This past Sunday I lost my cool. Maybe you’ve done the same at some point and will have compassion on me. It was just one of those days!!! My husband was gone and I had a lot to get done and not much time. And wouldn’t you know it, my eight kids were tired and ornery and not in the mood to cooperate. It felt like I was dragging a bag of rocks up a hill.
I responded to the lack of cooperation with a crazy mom tantrum. And after my outburst, I dutifully hauled everybody off to church.
I sat in the meeting feeling frustration mixed with guilt. Why were my kids uncooperative? My whole desire is to help them become their best selves. Happy. Productive. Contributing humans. If they were smart, they would trust me and be eager to do whatever I asked. After all, I want them to be happy.
As I stroked my resentment, I felt a pang of hypocrisy. So often I’m not as cooperative with my Heavenly Father as I could be. I know God loves me and wants me to be happy. Why don’t I trust him more ? Why am I not consistently eager to submit to the challenges he allows into my life.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encouraged us to think about how we feel toward our children and how great is our desire to see them happy. He said, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” While God does give good things, this doesn’t translate into his giving us what we think will make us happy. Rather, in his infinite goodness, knowledge and power, he gives us the things we need for optimal growth and development—to fill the measure of our creation.
I love the Savior’s invitation to consider the lilies.
A lily requires water and sunlight—gifts from God. But that is not all. A lily needs specific minerals from the soil. Certainly a lily needs a different combination nutrients than a raspberry bush or an oak tree. God created within each seed, the ability to draw out of the soil the exact things it needs to fill the measure of its creation.
Seeds absorb nutrients from the soil by silent demand. We grow in the same manner. We draw from the soil of life the exact lessons we need to reach our incredible potential.
“They toil not neither do they spin”
but with effortless grace, a lily grows.
We don’t consciously direct the development of a babe en utero. Nor do we consciously direct our own physical progression into adulthood. The Savior taught, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” Not one of us. Our physical development is gifted to us.
Our spiritual development is also a gift. However, if we are prideful or resist those challenges offered for our growth, we fail to internalize the nutrients they contain. Perhaps this is why we are commanded to be humble, meek, submissive and patient. These qualities open our hearts to life-giving nutrients.
I know I am prime for growth when don’t expect everything in my life to be perfect. When I am willing to approach difficult circumstances with a positive attitude. When I am looking for the lessons in my trials. When I praise God in the good and the bad.
And believe me, there is much room for improvement.
It seems that a miserable Sunday morning was the exact nutrient I needed to recognize a personal weakness. Too often I resist the lessons I need most. I am so thankful for a Heavenly Father who is patient with me as I make choices, both good and bad. Who daily grants me learning experiences and waits for me to open up my eyes to understanding. Who never throws a crazy parent tantrum because I fail. And most of all, I am grateful to be one of his cherished lilies.