I have had the distinct impression lately to go back into my journal and read and remember some of the experiences we had when we were first called and came out on the mission. This has been a wonderful experience for me. It is amazing to me how many special experiences I have forgotten. How grateful I am that I have recorded them and can renew my memory and re-live some of those feelings and remember things I learned.
One ironic thing that happened as I read was that I came across an entry that I hadn’t remembered at all, as I read about it I recalled the inspiration and it was powerful to me for what I am going through right now too. I felt I was directed to this entry to re-learn and remember something that the Lord was trying to teach me again. Here is the journal entry and my feelings about it today: (It’s going to be confusing. This is about an experience that happened 2 years ago that prompted memories from something that happened 8 years ago that finally helped me to understand and learn from something that happened about 15 years ago.) Good Luck.
I had a wonderful learning experience today. It all started when I was talking to Sister D__ after new missionary training today. She is training Sister L__ in a threesome companionship with Sister W__. Sister D was seeking some council because she and Sister W are both opinionated about how training should go and it’s often conflicting ideas. They are both responsible and thoughtful and want to train Sister L the best way possible. Sister D is trying to figure out the answer, she wants to: teach what she feels is best, know if she is too prideful and stubborn, have things be done the right way, and wants to work hard. She wants to use time wisely but wonders if she is pushing and not relaxed enough to let the spirit in. Her questions are good: “What is the balance? How and what do I need to change inside? What should I do differently?”
I could tell she was burdened down with worry over everything. I was praying to know how to help and had the impression to say, “It sounds like a war is going on inside of you; impressions from the spirit, conflicting feelings of your own of what you feel is right, what you feel is fair because you are the official trainer and it’s your calling and authority, fear of hurting others and causing offense, and questions about if you’re loving your companions and being Christ like.”
Sister D then expressed, “Yes, I just don’t know what I should change and do differently.”
Right then the weirdest thing came into my mind from some learning I had done about 8 years ago. I remembered when, [a young son] was going through some anger issues and I felt he was in the wrong everyday at how he was treating me and the family. I wanted to convince him of the wrong of his ways and show him what was right. I felt the spirit whisper constantly, “you can’t teach him, touch him, or show him anything, right now. Walk away!” I wanted to stay right where I was and convince him of the wrong of his ways. Instead I chose to obey the spirit, and walk away, even though it didn’t make sense to me and wasn’t what I thought should happen. (At least most of the time, sometimes my natural man would take over and I would stay in my pride, try to make him see his error, I would become more indignant with his behavior and it would end up in a big argument.) I learned I could make it be about, “I’m right” and you’re going to see the wrong of your ways and have a big fight, or I could listen to the spirit, state a clear boundary and walk away as quickly as possible, knowing he never really saw his error, but there was also no arguing. (We ended up having a relationship with him the best we could while he went through some difficult years and he grew out of it and he is great now.)
I remembered having learned that I don’t have to worry about what is fair, what I want to teach, how I think it should be, what I need to change or show, or what is going to happen. I just needed to follow the spirit.
All of this remembering happened in a split second as I was praying to know how to help Sister D. I talked to her about trusting what the spirit says. I counseled her to, “Quit worrying about what you need to change, what is right and fair, what you think should happen, your position and how everyone thinks and feels. Instead focus on what the spirit is telling you to do, trust that and let everything else go.”
She started to cry. The spirit had touched her heart. She said, “I don’t need to be burdened with worry, I just need to follow promptings.” She seemed completely different. I could tell the spirit had given her what she needed. I thought to myself, “The Lord has done it again- HE just keeps teaching and touching these missionaries in His way.”
Tonight I have been praying and expressing my gratitude as I thought about the experience today and the learning I felt 8 years ago that helped me know how to help her. I am so grateful for learning in my life and to serve a mission. It is everything I love: talking about the gospel, teaching the gospel, conversations that help and strengthen others, feeling the spirit work through me, working alongside of amazing men and women who love the gospel also, learning so much, and seeing the Lord change people’s lives. I love it so much, and I never want to go home. I am also so glad to have a break from keeping that big house and big yard maintained. It’s wonderful!
