Friday, October 16, 2015


(Since it's been almost a year since I last posted here, I found this post I started way back then and never shared.)

I want my kids home before dark.  I don't care what the clock says, especially in the winter, I want them home and in my house so I know they arrived safely and I don't have to worry about them possibly walking home alone.  If I have a little one away, I send one of the bigger kids to get them or go pick them up myself, before dark.

When my children have friends over, I make sure their friends are home before dark, even if it means one of us walking or driving their child home.

And yet, my kids don't always see it that way.  They think that just because they are right across the street, it doesn't matter.  That the short distance makes it okay. Here and there one will communicate with me beforehand, and I might okay an exception for a really good reason, but normally if one of them wanders in after dark, they will hear about it from their mom, and there may be other consequences.

I realized a similar phenomena in church recently.  It happens all the time during lessons, but the ah-ha came Sunday during a lesson on being "In the World, But Not of the World."  The lesson could be taken very broadly, but  it specifically mentioned four subjects - keeping the Sabbath Day holy, obeying the Word of Wisdom, respecting the name of Deity, and dressing modestly and keeping the law of chastity.  The night before teaching the lesson, I read the story of Eli Herring, and his choice of declining an NFL contract because he would have to play on Sunday.  (Here's a New Era article about him, and another article I really liked.)  I was very impressed by how seriously and spiritually he sought direction, and shared the story during my lesson.

Immediately a hand was raised, and stories were shared about others that work on Sunday and the opportunities that have come, and others that have chosen to play ball on Sunday.

I didn't feel prompted to share it during the lesson, but during my lesson prep I had written at the top of my manual, "We need to stop looking for the exceptions, and seek to better follow the rule."

Why do we do that?  Why can't we sit through a lesson on, for instance, keeping the Sabbath Day holy, and listen to the spirit about how we can personally make adjustments to better follow that?  Why is there a need to defend?

I love what the other article author said in the comments section to someone giving exceptions:
I want my sons to go on a mission and to keep the Sabbath day holy throughout their lives because I know that the Lord will bless them immeasurably for doing so. And to help make that happen, I want to give my sons examples of people who keep those commandments even if they are under extreme pressure to do otherwise. Going on a mission and keeping the Sabbath day holy is the rule. That’s not to say there aren’t inspired exceptions at times. But I wouldn’t hold up the exceptions as examples to my sons. I hold up as examples those people who keep the standard regardless of temporal consequences.
I don't know if we're afraid of setting a bar and shooting for it, or of offending others by showing we're shooting for it, or... or... what.

Get Thee Hence!

As of today, Adam has officially been on his mission for exactly a month!  Every letter glows with his love of learning his role as a missionary, meeting new people, and growing in testimony.

Which is what brings on this blog post.  The adversary discovered he could use my wonderful son against me.

It started small.  I couldn't even say exactly what the beginning point was, so I'll just jump to the point of realization, which was last Monday, his most recent prep day.  It went like this - I hate my phone making noise at me all day, so I leave off the notifications.  One of the first things I've started doing Monday morning is turning on e-mail notifications so I'll see when his e-mail comes in.  Anticipation for a few hours, then hooray, it's arrived!  This week Jamie was even home, so we gathered everyone together and read his message.  So so exciting to read!  As we e-mailed short response letter back and forth for a bit, the thoughts started coming...

He didn't say anything about the letter you wrote him.
You aren't important to him.
You shouldn't spend so much time thinking of good things to write him, it doesn't matter.
Nobody cares what you have to say.
And on and painfully on.

Jamie headed off to work and the thoughts continued.  I started to wonder, did he even get my letter?  I had attached some pictures from the week.  Maybe that's not allowed?  Maybe he sat and read letters from everyone else and is wondering why I didn't write.  I imagined him confused, wondering why so early on in his mission his mom already isn't writing.  I sent Jamie a text about that, and he called (probably realizing something was up).  About 5 seconds into the call I was in tears, so consumed with all the negative hurtful thoughts I was having.

Poor Jamie is not used to having a fragile, weepy wife!  He did his best, and even sent Adam an e-mail (which I still need to delete) solely to say, please mention your mom it would do a lot of good.  I'm chuckling now as I write this.  He married a tough gal, and had no idea what to do with the person he was talking to at that moment.  I'm very grateful he was trying!

That wasn't the first episode, but it was certainly the worst.  Satan found a golden opening to derail me, using my motherly desire to be important to my children, and I was so consumed by it that my children at home got a cruddy mother.

Maybe the voices were getting louder and easier to see for what they are, but thankfully this time I recognized everything for what it was, and that night I went to bed drained from it all, praying for a miracle to help me close it all out.

The next morning I wrote this in my journal:

"Satan doesn't know who he's messing with.

I am a daughter of God!  I have made covenants that bind me eternally to His work.  I know He loves me, and that my Savior loves me.  Without them I am nothing.  With them, I can do anything.  My life is in their hands, to further their great work on this earth.

I may still discover chinks in my armor for Satan's fiery darts, but these will be quickly discovered and strengthened.  But still the armor is there, every day.

I am enlisted.  Battle on."

The adversary is real and always watching for a weak point. It's one thing to love my children, and quite another to base who I am on them, what they do, and if they tell me thanks for what I do.

The seriousness and strength of it all seems so stupid and weak now.  But I also recognize this battle might not be completely over.  We shall see.