This was mostly written on Sunday, January 14, 2018
For the first time in a couple of months I have the desire to write. It is weird because I don’t know exactly what I want to say, but I do know that my heart is full. I just got home from a fireside where the speaker was Al Fox Carraway. First of all, can I just say how big of a fangirl moment I had tonight. I half expected her to walk in with an entourage because I think she is THAT big of a deal.When she walked in all alone, I had to keep myself glued to my seat and not run up to her to tell her how desperately I want to be her friend haha (I didn’t want to be the reason she needed to start having security travel with her…that’s just embarrassing). Instead I just giggled like a teenager and nudged my friend and said, “Oh my gosh!! There she is!!!” People, I have been following her on instagram for months now and I have such a strong admiration for her. There may or may not have been an instance where I commented on one of her posts, she then liked my comment, and I may have screenshotted it so I could always remember that she liked what I had to say. Oh man, I was so excited to listen to her. Let me tell you, she did not disappoint.
Al talked about her conversion story and how she ended up in Utah. It was the perfect end to my amazing Sunday. Today was filled with little moments where I knew I was where I was supposed to be. And her talk was definitely part of that. The funny thing is, I wasn’t planning on going. My friend had mentioned going to a fireside earlier in the week, and I half heartedly accepted without knowing who the speaker was going to be. So I was doing my typical post church Instagram scroll and saw that she was speaking at the same church my friend had invited me to attend. I texted my dear friend and asked if she was still interested, because I was going with or without her. The decision was made and the Christmas decorations I still need to put away will now be there for another week. But it was worth it.
There were several things she said that hit home. There were answers to my prayers all day, but the biggest one is the same one I get over and over…and over. And I love my Heavenly Father, because he is so very patient with me. More so than I am with Him. Because I get frustrated. There are promises that have been made to me and sometimes I get a little bent out of shape when things aren’t going according to my plan. But Al reminded me that it is not about my plan, it is about His plan; His timeline, His will. This means my heart needs to be more in line with His will. And even though I know this, my stubborn heart is sooooo… just stubborn. And sometimes I get angry. I don’t generally yell at God, but, at times, I will refuse to delve into actual deep discussion with Him.If I do get to the yelling part, it is usually in tears and frustration. Something Sister Carraway, or Al said reminded me of the talk I gave last March in my old ward in Lehi. She spoke about how Heavenly Father is always there, but do we always listen? I had asked the same question in my talk. It made me ponder as to whether or not I have been doing some real listening.
Because it is so important to align our will with the Father’s, I think I have been terrified of receiving and answer, because what if it’s not what I want? What if what I want is not aligned with Heavenly Father’s will? How will that impact me? I would have to change…I would have to accept a different path. And that terrifies me. I have been so afraid of what the answer truly is, that I have been afraid to pause and listen. As I write this, I don’t even think what I want is really even against His will. I think though, my unwillingness to be open to whatever Heavenly Father has in store for me, is hindering me from being open at all to any promptings that I need in order to progress and move forward in my life.
In all of my questionings and conversations with Heavenly Father, I have felt that what is most important for me, is to keep on working on myself. It is ALWAYS my answer. It is kind of funny, that I get to the point where I am thinking, “So how much longer do I need to work on myself? Haven’t I been doing this long enough?“ Isn’t that a funny question? Because as I write this, I know that working on yourself is a constant thing that will actually never stop. This life is a progression. We are here to grow and to evolve. There is no end point here. So the answer to my question, “how much longer?” I feel like the answer is, “As long as it takes.”
So I am going to get back on the blog bandwagon. I am going to keep TRYING to stay organized. I am going to work on my book. I am going to do yoga and take more walks. I am going to do my church callings and I am going to practice gratitude. I am going to get my finances in order. I am going to do things that scare me and be brave. Just writing this out scares me, and I think that means I need to keep moving forward with all of these good things. I will move forward and face the hard things.
Another thing Al said tonight too, “Hard times will always be there, but so will Christ.” In our lesson in Relief Society we talked about President Uchtdorf’s talk, A Yearning for Home. We came to a part where we were talking about how Christ will make your life better. I shared a story about a particular rough patch last month. I was struggling a little with my faith and with where I was in my life. It wasn’t until I finally softened my heart and truly leaned on the Savior, I felt better almost instantly. Within the hour of my studies that night, I knew I was doing what I needed to do. I shared that Heavenly Father is always with us, but we need to turn to Him and actually believe He will help us before we can feel His presence and influence in our lives. We have to be willing to listen. We have to be willing to also put in the work. Search, Ponder, and Pray isn’t just a church song, it is a valuable tool we can and MUST use to grow and nurture our faith. It is in those moments where Heavenly Father will speak to us, where we will be reminded we are not alone.
That night I stopped to listen. I had read from a BYU devotional about faith where the speaker asked if when we pray, do we believe we will receive answers and do we believe we will understand them? I thought this was an excellent question! I hadn’t realized it, but since my prayers aren’t being answered according to when I thought they should be, I was struggling. I was unbelieving that I was being heard, even though I have had so many experiences to prove otherwise. I was questioning my ability to understand the answers that I might receive. It was only on this night that I started to realize where I needed to work harder, and that some of my trust needed to be adjusted and improved. We have to take the time to pause and listen. We must “submit cheerfully with patience to all the will of Lord,” as Alma did in Mosiah 24:15. Struggling with patience and aligning our will with the will of the Father’s is something we can probably all relate to. As in Alma 7:23 we must, “be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.” I came across this verse a couple of weeks ago. I feel it is an answer to my prayers. We need to be humble so we can be easily entreated and we need to be grateful. I believe things become easier as we strive to live this way.
Al! If you read this, you’re a hero of mine lady. Keep on inspiring everyone with your amazing faith.