I had a light-bulb moment the other day. You know how in the talk we’re studying this week for General Conference Book Club, there’s a quote from Joseph Smith about how revelation can come into our minds as “pure intelligence flowing into you”? It was one of those kind of moments. Pretend you’re interested.
I had recently finished writing a guest post for Mormon Mommy Blogs. (I believe it’s posting on the 30th– that’s this Thursday, but I’ll be out of town and won’t have internet access to point you all that direction, so GO there and make a comment so I don’t look like the guest blogger who shouldn’t have been.)
Anyway, I wrote a post about “Diapers and Divinity,” which obviously is the title of my blog, but it was mainly an attempt to explain my philosophy on motherhood in general, and the motivating principles for which I try to use this blog as a medium. So the thoughts were still fresh in my mind and I kept thinking and kept thinking about how majestic motherhood really is. I felt convinced that the simple things we do as mothers are really, really important, but I still felt like I was unable to articulate why. Moms are often caught up in (and discouraged by) the dreary details of motherhood, but surely there must be a deeper purpose in it than we see . . . or don’t see. And then the thoughts came.
Everything we do is meant to point us to Christ. All of those mundane things we do— the dishes, the diaper changing, the laundry, the booger-removal from walls and bedding, 🙂 all of it— are symbols of some part of the Savior’s atoning mission. Stick with me here, I’m trying to make sense. I’ve always liked this scripture in Moses 6:62-63:
62 And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.
63 And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me.
Everything. That thought took me a little deeper and I began to recognize that all those ordinary tasks fall into categories of what Jesus Christ did/does for us:
- He takes dirty things and makes them clean. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” (Isaiah 1:18) Think about it: laundry, dishes, bathing, cleaning toilets, all fall into this category. Even changing a diaper becomes a poignant symbol when you think of it as taking a soiled child and making him clean, something the Savior does for us.
- He turns contention, pain, sorrow, and hunger into peace, healing, comfort and nourishment. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28), “Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh” (Luke 6:21). This could be a job description for mothers. We nurse wounds. We wipe away tears. We restore peace. We feed people.
- He turns chaos into order. “I created these things; yea, in the beginning . . . And the earth was without form, and void; . . . And I, God, saw everything that I had made, and, behold, all things which I had made were very good” (Moses 2: 1-2, 31). As mothers, we create the world of our home. Our homemaking and housekeeping efforts take matter unorganized and turn it into home: a place of learning and existing as a family. We are creators.
Isn’t that amazing? Maybe some of you are thinking “Duh, I knew that,” but to me it was an entirely new and enlightening concept– a revelation that I participate in the Savior’s work when I do my simple mom stuff. It’s a struggle, but it’s supposed to be hard; the Atonement was not easy for Him either. But seeing those symbols for what they are and what they can point me to has made a big difference for me. So, like my little sidebar introduction says, join me in getting back to mothering with a renewed sense of purpose. That purpose— divine motherhood— is very, very cool.
I’m headed to Women’s Conference at BYU for the rest of the week, so I’ll be pretty quiet on the Internet front. I’m going to post my GCBC comments tonight, so please keep that conversation going all week. The new talk will still go up on Sunday. I’m hoping to learn lots of cool stuff and come back and share it with you. Say a prayer for Matt’s four days as a single parent. (But don’t pray too much– I want it to be hard enough that my shoes seem unfillable. :))