In Chapter 6, Part 2 of Dates with God, we see Jill confront her hopelessness about ever being an organized homemaker and mom. She does a lost battle analysis and decides on a drill to help her prevent the lost battle from happening again. With her love of crafts, she starts looking for scriptures about the handiwork of God and His hands. This allows her to see how good it is to acknowledge the hand of God in her own life, even on the worst of days.
Jill Letter #6
What am I fighting for? To save my eternal marriage and family so I can have ultimate joy. I know that exaltation, or the highest joy in the kingdom of heaven, is eternal family life. Being happy up there will arise naturally from being happy down here. It all starts with my seemingly unimportant little goals, my Girl Goals, which help keep harmony and order in the home so that I want to have an eternal marriage and family. Let’s face it, I don’t want to be with my family when we are grouchy, but when we are all happy and loving, then I really enjoy it. I recognize that it’s easier to be happy and loving when we have regular meals and order to the chores and playtime. I am fighting to have dinner by 6 PM every night. I am fighting to work with kids after every meal on the dishes, instead of me doing them myself after I finally get them to bed or the next morning (ugh!), and to track my spending every day which allows me to stick to our budget.
Why am I fighting for these things? Because I love my family and I want to have fun with them without resenting them. I want to feel that I want to be with them for eternity! I want to create a stronger family with more order and unity for playtime, dinnertime, chore time, and bedtime. An earlier dinner helps us to have a more peaceful bedtime. I also want to stay out of debt.
Why don’t I give up?
Waaahhhh! Sometimes I do!!!!! But it doesn’t last long, because I know that wouldn’t give me joy for the long haul. I also want to show satan that I am firm and resolute and he can’t beat me!
I have a hard time though accepting that I am really in a battle. I just don’t want to believe it! I keep hearing a smooth voice in my head saying, “You’re not in a battle. Relax. Just go watch some Disney movies with the kids and bake some cookies. Play. Have fun. Don’t stress.”
Can’t we just say that satan can only attack us between 8 and 5 on weekdays? Not in the evenings or weekends? Why do we have to be on guard all the time? I hate having to watch out for the sneaky snake. I don’t like making dinner. I don’t like telling kids to come do work. I don’t like cleaning up. In the late afternoon, and evening I get so tired. I want to just chill and play with my crafts and decorating projects. Rob wants to just relax at night. I always wonder what Rob does in his office all day that makes him so worn out. He is not fixing three meals, cleaning up after three meals, and chasing after kids to help with three meals. Not to mention keeping the kids from destroying themselves and the surroundings.
Dear God, sometimes I feel so hopeless. Can I ever be focused on all of the detailed, boring tasks of making a home run properly? I almost wish I could go back and not be a mom and have my mom be the mom and run things. She was so efficient and good at it. I know I would miss my cute kids though. I just don’t like having to interrupt my projects to clean, corral kids, or make dinner. I don’t like being with whiny kids. I don’t like making whiny kids do dishes. I wish I could just craft and blog and decorate all day every day. Ha-ha, Rob and my friends think that’s already what I do but it’s so not true.
I missed fixing dinner again by 6 PM. I actually remembered to do my Lost Battle Analysis right away.
Q5, Level 5 Where? My house When? 6:15 PM
Q4, Level 4 Where? My house, on my phone When? In the late afternoon
Q3, Level 3 SAME AS ABOVE When ? Same
Q2, Level 2 build up of stress When? All through the day
Q1, Level 1 anger Same
What I would do differently if I could replay the event over is not check my phone until after 2 PM. I think I’m going to set an alarm on my phone to go off. I am labeling it “What are you fighting for?”
Then I am going to answer my question by saying out loud the three Girl Goals I have. Then I am going to do 5 push ups and some cheerleader jumps (yep, can still do them even with my weight gain!) while I listen to some of my girl warrior music on my iPhone.
I started looking up scriptures that have to do with “handiwork” because that’s one of my passions. Then I decided I wanted to look up scriptures that have to do with Thine hands. Here are some that I found:
“Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.” Moses 6:32
That scripture greatly comforts me. Along with the scripture that says,
“Be still and know that I am God.” They help me to quiet my mind instead of going along with the satanic spin. I’ve been saying it to myself every time this past week when I start to feel myself spinning. I picture a ladybug on my hand. It can keep racing frantically to try to get out of my hand and fly away, or she could just sit back, trust, and enjoy the free ride. That’s how it us with us in God’s hands.
“Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.” 2 Nephi 1:6
In class every week Emma has been telling stories about her ancestors coming to America. She has an extremely dysfunctional family, so she’s finding healing in stories from way back of ancestors who did normal and even great things. She has found many stories of people who even did amazing things like seeking religious freedom, and being righteous family members who worked hard for their living. She told us all about Roger Williams, her 9th great grandfather. He was born in England and educated at Cambridge. He came to America in search for religious freedom ten years after the Mayflower Pilgrims arrived. When he disagreed with the narrow-minded church authorities in Massachusetts, he left in the middle of the night, before they could arrest him and ship him back to England. It was also in the middle of a blizzard so he had to walk in deep snow and hide out in the woods. He walked over 100 miles to the Wampanoag tribe of Indians where he befriended them and gratefully accepted their hospitality and shelter.
He eventually founded the colony of Rhode Island from land that he bought from these Indians. He called the capital city of Rhode Island “Providence” because he felt God had brought him there. He even gave his next daughter that name. He also established the first Baptist Church in America. At first he wanted to baptize all the Indians he could find, but then he decided that the valid church with power to baptize in Jesus’ name was not on the earth. He was also the first abolitionist in America and fought to ban slavery from all thirteen colonies. After Emma told us his story she shared 1 Nephi 1:6 with us to point out that there is a divinely-appointed reason that Roger came to America after he was born in England. It was so he could help increase religious freedom in America and open the way for other churches besides the Puritan brand of Christianity to be established here in America, especially the restoration of Jesus Christ’s true church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I think about his descendants, I figure that probably all of them had to be born in America in order for them to have the freedom to grow and pursue their missions, including Emma.
“How have I seen the hand of God in my life today?” This isn’t a scripture, but it is from a General Conference talk by Pres. Henry B. Eyring, from October 2007 entitled “O Remember, Remember.” I heard about this from one of the ladies in the class. She asks herself this question every night in her letter to Thee. Then she writes the answer. It helps her to be more spiritually minded and grateful. I think I might start doing this. Pres. Eyring said he was told by a voice in his head to write down the moments he noticed in his life of people sharing God’s love by extending kindness to him, like the time his father-in-law walked past him late at night carrying pipes to work on building a pump for Pres. Eyring’s property. The voice told him to write these observations down not for himself but for others, especially his posterity. Then Pres. Eyring tells of how he obeyed that very night even though it was late. He got out some paper and wrote down this act of kindness towards his family. He continued to write consistently every day for a long time, answering this question every night. Eventually his children grew older and started reading from these journals and were blessed by seeing Thine Providence in their family’s life. I looked up the talk and found this quote:
“More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened.”
I could use those blessings of increased testimony, gratitude, and softening and refining, so I am going to start doing this. My home needs to feel much more of those feelings, and I recognize that I am the instrument for those feelings to flow into my home.
“And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.” D&C 59:21
So acknowledging Thine hand is not just a nice, extra thing to do like putting fresh flowers in my living room or going out to eat every week. It is required if I want to be in harmony with Thee. Plus Thou wants me to obey Thine commandments. This seemed harsh to me at first, but when I think about my own kids and my relationship to them, it doesn’t seem harsh at all. My kids and I have a beautiful, fabulous home and family life, thanks to Thee, thanks to Rob for working so hard to provide for us, and thanks to me for all my work of cleaning, organizing, and beautifying. Of course our life isn’t perfect but as my blog shows with all of the photos that I love to take, we have a beautiful home and lifestyle. I love crafting and designing and cooking and the fun parts of being a mom. I’ve given them everything they have, and they have hardly given anything back to me, in comparison. Just cuteness, smiles, and cuddles.
If I look at my own kids and how blessed they are because of me and my hands in their lives, getting them all the food they eat by planning for it, shopping for it, cooking it, and cleaning up afterward, getting them all of their clothes, keeping their clothes clean, and using my hands to create a beautiful, safe, and clean home for them, and they too all of the credit and didn’t acknowledge me ever, I would be mad. I can see how Thou would get mad if Thine children didn’t acknowledge Thee. What if my kids started a blog, and put pictures up of our beautiful home with all of my crafts and decorations and furniture and said that it all came from their work and didn’t mention me? You can bet I would definitely be steamed about their presumptuousness, their dishonesty, and their ingratitude. Maybe that’s just a smidgen of how Thou feels when I am ungrateful.
I’m starting to see the big picture. I ask Thee to continue to broaden my vision to what Thine vision is for me and my family through the eternities.