From the day my first child was born I loved and treasured being a mother. I felt great joy in nurturing, teaching, and loving God’s precious children, and I was grateful to be able to stay at home to care for my children.
When I was pregnant with my third child, however, I started to lose some of that joy of motherhood. I felt weighed down by tiredness, dirty dishes, and soiled laundry. I still loved my children greatly, but I felt like I couldn’t handle the crying and the little quarrels very well.
Sometimes I felt trapped; because of my two small children, it was hard to go places and do the normal errands that need to be done in life. I often felt despair. It seemed like being a mother was too hard. Every day I prayed for hope.
I wanted more help from my husband. I often felt like I had to do everything myself—clean the house, get up with the kids at night, prepare all the food, do all the finances, and so forth. My husband and I would have recurring arguments about who didn’t appreciate whom and who did more work than the other. If I asked him to help me, he would act annoyed or burdened—and if he did help, it was grudgingly.
I felt worn-out emotionally and physically. When my husband was around, I acted even more tired, hoping that he would see that I needed more help. But if I mentioned my tiredness, he would say, “I’m not feeling so good myself.” I felt he was not listening to me or giving place to my feelings.
My children seemed to be fussier. I didn’t feel peace in my home.
Finally I prayed and asked my Heavenly Father if there was something I could do to be happier. After my prayer, I felt that I should confide in my mother. I told her how I felt and then said, “I feel like my children need to have peace and I don’t know how to accomplish it.”
My mom asked, “Do your children not have peace because you don’t have peace, or do you not have peace because your children don’t have peace?”
I didn’t know. I had never considered that the root of the problem might lie in me.
I went home and prayed some more, trying to be open to the idea that I was the one who needed to change. I didn’t know what I could change. I didn’t see anything that I was doing wrong. But I felt like I needed to be open.
Heavenly Father then started me on the amazing, challenging, eye-opening journey of changing my heart. He helped me to look at my life and myself with a true and honest view. He gently showed me that I had pride in dealing with my husband. I had anger and unforgiveness in my heart for many little things that my husband had done from the beginning and for not being exactly who I thought he should be.
This anger wasn’t a to-the-surface, obvious anger that manifested itself in me wanting to yell a lot or to hit something. It was a deep, buried, subtle anger that manifested itself in little sarcastic remarks, in rolling my eyes behind my husband’s back, or in feeling like I didn’t want him to be around. Without my realizing it, it had become all-consuming. I had to be told about it by my Heavenly Father.
Because of my anger and unforgiving attitude, I was not allowing myself to love my husband as I needed to. I had been angry with him for so many little things that finally I was angry with him all the time. These feelings changed how I felt about our family and how I acted at home.
Learning these things took much prayer and caused much pain. I had to be humble enough to learn that I was doing something wrong after trying so hard for so many years to do everything right. Heavenly Father taught me the specific behaviors I was doing that were untrue to who I really was.
I could never have changed on my own. It was only through the atonement of Jesus Christ that I was able to be changed.
I asked Heavenly Father for a feeling of forgiveness, for a feeling of humility, for a feeling of deeper, truer love, and he gave them to me because of my submissiveness, repentant heart, and willingness to be changed.
It was a process. I had to practice and evaluate and pray some more. I still have to be conscious of my feelings and actions and be totally forgiving and humble or I will slip back.
The result of this change was greater than I ever would have imagined. It affected my whole life and my everyday feelings about life. I was not as tired, the despair was lifted, the arguments disappeared.
I still felt that I needed more help from my husband, but with the right feeling I was able to gently encourage him to help or let it go. I stopped my untrue behaviors. I started to be free to feel the joy of motherhood and not focus on the burdens of being a mother.
As a result of these things, our home was given the spirit of peace. Our marriage has been getting better and better. A lot of things in marriage are still hard, but how I feel has changed. My husband feels more appreciated and loved, and in turn treats the children and me with more love. He is happier at home. I feel lighter and truer. I feel great joy in the moments I spend with my children and in serving them.
Now I have four children and my days are filled with minds to teach, spirits to influence, hugs from little arms, children in my arms or on my lap, and being surrounded by some of my favorite people. My days are also filled with the great burdens of motherhood, but Heavenly Father has given me the gift of peace and joy that helps me look past the burdens to see the greatness of being a wife and mother. This has been one of the greatest miracles of my life.
Lead image from Wikimedia Commons
Of course they do. "Beyond imagination," wrote President Spencer W. Kimball. "If all the miracles of our own lifetime were recorded, it would take many library shelves to hold the books which could contain them."
This book is a collection of simple yet life-changing experiences--everyday miracles--which come as a natural consequence of the Lord's promise that his Spirit will always be with us if we keep our covenants and remain faithful.
These stories will touch your heart and stir your memory, drawing forth the welcome discovery that your own life has been filled with a series of small, everyday miracles.