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Love at home© Tomwang112 | Dreamstime.comHappy Family Making The Home Sign Photo

Before my first real heart-break, before my first “best friend”, before I even learned to go out and make friends with kids in the neighborhood, I learned about love, trust and friendship at home.

The most important life lessons are taught to us by people who love us most, and have an interest in how we view the world as we grow. There is a reason that the family is the base unit in society. Where else could you get learn the basics, while feeling safe to explore the world and ask silly and sometimes hard questions?

Parenting is not for the weak. Only the strongest, bravest souls will attempt it.  In other words, most of us.

When I was a kid, we would go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for holidays. In their living room there was a couch and two chairs.  One chair was Grandma’s and one chair was Grandpa’s.  Everyone knew whose chair was who’s. And NO ONE sat in Grandpa’s chair but Grandpa.  No one even dared challenge that policy….   but me.

Some how I decided that it would be great fun if I could try to sit in his chair when he got up, and my mom or dad would somehow get me out of the chair, each and every time, so he could have it back.

Until one morning at his house, when I was the first person awake. I climbed up into his chair and waited to see what would happen. I was probably 4 or 5 years old at the time.  When Grandpa got up, he found me in the chair, and gave me a completely baffled look.  I was the only grand-daughter, and there was no way he was going to disappoint me by kicking me out of the chair, but he really didn’t know what to do with himself.  It was his chair. No one else is supposed to sit in it. There was no way he could just sit somewhere else and let me get away with this.

So he coaxed me out of the chair, by inviting me into the kitchen, where we made breakfast together, and spent the rest of the morning playing, talking and coloring together until everyone else woke up.

This was such a sweet memory. Grandpa died a year or so later.  And even though I was very little, I had no doubt in my mind that he loved me.  I knew that he cherished the time that we spent together, and looking back on that time, so do I,

As a grownup now, with kids of my own, I know that the love I have for them, that started the instant I saw each little face, is so big, that it is the building blocks for the strength and creativity I learned as a mom to be able to give, teach and sacrifice in the way that was needed for the growth and benefit of my children.

Through the love that is inherent in each mom and dad, then grandma and grandpa, children learn how to see the world. They learn where to put their trust. They learn to be brave enough to ask questions and discover life themselves, knowing that they can always return to family for guidance.

As parents we make mistakes…. lots of them. But children weren’t meant to be raised in an institution, with rules and regulations, lessons and classes, with formulas on how to do everything right.  They are meant to be in homes with people who love them.

I am so grateful that God put us into families here on this earth. So that even though we aren’t perfect, and maybe we wish we could do more, at least we have the chance to learn of love and trust and caring.

As long as we know that we can come back to someplace where we can relax and know that the world isn’t quite so bad, because of people that we love who also love us, everything else in life will work out okay. That’s what we call HOME.  —

Laura

ps: Not all children have the opportunity to be raised in a loving home. Russell Ballard stated “We hear disturbing reports of parents or guardians who are so far removed from the Spirit of Christ that they abuse children.  Whether this abuse is physical, verbal or the less evident but equally severe emotional abuse, it is an abomination and a serious offense to God.” Those who have the ability to share love with these children who may not get it in their own homes should do so, and will be blessed for their efforts.

 

 

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I have thought a lot lately on the contrasting emotions of joy and sorrow. Many times in my mothering I have cried out “I am done.”  I felt the weight of the task too big to handle. Somewhere in my mind I felt I deserved rest from my trials. Rest from so much responsibility/work. I thought I just needed to get to the next step or just “get through” a specific trial then life would be easier.

It was as if I believed peace and happiness were to be found in the easiness of the way.How naive I was to believe that growth could happen in a state of ease. My ultimate goal in life is not to have untold comfort and ease.

It’s not even to just endure to the end. No, I want something much grander, much loftier. I desire to one day become like my Heavenly Father.

And to become like my God will require a lot of work. Right now I’m so very aware of my many imperfections and weaknesses and sins. To move beyond where I am and where I want to be will require real consistent growth. Stretching and pulling, strengthening and growing.

When trials hit hardest I seem to grow the most. I may sit and cry and struggle and wonder how I will ever get through. Yet when I look back after the struggle is through I can almost always see a strengthening of my spirit that could not have happened any other way.

I can relate it to running. When I have not exercised in a while, running for just 2 minutes feels very hard. I am out of breath. My side hurts and my legs will hurt and I just don’t see how I will ever be able to run for miles at a time. But little by little, with consistent effort, I can do what at first felt so impossible. I needed to gain strength in an area that at first was weak. The trick is to stick with it even when it feels hard or I just don’t want to. The reward of running freely is worth the hardship of starting.

