Living my Religion

He Gets Us Money

I was at Caroline’s school the other day and noticed this hanging outside  her classroom. If you can’t read it from the  photo it says,

My hero is my dad because he gets us money.

$

I couldn’t help but notice the resemblance between the hubster and Wreck-It-Ralph in the picture. He’ll be so flattered. (Another embarrasing sidenote is that  when I read this, I automatically inserted new lyrics into the Golddigger song. Sing along:  “He gets us money, when we’re in need.”

It was a fun mom moment. It’s not every day you get to see inside of your six-year-old’s head. I should have taken more  time to  see what the rest of the class wrote. I’m not sure if they all have an understanding of the neecessity of their dad’s paycheck quite like Caroline.

I’ve been chuckling in my head for days over this art. I am grateful that across the hall was another art project that read

I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for my home. I am thankful for Jesus.

jesus

It looks like we’ve gotten past just plain old materialism. Phew.

So, with all of this circling around in my mind, our family had tithing settlement last week. I just had to come and write about what has happened since.

[ Read more here. Essentially, every member of our family pays ten percent of our income to our church. At the end of every year, we have an opportunity to go in and talk with the Bishop about what we’ve paid and tell him we’ve given a full tithe as well as get our tax statements.]

Most of the time paying tithing is easy. It’s just the first check we write every payday. Other times (like Christmas around the corner for five kids) it’s a little bit harder. But, we always do it. My entire married life (18 years and counting) we’ve given back to God 10% of what He has given us.  We have repeatedly tested His promise in Malachi 3:10 . He never fails us.

Now, we haven’t been given a mansion. In fact, we probably have a lot less than a lot of our fellow American tithe-payers, but we have been blessed over and over again. Since paying tithing last week we have gotten an unexpected rebate check in the mail, my mom and dad sent us some money, and today I got a one-time exception 40% discount at  Target for Christmas stuff I bought four days ago that happened to be on sale today only. Abigail got a job. My kitchen mixer keeps working despite its weird noises. A lady from church gave our girls some clothes. An old friend of mine brought us some clothes for Max. Another generous friend insisted on paying for my breakfast yesterday and when we ran to Costco for a few things before I dropped her off, she also insisted on paying half of my Costco bill.  A lost phone has been found TWICE.

Tithing isn’t just for material blessings, it’s for blessings of faith. Every time something has come down the pipe, I can’t help but exclaim, “Yes, God, I know you are there. You are always watching over us.”

I’ve heard a lot of crap from non-believing friends about tithing and the financial status of my church. People have told me how bad it is that my church spends so much on temples. (What do they think a house dedicated to God should look like?) I think temples are worth every penny. Look at this one just finished in Tijuana, Mexico. Tell me if you can find anything else as lovely in all of Tijuana. Temples bring heaven to earth.

Tijuana_Mexico_Temple

Other people have asked me if  my money couldn’t be used for better purposes? Again, I wonder. What is better than this?

Whenever I hear of suffering around the world. Anywhere. I know that my tithing will be utilized to alleviate it. Hurricane Andrew. Hurricane Katrina. Check and Check. Hurricane Sandy. Check. Chronic Homelessness. Check. Tsunami in Japan. Check.  Devestation on the Polynesian islands. Check. Phillipines typhoon. Check. Clean water and immunization worldwide. Check. The Ebola outbreak. Check. I could go on and on and on. Here is a great read.

I’m  not sharing this to brag. I also didn’t use any of my church’s newsroom links, but cited a variety of news sources above. I just want to show what tithing is capable of doing. It’s a trillion times more efficient than government because God directs its utilization.

It’s funny. I always dreamed of joining the Peace Corps. I never got to, but my money has been sent to the far corners of the earth. And I usually don’t take time to even think about it. I just consistenly give my 10% and every day my mite blesses people around the world in real need.

Anyhow, like my six-year-old, my hero is my dad. My heavenly one. He gets us money. Then we try to give Him some back, but He takes it and gives it back to us and a million other  people in need.  The system is flawless. Also like my Caroline, I’m so thankful for my family, my home, and my Jesus. I’d give everything I own for any one of them, but Jesus says my 10 percent is plenty. And I believe it is.

