This fall, I wrote about the amazing miracle that took place at Ray’s Chevron in Rexburg, Idaho. I wrote about being afraid to trust Heavenly Father sometimes, because you never know what you’re getting yourself into. I quoted Paul:
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions…
My prayers were different after that. There was a submissiveness that is quite unusual for me (just ask my husband). I was strangely subdued and felt a sense of gravity as the summer gave way to the changing of the seasons. I wrote about making room for more…and I had impressions and thoughts and God spoke to me and I felt the tug of something vast and new and unknown.
And I didn’t know that the miracle at the Chevron was only the beginning of a cascading waterfall of miraculous happenings and things that are so holy they cannot be spoken of–only whispered quietly to my one true love and my children in hushed tones.
And here I am in the midst of miracles, and I am in awe of being in the hands of the living God. He knows me. And His designs cannot be frustrated.
And He loves me enough to have prepared me as much as He could for this.
And now, He is whispering for me to let go and make room for something more.
I remember a talk in General Conference in 2009. President Eyring related how the Relief Society had been the foundation of the creation of the amazing hospital system in the intermountain west. They sent women to study in the East to gain medical expertise, they raised funds, they built and built. And then, when it was successful, thriving, incredible…they let it go.
The Lord, through His prophets, made clear that His priesthood servants could hand the trust of maintaining and building that powerful instrument for good to others. And so the Church gave away its marvelous hospital system.
…[they had] felt the joy of service in that hospital system. And I saw their recognition that the joy had come from being at work with the Lord, not from their own accomplishments. So they smiled and gave away gladly what they had built. They had faith that the Lord saw a greater need for their service elsewhere, in other fields in another season.
They just gave it away.
Many years ago, my husband started a maid service. It was very profitable. I always like to think it’s because I, my very self, designed the website. It was becoming more and more profitable, and it was apparent that given another year, it would easily be able to nicely support our family.
During that period, we met a lovely Thai woman who had three children. We met her when her 19 year old daughter came to us for help after she had a baby and was attempting to get away from an abusive husband.
As we talked with this beautiful lady, she began to sob tears of regret. As we told her of her daughter’s situation and how we hoped the family could be reconciled, she spoke of her heartache at having to work. She had always had to, and was feeling incredible guilt at what had happened to her daughter as a result, she felt, of not being around.
She had two more children, only 7 and 9, and she just kept saying, “I don’t want to lose them, too.”
So, John let it go.
He just gave her the maid service. And the website, which I continued to support for years afterward. With the maid service, this new friend of ours could work while her children were at school (previously she had worked as a waitress), take her children with her on school holidays or after school was out, and have the pride of working her own business.
And I remember him smiling as he did it. He knew what those who gave away the hospital knew. We had never done it for us–everything we ever do is done with the sole motivation of providing for our children and we had always hoped that somehow we would be able to find ways to help other families come closer to Christ.
Now, so many years later, I feel it happening again. We are letting go.
The Lord is asking us to let go of some things–things that are so much a part of us that it could almost feel painful if we weren’t trusting Him. But we do trust Him, and we know that everything we have is not really ours, anyway. Everything is His. Including us.
So, here we are on the cusp of letting go staring out at the cold, dark night, knowing that although we can’t see them, the stars are up there, laughing and winking at us because they see what our future is. We are here. We’ve made it this far. Just a few steps further and we will be there.
And there will be spring. And sunny days. And beautiful, warm, starry summer skies. And there will be more. More of what God knows we need and want (even if we don’t know we want it). More depth. More love.
More of what matters most.
The supreme courage it takes to give away things and dreams we have worked for and prayed for and stretched for and given all for–it takes almost more courage than we have. We must rely on He who is mighty to save to intercede and turn our hearts to Him.
And, He has. He has. Now, all I want and desire is what He wants and desires for me.
