Thursday, May 29, 2014

My search for Peace…

Written May 23, 2014

My search for Peace…

Peace… isn’t that what everyone is craving deep in their souls?  

I’m not talking about ‘world peace’ or the ‘peace movement of the 1970’s.'  I’m talking about this inner peace that allows us to be still and not distraught when the storms of life rage around us.  It’s that inner peace of conscious that we get when we know our life is on the right path and we are doing good things.

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you are going through, that is what we all long  to have…

How do you find peace 
especially when your world is upside down?  

Everyone has an answer and I have tried them many of them…

Some are band-aids… temporary distractions to the problems of life.  They don’t bring lasting peace… just a cocktail of temporary forgetfulness

Real peace comes from a power greater than ourselves.  For me, I say that it comes from God.  It is a gift from Him when we seek to align our life with His plan and His will.

My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” (John 14:26-27)

So I showed my house yesterday, twice to the same couple… We have only had one other showing since January and I had pretty much decided that it wasn’t going to sell this year, and I was okay with that.  I had a plan for remaining put for another year and I could see advantages in that plan.

So now what?  God is trying to tell me not to plan again!  
"Trust me," He says "and it will all be okay."
Hmmmm…. Maybe this is another test for me? 

Last year at every showing I would run around frazzled trying to get everything perfect.  My patience was limited.  My thoughts were swirling with future ‘what if’s.’  I was a major basket case.  I was NOT at PEACE.

This time… surprisingly not so!  WOW!  Maybe I am learning  something through all of this! 


Not because I think it will sell…

Not because I think it won’t…

Not because I have a plan of what to do either way.

Not because I think He will make it easy for me.

I am at PEACE because I know that whatever happens, I will follow God’s plan for me and it will all be okay, and that plan will be what is best for me in the long run. 

He will let me know what to do when I need to do it, and it’s okay that I don’t have all of those answers now because I am no longer afraid that they won’t come.  

I think part of my need to ‘plan’ so much was my attempt to create my own personal security net.  I think I really did not have faith and trust that God would take care of me, so I felt that I needed to have a back-up plan just in case.  

Now, I’m not saying don’t set goals and have plans.  We should not procrastinate our lives away, and we should take preliminary steps for the future. 

What I am saying is that it is important to be flexible and to listen to the direction of the Spirit.  When God puts up ROAD BLOCKS and says “STOP… NEW ROAD.”  Then we need to be able to set our wants and plans and desires aside in favor of His.

I think about how often my husband would come home from work an announce, “Let’s go out to dinner!” Immediately I would become frazzled because the change of plan messed up my half-done dinner.  To keep the peace, my husband dropped the idea of going out to dinner.  Instead of enjoying a night out relaxing and talking with my kids and husband, I spent it cooped up in the kitchen making and cleaning up dinner.  I can see now that I missed out on some valuable experiences just because they didn’t conform to my plan.

Trusting God gives me peace.

That peace enables me to better...
  •           Submit to His will
  •       Bear my burdens
  •       Endure with perspective and patience
  •       Not shrink away from what God wants me to do

Right now I’m headed out of town for the weekend to spend with family.  I haven’t heard back about an offer yet and I’m just not going to even worry about it.  I am letting it go…  God will take care of it all.  I’m going to focus on my kids and the things I know He wants me to do. 

There is too much to do and learn to waste it is fretting about the future.

I think I will write more on how to trust God tomorrow, along with the house update, so look for that 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Just Got Back from the Cemetery...

Just Got Back from the Cemetery  

Firsts are always so hard, and this was my first time there since the funeral.  I know that seems strange after 18 months, but we burried Scott and his dad in Omaha, 6 hours from home.  The cemetery is a good 45 minutes from where Scott's family lives so it requires extra planning to go.  Everytime we have come to visit the kids have not wanted to go.

I suppose I should have just gone by myself...,

 but I think part of me was just afraid to do this first alone.  

Today was Memorial Day. We were in Omaha and everyone was going out together... 

How could I not go?

I was worried about seeing my name on the stone, not because I'm afraid to die, but because it is a reminder of how wrong and upside down it feels to be a widow at age 40.  I didn't want to be reminded of Scott's untimely death and of the future that we planned that will never be.

I normally don't go there anymore...

I don't do the "it's not fair" thing because I know it only spirals me down. 
I wasn't prepared for those emotions to hit when I saw the marker.  

