Doing surgery on a zebra that has sprung a leak was not on the list of things I anticipated that I'd do when I became a mother, but my two year old daughter is so delighted when her zebra is "all better". I'm delighted too; her delight makes me grateful to be at home to do these "inconsequential" things. Because I don't believe that they're inconsequential at all; I am building a relationship with my daughter. The zebra is just one of many moments where she learns that her mom is there for her.
"Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. ... Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children."
-The Family: A Proclamation
It's a big job, Mothering, and there are a whole lot of things that look inconsequential, when viewed individually. But, for my daughter, the two minutes I spent fixing her toy (rather than throwing it away because it's broken) are a BIG DEAL. Nurturing, Mothering, in many ways they are more than the sum of their parts. It's one of those places where the Lord takes the small and the simple, and magnifies it for His great works. Doing His work means that I spend my days doing small, simple things. Things that, taken individually, don't look like much. Any single moment, any single day, probably isn't going to look very significant. But looks can be deceiving.
"Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness... And to teach them to love and serve one another...."
-The Family: A Proclamation
Fixing the zebra, the endless stack of dishes and piles of laundry, the bumps kissed, the walks taken, the thousand questions answered, stories read, scriptures discussed, the ordinary things of life at home become deeply meaningful and immensely satisfying when we see them as parts of a whole in the our Father's plan, and also as expressions of our love for our families. The virtues of Christ, particularly charity, work, and service, play out in our lives in small, simple things, but viewed over a lifetime, the effects are so much more than any one moment (especially the difficult and monotonous moments) seem like they ought to be.
“Many small people in many small places doing many small things can alter the face of the earth.”
Quoted by Anne C. Pingree
Mothering is like that. One small child at a time, a nation is built, a culture transmitted. When we teach our children to appreciate beauty, we are creating a demand for beauty in our culture. When we teach them about service, we are setting them in a place where, throughout their lives, they can be an influence for peace and healing in their corner of the world. And, while it is true that pain tends to beget more pain, the opposite is also true: when we send out love and service and healing into the world, they tend to encourage more of the same, and it makes the world a lovelier place to be.
Charity, the Savior’s pure love, is the “highest, noblest, strongest kind of love,” which we “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart” to possess. Elder Dallin H. Oaks teaches us that charity “is not an act but a condition or state of being [one becomes].” Our day-to-day offerings of charity are “written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; … in [the] fleshy tables of [our] heart[s].” Little by little our charitable acts change our natures, define our characters, and ultimately make us women with the courage and commitment to say to the Lord, “Here am I; send me.”
-Anne C. Pingrey, October Conference 2002
Send me. Even if the job is messy and unglamorous, and the place is ordinary, mundane. Domestic, even. Send me, even though the world says that Mothering and homemaking are not worthwhile pursuits, and that women deserve "real" accomplishment, away from home and family. Send me. Write charity on my heart so that I can understand, deep down, the importance of what I am doing. Create a mighty change in me; make me a Mother. The unborn spirits, sons and daughters of God, are welcome in my home. Send me the ones that need me.
We study the Bible and take it at face-value when it says:
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ...
This is the privilege of family: to lift and raise and teach God's own children, whom the Psalmist describes as "heritage from the Lord." In our families as nowhere else He permits is, flawed and weak as we are, to become partners in His work and His glory: the salvation of His children!