Through my recent research I have had this idea of “magnifying our efforts through Christ” on my mind. I was taught this principle again in the most unlikely circumstances: It was a really, really hard morning. My patience was gone before I woke up and […]
This morning I had an hour-long cuddle session with my 2-year-old. You should be jealous–it was heavenly. He woke up an hour early and I decided not to stress about all that I could have accomplished in that hour. You could call it being lazy but I am […]
I have been reading about Martha and Mary and was surprised by the line that struck me with power during this morning’s study. Each part of Martha’s plea was expounded in my mind to teach me what I needed to hear:
“Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.”
First, “My sister hath left me to serve alone”–there is so much more here. In essence is she saying:
1-This isn’t fair (I am sure she would have loved to learn at Christ’s feet instead of cook).
2- Sister Bonnie D. Parkin also brings to light how she is comparing and judging her state to her sister’s.
Martha feels like she is working so so hard while her sister gets to sit there–seemingly trial-free–and bask in the joy of learning from the Lord.
On the surface, those around us on social media or other outlets seem to put forth no effort and may have a seemingly trial-free life and are able to bask in so many blessings that feel withheld from us.
“Bid her therefore that she help me.” Martha does not lack faith in His power as she tells (not asks) Jesus to tell Mary to come help.
In the midst of my trials I never seem to lack faith that I know Heavenly Father has the ability to fix the problem and make it all better, and I may have a time or two been a bit demanding about my pleas for Him to take away my trial just as Martha essentially tells Christ what to do here.
But I think the monumental part of what Martha said is the preface in her statement: “Lord, dost thou not care…?”
I wonder if her words would have been different if she truly understood the Atonement that He would soon perform for her. There is for a surety no other greater act of love and sincere caring that was performed on this earth but she still first asked: “dost thou not care?”
I know in my mind and in my heart of the ultimate gift of the Atonement; however, during the darkest of lows and hardest of days I believe it is still our natural desire and most foundational, simple plea to know that He loves us. When all else around us seems to be failing and overwhelming our last breath, somehow the Love of the Lord in its simplicity and perfection is always what we need and always enough to stop the world from spinning around us.
A testimony of His love is foundational to all other faith and thus Martha begins her plea to the Lord for help with a request to be assured that He cares for her.
I hear so much weighing on Martha’s shoulders through this short sentence in the scriptures.
The beauty in this story for me comes from the Lord’s response as he says: “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things.” The Lord heard what she said but was able to look upon her heart and see the that she was “troubled about many things.” The Lord saw that there was more to Martha’s request than merely help with dinner. He saw all that was weighing on her heart and overwhelming her–as He sees us–and encouraged her–and us–to simplify and prioritize, to choose the good part and come listen to His words.
It wasn’t so much a lot of tears and sobbing. It was more a general sense of dread, like nothing could ever be good or worthwhile. Maybe it was a little like how Ron Weasley describes the all-encompassing chill of dementors in the Harry Potter […]
“…With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) His hands trembled and his shoulders hunched as he stepped forward to take the tray of bread. As he walked up to the stand at the front of the chapel, he glanced from side to side, making […]
Despite my best efforts, it had happened again: the Curse of the Witching Hour. You know what I’m talking about. You’ve nearly gotten through the day, dinner is in the works, bedtime is in sight…and then…
For the third day in a row, I had become a monster!
It was their fault, of course…. They were playing a game actually called “Monster,” where they basically chase each other around the house, trying to catch and tackle everyone else. Not my first choice of family activities, but at least they were starting out happy and occupied. All I wanted was to get this bread dough going!
And then, of course, someone screams. One has been smashed down between the mattress and bed frame by another. Then someone tries to help and ends up jabbing an elbow in somebody else’s face. Not. Good. The threads of patience are unraveling. They’re not even supposed to be playing with the mattress!
My mind begins to race, living out the episode moment by moment: I’m starting to lose my cool as nobody apologizes, nobody helps anyone who’s hurt.
Fine. Everyone to the floor, sit back-to-back in a circle. No talking. Mama is going to be right back.
In the kitchen, the sound track in my mind switches to anxious, uncertain music. Time is ticking. I’m supposed to know what to do here. But I have no idea! I just want to walk out the door. Or worse. I’m definitely not going to do anything like that, but then…what?!
Back to the bread dough. Kneading dough always helps me get my angst out. Breathe. Pray. Father, what should I do??
Of course, when I step back and think rationally about it, I know what’s going on. Everyone knows about the Curse of 5:00. Whether we’re all tired from schooling, too much or too little to do, annoyed at siblings, feeling cooped up in our little apartment, sick of the rain, hungry—or maybe all of these things. It amounts to the same result: the Curse, complete with extreme crankiness. I get it just the same as the kids. So the past few days that my husband had been out of town, I had actively tried to counteract the effects. Snacks in the afternoon, exercise time together, free time and/or structured activities. Nothing seemed to be improving that cursed hour.
But this time as I throttled the roll dough, the prayer in my heart enacted a change. I was blessed with the capacity NOT to yell at them right away. Progress… I felt ready to approach the circle of contrition—well, not ready, per se, but I had to do SOMETHING. I knelt down with words of chastisement ready to roll off my tongue. Instead, words of love came out. I expressed the focus of being a forever family, that we’re each different from one another, working together for our future—and that’s a good thing. I told them I would never, NEVER give up on them. I voiced my love for them, because love is what a family is all about.
This was literally a mini-miracle moment in our home. We all hugged and got to laughing, then went on with the evening. They helped with making a bigger mess of the bread dough—happily—and we got dinner ready together. The Curse (that night, at least) was broken.
As I contemplated the difference in outcomes, a sentence from “As a Man Thinketh,” by James Allen, came to mind:
“Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself.”
The madness going on in my house for three days hadn’t changed. It was me. Previous witching hours bore the marks of a mama reacting to the chaos, blind-sided by distractions, & over-correcting in the darkness. Tonight’s mama had asked and allowed the Spirit to take the wheel, guiding us all to the safety of love and focus on things eternal.
We still suffer from the Curse now and then. But I’m learning to let the Lord be a partner more in our home, to ask Him more specifically for help with the things with which we struggle, and to have more faith that He will tell me “in the very moment… what ye shall say” (D&C 100:6). This way, I can more often catch a glimpse of the self I want to become.
Recently an older lady at church told my husband that she would like to help serve us and for us to have a bag a laundry ready for her to pick up the next day. My husband told her that that would be very appreciated. […]
Please share with anyone you know who may need our help. If you are considering abortion, please consider allowing Brigham and I the privilege of loving and raising your baby. We will love you and your baby for eternity, and do all in our power […]