Yesterday I had the privilege of hearing Al Fox Caraway (The Tattooed Mormon) speak in Sandy, Utah. I rarely do things like this, especially alone, but I decided Friday night that I was going, no matter what! I told a friend that I was going alone and their response was, "that's weird." Yes, it was weird because I am a very social person and although it crossed my mind to ask a friend to join me I was prompted that this was something I needed to do alone.
I'm making this sound way more intense than a 40 minute drive to Sandy but for me yesterday it was. I have been refilling my tires with air for weeks now avoiding having to fork out $470 bucks for new tires. I know, I know not the smartest thing to do, however I did get a patch in the most concerning one so I should get adulting points for that!
So naturally when I decided to make this little trip my first worry was my tires, the supposedly "repaired" tire in particular. I hadn't filled them in a day or two and the one was looking rather mushy. I didn't think I had time to pump it up. If I was going to be late I may as well not go right? I chose just to ride on faith and positive thinking.
So here I am in my Sunday best, ready to take on this solo journey, I get three blocks away from my house and the thought came to me to pull over and pray for safe travels and for my tires to survive the freeway. Since I am currently reading a book on following the promptings and revelation given to me I would be a fool not to listen right then.
** By the way the book is fantastic and I recommend it! You can explore buying options by clicking the Title: Following the Light of Christ into His Presence by John Pontious. It has truly been changing my life and thought processes. It was suggested to me by my counselor.**
Okay back to business. So I pulled over and said a prayer out loud thanking Him for the inspiration to do this and for my vehicle in general and then of course to help my tires make it to Sandy and back. I felt confident and got back on the road. I was on the freeway, so far so good. I had prayed right so of course things were going to work out! I had faith and I was doing a positive uplifting activity so that should just carry me through! I covered all my bases to deserve a miracle.
After passing two exits, two gas stations, two opportunities for air, I remembered the story of the man stuck on an island. He prayed to God to help Him off the island and God gave Him the peace that He would. So in the passing time a boat came by and offered him a way off. He declined saying "No thank you, God has let me know He will help me." Then a helicopter came and offered him the same, he declined again. And for a third time an airplane landed, offering him a way off the island. He again declined with the confidence that God was coming as He promised He would. After the third option off the island was out of sight the man saw nothing for hours. Night fell and still no miraculous rescue. The man prayed to God again with disappointment in his voice asking "Why haven't you come for me like you said you would?" God kindly answered, "I sent you a boat, a helicopter and a plane. You denied them all." The man hadn't recognized that those three opportunities were Heavenly Fathers promised rescue.
So in relation to my story, I missed the boat on 800, the helicopter on 1600 but I was not going to miss the plane in Pleasant Grove. I pulled over on the next exit to find a chevron with free air! Free air, that's a novel idea, how generous. I filled my tires until they were plump. The problem tire was especially in need. I completed my journey to enjoy Al speak and made it home. The end.
I apologize this is not a story of heroic proportions. It was not an experience of miraculous rescue or enormous gesture. It is a story of preparedness and a lesson about faith and action.
It was so clear to me that yes, I had prayed for my tires. I prayed for safe travels. But my message here today is that just praying is not enough. It is a wonderful and righteous start, but when the resources are there and we have the ability to help ourselves on top of the blessings from the Lord well then, that is the key.
We can prevent hardships by incorporating our preparation with the spirit and guidance of our Heavenly Father. Are my tires perfect and no longer in need of a replacement? No, I still have to make things happen there. Life is still life. That is the beauty of it though. For me, I feel more love from my Savior and Heavenly Father when they trust me to FIGURE IT OUT. My tire was flat again four hours after I got home but He delivered me to that conference and He delivered me back home according to my faith and action.
It was a wonderful experience listening to Al and her story and I am grateful God gave me the opportunities to help myself get there. I am greatly moved by my Savior's love for me. His awareness of each of our needs is a testament to me that whatever I desire in righteousness and whatever I need, He knows. He will help me help myself.
I leave you this today with a prayer for each of you to look at your lives and where you are waiting for the rescue while the resources are passing you by. Make those changes and look for the boat, the helicopter or the plane. Those are not just coincidences. I hope this Sunday is a beautiful one for all of you.
Today was my first day back to work after 2 sick days at home with my 3 year old Haven. We were both trying to kick some nasty something going around. Even though I felt like someone continuously dropped a piano on me I was actually happy to have a couple days home with my girl.
Since mid April I have been working full-time for the first time since having Haven and it really has been a difficult transition. Luckily, and it's not the case for everyone, I love my job and I am so grateful to be able to provide. However, my heart aches everyday I drop her off for someone else to raise and enjoy for 8 hours.
When Haven was born I was separated from my husband and lived alone. I worked part- time for the school district in my home town. It was much more doable then to live off of a part-time salary. I felt guilty then but it was just me and her and I still felt like a 100% mom. That was our life until she was 9 months old. Now, between daycare and parent time with her dad I feel like a less than 50% mom.
Before the most recent and final separation with my ex I was lucky enough to be a full-time stay-at-home mom as well. It was a dream come true! Just me and my little sugar everyday, all day. That was what I had always wanted to be doing and what I expected to be doing. Unfortunately, our plans don't always work out. I was forced to change mine and go to work when the talk of divorce became a reality. I torture myself sometimes thinking about how her life has been so inconsistent.
