Invigorating?

PrayerDraw1[image credit: Jenny Stevning]

Nick Galieti, who interviewed me about my book a while back (you can listen to that here), wrote me this morning to let me know that he had written an article about it in the Deseret News.

That was a fun surprise.

There were also a couple other surprises.

The title of the article was “LDS author Stephanie Dibb Sorensen invigorates motherhood with practical doctrine”. I love that he used the words motherhood and doctrine together because that’s really what I hope makes the book different. I tried hard to steer away from fluff and to just show through scripture and personal experiences how our daily mothering is really the doctrine of Jesus Christ in action. The word “invigorates” made me laugh a little because, although it’s a great word and it felt like a compliment, the idea that I “invigorate motherhood” just humors me. I spent several hours this week doing yard work. This made me feel old and sore. Ever since I got home from church today, I’ve been fantasizing about taking a nap. I fantasize about naps on most days. So I don’t consider myself a very invigorating specimen of motherhood, but I’m so glad Nick thinks I am. :)

The other surprise from the article was the discovery that I apparently speak out loud in very long run-on sentences. I should really learn to punctuate a little bit when I speak. I am a fast talker, especially when I’m nervous, but now I know that I also craft paragraph-sized sentences effortlessly.

Warning: subject change….

I’ve been blogging for a long time, and one thing I’ve learned is how thoughtful and smart my readers are. There are many times that your comments have encouraged me or helped to me to gain insight into circumstances and principles. Some of you may have read a recent post I wrote called “An open letter to two real moms.” Among lots of other run-on sentences, I whined a little about book signings and I shared a few lessons I learned from general conference, including this one:

President Packer testified of the power of mothers’ prayers. Sure that means prayers for our children, but I also think it means prayers when we need help being a parent. God will honor those prayers.

Well, this morning I got a comment on that post that is still in my moderation queue, and I’ve been thinking about it most of the day. I have a variety of ideas, but I’m not sure I know how to answer her. I decided that I’m going to open it up to you to help answer her question.

Where is the help, I need it now! I have been poring out prayers to heaven. They say we have this power as a mother to get help from heaven. Well, where is it. I need it, and have been asking for it for years.

I will allow her to remain anonymous and I will email her and let her know that many wise mothers will be sharing some thoughts with her. Be kind to her and answer as if she were your own daughter, because I think she could use a little “invigorating.” Just share your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks, friends.

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18 thoughts on “Invigorating?

  1. I don’t have lots of wisdom. But just the fact that you are praying and continue to seek the Father is a beautiful sign that you are being strengthened in your faith and in your daily consecration of yourself to your family. Motherhood is HARD! About 10% of the time I feel like I stink at it. 85% of the time I think I’m fair to middling. And for a few glorious moments a day/week, I feel like “I did it! Wahoo!”

    This might be one of those super-long bone-wearying trials that we see examples of in the scriptures. Alma who prayed for his son for many years. Naomi who lost her husband and both sons and returned penniless to her homeland with only a faithful daughter-in-law. It could be a 14-year mission like Ammon and his brethren; but instead of working to save a group of Lamanites, you are working to save the souls of your children or other family members. The great thing about reading stories long after the fact, is that we’ve got the perspective of time. We see the end-game, the miracle that happened at the end. But in the midst of the trial, the experience, it may seem as endless as the Nebraska plains to the pioneers.

    Other than prayer and scripture and counsel of prophets, I find myself renewed when I try the following:
    a) getting a break…5 mins alone in the bathroom, a good book after the kids go to sleep, a girls night out with friends volunteering as ushers for the community play/musical and getting free seats for the show.
    b) good old-fashioned humor. I LOVE the “Calvin & Hobbes” cartoons and have a few books at home and periodically check them out of the library. No matter how naughty my kids are, Calvin can top them…and in a way that leaves me laughing. :)
    c) support. Whether its a listening ear and a back-rub from a spouse, talking on the phone with my mother or older friend who’s “been-there-done-that”, or having a playdate at the park with friend(s) where we can hash out some of what’s making us tear out our hair. Just knowing that others are in the trenches with you or have gone before you can make a HUGE difference.
    d) love. In the quiet moments, I’ve found my heart opening up for those little monsters I love by remembering why I love them. The best prompts for this has been: scrolling through photos on my phone, watching the kids sleeping peacefully or staring at that family picture that didn’t quite turn out perfect.

