Friday, August 19, 2016

For This

In August of 2011 Scott and I had 5 children our oldest was 11 and our youngest was 7 months. Scott was serving in our bishopric and working away from home for most hours of most days. We were living in our small but beloved first little home where we had lived for nearly 12 years. My life was happy but it was hard and exhausting with all the trials and demands of life and motherhood always weighing on my heart. My favorite out-let then, as it is now, was writing. I would stay up late just to get the chance to put my heart on paper. To sort through life by writing it down and by making a record. I wrote almost every single day. 

On the evening of September 5th I sat down to record a small but sacred experience I had the week before and when it was done I posted it on my blog. A few weeks later I submitted it to the Ensign, not expecting to hear anything back, which I didn't. I never forgot about the little piece of writing and I read it often but I did forget all about the submission.

Years came and went and life rolled on as it always does. In 2012 we moved out of our wonderful home and ward that I loved with all my heart. I wrote about the move here. It was a hard hard change for me. I struggled to feel at home in our new neighborhood and then in 2014 I was called to serve as Primary President. I adored this calling, I finally felt at home again after a long stretch of feeling lost. For the next two years I put my heart into the Primary and I received so many wonderful tender mercies and blessing in this time. In April of 2016 our ward and stake had a major split but because I stayed in my original ward I remained the Primary President. I went straight home and spent countless hours that week redoing class lists and rearranging teachers, calling subs and preparing a Sharing Time lesson. 4 days into all of this work I was called in and released. All releases are hard when you have loved your calling but this one broke my heart. It was so unexpected and felt so abrupt that I struggled to wrap my heart around it. It hurt--to say the least

And then in May, out of the blue, I was contacted by the Ensign and asked to give my permission for my submission from 5 years earlier to be published. I sent the permission and felt instantly as if Heaven was saying, I see you, I know you, I need you. Timing is everything to the Lord and it was just the message of love I needed right then.

I was sent a shorter version (for sake of space) of my original article and told it would run in September but not to tell anyone since publication schedules can change without notice. But today the September 2016 edition of The Ensign was posted and there was my article. I love it and I am so thankful for the counsel to record our experiences in writing, the practice of doing so has blessed my life again and again. 

Here is my original version below and here is the Ensign version. (Not sure why the cute little illustration is a Mexican Family?? We laughed so hard about that!) 

For This Last week our ward had "Temple Week". There were a few different activities designed to help family's focus on the temple. On Saturday as part of Temple Week everyone was supposed to take their family down to the Mesa temple, get a picture together and visit the visitors center. That morning Scott and Kaden had football practice and so I ran around in a flurry getting everyone dressed and their hair combed and everything else ready to go. It took me 2 solid hours. Scott got home and showered then we loaded up and headed to the temple. The whole way there-THE WHOLE WAY, Brylee and Branson fought in the back seat. I closed my eyes and plugged my ears.

The temple was packed and there was nowhere to park and so Scott let us all out and he then went up the street to park.

It was hot. Like, heat advisory hot. Add the heat to all the grass and plants and pools at the temple and it was heat advisory meets sauna meets family outing.  We endured the heat through the picture and then we took all of our overheated bodies and sun educed grouchy attitudes inside to tour the visitors center. The kids scattered, they all wanted to see something different and while we looked at the City of Jerusalem model, Kaden and Branson had a shoving match.

Ella was screaming to see the "the statue” so we corralled everyone and headed to the front of the building to see The Christis. We were the only family in the presentation and when the big curtains closed and the lights dimmed and the soothing voice came on the speakers, I looked down the row at my family. All their little faces were turned upward and all their eyes were wide and everyone was perfectly still and reverent. I swallowed hard and thought... I did all that for this.

On Friday, I got ambitious, I tried a new recipe and had all the prep work done by 9am. At 5pm just as I was about to cook it all up and serve a gourmet dinner, Scott called and said that they had gotten free Cardinals tickets at work and asked if he and the boys could go. So I threw all their things together and hurried everyone into the car. I pulled out and just then Ella spilled her whole cup of yogurt into her carseat. I pulled back in cleaned her up, reloaded, sat through the late afternoon traffic and eventually got the boys delivered to Scott.

Later that night after an evening of unexpectedly baby-sitting extra cousins, I spent an hour getting my would-be dinner cleaned up and Ella and Cali put to bed so that I could spend some time with Brylee. We snuggled together in my bed and talked about school and shampoo and babies and she laid her wet head on my stomach while I  tickled her back. We held hands as she drifted off to sleep and I thought...I did all that for this.

On Friday, Kaden and Brylee had an evening swim meet so I took Branson and the little girls to play over at my mom’s house and I suggested we stop for ice-cream on the way home.  For the last whole hour that we were there, Branson was chasing, teasing, bugging and tickling Ella. Ella was a full and willing participant in this, alternating from full out screams to shrieking laughter. They were running around under our feet like two little puppies. All of the screaming and yelling and laughing was a bit much and I asked them to stop so many times that I lost count.

I was frazzled by the time we loaded up to leave and then my car battery was dead and needed to be jumped.

On the way home Branson asked where we were stopping for ice-cream and I had to respond,

"Oh, were not, because you and Ella didn't listen to me."

I endured the long ride home while he ranted and said a few less than kind words. I ignored him and sent him straight to bed when we got home. Later on, I was laying half asleep on my bed-disheartened, discouraged and sad when I heard Branson say,

"Mom, don't open your eyes."

I felt him putting something around my wrist and then he ran out. It was a duct tape bracelet with a message....

And I thought...I did all that for this.

For this.

I spent most of last week feeling completely down, totally inadequate and entirely not good enough. My imperfections, mistakes and shortcomings were ringing loud in my ears like a fire alarm. With all of the demands of life on my mind I couldn't sleep last night. I got up this morning and started my chores. In the office I pulled my camera down from the shelf, wondering if I had even taken one picture all week. I came to the  one that the sister missionary took of us under The Christis last Saturday and I remember standing there, holding my baby, showing my kids the nail markings in the granite feet of the statue. We ran our fingers in the groves and looked up at the marks in His outstretched hands and we talked about how He got the spear wound in His side.

While I studied the picture remembering our few precious minutes of peace, I heard Heaven whisper to my heart.........I did all that for thisFor you.

And He did.

All of that suffering and teaching and showing and bleeding- so that I can have all this, so they can be mine forever, so I can repent and try again. How I love Him for it.

1 comment:

mama bear said...

Julianne, this is awesome! Thank you for sharing your talents and insights. You always inspire me!

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