Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Gracefully Accepting

Sometimes, when we are nursing mothers, it seems as though we are going out of our minds with bottled up energy. (Look for a future post on bottled up energy.) The Lord wants to give us joy. When you feel that "let down" feeling, there is an emotional thing that happens too. We were created to feel joy in this moment, but we can choose to refuse it. It took me 'til nursing my twins (7-8) to allow myself to feel that joy for the more part of my nursing experience. In earlier years, I would feel a little joy, but I frequently had negative guilty feelings that would pop up right when that feeling came. A lot of these negative feelings happened because of my extra sensitive emotional state. I took things the wrong way, resented some of the energy I felt coming from my husband, hadn't had enough sleep, etc...
If you give without receiving or receive without giving, though, then you are missing half the blessings and your life will not feel complete. A baby gives stimulation (sucks) and receives milk. A mother gives milk and time and receives... what she chooses to get? I propose joy!
Let's look at this from two different perspectives.
1. God created us to give our babies special milk and love and comfort them. We were also created to have a joyful feeling every time our milk lets down. When we have the baby, these instincts kick in. We can choose to accept these gifts. For three to six hours out of our day, we can choose to give what the Lord created us to give. We can choose to be happy with what we can give, who we are, and choose to be pleased with our efforts and the fruits of doing, being, and feeling just who we are created to be. Others may think, say, and do what they will, and we can still choose not to deny this blessed, divinely inspired, completely good and natural part of us.
If only it were all that easy, huh?
2.  We've got these things called breasts. The world says they are primarily for sexual purposes, but now they are making milk. Something in me says they are really for nurturing and comforting my baby. But even people I trust seem to think like the world. They send me that energy all the time and even say things to my face that make it seem bad or shameful to nurse. It must be a shameful thing to nurture my children. It is the best thing to feed my baby, though, everyone says. It does seem rather motherly to nurse, and it is pretty miraculous that I can make any milk and that my baby can grow off of it. But I feel so lazy. It sit on my rear end 3-6 hours a day nursing, burping, holding or comforting, when I could be doing so many other things. My house could use a thorough cleaning, I would love to get some sewing done, or learned, I wish I could do something that could earn some more money to spend on this or that. Is the baby done eating YET? This is starting to hurt. I wonder when I will ever get a good night's sleep again... There's that very uncomfortable (or quite horrid) thought again, I hate it when I think those kinds of things.

I've been learning that even though I have a lot to give, and even though I have a lot of bottled up energy and I really feel like I'm going to burst, and even though people that are close to me may not be using their influence in a pleasant manner, I can choose peace. It may mean removing myself from the room, the situation, or the house, for a walk perhaps... But I CAN choose peace. I CAN extremely humbly and gracefully accept the gift God has given me. I CAN choose to feel the joy that I was created to feel. I CAN turn the TV off (or get rid of it altogether). I CAN accept a good gift from someone else. I CAN choose my thoughts. I CAN cast any thoughts out of my brain that I do not want there. I CAN feed my baby and lovingly enjoy the whole session. I CAN send loving thoughts to my enemies. I CAN be an influence for good, one feeding at a time, one meal at a time, one bath at a time, one outing at a time, one dish at a time, one thought at a time, and I CAN enjoy every minute of it. Even if times feel low, I CAN always be grateful for something that the Lord has given me and I CAN CONFESS HIS HAND IN ALL THINGS. Sometimes choosing these things means letting go of other things like pride, composure (in private to God, if nowhere else), worldly dreams, worldly measurements, or worldly traditions. Sometimes all it takes is breathing in deeply and smiling. You may need to have a huge cry. Often. That's nothing to feel ashamed about. It actually feels good to cry it all out sometimes.