 

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Each One of Us

He computes, analyzes.
So intelligent, but has no confidence.

She toils and serves.
So capable, but doesn’t believe she really makes any difference.

She is beautiful, talented.
So phenomenal, but doesn’t trust herself.

She is artistic, and a symphonic joy.
So welcoming, but she shuts the world out.

She is bold, and kind.
So forceful, but she loves everyone but herself.

They won’t find their part in the symphony
until they believe
each one of us
is glorious.

start here

startMy hubby and I have interviews with our kids once a month. We take about an half an hour to meet with each child privately and talk to them about their personal and family concerns. We take time to express our love, remind them of their strengths, and set goals for improvement.

It’s really just our way of implementing “therapy” into their lives. We hope by working with our kids on emotional well-being now, we can give them the tools that we’ve paid a generous amount of money to professionals to teach us as adults. Hopefully this habit will also save them from repeating a lot of our heartaches. Doing this also helps us as parents to know how we need to improve. Each time the kids leave with one goal and we do too.

Besides teaching them the importace of faith and how to do their own laundry, I think this little practice is the most effective thing I’m doing as a mother. I highly recommend its implementation. I wonder if so many senseless tragedies could be avoided if all parents would invest just a little time to talk to their kids about emotional, physical, spiritual, and psychological nitty-gritties. We have noticed a huge difference in our relationship with our kids after our consistent first Sunday of the month interviews.

If anything it gives the kids the chance to be acountable to themselves for self-improvement.

So, yesterday we had a pretty intense interview with one of our girls. She does not want to discuss a sensitive subject that is causing her a lot of heartache. She just totally shuts off and tunes the whole experience out. Her tender little heart can’t deal with its vulnerabilities and broken parts. After trying repeatedly to coax her out unsuccesfully we ended up just cutting the session early and encouraging her to think about things on her own so we can readdress next month.

As she exited and closed the door behind her, with discouragement and feelings of utter parent failure, I turned to my husband and said, “I think that we might have to do this every time until she realizes what closing herself off is depriving her of.” He agreed, but more than anything, we wish we could help her be strong and face herself because we know it’s essential for her peace and happiness.

This morning I read this and was reminded of my own journey in self-awareness. It’s a lot easier to address our weaknesses if we first start with the foundation that we are divine beings with divine potential.

“Satan uses our weaknesses to the point that we are discouraged from even trying…We don’t need to be “more” of anything to start to become the person God intended us to become. God will take you as you are at this very moment and begin to work with you…If we look at ourselves only through our mortal eyes, we may not see ourselves as good enough but our Heavenly Father sees us as who we truly are and who we can become.”

The moral of the story, kick those fear-based lies in the butt, and start where you are. Don’t be afraid. You are not supposed to  be perfect. Yet. But, if you aren’t willing to take a honest look, you never will be.

The Bomb

I just read another mommy blog post that although long-winded had a great little tidbit of wisdom.  From all the places in the world for it to come from, I never expected it from Stephen Colbert. After digging for a bit, I found the GQ article where the wisdom orginially surfaced. It’s a gem. Go over and read if you have time. It might bring tears to your eyes.

If you don’t have the time, here is the Cliff Notes’ version. While at Northwestern University, Colbert was introduced to improv. Here are his words:

“I went, ‘I don’t know what this is, but I have to do it. I have to get up onstage and perform extemporaneously with other people.”

“Our first night professionally onstage, [our director said:] “You have to learn to love the bomb.”

Colbert spoke of how not just living with discomfort but embracing discomfort – really loving it – is essential to joy and success. He’s a deep dude:

“It took me a long time to really understand what that meant,” Colbert said. “It wasn’t ‘Don’t worry, you’ll get it next time.’ It wasn’t ‘Laugh it off.’ No, it means what it says. You gotta learn to love when you’re failing.… The embracing of that, the discomfort of failing in front of an audience, leads you to penetrate through the fear that blinds you. Fear is the mind killer.”

He shared how his mother helped him to live with courage after they lost his father and two of his brothers in a plan crash.

