But ye have not so learned Christ

14 Monday: 9:10-11:30 am post-op doctor appointment. 12:15 Kindergarten.  3:15-5:00 final exam, husband meets me at college, will be home late. Home at 7:00-dinner. Husband home at 8:00. Sister calls to say she is having surgery the next day—I need to pick her up. Arrange sitter for kids the next day. No FHE. Open random place in Doctrine and Covenants and read one verse. Go to bed. Say prayer while lying on pillow.

15 Tuesday: 7:45 transport 5 children to two different schools. 8:30 am babysit. Cancel piano lesson. 12:15 pick up kindergartner. Store to buy groceries for dinner and sister. Drop kids just after 2pm and drive 1.5 hours to pick up sister—stay with her until 9:00. Drive home. Open random place in scriptures and read one verse. Fall asleep during prayer.

16 Wednsday: Spend the morning doing laundry and playing Candyland and Break the Ice with toddler (highlight of my week).  12:15 Kindergarten, drive to scout store-return by 2pm to pick up child #2. Take toddler home for nap (since he had fallen asleep in carseat). Pickup carpool kids at 3. Homework, piano. Dinner, get kids ready for school program at 6:00. Husband takes half the kids to pack meeting, I take the other half to school program. We get home at 9:00, an hour past bedtime. Fumble for scriptures in the dark and read a verse, I think, or was it the heading? Go to bed.

17 Thursday: Dentist appointment with child #2 at 10:00. Run errands. Pick up kindergartner. Put toddler down for nap. Pick up carpool at 3. Kids to haircuts and piano. Home at 5:30. Dinner and school program at 6:00. Home at 8:00. Receive call to please wash dishes from RS dinner that I missed, and haven’t at all helped with. Dishes dropped off around 9:30. Go to bed—and I did read a verse, something about a bunch of guys going on a mission to somewhere. My prayer was just as effective.

18 Friday: Find out dearly loved friend Linda unexpectedly passed away the day before.

I hated this week. I hated cub scouts, church callings, school programs that are poorly planned, surgery, and a house I never had time to clean. I was angry that all these activities took away the peaceful nights of making cookies and cards with my four children, caroling and having the Christ-centered Christmas that I wanted. It would be nice if I could say that each night before bed that my heart was overcome as I opened to the exact verse of scripture I needed that day. That isn’t what happened.

I feel very far away from God when my life is in such harried state of jumbled chaos. I am certain I wasn’t feeling the spirit, especially while yelling at my children. I felt guilty, unworthy of any inspiration. Yet somehow amidst the tumultuous schedule, throughout the past week I kept thinking of my dear friend. “I should call Linda,” I thought, “I haven’t talked to her in awhile.” The feelings kept coming. I never called.

The tender mercies of the Lord aren’t always easy to recognize. Sometimes it is our own self-loathing, or self-absorption that blind us. It is easy to dismiss the spirit as merely our own passing thoughts, having understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through ignorance, because of the blindness of heart. (Ephesians 4:18)

I am grateful for the Christmas season, for the Son of God who heals ears to hear and both blind eyes and blind hearts to see, renewing the spirit of our minds; allowing us to put on the new man, “which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:23-24) I am grateful for a Merciful God who gives us second chances, and third chances, and continuously invites us to partake of his love and share it with others, if only we will listen.

19 thoughts on “But ye have not so learned Christ

  1. sorry for your difficult week. Nonetheless, I learned from your post. Thanks for sharing, hope next week is better.

    I don’t get this part however “call to please wash dishes from RS dinner that I missed, and haven’t at all helped with. Dishes dropped off around 9:30.”

    why don’t they wash them in the building? If they are sending them to those who have dishwashers, seems it should be divied up by those in attendance (that’s how we do it) And as one who frequently helps w/dishes, I can say that!
    Too bad they didn’t use paper products..anyway, sorry that happened to you!

  2. Life can be so hectic and chaotic. This time of year is especially busy given the demands of all the school programs and parties. What we need is a respite. What we need is to start the day off with the things that are most important before the demands fill up the rest of our time and rob us of the quiet moments we so much need.

    We can pray in our hearts anytime anywhere. Dental appointments and other places that we hurry up to wait around provide some time to read. A deep breath, a moment of meditative breathing and thought make a world of difference.

    Eventually things will even out and the time will come when all the frantic activity will be a thing of the past. The memory of the difficulties will drop away and all the joys will remain in your heart.

    Maybe tomorrow will be better.

  3. I’m so sorry about your friend. And I hate that feeling of chaos too and that it keeps me from God. I hope next week is better. Will you be able to go to her funeral?

    I was interested in what you said about second and third (and maybe tenth chances). I felt this week that maybe, just maybe, on one of those tenth chances, I might have learned something because I seem to be handling a current challenge better this time around than I have so many times in the past. Not because I’m any better at the challenge, but maybe because I’ve gotten better at recognizing those tender mercies.

  4. This post really pulled at my heart, because I know that feeling of chaotic life pushing and pulling you around, and also the feeling of missed inspiration and an opportunity that won’t come back. Thank you for the wisdom about the Lord’s love for us.

  5. Claudia,
    You are right, we can pray anywhere anytime. I was especially grateful for that this week. However my toddler is always in tow, so reading at dental appointments is not going to happen. I know this is a busy time in my life, but I really think it is possible and desirable to find peace enough to feel and recognize the spirit now.

    Amira,
    Exactly. I think it just takes time to learn to recognize the tender mercies of the Lord in our lives. Sometimes we are slow learners. Other times we are quicker. Just knowing that even during times of chaos when I’m not listening, the Lord is still reaching out to me has been a big blessing this week.

