When Founded upon Christ, by Becca Riding

Cover me, I’m going in…

I am a mother of 4.

In Jim Gaffigan’s most recent stand-up routine he says “Want to know what it’s like having 4 kids? Just imagine you’re drowning…and someone hands you a baby.” Mother of Four is a new title for me, having only recently acquired that Fourth, and I’m still getting used to the water, as it were.

It is a Thursday. I get up bleary eyed and stumble to my kitchen to dig out some stale cereal for the hungry masses to eat for breakfast. There, on my kitchen counter, is a box of peaches waiting to be canned. Half a bushel. Staring me down. “Yes,” I think, “I will get to those today.”

Cue the shrill cry of a distressed newborn. I throw a handful of cereal in my mouth, take a gulp of milk, and go scoop her up. And what’s this? Crying baby…who….won’t open her eyes?? This is new. Four kids, and the surprises keep coming. Quick call to my pediatrician to take advantage of the fact that I’ve now paid enough co-pays to buy him a car. Baby who won’t open her eyes? He has no idea. So, you know, we’re figuring that out. As I’m talking on the phone, holding Baby Four in one arm, I’m using the other arm to wash peaches in the sink.

Until Three starts puking on the carpet, raising the question: What in the world did she eat so early in the morning that is THAT color purple??? Awesome. But at least it didn’t seem to bother her; she never even took her eyes off “Yo Gabba Gabba.” Plunk Baby Four in her bouncer to fend for herself for a bit. I am on my knees, humming as I scrub the carpet.  The peaches on the counter roll their eyes at me.

I am going to get those darn peaches canned.

Two trips to the doctor and several hours later, I have pawned One and Two off on a Christlike Protestant neighbor, but Three and Four are both screaming at the top of their lungs. They are miserable. They want to be held, by me and only me. They cannot be comforted, but I alternate between one and the other, back and forth, as they continue to shriek. My eardrums are, quite honestly, over it.  I am trying, very hard, not to lose it utterly.

Which is when I lay them oh so lovingly and gently on the carpet, wrap an apron around my courtesy-of-your-children waist, and bottle those peaches. Happy little slices, sprinkled with Fruit Fresh, and packed neatly into their gleaming jars.  Perfect. Just like the good little Mormon I am, I am canning to the sound of misery and outrage, the soundtrack of this moment in my life. And as I stand here, white knuckle gripping my sanity and pouring sugar syrup into each jar, I think “Oh, please. Just let the Savior cover this day. Let Him cover my inability to do and be everything I need to be and can’t be today. Please let the atonement cover it.”

And the greatest thing is? It does.

Becca Riding was born and raised in Utah but calls North Carolina home. She served a mission in Switzerland, married her very best friend, and has four kids. She recently completed her first-half mile jog, which she’s pretty excited about, and she seriously needs a nap.

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Look at what you could win if you participate in today’s blog hop! You have until Sunday to add a link to your own Family Proclamation Photo Essay post at at We Talk of Christ, at Chocolate on My Cranium, or at Middle-Aged Mormon Man…  All you need to do is put up some of your own photos with phrases from the Proclamation. Better get busy!

Would you like a beautiful photo proclamation book? It uses the entire text from The Family: A Proclamation to the World to accompany your photos! Designed by Jill Means it looks great with color or black and white photos. You can see sample pages above.

Viovio is giving away a $50 gift certificate for one lucky participant in today’s blog hop to use in ordering their own personalized photo book! The Family Proclamation template is created for a square book, so the winner will be able to create a book from any of the square sizes – 3.5 x 3.5, 5×5, 8.5×8.5, 10×10, or 12×12. Viovio produces gorgeous, high-quality photo books and photo cards. With a variety of templates to choose from you’ll be sure to find the perfect fit to showcase your family photos.

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Click here to read a complete version of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The celebration will continue through Sept. 30.

Every time you leave a comment on any of the Proclamation posts or participate in any of the Blog Hops, you are entered in a drawing to win a giveaway prize.

← The giveaway this week is a gift certificate from Family Tree and Me redeemable for any of their Photo Family Proclamations, including the shipping cost. Readers of the Family Proclamation Celebration can receive a 25% discount off the price of the print if you use this code: Family Proclamation Celebration.25 The discount is good until September 30th. All those comment on posts will be eligible for the giveaway. Family Tree and Me delights in creating customized keepsake family photo art and would love the opportunity to make a meaningful art piece for you to display in your home. You provide the pictures and we create the art! We have four categories of art with a variety of options available within each one: Photo Family Trees, Photo Family Proclamations, Missionary Photo Art, and Photo Family Mission Statements.

The power of purpose

One of the things that scares me the most about my book is that people are going to read it. It’s such a silly fear that I don’t even know what to say about it, except that I want to scream from the rooftops (because apparently that’s how you get all the right people to hear you): I do not think I’m an expert on motherhood! Come look in my house and you will see I struggle with being the right kind of mom every single day! But I believe everything I wrote about being a mother– I know that it is a divine opportunity, I know that it is infinitely important, and I know that motherhood turns me to Christ and helps me become who I should be. That knowledge gives my mothering purpose.

Purpose is what gives a person hope. It gives you perspective beyond an inglorious moment. And it gives me something to work toward, because we all understand that knowing something and doing it right are two wholly different things.

I saw this video today that explains the basic doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It answers those questions that every human has about the purpose of life: Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where will I go when I die? Anyway, it’s a lovely little clip, and something that I think would be great to share with people to help them understand a little bit about what Mormons really believe. I really do believe what this video talks about. I believe in Jesus Christ, and I believe in God’s plan of salvation. This knowledge gives me purpose.

What does purpose mean to you? And how does it make a difference to have one?

 

Countdown the the Family Proclamation Celebration: 3 days!

