Thursday, December 1, 2016

Day of Service to #LightTheWORLD

For some reason I was thinking tomorrow was Decemeber 1st, not today. So when I realized today was the Day of Service for #LightTheWorld, I was caught off guard. Doh! I'm not organized yet again... I'm not ready! I had good intentions yet I'm already running behind. So, what to do. We wouldn't be able to do anything together as a family (not that I had any plan of what to do anyway...) but with the kids having school all day and then band and lessons after school, nothing in that area would be happening. So I texted them this morning that it was a "yoyo" day of service, you're on your own - and we'll report to each other tonight. Some of them texted back and said "What are you talking about" "Um, the FHE lesson this week - Light the World? The video I showed you guys? Any of this ringing a bell?" Some of them were apparently were not mentally present for my lesson, great. Go motherhood! So, fine, whatever... I'll do it myself. Play along if you want, and if not, fine. Sigh.

So I figured I'd just have to find a way to do service at home or in the neighborhood. Here at home, hmmm... I took mental notes of things I was doing: served breakfast, changed diapers, nursed a baby, rocked a toddler, picked up shoes and socks, hung up coats... Wow, I haven't NOT served yet today, all I do is serve! ...Well, I guess I did exercise this morning, so 20 minutes there was for myself! and you know what I discovered yet again? Every day of mother's life is a day of service!! (See the last story at that link there about Stacey White, also reprinted below.) I do a day of service everyday! Not that I wanted to cop out of trying to do something special for the Light the World thing, but really... Motherhood IS service.

But I had told Sophi earlier in the week that we could have her friends over to watch Finding Dori - they had wanted to watch it on a school night but I said no... "Maybe on Thursday" So I texted my neighbor and told her that I'd promised Griff that we could watch Finding Dori today if that was okay with her and wanted to send him over. It was only 9:00 so there was time to invite her other friends over too that have afternoon kindergarten. So we had a little toddler movie afternoon followed by a lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches, crackers, and fruit snacks.

So that was my service (other than all the regular mom stuff!): I gave my friends a few hours break by watching their kids and feeding them lunch. They are wonderful neighbors and often do such things for me by having Natalie and Sophi over, and I so appreciate their service to me. It was a good day, I'm looking forward to the rest of the month as we try to #LightTheWORLD


(So here, pasted below from my "spiritual blog" dated November 17, 2013 ~ where I used to try and jot down spiritual insights (it's been a while though since I was able to sit and articulate anything there...))
We enjoyed a wonderful day at church again (as always!) The lesson in Relief Society particularly fed my soul and gave me determination to do better. The lesson was from Chapter 22 of the Lorenzo Snow manual, titled "Doing Good to Others". One of the topics of discussion that went along with my thoughts was that we just have to do it. ("Do it" was President Spencer W. Kimball's motto long before Nike came up with their "Just do it" slogan.) Yes, it's hard managing this family and running full speed all day with all the things there are to do and I feel like I'm falling short most days, but service is never easy or convenient, but it is important and it's worth it. I just need to keep doing it, and I need to do it for the Lord.
Which reminded me of an article I read by Jeffery A. Thompson called "What's your Calling in Life?" (read/print it  here, watch it here) ~ Under "Heresy #5 (24:00 at the video) is the part that I think I loved the most from this talk, which was the insight shared by his mission President's wife. Brother Thompson states:

  When I was a missionary, and as I was nearing my release date, I anticipated a sense of loss when I could no longer give all my time to serving God. At a zone conference, I raised my hand and asked the mission president, “After our missions are over and we are no longer full-time servants of God, how can we keep a sense of purpose?” Before the mission president could answer, his wife lept to her feet and said, “I’ll take this one.” I will never forget her response. “When I do the laundry,” she said, “I am building the kingdom of God. When I scrub the floors, I am serving the Lord. When I tidy the clutter, I’m an instrument in His hands. I do a lot of mundane jobs, but if my eye is single to God and I’m trying to serve my family, then I feel as much purpose in my work as a missionary can.” 
  Those words remind me of what King Benjamin said about laboring in the fields to support himself—a decidedly unkingly occupation. He said, “I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God” (Mosiah 2:16). So perhaps the state of our hearts is as important as the tasks we do in determining whether our work is truly—and eternally—meaningful. 