    Yeah, it’s hard. It can feel overwhelming. But in most cases, those things mentioned got me through.

    Just one more comment. I did go through a couple cases of Post-partum depression as well as some times when I just couldn’t seem to find my old-happy self. I was never at the point of needing medication, but a few months with a caring counselor helped me a ton.

    I hope this helps. Love and prayers are coming your way, sweet mom.

  2. I love that picture! My favorite part is the stitched up heart…Awesome write up on your book! I am dispatching someone to your signing at the Lehi Costco, she will buy a few and say hi…To the Mom who has been praying and not feeling like she is getting any answers, I have felt this way too before. Not just about Mothering issues but all sorts. I have found that when I look back at times when things were most confusing and stressful, the hardest times that help was there and sometimes I just failed to recognize it. I also learned a long time ago that the Lord has a sense of humor. Some of the most trying times for me, and the biggest lessons that I’ve learned were “communicated” with humor. I’m not trying to diminish or make light, but that element was there and it was undeniable. Maybe that was just me, I’ve always wondered if other people noticed that the Lord has a sense of humor, in a loving way. Also, and I know this is really hard for me, allowing others to help. I am not very good at this one, but sometimes answers to our prayers comes in the form of service in that allowing others to serve us, I hope that makes sense. Sometimes angels are alive! I hope that things improve… :)

  3. This person sounds like someone I knew growing up.. I remember her saying things very similar to this. But at the same time she was saying these things- she did nothing to help herself. I would tell this person, to stay focused on Christ, and keep moving. Have faith in yourself, and don’t let yourself get distracted. I have let myself get too distracted by loud people, and loud worldly noises for far to long, just listen to the Lord- keep you head high- and as Brigham Young said “Stop Praying- get out and push!”

  4. Anonymous….I, too, have felt the very things you wrote. I am an older mother, my children are mostly grown. But, my prayers have been going on for years….with seemingly no results! I often wonder ‘where is heaven’? Where is my Father and why is he not listening? Then, I stop and look at all that I have learned through my trials. Patience is at the top of the list. I have learned to listen to promptings and have to say….I have gotten pretty good at that! I have learned unconditional love….regardless of what is going on. I would tell you to make sure that as you pray that you stop and listen for answers to those prayers. You have been given just the experiences and trials that were made for you….to lift you up, to let you grow, to heighten your knowledge, to increase your love….there is so much to learn! My prayers are with you….may heaven’s blessings shine upon you!

  5. This other thought kept coming back to me as I slept last night, and I prayed about this situation. The Lord does answer prayers, Always. I have no doubt of that. Sometimes we can’t hear, depending on our situation, Take stock our your life. Do you have need of repentance? Have you made choices that need resolved with priesthood or with the Lord? This can clog the path to hearing, and can make us feel like we aren’t getting any help. The last thing is, are you stuck in a pattern of not being helped that is it easier to feel like you are not being helped rather than to accept the Love of the Lord? A professional Therepst would be helpful in determining if there is an issue with being addicted to Drama. I don’t mean to sound stern- this is just what I felt prompted to add.
    .

