The author lives in Nebraska, USA.
Not long after moving far away from everyone we knew, my husband, Brad, and I welcomed our fourth baby into the world. We now had four kids under six years old, which kept us busy and overwhelmed at times. A week and a half later, we moved yet again to a new house in a new stake. About a month went by and we still hadn’t gotten our bearings—and that’s when Brad was diagnosed with brain cancer.
During Brad’s brain surgery and radiation treatment, the Lord was with us through many earthly and heavenly angels. Loved ones rallied around us with prayers, letters, gifts, and encouragement. Multiple family members traveled to stay with us and help us through treatment, taking turns ministering to us by driving, babysitting, cooking, and cleaning while we dealt with the heavy trial in our path. It was a difficult but miraculous time.
When the treatment was over, the last of our family went home. Brad went back to work full-time, cancer-free but far from fully recovered. Meanwhile, the realization of how out of control everything had been for months seemed to hit me all at once. Through everything, I had repeatedly handed things over to the Lord. While He had taken care of us each and every time, I hadn’t fully healed from the exhausting experience. To cope, I started focusing on making my house a “house of order” (see Doctrine and Covenants 88:119). I wanted better routines, a cleaner house, and more organized meal plans. I wanted smarter budget tricks, less clutter, and more efficient organization. Anything to get our house in order.
As I cooked, washed dishes, and folded laundry in the never-ending cycle that comes with parenthood, I constantly listened to podcasts and watched videos about how to do all these things better. I read emails from life coaches and signed up for webinars. A few times I wondered, “Is this really where I should be going for inspiration?” Of course, I was still reading my scriptures and praying. But how could I take care of my spiritual needs if my temporal needs were too distracting? After all, if I could get my house in order, I’d play with my kids more, serve better, and have time for my own personal pursuits.
One day, I found myself putting away laundry without any sort of podcast or video streaming in the background. Even with my little ones playing around me, I had a quiet moment—the first in a long time. A strong thought came to mind: “A house of order is much more than cleanliness and efficiency. It’s having priorities in place. Putting the most important things in their proper order.” I knew the message was from the Spirit.
General conference came the following Saturday. I had prayed for answers on how to prioritize my time, and they came as I listened to the messages. I felt that I needed to stop consuming the home management advice I’d been taking in so eagerly. Fewer videos and podcasts. President Russell M. Nelson’s address at the women’s session only solidified this for me when he asked us to fast from social media and any media that caused impure and negative thoughts (see “Sisters’ Participation in the Gathering of Israel,” October 2018 general conference). While wholesome in and of themselves, the media I was listening to was causing me to have negative thoughts and feelings about my seemingly out-of-control life.
In my best efforts to be obedient, I followed the prophet’s counsel and began to put aside media. I sacrificed time to read the Book of Mormon and to attend the temple more regularly. It wasn’t easy, but I began putting my house in order—the way God wanted me to. As I simplified my life, I did implement some of the things I had learned from those temporal sources. But they were now in their proper order. My life was no longer built around the mindset of how to fit spiritual things into my day—it was built around what else I could do because my day was built upon spiritual things.
Life will always have times of chaos and messes—and periodic reevaluations of my time and priorities will be necessary—but with a true house of order and by putting spiritual things first, I know I’ll always have peace along the way. Not the peace that comes from worldly organization, but the peace that comes from our Savior Himself.