The other week we had some major septic issues in our home. When we moved in this home (almost 3 years ago) we were not given any specific directions on how to take care of a septic tank (although, in the last week I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about them). On Sunday night, as I was washing dishes after dinner and running the washer (Makayla had a MAJOR blow out diaper), the toilets started bubbling. The girls ran in and told me that something weird was happening in the bathroom. The next thing I know Cory is running in telling me to turn the water off because we had gray water filling our bathtubs. Yes, it was totally disgusting. At that point, we stopped using all our toilets, showers, washers, etc for the next three days. The reason we waited so long before it was fixed was because Monday morning we were told by a plumber that he was getting calls like crazy in our area. He said that because it had been raining non-stop for the last 2-3 days, the ground was super saturated and it was causing lots of issues for homes with septic tanks. He told us to wait until it stopped raining and then our issue would go away. Well we waited...and waited...until we just couldn't stand it any longer. The plumber who came out told us that our 1000 gallon tank was filled with 1200 gallons of sewage. He pumped our tank, cleared our drains, and we were good to go.
Yes, it was a total inconveniance but it was so much more than that. It became a lesson to always remember. Not a lesson on septic tanks, a lesson on gratitude and thanksgiving. I don't think it was a coincidence that this all happened around Thanksgiving week. Because you see, of all the many many lectures I have given my children on having an "attitude of gratitude" there are none that have made such a lasting and impressionable impact as this one. But, the greatest lesson was not the one learned by my children. It was the one taught to me.
On Sunday night, we loaded up all the girls into the van to take a trip to the church so that we could all go to the bathroom and brush our teeth for the night. As we were driving, I was totally feeling discouraged and down thinking about how I was ever going to be able to live without a septic system. As these pessimistic thoughts were overwhelming my mind, Katelund's voice pulled me back as she sweetly said to Cloey, "you know what song keeps going through my mind? Count Your Many Blessings." Then Cloey said, "Let's sing it." So they did. I was completely humbled. My children say and do a lot of naughty and impolite things at times, but then there are those other times....times when all of the sudden time stands still as a watch and listen in awe as they they do and/or say something amazing. So amazing that I wonder if during those sweet priceless moments, the Spirit is just pouring through their pure little hearts and inspiring them to say exactly what my troubled heart needs to hear. As their angelic little voices sang the words of the hymn, my mind and heart felt more peace than it had in a long time. It was then that I knew and realized how much I had to be grateful for.
Fast forward to Tuesday morning. After spending all day Monday running to grocery stores to use the bathroom and bathing myself and my children at a friend's house, I was feeling discouraged and pessimistic once again. As I immersed myself in the scriptures and tried to ignore the piles of dirty clothes and dishes and the sewer smell that was starting to take over our house, I came across the scripture about Elijah and how he will turn the hearts of the children to their fathers. It was at this point that the Spirit began to work on me once more. My thoughts turned to my ancestors. I thought about my 5th great grandma and the life she lived in hiding because of polygomy. I thought of another grandma and how she gave up everything in order to come to Zion. The stories that have brought strength to me through the years began to flow over and over in my mind as I began to see my circumstances in a new light. A light that made me feel completely weak, pathetic, and spoiled. I am, after all, the descendant of women who have gone through situations and circumstances that I can't even imagine. At this point, I knew what I needed to do. I got up and got busy. I took my dishes outside and washed them in the freezing rain. I cleaned up the best that I could and put a smile on my face. All though I have always loved that scripture because of its powerful message of prophecy being fulfilled in our day through the Spirit of Elijah, it now has personally found its way to my heart. I am a descendant of so many courageous men and women who lived hard lives and did things that seem almost impossible. As I turn my heart to all of my grandmothers who have lived lives of obedience, honor, courage, and faith, I find a greater desire to be true to the family name I bear. Just like them, I can also do hard things, and all things through Christ who strengthens me. My hard things don't even seem to compare to theirs, but just the same, together we stand fighting for our families, our children, and our faith....even if we stand decades and centuries apart.
This Thanksgiving, I learned what it really means to live with gratitude. Gratitude for children who speak the words of angels. Gratitude for ancestors whose lives and testimonies echo in my heart and stand as pillars of strength and courage in my life. Gratitude for friends who are so willing to serve and open their homes to my family. Gratitude for the Lord and the way that he teaches me so patiently, purposefully, and perfectly.
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