Monday, May 15, 2006

Day 41: A Nurturing Mother

Most mothers have a nurturing quality about them. It comes to them naturally. My own mother sacrificed much to be home where she could nurture my brothers and sisters and me. As I was thinking about what it was that my mother did to nurture me it became hard to describe succinctly. I can however offer several quick examples of her nurturing capacity in action.

Someone to play catch with
First, I recall a time when I was in Jr. High School. Jr. High School is a hard time of life in general. On this particular occassion it seemed especially challenging to me. My best friend moved out of state. He was the only friend my age that lived within a reasonable distance of my home. There were other boys my age that lived close by but I really didn't get along with them. There were younger boys close by that I got along with but the age gap made things uncomfortable. It seemed to me that everyone had a friend but me. After moping around the house for days on end my mother finally confronted me with the situation.

I was in my room crying on my bed. She came in and talked with me, rubbed my back, and did all those things that moms know how to do to really make you feel loved. When she discovered the source of my sorrow she offered some profound advice. Rather than try to convince me of the friends I might find in the neighborhood or at church, she taught me of another friend. She told me, the Lord can be your friend. He can take away your loneliness. Well I already knew what she was teaching me, but I didn't understand it. My response to her was, "I know, but He can't came and through a football around with me." What she taught me that day didn't bring me immediate relief but over the years that have passed I've come to know the Lord as my most true friend. Anyone can find someone to play catch with but it is a true blessing to have the Son of God as your friend.

What would Jesus do?
Another experience that comes to mind is a lesson she taught one family night. I was pretty young, probably nine or ten years old. The point of Mom's lesson was to try to do what Jesus would do. She told us that whenever we had to make a choice in life we should simply ask ourselves, "What would Jesus do?" and then do it. Well, I'm by know means perfect at this but I can recall many situations where I've been much better because I remembered these simple advice. It is really amazing how well it works and how quickly seemingly difficult decisions become simple.

One final experience. It was Christmas time. From a young boy’s perspective, things looked bleak. There were 8 children in our family. I was the fifth. I was sure that this year’s Christmas would consist of hand-me-down clothes from my brothers.

We had a family tradition of helping others during Christmas by doing the 12-days of Christmas for families more needy than us. That year I remember thinking there couldn’t be many families more needy than us. Mom and Dad were convinced there were. As we took the presents and left them anonymously on the doorsteps every night I remember feeling at first that with every gift given, my chances of presents for myself were diminished even further. Of course the spirit of giving began to win me over. That and Mom’s reassurance that she had been able to set aside $600 for our family. I did the math, 10 family members, $60 a piece. There would be presents after all.

The Sunday before Christmas the Bishop (church leader) had a special meeting after Sacrament Meeting. He spoke about the building fund. Our Ward was short. We needed more funds. Surely he couldn’t think to ask us. We only had $60 per person as it was.

After Church I was heading to the car when I bumped into my Mother coming out of the Bishop’s office. She had tears in her eyes. She had given the Bishop our $600 dollars. The Spirit had told her to give it. She went straight to the Bishop and gave it before she could shrink from the task. I recall few times when I have felt more love and gratitude for my Mother. Lead by my Mother, our family shared in consecration that Christmas. My greed and pride were gone. I was filled with love and gratitude for my family and my Savior.

And so it always is with consecration. It is hard up front but we are filled with that sweet peace and love in the end. And perhaps more importantly, our spirits are refined – we are brought closer to God.

After writing this it has become clear to me what it is that my mother did through her nurturing. She taught me to know God. Thanks Mom!

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