Life Mistakes on Steep Hills

Funny enough, I was reading a parenting book called, “Parenting for the Defiant Child,” when the said child let go of the wagon-that had his younger brother in it- on the edge of a very, very steep, very long, concrete hill going down past the barn. I threw my book, yelled so loudly it echoed on the mountains and ran. Somehow…somehow, the wagon tipped over only 30 feet later, saving Henry from the 200 feet more of double-black diamond steepness to come.

Henry was crying but only because of the intense fear he must have felt coming over that edge. He was unhurt. I carried him inside and he went to Papa (who might be Henry’s favorite) The impression came to me very strongly that there was another little soul that was hurt.

I went back outside to the scene of the crime where a little boy was crouched down trying as hard as he could to hold back tears. I beaconed to him to come sit on my lap. At first he hesitated. He had just sent his brother over a cliff in a wagon. His thought must have been, “I don’t deserve to sit on mama’s lap…”

This time I called to him so that he would believe that he could always have a place on mama’s lap so long as he would come- He came running. He collapsed into my arms, let out a gasp and said these words with more pain than a 5 year old should have to feel: “I had an itch on my nose and I let go of the wagon to scratch it. I’m so sorry mama!”

I held him close, I told him I loved him, I told him I believe in his goodness and after a few minutes, our hearts slowed down enough to breathe normally again.

We went inside where we all hugged each other and talked about what happened. Then I told them we have one more individual that we need to talk to. I asked them, “Who do you think protected Henry so that he didn’t even get hurt?”

My older son said with all his faith, “the angels did.”

So I asked him to say a prayer.

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending angels to protect Henry on the hill. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

Henry was frozen in fear. He could not have tipped the wagon. The wagon was going straight down. It could not have tipped itself. The angels who watch over us tipped the wagon, rendering Henry completely unharmed. I know angels are close. Sometimes the wagon doesn’t tip and someone does get hurt. But today, the angels prevented that. And I’m so thankful.

With these thoughts in mind, here is the accompanying study s’more:

S: (Prayer/Ask) How does God treat His child who has made a mistake, His child who has sinned, His children who have all “come short of the Glory of God”? (Romans 3:23)

M: (Study)

  • Is there a point of “no return?” read President Uchtdorf’s 2007 General Conference address  “Christ came to save us. If we have taken a wrong course, the Atonement of Jesus Christ can give us the assurance that sin is not a point of no return. A safe return is possible if we will follow God’s plan for our salvation.”
  • Elder Holland on God’s feeling toward His constantly sinning children:
    • How we would thrill, for example, if all the world would receive and embrace the view of the Father so movingly described in the Pearl of Great Price.

      There, in the midst of a grand vision of humankind which heaven opened to his view, Enoch, observing both the blessings and challenges of mortality, turns his gaze toward the Father and is stunned to see Him weeping. He says in wonder and amazement to this most powerful Being in the universe: “How is it that thou canst weep? … Thou art just [and] merciful and kind forever; … Peace … is the habitation of thy throne; and mercy shall go before thy face and have no end; how is it thou canst weep?”

      Looking out on the events of almost any day, God replies: “Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands. … I gave unto them … [a] commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood. … Wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?” 

      That single, riveting scene does more to teach the true nature of God than any theological treatise could ever convey. It also helps us understand much more emphatically that vivid moment in the Book of Mormon allegory of the olive tree, when after digging and dunging, watering and weeding, trimming, pruning, transplanting, and grafting, the great Lord of the vineyard throws down his spade and his pruning shears and weeps, crying out to any who would listen, “What could I have done more for my vineyard?” 11

      What an indelible image of God’s engagement in our lives! What anguish in a parent when His children do not choose Him nor “the gospel of God” He sent! How easy to love someone who so singularly loves us!”

  • From Elder Klebingat: “Whenever the adversary cannot persuade imperfect yet striving Saints such as you to abandon your belief in a personal and loving God, he employs a vicious campaign to put as much distance as possible between you and God. The adversary knows that faith in Christ—the kind of faith that produces a steady stream of tender mercies and even mighty miracles—goes hand in hand with a personal confidence that you are striving to choose the right. For that reason he will seek access to your heart to tell you lies—lies that Heavenly Father is disappointed in you, that the Atonement is beyond your reach, that there is no point in even trying, that everyone else is better than you, that you are unworthy, and a thousand variations of that same evil theme.

    As long as you allow these voices to chisel away at your soul, you can’t approach the throne of God with real confidence.”

  • With this knowledge of how God treats His child who has made a mistake, how can we likewise treat one of our brothers or sisters who has made their own mistake? Matthew 18:23-35
    • Notice that both the first servant and then that man’s fellow servant say the same words. It is these words that bring the lord of the first servant to compassion.
  • look up compassion in the dictionary

O: (Ponder)

  • Why does God willing give His compassion?
  • What feelings do we get when we feel God’s compassion for us?
  • Why is compassion hard to give sometimes?
  • What happens to our souls when we stretch a bit to extend compassion to another person?

R: (Write) your thoughts, what you learned, impressions you received, and anything else in your scripture journal (include your thoughts on the study session question: How does God treat His child who has made a mistake, His child who has sinned, His children who have all “come short of the Glory of God”?) Also consider writing down the following:

  • Write down an experience when you gave compassion to someone else
  • Write your own definition for compassion

E: (Prayer/Thank)- thank God for what you’ve learned and ask if there is anymore.

The Challenge: Think about someone in your life who has made a mistake. Think and act on a way that you could extend to them the compassion you have felt from God.

click here for more information on s’more scripture study method


  1. Kimberly Hawks

    Love your blog! This is my favorite post so far. What a great teaching moment for your children despite the scariness of it all.

    1. larabuckwalter (Post author)

      Thanks Kimberly =) I’m just starting this out so I really appreciate your thoughts!

  2. Annette@FitnessPerks

    Wow, this is such a neat story. Angels are definitely near <3 I'm hoping to do this study today!

  3. Diana

    Wow Lara, this is quite the undertaking! Very impressive from a mother with busy children. Good luck with your vision! Vision and intention always seem to work. You are a dedicated mother and it always shows.

    1. larabuckwalter (Post author)

      Thanks Diana =)

  4. Sara

    I love this idea and am excited for future posts! This has encouraged me to study the scriptures more and not just read through it. I even started a little study session with different topics with Katelyn. Thanks!


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