  6. To Anonymous…What specifically would you like help with? Of course, it might be many things, but sometimes it helps me to think of a specific problem and pray about that. It makes it easier for me to recognize the answer when I receive it. Is there someone you can talk to about it, like your husband or a trusted friend? You’ve already reached out here, and that is great! Often, the Lord answers our prayers through other people. The trick is, we have to allow other people in close enough to be able to help, whether that’s being a listening ear or something more concrete like taking the kids for an hour. If I were your Visiting Teacher, I would love if you would give me suggestions of how I could most be of service to you. Hopefully, your VTs are that way (and I guess I shouldn’t assume you’re LDS, so forgive me if that’s not the case). Praying about it is already a wonderful, correct step to take, so GOOD JOB and keep it up! Another suggestion is writing in your journal. I know, I know… But, I easily get overwhelmed and it’s very difficult for me to recognize where the Lord has helped me if I don’t stop and inventory that stuff in my journal. My problems and issues might be very small compared to what you’re going through. I don’t know, but maybe that could be a help to you if it’s something you hadn’t considered before. I wish all the best for you, and I hope very much you are able to find the solace you seek. Much love to you :)

  7. I say “invigorating” because in a world where so many mothers are giving up, and so few mothers seek out the revealed doctrines about their opportunities as mothers, you are breathing life into those who may be feeling a loss of purpose or feel that motherhood is all about the hard parts, and forget that there are rewards and blessings for each and every mother who lives up to their divine calling. (I tried to use a run-on sentence so you wouldn’t feel alone ;)

  8. Dear anonymous,
    Oh I have been there, oh how I have been there! What we are doing is HARD WORK!!! It is frustrating, tiring, and a lot of times it seems like our efforts are of naught. You are not alone. Not only are there other mothers on this earth that understand,there are countless mothers on the other side of the veil that have been where you are. There are angels around you. God is mindful of you. He wants you to put your trust in him and surrender to His will.

    I know that when I have struggled, creating a journal of a few ways everyday I have noticed God’s hand in my life, has really helped. It is really hard to see at first. It helps if you start pleading with the Lord to see His hand in your daily life. Ask for eyes to see and a heart to feel His tender mercies. If you add one or two ways you think the Lord might be helping in your life, I promise by the end of a month you will be more fluent in recognizing the Lord’s hand in your life.

    Be of good cheer! I know God is with you in this great task! It may not look or feel how you think it should, but He really is there! There is something that the Lord wants you to learn.

  9. I have always found immense comfort in these wise words shared by Elder Richard G. Scott:

    “Some misunderstandings about prayer can be clarified by realizing that the scriptures define principles for effective prayer, but they do not assure when a response will be given. Actually, He will reply in one of three ways. First, you can feel the peace, comfort, and assurance that confirm that your decision is right. Or second, you can sense that unsettled feeling, the stupor of thought, indicating that your choice is wrong. Or third—and this is the difficult one—you can feel no response.

    What do you do when you have prepared carefully, have prayed fervently, waited a reasonable time for a response, and still do not feel an answer? You may want to express thanks when that occurs, for it is an evidence of His trust. When you are living worthily and your choice is consistent with the Savior’s teachings and you need to act, proceed with trust. As you are sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit, one of two things will certainly occur at the appropriate time: either the stupor of thought will come, indicating an improper choice, or the peace or the burning in the bosom will be felt, confirming that your choice was correct. When you are living righteously and are acting with trust, God will not let you proceed too far without a warning impression if you have made the wrong decision.”

    Anonymous – Know you are not alone in your struggles! (((HUGS)))

    Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer

    and

    Learning To Recognize Answers to Prayer

  10. One of my all-time favorite quotes is this one from President Spencer W. Kimball: “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs.”
    I personally know that to be true. I had been praying for something for a LONG time…years! and that prayer was finally answered in a HUGE way through a co-worker who did nothing more than make a phone call. I had been looking for some kind of divine intervention and it did come, but it was dressed up as an ordinary friend.
    I think sometimes as women we are so ready to give help but so very reluctant to ask for it. Maybe instead of saying “what can I do” you could try saying “There is someone out there that can help me, please let our paths cross.” My guess is that if you approach a few people (maybe a Bishop or one of his counselors or a RS President) someone will jump at the opportunity to help you.
    Hope that helps in some small way!

  11. God answers our prayers through others often. We can also search for our answers ourselves and if we find them when we are praying, why can’t that be revelation? Why can’t that be an answer to prayers? I think it can!

