Last night was one of those perfect nights. The boys went to bed early, the kitchen was clean and I had time to lay in bed and read church magazines before falling asleep. I was reading from the friend looking for ideas for family night lessons for the month. My husband passed me the Ensign with the page opened to this article and said I think you need to read this. I did, twice. Maybe even three times. (Repetition is good) I learned something new each and every time I read it.
Was I Living the Gospel Fully?
By Carolynn R. Spencer
Carolynn R. Spencer, “Was I Living the Gospel Fully?,” Ensign, July 2009, 71
My scripture study would have to wait. All three of our sons had awakened—and much earlier than usual. The youngest, Caden, then 18 months old, was screaming in his crib. I went into his room and saw instantly that he was sick.
Thus began a Monday of one challenge after another. At one point, shortly after I had changed Caden’s clothes and tried to feed him, he flung a large jar onto the floor, spilling applesauce everywhere and sending shattered glass across the kitchen. As I was cleaning up the mess, I thought about all the things I wasn’t getting done: family history, service, home storage, missionary work.
“How in the world can I do everything I know I should be doing when I am barely managing the basic tasks of my day?” I wondered. By early evening I was exhausted, but I set aside discouraging thoughts during dinner, family home evening, and the boys’ bath and bedtime routine.
Finally, with the children in bed, I sat down to do what I had not had time for earlier. I picked up the May 2006 Ensign, which was open to a talk by President Henry B. Eyring titled “As a Child.” My eyes fell on a passage I had previously marked: “To keep the blessing of [changed natures] in our hearts will require determination, effort, and faith. King Benjamin taught at least some of what that will require. He said that to retain a remission of our sins from day to day we must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, and help people spiritually and temporally” (Liahona and Ensign, May 2006, 17).
Immediately, I again felt that I wasn’t living the gospel fully. I wondered, “How can I feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, and help people spiritually and temporally when I can scarcely take care of my own family?”
That’s when I experienced an overwhelming feeling of divine approval. It was so clear, precise, and tangible that I knew I had to write it down so I wouldn’t forget. I could see my day replay in my mind—full of feeding the hungry, doing laundry to clothe the naked (I changed Caden’s outfit multiple times), gently caring for our sick baby, helping our five-year-old prepare a family home evening lesson on missionary work, and then discussing the power of example with my family—in other words, helping people spiritually and temporally.
The impression flowed with such an overpowering feeling of peace that I knew the Lord was telling me He had accepted my offering. In caring for my family, I was fulfilling the admonitions of King Benjamin and President Eyring.