Sunday, November 2, 2008

Grace

Being back with Matt has been glorious, even though we've all but killed him with our germs. More on that another time. It has been good to be in a home together again, and it has rekindled inside of me the love and art of homemaking, and a strong desire to be the best wife and mother I can be. We have officially started our little school finally, now that we are here, and it is a joy to do, as I watch the girls learning and reading and growing, but takes a tremendous amount of my time and energy. Unpacking is exhausting, but living amongst chaos is so spiritually draining, so I really want to get unpacked and ordered as soon as I can. Also, due to many many things, I have been cooking much differently, meaning pretty much everything from scratch, even crackers for snacking. While I love and enjoy each of these things tremendously, and each is incredibly fulfilling, I have found that at times, I have been getting overwhelmed.

I struggle with that feeling, because I have felt that, in order to be a strong woman, I should be able to handle these basic tasks with ease and poise. I shouldn't struggle to balance my homeschooling schedule and my bread baking schedule...I should be able to just be patient and calm while trying to nurse the baby and unpack at the same time. I should be unpacked by now and steaming loaves of fresh bread should be ready on the counter by lunch time. And the kicker of these feelings is...I have felt that I shouldn't have to pray constantly for help with these things, because these are basic, good things that I should just be able to handle.

I love my Father in Heaven dearly, and feel so close to Him and His love, but I have mistakenly thought that the "basics" of my life (i.e., everyday mom and wife duties) should be able to be done pretty much on my own, at least if I were the strong person I want to be. But the other day, a miracle occurred for me. Everyone was sick, even me. But as any mom knows, moms don't get sick days. I had put my husband and children down for a nap, and tucked all the poor sickies in tight. I felt just as tired and sick, but had a lot to do and knew that I had to be able to take care of things and keep feeding and caring for everyone so that we could all be okay. I started to unpack and then went to get a turkey in the oven. I had been defrosting the silly thing in the fridge for three days, but the part I needed to be most defrosted was still in a block of ice. As I was trying to free the frozen legs, and then wrestle with the neck and giblets that were still frozen fast, in my tiredness, I started to feel defeated by the turkey. I even cried salty little tears right on the turkey. I felt like, in that moment, all of my efforts at being a good homemaker were being frozen in that big, slimy bird. Instantly, I heard a small voice in my mind that prompted me to listen to a talk while wrestling with the turkey. Thankfully, I listened, and turned on a talk by someone I'd never heard of before. (You can listen to it here...it's incredible and I highly recommend it.)

The talk was about Grace. Grace is something that I have misunderstood too much. But as I listened, I felt a rush of relief. I had felt like I wasn't a good wife or mom because I wasn't handling all of these things on my own, as I felt I should be. I used to think that grace was something that only saved us at the end ("It is by grace we are saved, after all we can do"). But I realized, as I listened to this talk, that I didn't understand before that grace is also a daily principle. It's not only a final salvation, it's a constant salvation! I need it every day, to accomplish what I need to do...yes, even the essential tasks of my life! I need that enabling power of the atonement every day. True to the Faith says:
The grace of God helps us every day. It strengthens us to do good works we could not do on our own. The Lord promised that if we humble ourselves before Him and have faith in Him, His grace will help us overcome all our personal weaknesses.
Wait a second...every day??? You mean, even for baking and schooling and unpacking? I don't have to be on my own for the basics? Christ loves me enough, and understands my mortality enough, that His grace can strengthen me...and He doesn't expect me to be able to be the kind of woman I want to be in my daily life on my own. There is grace, sufficient to help me to be the wife and mother I want and need to be. For those "good works," like cooking and cleaning and teaching my children, that I don't have the power to do all on my own.

Wow.

That may not be earth-shattering to anyone else, but it was for me.

So what did I do next? Said a prayer for help. With making dinner. How freeing! And that turkey met its match.

I feel so grateful for a Savior who loves us so dearly that He wants to help us with everything. Even the everyday good things that we just don't have the power to do all on our own. How liberating to know that He doesn't think that we need to have the power to do it all on our own! He knows we don't, so He provided a way for us to become like Him and do our best, in spite of human frailty. A Savior, who kindly says, not only through "fiery trials" but also through each and every day, "My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply!" (How Firm a Foundation.)

I am praying for His grace each and every day now, and I feel like He is happy that, instead of trying to do these basic things on my own, I know I need His help.

12 comments:

matt said...

An inspirational post to me...thanks for always being the best part of my life.

I Love you!

chantilita said...

Your epiphanies always seem to coincide with ones that I need... Thank you! I needed that today!! I love you! You're amazing.

momofjems said...

I always come away after reading your posts that I should be better than I am. Thank you for your example.
Oh by the way, I have cooked turkeys alot still frozen. You just have to cook them a little longer.
Thank you for your words of wisdom.
Love you,
Aunt Elaine

momofjems said...

I always come away after reading your posts that I should be better than I am. Thank you for your example.
Oh by the way, I have cooked turkeys alot still frozen. You just have to cook them a little longer.
Thank you for your words of wisdom.
Love you,
Aunt Elaine

Annie Sunshine said...

Thanks for that sweet spiritual insight. Your insights are always a delight to read...I am thinking you really should be teaching R.S. or Sunday School lessons if you are not already!

Tara and Dan said...

I always just soak up your words. Thanks for lifting my day!! I'm so glad that you are getting settled in your new home. I can't wait to see pictures! And I'll bet it's been so wonderful having the whole family together again. NOW, you just need to get healthy girl!! Go take a nap and rest those tired feet!

kannie said...

I love your honesty! Another thought as you're starting your "school year" - "Teach ye diligently, and my grace shall attend you." :-) Pretty nifty. Even in the little things. Thank you for your post!

Oh - and could I please get your scratch crackers recipe? :-) You're going to have the healthiest family... :-)

Joe Ipson said...

I think I studied the Atonement more on my mission than anything, and the day I realized that grace wasn't only at the Day of Judgement, my life was changed! Love the story!

Tara and Dan said...

Lol- you think I would learn by now to stay caught up!!! I'm a dork :)

Tara and Dan said...

Woops forgot to say in my last post that- YES- let's plan a visit soon! I'm so glad we are closer now :).

Now... what am I doing up this late???? Wait a minute... i just saw that Matt's first post was at 2:40 in the morning. That makes my 1:00 in the morning seem not so bad :). Ok, I'm rambling because I can't keep my eyes open. Nighty night :)

Liz said...

Thank you for that, I really needed it today. ♥

My prayers are always with you and your cute family :-D

Nicole said...

ann,
thanks for your words. i needed that. i've been feeling so much like you have--and i'm finally feeling peace that these little things i've been obsessed with during the morning sickness can wait.