Over the last several years we have been dealing with some trials. Nothing super unique or over the top difficult, but definitely life lessons and things not going as we thought they would. Over this time I have felt my patience muscle being worked and then strengthened.

I can look back and see how I am actually much more patient then I was 10 years ago or even 5 years ago. The Lord is teaching me to trust and rely, to have faith that everything will work out in His timing, but it may not be the life of ease I originally hoped it would be. Instead, it will be a life filled with struggles to learn and grow from. Experiences to find gratitude in. Lessons to be learned. And ultimately a God to be like.

Of course, this life is meant to be challenging. But we are given moments of happiness and joy. The more I trust the Lord in the hardship, the greater my potential for finding that joy and happiness on a more consistent basis. That even in the most challenging of times I can still find peace in knowing I am watched over and cared for. That even when I am faced with difficulties, I can take comfort in knowing I am becoming something much greater than “comfortable” would create. And I can find hope and excitement remembering each experience can bring me closer to my biggest goal and then it will be worth any and all hardship.

When I am running for miles at a time, I don’t look back with frustration for how hard it was in the beginning. I look back with gratitude that because of that earlier difficulty I am now able to enjoy the freedom of running for miles.

I’m learning that life is meant to have ups and downs. Accepting this principle has been rather healing. Life at times is hard, sometimes really hard. But I’m embracing the fact that hard is just hard, hard is not bad or to be avoided at all costs. It’s in the work that we gain and grow the most. 

Our Heavenly Father created us to resist and to overcome such losses, to be whole, to have joy. He wants us to return to him, and he has provided a way for that reunion to be achieved. No wonder we say that his gospel is

a voice of mercy from heaven; … a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy.” D&C 128:19

 

As I began to understand and accept what I can gain from challenges, I can than also find greater joy in them. I will look them in the eye and thank them for all that I can become because they have crossed my path.

In regards to Adam and Eve and their fallen state we read:

They would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.   2 Nephi 2:23

Adam and Eve had to learn you cannot feel joy if you don’t know pain. Both are needed to progress and eventually find eternal joy.

What a blessing hardships and trials can be if we let them become the master teacher that guides us to our ultimate goal of eternal life. -SUSAN

That joy, of course, comes only through the mercy of the Holy Messiah, whose resurrection broke the bands of death and whose atonement unlocks the reservoir of mercy by which we can be cleansed of our sins and come into the presence of God to receive the fullness of the Father.

-Dallin H Oaks

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Marriage & familyAfter participating in the colloquium on marriage and family at the Vatican in Rome, Italy, for three days, and hearing many religious leaders from around the world, it was apparent to L. Tom Perry that good marriages and strong families are still important in our society, and highly desirable to most people.

When it comes to love of spouse and hopes, worries and dreams for children, we are all the same.

As many of you know I was married in July of last year.

cake cutting

 

I was single for 4 years, and there were a lot of things that I needed to learn in that time.  The first I needed to learn was that I didn’t need a man to be okay with myself.  I needed to recognize that I am strong and independent on my own. I didn’t need a man in order to care for my children, or to financially support me.  Physically, I needed to know that I could do whatever needed to be done, by myself, so that I would not have to rely on a bad relationship, thinking I needed someone, anyone, in order to survive.

When I married Scott, it was because of something else that I learned. Men and women don’t need each other to survive emotionally or physically, but they are happier and better off in a committed relationship that is formed by marriage. It is like completing the building of a house. Four walls and a roof may make the house, but the beauty inside takes just a little bit more. A strong marriage and happy family create a more complete life.

Marriage is still the ideal and the hope among the majority of every age group.”  L. Tom Perry

Greater happiness is found, when working together for a greater cause. When you wake up each morning, and go to bed each night with the concerns of the happiness of someone special, beyond yourself, life becomes more meaningful.

New York Times columnist David Brooks said

People are not better off when they are given maximum personal freedom to do what they want. They’re better off when they are enshrouded in commitments that transcend personal choice – commitments to family, God, craft and country.”

