Sunday, September 12, 2010

Practice Season

When I wake up on Sunday mornings, I usually insert a General Conference DVD to listen to while I shower and dress in my room. I want to start the day out with something to uplift me, focus my thoughts away from bacteria and protozoa, and the Constitution, and Erik Erikson . . . and onto loftier things, things of greater significance, though they sometimes float in the background only of my mind.

This morning's talk was by M. Russell Ballard, I believe--I never actually saw the screen, only heard his voice--and it was about the power of mothers in the lives of their daughters. I found this ironic, since the only power I feel like I've had in my daughter's life this past week is the kind that has her miffed at me and feeling unjustly heaped upon with consequences. He made the point that women and mothers have an influence in this world that cannot be rivaled, and because of that, Satan works very hard to undermine the value and worth of women. The world, under his influence, sends forth the message that women are to be objectified and lusted after. Elder Ballard emphasized that it is mothers and women who have the power to counter that influence and raise daughters who know who they are and for what purpose they were created.


I sat in Sacrament meeting with my restless brood. I was proud of myself for not making a big deal about the fact that one son had worn his black Vans instead of his black dress shoes, instead glad that he was there, sitting beside me. Cell phones had somehow made their way to church, and I was keeping a careful sly eye out for their usage. Conor was on my lap, off my lap. Next to me, down the row. On my lap, off my lap. Facing forward, making the people behind us laugh. During the next "on my lap" phase, I happened to glance over at a bench where an elderly couple sat, quietly reading their scriptures.

No distractions. Just quiet pondering. Imagine!

I did. With arms full of Conor, and eyes that never go off duty, I thought to myself, "Wow. Someday I will be able to sit quietly in church and have these amazing spiritual experiences each week!"

But then, just to let me know that I still qualify for spiritual experiences, I felt the whisper, "Yes, this is their season to read, this is your season to practice."

They are two different seasons, to be sure. I am in school right now, reading and reading and reading in preparation to become a nurse. But please don't leave me to care for any patients! I haven't practiced any of that yet. Similarly, I know the feeling of having time and peace to read and study and feel all of the stirrings of what I need to do. Putting them into practice is something entirely different.

That's what I'm in now. Practice season.

Through my mothering, I get to practice all of the commandments, virtues, and examples espoused in the scriptures. Forgive more, have more compassion, speak a little more softly, repent more often, teach better. Love better.

Suddenly, with that realization from the Spirit, I saw how far I have to go, and how much I need this season in my life. I need the practice! And what better way to practice than to have my children around me. I no longer envied the elderly couple quietly reading.

I'll take the practice. All I can get.


lesa said...

We recently had a lesson in RS about different seasons. I have to continue to remind myself that each season is okay. I like your idea of practicing during each season. Right now, I'm practicing being a Mom to two teenagers and a grandma. I get to shift back and forth, which is hard sometimes, but with practice I'll get it, I hope.

Braden Bell said...

Great post, Jenna! Thank heavens for good mothers.

Julie Wright said...

Beautiful post and a good reminder as I'm whirling around my own kids trying to get them there on time and in decent order. My second wears his black vans a lot. But he's there. :)

Keeler Klan said...

Thanks, Jenna. I needed that. :)

Stephanie Humphreys said...

I like thinking of this as a practice season. If we are practicing, then we aren't expected to be perfect, right? That takes a whole bunch of the pressure off. Thanks for the perspective.