It has been quite the week.
Bombings in Boston, explosions in Waco, massive flooding in my hometown of Chicago, a (small) earthquake here in our little corner of Utah. To say nothing of all of the political and international craziness that is currently going on.
These are interesting times, to say the least.
Here in our home the kids have been battling a particularly nasty stomach bug, and we are also trying to come to grips with how to approach ongoing health concerns with two of them in particular.
In the aftermath of this week the warrior mom has awoken in me. I want nothing more than to circle the wagons and protect my little brood from the approaching storms– physical and spiritual.
As such, this story related by President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve has stuck with me ever since his address earlier this month.
The back windows of our home overlook a small flower garden and the woods which border a small stream. One wall of the house borders on the garden and is thickly covered with English ivy. Most years this ivy has been the nesting place for house finches. The nests in the vines are safe from foxes and raccoons and cats that are about.
One day there was a great commotion in the ivy. Desperate cries of distress came as 8 or 10 finches from the surrounding woods came to join in this cry of alarm. I soon saw the source of the commotion. A snake had slid partway down out of the ivy and hung in front of the window just long enough for me to pull it out. The middle part of the snake’s body had two bulges—clear evidence convicting it of taking two fledglings from the nest. Not in the 50 years we had lived in our home had we seen anything like that. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience—or so we thought.
A few days later there was another commotion, this time in the vines covering our dog run. We heard the same cries of alarm, the gathering of the neighborhood finches. We knew what the predator was. A grandson climbed onto the run and pulled out another snake that was still holding on tightly to the mother bird it had caught in the nest and killed.
I said to myself, “What is going on? Is the Garden of Eden being invaded again?”
There came into my mind the warnings spoken by the prophets. We will not always be safe from the adversary’s influence, even within our own homes. We need to protect our nestlings.
I may not be able to control the environment that swirls around us in society, but I can do my best to control the environment inside my own home. There may be chaos out in the world, but here within these four walls there can be peace.
A temple is literally a house of the Lord, a holy sanctuary in which sacred ceremonies and ordinances of the gospel are performed… A place where the Lord may come, it is the most holy of any place of worship on the earth. Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness.
Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness.
When I read those words for the first time several years ago, I was convicted in my heart.
Was my home a refuge from the world?
As time has gone by, I have made it my personal mission to create such an environment in our home. It’s not by any means perfect, but we have made great strides. For me at least, it has become a sanctuary of peace. A place where we feel safe, secure, loved.
To quote President Packer again:
Latter-day Saints recognize the transcendent importance of the family and strive to live in such a way that the adversary cannot steal into our homes. We find safety and security for ourselves and our children in honoring the covenants we have made and living up to the ordinary acts of obedience required of the followers of Christ.
Isaiah said, “The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”
(see Isaiah 32:17
That peace is also promised in the revelations in which the Lord declares, “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.”
(see D&C 38:30
I have come to know that faith is a real power, not just an expression of belief. There are few things more powerful than the faithful prayers of a righteous mother.
(Boyd K. Packer, “These Things I Know,” Apr. 2013 Conference Report, emphasis added)
I believe in the power of faith.
The power of prayer.
I have experienced the power of the Holy Ghost enlightening my mind with insights that I would have never come to on my own merits. I know that God desires to bless His children, and that He will succor them, particularly in the sacred work of parenthood.
These times may be uncertain.
They may be filled with peril, both seen and unseen.
But through our faith, sacrifice, and reliance on the arm of Jehovah, we can protect our nestlings.
And in His loving embrace, we can find peace.
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