Times and Seasons
|My Family Then...
There was a time when I'd wake up early to delve into the scriptures. It was like I couldn't get enough! And early morning was really the only (and best!) time for me to devote the energy and thought I wanted to them. So I did it.
Lately I have been waking up to family scripture study and getting the kids off the school. I wait for that one precious hour or two in the middle of the day when the boys are occupied and my "to do" list is (mostly) checked off to spend time on my own spiritual nourishment. I have been feeling kind of bad about that shift in schedule. I've had thoughts like, "If I would just wake up an hour before the kids, I could study then." I have even had the thought that I'm not putting the Lord first in my life (literally) because I postpone my scripture study until the afternoon.
Then a friend sent me this message,
I was thinking recently about how we can have passions and areas of expertise and how they seem to consume our lives and our free brain space. Like, when I first studied homeschooling that was pretty much what I read about all the time. I found it fascinating and important and delved into the topic of education. I've kind of moved out and I think I've been searching for a new topic....Anyway, I was thinking that it's time for me to find a new topic to become passionate about.
As I simmered on this a bit, I thought about my own season and the thoughts I'd been having about my scripture time. Not that it relates directly, but by reading her comments I realized when I study has nothing to do with my commitment to the Lord; it just signifies a different season for me. At the time when I was waking up early I had six kids, was homeschooling, and had very little "alone time" during the day. I was also gospel doctrine teacher and really needed that time to prepare myself to teach. Now I have teenagers who are gone a lot of the time (and even when they are home, they have their own work to do) and only the two younger boys to occupy as needed. I'm also serving in Primary which leads to a different kind of study and focus.
We, as mothers, hear advice, counsel, instruction, and ideas so often and then think we need to apply them all (well, at least I do). For me, I'd latched onto the teaching that the best time to study is in the morning when revelation is clear. Again the phrase, "put the Lord first" became literal to me, rather than internal and figurative. Though these teachings may be true, judging myself against these ideologies and how I'd interpreted how to live them led me to feeling bad about myself and what I have to offer.
It reminds me of a story from Weakness is not Sin wherein the author and her husband are called to serve as a Mission President in another country. She talks about how she wants to be strong while out in the mission field and study her scriptures with vigor. While praying about how best to serve in this capacity the Lord answered by instructing her to exercise daily. She was confused because it seemed so contrary to what she'd felt she needed to do to be successful. It was a different time and season for her. She needed to keep her health up to take care of those missionaries. She'd already become confidence in the scriptures and therefore could fit it in throughout the day and in various situations. Studying was not as important during that season as exercising.
|My Family Now...
And so I try to remind myself and gain a full picture of what season I'm currently living in. My family is different now than it was four years ago (it feels longer than that!). They have varying needs and are going in many directions themselves. I am different now, with different needs. Each season will be different...maybe not better, maybe not worse...just different.
I think the one thing that makes each season delightful is knowing we're engaged in what the Lord needs and wants us to be doing. We can glean from all of the great thoughts, examples and ideas of others for sure because we know prophets and others are placed in our path for our profit and learning, but the ultimate answer comes when we seek it from the Lord. Those subtle promptings only mothers get for their home and family are vital to the work we do!
So, carry on in your own season. Take responsibility for your life as you seek the best way to guide and strengthen yourself and your family. Love them. Just love them. And love yourself. Love where you are and be happy. This is the counsel I give to myself...and to anyone else who needs to hear it. ;-)
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"I am impressed by countless mothers who have learned how important it is to focus on the things that can only be done in a particular season of life....There is one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family....What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else." - - Elder Russell M. Ballard, CR April 2008