In my prayer tonight I was also expressing those same feelings I have written about before of, I don’t know why we were called to do this. I don’t know why we got to be so blessed. The Lord could have made anyone capable, I don’t know why He chose us, but I am extremely grateful He did, and I am so grateful for all the learning and changing over the years that I can draw from.
All of a sudden the Lord gave me knowledge I have been trying to understand for years. I have been so grateful for so long for the ways I have changed and grown. I always think about how I don’t know how change happens, I just know the Lord does it to us, we don’t do it for ourselves. I first started thinking this around 15 years ago when I had been working on changing something about myself and it wasn’t going so well. I was frustrated because I felt God wasn’t helping me. I remember finally giving up and just saying, “I can’t do it Lord, I can’t change myself, you will just have to do it.” I felt change happen in my life very quickly after that. I never understood how it happened but I just knew the Lord changed me, not me. [Note: to read more completely of that experience I wrote about it in the #2 atonement blog.] See:http://prayrepentloverepeat.blogspot.com/2014/12/2-help-me-change-myself-lord-not.html
Tonight in a split second I finally understood how change really happens. It all kind of came together for me as I was praying. When I gave up what I wanted; my desires, what I felt was right, what I felt was fair, my expectations; my pride, and put it all on the alter and said, “I give up Lord, I don’t care about anything, I just don’t want to feel this way anymore. I am willing to give up everything, that’s how desperate I am. I don’t want my expectations to be met, things to be fair or proper, or what I feel is right to happen. I don’t care how things look, or what makes sense. I just want to change and stop feeling these feelings.” I finally cared more about listening, obeying and awakening to His will more than my own. All I cared about, finally, 100%, was doing God’s will; listening and obeying the spirit more than anything else.
To be specific I realized tonight that I had thought from my own upbringing that kids should do certain things, act in certain ways, talk in certain ways, etc. These ways were appropriate and meant you were respectful and appreciative of others. Well the expectations were probably unrealistic for the children I have been blessed with and this war of what I thought was right was going on with what the spirit was telling me to do.
I finally understand 15 years later how those changes happened. When I gave up my way and became open to a new way; a new view-that was repentance. In doing this I created a place for Him. He then could change me.
It also occurs to me that this is how we lay down our “weapons of war”. There is a war going on inside of us. We have a natural man and Child of God, both pulling at us every day. I think that natural man exists in our mind and the child of God is in our heart. Our natural man is an enemy to God and to the child of God inside. When we lay down our weapons of war it’s not just for sin, its wrong traditions, habits and expectations that keep us from following the spirit that will make us true followers of Christ and His disciples. I am so grateful for the Lord to put this learning into my mind 15 years later.
That was the journal entry. If you’re still with me I’m amazed.
Anyway as I was reading this journal entry I couldn’t believe I had forgotten that. It has really helped me again to think of giving up my will, expectations, desires, wants and dreams and just empty myself out and accept God’s will instead. I have been working on that for a while now. I am finally feeling better. I feel stronger. I am learning over and over again that I can trust the Lord. He is The Way.
I keep having the word empty come into my mind. I feel emptying myself, of myself, has created a place inside of me for the Lord to fill with His peace and hope. He has filled me with an assurance that things will work out in the end, that He knows everyone of His children, that He loves my children and is mindful of them, and that what has been given to them has been done in His wisdom, not randomly and thoughtlessly. I trust that He knows what He is doing, and I have peace in that. His timing is perfect and I can also trust in that.
Getting me to this point over the last 7 months has been a lot of work for all three members of the Godhead. I feel the spiritual work they do in our lives to bring us peace, comfort, hope, happiness, freedom, and confidence- all in the face of sin, heartache, trials, pain and grief, is sacred. This is sacred work. What they can do with me amazes me. My heart is so full of gratitude. These are sacred changes they perform when I will get out of the way and let them. Oh, I am so grateful for the goodness of the Godhead and all that they offer.