Thursday, October 15, 2015
Consider yourself forewarned. Despite the 4:30 a.m. showers, wearing church clothes and make up on weekdays, and doing everything except standing on my head and gargling bb's to keep sixteen teenagers awake, I have fallen in love with teaching seminary.
The next couple of weeks we will be studying the book of Exodus. The symbolism found in these chapters fascinates me. I feel like I'm on a treasure hunt as I discover types and shadows of Christ throughout these accounts. I get so excited and I can't wait to share what I've learned with the students.
One of next week's lessons teaches about how the children of Israel prayed to be delivered from their bondage to Pharaoh and the people of Egypt. The Lord had prepared Moses and called him to lead those Israelites. One of the principles we will discuss is that "the Lord often answers our prayers through other people."
I gained my own testimony of that principle during an epic mom fail. I don't remember all the details (I'm sure that's in part because it was so embarrassing). I do remember returning home from church and totally losing it. The house was a mess, dinner needed to be made, kids were cranky, and I flipped out. I ranted and raved and carried on, slamming pots and pans and probably a cupboard door or three. I don't know how long I threw my fit. What I do remember is a sensation of waking up from a very bad dream. The world seemed to stop. There I stood, alone in the kitchen. The rest of the family had scattered. I heard a sniffle around the corner. I took a step forward and saw my youngest child, two-year-old Levi, huddled under the dining room table, his eyes squeezed shut and his hands over his ears. What had I done?
All of the unkind words I had spoken rushed back to my mind. Guilt crushed my heart. I felt the Spirit chastise me for the way I had been treating my family. I wanted curl up and die. How could I possibly be forgiven? Tears started flowing and I didn't think they would ever stop. I fell to my knees and begged and pleaded for the Lord to take me away and give my family the mom they needed and deserved.
I felt these words: "They need you. You need them. Pick up your son and tell him you love him."
I stood up and walked into the dining room where Levi still hid under the table. I sat down next to him and he crawled into my lap. We sat there for a long time. I rocked him back and forth, my face buried in his blond hair.
"I'm so sorry Levi. Mommy loves you so much. I was wrong to yell like that."
I could feel the tension start to leave his body. His hiccoughing stopped and pretty soon his head drooped against my chest.
How could I ever be forgiven? I'm the worst mom in the world. Heavenly Father, what do I do now? Will I ever be worthy to be called your daughter again? Can you ever forgive me?
That prayer echoed in my mind the rest of the day. I apologized to the rest of the family and we went about the rest of our regular Sunday rituals. I tossed and turned and prayed all night. Just after I got kids off to school the next morning, the doorbell rang. I opened the door and there stood Heather, a sweet friend from church. She held up a loaf of homemade bread and some strawberry freezer jam.
"Hi Kari! Okay, so this is awkward. I don't usually show up unannounced at people's doors at eight in the morning, but I had such a strong impression that you needed this right away. I don't know why...but here. This is for you."
I stood frozen in the doorway, gaping at my sweet angel friend--and burst into tears.
"Kari, are you okay?"
"I am now! Thank you so much." I reached out to give Heather a hug and accepted her yummy gifts. "You are my angel today. Really, truly an angel sent by the Lord. You have no idea. I know the Lord sent you as an answer to my prayers."
It took several weeks for me to get up the courage to tell Heather what had lead to her being prompted to show up at my door. It wasn't my finest mom moment after all. I still cringe when I think about my behavior. But I also know that was the morning I came to know in a way I had never known before that Heavenly Father knows me and loves me. He hears and answers my prayers - often through other people. I gained a testimony of the power of the Atonement - that I can repent and be forgiven and move forward with faith in my Savior Jesus Christ. I needed to change. Sometimes change hurts - a lot. But the growth that comes as a result brings joy beyond anything I could ever comprehend.
Life is magnificent.