I have always believed that the skills gained from compromise and cooperation that are required in marriage are skills that create greater growth in the individual, and set greater examples for children as they learn to deal with the world at large.  Of course, this requires a marriage between two people who care enough and are willing to work hard enough through their differences and to set good examples especially in front of the kids.  It really can be a lot of work to create this type of relationship, but this work is creating the best part of life.  To grow old with someone who loves you more than anyone, and will stay by your side, after the children have gone, after careers are put to bed, even after our physical bodies can’t keep up with the life they were used to, is the greatest gift I believe anyone could ask for in this life.  — Laura

Read more about the colloquium in this talk, by L. Tom Perry

My friends at “The Dating Divas” have some fun ideas to keep your marriage strong. Go check them out.

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As I run at the gym my view faces just outside the entrance/exit. I watch as people come and go. One particular incident caught my eye.

A mom was leaving with her little girl who looked to be under two. This sweet little blonde had no intention of rushing home. She wanted to watch the other people coming and going. She desired to look at the flowers and she was pretty determined to stay put.

At first I could not understand why the mom just stood there watching. She would take a few steps with the hopes of showing her daughter the way but then she just waited patiently. I thought about how I would have taken my daughter by the hand and made her come to the car. But not this mom. She watched and every once in a while took a few more steps in the right direction.

She was close enough that had the need arisen she could have swooped in to save her daughter from any prospective harm. And yet she was far enough away to give her little one the space and freedom to come when she was good and ready.  Time kept ticking away and yet that little girl was in no hurry to follow after.

What surprised me was the immense patience this amazing woman had. She never looked upset or frustrated. In fact she even looked quite peaceful. She seemed content knowing eventually her daughter would follow. With time they would get where they needed to go.

Long after they left, this scene continued to  play in my mind. I started to imagine myself as that little girl.  I could see the many times I get distracted with life. Paying too much attention to the things that matter very little. Or times when I am busy looking at others and comparing myself or judging them. Other times I just stand frozen with my own inability to see which way to go. And then there are moments when life just feels too hard and I want to sit on the ground and cry.

The spirit was using this woman’s beautiful example of tenderness to teach how my Savior looks at me with great love and patience.  That even in moments of my greatest stubbornness the Lord is standing so close by that all I need to do is reach out and He will take my hand.  He is so near that if I am to fall too far He can quickly rescue me.  He wanted me to see that, like this mother, He too is always within arms reach, waiting patiently to show me the way that leads to greatest happiness. The way that leads to Him and to my eternal home.  Just like this little girl all I have to do is choose to follow.

As I have continued to reflect on that moment at the gym I have pondered, “How can I remember to follow Him especially when I get distracted so easily?”

The importance of coming to the scriptures seems to be the loud and clear answer.

With scriptures to anchor and reassure us, we, too, can “look unto God … and he will console us in our afflictions” – Neal A Maxwell

The scriptures are meant to give us an anchor. To ground us to what is real and true. They can remind us, if we come to them, of our Savior’s astounding love and care for each one of us. Even in our times of greatest distraction and heartache they can give us that reassurance of His love.

As I have come to the scriptures more consistently over this past year I am being reminded daily of the power and glory that is the atonement. The more I study the more I began to glimpse what that means for me individually. I come across things like this

In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33

His power and majesty can remind me that because He has suffered for my sins and my afflictions, certainly He can guide me and show me the way I need to go.

Ignoring the revelations about God’s astounding capacity is like playing aimlessly and contentedly with wooden blocks featuring the letters of the alphabet, without realizing Shakespearean sonnets were created using that same alphabet.- Neal A Maxwell

I am grateful my Lord and Savior took this opportunity to show me of his constant watchful loving eye.  –SUSAN (If you want to read more of Neal A Maxwell’s talk titled Encircled in His Love you can find it here.)

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It’s Friday. That means we want to share with you a story of strength and courage.  This story came from Whitney Clayton as shared in this talk.

Last January, seven-year-old Sailor Gutzler and her family were flying from Florida to Illinois in a private airplane. Sailor’s father was at the controls. Just after nightfall, the aircraft developed mechanical problems and crashed in the pitch-dark hills of Kentucky, upside down in very rough terrain. Everyone but Sailor died in the accident. Her wrist was broken in the crash. She suffered cuts and scrapes and had lost her shoes. The temperature was 38 degrees Fahrenheit (or 3 degrees Celsius)—it was a cold, rainy Kentucky winter’s night—and Sailor was wearing only shorts, a T-shirt, and one sock.

She cried out for her mother and father, but no one answered. Summoning every ounce of courage, she set off barefoot across the countryside in search of help, wading through creeks, crossing ditches, and braving blackberry briars. From the top of one small hill, Sailor spotted a light in the distance, about a mile away. Stumbling through the darkness and brush toward that light, she eventually arrived at the home of a kind man she had never met before who sprang to her care. Sailor was safe. She would soon be taken to a hospital and helped on her way to recovery.

