By Cecily Markland
As a young mother of five children, Arizona native, Julie Jensen, thought she had a pretty clear idea of what it meant to be a “good mother.”
“I thought it was all about having a clean house, carpooling kids, putting fabulous meals on the table, and all the other things mothers ‘do,’” she says.
The tall, auburn-haired mom with her ready smile and infectious laugh, was doing all that and more.
Then, 13 years ago, Julie was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. As the disease progressed, she gradually lost the ability to do every one of those things that made up her definition of a mother.
“As I became more disabled, and not able to function physically the way I thought a mother ‘should,’ I had to redefine what it meant to be an effective mother.”
“It caused me to go within and to take a deep look at myself and who I really am within,” Julie says. Most of all, Julie says, she had to get beyond the physical and more tangible world of “doing,” and “I had to look at who I was ‘being,’” she explains.
Julie says, even as she became more disabled, “I eventually realized that my health challenge was a gift. It enabled me to slow down and focus on what is truly important, which is being present with my children.”
“Sometimes I was too exhausted and weak to do anything more than have them lay next to me and just lift my arm and give them a hug,” she says, then quickly adds, “but that’s all they wanted. That’s what they truly needed from me as a mother.”
What she saw and learned not only blessed her own family, but, now, those lessons are available to others as well as Julie has written about her experiences and has shared powerful “how tos” in her recently published book, The Essence of a Mother: Being Conscious of the Sacred Moments of Motherhood.
She says the process of writing the book, “was a ‘God gift.” She got up every morning at 4:04 for four weeks and wrote. “I just let it flow through me.”
She now hopes, through her book, she can use her life experiences to help others.
“What I talk about in the book is not just about mothers, it is about universal truths that apply to everyone,” Julie says. It teaches readers to “take a look at themselves, to be more present, to put down the cell phone and really view their children or others around them.”
“There are days when it is so hard, but I always have a choice. I can’t always control the situation, but I can always control my mind and chose to respond in a positive way. We all have that choice and choosing to be positive makes a tremendous difference in the outcomes we experience.”
She says the way we interact with others helps them understand: “That we come from source greater than ourselves, and that there is unconditional love available for us.”
“Basically, it’s what we teach in the gospel,” Julie says, “and, it is vitally important that children—and everyone else as well—understand. We come from the divine. Our lives matter. We’re here for a purpose.”
The Essence of a Mother is available in bookstores and on Amazon.com. To learn more or sign up for Julie’s weekly newsletter, visit www.pure-essence.org