I’ve slacked off on my “Sunday ponderings” lately.  Sometimes I hesitate to share personal spiritual things.  But for some reason I feel like I really should share this one.  So here we go.

Last week our whole family was here for church.  

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.
Those are my thoughts I wanted to share this early Sunday afternoon.  Happy Sabbath!

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  1. Thank you for sharing–I loved this, especially as I just gave birth to my second a couple months ago and definitely can relate to your experience. If you haven't already read it, you might really like the book A Heart Like His by Virginia H Pearce, which is all about the concept of keeping an open heart and how and why. It's a book I feel I should reread every year.

  2. HI Shawni!

    Please keep u with the sunday ponderings, because I think you will be helping someone for sure!

    Right now your words came right to my heart, as I feel like I'm loosing connection with God. 🙁 your words came right on time… be at the right place, at the right time… thanks! xo

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this, I feel like reading this was part of the answer to my prayer this morning (And such a good reminder to put the phone down after this comment!). I have a baby and a toddler while my husband's job future is uncertain and I'm trying desperately to stay awake at mine… and be present with my kids and family… and someday catch up with the laundry. Reading about your experience when you were in a similar place just gave me so much comfort, and it's so nice to hear that maybe I won't always feel so disconnected. Thank you!

  4. I had been depressed this last week. There is simply not enough time to meet all the needs I need to, fulfill my own goals and keep up on housework. As I struggled with these feelings and looked for ways forward that involved more peace, joy and deliberateness I realized that while I studied scriptures with my kids I had been neglecting my own soul. The five minutes with them wasn't enough to feed me, i missed my Heavenly Parents. As I made more time for that, nothing has changed with my responsibilities, but everything has changed with the peace and the joy in our home (at least most of the time). Thanks for sharing.

  5. Thank you, truly. Your words resonated with my soul. Your unknown desire to share that beautiful experience had to have come from The Spirit, as it has clearly uplifted so many. I am a mother of five, with the youngest being 7 month-old twins, I work full time, and am in the midst of a masters program and have repeatedly come back to the idea that I am distant from my Father in Heaven. That I'm allowing the stresses and responsibilities of everyday life to interfere with that tangible relationship with Christ I yearn for. Thank you for the sweet reminder of how loved we are.

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