Sunday, August 21, 2011


What I love about the gospel of Jesus Christ is that it is NEVER changing. His law, is THE law. Obeying God's commandments is the only way to have real joy and peace in this life. And when we do what he asks the blessings we get are so far greater than we ever deserve...

Clearly I'm not so great at being perfect. (just go read my post from a couple of weeks ago...btw, thanks for all the love on that one:p) Thankfully God doesn't expect us to be. He just wants us to be making our best efforts to do his will by keeping his commandments. (see I am learning)
One of the commandments that I work really hard at is keeping the Sabbath Day holy. Besides going to church, I make every effort to treat this day differently from any other day of the week. I don't go shopping. I work on family history. I watch programs that are geared towards Christ and family (thank you BYU channel for making this easy for me and my kids). I try to read only material that is focused on Christ and His teachings. I also will only play music that is uplifting and Christ centered. These things aren't hard for me (unless the Red Sox are playing and then I will sneak a peek at the score after the kids are in bed). The sweet spirit that comes into my home because I make those efforts is worth the worldly sacrifices.
I don't judge anyone else who doesn't do these things, I just know that this works for me. I need this day every week to really check in with my Heavenly Father. The other six days are so busy that just getting my daily prayers and scripture study in takes a huge amount of effort. So Sunday I give it to Him.
Most Sundays aren't super reverent by any means. Getting three kids ready for church and then sitting with them for an hour during our family service can be anything but reverent. Then after that service I get to teach the 18mos to 3yr olds for two hours. (I am the Nursery Leader in my ward. I have 30 children and 3 classes with 9 adults that I am responsible for) This is not play time people. This is teaching time. It is work and requires lots of love and patience. Not a ton of reverence but lots of blessings.
So here is where this post is going...
This Sunday I am all alone. Aric is in Oregon with the kids at my mom's for "Grandparents Week O' Fun" (aka: "fun for kids and that's about it" week). I was supposed to go but I was really feeling overwhelmed with life (tutoring all summer, lots of company, two big trips back to back, school starting two days after we get back, Maya going to middle school, Camden...need I say more...actually yes, I do need to say more, but I am saving that for the next post, Eden being swallowed up by the middle child syndrome, my lack of acceptance that I really am in the next stage of life...parent of pre-teenager, etc...)So Aric lovingly rearranged his schedule and took my place (my sister and I take turns staying there for half the week to keep the chaos somewhat in control).
When he first told me he would go I was in shock. I was in the middle of loading the washer when he casually said he would do it. I literally started to cry over my agitating washer. I was a little startled by my own reaction. Why in the world was I crying about this? 
At first it was because I was so happy and then it was because I felt so guilty for feeling so happy. Then I felt so loved by Aric for doing this for me that all of the sudden I felt totally undeserving. Then I was scared because maybe he wasn't being serious and I was still going to have to go!
He told me this the night before I was supposed to leave. After the kids went to bed I sat him down and asked him if he was really being serious and he told me that he could rearrange his schedule and that he knew I needed this so it wasn't a big deal.
This was a dream come true for me! The greatest Mother's Day, Birthday, Christmas, Anniversary gift he could ever give me. Six days in my house without the kids. 
*Not because I don't adore each of my children. They literally are my life...24/7...12 months a year. No day care to take them to. No office to escape to. My home is my office. I mean no disrespect to working mom's, that is a whole different kind of stress. I'm only trying to paint a nice picture of why this break was so precious to me.*
Aric and I have gone on vacations and I have a weekend every year that I get away for a little retreat, but to be in my house to get all the things done that I can never get around to doing is awesome! But even more than that is that, I have some serious time to reflect and get myself back on track. I had been running on fumes and now my tank is full and it's only been two days alone! My house is eerily still and a little too quiet for my liking, but I am using every moment thoughtfully. In fact right after they left on Friday afternoon I made a list of all the things I wanted to do while I had the house to myself (BTW..Aric gets home Monday night). 
Here is a sampling of that list:
Organize Guest Closet
Revamp the basement playing area
Paint kids bathroom and vanity
Reupholster two chairs
Get school shopping done
Organize my closet
Make garage functional again
Organize junk drawer #2 that used to hold Camden's bottles and such
Go through kids clothes
Make Maya a new scripture bag
Mend the stuff in the "mend pile"
You get the picture. Lots of random stuff that I just can't find the time to do on any given day. Well, I have to admit it was tempting to use today as a "get-a-ton-of-stuff-accomplished" day. But then I realized how many "soul projects" I could do instead. And being that it is the Sabbath and all, I decided to use today as the perfect opportunity to dejunk my soul and really have a reverent Sunday.
I had already made arrangements for a sub for my class so I went to my sister's church service. I got up listened to my church music, watched a morning devotional on the BYU channel, got ready for church, got to church early, and sat there in peace. As I watched the families filing in, I missed Aric and my kids. Although, it was amazing how much I got out of the meeting since I wasn't refereeing the girl's or dealing with C. 
Afterwards I went to the adult Sunday School class which was awesome. The lesson was on tithing and it made me think about all the blessings I have in my life because Aric and I tithe. I got to bear my testimony of it with grown ups and it felt great. Then I went to the women's class which was interesting. I liked the subject (temples), but I have to admit I was missing my crazy little class. 

