Any mother knows that time management changes drastically after children come to the family. In relearning how to manage my time with four little ones, I’ve experienced discouraging moments—especially when it comes to gospel study. It’s tricky to schedule scripture study and be sure it’s meaningful. But a few experiences have taught me that as I am obedient and prayerful, the Lord will teach me in other ways.
Our Heavenly Parent
One day while I was ironing, one-year-old Claire began to cry in her crib. It was naptime, and I knew that if I could quickly give her a pacifier, she would fall back to sleep. Three-year-old Lucy was playing in the room where I was ironing. I debated for a moment and then decided to keep the iron on, knowing I’d be out of the room for only a few moments. “Lucy, do you see that iron on my tall table?” I asked. “It’s VERY hot. I need to give Claire her pacifier. Please don’t touch the iron while I’m gone, or it will hurt you.”
I was sure Lucy understood, so I quickly slipped out of the room. I returned a moment later, and I heard a whimper from behind a chair.
“Lucy?” I asked. “Where are you?”
She didn’t reply.
“Are you OK? Why are you hiding?”
I walked over behind the chair and sat on the floor. Her face was buried in her hands. After a few refusals to tell me what happened, she finally said, “Mommy, I touched your iron.”
At first I was confused that she hadn’t heeded my warning. Then I felt heartbroken that she would hide from me after making a small mistake, afraid she had lost my love and confidence. I knew she was powerless to take the pain away, and only I could help her burned finger feel better. I comforted Lucy, and as I rushed her to the bathroom sink to ease the pain, the Spirit whispered to my heart: “This is how Heavenly Father feels when His children fail to heed His warnings and won’t allow Him to ease their pain when they need it most.” In that moment I felt such joy at this knowledge and a confidence in the Lord’s willingness to teach me.
A few years later I was called to be a counselor in my ward Relief Society presidency. I felt inadequate to fulfill this calling. I began to study the principle of charity. I prayed to develop more Christlike charity for the sisters I served. But I wasn’t quite sure what this spiritual gift would look or feel like.
My anxiety was weighing on my mind as I made lunch one day. My third daughter, Annie, was sitting on the middle landing of our stairs, engrossed in her two-year-old imagination. I watched as she leaned forward to grab a toy, lost her balance, and tumbled down four or five stairs. I ran to her and tried to calm her as she cried. I quieted her enough to hear a little sob coming from the kitchen table. I looked over to see five-year-old Claire crying.
“Come here.” I said. “What’s wrong?”
She ran to join Annie and me in a family hug. The words she spoke were a direct answer to my prayerful question about charity.
“I saw Annie start to fall, and then I watched her and saw how sad she felt,” she said. “I would rather fall down the stairs for Annie than watch her have to fall down.”
The thought immediately came to my mind through the Spirit, “That is charity.”
Growing in Faith
Most recently, my husband taught our children about the story of Moses. I said, “I think the faith of Moses’s mother is amazing! She sent him down the river and prayed that Heavenly Father would keep him safe. Can you imagine the great faith it took for her to trust Heavenly Father with her baby?”
Lucy asked, “Mom, do you have that much faith?”
It was a profound question. I thought about it for a moment and then shared a few experiences that I have had when I successfully relied on the Lord with faith. The discussion that followed was edifying for the entire family. Her question comes to my mind all the time. It is strengthening to know that I can have faith like Moses’s mother.
As I walk by faith, ask in prayer, and obediently study, the Lord uses my experiences as a mother to teach me His doctrine through the Spirit. And He teaches me often, regardless of the time constraints of parenthood.