Every year, we are allowed one fundraiser for our Young Women’s organization. It is to raise money to send the teenage girls to a week-long camp. Our congregation or ward typically does a dinner with entertainment provided by the youth, baked-good sales, and silent and live auctions – all in one night. Everyone is encouraged to participate in some way, usually by donating food for dinner, baked goods, or fun things to auction off.
In my travels this week, I recalled the last fundraiser. I was again impressed how so many of the members provided something that only they could uniquely provide. One mom works for a snack company, and they donated a large basket of goodies. One friend made a whole series of handmade walking sticks, and another made uniquely carved beautiful wood pens and whistles. Our family provided some useful items from a warehouse store and did our job to drive up the bids and cause excitement during the auction. We had a blast.
My little family was forced to face some challenges this week. Some latent issues had finally hit their breaking point. As the calls, texts, voicemails, instant messages, and social media posts rolled in with well wishes, offers of help, and many prayers, I was again reminded of the unique skills and talents each of these beloved people possess. It again hit me that each person had some unique skill or benefit they could provide. Often these are “side skills” that have nothing to do with their education or employment or financial situation. They all offered us something of themselves.
Our challenges this week also reiterated a thought I’ve had for awhile. The Lord asks that we give him all our time, talents, and means to the building up of the kingdom of God. He asks us to lose our lives fulfilling His mission, and in doing so, we will find our lives again. Well, part of our time, talents, and means takes very little effort to develop, but significant effort to maintain – our bodies.
As an engineer, I appreciate the miraculous machine that is the human body. The incredible abuse it takes with very little appropriate maintenance! The incredible search engine in the human eye and the flexibility and resilience of human skin never cease to amaze me. The human body is a great blending of computer & electrical programming, materials science, structural engineering, with a design keenly aware of future maintenance needs.
We often refer to it as “My Body.” Well, it’s not. Your body is a gift. Your life has a plan. God gave us bodies to enable us to do good, to serve others, to learn to become more like Him.
When you abuse or neglect this gift, you hinder your ability to serve others. You hinder your ability to be there when your friends and loved ones need you the most. You literally thwart God’s purposes when you have physically abused yourself, this miraculous gift of a human body from our Heavenly Father.
As a mother (whether your children are biological or adopted), you sacrifice your body daily for the benefit of your children. You sleep less than you should, you eat faster and less healthy than you should (or forget to eat entirely), and your little bits of exercise are driven by the chaos or schedule of your family. So I often feel, “Well, I am sacrificing my body for them.”
But everything must be done in wisdom and in order. We must pace ourselves — for this is a marathon, not a sprint. When your children are 40 years old, your counsel from your living, healthy brain may be more impactful than anything done for your 12-year-old during your lack of sleep.
So, continue to say, “I love you.” Continue the goodbye and goodnight kisses. But SHOW your love by walking around the block or the soccer field during practice. SHOW your love by not stopping at the drive-thru on the way home. SHOW your love and your desire to serve more, and “be there” more by making healthy changes to win the marathon and forget the sprint. I am sure there are unique things you bring that are needed by people today, but those wonderful gifts will also be needed 10, 20, and 30 years from today.
Molly A. Kerr
Molly is on a life long quest to figure herself out. Born to be and educated as an aerospace engineer she is also blessed to be a wife and a mom of two in the present, previously served as a full-time missionary, is consistently called to teach the youth in her ward, is eagerly though slowly doing home improvement as money and time allow, all while gradually learning how to be herself and find peace and balance somewhere in between. Despite her attempts to make “the right” decisions in her life, she has learned to deal with some unexpected challenges over the last two decades. Total tornadoes, really. What she has discovered is that her career has taught her a lot about the Gospel and being a better mother, and the Gospel, when applied to challenges at the office, has made her a better professional. She has also learned that it is okay to be herself, and God still loves (and forgives) her for it.