by Anna Jones Buttimore
It's my birthday on Friday, so I'm thinking a lot about time at the moment. There's no escaping the fact that I'm probably more than halfway through my life now, and so time is pretty precious. A friend asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I told her "time". So my friend is babysitting for the evening so that I can go out with my husband, and knowing her she'll clean my kitchen and dining room while she's there too.
We mothers have so little time. Every minute is swallowed up in a list of chores and little people needing things done for them. I also have to do my paid work for five hours a day, and I like to find time to do what is mostly unpaid work - writing books. I'm lucky if I get half-an-hour to myself on any given day.
Then there's my Church calling - I'm currently the early morning Seminary teacher for our ward. Initially I was dismayed at receiving this calling and wondered how on earth I would get everything done if I had to give up another hour and a half each day to teach and prepare lessons, never mind attending all the faculty meetings, dances and Super Saturdays. (I teach via Skype, so at least I don't have to drive the three miles to the chapel.)
To prepare I started getting up extra-early for a couple of weeks to get into the habit. That was great. I'm a morning person, and I found that I could work my way down the list of chores--ironing shirts, making lunches, emptying the bins, unloading and reloading the dishwasher and putting on the first load of laundry--before the children woke up. On a good day I could even be showered and dressed. I dreaded the start of the school year when Seminary would steal back that precious time and leave me again drowning in a sea of housework.
It took me a week to realise that despite teaching a class, preparing the next day's lesson, and putting a lesson summary on Facebook for the students who hadn't been able to log in each morning, I was still managing to keep up with all my chores. Somehow I still got everything down, and was showered and dressed and standing in a (mostly) clean and orderly house by the time the children needed to be taken to school. I even had time free in the evenings to watch TV occasionally.
Sacrifice brings blessings. This time when my children are young enough to still be home but old enough to be a little independent, is the best time of my life so far, and Heavenly Father knew that He was asking a lot of me, and honoured that. If we give up some of our precious time to the Lord, He will reward us with more time, and more blessings. I have not only learned a lot through the Seminary material I am teaching and the students who are teaching me, but I have learned that sacrifice does indeed bring blessings, and one of the greatest blessings we can be given is time.