It was getting late, dark, and rainy. Samuel and I were on our way to pick up my husband, and of course my phone was dying. Being in a new area I had completely relied on my phone’s GPS as my guide.
Dripping with rain and frantically watching my two-year-old as he sat in the back of the car, I ran into the gas station like a person on a survival reality show.
Minutes before walking in to get some sense of location my phone died mid-sentence with my sister. With all the Harris Ford mojo I could muster, I wrote down the phone number on a crumbled piece of trash using a lipstick. It was that intense.
As I drove through the dark streets- country road dark- I stopped thinking and started pleading. Not like praying, but really like pleading. Vocally “Heavenly Father, Dear Father help me” over and over. I didn’t know how I would find my husband, how he would find me, and that thought was terrifying.
And then I drove into the darkness, all the while feeling I was going the wrong direction. The road kept getting darker and darker, nothing assured me, but I just kept going. Right after I passed through the darkest, winding stretch (where I had doubted my path the most) I recognized something in the distance. It was faint, but I kept going and sure enough—it was familiar.
We arrived at our destination, through miles of dark twists and unknown roads without one wrong turn. It was a miracle.
Faith is interesting, sometimes we have assurances along the path, sometimes we are left “alone”, but as we keep going and trusting we will see that God was always leading us, holding our hands in the dark and whispering in our ear "just keep going".
I went home the other week for a fun football party time with my family. Thanks to updates from my sister and other family members, I knew that my niece had been doing a great job of standing up and trying a few steps, but she wasn't quite walking by herself yet. In what I have decided is a sign of her true love for her auntie, she decided to start walking while I was home (you guys, just let me have this one). While we were all excitedly obsessing over her genius, I was also reminded of an important life lesson.
When baby girl was walking, if she ever stopped and thought about it too much, she'd fall down. If she looked at the ground, she'd fall down. If she got distracted, she'd fall down. However, if we could keep her looking up, she would walk just fine.
In a talk from October 2011 General Conference, Carl B. Cook speaks about how important it is to have faith and look "up" when we are faced with trials or discouragement.
Experience has taught me that if we ... exercise our faith and look to God for help, we will not be overwhelmed with the burdens of life. We will not feel incapable of doing what we are called to do or need to do. We will be strengthened, and our lives will be filled with peace and joy. We will come to realize that most of what we worry about is not of eternal significance—and if it is, the Lord will help us. But we must have the faith to look up and the courage to follow His direction.
Since my experience watching my niece taking her first big girls steps, I have been more aware of the opportunities I am presented with each day to choose to "look up". I know that God has the ability to "lift up the hands that hang down." As we look up toward Him with faith, we will be able to accomplish and overcome what might now seem impossible. There is happiness and fulfillment in choosing to look up! That concept has blessed and changed my life in the past couple of weeks, and I know it has the ability to do so in your life as well. We might not ever be as cute or perfect as my niece, but we can still move forward in faith.
love you too much!!!!
In 10 days, I will kneel at an altar to be married. Over the last few weeks, I’ve thought about the significance of the altar.
In ancient times, altars were used to offer sacrifices to God. Before the coming of Jesus Christ, His people were commanded to offer sacrifices of the first born of their flocks. When Jesus Christ came to the earth, the law of Moses, which required these animal sacrifices, was fulfilled. Today a higher law of sacrifice exists – one that requires we make our lives a living sacrifice by devoting ourselves fully to becoming true followers of Jesus Christ.
While pondering how I could best prepare for marriage, I realized that as I kneel at the altar to be married, I must metaphorically lay my own personal desires on the altar and give myself fully to God and to my husband. My soon-to-be husband will do the same as he kneels at the altar to be married to me. Together we will lay down our own personal pursuits and desires and become one before the Lord. This doesn’t mean that we will lose our identities or become submissive, rather we will show the Lord and one another that our greatest desire is to serve and support God and each other.
This concept of metaphorically laying everything down on the altar had a practical application last week as I stood outside in the cold waiting for my soon-to-be-husband to pick me up. It was a rainy, cold day and he was late. I realized there were a myriad of reasons he could have been late – he could have the left the house late, he could have hit bad traffic, he could have gotten lost, etc. I also realized that I had a choice to make. I knew that when he picked me up, he’d apologize for being late. I could either reply with a cheerful, “No worries. I love you. I know you did your best to get here,” or I could begrudgingly say, “It’s fine.”
As I stood there waiting for him, I thought about all of the other things I could have been doing with my time. I could have stayed longer at work. I could have brought exercise clothes with me and gone on a walk before he picked me up. As my mind was contemplating all of the other ways I could have more effectively used my time, a thought came to my mind, “You need to lay your time on the altar. Give your time to him. He’s doing his best.” In that moment, the choice became clear. I needed let him know that I loved him and was grateful he picked me up.
I know I am not perfect, and I know there will be moments when I struggle to lay everything on the altar, but I am grateful for the significance of the altar and the reminder that it is for me.
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