Sunday, July 14, 2013

Seek to do things in wisdom and order

"And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.
And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order."
-Mosiah 4:27

Our recent camping trip proved to be a much needed respite from some of the stress in my life.  It was so wonderful for our family to get away together and enjoy some fun and sightseeing in the Texas Hill Country. But selfishly--I found it to be extremely replenishing for my soul to escape some of the stress of "life" and recharge my batteries as a wife and mother.  

While away, I had time to ponder my life at this time and it's hard to believe how far our family has come in just a year...last fall (and literally almost overnight) I became the mother to three children instead of just our one son.  We became foster parents to a 9-month old baby boy in late August (who we hope to adopt) and then in November, our adopted daughter, Taylor Elizabeth was born and we came home from Dallas with our precious baby girl and reality quickly set in for me as a mother...we were now parents to three young children and had no family that live nearby to help us if needed.

To add to our stress, my hubby has to be away from us quite often with job-related travels and some pretty heavy Church responsibilities as he serves as the Bishop of our church congregation.  The weight of being a mother to three small children amidst our personal situation hit me like a ton of bricks.  I felt that life was going by way too fast---I felt that what was once a very tidy and controlled family life was now out of control.  I was grappling so terribly those first few months with the babies for order---for greater wisdom--and for greater control in my life.

In addition to my day in and day out responsibilities of being a mom--I also struggled with all the foster care and adoption "red tape" that we were required to do for both baby boy and Taylor.  There is so much paperwork, ongoing trainings and required monthly supervisory visits for foster care and an adoption placement--I honestly felt at times that my life was not my own.  From August through June, I had three different caseworkers to answer to for both the babies---monthly walk through visitations by each caseworker to our home and monthly reports that seemed to always be due--it was misery trying to keep up with it all.  Thankfully now that we have finalized Taylor's adoption---we are done with the supervisory period for her adoption case.  But it still continues to this day with our foster son--a process that I am ready to have behind me.  I love baby boy so much--but I can honestly say that I don't think I ever want to be a foster mom again.  The foster care system is so flawed and tedious for adoptive families--they make us feel like the enemy at times which is really sad.  Our intentions are sincere--we would love to adopt baby boy and make him part of our forever family--but to the system--he is just a number and adoption is low on their priority list--they instead are solely focused on reunification with biological parents.  Which in many situations is what the focus should be---but in our case with our foster son and given the sad events to his case--it would be a tragedy to return him to his biological family.

Our journey of being foster parents has sadly taken its toll physically and emotionally on us --and as a result--it will be our first and last time to foster a child.  In the meantime, as we move forward with our current foster placement--we hold steadfast to our faith and pray that we will be able to adopt baby boy in the end. 

And so it was during the first several months after our family essentially grew overnight, I experienced the most amazing joys and highs as a mother.  But I must also share that I felt some pretty serious lows--moments where I honestly did not enjoy being a mom---moments of complete exhaustion where my 40-something body ached from head to toe as I tirelessly cared for two babies until the wee hours of the night and tried to subdue our always active and very rambunctious 6-year old at the same time.  There were some really hard days that we experienced together.  Very hard.  

What I want to express and share is that I have felt very lonely at times in this calling of motherhood.  I have felt immense guilt for even having these feelings because it was pretty miraculous that I was given this opportunity to mother these three beautiful children anyway--being infertile and barren that is.  The irony in our situation is this was the gift that I had begged and pleaded for from my Heavenly Father for years and now that I had it--I felt tremendously guilty for having days where I just didn't enjoy it.  But these emotions were very real and raw and I had to face them head on and deal with them.

During the most frustrating times with the kids, I had to reach deep within my soul to find the strength to carry on, and I have learned through this process that each of the trials I face as a mother (and you, too) are actually invitations for the Lord to bless us.  To teach us much needed lessons about ourselves and our children.

I have felt the love of the Savior in the following scripture as I have struggled to find balance, wisdom and order in my life as a mother....

"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28)

I have come to understand and see with an eternal view that this particularly chaotic and challenging time in my life will indeed pass.

I have also learned that these challenges are opportunities to teach me how to prioritize my daily life and seek spiritual order for myself and my family.  It is something that requires greater work and sacrifice on my part.

I don't know about you, but as a mother, I often feel this pressure to move faster and if I don't check off every item on my to-do list at the end of the day--then I'm a failure.  But the Lord is teaching me that this simply isn't true--this is what "the world" would have us believe as mothers.  It's not the Lord's school of thought.

Instead, He has taught me these past several months that when I first seek for spiritual order in my life by making it a priority to engage in more intensive scripture study and more meditative prayers--I inevitably feel Him begin to ease the heavy load I am carrying.  My days begin to feel more ordered and organized.

I have learned that if I want to create greater order in my life and not feel as overwhelmed---I first must create greater spiritual order.  My prayers and scriptures study should be more meaningful---there is always room for improvement, room to dig deeper in our prayers to the Lord and room to become more focused and thorough in our studying of the scriptures.

Despite living in a world that is bent on pressuring us as mothers to run faster and faster---to be the best at everything---we instead must have the wisdom and strength to pace ourselves and stay focused on the eternal things in our lives.

To turn off the world's loud voices and influences....

To not allow ourselves to become frantically engaged in the busyness of life....

But instead--- when we prayerfully establish our daily priorities by involving the Lord--- seeking to do all things in wisdom and order --we feel greater perspective in our daily "to-do" lists and find that they can be accomplished with greater peace and energy.

I'm grateful for the lessons I am learning daily as a mother---most importantly, for the tender mercies I have experienced that have reminded me that I am not alone in this sacred calling.  The Savior loves mothers dearly--this I have a testimony of--- and He is never far away--He can give us the strength to run as fast as is called for in our busy lives and yet thankfully, He can help us navigate our way as we prayerfully strive to pace ourselves and focus on all things eternal in our lives.

Many blessings to all you dear mothers out there who strive daily to bless the 
lives of your children and husbands...

May the Lord continue to bless you and watch over you at every turn...
and may you never forget how precious you are to your Father in Heaven.



  1. So glad you had a chance to get away and recharge. You really have taken on quite a lot in the past year and in my opinion have done so very graciously!!

    1. Thank you sweet lady! :-) It's been so worth it...

  2. I too lecture myself regularly about slowing down and smelling the roses. I hate days when I remember after the fact that I'm trying to do that more. Having my oldest turn 18 and graduate has helped me appreciate the crazy days I have with my younger ones....cause I realize how fast the years really do go by.
    I love reading your blog Jennifer. thanks for sharing

  3. I have the same feelings of guilt as a mom. I really enjoy your blog Jennifer thank you for sharing. I pray all irks out with you being able to adopt baby boy in the end.


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