“I was left alone a lot after Dad and the boys died…. And it was just me and Mom for a long time,” he said. “And by her example I am not bitter. By her example. She was not. Broken, yes. Bitter, no.” Maybe, he said, she had to be that for him. He has said this before—that even in those days of unremitting grief, she drew on her faith that the only way to not be swallowed by sorrow, to in fact recognize that our sorrow is inseparable from our joy, is to always understand our suffering, ourselves, in the light of eternity. What is this in the light of eternity? Imagine being a parent so filled with your own pain, and yet still being able to pass that on to your son.

“It was a very healthy reciprocal acceptance of suffering,” he said. “Which does not mean being defeated by suffering. Acceptance is not defeat. Acceptance is just awareness.” He smiled in anticipation of the callback: “ ‘You gotta learn to love the bomb,’ ” he said. “Boy, did I have a bomb when I was 10. That was quite an explosion. And I learned to love it. So that’s why. Maybe, I don’t know. That might be why you don’t see me as someone angry and working out my demons onstage. It’s that I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”

He went on to quote Tolkein. {Wow, he really knows how to get through to everyone: even the nerdiest, especially the nerdiest.}

” ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ So it would be ungrateful not to take everything with gratitude. It doesn’t mean you want it. I can hold both of those ideas in my head…. It’s not the same thing as wanting it to have happened, but you can’t change everything about the world. You certainly can’t change things that have already happened.”

escape

I was in awe of how much Colbert’s message correlated with the post I started in my head yesterday based on the this sermon. Here are my favorite parts of it:

A vision of our Father’s incredible promised blessings must be the central focus before our eyes every day—as well as an awareness “of the multitude of his tender mercies” that we experience on a daily basis.

What will  it matter in the end if what we have suffered here are the very things which qualify us for eternal life and exaltation.

So maybe you are wondering how the two correlate. Let me see if I can make sense of this. I just learned that some people who I love and adore just received the awful devestating BOMB that the last of their IVF transfers was unsuccessful. Of course after a year of full commitment and a $20k investment, they are devestated. They are paralyzed with grief founded in lost dreams. More than anything they just want to be parents. I cry with them today. I don’t understand the intricacies of their trial, but I do understand their pain. I have known BOMBS in my own life. Bombs leave devestation and paralyzing questions and fear. But, like Colbert says, we have to learn to love the bombs. Maybe not today, but eventually. So, after we process, we get up and walk in the direction of acceptance and understanding. The escape is in the light at the end of the tunnel.

We let our faith guide us and comfort us. We walk with God and we let him turn it into beauty. Like Tolkein versed, we turn the punishment into a gift. Or, like Linda Reeves said, “A vision of our Father’s incredible promised blessings must be the central focus before our eyes every day.” He’s going to give us everything he has. It may not be right now, and it may seem like he’s withholding, but he is always blessing us. Always.

So, when all crapola hits the fan in the form of your greatest fear manifested. Just listen. God’s voice is on the other side of the bomb. It’s quiet, but it is saying, “I’m here.” When you are forty-two and live in a two bedroom condo and just wonder why when you work so hard God doesn’t give you as much as everyone else. Just be glad you don’t really live in a warzone. When you have to put an elderly parent in a home because you don’t have the capablity to care for him and you’re heartbroken. Embrace the explosion. When you are suffocating under the weight of depression that most others don’t understand. Know that the black ball of TNT was meant just for you. On the other side of the sphere, opposite the TNT, it had your name on it. In a nice pretty mongram with an escape clause in small letters the words were etched, “I understand. I’ll get you through this.”

Come Home

churchSometimes I wonder why I am a churchgoer. Well not just sometimes, all of the time.  I probably think about this more than is considered sane. I would like to lay this consistent self-dialogue to rest. I find writing about troubling topics helps me to set it down and walk away.

Let’s face it, organized religion + imperfect people is a recipe for disaster. Sensitive people like myself are especially vulnerable.

There are so many reasons to NOT go to church. For an obnoxious person like me, there is a new reason about every minute. Embarrassing, but true.