Luckily I am very blessed to have a highly social little one. Haven has always been an independent, very friendly girl so I take comfort in that. She makes friends in seconds whether the other child likes it or not! It has been a blessing to see her excited to go to daycare instead of sad and traumatized.
From being home for two days to going back for a full day I just feel heavy hearted for all the working moms out there who too wish they could be home.
Life may not be what we had hoped for. There may be things out of our control. Our circumstances may not permit us to stay home with our babies.
Despite the guilt and heartache I know you are feeling, let me remind you:
YOU ARE DOING THE BEST YOU CAN!
Your babies know that! I just want to share hope with you hard working women who, at times, feel like less than other moms because you can't be home. I want to give peace that your efforts are not for nothing. You are getting by in a tough world and that deserves merit!
I also have to say that things won't be this way forever. If we are trying, and do so with integrity, we will be rewarded. Your job may promote you giving you more flexibility or offer you an 'at home' position or maybe you will come up with a business idea of your own! There are an unimaginable amount of opportunities! My dad always said "There is always room at the top!" So go find where you can work your way to the top! Your babies know you are fighting for a better future. So don't stay stagnate!
When you are with your little ones remember to BE THERE. Listen to them, talk with them, make them your number one. I know I can get my 100% if I give my 100% for the 50% of the time I have her. These tiny people will enrich us and motivate us! I feel so inspired when I tune in to my Haven. It makes me open my mind to ways I can give her a better life, even if I am on my own. Let them push you to reach that potential. It is there inside us! Find your passion, go for it and stop being hard on yourself. You really are doing great!
Don't be discouraged working moms. You guys are heroes to more eyes than you realize.
A patriarchal blessing is a very sacred and personal thing offered to each member of the church. I have no intention of sharing anything personal from my blessing but I do want to share the incredible feelings I have had about it.
I was 18, just graduated and heading into the world when I received my blessing. I remember anticipating the breathe taking and unique things I would be blessed with. I just knew this blessing would foresee specifics of my future that I was destined to accomplish. I was sure it would tell me exactly when and where to go!
My Patriarch was in the neighboring town so my parents and I dressed up one Sunday evening and just the three us went to meet him. As we drove there I was daydreaming of the details that would be given to me about my future achievements, my career and especially my future husband. Bless my heart right? I had been fasting and preparing so of course it was going to be an amazing life altering event!
All my life I had heard stories of blessings given that bestowed amazing gifts and specific details about the lives of those blessed. I was ready to have God tell me what was about to happen in my life too.
I walked into that room so excited to have my purpose in life made known!
I walked out of that room disappointed.
I felt like I was walking out with a form letter. You know the one, the tiny envelope you get from the college you were not accepted to. "Dear so and so, we regret to inform you...."
I thought God was regretting to inform me as well.
Where were my detailed specifics? What was my big calling in life? Where was I going to meet my future husband? How was I supposed to find "the one" without the road map my patriarchal blessing was supposed to be?
I was just sure I deserved a redo! I questioned it every time I read my blessing after that. Was I not special to the Him? Did I not deserve pages of gifts and exact directions? Was there nothing special in store for me?
That was 6 years ago. That was a girl who had not yet experienced all the challenges this life throws at you. That was a girl who was avoiding the responsibility of finding her own way.
I wanted to be told exactly what to do. I wanted my Heavenly Father to say "jump," and I was willing to say "how high?" I didn't realize at that time that he was. He is a God of agency. He sent us here to learn and grow within the guidelines of His word. I just hadn't opened my mind to the beauty and liberation that comes from making my own choices. I needed to show my desire to make the right decisions without knowing what would happen. They are small, daily decisions. It is faith to do it and trust that things will turn out wonderful.
Just like God asking Elisha to bathe in the river, he was telling me the small and simple ways I was going to create the life I wanted. The things said in my prayer felt like the typical "Sunday school" answers then, but now feel very specific to my needs.
I re-read my blessing today and it all finally made sense. It all came together to speak to me. All these years of voluntarily for-fitting my special blessings because they weren't spelled out for me and I am just now getting it.
My blessing was given exactly the way I needed it. I cannot hide or forego the responsibility to make my own choices. As much as I wanted to, I couldn't then and I can't now. I finally understand that even though my blessing doesn't say word for word what I can have in my life that it does say I can indeed have every accomplishment and gift I expected years ago. It does say I am as entitled to making good choices as anyone. It is not a story telling me what my life will be, it is a loving set of guidelines to help me help myself write my own story.
I feel very empowered, and even more humbled to read my blessing today. My Heavenly Father knew me then and He wanted me to grow! He wanted to teach me how to make those decisions in my life that would lead to that 'once in a lifetime' love, that fulfilling career, my clear role in life.
I can look back now and feel the Lord's love for me as He surrounded me during my blessing. He is here with me now as I make heads or tales of my life. I am grateful for my blessing and the light and guidance it's giving me now.
Trust me when I say that our Heavenly Father does NOT send out form letters. We each mean so much to Him. If you are feeling that you were not given the blessing you expected, then look at yourself through His eyes. Look for what your blessing does say, not what it doesn't. He knows you. He is guiding you.