That story is from a book by Cheiko Okazaki called Lighten Up! Finding Real Joy in Life
Here’s the story I shared (This part is actually taken from excerpts from one of the chapters in the book my Mom and I wrote, “A Mother’s Book of Secrets“).
As a young mother, Chieko N. Okazaki (one of my heroes) inspired me (and still does). I read notes from an address she had given in a book called “Lighten Up!” that really changed me. She talked about how as mothers we tend to “compartmentalize” our lives. We have different cubbyholes for different things…”family,” “church,” “gardening,” and so on. She said instead of thinking of our spiritual lives as one of our cubbies, it should be more like the scent in the air that drifts through all the rooms.
She relates this story:
“Suppose the Savior comes to visit you. You’ve rushed around and vacuumed the guest room, put the best sheets on the bed, even got some tulips in a vase on the dresser. Jesus looks around the room, then says, ‘Oh, thank you for inviting me into your home. Please tell me about your life.’“You say, ‘I will in just a minute, but something’s boiling over on the stove, and I need to let the cat out.’
“Jesus says, ‘I know a lot about cats and stoves. I’ll come with you.’
“‘Oh, no,’ you say. ‘I couldn’t let you do that.’ And you rush out, carefully closing the door behind you.
“And while you’re turning down the stove, the phone rings, and then Jason comes in with a scrape on his elbow, and the visiting teacher supervisor calls for your report, and then it’s suppertime, and you couldn’t possibly have Jesus see that you don’t even have place-mats, for Pete’s sake, and someone forgot to turn on the dishwasher so that you’re eating off paper plates, and then you have to drive Lynne to her basketball game.
“So by the time you get back to the room where Jesus is still patiently waiting for you, you’re so tired that you can barely keep your eyes open — let alone sit worship-fully at Jesus’ feet to wait for those words of profound wisdom and spiritual power to wash over you, to make you different, to make everything else different — and you fall asleep whispering, ‘I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better. I’m so sorry.'”
Isn’t this how we are as mothers? When we really need the Savior’s guidance the most sometimes we tend to shut it out. The secret is to use prayer to our advantage. Let the Savior “follow” us around, and help us out when we’re at the end of our ropes. That is when prayer really works. If only I could remember that more!