(I started writing this for on Easter Sunday. It is no longer Easter, but the blessings of the Resurrection are not only for one day. So I'm posting it late, because the blessings of the Atonement and Resurrection are for every moment, every second. And it's my blog.)
Beautiful Easter today. My toddler woke at 4 a.m. and wouldn't go back to sleep. My husband and I took turns for four hours, trying to keep him occupied and quiet, so that our sick daughter would be able to stay asleep. It was a valiant effort. I tried to pour out my tired soul in prayer, but I got as far as, "I'm just so tired. Please help me understand what my children need, and give me strength to get through the day." At least toddler napped for an hour or so before church.
We made it to Sacrament Meeting, and we were almost completely settled into our pew before toddler started wailing for his milk. We did manage to make it almost through the Sacrament with him before Dad took him out. *Sigh.* I struggle with Sundays.
The ward choir sang. It was lovely, but a little bittersweet, since my sick 15 year-old was supposed to accompany the choir on her violin. I love to hear her play. Just as the music ended, Dad returned with toddler. My turn. We tried walking around the church. Several times he flopped onto the ground and just lay there, letting people step over him, and I think he was licking the carpet. Gross, but he's a boy. I've stopped caring so much about the things that go into his mouth. It takes way to much energy to worry about most of it.
A friend of mine was also in the hall, and started to chat with me, but toddler was having none of it. "I don't know why I'm here," I confided. "You should just go home," she said. "I'll sub for you in the nursery."
I didn't even think twice, not letting the guilt in, even though I read through the Ensign about parents who are diligent with their fussy children, walking the halls for most of the three hour block, but at least they are in the right place! I should be one of those diligent parents. Instead, I take my little one home for a nap. But we try. Every week we try.
It doesn't sound like such a lovely Easter, does it? But it was. I prayed in anticipation of a family dinner, knowing that some of our family members are struggling with heavy burdens. It breaks my heart that they have chosen a path away from the church, away from faith, and away from the Savior, but it is what it is. I prayed to be able to say something to one family member in particular, and to have the words given to me. I didn't have the opportunity for a conversation with this person, but I was asked to say the blessing on the meal. I wasn't sure I was in the right frame of mind, but I prayed.
I wondered as I prayed whether or not I should mention the Resurrection and Atonement on this Easter Sunday. How would such a prayer be received by those in our family who don't believe? On the other hand, how could I pray and NOT express my gratitude for my Savior? I had to say what was in my heart, regardless of how the other members of the family would feel about it.
It wasn't until I left that I realized that the Lord had answered my prayers. Usually Grandpa calls on someone to pray. This time, Grandma suggested that I say it. I haven't prayed at one of these family gatherings in a very long time--usually it's one of the grandchildren. But I was given the opportunity to bear my testimony through prayer to family members who wouldn't hear it any other way. I don't know if it will make any difference to them, but it did to me.
I left wanting to shout my testimony from the rooftops. HE LIVES! Hallelujah! He lives! Because He lives, all of the difficulties of my day are fleeting. Because He lives, all the pain, sorrow, exhaustion, turmoil, confusion, and strife can be overcome. It can all melt away as I strive to be still and listen to what He is telling me. And not just me, it can be that way for you. He died for YOU. He suffered for YOU. He LOVES YOU. He is there, waiting, for YOU. The more I let Him in, the more my life changes for the better. The more I change for the better. And if you will let Him in, your life will change, too.