The Savior’s Four Gifts to an Imperfect Mother
This morning, the day after Christmas, was spent unburying the house. Permanent locations were found for new toys and books. Stockings were emptied and rehung in their limp state. Dad set up our little burn pit in the back yard and turned a mountain of wrapping paper into ashes to spread in the garden.
As a reward for everyone’s efforts to find the floors and counters again, we attempted to pile into our full-sized van for a sledding excursion.
“Attempt” is the key word here. A slightly bored, only-child friend had been invited to join the fun, which was marvelous until we started loading the van. After a 20 minute scramble to find everyone’s snow pants, boots, gloves, coats, and hats AT THE SAME TIME (do the math — -that’s 91 clothing items!) it became clear that someone would have to double seat belt in order for this to work. As a war was breaking out in the back seat, I couldn’t keep the pregnancy tears in any more. Doggone those emotions that will not stay in check!
In spite of more than one person offering to stay back with the one-year-old who desperately needed a nap, I carried the baby into the house and sent the crew on their way, everyone happily in their own space with their own seatbelt.
After trying to treat myself to a brainless novel for 30 minutes, I restlessly looked out the window at distant snowy mountains and began to review my personal list of imperfections and weaknesses brought about by the day’s events. Although a very humbling activity, I would not recommend this to anyone seeking to be uplifted!
That’s when a 2018 Christmas address by President Russell M. Nelson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came to mind: “Four Gifts That Jesus Christ Offers to You”. The hope and application of his message soothed my frazzled, mistake-soaked mind and heart. I hope these highlights can do the same for you.
President Nelson began by asking pointed questions about our desires.
“What are your deepest desires? What do you really want to experience and accomplish in this life? Do you really want to become more and more like Jesus Christ? Do you really want to live with Heavenly Father and with your family forever and live as He lives?”
Taking time to think about each of those questions, one at a time, may teach you a lot about yourself, as it did for me.
President Nelson continued, “If you do, you will want to accept many gifts offered by the Lord to help you and me during our time of mortal probation. Let us focus on four of the gifts Jesus Christ gave to all who are willing to receive them.6
First, He gave you and me an unlimited capacity to love.”
How grateful I am for opportunities to accept and to give this gift! I still have far to go in learning to love unconditionally, the way our Savior does.
“A second gift the Savior offers you is the ability to forgive,” said President Nelson.
As a bumbling mortal, I say and do the wrong thing every day in spite of my best efforts to do good. How grateful I am for the people who forgive me, and what a treasure to forgive and move forward with a clear conscience as we work with other imperfect human beings in our paths.
President Nelson stated, “A third gift from the Savior is that of repentance.” To me, repentance means when we turn to Him for help, our Savior can help us change a little at a time. Later, President Nelson said, “True repentance is not an event. It is a never-ending privilege. It is fundamental to progression and having peace of mind, comfort, and joy.” I, a weak little insignificant mother of many children, know this to be true.
“A fourth gift from our Savior is actually a promise — a promise of life everlasting. This does not mean simply living for a really, really, really long time…..When the Father offers us everlasting life, He is saying in essence, “If you choose to follow my Son — if your desire is really to become more like Him — then in time you may live as we live….” That gives me a lot of hope, purpose, and perspective as I work with His children in my home and everywhere I go.
The memory of those gifts pulled me out of despondency today. It helped me stand up straight and try again, unchecked pregnancy hormones, 91 pieces of clothes scattered across a once-organized mud room, and all.
President Nelson ended with this thought: “[Jesus Christ’s] infinite and perfect love moved Him to atone for you and me. That gift — His Atonement — allows all of His other gifts to become ours.”
And that, my friends, is why I get out of bed every morning. Sometimes it’s with a smile. Sometimes it’s with a groan. Sometimes it’s with three preschoolers jumping on me, but I get up because my Savior gave me gifts that make my life worthwhile — -when I choose to receive them. May we each do the same.