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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

An Answer to a Prayer...


So, today I read my scriptures in the morning. Recently I've been reading in the New Testament, the words of the apostle Paul. This morning I was reading in Philippians 4. The following verse stood out to me:


"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Philippians 4:6


I suppose this stood out to me because I had been counseled in a blessing that as I prayed, with sincere gratitude and deep love, that I would be able to receive and recognize the answers to my prayers.  The word that drew me to this verse was thanksgiving. 

I couldn't help but contemplate and wonder if I had been praying with much gratitude or thanksgiving lately for what my Heavenly Father had done for me... or if it was all worries and all demands? Was I so focused on what I thought I hadn't received that I wasn't recognizing what I had? 

Kay, for example, had the opportunity to play the iPad today for an entire hour while Emmie napped in her car seat and we waited for Kevin to be done with his class. The idea was that he could play as long as he wanted until Emmie woke up. At that point it would be Emmie's turn.

Once Emmie finally did wake up, Kay, deprived of sleep and finding it hard to give up such a fun toy, decided that this was a bad idea. He wanted to play for even longer and Emmie needed to sleep some more. A meltdown ensued when we did not let him follow through with his revised plans.

When I pointed out to him that we did understand his feelings and really did give him a lot of time to play (which is what he wanted) he quickly responded, "Yah! But you didn't give me 100!"  (Translation: I am so focused on what I am not getting, that I'm not recognizing how much I really have been given in the first place. I am not happy because I do not even realize how much you really did give me.) 100, by the way, is his catch word lately for "a lot" of any particular thing/activity he is desiring.

Anyways, needless to say, this scripture had been on my mind a lot today, trying to figure out how I could improve my prayers and be more receptive to the promptings of the spirit.

And then I found myself  here, tonight,  feeling particularly frustrated and alone.

I don't know why but  praying, for whatever reason, is a very difficult thing for me to do. I still do it. Every day... but it is definitely a struggle and a trial for me.I often feel tongue tied, disconnected, and confused about the best way to ask my questions that will help me get the answers I am looking for. Letting the desire of my heart come out in my prayers often feels like a playing a round of tug'o'war or pulling teeth.

So tonight I cried and prayed, sharing with my father how stuck I felt. I prayed for help in recognizing the answers to my questions...even if it was only the smallest inclining of what step to take next. I prayed for forgiveness for how often my actions didn't live up to my desires. And I prayed for help in not feeling so alone and disconnected, because I wanted so badly to feel His guidance and to follow it. 

I just wanted to know that I was being heard and that I could recognize what He wanted me to do. I cried in my frustration about how difficult it was for me to make decisions and how I was afraid that sometimes I wasn't even making decisions based on promptings, but just shooting in the dark. And that I really wanted to know my decisions were based on promptings and have the ability to move forward, in confidence, doing what I knew I was supposed to...no matter how hard that 'supposed to' might be.

I felt so terribly sad... and so terribly alone. 

After crying and praying for a while I opened up lds.org and clicked on an article to the youth about self perception. I was only halfheartedly skimming through it when I read a highlighted quote from President Monson's General Relief Society Meeting Address:


"Your Heavenly Father loves you—each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities.” —President Thomas S. Monson


In my mind I finished the rest of the quote, which has really meant so much to me over the past several months since I first heard it,"...God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there," and I burst into tears again. 

This time for the gratitude of knowing that I was completely understood for everything that I was and everything that I was not... and that I was loved completely by someone, by God no less, despite it all. Problems and all.  This cry was a much more comforting cry.

It is empowering to know that no matter how low you may feel or may be... that you have the creator of the Universe on your side, rooting for you...every step of the way. It is reassuring to know that He always loves you and always wants you back. It gives you the courage to stand up again.

The youth article which featured this quote linked to President Monson's Relief Society Address and by this point I finally felt engaged enough to click on it and read it. And this is where, I promise you, this rather long blog post comes full circle.  As I began to read through his remarks I recognized the following scripture he shared as one that I had just read, this very morning...


"Let your requests be made known unto God.
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

I felt very sure at that moment that God had heard me. That I was specifically being led and guided and prompted to hear what I needed to hear to move forward and make the decisions that I needed to make and that I indeed, was not alone, and that God would prompt me and help me every step of the way as I prayed with gratitude and sincerity.
I didn't finish the article after that. Instead, I said a prayer and in this prayer I felt an increased recognition of what I was being prompted to do, more gratitude for the answers I had been receiving, and a greater understanding of how to present my problems and questions to the Lord and how to listen for and interpret His answers in return.
I testify to you that God lives, that he hears us, and that whether in our confusion and struggles or in our most blessed moments of clarity...He is there. He is listening. And He is blessing and guiding us. We just need to have gratitude for the promptings we are receiving, the courage to move forward on what we have received, and the patience to wait for the next piece of the puzzle, understanding we will receive it as He is ready to reveal it... line upon line and precept upon precept.

2 comments:

  1. Isn't it funny how the best days are often followed by days you feel stuck and frustrated? Such is life, I suppose. Anyway, you are an amazing mom and your kids are lucky to have you. Keep taking steps forward - even if they are tiny ones! xo

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  2. I'm so glad that your recorded this experience! It will be a strength to you to remember! A friend of mine told me, in a time when I was really struggling with debilitating anxiety and depression and I was telling her how I was struggling to feel peace from prayer or scripture study, that her uncle who had struggled as well said something about it being normal to have difficulty feeling the Spirit when you're in a depressive episode. That has been a comfort to me, to know that when I am feeling distant and like I can't recognize the Spirit in my life, there could be something about the depression or anxiety that is blocking it. However, that being said, some of my most spiritual moments and moments of peace and comfort have come during times of anxiety or depression--it just takes awhile, and they're scattered amidst the experience like little stars of bright light in a black night sky.

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