They either don’t trust me to do anything,
or they ask me to do way too much. (I do realize this is a defeating paradox. And sometimes I actually feel both of these at the same time.)
I don’t have any real friends there.
I am not valued.
They don’t like me.
That guy just taught a bunch of crap over the pulpit.
I don’t agree with his viewpoint, or hers, or his, or hers, or his, or hers….this can keep going.
I’m too liberal.
That Bishop just pounded his fists on his desk and yelled at me to “repent”. (Yes, that did happen. And my husband was in the Bishopric. – It’s all patched up now. He was 80% right.)
That group of people I thought were my friends just outed me from the musical number.
That similar group of people outed my hubby from the college intramural basketball team.
That kleptomaniac stole my roast right out of the church kitchen.
They’re so full of themselves.
They play favorites.
No one understands me.
No one loves me.
I’m not a breastfeeding advocate.
I don’t do hypnobirthing. (ha. that’s not even a real word in wordpress)
The same ten people do everything, and my family members aren’t invited to the cool club.
I don’t 100% subscribe to essential oils.
I don’t want to be invited to your Mary Kay party.
They really don’t like me.
They never let me teach anyone older than 8 because they think I might corrupt them.
Those people I have to serve with dump everything on me.
The kids are way too out of control. Everywhere I go. No, not mine…the other ones.

You get the picture. I honestly could go on for at least another few web pages worth.

Why do I go? I go because no matter how dysfunctional they are (and, even more than them, no matter how dysfunctional I am) it’s home. It’s not my home. It’s my God’s home. And I need Him. I need Him more than the air I breathe. Sure, I probably do need Him more because of all of them, but I think that is part of the plan.

I don’t judge people who have left the church. I get it. Every explanation they give, I understand. If I don’t, I try to, with all my heart. I do not see myself as better as anyone because I stay and they don’t. But I do consider myself more blessed. Why? Because through all the crap, I go, I open my mind, and I let God love me…From His perfect house, full of imperfect people, HE ALWAYS LOVES ME. Even when they don’t. Especially when they don’t.

I am very much like Simon Peter. Let me take some liberty with the verses John 6:67-69…the italics are mine.

Then said Jesus unto the Alice, Will ye also go away?
Then Alice answered him, Lord, to whom shall go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
And I believe and am sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Today, on a “thousandth something” of Sundays in a row, I made myself forget all the reasons to run away as fast as I could, and I went home to my Jesus. He sent a very loving message my way to remind me that He is the reason I do anything I do. Thank you, Jesus. I know you get it. Even when the lady in Sunday school today said that we can’t understand the verse about you asking God WHY he forsook you, I know you know about all the times I have asked the same question.

I know I will never experience the pain and suffering you did.  I don’t even have the words to thank you for your infinite atonement, but I guess she was right to a degree: even when I feel like you and Father forsake me at times, I know you never have. I know it’s all just in my head. I also know you never will, no matter how much I want that untruth to explain my offenses. Please, please give me the strength to never ever forsake you either. Especially when I’m so quick to have hurt feelings. Especially when they are so quick to judge and misunderstand me.

Your Heavenly Father Feedeth Them

Gold Finch'sMatthew 6:26
Behold the fowls of the air:
for they sow not, neither do they reap,
nor gather into barns;
yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.
Are ye not much better than they?

I had the most sacred experience yesterday, and this morning I just want to record it somewhere so I will never forget. I’ve gotten out of the habit of keeping a journal. I kick myself over that all of the time. I wish I would have kept a journal every day of my life, but I didn’t. I guess the suitcase of journals I did keep in my younger years along with this here blog will have to do.

Yesterday Abigail received her patriarchal blessing. It was one of the most beautiful profound experiences of my life. We all laughed afterward when I lamented that I didn’t have any tissues. (Abigail was or was not grossed out by the fact that I was wiping my cry-snot on my dress.) I’m a ball baby. Especially when it comes to spiritual experiences. Live and learn. I woke up this morning still kind of weepy. My box of tissues is now in reach just so I can write this without wiping cry-snot all over the keyboard.

Anyhow, I can’t really go into the details of her private and sacred blessing but, I just wanted to record my feelings over it. I feel constrained to write about it. Rightly so. I will just share that it was a beautiful precious blessing to hear my daughter blessed with everything I could ever hope for her to have, in this life and the next. What a tender mercy for me. I often worry that I won’t be alive for my kids forever. Whether that is premonition or anxiety I don’t know…only time will tell…ha.  But, yesterday the veil was lifted and I was given the surety that no matter where I am (here or beyond) I will be with my kids in mind and spirit, and that no matter what, we will be together where it matters most…in the next life, which is eternal.

