Saturday, September 25, 2010

Trials That Make Life Easier

God's voice

Would you believe it? In the midst of everything that has been going on, I knocked my shoulder out of place! I've been practically on the couch for a week. The children have been helpful, (well, I have had one complaint about feeling like a servant, but they are human).  We've gotten some school done, and I've gotten some work done. But, I feel myself falling behind.

Sometimes the pain is unbearable, but to be honest, it is a lot better than the other two times this has happened to me. My dear sweet home teacher gave me a blessing and specifically said I’d be able to manage the pain. He was right. The last time this happened the pain was excruciating 24/7. Tears poured down my cheeks uncontrollably.  It wouldn’t relent. This time the hardest part is having to do everything one handed and be careful not to accidentally use my left shoulder, because that is when the pain comes back. Well, also if I try to do too much.

I’ve had other blessings as well. A chiropractor in my ward has been treating me everyday at no charge. Sometimes he works on me twice in a day. He hasn’t had much luck, and jokingly once said that I was not the most relaxed person he had ever met. I already knew that though. There have been some eternal blessings as well. One that also benefits me temporally is perspective.  Life will not feel as challenging when I get my left arm back. It takes me five times longer to do everything right now, so just think about how spry I’ll feel when healed.  Another rich blessing is the sweet conversations I have had with my Heavenly Father. I have had more time to sit quietly, especially with the children at their dad’s house this weekend.

Today, I got the wonderful opportunity to sit with one of the women I visit teach. She is a dear widow, who has been in the church her whole life. Her family is moving, so we needed to arrange details about how she’d get to church, her doctor’s office, and when would be the best time for me to take her grocery shopping every week. But the best part of our visit was when we discussed ways the Holy Spirit speaks to her.

For the most part, it is thoughts He puts in her head.  She jokingly said she is quite sure she too often takes credit for thoughts that must have been the Spirit. I love her enthusiasm and her faith. She also recounted a story about a time she heard an actual voice. I have only had that happen once, so it pricked my attention, wondering if the experience was similar. She was sitting at her computer doing genealogy for her husband’s family. She knew what state they had come from, but just couldn’t find anyone. In prayer, she asked for guidance. A moment later, while alone, a man’s voice said aloud, “Look in Kentucky.” She was startled, but obeyed. There she hit a gold mine.

My experience was similar. I may have shared the story before, but I’ll do it again here. Before my divorce hearing, I did everything humanly possible to work out personal property. My then husband wanted me to total up the value of all our belongings and pay him half. I did not have enough cash to survive, let alone donate to him. As a counter offer, I suggested he take all the furniture, except the children’s and also allow me to keep their school things. He refused and said cash was all he would accept. That was impossible for me. I was desperate to work things out, because I had heard the judge assigned to our case was jaded and lacked compassion. Everyone said he would order everything on the lawn to be sold and the proceeds divided.  That would devastate us, but leave my husband unaffected, as he was in a fully furnished, fully paid for, home that he was to inherit.

The day of the trial came and still things weren’t worked out. My attorney brought up the fact that there was still a personal property issue to work out.  The judge, annoyed, ordered everything to the lawn and sold. My heart stopped. We would never recover. As my panic increased. A voice, aloud, both firm and gentle, said, “Be at peace.” I obeyed.

Later in the trial, my attorney asked if we could re-address the issue of personal property. The judge agreed. He said, “Yes, everything will still be sold, but not until the youngest child turns 18.” That gives me 15 years to earn money to replace our personal property!

Don’t you think it is wonderful that God still speaks to us, in ALL the ways he did in the Old and New Testament?! Sometimes to guide, sometimes to comfort. He is mindful of us, even when we feel He is not. Sometimes it takes deepening trials to help us remember that.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Needing Miracles-A personal essay and plea

Below is the first draft of an article scheduled for publication on  It is important enough to me to reprint here. For those of you who read both blogs, I apologize for the duplication.

We all have different reasons for homeschooling our children. I’ve known people who’ve homeschooled for religious reasons, for academic reasons, for morality reasons, for children who were special needs, for children who weren’t “special needs”, but didn’t learn quite the same as the rest of us. I’ve even known people who didn’t want to homeschool, but felt the Spirit tell them clearly that is what He wanted for their family. I probably homeschool for almost all of those reasons and more. The Lord put it into my heart to homeschool even before I was married. I don’t know why, but He did. And I didn’t waste time either. I began researching curriculum before I was even pregnant with my first child. If I was going to do it, I wanted to do it right.

