Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Father Sent Me That….

I have been unable to blog for quite some time.  Life has been harried.  I’ve run from one task to another unable to find much time to rest.  On my “down time” I’ve worked on the manuscript for my novel to get it ready for an agent who was interested in seeing it. Yay!    I spent all day yesterday very sick on the couch, while a dear friend (Jennifer Schwartz)  stepped in and took care of me and my children.  I was supposed to be entertaining her, which shows what a lovely, humble woman she is to give up her pampering to serve.

I want to share something that has been on my heart.  Many of you know the trials I encountered when I decided to investigate the Mormon faith.  It caused quite a bit of hardship in my life.  What most don’t know is that much of life before that was challenging as well.  Occasionally, people will ask me questions about my life before Mormonism.

I was having a Sunday lunch with a family from church that were asking me some questions about my background.  I shared some things, but kept most to myself.  Mostly I shared the things in which I can find humor.  They replied by saying, “Your life has been so hard.”  I wasn’t quite sure how to respond.  I hadn’t even told them the “bad” things. But, to be quite transparent with you during that weekend I was really struggling. 

I was so very weary. I was tired of my schedule. I was tired of the struggles. I was tired of the myriad of challenges the Lord seems to send my way. Truthfully, I was pouting a little, but I didn’t want anyone to know it because I didn’t want to chance damaging someone’s  testimony. 

I came to sacrament that morning, very nervous about a meeting that was scheduled.  It actually took every ounce of courage I had to even go that morning.  It was not a meeting I was looking forward to, but the Spirit told me it was necessary.

During Sacrament, I had asked my Heavenly Father if I could have a little bit of a break after this.  He answered in a way I didn’t expect.

One of the speakers spoke about the atonement and the blessings we, as believers, receive because of the Savior’s sacrifice.  During his talk, he read a passage that pierced my heart.

“Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.  And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross…..” ~3 Nephi 27: 13-14a

I was complaining in my heart about my difficult life, feeling like maybe I was given the short end of the stick on this earthly journey. The Savior, however honored His Father’s call for Him without complaint. He gloried in the fact that He was glorifying His Father through His journey.

Look at the passage below:

“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, UNLESS he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” ~Mosiah 3:19, emphasis added.

So why was Christ able to serve so humbly, while my heart grumbled?  Faith. Jesus, the Son of God, knew His Father better than I did. He trusted Him more. The problem lies with me.  I need to become as a child. I need to trust Him more.  This is something I’ve been striving toward for quite some time. It may be harder for me than most because I didn’t learn trust as a child. In fact, I had the opposite experience. My parents, though they loved me in their own way, were often too high to realize the neglect, among other things, that was going on. That doesn’t excuse me. I have a responsibility to respond properly and I have the Spirit to instruct me.  The only thing holding me back is me.

We all grow weary sometimes.  We all feel shortchanged.  If the Savior could bear His journey, we can bear ours. Plus, He had the added burden of bearing all our iniquities AND infirmities.  He carried everything everything I am carrying, while simultaneously bearing the rest of the world’s as well. What an example He is! He truly knows what we are enduring and He knows how to succor those in need.

When you are discouraged, look to Him. Remind yourself that you came He to do as your Father asked. In your pre-mortal existence you agreed to this testing.  If you’re like me,  you want to ace every test.  I consider a 99% a personal failure.  (Yeah, I know. I’m weird.)

But, what if you’re like me and trust is something that is very hard for you? Well, I can tell you what I am doing. This isn’t expert advice. This is just the musings of a pilgrim learning to pioneer herself.

I am completely dependent on my scriptures.  I love them. It feeds my spirit. Set up a systematic reading of your scriptures. Study them as if your life depends on it. Then spend time praying. Let Him know your fears about trusting. Finally, listen to the Spirit. Don’t ignore your promptings.  If you’re not sure how the Spirit speaks to you, ask Him to show you. Write down everything you think He is saying to you for three months, along with your responses and the results. By the end of that time period, you should have some idea of which voice is His.

To the people from my old church

I’ve had a series of unpleasant encounters with people from my former church.  I want to invite you to start a dialogue with me.  Instead of seeing me, rolling your eyes, and turning another direction, talk to me. Instead of assuming the things that were rumored are true, ask me.  Feel free to ask me about the doctrines you have been taught are heretical.  I’m happy to discuss any of them with you.  I’m not afraid of examining my beliefs and you shouldn’t be afraid of testing yours.  In fact, Thessalonians commands you to do so.  I’ve recently heard that you’ve been warned not to discuss doctrine with me.  If that is true, then they are asking you to violate scripture. Something I know you would never want to do. You are good people, who love God. I just think you’ve been misled on some things.  I’m happy to talk about any doctrine you want.