I think I have mentioned that I am struggling with some of my relationships with my children. You might even remember this love/hate letter I received.
I find that I after all these years I seem to know less about being a mother than I did before. I make more mistakes, I am the meanest mom, and I don't understand or remember what it is like to be young. Often I feel like I am the only mother struggling and that I am failing. I know I'm not and more importantly I know that my children are exceptional children. I love them so dearly. I just find myself sometimes, in the heat of the day to day drama, drained and raw.
As I was starting the Book of Mormon over this week, I nearly skipped the book of Nephi. How many times have I read it and reread these first stories of Lehi and his family? Perhaps more than I care to admit, for I always start at the beginning with my new goals to read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover and then I get distracted and lose my place as I study other topics. Then I remember my goal only to find great lengths of time have passed since I started my goal and then I decide to start over. I don't think I'm alone in this, at least I hope I am not.
So I was thinking is it a coincidence that the first and probably most read story in the Book of Mormon is about an imperfect family? About brothers who beat up and try and kill their other brothers (1 Nephi 7:16-22). They would be considered dysfunctional. They were a bit of a mess.
It's about a mother who in her fear and sorrow complains (1 Nephi 5:2-3). It's about hardship and trials, faith and hope. It would probably not be the stock photo that we see on the covers of publications: the perfect family sitting around quietly listening and learning, just like our family home evening experiences. Yet, their family is on the covers and in the pages of our publications. Sermons have been preached and beautiful art has been created about this flawed family. Scholars have even spent time studying these experiences and relationships.
I have to wonder what Sariah must think about all her "dirty laundry" being aired for all the world to see and pick apart. I try and keep it real with our lives here, but I don't really want you to know all of my mistakes. I don't want you to see the side of me that is out of control and frustrated. I want you to still believe that I have it all together, though I know you understand that I am not.
Perhaps all our trials are the reason so many of us are drawn to this first family. God knew that we would need this family's experience to help guide us through life such that He had Nephi not only write it once, but twice (1 Nephi 9:5). He knew we would need strength when our children made unwise choices. He knew we would need to be buoyed up when we feeling depressed and low. He knew we would find strength that He has sent angels to walk with us and and lead us through the darkest moments and places (1 Nephi 8:5-8). This list could go on and on.
Instead of skimming over this part that I know so well I will spend a little more time figuring out what God wants me to learn at this moment from their lives. I don't need to solve the mysteries of the universe but it I can find added peace, strength, and insight then hopefully I can be a better mother, wife, and daughter.
On a side note, some of my children roll their eyes when I suggest likening the scriptures to our lives. Recently after one such moment Dash said, "Yeah, like when the boys threaten to kill me if I touched their game." Another chimed in on another time of impending doom and all I could do was smile and pray that hopefully someday they will find something positive.
Rock even shared his favorite verse that he found to describe how he feels after eating school lunch, "My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace" (Jeremiah 4:19). Never a dull moment in our home.