Things I wish I had done throughout all my nursing experiences from the very beginning, that perhaps you COULD do, are:
1. I wish I had begun every nursing session with a prayer, specifically asking for a spirit of love and acceptance to abound in the nursing session, asking for help in feeling joy in nursing along with whatever else I was in need of (2 Nephi 32:8-9)...
      8. And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.
      9. But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.
2. I wish I had had at least 8 oz. water to drink either before or during the nursing. Water helps you feel joy. Did you know that? And you also need it to help you replenish the supply. :)
3. I really wish I had brought a pen and my journal, or inspirational notebook to each nursing session. What a great time to write down all the things you are grateful for. Gratitude has been a really awesome tool for so many people struggling with depression. It should easily be able to prevent it. Even if I couldn't write and nurse at the same time, I could have it there for writing thoughts down in right after I was done nursing. Also, I would sit and think of all these marvelous projects, ideas, things I could do or say that would be great someday. Sometimes inspiration just really flowed during the nursing, but then it was gone when the session was over. I know that someday, I will have a little more time on my hands and I will have more ability to live out some of those inspirational ideas. Writing them down would have helped as long as I knew it would be a long way off still, but I could imagine it up now. (I think the really good ones kept coming back, though, so it's easy to remember some of them.) I will have a chance to give more of what I think are my strong points at another point in time. It's okay to remember the poem "Washing and Scrubbing can wait 'til tomorrow, for babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow. So settle down cobwebs, dust, go to sleep, I'm rocking (or nursing) my babies and babies don't keep." (author unknown to me)
4. I wish that each time I would have either sung to my baby a little while nursing or read the scriptures out loud to him/her.
5. I wish that I would have trusted man less and God more. (Proverbs 3 5-6)... Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.
The lesson I have learned concerning this is that even though I love or trust somebody very much, I must let God be my go-to. I must let God be my teacher. Find Him, get in tune with Him. Turn to Him. Love Him with all my heart. I CAN trust Him with my life.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

To Become

I have recently learned a fun saying to remember when you come upon a situation that is difficult to stay happy in. Ya know, like the ones that someone hurts you or offends you in? Well, I learned that you have two choices. "You can choose to become bitter, or you can choose to become better." I made the choice last week to become better.
"To be or not to be" is an interesting quote from Shakespeare. I like the admonition to just be. But I like better "to become". It suggests that trials will refine us and make us better somehow. It also suggests that this trial we are now in will be over some day. Maybe soon, maybe not. But, this trial will end, and when it does, you will either come out quite torn up and beaten, or quite a better person than you were before the trial. You may be both.
The temptation to let stress rule and overrun your life can be very big. Satan does a pretty good job at making it look glamorous, or easy, or fun. Remember that he was a liar from the beginning though, and that it REALLY IS a trap. You don't have to have the hair, the nails, the fashionable clothes, the most friends, the cleanest house, the prettiest yard, the most vogue decor, and certainly not the kids who have all this either. Look at all the things that the world says a woman at your stage in life has to have. Go ahead. Make a list. You'll find that it is quite ridiculous. You don't have to have read the latest popular novel, or seen the most recent new release. You don't need the peer pressure that you deal with whenever you get together with friends and neighbors, or family, for that matter. You REALLY don't need the kind of body that the world deems beautiful. You are being deceived if you think that anyone else on this earth is perfect - yes it's probably time to accept that the person who may have hurt or offended you IS NOT PERFECT. Nor can they be expected to be. You can't see into their soul, and God wants you to feel free of their judgments because judgment is His!
What you do need is to just be. For a moment just be. Breathe in a deep breath of light, clean air and welcome it into your desperate body (if you feel desperate). When you breathe it out, imagine you are blowing either all the bad out, back to the earth, or that you are breathing love out to all those who desperately need your love.
After doing this, pray. Ask for the next step. It may come right away, but if it doesn't, just be patient and look for it in doing laundry, dishes, going for a walk, writing in your journal, you get the idea. The next step can be as small as smiling, hugging your little ones, posting a scripture on your wall, making dinner, getting a game out to play with your kids, tickling them, calling your husband to tell him you love him, apologizing, etc...
At times when I have done this, I get the Holy Ghost reminding me that I haven't read scriptures today, or I haven't been out for a walk in too long, and need to go. At the least, I usually feel refreshed and ready to face my problem, whether housework, communicating with hubby, or kids in a healthier way, and so on.
So, is there a place for all that stuff that makes life stressful? What about a clean house and a nice yard? What about practical clothing that is clean? Sure! What about a practical yard that brings joy into your life and into the lives of those who look at it? Sure. But God will help us with whatever we really need to be doing at the moment. If it is His will that we have any of these things He will guide us to whatever it is, through the Holy Ghost, the scriptures, or friends answering prayers. The point is, do these things for God and in the order God wants you to do them. (I'm preachin' to myself here, too!) I have a previous post about what is needful that may help a bit, too!
To become all that we were meant to become, we must get to know the character of God, because we have that potential - to become like God. Making the choice to become better is definitely a step in the right direction for today. And Tomorrow. And if it's hard to keep that choice in your mind and heart, seek strength through Jesus Christ Our Lord.
(Philippians 4:13) "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
(Matthew 6:24) "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
(John 16:33) "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
Good wishes and prayers to you!