I sit here to write, and I’m not even sure what to say. This past week has been somewhat of an emotional roller coaster. I have experienced a range of emotions from gratitude to frustration. As another storm threatens to dump several inches of rain on the already saturated ground, I am trying to brace myself – trying to prepare.
I think we are in good shape, thanks to the help of our amazing ward. The trenches are still in place, as are the barriers of sandbags and tarps filled with dirt. Greg assures me that our home will be just fine. But still I worry. (If you didn’t catch the story of our house flooding, read about that here.)
I worry about the “what ifs,” like what if this storm is bigger than the one last week. Some experts think it might be.
I worry about the cost of the drainage overhaul that we need to keep our home from flooding in the future.
I worry about what part of the house will need an expensive fix next. Repairs have become far too routine for my taste.
I am trying to replace that fear with faith. The Lord has answered so many of my prayers in unexpected ways this past week, reminding me that He is aware of me, and that He is mindful of what is happening in my life. I need to focus on that instead of my frustration.
A few days ago I read a General Conference talk that was given by Richard G. Scott in October of 1999. I think it was meant just for me. It spoke to my heart, just as other things this past week have done, reminding me that the Lord is in charge. The following quote from that talk offered me some much-needed counsel and perspective:
The Lord has placed currents of divine influence in your life that will lead you along the individual plan He would have you fulfill here on earth. Seek through the Spirit to identify it and carefully follow that direction that the Lord has put in your life. Align yourself with it. Choose, willingly, to exercise your agency to follow it. Do not be overcome by concentrating solely on today, its challenges, difficulties, and opportunities. Such preoccupations must not totally capture your attention so as to consume your life. Oh, how I would encourage you to weave deeply into the fabric of your soul the recognition that your life now is a part of a much bigger plan the Lord has for you…What you decide to do now will affect how well you fulfill that divine, personal plan He has for you.
Isn’t that beautiful?
Many experiences have confirmed to me that we are here in this house for a reason, which reason I do not fully understand at this point. Each time we face a new challenge or major repair that we can’t afford, I find myself questioning whether I misunderstood those promptings, or wondering if things have changed and we should now move on to something different – perhaps something less expensive or less frustrating.
That is the mindset that I have been in for much of the past week, and perhaps that is why Elder Scott’s words struck a chord in my heart. I need to do as he suggests by choosing willingly to follow the Lord’s plan for me, which includes dealing with the frustrations of a high maintenance house for the time being. I cannot allow myself to be overcome by the frustration of concentrating solely on the challenges of today because then I lose sight of my faith that the Lord knows better than I do.
Our wise bishop knows many of the details surrounding the strong spiritual promptings that led us to this house. Last week when he was here in his rain suit helping to dig trenches, one of the first things that he said to me was: “Remember how strong the promptings were that led you to this place. That has not changed. Sometimes we need the strongest promptings when the road is the most difficult.”
His comments caught me a little off-guard as I surveyed my flooded yard and house. However, the more I have thought about his words, the clearer it has become that he was right.
I think I am ready to move forward, with a new determination to stop questioning and complaining, and start being more grateful. I need to trust God completely, giving to Him the only thing that is uniquely mine to give – my willingness to do what He asks, regardless of how much I have to sacrifice in the process.
I believe that sometimes He asks us to do things that are difficult so that He can teach us to trust Him. I think of the Lord asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac – the one thing that he had hoped and waited and prayed for – the one thing that he could not fathom giving up. Abraham did what the Lord asked, and only then was he able to become what he was born to become – what the Lord needed him to become.
The Lord is not asking me to sacrifice my only son, but other things hold me back from being completely committed to following Him. I understand now that I have trusted Him to an extent, but not completely.
Every time we hit a bump in the road, I keep wondering, keep questioning, and keep asking Him if we followed the right path, even though He has answered that question in the affirmative probably more times than I can count.
I realize now that my trust in the Lord needs to go deeper – much deeper – if I am going to become what He needs me to become. With that in mind, I am going to try harder than ever to trust Him…really trust Him. I am going to stop asking if He led us to the right place, and start believing that He would not have led us here unless it was the right place for us.
Although I have always believed in Him…I am going to start believing Him…
Believing Him when he says that “all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory.” (D&C 98:3)
Believing Him when he says: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…my ways [are] higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Believing that when He says “Come, follow me,” He means that He knows the way and can get me there safely.
Believing that He knows me, not unlike Jeremiah when he told him: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee.” (Jer.1:5)
Believing that if He knows me, He also knows my potential.
Believing that He knows what experience I need to achieve that potential.
Believing that He will not lead me down paths that are not in my best interest, even if they are difficult.
Believing that, although I don’t understand everything, He does.
How can I say that I believe in God if I am not willing to also believe Him?
There is a difference, and I am starting to see that more clearly.
It is time for me to believe.