Eternal Grace

It is the season to #LightTheWorld, which is the Mormon version of the advent calendar in a doing kind of way.

The fun started on Friday with giving freely as we have received freely.

I gave a hug to someone who needed one, even though I am not a kind of huggy person.

So maybe that’s not a fancy kind of giving, but it was something I could do that was still a hard one for me.

Then Saturday was about giving “drink” to someone who is “thirsty”.

I thought maybe we could share some of Kyrie’s extra feeding formula to someone who needed it like we did a few months ago, but I couldn’t find anyone. I pulled off the assignment by giving a friend a listening ear, and some basic coping skill information, and in the end, hope.

Today was about doing well on the Sabbath Day, and what the world needed more than anything from me was for me to spend some time with my children.

I didn’t just need to “do well” on this Sabbath Day. I needed to mom well.

I tried. I made their favorite hot breakfast. I got lunch for after church in the crockpot. I let my girls snuggle with me during steak conference, working on taking down their braids because it is what meant attention and care to them, even though such activity would be against the letter of the law for me. But they interpreted it as snuggles, and that is what was important today.

When my younger three were done after the first hour of our conference meetings, I didn’t fuss at them. I just excused us, took them for a walk, and finished with them in one of the other “cry rooms”.

After church and after lunch, I gathered all their blankets into one giant pile in the living room, and we all took turns snuggling. I didn’t worry about dishes. I didn’t worry about coming up with dinner. I didn’t retreat to my own room to rest on my first weekend off work in two weeks.

I just snuggled my babies, all afternoon, even when they “did my hair” and wrestled instead of snuggling.

It was what we needed, and throwing together dinner and treats for the Christmas devotional was an easy thing after first having done what was most important.

Sometimes doing what is most important is harder than others.

Like not being afraid.

It says more times in scriptures than anything else, do not fear.

And that’s one of the lessons presented every time a person of faith is being prepared to enter the presence of God: do not fear.

That’s what it says, every time.

Do not fear, not when your daughter is sick.

Do not fear, not when you have six little ones to raise.

Do not fear, not when politics are ugly, not when the world is a scary place, not when you are doing all you can do to make the best of it as a family.

And the way you make the best of it is more than just not being afraid.

It’s about every day being an act of faith, about getting up to try again, about having the courage to do better than yesterday.

Or maybe the wisdom to soak in every second of the present for all it’s worth.

There are plenty of days where I wish I could have done better at whatever I was trying to do, or been kinder with whomever I was interacting, or done more to help things go a little more smoothly at work, or been a little more patient with the children.

So many children.

But if the Sabbath is a temple in time, then today was one of those rare days of sitting in the celestial room for hours of prayer surrounded by angels who care. It was the kind of day that made the noise of the children sweet again, made the burdens of mortality worth it again, and made the next steps clear again – even when we don’t have all the answers or escape routes that would make life less threatening.

What I mean to say, is that today I rested.

I know, right? It’s a big deal.

But I rested, and it was good.

We ended the evening with the Christmas Devotional, which was so amazing, but here was my second favorite quote:

“Divine love fills eternity.

It overflows with eternal grace.

It reaches out and lifts up.

It forgives. It blesses. It redeems.”

~ President Uchtdorf

Eternal grace. I think that’s what I needed.

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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