Fire In My Belly (Let's Get Real)

Well, my cold is finally gone but now Geddy has it. Poor kid is a straight up snot monster. Just snot on everything. His clothes, my clothes, the carpet, the dog, everywhere. Oddly, that is the only real symptom he has. But it's a significant symptom, believe me. I just put him down for his nap but I can currently hear him jumping in his crib. Oh nap time, where have you gone? I am also spending much of this day tidying up and putting away a revolting amount of laundry. I should have done this yesterday but I was running errands all day (and by errands, I mean going to lunch with my sister and then going to her house and chatting for way too long because I was avoiding my disaster of a home). Luckily, my champion of a husband helped tidy up last night so really, I am just finishing up the odds and ends.

Onto something else and fair warning, I am about to get REAL churchy up in hear so if you aren't interested, that's fine. This last weekend I, like many of you, were able to spend their mornings and afternoons listening to General Conference (if you aren't familiar with it, check it out here). What a huge blessing it is to listen to the inspired words of such incredible men and women. AND how about those lady prayers?! "Get it girl!" I was so pleased to see that new development this conference. I am happy to say that we were super successful with listening to all the talks on Saturday morning but from there on out, we were highly distracted with our busy little boy. We always had conference on but this boy keeps us on our toes! I, like many other parents, are eager to re-read the talks when they come out in print so I can really soak up all the goodness.

Even though I didn't get to focus on EVERY word spoken, I still found so many things inspiring. So here are a few details of what I caught and LOVED. First of all, that first talk of the entire conference by Boyd K. Packer was chilling to me. He nailed it. Every word he spoke was answering questions that I had. It was powerful and so inspiring. And I know that every mother swooned at the following words:

Such a wonderful talk. Next thing that I loved was actually a quote that my husband sent to me this morning. Dear sweet Chad, what an inspiration he is. He knows me so well that it's annoying :). I have been struggling with some things that are hard to express but this quote is music to my ears.

"Sometimes we confuse differences in personality with sin. We can even make the mistake of thinking that because someone is different from us, it must mean they are not pleasing to God. This line of thinking leads us to believe that the Church wants to create every member from a single mold–that each one should look, feel, think, and behave like every other. This would contradict the genius of God….It also contradicts the intent and purposes of the Church of Jesus Christ, which acknowledges and protects the moral agency–with all its for-reaching consequences–of each and every one of God’s children. A disciples of Jesus Christ, we are united in our testimony of the restored gospel and our commitment to keep God’s commandments. But we are diverse in our social, cultural, and political preferences. The Church thrives when we take advantage of this diversity and encourage each other to develop and use our talents to lift and strengthen our fellow disciples."
- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I hope that every member of our church heard this. Every single one. It is a quote that has not only comforted me because I often feel  "different" from other members but it also encouraged me to remove  inappropriate judgement. Though I have been through some hard phases of my life where I wasn't living perfectly, I have always had my testimony, it never left my side. Have I sinned? Damn right! But guess what? That's what the atonement is for. It's meant for imperfect people WHO ARE TRYING. It's easy to judge others who have different weaknesses from your own but they are probably better at something else than you are. I always try to think that when I find myself judging because I know I do it.

This next part may make you hate me. You may think that I am a know it all. But truly, I don't know! I am just observing and seeing the results of what is happening. I even question posting this but something in my gut is encouraging me to do so, here we go!

I know a woman who is raising her children all by her self. Her husband was up to no good and refused to change and so she did what she had to and her kids and herself are better off for it. Things are not easy for this woman. How could it be when you are a single parent trying to, not only provide for your kids, but also be an involved mother? She is teaching them what is right from wrong and honestly, she is doing a great job. A KILLER job. I couldn't do what she does. Though many see the glory of this woman's efforts, some mother's seem to find cracks in her and prey on them. Whether it be criticizing the way her daughter dresses or that her son spends too much time with his friends, they hone in and seek to destroy. How could they do this? How could they belittle someone who is trying so hard, with every fiber of their being? Don't they know how badly that hurts? Even if they have "the best of intentions", it scalds so deeply. What gives them the right? 

They don't have the right. I am sorry but they don't. Until you have gone through HER trials and have raised HER children with their own personalities, you better keep your mouth shut. And why be hard on her children? Are you their Mother? Do you know what their Mother wants them to hear? Likely not. Did she ask you to reprimand them for her? It's one thing to stand by this Mother's side but it's quite another to step on her toes. 

Why can't we just lift each other up as Mothers (or parents or people!)? Why can't we just try and RELATE to each other instead of criticize and compare. When we do that, we take the attention away from raising our children and put them on radars that destroy self worth and put unwarranted guilt on Mothers (who already experience a great amount of guilt on their own). I apologize for my words if they offend but I have a fire in my belly and I had to get it out. Please, be kind. Point out the positive. Encourage. Love. Isn't that what Christ would do? 

I hate to focus on the negative so I would like to follow it with this. I know so many wonderful women who do just that. They uplift and encourage. From my Mother/Mother-in-law and sisters/sister-in-laws to friends and bloggers. They laugh with us even though our laughter is usually hiding watering eyes. They tell you their funny potty training experiences or horrible nursing experiences. And to those women, I thank you. You have been there for me as I have gone through the terrifying journey of Motherhood for the first time. And to those women who just keep their mouths shut and decide to point out the positive instead of the negative, God is pleased with you. Continue to be a friend because thats what most of us are looking for. 

Well, I feel like I just gave a conference talk of my own and again, I hope you don't think I know it all or am perfect because I am SO not. I have done the things that I am mad about! I have the same problem as everyone else! I'm not an expert to any degree and I do NOT claim to be. I always just write what I feel (and hope it doesn't get me in trouble) because thats the best way I can express it. 

To any Mother or honestly, any woman who is TRYING to figure this all out. I love and adore you. Don't stop trying. 

Happy Tuesday!



MOlson said...

I love you, Hil. You have a wonderful voice. Acceptance, tolerance, and empathy are (for me) the greatest lessons I can teach my children.

Haley said...

What a great post! I love how honest you are on your blog. It inspires me to be more honest and open. What a great reminder to seek to lift others, and stop worrying about comparing or criticizing. I needed this!