Friday, September 10, 2010

PREPARING TO TEACH.

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While on my mission (don't you hate a story that begins with that phrase?), it was made very clear that without the Spirit one cannot teach. Study sessions, district meetings and zone conferences were spent entirely on obtaining the Spirit so that you could be an effective teacher. In fact, Doctrine and Covenants 42:14 says succinctly:

"...if ye receive not the Spirit, ye shall not teach."

Case in point. Without the Spirit, how can we ever think to be teachers.

Up until recently, that scripture was in the missionary compartment of my brain. Without the Spirit you cannot teach those investigating the Church, was my way of thinking about that scripture. But, I am coming to learn that the most important teaching that I will ever do, will be to teach the little people that I have been entrusted to love and care for during this life time. Hence the need for serious amounts of the Spirit. 

The problem that I am encountering goes something like this. My current schedule does not include a nicely carved chunk of time each day for spiritual preparation. Nothing in my life seems to be consistent, and that includes finding time for the most important of things. When I plan to arise a bit early, my ten-monther is sure to be up during the night. Or, when it is penciled in during nap time, nap time is abandoned by my almost three year old. These are just the logistics of being a mom, I am finding. And, for a person who likes things done consistently, it has been a struggle for me. 

A few months ago, I tried to face this dilemma and prepared a Relief Society lesson on just the subject.  I learned many things that day, but the overall sentiment that I personally felt was to be easier on myself. My life is busy, and it may or may not contain a specific and consistent time set aside each day for study and preparation. There are however, many ways to include spiritual preparation in the busyness of motherhood.

- Have spiritual snacks. Listen to conference CD's in the car or on your iPod. Leave a military sized Book of Mormon in your car for easy access while you wait in the carpool line.

- Go for consistency. Commit to open your scriptures every, single day. Some days might afford you a few chapters, other days just a verse or two.

- Include your little ones in reading time. Give them a stack of books to read while you spend a few moments with your scriptures.

- Post selected scriptures or quotes on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror to remember as you go about your day.

I am the first to attest that making time for the most important things is often the most difficult. I can also attest that in doing so, my life goes much more smoothly.

So mamas, how have you found time for spiritual preparation. I'd love to hear your ideas.

P.S. I discovered this great article from the Ensign while preparing my lesson. In it, Latter-day Saint women from 160 countries tell how they replenish their spiritual reserves. One quote I loved:

“I have discovered that you don’t ‘find time’ for anything,” writes Janet E. Buck of Loveland, Colorado. “You make time. This is especially true when speaking of spiritual nourishment. Often we do not recognize our spiritual hunger pangs for what they really are. We give them other labels: discouragement, depression, anger, resentment, loneliness, self-pity. Yet these are all indications of spiritual starvation."


Good stuff. Have a great weekend. 

3 comments:

The Bobos said...

Those are some great ideas Erin, especially the one about the military scriptures in the car. We got stuck in traffic once for 45 minutes at a stand still. I could of used that time to read my scriptures rather than just stare out into space. Also, I have recently started reading scriptures as a family using the My First Scriptures board books with my kids. They are short and sweet but it helps bring the Spirit in our home and is helping my kids learn that reading scriptures is part of our daily routine. Thanks for the great post!

runningfan said...

Great ideas. I LOVE that quote -- I found it to be quite true in my life! Last summer I had an epiphany: Satan works hardest on the mama because he knows that is the core of the family. If he gets me, he gets my kids. Since then I've had a strengthened resolve to fill my spiritual reservoir and recognize Satan's attacks for what they are: a trick to bring us all down.

Bernard Doddema Jr said...

That quote was great! I suffer from chronic depression and I know that without that spiritual nourishment, the depression gets overwhelming. Thank you!

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