  12. I’m not a mother, but I have one and she’s amazing. Her mother was amazing too. I also married a young woman more than 18 years ago who has turned out to be one amazing mother. Let me share a few random thoughts. At first they may not appear to fit together, but in my goofy mind they make a beautiful image of love, hope and strength.

    My mother lost her dad to a mining accident when she was just 10 years old. It’s hard to lose a father, but it’s even harder to lose him when he’s still Daddy.

    Three weeks later her grandfather died. She remembers her mother kneeling and saying, “How long, oh Lord? First my husband and now my father?” That first Christmas after her father passed away, my mother remembers being unable to sleep. She worried for her mom. She could feel her own emptiness and knew it had to be much worse for her mother.

    As she lay there awake in her bed with younger siblings sleeping beside her, she noticed the glow of a candle pass by her door. She carefully slipped out of bed and peered through the crack in the door watching her sweet mother preparing the scene for Christmas morning. Among the gifts was a small dollhouse her younger sister had asked for. She watched as her mother tried to assemble it. She attached one side and began working on the other, but without a second pair of hands, the first side just collapsed.

    “Oh shoot!” she’d say, and start again.

    After several attempts with the same result, my mother noticed that her mother was crying. She wanted to run out of her room and whisper, “Let me help. I know all about Santa.” But she couldn’t. Just then she watched her mother kneel at a nearby chair and utter a soft plea, “Give me strength, Oh Lord. Don’t let me ruin their Christmas in my loneliness.”

    My mother quietly slipped back into her bed. Some time later an uncle tapped on the door and helped his sister prepare for the morning.

    My angel mother grew up in the loving embrace of two penniless widows. My grandmother moved the family from the mining community in Nevada to Cedar City, Utah so she could attend college. The older boys (ages 12 and 9) moved in with their grandma to help work on the dairy farm. As the children grew older, each child got a job and each was required to pay one of the bills to keep the family afloat. My grandma graduated from college the same day that my mother graduated from high school. Each of her sons served missions and all of her children married in the temple.

    My wife has a similar story.

    Her mother was 15 when her father was called to be the mission president in the Uruguay Paraguay mission. Her mother was very sick when the mission call came. Her kidneys had failed and she was on dialysis. In 1955, no such technology existed in Uruguay and Paraguay. They knew that accepting that mission call would mean an early death to Grandma Louise.

    My mother-in-law remembers boarding a train in Seattle and watching her mother embrace her grandmother. The two women held each other for a very long time. After want seemed like several minutes, Louise’s mother took her by the arms and fixed her gaze into her eyes—memorizing each curve of her face. Then they embraced again.

    My sweet mother-in-law remembers watching her mother faithfully and happily serve the people of South America until she grew too sick to stand. After several weeks lying in a hospital bed, she called her children to her and told them she loved them. She bore testimony in both word and deed, and died serving the Lord.

    The example of faith, love, and service grandma Louise taught my wife—even before she was born—has served as a beacon in our family. Her story is a family favorite. Both of these amazing grandmothers serve to strengthen our children’s testimonies. They help us remember that God didn’t send us here to enjoy a life of ease, but to work, to struggle, and watch for the subtle tender mercies of the Lord that lift and carry us forward.

    These two stories remind me of the Jaredites in the Book of Mormon.

    After the lord touched the stones and made them glow, the brother of Jared placed them in the ends of their barges. Then they all climbed aboard these things and waited for God to move them.

    These barges had no sail, no steering mechanism, no source of propulsion, nothing. They were like corked bottles tossed out to sea. Then the Lord caused a fierce wind to blow upon the waters and because of that terrible wind, these barges were literally tossed across the sea to the Promised Land. At times they were buried in the depths of the sea and covered by huge mountain waves caused by the fierceness of the wind, but they continued to have faith in God. They even sang praises to Him.

    Finally, after nearly a year of being thrown across the sea, they arrived where the Lord needed them to go and they were happy.