And in an instant, I realize that what was so important and beautiful to me is now going to be important and beautiful to someone else and it makes me happy and I am willing to let it go, and I turn around, and Joy is there, showing me what God wants me to love and desire and want and reach for with all of my heart.
And I am laughing and smiling at the beauty of it all. (Well, laughing inside, anyway. It actually hurts to laugh out loud… )
This last December, I told the children to pray for what they wanted for Christmas. Basically, I told them:
Pray to Heavenly Father about what He desires you to have for Christmas, and ask Him to help His desires become your own desires.
I sat reading their lists, completely overwhelmed at how their simple faith had worked little miracles in their hearts, and how what thy wanted for Christmas truly reflected God’s will for them. Then, the words of my Father came to me:
What about you? Why haven’t you come to me to find what the desires of your heart are? After all, I love being your Father, and I love giving beautiful, perfect gifts. And I know what your truest desires are that will make you so very happy.”
Hmmm. I hadn’t thought of it that way. I answered Him and said,
“I don’t need anything, and I don’t want to act spoiled.”
He gently chastened me for being prideful and asked if I thought my children were acting spoiled with their lists. Of course not. I was excited that I could give them good gifts that would be meaningful and sanctioned by heaven.
I still felt funny about asking Him for Christmas presents. It seemed so intimate and, well, I blurted out to Him:
“I’m not a child.”
And then He laughed and smiled down at me and told me that yes, I was his dear, beautiful child, whom He loved.
At that point, I felt more loved than the universe. And through my tears, I smiled back and began to pray, saying only what I felt prompted to say.
Our old, reliable sedan had been totaled a few weeks before when someone pulled out of a gas station and ran into the side of it. (My son, who just got his permit, was driving like a grandma so no one was hurt and it was the fault of the other driver…a few inches difference in where he had hit it in either direction would have been an easy, inexpensive fix, but the other driver hit it in the one place on the side that made it a total loss…)
So, I asked for the car of my dreams. The car I’d wanted since I was a young single adult.
The Pathfinder. I felt foolish and silly, but I knew He wanted me to ask for it. I’m not even really a car person. I have never really cared much for what I drove, as long as it was reliable, and here I was asking God for a car?
He gave it to us. I felt pretty strange about the whole encounter because it was something so obviously material. Why would He have wanted to give me that? It was a nice one, too, although it was 12 years old. Top of the line. Heated seats. Awesome four wheel drive. Leather.
I drove it one time to Corner Drug and back.
Several days later, when I was in the hospital being brought back to the land of the living, I believe that Pathfinder is what saved my husband’s life when he rolled over inside it in a snowstorm on the way home from visiting me. The Pathfinder was totaled, but my husband walked away without a scratch. (He did get a bump, though. Our scriptures in the car hit him on the head when the car rolled!)
I prayed for other gifts–and have already received another one and it looks as I will need to be letting go of everything I envisioned for my future in order to receive the last two gifts.
The Lord planted in my heart to let go of everything we’ve worked for and dreamed of, and from all appearances, it should be so depressing, but from where I am sitting (because standing is a goal for tomorrow!), I am deeply, deeply joyful and content.
I am grateful for my Christmas presents.
Right now, we are working and waiting on the Lord to finish the gifts I asked for. We are nervous and excited and praying night and day.
We are trying to get me better so that I will be back , if not in the saddle, at least in the cart behind the horse!
We are making room for more. The children have participated every step of the way. It will be a great and marvelous thing to see it come to fruition.
(And when I know, of course I will blog about it.)
One of the gifts He has given me is the sure knowledge that I have no other earthly desire than my family. I have realized that there is nothing more desirable. They are more fun and more exciting than bucket lists, projects, 15 minutes of fame, or anything the world has to offer.
I just want my family. My sparkling, magnificent coal-turning-to-diamonds family.
And I want to forever be willing to submit to His will–after all, that is truly the only gift I can give Him in return for everything He has given and continues to give to me:
…the submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we “give,” brothers and sisters, are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give! –Neal A. Maxwell
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