Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book of Mormon Challenge: House of Order

The subtitle of The Book of Mormon is "Another Testament of Jesus Christ." "Testament" also means "covenant." The Lord's order is to provide structure with promised blessings if we uphold our end. So I'm looking for what that structure is shaped like and how to create it in my home.

There are several places in the BOM where it is make clear that this is an "abridgment" of other records. When I read that I immediately felt this great wash of relief that this question of how to set my house in order really can be answered in real world, practical ways by looking to the scriptures. Knowing that this is an abridgment tells me that I can be confident is not having to hang on to everything that comes through my door. School project, letters, old bills can all be thrown out, while only keeping the very most important or specially, without any feeling of guilt or question of need.

I also see the value of caring for that which is of most value to me. My things deserve care.

In the introductory pages that include the testimony of the three witnesses and the testimony of egith witnesses I learned that live really is a shared responsibility. Never over look the opportunity to include my husband and children in setting our house in order. The practical application of this was sweetly demonstrated last night as we were cleaning up dinner dishes. My oldest has decided that hand washing the dishes that can't go in the dishwasher or are too big for the dishwasher are going to be his responsibility. He pushed a chair over to the sink and started washing. Not to be left out of the mix, younger brother quickly pushed a chair over and stood next to big brother. Big brother handed dishes to little brother and little brother arranged them in the dish drain. I couldn't believe my eyes, frankly. It was amazing.

I'm learning that all things take time. I want to have the perfect schedule right now. I want it to work perfectly and have everyone check off their jobs completed and move on. Order, real change, takes time and hard work.

One impression that I had as I began the body of the book 1 Nephi was that I need to be teaching my children how to order and organize themselves. Early preparation also seems to play a significant role. Logistically it must have been quite a feat to get Lehi's family out of Jerusalem.

We must never neglect worship and thanksgiving.

I need to see to it that I show my children that I don't need a lot to be happy. Lehi's family lived in a tent! This is certainly part of the Lord's manner of organizing and keeping order. I see over and over how the Nephi and Lehi make plans before they moved forward. They created everything spiritually before it was created physically. There was a clear plan in place.

The Lord also does a great job showing how Lehi's family realized that they need not bring a lot of things with them. The Lord would provided.Never be afraid to rid myself of those THINGS that just burden and bog down.

A New Challenge

My sister-in-law Amy recently issued a challenge to read the Book of Mormon by June. She invited anyone who'd like to participate to choose a topic, or rather, a question, and really investigate how the Book of Mormon can and does provide answers to that specific question. Through life's experience, I know that the primary way that the Holy Ghost speaks to me personally is through the scriptures. I love the Book of Mormon and look forward to this challenge.

So here are the logistical details: In order to finish by June, I need to read four and a half pages a day. I do well with concrete goals like that. It generally takes me about 35 minutes to get through that many pages, depending on how many children are awake and how tired I am. I try to read very first thing in the morning and have been getting up around 5:45 to make that happen. It is the only quiet time of my entire day on many days.

The question I decided to focus on is something I've been thinking about and struggling with for just about forever it seems. At first glance it many seem sort of trite or trivial, but this seems to be encroaching on every other aspect of my life right now and I need some solutions.

The Question: What is the Lord's patter for organizing--physically and spiritually? What does the Book of Mormon teach me about how to set my house in order.

When I told my husband what topic I had decided on, I jokingly asked him if he thought the Lord could help me with my paper clutter problem and, wouldn't you know it, my sweet husband found a great scripture about only recording on the plates the things of most worth. The Book of Mormon really does act as a guide for our lives. I can't look up "paper clutter" or "laundry schedule" or "clean floors" in the index. But I can see patterns and I can ponder on the whys of a house of order. And as it turns out, the Lord is putting impressions and thoughts in my mind about the technical structure of how to organize a Christ-centered house of order.

My hope is to post what I'm learning once a week. The margins of my scriptures are filling up quickly. There is so much there that gives me hope, courage, and wisdom. Enjoy the journey along with me. When I post something specific to the challenge, I'll label it "Book of Mormon Challenge: House of Order"