I wondered, why is it so easy to "make room" for my Christmas decorations? Even though it is work and takes time to get the balance just right every year, it is also a joy and so rewarding when finished. I realized that I needed to apply this lesson to my life.
There is a sign on my wall which reads, "Each of us is an Innkeeper who decides if there is room enough for Jesus" (Neal A. Maxwell). I have had it for many years and I place it on the wall each Christmas and yet it was just this year that I really felt penetrated by that message.
By my own admission, I am a workaholic. I love to clean, etc. This is generally a good thing, especially with so many children, but as with all things, can get out of balance. It is so easy to overwork and so easy to justify. Often, I don't even attend movies with my family because it is too easy to put the baby down for a nap and stay home to clean! Instead, I should take the time to get a sitter if needed and just "make room" in my day to be with my husband and children. It is deceptive, because there is always work to be done! If we are not careful, we can talk ourselves out of any other experience because the laundry, dishes, yardwork, scrapbooking, is not all caught up.
As I sat winding up strings of lights, I pondered this. I realized that it was the last day to go see "Savior of the World" (a live musical drama of the Savior's miraculous birth and resurrection) up in Salt Lake. I knew I had promised a friend I would try to see her in it. I also knew that it would be a powerful and sweet experience for my children. Still, I wavered. There was so much work to be done! This was also my last work day before school, etc. started again. How would I ever catch up if I took 5 hours off to do the whole Salt Lake thing? Then I remembered, "make room." In my mind, I actually visualized answering the door and letting in the Savior. Then, I did something VERY uncharacteristic of me (just ask my husband!). I announced that we were going to Salt Lake, without any tickets, to go stand in a stand by line for the sold out show. I called my mom who graciously agreed to babysit the two toddlers. I rearranged some teenager conflicts, I made a fast lunch, I dressed everyone in sunday clothes (and boots of course) and then we dashed out the door before I had time to talk myself out of it!
Would we even get it? I wasn't sure, but I knew that if I made room for the Lord, He would probably make room for us. Sure enough we got there with just minutes to spare. We waited in the stand by line. Miraculously just before the start, we were handed 9 tickets for seats all together. I couldn't believe it, but actually, I could. From start to finish, I was entranced. I loved the beautiful show which so gently, yet deeply portrayed the miracle of Jesus Christ. I left with a more profound witness than I had ever felt before that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. I was so grateful to experience this with my beautiful children.
I was so excited that I called family members on the way home, "Please come and see the evening show! It's the last show until next year, you'll be so glad you did!" Lovingly they expressed how they wished they could, then finished by saying, "There's just too much work to do tonight." I felt numb. I realized how close I had come to missing it too. How close I had come to just "working" through another day without taking the time to "let Him in." I resolved to never let another day in my life go by without taking the time to commune with the Lord.
One of my favorite choral pieces is "Take Time to Be Holy." It reminds me to do just that each day. As we set our New Year's Resolutions, this is one I'll be writing down! As President Ezra T. Benson said, "If you're too busy for the Lord, you're too busy."
Incidentally, whenever I "take time to be holy," inevitably I have a better day as a mother. I had the best time with my children and John in Salt Lake. We even had a quick tour of the Lion House and got some yummy dinner together. Not something I will soon forget. Most likely, had I stayed home to clean, I would have had to clean again next Saturday anyway. I think the kids will remember our outing more than my cleaning!
Likewise, when I take the time to spend a few quiet moments in the scriptures before the kids get up, somehow it gives me what I need to be more patient and loving .
It is tempting to think that we will be happier if we wait until all the work is done before we make time for the Savior or our family, but this is not true. In fact, when we prioritize the Lord, the best things happen! So, this year I pledge to open my door, my heart, my schedule to Him. Thanks to all of you for your great examples! Happy New Year!
"Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace." (E.T. Benson)