  6. I’m not glad that someone else feels this way, just that I’m not the only one.

    “I feel very far away from God when my life is in such harried state of jumbled chaos.”

    That quote is my life. Yes, we are in a transition, and yes, I have small children at home. But this whole post articulates what I have, or haven’t, been feeling. I haven’t felt a single ounce of Christ in this Christmas season. I have loathed the parties and gatherings where I plaster on a fake smile and pretend.

    I feel like I’m “going through the motions” at church, at home, in life.

  7. What’s with dropping off dishes for you to wash? Don’t they have people assigned to the cleanup for your activities? Do you live in Utah? Strange cleanup strategy! but on to the more important point of your post.

    I remember being at your season of life, and also being overwhelmed with the busy ness of the season. How to teach the importance of the Saviour and instill deep testimonies of the atonement? How can I teach them to seek after those who need, and put aside their/our wants? The only thing I can come up with is to keep taking those precious little moments with your toddler, ignore the house-it will still be there in 10 years-but your time with your little ones won’t be. I still don’t pick up those little whisperings from the Spirit very well, and those are an ongoing disappointment in myself. I want to spend more time with Him…why am I not making the time?
    Death really brings the fragility of our time here on earth to the forefront. After losing my M-i-l to cancer, and regretting the time i didn’t take with her, when my neice was born with serious heart problems I made sure I took every single moment I could with her. Everytime I was within 15 miles of their home, I visited and cuddled with her. When she went Home, through the grief I had the comfort of knowing that I made the most of every instant I was given. But I also know, that had I not done so, she will understand and forgive my ineptitudes. Give yourself a break Mirantha. You are doing the very best you can with what you have been given. And that is what is the most important thing you can do to know Christ.

  8. this was very much like my last week. I feel for you. I felt my self cursing my way through the week, just wishing for some peaceful time to enjoy my family and do the Christmas-y things of MY choosing.
    My heart aches for your missed opportunity with your friend. Somehow,I think she must know of your regret, and would want you to be gentle with yourself. I’m so sorry.

  9. The dishes. I am in the RS presidency, and was supposed to help clean up. So I was grateful they just dropped them by. It made it easier for everyone when they do the dishes at home and can get out of the building faster.

    Jenny,
    Thank you. I think the promptings for me to call my friend were a tender mercy for me, not necessarily her– one last time to talk to her, and just to realize that no matter how harried life gets, the Lord is still trying to speak to me. That was one lesson I learned this week.

  10. Aw man, not talking to a friend when you feel like you need to and then she unexpectedly passed away? I, unfortunately, have had that happen. There are so many things I wanted to say, so many reasons why i was too busy to do it. Sometimes i blame myself for her death since I feel like I could have somehow prevented it (car crash on the way home from college). Could I have made her more cautious? More likely to pull over when she got too tired? Of course I have learned I cannot feel that way, that plenty of people told her the same things I would have. But it’s still there in the back of my mind.

    Anyway, I won’t say I know how you feel, but I will say that I understand your regret for not talking to her when you felt you should call her. It’s hard to pull away from the crazy and see what important until the crazy dies down.

  11. My condolences on the passing of your friend. The craziness of life can just suck the life out of you. But you DID take time out for your toddler. Jesus “suffered the little children”. You DID help your sister out when she needed you. Jesus stopped to bless the sick woman who touched his garment and was healed. You and your husband DID share the responsibility of helping your kids be involved in the community. Jesus performed a miracle at a wedding so the guests could be taken care of. Yes it all felt like running around, but it WAS something.

  12. Thanks for such an honest and thought-provoking post. I am sorry about your friend and definitely can understand your wishing you had spoken with her. However, my opinion on that is that it’s never too late. The spirit world and its inhabitants are not that far from us. Another tender mercy.

    I honestly feel like I have a better relationship with my dad now than I did before he passed away. (Don’t get the wrong idea, here. I’m not holding seances with him, using ouija boards, or anything like that. Quite the contrary.) But I’m convinced we’ve had a couple of brief, spirit-to-spirit communications. And they were meaningful.

    May your Christmas week be filled with hope and peace.

    =)

  13. {I had an eloquent comment for this but it didn’t go through and I lost it. Drats!}

    All the same, this post rang out to me of all the daily “to do’s” and how in the sprint of life, we can miss the moments that mean so much more.

    But we can’t realistically be everywhere at once, either. It’s a tug-o-war for me, too.

  14. mmiles, your week sounded all too familiar to me. Life is stressful enough as it is, but Christmas can send me over the edge. And I’m so sorry about the death of your friend. I sympathize, empathize, and hope you find peace, rest, and comfort this week. And I echo the other commenters who advised you to be gentle with yourself. You definitely need some gentleness and tender care!

  15. I am really bad about listening to the still small voice. I actually felt prompted to take the SUV to church instead of the car, didn’t feel like looking for the keys, and due to snow ran off the road and caused $350 of damage to the car! And all just because I ignored a prompting. And sadly, that isn’t the first time. The worst one being when I didn’t wake up my daughter and take her in to see her Grandma the day before she unexpectedly died. Still haven’t forgiven myself for that one.

  16. Bless your heart, I’ve had a week like that myself. The biggest difference, other than have had the sickest week of my life, is that when I got to Church Sunday morning someone else had set up the chairs for me so I was able to drive home and go back to bed for the day.

    I and the guy I was assigned to show up with and set up chairs are both grateful to that mystery person.

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