As the mother of three young children and a newborn baby, I found that my motherhood experience was not turning out the way I had expected. Our second child, five-year-old Samuel, was severely autistic, which meant I had to deal with some very challenging behavior. I desperately wanted to become the patient, kind, and long-suffering mother I knew I needed to be for my children, but as Samuel’s behavior worsened, I seemed to be snapping at my other children almost constantly. Despite starting each day with good intentions and renewed determination, I would reach each evening with the usual sense of despair at my dismal failure to curb my temper and improve my behavior toward my young family. I was physically and emotionally exhausted, and I felt completely unequal to the calling of motherhood.
One Sunday morning as I arrived late to Relief Society, our music director announced that we would be singing hymn number 216, “We Are Sowing.” Having grown up as a member of the Church, I was familiar with this hymn and had always associated it with missionary work and sharing the gospel.
We had barely reached the end of the second line when the words took on a new meaning for me and my emotions prevented me from continuing to sing. At that time my son certainly felt like the “dry, unyielding plain” the hymn described, and my relationship with my eldest daughter was rapidly becoming a “lonely mountain glen.” I thought about what seeds I was sowing in the “rich, brown furrows” of my children’s hearts, and I realized that through my words and actions I would sow in them either spiritual weakness or spiritual strength.
As the hymn progressed, the Holy Spirit continued His quiet tutoring within my heart. I learned that I needed to stop thoughtlessly sowing my words. I needed to temper my tongue and sow my actions with “tears and love and prayer.” I needed to sow for my children a childhood of the praise, acceptance, and love that would fill them with the “fruit of life eternal.”
Since that day my prayer has become, “Thou who knowest all [my] weakness, leave [me] not to sow alone!” My life is still filled with many of the same challenges, but this simple hymn gave me the courage to lean on the Lord as He helps me change my attitudes and behavior so I can be the mother I want to be. I now have this wonderful hymn posted in my kitchen beside pictures of my children, and when I read the words, I feel my commitment to motherhood renewed.