Sailor survived because she saw a light in the distance and fought her way to it—notwithstanding the wild countryside, the depth of the tragedy she faced, and the injuries she had sustained. It is hard to imagine how Sailor managed to do what she did that night. But what we do know is that she recognized in the light of that distant house a chance for rescue. There was hope. She took courage in the fact that no matter how bad things were, her rescue would be found in that light.

After the crash, Sailor had a choice. She could have chosen to stay by the airplane in the dark, alone and afraid. But there was a long night ahead, and it was just going to get colder. She chose another way. Sailor climbed up a hill, and there she saw a light on the horizon.

Gradually, as she made her way through the night toward the light, it grew brighter. Still, there must have been times when she could not see it. Perhaps it went out of view when she was in a ravine or behind trees or bushes, but she pressed on. Whenever she could see the light, Sailor had evidence that she was on the right path. She did not yet know precisely what that light was, but she kept walking toward it based on what she knew, trusting and hoping that she would see it again if she kept moving in the right direction. By so doing, she may have saved her life.

I feel for this little girl, but I’m also very impressed with her strength.  It would have surely been easier to curl up by her deceased parents, waiting to see if someone would find her. She could have given in to despair. But she chose to go find a way herself.

We can relate this to our lives. When tragedy strikes our lives, and it does sometimes, will we choose to give in to despair, just accepting the darkness that comes with difficulty? Or will we look for the light, and fight to recover, for ourselves and the ones that love us.

Always remember that you have a choice when life looks hopeless. There is hope in Christ. There are people who care. And you are stronger than you realize. It may be hard work, but in the end it is always worth it.  — Laura

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Leaven

© Skypixel | Dreamstime.comBakery Bread Photo

Charles J Chaput, archbishop of Philadelphia said in a talk given in Provo, Utah

“I want to stress again the importance of really living what we claim to believe. That needs to be a priority—not just in our personal and family lives but in our churches, our political choices, our business dealings, our treatment of the poor; in other words, in everything we do.”

As I carefully read through this quote, it makes me really think.

On the surface, I think I live in a way that I truly believe. But maybe there is more. Maybe there is more we all can do.

If I choose not to look too carefully, life is pretty good. I love my family. I serve in my church. I’m nice to my neighbors, but maybe there is just a little bit more.

We all want to be perfect… do everything right… have blessings and praise from people in our lives…

But the truth is that none of us is perfect.  Not one.  Only Jesus Christ is the perfect example.

So is it okay that we are not perfect?  YES.    Should we just be satisfied that this is just how it is? NO….

We all should have the hope of being perfect one day, but in recognizing that today is not that day, we have a choice. We can keep doing what we have always done, and not worry about it, or we can strive to be just a little better each day, in at least one area.

Today I’m choosing to look at the words of Charles Chaput.  I want to figure out how I can be more true to my beliefs. The beliefs of my religion and my personal beliefs.  How can I be more honest? How can I be more loving? Can I work harder at the things that are important? Can I be more patient with people who are trying? Can I give a little more?

Yes, but maybe not all at once.

I think if I start each day with prayer, asking for help in finding what is important to my growth, and how I can help others in my day, it may not be as hard as it could be.

I want to try a little harder each day, to live more in line with truth.

I know some days I will fall, and I’ll have to repent and start again the next day.  But I think that is one of the beautiful things about repentance. Recognizing where I have fallen short and allowing Christ to take that mistake from me, so I can try again to be what I believe He wants me to be.

The most important step in this process is learning what I believe, what my religion teaches me, and recognizing the guiding’s of the Holy Spirit.

I’m committing today to try a little harder, to grow in truth a little more. Will you join me?  — Laura

 

 

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Momma bear. That is a good way to describe how we often feel about our job.

Sometimes I feel like momma bear when I have to step up and be tough. Kids know that we love them when we care enough to say “no” when necessary.  But as the mom, it is also our job to be the soft place to land when the world becomes just too real for them.

As women it is in our nature to be sensitive and aware of everyone’s feelings. We naturally love them, and want to show them that love. We also want order and cleanliness in our homes and lives.

Our job is as chef, housekeeper, nurse, teacher, accountant, gardener, chauffeur, playmate, professional shopper, fixer of all things broken, on a 24/7 shift.

mothers wantedIt seems a little ridiculous, but we all recognize that these are just the things that we need to do.  Is it any wonder that we are tired some days?

