I got someone to sub for me teaching primary so I could be with my big kids for the last two hours, and the Sunday school lesson was one of the best I’ve attended…all about how to keep the doors of our hearts open. It spoke to me.
I just love things that remind me to keep that connection open with God. It is so easy in this day and age of shiny distractions to make us forget.
The question was asked:
What does it look like to “sanctify” ourselves?
And I love how it made me think.
I thought about how much “being in the right place at the right time” helps keep those doors open and helps us work to sanctify ourselves: That “right place,” in my opinion, includes being on our knees in prayer, at church opening our minds to make comments, listening for nudges, at the temple, searching the scriptures, looking into husband’s and kids’ and friends’ faces rather than at the screen of our phones or computers, finding our own “holy places” to meditate and commune with God. While all the while, opening our “heart doors” to listen to guidance.
It made me reflect back to a time when I was a young mother with two babies and a husband searching for the right job, living just outside Washington D.C. My spiritual “compartment” was getting suffocated by diapers and spit up and middle-of-the-night feedings as I zombie-ishly tried to fill the needs of my small family. At some times I felt like an “island,” disjointed from the rest of the world being pulled every which way. The doors of my spiritual heart were closing…there was no time to sit at Jesus feet, letting His words of wisdom wash over me and make me whole (as Cheiko Okasaki would say).
I was in survival mode.
But I was aware enough to feel those “doors of my heart” silently closing off.
Oh, it was ever so gradual, but I began to feel it.
And I knew I needed to put up a fight.
So I stepped up my communion with God. I prayed hard. I tried to be “in the right place at the right time” to help sanctify myself and keep those doors open to the spirituality I knew I needed.
This went on for a few months: Me trying to keep my head above water enough to “be there,” not only with my family, but with God, in many different ways. It was announced in church that there was a fireside coming up with a lady speaking who I loved (Anne Madsen…one of my all-time favorite people and my teacher of Isaiah when I was on study abroad in Israel). Of course, there were all the regulars keeping me from going to that meeting. I don’t remember what they were, but I remember knowing that I needed to be there. That I needed to fight to make it happen.
So I did.
And really, without going into too many details, I’ll just say that I don’t remember what was said in that meeting. I don’t remember what it was about, or who I sat by, or whether I took notes, or whether I even went up and hugged my beloved Isaiah teacher after it was all over. But I remember being completely encircled with God’s love. The most powerful feeling that I was “enough” and that He cared. About everything. The sleep depravation and the laundry and the constant pulls of my abilities and my will and my patience.
But most of all, He cared about my heart. And it’s doors I was trying so desperately to keep open. I was overcome with the awareness that I was truly “in the palm of His hand” as it says so beautifully in the scriptures. Not only was I my family’s, but I was His.
I have never forgotten that evening sitting in that church pew in Virginia all those years ago. It has helped me prop those “heart doors” open over and over again as I have tried again and again to “be in the right places at the right times” to let Him in.
And last Sunday sitting in that lesson I was reminded once again that it is worth the sometimes fight to keep those doors open. Sure, God will help us, but we have to have the desire, the willingness, and sometimes the struggle to let Him in.
…To remember that He is there.