GCBC Week 26: “The Songs They Could Not Sing” by Elder Quentin L. Cook

First of all, if you didn’t see all the recent blog announcements, go check them out.

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We did it!  This is the last talk we’ll study for this round of general conference.  The conference countdown has begun.

That picture up there will make a lot more sense after you study this talk.  It’s a classic analysis of the age-old question:  why do bad things happen to good people?, and then it’s followed up with counsel of how to navigate those trials and testimony about the justice of God’s Plan.  The answers, of course, are found in the Savior.

The Songs They Could Not Sing by Elder Quentin L. Cook

” There are many kinds of challenges. Some give us necessary experiences. Adverse results in this mortal life are not evidence of lack of faith or of an imperfection in our Father in Heaven’s overall plan. The refiner’s fire is real, and qualities of character and righteousness that are forged in the furnace of affliction perfect and purify us and prepare us to meet God.”

Update:  I had forgotten that we did this talk already back in December.  I paired it up with another talk.  Sorry about that.  If this is a repeat for you, study Pres. Monson’s closing remarks from conference this week or Pres. Uchtdort’s awesome talk from the General RS meeting.

What are some of your favorite insights from this talk?  Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

The next round of General Conference Book Club will be hosted from a different home.  Go here to read the announcement (skip down to number 3).

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.” If you want to learn more, go here.

That Easter Feeling

I know Easter is coming because I can feel it.  The sun begins to shine more.  The trees are trying to prove they’re still alive.  Birds reappear.  It seems like I can feel the warm breath of life itself slowly settling all around me.  It all testifies of Christ, you know.  There is no winter that cannot be overcome, and there is no night without a bright and shining morning.  No sorrow or pain can remain when the bright light of our Savior shines down upon it.  Even death itself is no match for the power of the Son of God.

I heard this song on the radio the other day (I listen to Christian radio in the car), and it just filled me to overflowing with that Easter feeling.  I’ve listened to it no less than a dozen times since, and I just need to go buy it.

The song is “Hero” by a group called “Abandon.”  Here’s an acoustic version they performed on Air1.  Listen to the words and just let it soak in.  I promise it feels like Son-shine.

I know it’s early, but Happy Easter.

Mothers: Symbols of the Savior (+CD giveaway)

What has motherhood taught you about Jesus Christ?

That’s the question I asked Whitney Permann of MERCY RIVER because it’s the central theme of my blog– finding the divine among the daily details of motherhood.  MERCY RIVER is a musical trio of LDS women (Brooke, Whitney, and Soni).  With thirteen kids between them, they understand how busy a mother’s life can be, and they also juggle being recording artists and inspirational speakers.  Check out this video for a peek of them rehearsing and entertaining seven kids at the same time.

Here is Whitney’s answer:

What has motherhood taught me about Jesus Christ?

Motherhood has taught me many things. I’ve learned that patterned shirts hide snot and spit up better than plain shirts. I’ve learned that cell phones don’t work correctly after they’ve been sucked on too many times. And I’ve learned that I should always check for stray pull ups before I throw a load of laundry in.

I’ve also learned about polar bear habitats, all five signs of strep throat, and the name of every member of the BYU football team.

But most importantly, motherhood has taught me a lot about Jesus Christ. As a mother, I’ve learned about justice and mercy, faith and prayer, joy and sorrow, and deep, intense love. Each of these things connects me to Him.

We are taught that as mothers, we are “partners” with Christ. We offer ourselves as vehicles through which spirits can come to earth. But perhaps we are more than just “partners” with Him.  Take a look at Moses 6:58:

“As ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit…even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten.”

Isn’t that stunning? Physical birth (from a mother) is symbolic of spiritual re-birth that will take place later in life (from Christ). So, as mothers, not only are we partners with Christ–

We are symbols of Christ.

We offer our physical bodies in pregnancy and childbirth to provide life for our children. Jesus Christ offered His physical body in death, to provide life for God’s children. And both involve water, blood, and the Spirit.

But it doesn’t stop there. A mother’s offering does not begin or end with her body. Yes, a mother offers her body through sleepless nights, weary arms, a well-worn lap, an aching back, and a listening ear. But what a mother offers most is her heart. Her entire soul. And isn’t that what Jesus Christ has offered us as well? Just as we see it symbolized in motherhood, He offers us His body, and His heart and soul.

So I ask, how does this knowledge–that we are symbols of Christ–change the way we view motherhood? Does it change the way I see myself or my children? Should it? And what is the meaning of it all? Why has He chosen to use mothers in this beautifully symbolic way?

I think it means He thinks we’re pretty special.

I think it means that mothering should be reverenced and protected.

I think it means that by daily nurturing, loving, teaching, and sacrificing for my children, not only am I coming to know more about Him, I am coming to be more like Him.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love that, Whitney, and I absolutely agree.  Perhaps no other calling on earth can give more opportunity to become like Christ than the calling of a mother.  Thank you!

MERCY RIVER has just released a new album, “Higher,” and they are offering a free copy of their CD to one lucky reader.  There are some beautiful songs on this album.  I think my favorites are two songs I was already familiar with from the Christian radio station I like to listen to:  “Blessings” and “Better than a Hallelujah.”  This is great Sunday music, but it’s also upbeat enough for any day at home or in the car.

If you want to hear a song from this album, you can go to their Facebook page here and listen to “Beautiful Life.”  You’ll also find more information about their current blog tour and any upcoming performances.

So, you wanna be a winner?  It’s simple really.  In just one or two sentences, answer the same question Whitney did:  What has motherhood taught you about Jesus Christ? (Your answer doesn’t have to be original, just true to you.  It can be longer, too, but no pressure.)  Each person who comments before midnight on Friday will be entered in a drawing to win Mercy River’s new CD.