Schooling my children is my biggest joy. I won’t lie. Our days aren’t perfect. There are days my 10 year old throws down her math sheet in frustration and says there is nothing I can say to make her do it-and she means it. There are days my 14 year old, who is probably one of the most intellectually gifted children I’ve known, will turn in an essay that a third grader could have written. There are days we are all grumpy and tired, and I look around at a messy house, and all I want to do is crawl into bed and pretend my life is different. But, I know my children. I mean really know them. I know how they learn. I know what enthralls them. I know where they are selfish, and where they are remarkably righteous. I also get to open up the universe to them. I get to see light bulbs go on when something finally comes together in their head. I get to help them make connections and sense of all they are learning. The best part of all is we get to discuss all of that in the context of who our God is and how much He loves us. Homeschooling is like breathing to me. I couldn’t live without it.

Many of you know our lives turned upside down two years ago. For those of you who don’t know the story, it is too long to account here. You can go to my personal blog: to read it. On the top right are some links entitled How I Became Mormon.  I made a commitment to my children the night we told them about our divorce that I would always do everything in my power to continue to homeschool them.  I love my children more than my own life. At my lowest moments it is thoughts of them that keep me alive. Keep me pressing on. I don’t get much child support. As a matter of fact, I get less for four children, than every other divorced person I know gets for 1 child. At first it worked out, I found ways to generate income at home. But, little by little the Mormon thing kept getting brought up and I began losing all my sources of income. The most honest of them said it was because I was Mormon. Others, who weren’t as honest, suddenly didn’t have any new contracts for me, or decided that I needed a degree for the work I’d been doing for years and let me go.

I’m starting from scratch again, and I’m scared. We need a miracle. I’m not sitting around just waiting for one.  I’m working for a recording studio, continuing my freelance writing, tutoring in math, and teaching myself graphic and web design. The latter seems to hold the most potential for real income. But, it takes time to learn several computer languages and five software programs. I’m exhausted. Between, raising four children alone (one still in diapers), working, homeschooling, keeping up with household responsibilities, and trying to do a four year degree on my own, without an instructor, you can probably understand why I’m exhausted. I’m not giving up. There is too much at stake, but I’m at the point where I need to enlist some support.

While reading my scriptures today my heart was struck by a series of events. In 1 Samuel 7 the Israelites were being attacked…again. I know how they feel. Verse 7 of that chapter says, “When the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid…” Of course they were. Wouldn’t you be? While I was reading my heart kept saying, “so am I”. The next verse shows the Israelite’s wise response. “And the children of Israel said to Samuel, ‘Cease not to cry unto the Lord our God for us, that he will save us’…” That is what I am asking of you, my homeschooling community. Will you cease not to cry unto the Lord on our behalf? I love my children. I KNOW homeschooling is the right thing for us. I KNOW being their mother and here to raise them is what I am called to do. I just need a miracle to enable it to continue. I’m not telling you what to pray. I’ll let the Spirit lead you in that, but I am asking you to pray on our behalf. I face a lot of questions regarding my decision to continue homeschooling. I went from being in a church where almost everyone homeschooled and valued it, to being in a church where hardly anyone does, and its value is not completely understood. And I feel alone.

I do have one thing going for me. My patriarchal blessing promised that a way would open up for me to care for my children the way I wanted to. D&C promises that when we obey the Lord, He is bound by what He says. But, when we obey not, we have no promise. I am doing my absolute best to obey Him in every way possible, all while working hard. Now, I am waiting on the fulfillment of the promise.
So, what happened to the Israelites? Verse 9 says, “Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel; and the Lord heard him.” The Israelites were delivered. It is my hope that the Lord will hear us as well.

Homeschooling is that important to me. I’m ready for my miracle.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Overcoming Doubt.

by Annmarie Worthington



This morning I was reading in 3 Nephi. In the beginning of that book the prophesies concerning the birth of the Savior had not yet been fulfilled. Some people began proclaiming that the time was past for the prophesies to come to pass. It is interesting to me the words they choose to hurl at the believers, “therefore, your joy and your faith concerning this thing hath been vain.” I say it is interesting, because those are the exact words Satan has used with me lately.