It doesn’t get better than that folks. It just doesn’t.

When searching for a picture to go with this post, the one above caught my attention. I took it years ago, in Tennessee, after picking up the kids from school. This man had a huge tree with low hanging branches that canopied his whole front yard. He would hang dozens of nylon bird-feeders. I liked to pull over and watch hundreds of gold finches feast.

This morning I thought of the comparison between those goldfinches and me and my little “Gold” finches. I know God has a tree where we He lays out our banquet. We just have to know where to find it and choose it. My body is filled to the brim this morning as I ponder how blessed I am to know the gospel of Jesus Christ, where there is endless bird feed and life eternal. God is so good to me. I love Him with all my heart. I’m so grateful that He has blessed me with faith. I cannot imagine trying to navigate my way through this tumultuous world without the sure knowledge that He is at the helm, I am His daughter, and that He has a plan. His plan includes, but is not limited to, me and all of my loved ones being saved through the atonement of Christ. I know that my faith will bless my family. As theirs will mine. Forever.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, God. You are so good to me.

Soccer is like the gospel.

Abigail is giving a talk in church today. I am at home with Maximus feeling a little sad that I am missing it. Mothers should be able to be in more than one place at a time, gosh dangit! I will be there in spirit. [Even though I have taken Max everywhere it seems….I vowed to take one month off church when he was born and I aim to keep it.] Abigail asked me to look over her talk just a few minutes ago and we hurried and made a few minor changes as she walked out the door. I am so proud of her and the woman she is becoming. I am so happy that she has a testimony in the gospel that LeGrand and I have tried to teach. I thought you all might enjoy reading her talk.

blessings

After preparing this talk, I realized that this is a talk on repentance, Repentance is usually something you don’t think about when you hear “what are some blessings you have received from living the gospel” – which was my assigned topic. But after thinking about it, I realized that repentance is one of the greatest blessings we have as members of the church. This past summer, i gained a testimony about the blessing of repentance.

I was given a challenge for soccer that would help me to make the team. It was focused around three things: mind, character, and body. We were given things that we had to accomplish in order to complete the challenge. We had to exercise the given workouts every day, eat absolutely no sugar, candy, or soda, and do an act of service everyday. We were also given bigger tasks, like doing 200 ball push ups in one day or do something physically hard for us. We were to do the challenge for 35 days. At first, I started out great, I did every workout, made my own healthy treats, helped more around the house. I felt fantastic.

But, about 2 weeks into the challenge, i started having pains in my hip. At first they weren’t that bad and I thought it would go away, but like most things where you think that, it didn’t. It got to the point where I couldn’t run without pain and I had to go to a physical therapist to work out the injury. I had slipped up. Being injured, I then obviously couldn’t do the workouts, but that didn’t mean i couldn’t do the rest of it. However, i didn’t think that but I allowed my discouragement to justify further slip up.. For the two or three weeks that I was out of the workouts because of my injury, I occasionally had the can of soda, and ate the piece of candy that was in front of me. But that was no big deal, right? Wrong. I still did the big challenges. I did my 200 push ups and at the end when my injury was mostly healed, I ran up to the Y, but, I didn’t fully complete the challenge because I struggled with doing 100% of the small things every day. I did the best I could, kinda. When tryouts came, I felt unsure. I’m pretty sure if I had fully completed the challenge, i would have been confident of making the team.

This story can apply to the gospel because like in the T-Wolf challenge, we are given a list of requirements to get to the Celestial kingdom.  We have to read our scriptures every day, say prayers, and keep the word of wisdom. We also have those big requirements like baptism and temple marriage. If we are unable to do one of those things, like for instance read the scriptures, we can still pray and keep the word of wisdom, but we won’t be fully confident when the time comes that we are ready for celestial glory. As a youth, it is hard to keep ALL the commandments. The big ones like no killing and stealing aren’t that hard. But the small ones we have to complete everyday are pretty difficult, like obeying my parents and daily personal prayer. In the T-Wolf challenge, I wasn’t really worthy to make the team, however with God’s help, I did. Just like in living the gospel, through the Atonement, we can still make the team.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “There are some who believe that because they have made mistakes, they can no longer fully partake of the blessings of the gospel. How little they understand the purposes of the Lord. One of the great blessings of living the gospel is that it refines us and helps us learn from our mistakes. We “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” yet the Atonement of Jesus Christ has the power to make us whole when we repent.”

