“Mom? Could we have some brownies for dessert tonight?”
Dani’s little voice called out from her booster seat in the back of the van.
I sighed as I began our drive back home from the dance studio.
“I’m sorry, Dani, that sounds like an awfully fun idea, but there’s just no way we can do that today.”
The tears started to silently well up in her six-year-old eyes– and I found myself fighting the urge to join her.
The month has been long. When you have five young children, the end of the school year is filled with breathtaking chaos. This year we have been bouncing around between preschool graduation, kindergarten graduation, orchestra concerts, elementary school opera performances, a dual immersion program, school fundraisers, show choir meetings, dance rehearsals, and soccer matches. We don’t overschedule our kids as a general rule, but May always seems to be a perfect storm of insanity.
This May has the additional complication of my husband literally being on the other side of the world as he travels throughout China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand for his foreign business excursion through BYU’s executive MBA program. It has been difficult for the kids to have their dad gone during a particularly important time of the year for them– especially since he spent all of last year working out of town. The last couple of years have been full of sacrifices for our little family, and the stress of it all seemed to come to a head last night.
Although I’ve honestly felt that I’ve been coping just fine, as I drove Dani home from dance a deep weariness settled in. It covered me like a thick, heavy blanket. Upon our arrival home I found myself entirely exhausted. Pushing through, we had dinner and made it through the necessities of the evening– when a pinched nerve I’d been nursing throughout the week started to flare up in my neck and upper back. Between the pain and the fatigue, there was no other option than to go lay down in my bed. It was 6:30 in the evening, and I was feeling defeated.
Imagine my surprise then, when the doorbell rang a mere ten minutes later. Unable to get out of bed quickly enough, Dani answered the door. A few moments later, she came bounding into my room with something in her hands.
A plate of homemade brownies.
In her recent Conference address, Neill F. Marriott remarked that true Christlike love involves making space for others in your life, and that as children of God we have a call to bring life and hope to our fellow brothers and sisters.
Speaking to the women of the Church, she encouraged:
Think of the many ways you give life. It could mean giving emotional life to the hopeless or spiritual life to the doubter. With the help of the Holy Ghost, we can create an emotionally healing place for the discriminated against, the rejected, and the stranger. In these tender yet powerful ways, we build the kingdom of God…
Shortly after the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ, the New Testament records that the Apostle Peter taught a crowd on the day of Pentecost. The listeners, having been so moved by Peter’s words and desiring to follow God’s will for them asked, “What shall we do?”
Inspired by these events, Sister Marriott remarked:
When we ask ourselves, “What shall we do?” let’s ponder this question: “What does the Savior do continually?” He nurtures. He creates. He encourages growth and goodness. Women and sisters, we can do these things!
Our high responsibility is to become women who follow the Savior, nurture with inspiration, and live truth fearlessly. As we ask Father in Heaven to make us builders of His kingdom, His power will flow into us and we will know how to nurture [as God does.]
Our actions don’t have to be grand and public in order to accomplish God’s work. Mother Teresa has been attributed with these beautiful words: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Indeed, I think that some of the greatest moments of Christlike ministry are found in those small moments.
As the Book of Mormon prophet Alma taught his son Helaman:
Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
By listening to that still, small voice and immediately following those promptings, we have the opportunity to be a very tangible force for good in this world. As Sister Marriott has said:
The Lord’s Church needs Spirit-directed women who use their unique gifts to nurture, to speak up, and to defend gospel truth. Our inspiration and intuition are necessary parts of building the kingdom of God, which really means doing our part to bring salvation to God’s children.
I am grateful for such compassionate neighbors who were inspired to bring a little treat over to our family last night. There is no way they could have known of the tender mercy it was to a tired mom and her brownie-craving daughter. But that simple act was a testimony to me of a loving God that knows our needs and will walk with us through those difficult days.
So when you’re wondering what your life’s true purpose is and look to the heavens with the question, “What shall I do?”, search within for that quiet voice. It will call to you and lead you to places of profound charity and love.
He will speak to you and guide you in your efforts.
Those small and simple things might just change the world.
Thanks for joining us for General Conference Book Club today!
Do you know how the Spirit speaks to you?
What might you do to more fully understand and act upon its promptings?
What can you do to bring life and speak truth to those around you?
This Sunday we’ll review “Standing with the Leaders of the Church” by Ronald A. Rasband. Come and join the conversation!
New to General Conference Book Club? Check out the details here.