My sister-in-law handed me some extra flowers as I walked up.  It was kind of her to think of me. I just couldn't decide what to do or bring.  Nothing had felt right as I had thought about it the day before, so I came empty handed.  As I knelt by the stone and traced the letters of his name and the date of the accident, I knew what to do with the flowers.  I began to pull the petals off and sprinkle them around our names.  My niece joined me in tossing petals.

Sorrow hit me. 

I so badly wanted to be alone or to just run and be by myself and cry...

to not be surrounded by my husband's family happily chatting away. 
"This is so unfair," I thought. 
"I feel cheated that everyone my age has their family whole and mine is separated." 

Slowly everyone left, and my sweet 15 year-old came and put his arms around me.  I cried to him and expressed some of my feelings.  Then he let me be alone, and in the quiet I decided to change my thinking and to reach out to my husband and listen instead of complaining to him. 

This is what came into my mind... 

Peace and love

He reminded me that we are still on the same team and that he will NEVER leave me... 

That I'm not alone.  
He reminded me that we had planned to do important things and that I had people to help... 
People to make a difference in their lives. He reminded me that we wanted that... 
That we decided we could be apart to do this greater good.

Then he showed me a picture in my mind 

Me in white, young and smiling... 
Running to him and him picking me up and swinging me around as I fall into his arms.
I saw people around us cheering and clapping, and I saw him whisper in my ear, 
"We did it! We made it through, and now we never have to be apart again.
He told me to hold that picture in my mind and 

remember it whenever I get discouraged.

I looked at the stone and saw the words "married for eternity" between our names. 

No, my life is not over. 

It's just taking a little detour for a while, but the ending I had always planned will still occur. Time is passing... 

This time will pass, and I can spend it sulking or I can spend it doing good. 
I've never been one to sulk for very long... 
I would rather get busy. 
He reminded me of other promises he has made to me about my future and then he said,
 "Go have a fun day with the kids. Be happy and enjoy being together with my family.
I thought of the sacrifice he is making in all of this. Being away from us and them... Missing the interactions and watching the party through the window.  It's hard on him too... This being apart. 

I'm reminded that we have done this pattern before when he was a resident in medical school.  We have worked separately for the same goal with the reward of a later reunion.  Yes, my life has prepared me for this, and even though earlier I said this all felt 'wrong,' deep inside of me I know this was 'right' and exactly how it is supposed to be...

as hard as that is to accept, I know it to be true. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Growth and Hope that the Perspective of Another Year Brings

The Growth and Hope that the 
Perspective of Another Year Brings

I am shocked at the marked difference between this year and last year. 
This lets me see growth and it gives me so much hope for the future 

The funny thing is that my circumstances have not really changed.

What has changed is me

My perspective,
my attitude, and
How I react are so different.

I'm still in Springfield trying to sell my house. I still have to take care of 8 acres of irrigated lawn with flowerbeds to weed, trees to mulch, and bushes to prune. I still have a large home to care for and financially maintain in 'show quality' condition all by myself. Furthermore, last year I had three teenage boys and a daughter to help me most of the summer, while this year not only is my oldest son gone, but my second son will leave at the beginning of July. Not only that, but we have also only shown my home once since January. 

I should be majorly freaking out at this point.

Last year I was a frazzled mess, worried and upset about every problem that arose and distraught about when my house wouldn't sell. I had my own plan, and not really realizing it at the time, I fought against God to make it happen.

I utterly failed. 

Not only did I fail, but I was an emotional wreck.

This year is so much different even though the situation is not.

I have given up fighting God.

  • I've decided that His plan is better than mine anyway. 
  • I've decided that it's okay that I don't know what that plan is. 
  • I've decided to just trust him. 
  • I've decided to focus all of that energy that I spent being distraught and worried in doing good to other people. 

As I have done that, I found that the Savior's grace has blessed me with peace

It has giving me added perspective... 
to see that worldly things do not matter, that relationships and the difference we make in peoples lives is all that we leave behind. 
It is help me to be settled... 
knowing that God will take care of me and that His plan is more perfect than my own. 
It has blessed me with tranquility... 
The ability to be still and to listen to promptings from the spirit and to get that added direction. 
He helps me to keep my focus in the midst of chaos.  

