Monday, April 4, 2016

The 21-day Experiment

Grandma Tabitha

Please excuse my lack of blogging, I'm conducting an experiment.
This experiment was issued by Sister Wendy Watson Nelson at last year's BYU Women's Conference.  She said:
I’ll never forget a fascinating interchange I had with a young friend I’ll call Amy. Late one Saturday night, as I was working against the clock to complete a major project, I received an email from Amy, who was in distress. She wrote, “I was asked to speak, last minute, at my ward Relief Society activity this Wednesday. The topic is stress. I sent out a survey last night to 75 of the women here in BYU married student housing to find out what is stressing them out. After receiving their responses, I realize that I NEED HELP!!!!” 

 As I read through the survey responses, these young wives and mothers reported they were experiencing stress, depression, anxiety, and marital intimacy problems. They listed as the cause of their problems school, finances, lack of sleep, housework, homework, feelings of failing at everything, and an inability to balance all of their responsibilities. I wondered how I should respond. What would really make a difference for these women? And what could be offered, during a 22-minute Relief Society message, which could possibly reduce the real-life distress of these young mothers? As I thought about Amy’s difficult assignment, my experiences with family history and temple work filled my mind. As counterintuitive as this may seem, I felt compelled, in a way I could not deny, to encourage Amy to offer a 21-day experiment to her Relief Society sisters. So I emailed back, “Invite the sisters to make a sacrifice of time to the Lord by increasing their time in family history and in temple work for the next 21 days.” 

Amy accepted this suggestion, and the results were remarkable. Here are just three examples of what happened.

 One young wife and mother wrote, “During the 21 days that I increased my temple attendance and my family history work, I not only felt happier, I felt a sense of relief. I felt a weight had been taken off my chest. When I made time to do these things—which is hard because we all are busy—I found that somehow I had more time to get other things done that needed to be done.” 

Another woman was able to stop taking her medication for anxiety. Her positive changes in mood, energy, and inspiration were so dramatic that she wrote, “My husband started to pray in gratitude for the increased Spirit in our home since I have been making sacrifices of time to the Lord in temple and family history work.” 

And yet another sister reported, “I have a two-year-old and just had a baby last week. The 21-day experiment helped with the end of my pregnancy. The sacrifice of time to do family history was something I could do sitting down that was productive and brought the Spirit! It gave me more purpose and helped me not to focus on the discomforts of the end of my pregnancy.” 

 Sisters, my suggestion to a group of overtaxed, exhausted young mothers may seem counterintuitive, and the results highly improbable. It may even seem cruel to ask a woman who feels as though she’s barely surviving to make a sacrifice of time to the Lord. But these young mothers proved that it works. It works for women who have made covenants with God. Why? Because when covenant women keep their covenants, they have greater access to the power of God. The power of God flows into them, and that power, His power, generates a decrease in stress, an increase in energy, more and clearer revelation for their lives, renewed focus, courage to make needed changes, an increase in patience, and more time for what matters. That’s what these young mothers taught me as they kept their covenant of sacrifice. 

Would you be willing to try an experiment? What would happen if between now and Christmas we each selected a 21-day period of time and then did whatever it took in order to make a sacrifice of time to the Lord by increasing the time we spend in temple work and in family history work during those 21 days? What blessings, miracles, and other positive changes would come to our lives? 

I want to find out!  The blessings seem too good to pass up.

Last October, my mom taught me how to use the LDS church's FamilySearch program to find and record my family history. I've been adding photos of my grandmas. I even stumbled across the photo of my great-great maternal grandmother, Tabitha (pronounced Ta- Bye- tha) Catherine Teager (Tea -grrr). 
I also learned that from my paternal side, I have noble blood running through my veins.  We're related to Lord Borthwick of Berwickshire, Scotland.

How cool is that?! Please call me Lady Rachael, from now on. HA!

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