But because we love these little ones, we are willing to give and give, because we want to be able to do it all.  We want them to have everything they need. But what about the mom? Do we expect too much from ourselves? How do we see ourselves?

With Mother’s Day coming up, I wonder how the day will go.  I have heard multiple women talk about how they hate Mother’s Day. They say it just makes them feel bad, or feel guilty.  They hate going to church and hearing talks about these wonderful mothers, and feeling like they just can’t measure up.  They look around at the other happy families and are just sure that all those other moms are doing better than they are, their kids are all neat and clean and happy with perfectly pressed little dresses and dress shirts, and I’ll bet their homes are perfectly clean and organized also.

Wow, is that scenario just a little too real for me. I remember days when I felt like that.  I think I still have days like that. I think all of us have moments when we compare ourselves (at our lowest) to other women and in our imaginations, we see everyone else as doing things right, while we keep struggling to hold everything together.

I personally have spent too many years in this comparison mode, feeling like a failure next to everyone else’s perceived perfection. And what did that accomplish for me? What did I expect it to accomplish? Did I think that by comparing, I’d figure out a better way to be everything that I wanted to be? Because I didn’t.  I just felt bad about myself. I felt hopeless.  I didn’t get more done as a result of expecting more of myself because I figured that other women could do it, so I should be able to also.  I got much less done, because the pity party that I held exhausted too much energy.  This wasn’t working for me.  And I had to come to that realization myself.  What brought me out of this pity party?  Two things.

  1. Love for my children and a desire to give to them a worthwhile childhood.
  2. A realization that I can only be me.

First thing — I love my kids and would do anything for them. Going back to Momma bear, I wanted to be at the center of their lives, teaching them, loving them, protecting them.  I would give anything for my kids.  Once I stopped thinking about how good or not good I was as a mom, and started to spend my efforts in nurturing my kids, it was much easier to just relax and be present in their childhood. I am so grateful for the times I took them to the park, or did craft projects with them.  These memories stay with me.

The second thing — I had to realize that I can only be me.  I am working with the resources that the Lord gave to me, not my neighbors or friends.  Other women are really good at keeping a clean house. Some women are fantastic at keeping kids organized and involved.  Others can home school, and keep it all together.  But I am me.  My house is clean some of the time. We are a little organized. I don’t think I could ever home school unless it were the only option, but I can help with homework (most of the time – I had to tell my son to google the help for his Trigonometry last night.)  But for me, I love to cook, and try to have the kids in the kitchen with me helping so they can learn also.   I’ve gained patience over the years. I don’t scream or yell (anymore).  And I’m learning more to help my kids be responsible.

Basically, I had to stop comparing myself to other women, so that I could figure out what I wanted for myself and my family.  I’m the only one who can live my life, I only posses my own talents, not anyone else’s, and I get to decide how I will work towards accomplishing the life that I want.

Just look back at the list of things that we can expect of ourselves.  Can we really do all of those things, all of the time?  There are only 24 hours in a day.  The good news is that in each new day, we get to pick the things that are important in that moment.  By choosing not to feel guilty over the 99 other things we could do, but don’t have time for, we free ourselves up to be present in the moment, and make the very most of the things that we choose to spend our energy on for that day.  — Laura

Get more help as the most important person in your kids lives. Check out our affiliate program with the Power of Moms.

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I’m feeling rather reflective today. It’s my birthday. You see, I am a huge fan of birthdays. I feel like it’s one day devoted just for celebrating you. I love when I get to honor others on their special day, and I certainly don’t shy away from presents and cake.

This year as I turn 37 I cannot help but think of all that I have learned and have yet to learn. I look back on the birth of my own, my motherhood. As my children let me sleep in this morning I couldn’t help but remember when they were small and all I wanted for my birthday was just to sleep in. Life felt so exhausting back then. I always second-guessed the way I parented and who I was as a person. Was I good enough for these little people?  Was I going to mess them up?  I wanted assurances that everything was going to work out just the way I had planned.

I was scared of the rebellious teenage years and I was just a nervous mom. I wanted to prevent anything bad from every happening to my children. If I just kept close enough eye on them I was sure I could protect them.

I wish I could go back and have a sit-down with that mom I used to be. I would tell her to take the time to snuggle those babies every chance she gets because some day they are going to be so busy she will hardly even see them. And when she does, they sure won’t want to snuggle the same way. Sure children growing older will bring many wonderful blessings, but there is nothing like rocking a child to sleep as you sing them lullabies.  Don’t wish away the joys of today just because you are tired and never get enough sleep.

