In creating a home and making it function, we have much more freedom and responsibility than do people in any other occupation in the world. They are always restricted by bosses and supervisors, stockholders, the buying public, or the realities of the marketplace—in other words, they are tied to the earth. In our homes, on the other hand, we can soar to heaven, for ours is a heavenly and celestial business. The homes we create in partnership with our husbands and the Lord are training grounds for the *celestial kingdom.
Joseph Smith stated that the gospel was restored to prepare a people for the millennial reign of Christ. (See History of the Church, 4:537.) We can be the people he was talking about; however, we do not become a people fit to live with the Savior in only the three or four hours a week that we spend in church. It is in our homes that we learn to live with the Savior. Here we learn to live the law we will live forever. If we are willing to have a telestial home with disorder, bickering, selfishness, and irreverence, that is the law we will learn to live, and we will certainly not be prepared to live a higher order.
A celestial home is difficult to achieve in this world, particularly at this time. It requires that we know what we are aiming for and then that we toil endlessly toward that target—even on the days when the children are ill, the toilet floods over, the sky is gray, and we burn the vegetables for dinner. Even on days like this, we must keep our sights on heaven and remind ourselves constantly that our goal is a celestial home—and that although all the powers of confusion and darkness gather against us, they shall not prevail. With our own best efforts and the blessings of the Lord we cannot fail.
There are times when we are mired in everyday life and despair. It is in anticipation of these times that we must have lofty views. It is good to start with a broad statement like “We want to establish a heavenly home so all the members of our family can learn to live with the Father and Christ.” Then we must break this large goal down into smaller and smaller pieces until our dreams and our daily lives are in harmony.
Viewed from this eternal perspective, priorities begin to fall into place. Then we realize that family and individual prayers are the most important things we do all day, that family scripture study is of more value than breakfast, and that it is more important to teach our children to obey the commandments than it is to teach them to brush their teeth. We view family home evening as a welcome and valuable tool rather than an obligation. We amplify the lessons taught in Church and help our children apply them in their lives. Every experience, almost every breath, becomes a part of the celestial fabric of our home.
As we attempt to maintain holy homes, we come to realize that we must start with ourselves—our own minds, bodies, and spirits must be in top form. Once again the day-to-day activities fall into place. Proper diet, exercise, prayer, scripture study, temple attendance, and talent development must all take their place before worldly demands. Once we are sure of our goals and have confirmed them with the Lord, it becomes easier to sort out all the demands on our time and know which to accept, which to reject, and which to postpone. If we are in tune with the Lord, he will inspire us and help us to be creative in solving problems and help us avoid possible dangers, even before we are aware of them. (Petrea Kelly, The Joys of Motherhood)
Families are central to God’s plan for His children. We are born into families. It is where we learn how to love, forgive, share, work and a whole myriad of other things. As mothers one of our primary responsibilities is to make our homes a haven for our families. I LOVE how the article points out that mothers really do have the most opportunities and freedoms to expand and do different tasks in their “job” as mother.
I am sure you have read this quote attributed to C.S. Lewis, ““The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career.” It very enlightening to read what he actually said. He was writing a letter to Mrs. Johnson,
“I think I can understand that feeling about a housewife’s work being like that of Sisyphus (who was the stone rolling gentleman). But it is surely in reality the most important work in the world. What do ships, railways, miners, cars, government etc exist for except that people may be fed, warmed, and safe in their own homes? As Dr. Johnson said, “To be happy at home is the end of all human endeavour”. (1st to be happy to prepare for being happy in our own real home hereafter: 2nd in the meantime to be happy in our houses.) We wage war in order to have peace, we work in order to have leisure, we produce food in order to eat it. So your job is the one for which all others exist. . .” (The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3)
I love the full quote even more because it explains why homes and our work in them are so important. Everything else on earth exists to make homes and families more comfortable and able to function to their fullest extent.
The old adage “we reap what we sow” rings true here. If our goal is a loving family with children who grow up to be hard workers and good people than we have to put forth the effort that goal requires. And, as the article points out, it is much easier to do when that one main big goal is broken down into smaller more manageable goals.
One of the hardest parts of motherhood is it takes literally years upon years before we really see the fruition of all our work and effort. We can often feel as if we have failed, especially because we are associating with our children day after day it is hard for us to see if they are progressing. Keeping an eternal perspective, our minds fixed on what is truly important, is crucial to make it through the nitty-gritty taxing times of motherhood. Having the right priorities will help us keep that perspective.
“You are each like the lioness at the gate. This means that there has to be some prioritizing. I was taught years ago that when our priorities are out of order, we lose power. If we need power and influence to carry out our mission, then our priorities have to be straight.” Julie B. Beck was able to teach us about the importance of having proper priorities because it was also something she had to learn for herself. She went on to say, “Years ago I began using a system that works for me, and maybe it will work for you. There was a time when I needed to prioritize, and in one of those sacred meetings between me and the Lord, He gave me three categories that I have worked from, and they have been a guide in my life. The categories are the essential things, the necessary things, and the nice-to-do things. I started writing those things down. I asked, “What has to go in the category of essential?” What things must be taken care of, and if I don’t take care of them, the blessings of eternal life won’t be mine nor will they be my family’s.”
Her suggestion to ask the Lord what your priorities should be is extremely important. I have learned that some priorities will stay the same from day to day, such as praying and scripture study, but others will change. When I am more specific in my prayers, “Which child needs me the most today? How can I help them?” or “What is the one thing that is needful for me to do today?” and then listen, really listen, to what the Lord wants me to do it doesn’t matter if the laundry didn’t get done or dinner was burnt as long as I accomplished what was most needful.
Another reason why I really like specifically asking what our priorities of the day should be is because we each are facing different circumstances in life. We might be dealing with crippling cancer, debilitating depression, wearying unemployment or any other of the myriad problems in life. When we come to the Lord asking what He wants us to do and then go and do it we can be assured that He will be pleased with our efforts, even if all we could do was stay in bed and make one phone call or read a couple of books to our children. If that’s what the Lord asked us to do we will be okay. That is the glorious thing about His grace!
What did you learn from today’s reading in the article (top of the post with the green line down the left side)? What things are you doing to make your home a sanctuary in the storm of life?
*I realize there is some Mormon “lingo” in this portion of the article. In a nutshell, Celestial Kingdom is our term for heaven. Just substitute heaven or heavenly whenever you see “celestial” and it will make much more sense!