Friday, April 15, 2011

Filling Empty Lamps

Has your family ever been in crisis mode?
You know, that time where y'all hunker down, slow down and take each day one day at a time.

We've been in that mode since last October. My husband's work schedule, he's in his first year of residency, drastically changed and I, for all intents and purposes, became a single parent. As his schedule improved in December we began our In Vitro Fertilization attempt. As this progressed I experienced fairly painful, albeit rare, side effects - which pretty much put me out of commission. In January I found myself a single parent again, as my husband's schedule shifted once again. At this point my sister flew out to stay with us for two weeks, which helped tremendously. Much to our overwhelming joy, our IVF treatment was successful and in February we found out we had twins on the way. Just as the painful side effects of the IVF were starting to wear off, I was blindsided with morning sickness unlike any I had experienced before. For the next three months, despite medication, I found it difficult to get anything, other then getting my kids out the door to school and throwing dinner in the oven, done. And I honestly wouldn't have had it any other way - to have more children is worth any sacrifice. Just in the last few days I have started to feel a little better, other then the fact that I vomited 5 or 6 times this morning :), and the haze that has been over my brain has started to lift. I'm not laying out our life for sympathy purposes - we are happier then we have been in 6 years - we have babies on the way! I just know that we all have been there, in one form or another, we have all had our weeks, months, sometimes years of crisis mode.

As my mind has been functional enough to reflect on the well being of my family over the last few days, I have realized that our lamps are running on low. While we never stopped our family home evening, family prayers, scripture study etc. over the last few months, our focus has been on surviving - not on thriving. And it's time to get those lamps filled to the brim again! For us, this has meant that my husband and I have needed to take close, introspective looks not only at our own lives, but also the lives of our children. It's meant praying and pondering with greater intensity to know how each of our lamps need to be filled. And each of us requires a different filling mechanism. For my son, it means more one on one time with each of us. It means having his daily scripture reading being a study session with Mom on the couch, it means learning how to connect with a child who is growing up in the blink of an eye. For my daughter, it means an increase of hugs and kisses. It means formulating a more specific plan to help her prepare for baptism. It means lots of snuggle time as we read books together. How grateful I am for guidance to know what my family needs at each specific time in our lives! I would be useless without it.

As I've reflected, I've also come to greater appreciate the filling effects that the basics (scripture study, family home evening, family prayer etc.) have in our lives. By doing the basics each and every day we fill our lamps so that when it becomes necessary to enter a crisis mode, our lamps are ready to light our way through the darkness. I'm so grateful for prophetic counsel, so that when our crisis mode came, our lamps were at the ready.

We have had various crisis modes throughout our family life, some shorter, some longer, some seemingly painless, some that have driven us through more sorrow then we thought possible. And I am certain that we have more on the horizon (quite possibly when our little twins make their debut!). But I am just as certain that as we follow the counsel to daily fill our lamps, they will miraculously sustain us when that crisis comes.

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  1. Whew! What a ride you are on! I think you have illustrated a point that was made in conference a few years ago...we do not fill our lamps while in the midst of trials...that is when we use our testimonies to survive! Now it's time to fill up again and reflect on what you've learned. What great parents you are!

  2. This is making me think and reflect -- too long I have lived in crisis mode. So what can I do to fill my lamps now when crisis mode will likely continue for a while to come? Thank you so much for your suggestions ... great post!