06 November 2013

So, about those blessings . . .

This scripture is one of the well-worn seminary passages that all Latter-day Saints worth their salt know well:

"There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." ~D&C 130:20-21

Add to that the "land flowing with milk and honey" promises in the Bible to those who love and serve the Lord of Hosts, and you've got a pretty rosy picture for them that believe, right?

Right.

Sooooo . . . about seventeen months ago, I sat back and looked at my life long and hard.  And you know what I saw?  I saw a distinct lack of those blessings promised them that believe.  Yes, we had enough to eat, and a place to live, and Vern had work (praise God).  But the really basic internal blessings of following Christ just weren't there.  The "Rest of the Lord", the "unspeakable peace", those riches that supposedly make the life of a believer so abundant and different, were utterly absent.  And that was my clue that something wasn't right. {wry chuckle}

See, to all onlookers, our family was pretty darn great.  We lived up to the expectations of our leaders, kept the commandments as we understood them, were active in the church, and were told (often and with great enthusiasm) that were were such a wonderful, beautiful, happy family.

But we weren't. :o( 

Happy, that is.

After that long, hard look, I spent about six months in fiction.  I devoured novels, built up my editing/proofreading resumé, and essentially hid from that lack I suddenly saw so clearly.  And slowly, as I slogged through that mire of realization and squinted against the brightness of the truth that the achievements up to that point in our lives hadn't garnered the freedom and joy I signed up for when I decided to marry and have a family, God began working a miracle in me.

Slowly.  

Gradually.  

Gently.

Looking back, I can see how He planned for it.  He planned way ahead of that realization and gave me what I would need as I floundered around in it.  I think I first prayed for friends about two and a half years ago, without very much (apparent) effect.  I met one homeschooling mom on the strangest chance, and we talked every so often.  During that slog, though, she stuck with me.  She insisted on inserting herself into my life, kept on dragging me out on playdates to the beach, called and bugged me (repeatedly) to bring my kids and join in the chaos at her place, made me laugh, listened to me, and (most importantly) didn't give up and drift away.

And He gave me dreams . . . dreams that I only understood months later when I was nearly through slogging, dreams that prophesied and guided me.

Since the slog began, I've done a lot of praying.  A LOT of praying.  Pleading.  And seeking.  Searching for, feeling after, reaching out to my God. I sought Him earnestly. Desperately.  My heart sought Him, too, without me even knowing it.


And then, one day, He was found.


I have since learned many, many things about Him. About me.  And about Him and me.  This one I feel compelled to share now: He is a jealous God. He doesn't want us to have a back up plan for when He "fails" to heal us, or "doesn't answer" our prayers. For He fails in nothing.  Nothing.  He never fails us.  Never, ever, ever, ever.  He is the bridegroom, the passionately devoted and tenderly caring One for whom we seek.  No little black book can hide in our back pockets, we can permit no flirting in the grocery store when we think He's otherwise occupied.  If promised blessings do not materialize, we MUST look in our own hearts.  Examine our own understandings.  And, if we come up empty-handed in our quest for that which isn't quite right, we must turn to Him and ask Him to show us where we went wrong; what part of us is preventing Him from rushing in to save us.  Because he waits, like a sprinter at the line, tensed against the starting gun. He stands, mountains of blessings and oceans of love at the ready for us.  We don't know what we don't know . . . but He is good, and patient, and utterly committed to saving us.  He already did the hardest part.  Now we must open our hearts to Him, and accept it.

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."   ~Ether 12:27

His grace, sufficient. 

Beautiful gift
that walks us with Him 
to the Father 
through this life-- 
still imperfect 
still learning
blundering
letting go
letting Him fix us 
covered by His grace 
so we 
no longer labor
under condemnation.  

We need to seek Him until we find Him.  Search after and earnestly inquire at His hand until we, too, know our sins are remitted . . . paid in full . . . and we finally understand the knowing smiles of those who look us in the eye with that certain gleam and say . . . 

"God is Good."

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!