Sunday, March 15, 2009

mothers who know honor sacred ordinances and covenants

The Star of David, with one triangle pointing up towards God and one triangle pointing down towards man, has long been a visual symbol of covenants. 

One of my most favorite pieces of architecture is the San Diego Temple. There is an architectural motif repeated throughout the building of two overlapping squares—one rotated 45 °. I believe it is another symbolic interpretation of the covenants we make with God. The square holds more significance for me than the triangle does, and it is one of the reasons I love this temple so much. This motif is found in the pattern of the stain glass windows, the shape of the indoor atrium, carved on stair railings, and even serves as the basic shape of the footprint for the entire building.


The shape of these two squares interlaced as they are, and interspersed throughout the building, are symbolic to me of what honoring sacred ordinances and covenants means. [to honor: to treat with reverence mingled with love and devotion] The covenants I make and keep influence all my choices, my thoughts, and my desires. They are evident in everything about me and they make me who I am. 

So what happened at sacrament meeting this morning while the words of this paragraph were running through my mind? Micah took two cups of water. Lucas dumped his slobbery back-wash into one of the filled cups, threw his toy at the man sitting next to us and the man sitting in front of us, and continuously kicked the pew in front of us. Emma reminded me that she had to give a talk in Primary that I had forgotten about, Mr. Coleman searched for the diaper bag we left at home. I went through my mental list of things I had failed at and mistakes I had made during the week.

I battled feelings of exhaustion and inadequacy. Total inadequacy. And defeat. But now, later, sitting here, I am tenderly reminded that my side of the promise was to be willing to obey. I am so far from perfect and sometimes my progress is so slow I don't feel right even calling it progress.



I am willing. And I know, with no doubts, that the Lord keeps his promises.


  1. Rachel, you are on the right track. Don't be so hard on yourself. Life happens. We can't control that. If it makes you feel any better, Whitney coughed all her sacrament water onto the water tray. It was lovely. Fortunately there was another water tray. And after a quick conversation with the decon passing, all was well.

  2. I'm sorry I laughed out loud. It brought back the memory of sitting behind a family with 4 kids (same ages as mine, perfectly still), the father of whose mind I could read: he was so annoyed at us. After only 10 minutes, he & his wife had a silent, but nevertheless clear conversation with each other, and simultaneously the entire family stood up and moved up 4 rows & over. Oh, and the memory of today, my VT sitting in front of me, laughing & stifling her giggles at my circus all 73 minutes of s. mtg. I try so hard, but sometimes, I just have to empty about 3 of the other sacrament cups into the middle out of respect for other people, and smile at the stunned deacon. eh?

    And I'm sorry, I truly love the serious part of your post. I love this theme, and hearing into your heart. Thank you so much.

  3. so sorry. i saw your mr. coleman walking in to church - yes, I was out in the hallway w/ my 6 year old who was throwing a fit. 6. what is that all about? i feel for you, i do. you seem much more perfect and put together than i am or ever will be. you're amazing.

  4. Sometimes during church I just watch little families - kids disobeying, mothers trying to make them behave... there's just something beautiful about it, and it makes me smile.

    I think we tend to be way harder on ourselves than we should (maybe that runs in the family!). You really are amazing.

  5. Rachel, Rachel, Rachel. Of all people to feel inadequate. Seriously? You are a wonderful mother. No, not perfect, but wonderful. Oh, and I hope this week you find some extra energy and are less exhausted. I know you are super duper busy, but I also know the Lord blesses us when we need it.

    PS I'm glad you're not perfect because I'd sure miss you if you got translated. :)

  6. Again, I enjoy your perspective. And I don't think you are being hard on yourself. Just keeping it real. Sometimes living up to our covenants is not as simple as we would like it to be. Sometimes it is not as complicated as overcoming temptation. Sometimes, it is just those daily things we strive to do to better ourselves and keep those covenants.

    I remember my mother on the bench with 6 kids, the oldest 9 years old, the youngest a few months old, while my dad sat on the stand (in the bishopric). Every week. That is just how it was. I know we were terrible.

    But her legacy lives on in each of her kids. We all hold temple recommends and are active members of the church. I sit alone with my 5 kids every week, and often I worry I am the least reverent one. That doesn't mean they are not rowdy; it means I get frustrated with myself for getting so upset about my kids, instead of seeking the Spirit. I suppose, like my mom, those benefits will come later.

    When I sat in my temple recommend interview with a member of the stake presidency, and he asked if I faithfully attend all my meetings, I was honored to be able to honestly answer yes. I am grateful that I can uphold my covenants in that way, and I do believe I am blessed for it.

    Okay, I will shut up now.