His peace helps me to focus on the worthwhile goal of becoming a better person, a better mother, a better friend, a better wife... 
The person I want to be when I see my husband again.
If ever I feel the hints of an emotional meltdown, 

  • I pray for added strength. 
  • I pray for the ability to understand
  • I pray for the capacity to do what I'm asked to do,
  • I pray for the perspective to know what to do first. 

As I go about trying to do God's work, 
I find that peace in return.

It's taken me a year to figure this out..., 
to figure out what I could not learn in a lifetime before. 
Trials do that for us. 

Trials accelerate our learning.

I have hints about what my future will bring...
promptings that I simply have to trust and have faith in. 
          That should be driving me insane, but for the most part I'm okay with it. 

If I trust God and accept that peace
then that can be enough, and  
I can move forward

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Some Very Personal Things You Have to Know to Understand My Story...

I have some confessions to make...  (This is a little scary for me.)  If I am going to tell you more of my story, there are some very personal things you have to know about me to better understand it. 

There have been times in my life when I have known things...
 I should not not be able to know.    

I've known things about my future.  

I know what you're thinking...

Is that even possible? To know things years before they happen? 

Most people would skeptically look at me and shake their heads.

"You're crazy.  There's no way. That was just a coincidence..."

Once... Twice....Maybe...

But my life has been full of these experiences.  Experience that start for me at age 9 and were recorded in my childish handwriting in my journal and told to family and friends while I was growing up. I am going to be open and share some of those with you so you can better understand my story.

I have written in another blog, OUR LOVE STORY, about knowing that I would marry my husband at age 9.  I wrote it in my journal multiple times as I was growing up.  I told my feelings to my family and friends.  I think they humored me, either that or they openly laughed.  I even knew how it would happen and I told people that as well.  

Despite the harassment, I never gave up because it was something I knew so deeply inside of me... 
a truth I could not deny

You see... we never dated in high school.  I was much younger than Scott. He taught me swimming lessons, and when I was 14 and he was a senior, I used to wait for his girlfriend to go to the bathroom at church dances so that I could ask him to dance. I knew when he returned from his two year mission for our church that we would meet, he would see how much I had grown up, ask me out, we would fall in love and get married.  

That was the plan... 
and that is exactly what happened. 

Not only that, but on our third date we got engaged! I even told some friends after our second date that I knew I was going to be getting engaged. (Yes, I think they thought I was crazy.) 

Almost 10 years after the initial prompting,

  I finally saw what I knew in my heart actually come true.


How crazy is that? 
How could a marriage last that was decided after two dates? 
How were you even in love?

The answer... We weren't in love yet, but we both had a very special spiritual experience that confirmed to us that this was what God wanted us to do.  So we moved forward in faith and love came. 

Scott also had inklings growing up that he should ask me out after his mission.  We liked to say that our spirits just remembered each other.  That's why the song 1000 years was so special to us.

These experiences do not end with meeting my husband...  

When I was 16, I had a spiritual experience while praying that let me know that I would be the mother of a bunch of boys with a daughter at the end.  Again, I wrote this in my journal. When Scott and I married, I told him we would have a bunch of boys and then a girl.  I was so sure of this that I went and bought girl clothes before we even got pregnant with our last child.  I hid them of course, and when my husband discovered them he replied, "I'm afraid we are going to have to commit you if it isn't a girl!" But I knew she was coming and I knew we would be best friends because we had always been.  

12 years after that spiritual experience, I saw it come true with the birth of my daughter.

How do I explain this?

The only way is that....God still speaks to man.

If you believe in the Bible then you know that God spoke to prophets of old, both in the old and new testaments, and even after the death of the Savior, but...

Does He still speak today? 
And the bigger question...

Does He actually care enough about a little girl growing up in the Midwest
 to point her to the man she would marry someday? 
and to let her know who her children would be?

My only conclusion is yes! It is the only explanation I have.

What does this tell me? 

It tells me that God loves ME! He knows and loves me as an individual.  He is the father of my spirit and I as his daughter am precious and important to Him.

What does this tell me about you? 

He feels the same way about YOU! 

You may say... 

but I haven't had experiences like that,
so if He is there, 

then He doesn't love me like that.

That is untrue... 

"To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know.., to others it is given to believe on their words." (D&C 46: 13-14)

I believe we lived with God as his children before we came to earth.  We loved each other, and we loved Him.  My son Alex spoke about this at the funeral in the post OUR LOVE STORY.  There we made plans and promises to come to Earth so we could grow and become better.

