Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Blessings During the Test

(A post written weeks ago that I am just now getting to...)

Ugg, my mind has been all jumbled with so many different thought trains these last few days and weeks that I am not sure if I should write about picking a rug for the family room or my deepest thoughts on religion and its place in my heart.

I mean really, I think I could bring you to tears on either subject.

The pendulum of life swings far sometimes doesn't it? We have our good problems like: my laundry is over flowing because I have a house full of healthy children and closets full of comfortable clothes. A good problem but still a challenge. And we have our difficult problems like death, health issues and maybe the worst of it is the problems that you CANT say anything about. The heartache that hides when you are with friends and family. The heartache that no one sees and no one knows about.

And so we talk about rugs and laundry.

I was in the temple the other night. I had known that the church had updated the 20 year old film used to portray the creation and the story of Adam and Eve in endowment sessions and I was looking forward to seeing it. It is word for word identical with the only change being the actors and scenery.  Afterword in the Celestial room I told Scott that the film was distracting to me because I recognized a few of the faces. Before I could think of them as Adam and Eve instead of "so and so" from 9th grade.

I fretted about it all through the night and into the next day until I was vacuuming the family room. I get my best thoughts while vacuuming. I realized in a moment of clarity that going to the temple isn't about those actors, it isn't even about Adam and Eve or the creation, it's about the name I am holding in my hand and the promises that I have made and that is it. It is simple and beautiful and it's only us people who complicate things.

I discovered that I actually feel the same way about faith in general. It is simple and it is the same for everyone everywhere in every moment of time since the beginning. Be like Jesus Christ. Have Faith in an Older Brother that we do not remember and that we haven't seen but that loves us and has provided a way for every person ever to overcome the laundry piles and the unseen sorrows of this life. Not just a few of us but ALL.

Are there rules, yes
Are there expectations, yes
Is there proof, of course not

He could provide proof if He wanted to and some would argue that He has but He asks us to have faith.

Most of life is HARD and of course it is. Anyone can have faith and do what is right in an easy situation. It's like the 6 year old that gets what he wants at the store, it's easy to be good then. Its when we don't get what we want or even have what we need that true character is revealed. He wants to test us and see if we will love Him through the HARD, trust Him through the sorrow and seek Him through the confusion.

And through those darn laundry piles.

But what I love the most is that He knew this would be hard for us and so He gives us blessings and tender mercies to soften the test. It reminds me of my 5th grade teacher that would pass out fun little surprises for everyday of the week of our standardized testing. A week long test! On Monday it was a cool pencil with one of those fuzzy things on the top. Tuesday it was GUM! The only day of the year that she allowed it. Wednesday it was balloons filled with flour to sqeeze out the frustration. Thursday it was a personal note of encouragement and Friday it was a pizza party as a celebration that we had made it!

Heaven does this too!

So that even though we can have a million things to worry about and feel sorrow over we also have joy. The joy that comes only from a loving God that has been felt throughout the ages in the darkest of prisons, in the most hellish of wars, in the pit of poverty and even in the perils of prosperity with our shiny front loading washers and dryers.

I do the same for my children.

Brylee struggles with Math. She isn't good at it. The other day she sat at the table for hours working slowly through a couple pages of Math. I was in and out dropping off and picking up. I know she felt alone and I know she thought I didn't see her plight. When I finally had a minute I said to her,

"Brylee, I know how you feel. I know that when you look at that page it looks like it is written in Chinese. I know that even when someone explains it to you it still is a jumble of confusion in your mind. I know how it feels because I have the same exact problem. I have been there."

I invited her to bring her book outside while we watched the kids swim, sometimes fresh air can make all the difference. I watched her fight tears from my lifeguarding post:

I couldn't take the homework away and I couldn't do it for her. But I pulled my chair up next to her and became a cheerleader, counting down the problems and hyping up the promised reward of a refreshing swim with me when she was done.

He cant take away the hard but He sure offers those beautiful blessings and tender mercies all along the way. Making our success possible, cheering us on and marking the safe path home.

I cant offer my kids a whole lot. I don't have a degree, I haven't traveled very far, I haven't had a career, I don't play an instrument. I am not a success as far as the world judges but I can offer my faith.

And I will.

And I will savor the sweet and the tender and the blessings that make the rest bearable. Last week it was the dripping wet giggles in the pool as the sun went down.

This was so funny, Kaden was such a good brother acting so surprised
every time he got nailed in the head by the water gun

I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are available to all of us and that the
Redeemer of Israel is eager to bestow such gifts upon us.
David A Bednar


Anna said...

Such a great post. You brought me to tears, I just love the talents you do have, one of witch is defiantly writing. Who needs math anyway.

mama bear said...

Once again, another insightful, thoughtful post. You really know how to nail things...right on! I enjoy your blog so much!!

Katie said...

Love this post!

Stephanie said...

Just happened upon your blog through pinterst! What a great read! I really enjoyed this post. I too was distracted during my session and felt the same way...I realized I just needed time to adjust-which means going more often! :) I also really enjoyed your organizing post about "stuff" I have felt that I have too much of it for a long long time-I wish I had someone to come through it with me since I seem to be emotionally attached to junk! But I am going to try again! Thanks for the motivation.

Stephanie said...
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