I was reminded of another quote along these lines that comes from the book "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp, page 194-195:

  When the laundry is for the dozen arms of children or the dozen legs, it's true, I think I'm due some appreciation. So comes a storm of trouble and lightning strikes joy. But when Christ is at the center, when dishes, laundry, work, is my song of thanks to Him, joy rains. Passionately serving Christ alone makes us the loving servant to all. When the eyes of the heart focus on God, and the hands on always washing the feet of Jesus alonethe bones, they sing joy, and the work returns to it's purest state: eucharisteo. The work becomes worship, a liturgy of thankfulness.
  "The work we do is only our love for Jesus in action," writes Mother Teresa. "If we pray the work... if we do it to Jesus, if we do it for Jesus, if we do it with Jesus... that's what makes us content. 
  That is what makes us contentthe contented, deep joy is always in the touching of Christin whatever skin he comes to us in.

and page 155:

All gratitude is ultimately gratitude for Christ, all remembering a remembrance of Him. For in Him all things were created, are sustained, have their being. 

And one last thought/article along these lines, from the Feb 2013 Ensign - Under "Discipleship in All Places":

  Stacey White, a mother of four in Indiana, USA, was longing for an opportunity to help a neighbor, friend, or even a stranger during the week she studied Matthew 25:35–40, where the Savior teaches that serving “the least of these” is, in fact, serving Him (verse 40). 
  “Because I am a busy stay-at-home mom of four young children, I sometimes feel frustrated that I’m not able to be of service as often as I would like,” Sister White explained. “I am so busy taking care of my own family’s needs that I have little time for anything extra.” 
  Sister White noted that as she continued to study, cross-reference, and ponder these scriptures, praying for opportunities to serve, “the week seemed to take on a higher level of stress than what normally comes with motherhood”—certainly not what she had hoped for. 
  "There were school projects to help with, more than the usual messes to clean up, sibling fights to referee, and a mountain of laundry that seemed to regenerate itself. The to-do list seemed to never come close to being completed. My prayer seemed to go unanswered as I longed for the free time and energy to serve someone other than my husband and children.” 
  But then, partway through the week, Sister White came to a realization: just because she didn’t have the opportunity to serve outside her home did not mean that the Lord had let her prayer go unanswered, and it didn’t mean that she hadn’t been serving in meaningful ways. 
  “The Lord was answering my prayer by giving me those opportunities within my own family,” she says. “At times I feel that the service within my own family somehow doesn’t count, that in order to be classified as service, it must be outside the home, rendered to someone other than a family member. But with my new understanding, while I was making beds, doing laundry, chauffeuring kids, and doing all my daily duties as a mother, I did them more joyfully. My tasks didn’t seem quite so mundane, and I realized I was making a difference for my family.”

I loved how the Lord answered her prayer by keeping her busy serving her own family, and that article was an answer to my prayer as I read it. I think it's something I always need to be reminded of, that all the mundane tasks I do as a mother are important and meaningful, not just to my husband and children but to the Lord. And as I work in remembrance of Him, I won't feel put out by little toddlers turning up their noses at the dinner I slaved over or for no one saying thank your for their clean underwear - I won't be frustrated waiting for words of appreciation, cause I didn't do it for appreciation, I did it for the Lord.  I am serving Christ and it is important to Him, and he tells me thank you and shows me that he loves me in thousands of ways everyday.

“No task will be so sordid and base . . . 
that it will not shine and be reckoned 
very precious in God’s sight” 
- John Calvin

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