I would remind her that nothing is as important as listening to every silly thing they have to say. They will talk about bugs and silly stories they hear. They will tell horrible jokes and it’s ok to muster up a good fake laugh. They just want to know you love them enough to care about what matters to them. As they get older their stories become more impactful and you want them to know that you will listen to the silly stuff as well as the serious stuff.

It’s ok for children to make mistakes. In fact, it’s encouraged. I’d want my young mom self to know that she gets to be there to show them how to repent and how to make things right after they fall. That’s ultimately what the job of motherhood is. Not to raise perfect children but to raise children who know how to forgive both themselves and others. That boo boos may hurt but they always heal. And I would want her to remember this for herself as well. She will mess up often and the atonement is there to help her to forgive herself and to help her forgive her children.

But I think the most important thing I would tell my young mom self is to embrace change. Kids will grow older. They will grow wiser. And some day they will no longer need her to kiss their foreheads goodnight. My mother told me that in every stage of a child’s life there will be something you love and something you could do without. I would remind her to focus on the things she loves. Change will come. What you don’t love will be gone with the next phase. Hold tight to the memories of those things you love most.

The older I get the less I feel I know. But I am learning to love the phase I am in and love the stages my children are in. I don’t want to wish away today hoping for a different tomorrow. For tomorrow will come sooner than I am prepared to greet. I’m sure in 17 years from now I will have greater wisdom for my past self. As it should be. With each coming birthday and passing year, hopefully, I’ll learn a little more about the purpose of life and the joys that can be found.

Today I’m going to celebrate not just my birthday but also the birth of my motherhood. I’m going to appreciate what I can offer to my children and the joy they freely give to me. The handmade cards brought to my bedside and the smiles as they sing happy birthday. Here is to another year of learning. SUSAN

Find more help to strengthen you as the mommy. Check out this program through our affiliates the Power of Moms.

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 I rubbed her leg and wondered if she even knew I was there. Her eyes were open, but she didn’t seem to see me. I told her I loved her. I told her I came to say goodbye. In my heart I had so much more to say.

Silently I told her how much she meant to me. I thanked her for being a glorious example of what a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother should be. I wanted her to know how much we would miss her but that it was ok for her to go. In fact we prayed for her that she could go and be free of the failing mortal body she was in. I also wanted her to know that I was trying to be more like her. More kind, more patient. Quick to love, quick to smile. Her example has caused me to want to be more than I currently am.

My heart was full as I thought of the times she had smiled just for me as I was blessed to serve her these last few days. I could recall, as if it was a movie on TV, the joy she had as she talked about my children, really, any of her posterity. My life has been changed by having this amazing woman as my grandmother-in-law for the last 17 years. Her impact on me was more profound than I could have ever imagined.

 As I talked with her she raised her eyebrows up and down and I felt in my heart she knew I was there. She knew what I was trying to say and in that little eyebrow lift I felt her love.

I kissed her on the forehead. I rubbed her hair. And then I walked out of the room. I could no longer hold back the tears. I knew I would never see her again in this life. I knew I was saying goodbye. The tears turned into one big sob and my husband held me. I wanted to gain my composure before I joined his Aunt and he said to me “it’s ok to let others see you cry” and I instantly thought of this scripture.

Now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;  Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort,

I had been praying to be of some help to Ryan’s family as they were losing their mother. I didn’t realize until that point that crying with them was one way I could “mourn with those that mourn.”

As I have reflected on mourning since Grandma June passed a few nights ago, I realized what a gift it truly is meant to be. We get to love those who struggle, through any of life’s difficulties. We get to cry with them, listen to them, and hold them. We can come closer together as we struggle if we will take the time to be vulnerable. To feel with those that are hurting. To love them freely without expectations.

I am learning that to mourn with those that mourn is to become as Christ was. Jesus came to help Mary and Martha when he heard of Lazarus, their brother’s, death.

32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,
34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
35 Jesus wept.

Although he knew Lazarus would be alive shortly, he still wept with them. He mourned because they mourned. He could see the light even when it was dark for Mary and for Martha. And yet he still cried with them. Because he loved them.

I have had moments of sorrow and crying unexpectedly. (Poor gardener who I passed on my walk with tears in my eyes as he said hello.) I am praying in the future I will be more empathetic with those that suffer. That I will be able to love as Jesus loved and even weep with those that weep.

Grandma, I love you and look forward to the day when I can see your loving and welcoming smile again. Until we meet again. SUSAN