Saturday, February 5, 2011

Steadfast: With Patience and Order


“Be patient in afflictions, revile not against those that revile. Govern your house in meekness, and be steadfast.”

I’m going to be honest. I am exhausted. Utterly and completely. I am raising, caring for, schooling, and providing for four children and a home completely on my own. I work from about 6:30 am until 2 am, without assistance. (The exception being a dear family who pays for my children’s music lessons because I cannot. I cannot begin to express how thankful I am to such a generous, loving, and sacrificing family. I don’t deserve their love, but I am grateful for it.). There are times that I do not think I can do one more day.

It is always at those times that the Lord chooses to stretch me even further. In some ways I am grateful. Interestingly, I have had two people call me within the last couple of weeks and tell me they felt that Satan wants to sift me as wheat. I have felt that way too, and definitely feel sifted.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of passages that have two specific themes. The first being, to be patient in afflictions. The second referring to order. The passages on afflictions are genuinely encouraging. They are a reminder that the Lord is aware of me and my circumstances. They also remind me that we will be rewarded IF we endure well.  I don’t just want to endure, I want to endure well. I have had many opportunities for growth and endurance. Unfortunately, I’ve failed many of them, but I will keep trying. Thank goodness for the atonement.

The second theme is stretching me right now. I’ve recently noticed something about myself that bothers me. I can excuse things the Lord doesn’t because of my circumstances. Let me give an example regarding order. I’ve been divorced for a year now, and somehow I’ve excused my house being a wreck all the time because of my circumstances. I have a lot on my plate. I am doing it alone. And even though I like order, I haven’t found a way to make it happen. I think that might be because I’ve been excusing it.

My thoughts have gone something like this: “Well, Annmarie, you can’t do everything. Something has to give and the least important seems to be the house.” There is a big problem with that. It is going contrary to what the Lord has commanded us. I’ve been reading a lot of passages where the Lord reminds us of the importance of order. I believe the verses are talking about spiritual AND temporal order. Here are a sampling:

“And now a commandment I give unto you—if you will be delivered you shall set in order your own house..” D&C 93:43

“Organize yourselves; prepare for every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.” D&C 88:119

“Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.” D&C 132:8

There are many, many more, but you get the point. While it is easy and tempting to say, my circumstances excuse me from compliance, they do not. Lest I sound more spiritual than I am, I can assure you I find this command daunting on top of everything else, but it is there nonetheless. I also see the benefits. There are time when I would actually have MORE time to do the things that are needful if things (especially the kid’s rooms) were in better order. I can’t tell you the number of mornings I’ve wasted 30 minutes trying to find my daughter Sarah’s shoes in that disaster of a bedroom.

Yet, even knowing that, I am overwhelmed at how to actually accomplish it and keep up with my other responsibilities. I do know that the Lord gives no commandment unto the children of men save He shall prepare a way that they may accomplish it. The way is there. I just need to find it.

The verse I typed at the beginning sums up everything I’m learning. Foremost at this point in my life I am to be patient in my afflictions. Wow, I stink at that. I have reminded the Lord that though a thousand years are as a day to Him, they are actually a thousand years to me. I periodically hope He hasn’t forgotten about me. But then those gentle reminders come that tell me He hasn’t.

The second command is not to revile those who revile me. I could do better at that. Sometimes because I complain about someone who has sinned against me without naming them, I think that is ok. When in reality I should only be speaking about what they’ve done, to Heavenly Father and my Bishop.  That is hard. I tend to need to talk things through and there isn’t anyone in my home to do that with. So, sometimes my blog ends up as  a pseudo spouse/friend that allows me to sound off about my hurt and disillusionment. I think instead, though not intended that way, it could come across as reviling in return.

Thirdly, was governing my house in meekness. The meekness part isn’t as hard for me as the governing. I’m used to being told what to do and having to run every decision by my spouse before it can be officially made. Now I have to make all of them on my own. I’m navigating a new life and a new religion, and everything is out of order in my home. There needs to be better government. More order.

Finally, be steadfast. Oh, I long for that. I want to be solidly faithful. Actually, I want to be perfect, but know that will have to wait for eternity.



Kimberly said...

You can do it!

Michael Brinson said...

I agree that the Lord gives no commandment without providing a way for us to accomplish the thing which He has commanded us, but I often have to remind myself that my timing and my ways are not usually His timing or His ways.
I'm sure you've heard that before. Just wanted to chime in that I'm sure the Lord is so very pleased with your great efforts and sacrifices in following His direction to be baptized and receive the fullness of His gospel.
Keep fighting the good fight and be sure to leave room for your imperfections. I'm sure that cleanliness and order in the house would have to be moved down a little bit on my list of priorities as well were I in your same circumstances. I'm truly amazed by your stalwartness and dedication.