One morning, my young son Ezra very politely asked, “Mom, after you finish nursing Nathaniel and after you eat your own breakfast and after you feed grandma, could you read me a story?” I just stopped and looked at him and almost cried. How could this three-year-old have such patience and awareness? How had he grown so accustomed to waiting for me? I never would have purposefully asked so much of him, but our situation had required it of him and he had developed an amazing patience for one so little (or one of any age!). I thought about how, despite the difficulty, we had all grown by having the opportunity to care for my elderly mom in our home. Her struggle and our struggles had given us a gift that we never would have sought for, but it was a great gift nonetheless. As Isaiah 61:3 states, those who experience suffering will be given “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” Though I do not see God as the source of suffering, our mortal conditions do allow for it. In the Book of Mormon, Nephi’s words capture my sentiments: “I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things” (1 Ne 11:17). I am thankful that even difficulty can be made productive and useful.
The photos above show Ezra and his grandma. In the second picture, two-year-old Ezra is lying down by his grandma about a year after her stroke.
In doing this series on tender mercies, I have learned that tender mercies come in greater concentration in times of need. Looking back at my posts, I see that most of my examples come from the years I cared for my mom after her strokes–one of the hardest times in my life so far. To me this is evidence of a responsive, loving God that truly is aware of His children. He is aware of you; He is aware of me. What a comfort to know this!
Now I plan to steer my blog again to parenting issues, but it’s all related, isn’t it? All parts of life affect our parenting.
This is #15 of the 15 part series The Tender Mercies Project. See the initial post here.