I admit that most things in my life have a gospel parallel. When I listen to the "we know the way" song on Moana, to me it sounds like a spiritual song about our journey on earth. I hear gospel teachings with a lot of Brandon Flower's songs. And when I go to Costco and have a van full of food, all I can think of is how in the world the Jaredites prepared for their trip to the promised land? They were going off to sea, not knowing how long the trip would take! They were in their boats for almost a year!! Today is my Costco day - I go there after I drop off Wesley for New Bop, It gives me a good hour to shop for food. And I have to go to the store each week to feed my family. How in the world did they do it?! It amazes me.
Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the we apostles. I went seeking guidance and feel like I got answers.
I've already been thinking and wondering if we're done having kids (my poor husband). On Saturday night, Corey didn't go cause he had to pick up Ethan and Hyrum from a Jazz concert. So, at that Saturday night adult session of stake conference, Sister Renlund spoke on how the Lord needs women who have faith to make things happen. It might mean not seeing the end, it may mean being uncomfortable. Ok, seemed like and answer to me! Does that mean I need to make more kids happen, even when it makes me uncomfortable? I don't see the end right now (the end in heaven) but I can have faith that it will be worth it. All I'll take with me is my family. She also said "my job is just to be grateful." It's hard, but we can cheerfully submit to all the will of the Lord (Mosiah 24:15) and be grateful.
Then on Sunday, The kids were crawling over Corey in the meeting and he got up to take them out. I took Daniel out at one point and we met in the hall and then the foyer. Usually it will be Owen, Natalie and Sophi that go out, but Lily was with him too. An elderly couple in the foyer looked at us and joked "You're got your hands full!!" to which Corey replied "This isn't even half of them!"
Corey told me later that he didn't get anything out of conference "cause of all these kids!" I told him I got a lot out, and I was there right with him and with all those kids. We can still get answers and guidance when we have restless children on our laps. I know it's harder for men and especially maybe for Corey, who was the youngest of 3 children growing up. Hee didn't have a lot of prep for these 11 kids, but he is doing so great, I wish I could help him not be so frustrated by the mess and noise and busy-ness of it all.
So, before we had that conversation, I continued to get more answers about what we should do. Sister Renlund spoke on Sunday about chicken necks (a story I'd heard before - Elder Renlund shares the chicken necks analogy in his "Spiritual Stability" talk. So chicken necks are things that trick us and lead to our captivity and death. She said some chicken necks of our day are:
1) Being stirred up against that which is good (and I wrote in my notes "children are good")
2) Thinking that "I'm doing good enough" and we don't worry or try to do more
3) ...I missed the third one.
The she said we need to Settle, once and for all, in our hearts that we will do the things which the Lord shall teach and command us (JST Luke 14:28). Settle once and for all "I'm going to be a disciple of Jesus Christ." And how do we do that? We 1) feast upon his love 2) feast upon his word 3) Feast upon that which perisheth not. She asked "When do we feel his love? During sacrament, prayer..." What does not perish? Back to yesterdays thoughts - family! Our covenants! Those are the things we take with us after this life. It is something Corey and I learned the first week we were married in our Teachings of living prophets class - we had to do a research report on Birth Control. The counsel from President Kimball (in bold here) has stayed with me my whole life "I have told tens of thousands of young folks that when they marry they should not wait for children until they have finished their schooling and financial desires... They should live together normally and let the children come." I know my sweetheart is stretched very thin right now with work, but the counsel remains that we should let the children come.
Here are my notes from Elder Renlund's talk. He talked about our conversion to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and our ministry. When President Monson feels burdened, he goes or wants to go to nursing homes and give blessings. "If you've felt the atoning love in your life, even so I would that ye should remember and always retain in remembrance. The difference between the wise man and the foolish man - the variable is the foundation. The rain and floods descended upon them both. We can expect storms and rain in life. But if we are on a rock, we will make it through the storm. That goes along with another talk I listened to today - "Stay by the Tree" by Kevin Pearson. Life is hard with lots of kids but I think most of our stress is cause of Corey's work, it's hard being an entrepreneur. But we are not just supposed to "hang in there" as we work through this. "Let me be clear: to “hang in there” is not a principle of the gospel. Enduring to the end means constantly coming unto Christ and being perfected in Him." We need to constantly be working on our making the Rock of our Redeemer our foundation!
Another thing in my notes from Elder Renlund - he shared about how one time they took a vacation to Hawaii and they paddled kayaks in the ocean out to an island. He had used different Kayaks in his youth and wasn't used to these kinds, so he felt a little off balance and top heavy and had a hard time with it. Once they got to the island, he collapsed on the beach for 10 minutes trying to catch his breath. After he caught his breath, the instructor/guide came over to him in preparation for their return trip and said "If you keep your momentum going you'll be fine." He could have said "Well of course you had a hard time! You' fat and out of shape!" But he didn't say that, he conveyed love. And he taught me when I was ready and receptive for instruction. That made me think of Corey too. I shouldn't pressure him into more kids when he out of breath and not receptive, and I need to convey love, not judgement. The last thing he said was "I invoke a blessing upon you that, as you remain faithful, you will see miracles in the lives of your family members. You will find you and happiness in the Savior of the world." That was a great promise. It was a wonderful meeting, I love the gospel, I love the Church, and I love Jesus Christ, my rock and my redeemer!