Yesterday was Sunday. We had planned to leave church right after Sacrament meeting so we could go do Delta for the Riding family reunion. We arrived as usual and Leisl started screaming (as usual) during the sacrament. I went to the mothers room and she calmed down so we went back in. The Bishop announced that sister Beazer and he would be the speakers and teach us what they have been taught in training with area and general authorities in the past few weeks. I thought that was significant, it's not often the bishop puts himself on the program and so I was interested.
The first speaker was wonderful. She talked about Lehi's dream and how the filthy river of water would be enlarged at the last days - our day. I started imagining me trying to guide my little family down a straight and narrow path, clinging to the iron rod and to see the filthy water climbing toward our feet, right up to where we are standing. She talked about the things that we can do to sandbag our position - to keep ourselves dry and unspotted from the world. They are obvious things: Family prayer, Family scripture study, Personal Prayer, Personal Scripture study, temple attendance, family home evening. I felt chastised. I will do better.
Then the Bishop started speaking. It was like he was throwing knives at me from the podium as every word he spoke cut right through my facade of "ok-ness". As I sat I knew he was teaching me what I need to do to protect my family. If there were a physical danger I'd do anything and everything to protect them and yet I'm complacent about the very real and very critical spiritual battle that is happening around us. He said if we don't do the important things, Satan will have us. So - here are a few things that hit the hardest that I want to record before I can forget. I will not let him have my family!
1) We need to be modest, even at home. Sleepwear shouldn't be revealing, sisters can put unclean thoughts into brothers heads.
2) electronic devices should not go into bedrooms. Ever. There is no need for electronics to be used anywhere but in the family room and kitchen.
3) we should not use media when our children need our attention. Gaming (hello, bejewelled), facebook, pinterest, even blogging should not take us mentally and emotionally out of the home. Movies should not replace "wholesome recreational activities".
4) church attendance should be a priority. We should not look for excuses to not attend our meetings, including using the children as an excuse to not attend sunday school or to sit in the hall and chat.
5) We need to discuss important things with our kids and we need to be parents. Occasionally when it is important we should make decisions for our children and hold them accountable.
After he spoke we sang and prayed and I prepared to load the kids in the car when Tyler said, "they are going to primary, we are staying at church". I was so overcome with gratitude for this good man, the way in which he takes counsel and honors his Priesthood and follows our leaders. He could have said, 'Oh, we've already made plans', he could have said, 'next week we'll be more diligent', but instead he said, "right now, this minute, we will be obedient and show our children what is important.". I was so thankful for his example. I am so thankful for his obedient nature.
We had a lovely Sunday - enjoyed the family reunion despite our lateness, enjoyed each other's company in the car ride and then spent the evening in quiet study. No movie. No games. Just peace.
With the Spiritual battle raging around us and the filthy water seeping in on every side, I feel a great sense of urgency about protecting our family. I don't want Satan to win. It's not fear I feel so much as a need to be vigilant, diligent, consistent. I need to be better. We will do better.