Monday, May 9, 2011

one day at a time

This weekend has given me a few opportunities to think about myself and motherhood.  I don't think I am alone when I say that Mother's Day sometimes makes me think more about my imperfections and inadequacies than it does in making me feel like a saint.  I know myself too well, I suppose.  Thankfully, my emotions over the weekend graduated from discouragement as I focused on my short-comings, to hope as I re-evaluated what I can do to become a better wife and mom throughout this next year. 

This morning I awoke with a fresh start.  A new day, a new week, a new year as a mother.  I decided that somehow I need to shorten my focus and concentrate on the day at hand.  I can seek the Lord's help each morning, each moment as I strive to be the mother I hope to become. 

All too often I look far ahead, wondering how I can possibly teach all that I wish to pass on.  I get discouraged when I try to carve out endless to-do lists for our future, feeling hopeless to accomplish it all.  I see what I wish us to become and feel that I should be doing more.  I fear we should be becoming more, more quickly.

All of this planning, fretting, and looking ahead can sometimes leave me weary.

What if I focused on this day?  This moment?  If I try to be patient this one time?  If I pause to relish in the laughter that fills my home today, instead of gearing up for fun memories we might make next month?  Perhaps I might try to make my home a refuge now, instead of fearing and bracing for the storms that may (or may not) come at some future date.  

Early this morning, long before the girls awoke, I set out to begin my day.  As I checked my email, I found a note from a dear friend, along with an attached text of a talk she had heard yesterday in sacrament meeting.  I was inspired.  I hesitate to include this, as I don't even know the sister who gave this talk, but I have thought of this over and over all day long.  Her words changed how I approached my day.  I could more easily see how my future, actually my spirit, is shaped by many seemingly insignificant moments that occur on a daily basis.   I thought this was beautiful:
It didn’t come as naturally in the beginning, but little by little I began conquering all that I had before me. If there was a reason for me to be offended, I took no offense. If there was a reason for me to be angry, I responded with a soft heart full of love and compassion (Matt 5:21-22). If there was a reason for me to be impatient, I remained still and calm. If there was a reason for me to blame, I forgave with no conditions (1 Ne 7:21). If there was a reason to feel hopeless about my future, I trusted that the Lord’s Plan of Salvation was for my greater good and that adversity was part of that beautiful plan (2 Ne 4:16-19). If there was a reason to feel insecure about who I was or what was happening to me, I believed that it was my divine right to be full of confidence as a daughter of God. If there was a reason to judge, I prayed for another’s weaknesses. And if there was a reason to feel sorry for myself & my circumstances, instead I actually felt grateful for the privilege of learning from this mortal experience, no matter how grim my life seemed.
Tonight as I spoke with Courtney, he told me of a talk he had listened to today that he thought I might like.  Later, I read through the talk and knew he was inspired in his recommendation.  The talk, given by Elder Todd Christofferson at a recent CES fireside, is titled "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread".  Although it was directed to young adults, I felt it spoke volumes to me about my daily responsibilites as a mother. 

Thoughtful planning and preparation are key to a rewarding future, but we do not live in the future—we live in the present. It is day by day that we work out our plans for the future; it is day by day that we achieve our goals. It is one day at a time that we raise and nurture our families. It is one day at a time that we overcome imperfections. We endure in faith to the end one day at a time. It is the accumulation of many days well-lived that adds up to a full life and a saintly person. And so I would like to talk to you about living well day by day.
Later on, Elder Christofferson explains
I would like to quote to you the words of President N. Eldon Tanner, formerly a counselor in the First Presidency: “As we reflect on the value of resolving to do better, let us determine to discipline ourselves to carefully select the resolutions we make, to consider the purpose for making them, and finally, to make commitments for keeping them and not letting any obstacle stop us. Let us remind ourselves at the beginning of each day that we can keep a resolution just for that day. As we do this it gets easier and easier until it becomes a habit.”
Somehow, when I thought of the process of personal growth happening one moment, one interaction at a time- it seemed much more achievable. I could see how daunting my days become when I set out with blanket goals of perfection, instead of seeking the Spirit's help as the difficult moments arise. What's more, when I falter (because I surely will), I can ask forgiveness immediately. What a relief that I don't need to carry those mistakes to the grave (or even to the end of the day, to be sorrowed over at night as I lay in bed).

This Mother's Day, I wish to become less preoccupied with the end product and more involved in the process of becoming.  I hope to find joy and fulfillment in my ability to improve and become better minute-by-minute, day-by-day.  I strive to create a canvas of kind words and contentment, content with what my Father in Heaven offers me and at peace with the opportunity- with His help, to create many 'days well-lived'.

Here's to a new year of Motherhood, made lovely one moment at a time.

1 comment:

tricia said...

Kelly you are an awesome mom, I wish I was more like you. Thank-you for this post, you were inspired to write it for me. I too love that talk by Elder Christofferson, I really should read it everyday. I Hope you are doing well and feeling better. Trish