I believe I knew Scott there.  

I believe I knew my children and many of the people who lives I have touched,
 and who have touched mine.  
I do not believe that this life is just happenstance.

God doesn't just sit on His throne and wait for everything to just play out like a child watching a colony of ants. On the contrary... 

There is a very specific plan, intricately orchestrated
 to be very personal to each one of us.  

The plan is intended to help us get back to Him. 

Why don't we remember this plan and this life we had before?  

Because part of coming here was to learn to use and trust our spiritual senses more than our physical ones.  We needed to learn to develop faith.  In order to do that a veil of forgetfulness needed to shroud our memories, but that veil is not permanent.  

It is permeable and occasionally we get glimpses through it...

We see it displayed in the intellectual genius and the creative minds of men like Einstein and Mozart who create as of they are remembering theory once learned and songs once heard.

You may have experienced this in a new friendship... that feels as if it has existed forever.

For me it has happened in those previous experiences and in many others since my husband's death that I will later relate.

You may ask... 

Why does God speak to you like that?  

I do not know why this experience was given to me...  
Maybe it is just a special spiritual gift I have. (1 Corinthians 12)  
Maybe I needed that confirmation so I would not doubt when Scott died. 
Maybe I needed that experience so I could trust future prompting that I wouldrecieve, especially those that are carrying me through this time.  
Maybe I was given that so I could testify to you.   
Maybe it is all of the above...

One thing is certain, knowing these things have been key to my understanding and healing from the tragic death of my husband. 

Having the past experience of 'waiting on The Lord' for His promises to be fulfilled,
has given me strength and faith to wait on 

future promises that have not yet been realized.  

You also need to know that these large experiences are not what has cemented my confidence in promptings from the Holy Ghost. It has been the constant smaller scale, little daily promptings, that when followed have resulted in amazing experiences that have testified to me that God REALLY can direct my life.

What can you take from this? 

Know that God has a plan for you and that he can speak to you too.  If you are doing what is right, if you are praying and seeking His guidance, He will tell you things that you need to know when you need to know them.  They may not be grand occurrences that will happen years later, but they will be the things that you need for today.

Most the time, that is what it is for me... Daily direction of what to do TODAY.  Who to help, who to call,  what to say or write. 
Those are the things we need.  

Those are the things that allow us to get through hard times.  

Trusting that He has a plan,
 and that He will lead us through it...


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Lessons Learned in Helping Others: Knowing When Give Help and When to Hold Back - part 3

Lessons Learned in Helping Others: 
Knowing When Give Help and When to Hold Back

Staying close to the spirit is key.

Sometimes when we help others, the answer is to let go of their hands for a while and let them walk on their own.  When we are involved in helping, sometimes we feel that WE need to be there to help them through every difficulty. That is not what the Savior does for us.  

Over involvement can actually prevent their learning and growth 
because they do not gain confidence in their ability to change on their own.

When we are prompted to pull back, we should always express confidence in their ability to make correct decisions and act righteously. We have to give the people we help opportunities to get their own personal revelation, do their own spiritual thinking, grow their own testimonies.  If they lean on us forever, then they never will be individually strong. 

Letting someone go can be a scary thing...
to let them choose when you know they could stumble,
but stumbling is the only way we learn to catch ourselves.
It is the only way to grow. 

Our caring must be pure in motive. That takes some deep introspection and turning our will over to God. We have to want to help someone because we want what is best for them, not because we want anything in return. That also means restraining ourselves and subjugating our own wills to God.  A story about my son illustrates my point. 
I wanted my son to do well in school, and we were having a lot of conflict over grades.  I realized that my desire for him to get good grades was mostly about my desire to control his life plan.  I did not want him to have to suffer any bad consequences, but my plan for him was not necessarily God's plan. I had to change my focus.  I needed to accept that maybe God needed to teach him important lessons. My plans for him to go to college and medical school may not have been in line with the things he needed to learn.  I was equating success with my son's ability to provide well for a family. Although God wants husbands and fathers to do that, His greater plan focuses on the man He wants my son to become. When I finally accepted this and tried to turn my will over to God in this matter, He enabled me with understanding. I knew how to better deal with my son, and the grief and worry that I felt was lifted.