Could I Cope with My Children?

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“Could I Cope with My Children?” Ensign, Apr. 1999, 62

Could I Cope with My Children?

One year the rigors of rearing our three challenging teenagers seemed more than my husband and I could bear. I was so beset by our family problems that I became apathetic. I simply went through the mechanics of each day. Ironically, I was the Young Women president at the time and found comfort in dealing with other people’s children.

My husband was aware I was struggling, but he didn’t know what to do to assist me. If aid was possible, it would have to come from Heavenly Father. Even though I sensed this, I did not ask Heavenly Father for help because I knew I had agency and felt I couldn’t ask Him to soften my heart unless I had the desire to change.

One day I confided in a close friend. We discussed agency and whether the Lord would help change our attitudes if our own choices were hampering our growth. Neither of us knew the answer.

That night, while on my knees in prayer, I sincerely asked Father in Heaven to soften my heart so that I would have at least a desire to deal with my problems. The next morning I noticed a difference in feeling. I did not experience an immediate softening of my heart but rather a comforting feeling of well-being and a strength I had not felt for a long time. I knew I could go forward again with my responsibilities. It was an incredible moment for me.

I found ways to approach my teenage children and warmly confirmed my love for them. I felt strengthened to renew my commitment to improve my relationship with my family members. It was a turning point for me and our family.

I came to a clearer understanding of the Lord’s admonition “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (D&C 112:10). I not only had to humble myself to pray about my problem but I also had to ask specifically for the kind of help I needed. As I did so, I came to understand as never before that God can and does help at important moments in our lives, especially when we ask. He knows us well and holds the answers we need. I am so thankful for a loving Father in Heaven who was willing to help me change even my very attitude and feelings during those times when I felt I no longer had the strength to do so on my own.