I was supposed to talk about blessings you recieve from living the gospel, but it dawned on me. We have a lot of blessings from living it fully, duh. But most of the time, we don’t live it fully. We aren’t perfect. We physically can’t live the gospel perfectly. But because of the blessing of the Atonement we can achieve the ultimate goal of celestial glory and that is the greatest blessing of all.

D&C 76: 40-42

And this is the gospel, the glad tidings, which the voice out of the heavens bore record unto us—That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness; That through him all might be saved.

When I Leave the Room

door

If you are an American, you’d have to be living under a rock to have not heard about Grammy-nominated gospel singer Natalie Grant walking out of the Grammys. The story is all over the place.

On her facebook the night of the Grammy’s she wrote:

We left the Grammy’s early. I’ve many thoughts about the show tonight, most of which are probably better left inside my head. But I’ll say this: I’ve never been more honored to sing about Jesus and for Jesus. And I’ve never been more sure of the path I’ve chosen.

She got so many people slinging mud at her that she had to follow up with this:

I’ve tried to read all of the comments on my previous post but I can’t respond to them all. Most of you have always been so supportive and encouraging to me & I’m grateful. It does sadden me when people argue, judge and hurl insults at each other from both sides of the fence. I’m not going to engage in arguments, but just have a few things I’d like to say:
I NEVER said I left during any particular performance. I only said I left early.
I never pointed out any one particular performance, I only said I had many thoughts about the entire show, which were best left inside my head and that is where they will stay. So those who say I condemned one performance but then condoned others clearly did not read the post.
What I DID say is this: I am honored to be a part of the Christian music community. I’ve had many people throughout my career ask why I never tried to go in to mainstream music and last night was a beautiful reminder that I love singing about Jesus and FOR Jesus.
I’ve judged no one. I hate no one. And I believe that every person has been created in the image of God. I will never stand on a street corner and wave a sign, I won’t use my platform to engage in political arguments that will only divide and not unite. I will continue to pray that my life will be my message. I do have my own personal convictions that I live by, and I will continue to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord. (Philippians 2:12)
I was honored to be nominated for 2 Grammy awards last night. I’m so grateful that NARAS and The Grammys continue to recognize the contribution that gospel and Christian music make to the world. And I’m so thrilled for those who won in my categories. And I can say that with all sincerity.
My last thought:
“I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus for it is the power of God who brings salvation to ALL who believe.”
Romans 1:16

~ Natalie

I had never even heard of Natalie Grant before this incident was reported, but I was deeply touched by this song of hers that a friend just shared with me. I thought maybe she had written it in response to the backfire, but after listening I was no longer even thinking about the Grammy’s.  Listen, and tell me what you are thinking about when she gets through.

When the song was over, I was thinking about my loved ones and what it is like to leave them, and how much I pray for their safety, protection, and happiness. I was also thinking about my Jesus and how holy and peaceful it feels to trust in Him and know without a doubt that one day I will look at Him in the eyes unashamed and tell Him that I did my best to live up to His name that I took upon me at baptism.

When I leave the room, I want people to know that I fully expect to meet my Jesus on the other side and that I will continue to trust Him to watch over whoever is left standing on the other side of the door. Whether they be Hollywood, gay, the Pope, the President of the United States, a cult member,  my child, my friend, an alcoholic, a murderer, my favorite librarian…whatever and whoever they are…I know Jesus is watching over them and will make all things right according to whether or not they will accept Him in his terms. I do not stand in judgement, but I do stand for Him to the best of my ability and I do hope that someday we can all stand with Him together on the other side of the door. But guess what? The only way to get there is to leave the room. I kind of hope more people will start taking that part of the plan a little bit more serious. This life isn’t about seeking our own carnal desires, it’s about proving ourselves to God that we will choose Him no matter what comes our way.

