In a recent Relief Society lesson, we watched a talk given by Sister Susan Bednar (wife to Elder David A. Bednar) at a BYU Women’s Conference. She spoke about her struggles to keep her life in balance in her years as a young mother, and as a wife to a husband who was never home because of school and callings. She asked her husband to give her a blessing, and in it he counseled her that if she would: 1- Eat properly, 2 – Exercize regularly, and 3 – Engage in meaningful daily scripture study and prayer, she would be able to find energy and strength to balance and prioritize her life, and that she’d be able to accomplish all those things that she ought to. She was puzzled and even disturbed by this council at first, as she felt overwhelmed and lacking time in her schedule for herself. But, she says that as she has consistently done these 4 things, she has found “health in her navel, marrow in her bones”. She has been able to “walk and not be weary, run and not faint”. She has been strengthened in body and in spirit. She has received “wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures”.
An object lesson is given where rocks are placed in a jar. The rocks represent all of those things that we HAVE to take care of as a wife and mother (feed the family, do the laundry, go to the grocery store, pay the bills, get the kids to and from school). Pebbles are then added, filling in more space. The pebbles are things that are CRUCIAL, but not necessary for physical survival (pray, read the scriptures, go to the temple). After this, sand is poured in to fill in the remaining space in the jar. The sand represents all those things that are good and probably SHOULD be done (archive family photos, clean the house, work on food storage, exercise, do family history work, enroll kids in music lessons or a sport or something valuable). Overwhelming, right? Finally, a glass of water is poured in the jar. It is amazing how much water still fits in there, even after is appears as though nothing else CAN fit in. The water represents the added strength and capability that the Lord gives us when we are taking care of the most important things first (prayer, scripture study, & taking care of ourselves).
Just as with the people of Alma in the Book of Mormon, the Lord can and will lighten our load. No, it’s not even that He will lighten our loads – it’s that He gives us the ability to handle our loads. That’s how it was with the people of Alma. We need that load to make us stronger. (Hmmm… reminds me of a certain recent talk by Elder Bednar himself!) The Lord will give us the strength that we need to carry it. But, we’ve GOT to put those rocks in the jar first. The sand and water will be able to fill in the spaces that surround….. and I think if we realized just how much water can actually fit in to our jars, we’d be overwhelmed with gratitude for the Savior.