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Jun 12, 2010

Tender mercies

My journal is missing. I find the timing ironic, since there has been much in my life lately that I have wished to record. I have especially felt urgency to document the small ways in which I feel God's love and see His hand in my life. Lately my mind has been drawn to David A. Bednar's talk from General Conference in April 2005. An excerpt from that talk is:

"Near the conclusion of the singing, to my mind came this verse from the Book of Mormon: “But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance” (1 Ne. 1:20).

My mind was drawn immediately to Nephi’s phrase “the tender mercies of the Lord,” and I knew in that very moment I was experiencing just such a tender mercy. A loving Savior was sending me a most personal and timely message of comfort and reassurance through a hymn selected weeks previously. Some may count this experience as simply a nice coincidence, but I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are real and that they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Often, the Lord’s timing of His tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them."

Today I decided to share some of the tender mercies I have received during a trying time.
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Gavin doesn't like to take a nap. Does this sound like a two-year-old you might know? Gavin's nap time routine requires me to cuddle under the covers, arrange his stuffed friends "just so," and sing a number of Primary songs. I end the ritual with, "I love you Gavin. You are such a good boy." (This is a good reminder for us both.)

On Thursday I was dragging due to several hours of insomnia the night before. I had spent the hour after an early lunch trying to rest on the couch downstairs while Gavin and Lexi played. I was only partly coherent, but it was too early to put the babies down. Finally, their nap time approached. I sat up and nursed Lexi. I told Gavin it was almost nap time; he needed to get in bed soon.

A few minutes later, I found him asleep in his bed. Asleep! I nearly cried. To see that sweet boy sleeping was to see absolute evidence that Heavenly Father knew my name and my need in that moment.



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Another story involves Gavin, as well.

My prayers for this boy's safety are not casual prayers. Gavin does things that endanger his life on a regular basis. He is curious, physically mature beyond his years, and yet so innocent he doesn't understand when he crosses the line of rational and safe behavior. And I am his distracted mother, forever a step behind, stooping to clean the mess in his wake. Somehow I always miss the moment of infraction or am too far away to catch him when he falls. And yet he is always protected from significant harm.

Last Monday, I sat Gavin in front of a
Clifford episode and retreated to Lexi's bedroom to nurse her. I longed for the comfort of the rocking chair and ottoman. I needed five minutes' peace.

I thoroughly enjoyed that five minutes, but when I returned to the couch where Gavin should have been, I knew immediately he was gone. I took Lexi into my bedroom where Tyler was watching TV. I closed the closet and bathroom doors and told Tyler he was in charge for a few minutes. Then I walked out the front door.

Gavin has a few favorite haunts outside: the sandbox, the neighbor's clump of trees, and the other neighbor's garage. In short order, I eliminated those places. No Gavin. I continued to walk down the street, calling Gavin's name, searching as I walked. After passing four houses I came to the end of our cul-de-sac and a cross street. I stood on the corner and looked left, toward the neighborhood mailbox. I felt pulled strongly to the right, toward a busier cross street. I went right, calling Gavin's name. I didn't doubt that Gavin would have come this far, but I was starting to panic. Cars whizzed by at 40 miles an hour. He could easily be killed at this intersection -- or kidnapped.

I crossed the street, looking both ways, wondering where to turn. Suddenly, I saw him, two houses in on the next side street. He had the "for sale" sign we had planted on that street and was attempting to give it a new home. Of course he was running around without a care in the world.

I should have been furious. Instead I was so grateful. He was safe. And I had been led right to him.
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Last night, after a rough day, I went to bed early. Really early...like 8:30. I was asleep before 9:00. At 10:30 I woke up in a cold sweat after a horrific nightmare. I could hardly breathe. Garry was gone for the night. The kids were all in their beds. The house was hot and muggy. For a while, I was just miserable, with evil images from my nightmare swimming before my eyes. I was sure I wouldn't sleep all night.

The first tender mercy came as I checked on the kids. Seeing Tyler snuggled in his bed reminded me that he had lost his second tooth and needed a visit from the Tooth Fairy. I was so grateful that he wouldn't be disappointed in the morning!



The second came as I was back in bed, struggling to banish thoughts from my dream. Scriptures I had read earlier in the day came to my mind. They were scriptures of joy and light, of the Holy Ghost and fervent prayer. Then I turned on the TV, looking for something to distract my terrorized mind. I found a BYU Women's Conference talk that I had recorded in March but never gotten around to watching. (Sadly, the transcript isn't available online.) It offered the perfect message to lift my heavy heart.
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Last Wednesday night, while at Zachary's baseball practice, I was talking on my cell phone to a friend who needed help. She asked if Garry could come help give her sister a blessing of healing. He agreed, and they set an appointment for later that night. As the appointment drew near, I decided to ask Garry to give me a blessing, too. I had wanted one for several days, but the timing was never right. What followed was a beautiful, personal message from God that gave me comfort, hope, and strength. I am so grateful that the way opened up to receive it.

After Garry helped bless my friend's sister, the adults engaged in small talk. Our home for sale came up, as did the fact that my friend's husband is a Realtor. Making another connection in this business is always good. We hope he is the agent who will bring us a buyer!
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This week has been a roller coaster ride on the home sale scene. I have been pretty emotional about dashed hopes and unrealized expectations. I realize these things are mostly superficial, and that I have great blessings, but I have still struggled.

One of the hardest things about being "on hold" is that we can't make plans for anything HERE. Life could change at any minute, so I can't commit to lessons or camps or mom's groups or anything. However, on Friday, I realized that the next session of swimming lessons at the rec center begins on Monday. I was pleased to find classes for both of the big boys in the right levels at the same time. There were wait lists, of course, but Zachary has already gotten a spot. If Tyler gets in, too, that won't just be a tender mercy -- it will be a huge blessing, and a reminder that Heavenly Father loves my bored little boys as much as he loves their mom.
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Saturday post script: Tyler got into a swim class! God is good.
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