I applaud you Natalie Grant.

But I don’t wanna

Living a life on faith is not for the weak or faint of heart.
It is not easy.
In fact, it may be the hardest thing we are required to do.
Actually, I think I can safely say it is the hardest thing we will ever do.
Not just in this life, but in our whole existence.
This life is the test.
Are we going to trust that God has a plan for us or not?
Are we going to prove that we will be strong no matter what he throws our way?

As I mentioned, I have been feeling the need to be home more with the kids. We originally thought that we would be able to move to make up the difference in our income loss if I quit my job, but it looks like God is not only asking me to quit, but also asking us to stay in our home for now. Double whammy.

I gave my two weeks notice at work yesterday. I don’t know how we are going to make it financially except to say that we have a year supply of wheat and I know how to make bread.

God is giving me an opportunity to master the finances. I am about to become even more frugal then I thought was possible.

That’s putting it nicely.

What I really feel is what I said in my prayers last night.

“No God. I don’t want to do this. I’ve already been poor. I’m sick of being poor. I trusted you last time when you told us to go to law school with three kids and then open a failed law practice, and look where that got me. I don’t want to do this. Why?”

And the answer comes: “Because you have more to learn.”

and then

“And this time it’s going to be easier and it’s going to have a better ending. Just trust me.”

Me:
But I don’t wanna.

Last night, I closed my prayer in tears, not feeling any peace. Sick to death for Boston. And worried sick for the little girl that was abducted in Provo.

And then today, I made my depressed self get out of bed and pray again.

“Please God, just get me through today. Help me trust. Give me peace. Bless them all.”

I head out on my run with a heavy heart.

And 2.5 miles in, my song comes on.

And I remember where I have to look for peace.

As I warm down, I get this news:

And God says
ever so humbly
“See, I’ve got this Alice.”

My job

This weekend the message came to me for the thousandth time.
It was a clear as a bell, like it always is when I stop to listen.
It was an answer to my two pages of questions to God.

It came from Bruce D. Porter and was entitled Beautiful Mornings.

I do this every 6 months. I write down all the life struggles that I am having in form of questions to God and then I spend a whole weekend listening to living prophets, and I listen for the answers. They always come through the gift of the Holy Ghost. God whispers them directly to my soul. This time there were 18 specific answers all small parts to my journey back to Him, and all connected to one another.

My questions varied from how can I afford to go back to college to should we move to a cheaper place to save money. How can I strengthen my marriage? What is my life mission and how do I accomplish it? How can I be happy in my calling? (I meant my job at church but had no idea until I listened intently that I also needed this answer for my calling in life)

All the answers pointed to my most important title: mom

Pleasing God needs to be my first priority. When I make pleasing God the top priority in my heart, my husband and children rightfully earn their places at the top of my to-do lists. If pleasing God means that I have to quit my job and live on rice and beans, so be it. If it means that I don’t get to go back to school for another year or two, it’s o.k. I need to live my life on God’s timetable and with his rules because He is where I will find the greatest happiness. If I never get the dream house or the coveted vacation because I limped through hubby’s law school and supported him through the aftermath (and beyond – for the next 40 years of student loan payments) and encourage my children’s extra-curriculars it will be to my glory: eventually.

For me the answer is always that MY JOB is to nurture my children and support my husband. My job is to let go of my need for approval in the eyes of others. I have to let go of the Western culture of acquiring wealth. I even have to let go of my need to achieve certain things because if I am doing it for me and not for Him, it’s wrong. It’ll never be right no matter how wonderful.

It’s so ironic that after recommitting myself and finding inner peace,
my beautiful morning looks like this:

“Mom, do you know what this is?
It’s my job to do.”
“Mom, move out of my way!
…..
I’m looking for something important.
Can you help me find it?”

Who knew inner peace would be so loud?

or rainy?

and disguised 
as one mess after another
for me to clean?
Once again I am brought to my knees.
Please God, help me to understand.
Help me be humble.
Help me love my job.
Help it to make me happy.
And I just found this on facebook and must include it
for my Mormon friends.
I guess things could always be worse.