    Our lives are a journey from where we are to where God wants us to be. And one thing is certain: When God wants us to go somewhere, he never takes the easy road. But the experiences we go through shape us into the people God needs us to be, and we won’t usually see the reason until after the struggle is behind us

  13. So I have not read the other comments, thus I will probably just repeat some….sorry about that. A girl friend of mine asked the same question. She essentially said to me, “the Spirit doesn’t talk to me like He does to you….” to which I replied, my dear, sweet friend, He wants to and tries to, we just need to teach you how to listen. I am not saying that is the case with your reader, but the principle is certainly true. The Lord does want to speak to us, all of us. He has information for us. He wants to help us. He does not value one of us above the other.

    First and foremost, your reader needs to know that. He IS there, even if it seems He is not. He IS aware and He DOES care, so keep asking, pleading as Elder Holland says for the help that heaven sends angels to help us. Read Because She is a Mother from Elder Holland (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1997/04/because-she-is-a-mother?lang=eng). That always helps me with my focus and understand the Lord’s feelings about what I am doing and how He feels.

    Second, to make sure my communication lines are open, I have to revisit my obedience levels and if I am doing everything I can to do everything I know how to do what the Lord has asked of me…in all aspects of my life…am I really trying, even though I am not perfect. If the answer is no, I repent and make corrections. If the answer is yes, then I try to think about what I am learning from the situation. Am I growing by having to wait for an answer? Is there something else the Lord has in mind? Am I asking the right questions?? Sometimes if I am asking for the trial to end or be removed, that is usually not going to happen. Growth comes through the trial, which means there is a specified time table and it usually is longer than I want. (Then I revisit The Fourth Watch CD by S. Michael Wilcox, which reminds me of the nature of trials and other principles involved in waiting through them.)

    Third, I make sacrifices to hear the word of the Lord. Personal revelation, for me, comes most often when I choose to get up for early morning scripture study after I got to bed late waiting up for a teenager, the baby was up twice, and I have a headache….or other such experiences where I feel like getting up early to study is just too much to ask. When I am willing to make that sacrifice to commune with the Divine, I seem to receive an extra measure of information and assistance. I haven’t figured out if there a doctrinal principle to support such experience, except the general doctrine of sacrifice. The Lord requires that of us and in return, we have treasures of knowledge given to us because we have shown the Lord we are willing to make sacrifices to receive the information.

    I’m sure there are other things that I cannot think of right now, but the above three will usually give me a new direction and insight and feelings of hope to continue forward even though I may not have complete answers right now. Oh, one more:

    The doctrine of agency. There are just some things that happen because of someone’s agency and we cannot change their choices, even though they may affect us directly. In that case, I delve into the doctrine of the Atonement and how it can help to heal my pain and sorrow, as it is due to the agency of another.

  14. Dear Mother seeking help, my reply to you is so long that I posted it on my blog and am simply leaving a link to it from here. http://corinesmiles.blogspot.com/2013/04/dear-mother-seeking-help.html – In case you run out of time to go to my blog and read more (I see you have much to read already!), here is the final punch to my answer to your question… ***I believe the lord answers our prayers in such subtle ways that we often don’t even recognize them as answers. But He is here. He is aware of your family’s needs. He loves you and does answer in the ways that are best for you… I hope you KNOW that the lord LOVES you and BELIEVES in you and that your struggles are not because of some deficiency in you – but rather because you are strong enough to choose a higher path! You are AMAZING! :D Keep moving forward and one day you will find great joy in realizing that there is a reason for it all, and you will be so thankful to see yourself as the beautiful and amazing person you are now becoming…

    Hugs from a fellow mom… :)
    Corine :D

  15. I recently attended Education Week and the instructor told us to change our prayers. He suggested we pray “help me to know when, where, and what to say and do…inspire me.” Pray for His will to be done. In the September Ensign there is an article titled “The Lord never shouted at me.” The sister in the article learned to trust in His will and counsel. As we entrust our children to The Lord we can feel peace.

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