Life gets busy and seems to stay busy, especially as a mother. When I was a single mom, there never seemed to be enough time for all that needed to be done, much less all the things I wanted to do. There is no one else to help carry the load when extra demands arise and that in and of itself brings a unique kind of exhaustion.
In 2015, I was asked to serve as a leader for our local congregation’s Young Women (12-18-year-old girls) organization. This meant meeting at least monthly with the other leaders, weekly activities for the girls, weekly lessons on Sunday, other meetings with other leaders, camps, conferences, so many things to my endless list! I’d served in this capacity before, but not since I’d been a mother. I knew how busy and demanding it was. I also felt insecure about what type of example I was to the girls being a divorced mom rather than a woman with a successful covenant marriage we encouraged all to strive towards.
I confessed my fears and anxieties to the Lord and told Him how inadequate I felt. The answer that came was that He knew me and my circumstances better than I did. He let me know what He needed most from me was to be willing. This answer greatly relieved me as being willing seemed achievable. As I threw myself into being willing to serve and magnify my calling, miracles began happening.
Some of the miracles Jesus performed during His ministry were multiplying small offerings to meet the needs of many or even transforming the offering. I found that one of the miracles of simply offering our willingness and time to serve is how much God can transform that offering. After over a year of serving the young women, I was driving home from work in heavy traffic. Rather than the usual frustration, I began going through everything I was doing and how busy I was.
- I was going to church and having family home evening every week.
- I was babysitting for a neighbor once a month so she could have a date night.
- I was running 3-4 times a week and getting to be in the best shape I’d been in as an adult.
- I was active in my book group and reading books for it every month.
- I was going to the temple twice a month.
- I was taking my daughter everywhere she needed to be for her lessons.
- I was finding time to get together with friends and even date.
- I was always at every meeting for church and I was able to go every month on visits for our congregation when other leaders were often unavailable.
- I was able to organize activities and prepare lessons a couple of times a month.
- I was doing my job well and just had gotten a promotion.
- I was immersed in the scriptures 30 minutes to an hour every day.
- I was helping Gabby with her homework most nights.
- I was able to take meals to neighbors when asked.
- I even had time to sleep.
- Being single, all household chores, shopping, paying bills were up to me and I found time for getting it all done.
It did not make sense to me that I was now doing so much. And the biggest miracle was that I no longer felt exhausted and weary every day. I was no longer depressed and consistently overwhelmed. As I pondered and marveled at this, I inwardly asked how was this happening? As I write this list, it doesn’t make sense even being the one having done it. The answer soon came that it wasn’t me and then the miracle Jesus performed with the loaves and fishes came to mind. When I got home, I read the account found in John 6 and realized that I had willingly offered the 5 barley loaves and 2 fish, meager as they were, for the 5,000 tasks I had to complete. The Lord took what I had and truly blessed and multiplied the little I had to give.
Gratitude and wonder filled my heart that giving of my want for more time and energy had been answered back with more time to do the things that mattered most and even time for things that mattered very little.
There are seasons for all things including being busy. There have been seasons when I felt prompted to lessen my busyness. However, just as increasing our strength or stamina physically only happens as we systematically add weight or distance to our routine, so it is with our use of time. Partnering with God allows Him to give us strength and stamina beyond our own ability. When we offer whatever we have to Him, He gives back to us what He has, including His power and strength. Looking back on that time, I see how often the Lord transformed and multiplied my time and abilities, limited as they were, into a bounty of inspiration, energy, optimism, and service.