I recognized him as the author even before I read this passage, and would consistently remind myself of that fact. Satan knows my weaknesses and my deepest fears and hurts. He plays on them. It is helpful that I recognize his voice does not sound like the Spirit’s, so I can tell the difference and know the source. However when I read that verse this morning I thought, “Wow. You’d think someone who’s been around as long as he has would get some variety in his playbook.” But, why should he, when the plays work?

Faith isn’t easy, and Satan knows that. Doubts creep in on the strongest of faiths. Therefore, all he has to do is find data that “fits” our doubts and feed it to us. I’ve seen a lot of unrighteousness since I joined the church. I’ve also seen great hypocrisy. Those are the data Satan uses to feed my doubts and fears. So what helps me when I’m barraged with doubt? The foremost is self knowledge. I am not perfect. I sin and make mistakes. And yet, I have a heart that yearns to be righteous. When I do make mistakes my heart and spirit weep. My desire for repentance is overwhelming.  So, when I see unrighteousness, I try to make the assumption that these people are in the same boat. Maybe they long to be righteous as well, but fail like me.

So what if you run into the unrepentant? Those who do not long to be righteous? I know some of those too. Two in particular. By the way, you can forget it….I’m not naming names. I find in those cases it is better to remember the Lord’s time on earth. Was Judas not one of the Lord’s chosen Apostle’s? Did the Savior not spend the whole night in prayer before choosing them? Yet, Judas betrayed the Savior-- to His death. Does that mean the Savior’s ministry was false? That somehow He misread the Spirit? Of course not! It means that even in the truest church, there will be wheat among tares. Heavenly Father even planned it that way. For, “there must be opposition in all things.” 2 Nephi 2:11  What is most important is not to let them choke out our wheat.

What did the Nephites do when they were assaulted with doubt? I love this verse.  “But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if there were no night, that they might know that their faith had not been vain.” 3 Nephi 1:8.  They kept their desire to believe and looked with hope for the Lord’s words to be fulfilled.

We can watch steadfastly too. We do that in prayer and Scripture study. The Scriptures bring me such peace when I read them. I love the interaction with the Spirit that comes with them. We also do it with looking for the good things about our faith. Yes, there are people that behave unrighteously, but there are also people that behave remarkably righteous, in complete unselfishness.

But what if our doubts have nothing to do with people? What if it is waiting on the words of God to be fulfilled, such as the Nephites had to deal with? Well, we do what they did. We wait and watch. There were things said in my patriarchal blessing that show no signs of being fulfilled in the near future. There are times my situation is so desperate that I cry out to God saying, “OK, now would be a good time to bring this to pass.” Then silence.  Heaven seems unaffected by my tears. But, I know that is not true.

Deep inside me is this quiet voice that is confident God will bring it to pass at the right time. I just have to hold on. You have probably heard the saying, “It is always darkest before the dawn.” That is often true. Many times we are at our most desperate before God brings the blessing. I’m not sure why. I’m pretty sure I’ll appreciate it even if it comes sooner, but maybe He knows something I don’t.

The Nephites experienced this too. Not only were the unbelievers assaulting them with doubts, but when they kept their faith they became even more hostile. Verse 9 says, “Now it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbelievers, that all those who believed in those traditions should be put to death except the sign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet.” Now, not only was their faith at stake, but their very lives.

Their prophet was in great sorrow because of these events, and did what all great prophets do. He “bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people.” After much prayer God came to him and said, “Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given….”  I love this. God has a plan. He will fulfill it. It was even coming sooner than now expected. They just needed to hang on and watch steadfastly. The Lord gave me a real picture of this with my first born son.

Some things went wrong when my first son was born. He was unable to nurse, and I had to pump all his breast milk. I remember a particular evening when my dear sweet newborn boy was lying on my bed, his whole body red from screaming because he was hungry. I had begun preparing his bottle of breast milk even before his tears began, but it is a slow process.  All he knew was his stomach hurt, so he screamed. Tears streamed down my face as I tried to comfort him. Knowing he didn’t understand, I told him over and over, “Don’t worry, Dillon, your food is coming,” hoping somehow it would get through to him and bring him peace. It didn’t. He kept screaming, and I kept crying too. Then the thought occurred to me: How often is this similar to my interaction with the God of Heaven. Maybe I am screaming in pain, unable to hear Him, while He is saying, “Hang on, Dear child, it is on the way.”

I know my Heavenly Father loves all of us. I know He is working for our good. Let us watch steadfastly and see that our faith is not in vain.