One of the reasons I wanted to split this guest post into two parts was that a full talk can be a bit overwhelming to read in one sitting and it is such a good talk that I wanted to make sure the 2nd half wasn’t neglected. I love Deborah’s insights on the story of Mary and Martha. Like her, I at times have been a bit bugged by this story because I get defensive for Martha. (Thankfully, Martha was much more humble than I am and took the Savior’s counsel as she should.) Deborah’s perspective helps me to see where I can improve.
She also discusses a story of their daughter needing to be hospitalized. When The Lion was in the hospital, I remember trying to think of someone that I could talk to that would understand what I was going through in trying to be there for my hospitalized child but feeling guilty for not being with my other child. I thought of Deborah, knowing she had been through a similar situation, but felt odd calling her up out of the blue. (At the time we weren’t in the same ward and hadn’t really kept in contact.) Then, out of the blue, she called me. She said she had heard we needed to spend some extra time in the hospital and wanted to call to see not only how Spencer was doing but also how I was doing. We talked for awhile and she provided much needed comfort. I think the greatest comfort was that I knew that Heavenly Father had heard my quiet, little request for a friend. I am so grateful for her willingness to listen to that prompting and not feeling awkward about an “out of the blue” phone call. I honestly doubt she will ever know what it meant, (and still means), to me.
I also love the quote at the end of the talk by Sister Reeves. Here you go –
The 2nd thing I wanted to share is:
Simplify our lives, and in simplifying, define what matters most:
In a talk by Elder L. Tom Perry entitled “Let Him Do It with Simplicity” he said, “In our search to obtain relief from the stresses of life, may we earnestly seek ways to simplify our lives.”
Right there he gave us a key equation “simplifying our lives = stress relief”. I believe all of us could use a little stress relief in our life.
I recently listened to talk by Jenny Phillips where she talked about the story of Mary and Martha. In Luke 10 it states, Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
I never realized how much there was to be learned from this story and, to be honest, this story used to bug me a little bit because Martha was working so hard and Mary left her to do all the work. If I was Martha, (and I often am), I wouldn’t have been super happy, but as I came to understand the real lesson Christ was trying to teach I realized the wealth of knowledge hidden in this sweet story.
What caused Martha to be so weighed down and troubled about many things that it caused her not to take the time to sit at Jesus feet and be taught? I am going to rephrase the question for us. What causes us to be so weighed down and stressed, (and busy, might I add), that we don’t take time put the most important things first? Think personally about what things in your life are causing you to be Martha.
Among trials and everyday stress how do we establish proper priorities?
Referring back to President Uchtdorf’s talk “Of Things That Matter Most”, he taught about this very thing. He talked about tree growth and when seasons are ideal a tree grows at a normal rate, however, during seasons when growing conditions are not ideal, trees slow down their growth and devote their energy to the basic elements necessary for survival. “Therefore it is good advice to slow down a little and steady the course and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions.”
A few years ago, our daughter, Kayelee, was in the hospital. She was diagnosed with a very rare blood disorder if you want to call it that and things were very scary. It was one of those moments in life that I had no idea my story would be written this way. I remember at that time feeling so many different emotions as her condition was very scary and sometimes I wasn’t sure how many days were left. I remember being so grateful for each and every day, so grateful for another day with her, so grateful for each one of my children and just how precious they are. It made me realize my family and the gospel were my number 1 priorities and it was essential I put them first in my life. I remember one particular family home evening, she was finally able to come home from the hospital, just for a short time and we took our family to the temple grounds. It was a Monday night so no one was there and we just sat on the temple grounds as a family and sang primary songs. The words of families can be together forever and I love to see the temple brought such peace and tears just flowed. I was so grateful at that moment to have my whole family with me and I was reminded again what was most important. I will never forget that special day; it is a memory I will cherish forever.
I remember at that time I was reminded of what mattered most. The difficulties we were facing forced us to slow down a bit and devote our energy to the things that were essential.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught, “We have to forego some good things in order to choose other things that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen families.”
What things are most important to you?
I think on the top of our list should be Heavenly Father, Christ and our families. Those are personally my greatest treasures.
How do we put those things first in our lives? You’ll have to answer those questions yourself, personally, but I am going to give you a couple tools:
Last week Joe and I had the opportunity to take our older 3 kids to the Saturday morning session of conference and during that session there was the sweetest talk given by Linda S. Reeves in her talk she said this: “I must testify of the blessings of daily scripture study and prayer and weekly family home evening. These are the very practices that help take away stress, give direction to our lives, and add protection to our homes. Then…we can petition the Lord for help and expect great guidance from the Spirit, knowing that we have done what our Father has asked us to do.”
And so I want to challenge each of you to pray daily, read your scriptures daily, and have weekly family home evening. Just like she said these are the very practices that help take away stress and give direction to our lives.
I know all of us want direction and stress relief. I know I do. Right now Joe and I are in the process of building a home. This has taken so much of our time, and added a lot of stress I might add. Things don’t feel super simple right now among all the other things we have to do… plus build a house. But, I was reminded this week that I am also building children, and in the midst of the chaos of things that often takes our time building children is way more important than building a home.
I am going to do my best to make sure I am putting personal and family prayer, personal and family scripture study and weekly family home evening as priorities and I am confident life will be simpler and the most important things will get done each day.