My nursery class may not be the optimal place you would want to be to ponder or meditate, but I can promise you that the Spirit of God is in that class in abundance! He loves those little people and he wants them to be taught his gospel. Even if our lessons are only five minutes long those children are feeling the spirit and they are being taught. Our music time is my favorite and I feel the spirit every week when I teach the children songs about Heavenly Father and Jesus. Today I missed that :(
When I got home I did some family history research and then checked in with A and the kids. Which brings me to this moment, to this post. 
I needed this pause in my daily grind for many reasons, but the most important reason was that I need some alone time with God. I needed to spend some quality time with reacquainting myself with my Savior. I needed to keep the Sabbath Day holy and not give into my projecting impulse. Because I chose to honor the Sabbath...I have been shown my weaknesses. I have been called to repentance. I have been shown who to serve and how to serve them. I have been shown a better way to run my household. I have felt forgiveness and love. I know I wouldn't have had this experience, to this magnitude, had I not been observing the Sabbath so fully.
I know this feeling won't last. I will have to push the un-pause button in a few days, but I know how better to find it when I start losing it again. I'm so grateful for Aric recognizing how desperately I needed this. I know the spirit nudged him and thankfully he responded to the prompting. This is the first time I have ever been alone in my house for any real length of time. I know that this is not something I can ask for every year. But I do know now that I do need this, and even if it's for only a day or two I will ask for it and I will use that time wisely and make sure to give a chunk of it to God.
So now I am going to go for a walk, do some more reflecting and get myself geared up for tomorrow and all the projects that await me.

I had to post a picture of this dress I got yesterday for $12 at Macy's! I hate taking a picture of myself with a self timer so this is as good as it gets.


the wrath of khandrea said...

how interesting that one of our sacrament meeting talks was on this very thing today.

perhaps the message is for me as well... time for a pause in my own life!

thanks for posting.

Lindsey said...

What a blessing to have those amazing days. Enjoy.

Lauren in GA said...

Such a great post, Jessica. You are a wonderful example. I admire how you made sure to take the time to work on your relationship with Heavenly Father and reaquainting yourself with the Savior.

Your to do list is amazing. YOU are amazing, my dear.

Rochelleht said...

Oh, I just LOVED that post. Thank you!!!

Jean McKendrick said...

I have had the kids in school TWO days and those two days I have scrubbed and organized and vacuumed, dusted and scrubbed some more. It is amazing what you DON'T get to in the summer when you are busy playing with the kids. You ARE right, there is no stress like motherhood. No job that is harder or more important. I went to work for 7 years and it wasn't nearly as hard as staying home with my kids! You enjoy every minute of your time to get stuff done. It's precious. I had to get up in the middle of the night and take something and ice my back because I worked so hard yesterday. It's all good though. I discovered a new pinesol I love! It's the one with the blue tint, smells like clean laundry. I spray it on my dish rag just so I can walk by and smell it in my kitchen. Good luck getting everything done!!

Elena said...

I'm glad you were able to get all your things done and still found time to worship by yourself. I take for granted that I get to focus at church, until we get the grandchildren or help a young mom. Then I find myself "missing" a lot of the meeting.I know you will be blest for all your efforts. Aric was a good sport and went along with all our shannigans. I wonder what people may have thought about our mixed bag of 11 kids (hispanic, caucasian, 1 black) and 3 adults who didn't resemble one another. ; )