise, and ears to hear birds and someday my goodnight lullaby.

sacredness of marital intimacy

I’m so profoundly grateful to a God who lets me come closer to Him through this sacrament. This time when I feel His guiding hand and love so powerfully. Surely, intimacy is sacred, the creation of life is sacred, and I’m humbled that even I, as imperfect and weak of a vessel I am, can take a part in this magnificent sacrament.

A spark of eternal fire

Last Saturday as our little family was coming home from our favorite place to eat (Cafe Rio, all the way) my husband looked up at one of the mountains our apartment is nestled against. He said half jokingly, but hopefully “We should go home, change our clothes real quick, and then hike up the mountain!”

I think he expected me to say no; it was windy, getting chilly, and the sun was close to setting. But, I felt like being spontaneous. A little bit of nature never hurt. So we got home, rushed around, and were out the door again.

On our way there we wondered if we were crazy–the sun was setting and we had our little boy with us. But once we started hiking, we realized we were not crazy at all.

The view.

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The view struck my soul–the sun setting with its powerful rays of light; the clouds reflecting the light in amazing ways, the city lights spanning across the valley. It took my breath away and enlarged my soul reminding me I am part of something magnificent; something awe-inspiring.

Our little family enjoying the view on the mountain.

Sometimes I just need to get away–get away either physically, spiritually, or mentally from the hussle and bussle of life. Even if the time of solitude is short, it is a breath of fresh air for my soul to step out and look at my life from a better angle–from above. To see myself how God may see me–a unique individual filled with meaning and loved completely by Him.

“This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God. While against the backdrop of infinite creation we may appear to be nothing, we have a spark of eternal fire burning within our breast.”- Dieter Uchtdorf

For me, hiking up that mountain gave me a better view; a clearer perspective on who I am in the grand scheme of things. Being amid God’s vast creations reminded me that I am part of something eternal; something majestic.

Yes, I am small. But I am everything to God. So are you.

How do you step away from life and find inner peace and a clearer perspective? How do you remember to see yourself as God sees you?

Why I’m glad to be surrounded by imperfect people

Even though it may seem counter-intuitive, I am glad I am imperfect and that I am surrounded by imperfect people.

Block letters spelling "Imperfection" that are not perfectly lined up.

Why would I be glad about imperfections? Doesn’t everyone secretly wish their spouse had a couple less imperfections; their parents had been slightly more perfect at parenting; or even that their children, friends and neighbors were a little bit more… perfect?

Of course everyone thinks that. I think that too. On the surface it seems that imperfections lead to nothing beneficial–hurt feelings, awkward situations, heated arguments, and sometimes even abuse.

So remind me again why I am glad to be surrounded by imperfect people?

When I got married both my husband’s imperfections, as well as my own, became like high beams perpetually shining straight into my eyes. It seemed I couldn’t get past them. The imperfections streamed into every part of my life. It was miserable and yet at the same time, I began to realize these imperfections were the very things that brought me closer to God.

I am an imperfect person and at times can’t handle the stress of life, so I go to God. My imperfect husband and imperfect me have an argument that leaves me emotionally empty, so I go to God. My imperfect, but sweet child, has tantrums over and over that strip me of my strength, so I go to God. My imperfect family make choices that affect me or hurt my feelings, so I go to God. The imperfect acquaintances or friends around me say an off-handed comment that offends me, so I go to God.

So in the end, do we really want everyone around us to be perfect if it is precisely their imperfections that bring us to God?

You see, if the world was full of perfect people, then there wouldn’t be things that brought us to God. And what a sad predicament that would be. So in reality, all these imperfect people are blessings, because they bring us to God. And in my life, it is when I go to God that I become more of the person I hope to become.

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at His feet.”- Gandhi

So lets be kind to one another in our imperfect state and then most importantly, go to God.

How have you learned to embrace your own imperfections? How have you learned from your own or others imperfections? Have you grown closer to God as you have dealt with imperfections? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Here is a collection of beautiful quotes about embracing our own and others imperfections.

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