I have been reading my scriptures more and praying lots because, well...don't you, when you feel lost? When all is not well? When big decisions and little decisions and beds and meals need to be made?
But since last week, we saw Scott's brother off on his mission.
Kept celebrating Cali's first year.
We went to a Mormon Tabernacle Choir Concert.
We celebrated Valentines Day.
We had a long prayed for miracle for this sweet boy....
And yet, I have felt like a blind wanderer, with my hands out in front of me feeling my way around. Life is a whole lot of toil and a whole lot of labor and at the end of each day, I have felt like crying for mercy.
Last Saturday Scott and I worked all day to finish the "to do" list and be ready in time for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert. It is a lot of work to prepare a house hold of 5 children to be parentless for several hours. I had called one of the older girls in our ward and asked her to come over just long enough to get Cali changed, fed and put down for the night. Kaden could take it from there. But in the last 2 hours before we needed to leave, things started to fall apart.
Kaden had a merit badge clinic, dinner still needed to be made, a bedroom door got locked and we couldn't get it opened with out removing the entire door knob. Our kids were still running back and forth with the neighbor kids and we had a last minute baby-sitter switch. When Kaden came home and realized that there was a girl, close to his age that would be there to help with Cali, he just about lost it. He was mad to say the least and it was beyond difficult for Scott and I to get out the door.
I dripped tears into my skirt the whole way there. It wasn't just this last incident that upset Kaden that had gotten to me, it was the million things before that one. It was the annoying little health problems that I have had, non-stop since January. It was homework that was piling up. It was house repairs that never seem to get done. It was a baby that is barley staying on the charts, in the 1% range of weight, and a few other private sorrows. So many things that life lays before you and says, "deal with it, I dare you." And on that quick drive to Phoenix, I was ready to surrender. All the work just didn't feel worth it.
We were well into the second half of the concert when the sweet familiar strains of "Come, Come Ye Saints", started to fill the arena. I was nestled deep into the shelter of Scott's left shoulder and as soon as those beautiful words started to spill into my heart, I felt the world and her cares start to lift.
I closed my eyes and saw my little girl-self, laying on the shag carpet of my childhood home. My Dad could play only one piano piece, it was, "Come Come Ye Saints" and in my mind, I remembered laying there listening to him play and while I sobbed. My Dad had just told me what this precious song meant, what it was all about and I knew in my young heart that it was true.
I have heard and sung this hymn so many times since that day but on Saturday night, in a huge hall, with thousands of other people, I just listened and let that little girl testimony from so long ago come rushing back.
When will I ever learn that on those days when the journey feels too long, too hot and too hard- that the reason we travel it, makes it always worth it.
"Though hard to you, this journey may appear, Grace shall be as your day."
My feet will be blistered and sore and my spirit may get sick from time to time, from all the exposure to the world, there is so much work ahead to do, so many steps to take and there may be an occasional wrong turn but we go onward. This was just another of the many, many times that I have felt that certain reassurance when I could have sworn, I was on the edge of the cliff.
"Gird up your loins fresh courage take, our God will never us forsake"
Fresh courage comes when you need it. It comes in early morning scripture study when you think you should be sleeping. It comes in late night, desperate prayer. It comes in rocking your baby and hugging your pre-teen and it comes in going back and having Family Night each week- even when it was a disaster the last time. It comes when you peel yourself off your bed in the morning to do more laundry, prepare more meals and all the while teaching these little souls to be kind and choose the right, to have good manners and to stay away from danger.
Fresh courage is heavens help born of your faith, because there will always be days when we mourn and think our lot is hard. And it sometimes is. But we put one foot in front of the next and we keep going. The cause of raising a family, in this crazy, fallen world is a good one. It isn't crossing the plains, it isn't enduring starvation or frost bite but it is a journey just the same and it comes with daily challenges, constant lurking danger and exposure to a whole host of threats. And Mothers that stay home and face it head on, are a dieing breed.
However, "no toil or labor fear" right? And most importantly...."but with JOY wend your way", I always let myself forget that part. I am going to have it put up on my wall as soon as possible. If they did it, so can I.
How grateful I am for that little testimony that started to bud inside of me 2 and half decades ago on the shag carpet of the living room. Because last week that little piece of testimony combined with years of earned knowledge and was ignited by the beautiful strains of a world famous choir, singing a 160 year old pioneer anthem, to give me new hope and fresh courage, just when I needed it.
Happy day, all is well.
Come, Come Ye Saints. Page 30 of the LDS Hymn Book, words by William Clayton.