digging in

Many times I find myself struggling with being a stay at home mom. Not uncommon. But sometimes I wonder if the depth of my struggle is normal. Just ask Steven, my husband. Probably at least once a month I have a mini life crisis wherein I question my validity as a human being, wonder why it feels so hard to be doing something that’s supposed to be so right, searching for something that will bring a different kind of fulfillment in my life. I let the important things slide as I search for the answer; as I make my plans to become a dietitian, no, personal trainer, no, cosmetologist, no, lawyer… I’m like the mouse on the wheel, continuously wearing myself out running for the morsel that I think I’m chasing but that is actually right beside me. If I would just step off of the wheel, give it up, the morsel could be mine. That small morsel that turns out to be so much more than it is at first glance–of peace, sense of purpose, clarity, light. Instead of stepping off of the wheel and taking it, I find myself avoiding the reality of the opportunity of this moment in my life, relying on my own limited wisdom. “Hey God, I know you’re trying to tell me your way would be so much easier, but no, that’s ok, I got this one.”

I had an experience lately that reminded me of the reasons I stay at home with my children. The reasons that I don’t always pay attention to. These are opportunities that use the skills I have that I don’t always work on improving. I have a friend in my church congregation whose husband recently was diagnosed with (another) brain tumor. He had had one several years before that had been removed and the prognosis was that there would likely be a re-occurrence in 10-15 years. And yet, here is my friend, pregnant with her 5thchild, and only 2 years after the first surgery preparing for yet another brain surgery that will take place only 2 weeks before her due date. If Christ can do anything with my life, please let Him show me how best to love this friend of mine and those like her. Let Him show me how to love like He does. How to serve without question and without bidding. Help me to find my life losing it in others’.  I find myself now asking, Lord, just tell me how, just tell me what, and I’ll do it. Qualities that I already possess have lain dormant because I’m searching for ones the Lord hasn’t given me, at least not yet. But Charity, I can do that. And with Him, I can work on it even more. At this time in my life I have the opportunity to help whoever I want, whenever I want, however I want. I have a love and curiosity and comfort with all people. My Savior, be my teacher, help me to know.

There is a beautiful quote by Sister Marjorie Hinckley, a wise church leader who has passed on, that I have always loved. It is this:

“I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden.
I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.”
― Marjorie Pay Hinckley

This is digging in. This is what I can do because I stay at home with my children.

I need Christ to show me how to stop avoiding this beautiful season and opportunity He has given me and Just. Dig. In. If I can turn myself over to Him, He can fill the whole depth of my struggle, and then make it overflow with what is true and good and beautiful and worth while. If I can just reach for Him, He can make this life so much more than I ever could on my own.

4 thoughts on “digging in

  1. Al, this was a great post. I find a comparison in the currently popular book “lean in” – but in your case, leaning in to motherhood. Lean in to the blessing that is raising children. Lean in to the blessing that is helping a friend in need. Those are all so much more worthy of our time and effort than any company or degree. I say that as I receive my MFA and have started a business. I said to Nate the other day, there is no happiness like the happiness of family. For a while, I honestly thought there might be, and I’ve chased after it. But now I feel differently. There is nothing like the love of family, a pet, or a good friend. No job, no matter how noble or fulfilling, can bring that same love into live.

  2. Welcome, Allison! You are a gifted writer and beautiful soul just like your sister. Glad we’ll hear from you now too. Have you heard of a book called “Choosing Motherhood”? It’s a compilation of essays written by women who are in search of the meaning of what they do each day. The best essay in there called “Teach these Souls to Fly’ was flying around the internet a few months ago. It is so inspiring. I am in the process of preparing to send my oldest son off to college in 2 short years, and I am so, so, so grateful for every moment we have had together (yes, even the gritty and ugly ones). The time really starts accelerating, and I can’t actually believe that his time at home is almost over. Each moment you invest in your children is absolutely, completely worth it. Best wishes to you in this journey.

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