October 25, 2010

choice and inspiration.

i'm doing better...
i found the peace.
i cooked dinner.
and sour cream apple pie.
(haven't decided if i like it yet... i need to taste it without ice cream to get the real feel)
watched AFV, and Home Makeover...
went to bed early...
counted my blessing...
feasted on scripture...
had a long talk with the professor about our life and how we KNOW we are guided and directed
(I read the BEST, random, scripture, from the Book of Mormon, Mormon 5:16-18)
It contrasted being led by a shepherd to being "led about by Satan, even as chaff is driven before the wind, or as a vessel is tossed about upon the waves, without sail or anchor, or without anything wherewith to steer her;"
i thought about how a shepherd leads... he calls and the sheep know His voice and follow.
even though sometimes sheep are dumb... we can follow.
(yes, the professor did break into song... from the Messiah... "All we like sheep.  All we like sheep.  All we like sheep have gone astray... astray... astray.)  lovely.

I have questioned this past week whether or not God really cares where we end up.
I know we can be happy anywhere.  I know it.
So, does it really matter to God?
My answer... YES.
He is our shepherd and He is leading us to green pastures.
God lets us choose...  and when we are about to choose wrong, He lets us know.

Last year, we were offered a job in Indiana.
It was our only job offer, and we knew we could be happy there...
the day the professor was going to accept the job, I was reading my scriptures and had the distinct impression to pray about Indiana.
duh.  why didn't we think to pray before?
i guess it was because it just made sense we would accept the only offer we received.
i prayed...
"God, we are going to accept this offer, please tell me it is right."
i waited... nothing.
i prayed again...
"Um, I didn't feel anything... are we NOT supposed to go to Indiana?"
I felt a rush of warmth down my body, like a hug, i started crying, i knew I had communed with God.
I checked myself by praying again...
"We are going to GO to Indiana."
"We are NOT going to go to Indiana..."
again, warmth, confirmation, tears.
I knew what God was telling me.
i called the professor.
"Um, honey?  Have you called Indiana yet?  Before you do, you may want to pray about it."
The professor had the same experience I did.
We stayed another year in Lubbock.
(NO!!  i don't always get fire bolt answers... but, on the big things, like moving, marriage, babies... i do get pretty clear answers.)

I have MANY friends, in and out of my church, who say things like, "I didn't even pray about who I should marry, I just chose and I went forth."
I think this is right.  God wants us to choose.  But, when He sees we are choosing WRONG, He will tell us.
Especially when we ask Him.
There have been times when I was blessed for my faith and times where I felt God telling me to CHOOSE.
(ps.  I don't think God will save us from LIFE or TRIALS... even when we follow Him, He sometimes leads us into deep waters.  But, there is PEACE knowing that during our trials, He is with us.  God's path isn't the EASY button.  But, it is the path to green pastures... eternal green pastures.)

When Todd and I were first married, we prayed about whether or not to have children.
Our church DOES believe in birth control.  But, we are also encouraged to have children.  And, to not wait to have children till we "have enough money" or have graduated school.  There are reasons to wait, but from what we found, money and schooling were not good reasons.
We are taught, when you have children is a decision that should be made with God, a husband and a wife.
So, together, the professor and I asked God.
We prayed and we felt very clearly that we should NOT wait to start our family.
Todd was starting grad school in a double masters program, and I was starting my Junior year.

As the story goes, we did NOT use birth control.
And, I did NOT get pregnant for a year and a half.
(Yes, you did read this right... no birth control, no pregnancy.  I don't need to tell you that I have NEVER again in my life NOT gotten pregnant.  Um, I'm a pretty fertile gal.)
I took 24 credits a semester, graduated a semester early, and gave birth to Jakob in February after I finished my classes in December.
It was a miracle.
I was able to start my family AND get a college degree.
I knew we were blessed for our faithfulness.

The story continues...  I kinda thought, because we had prayed about not postponing our family that God wanted to be in charge of where and when our kids would come.
We didn't use birth control... and I kept getting pregnant.  Quickly.
I was tired and overwhelmed.
I prayed that I wouldn't get pregnant, then when I did,  I blamed God in my best "I'm a martyr" voice.
God turned my head.
He reminded me that I had a CHOICE, He wanted me to choose for myself not just blame Him for my life.
I know... duh.
Why would we choose not to use birth control and then pray not to get pregnant?
This is a BAD example.
A time in my life where I used my faith unrighteously... inspiration does not mean we don't have to choose. 
Todd and I  chose to WAIT for a while.
We asked God if that was OK with him... and again, He sent peace from the Heavens.
We knew our choice to wait was OK.
I believe in birth control- well, i believe in some birth control.
(But this is a topic for another day, or not.  Really, many forms of birth control freak me out... if you want to know the truth.)
I believe in choosing and I believe in a God who speaks to man.
He has spoken to me and taught me and guided my life.
Since that time, I am very careful to choose for myself so that i'm not blaming God for my life.
It is a line we walk... faith and choice can exist together.
God values choice more than He values righteousness.
He wants to see what we choose... He doesn't want an earth full of lemmings.
But, He is still our shepherd.  He gently calls when we get too close to the edge.
He teaches us and He guides us and when we wander, He finds us.
Last night, He found me.

I have learned that Satan also steps in when an important decision is to be made.
How can you tell the difference?
God speaks PEACE.
A peaceful yes, or a peaceful no.
Satan speaks doubt, fear, worry, confusion...
God says, "You are great."  and sometimes, "You can do better."
Satan says, "You are a looser, you are failing."
EVERY TIME I receive communication from God, Satan steps in to intercept with worry and fear.
Satan tries to stop good things.  But, he is very easy to recognize.
Faith and Doubt cannot exist in the same person at the same time.

Right now, I know in my HEART and my soul, that everything is going to work out the next few months.
My MIND races with worry and fear and doubt.
When I find myself and remember what I really know to be true, then I feel peace.
When I let myself worry and doubt, I am afraid.
I have to learn to choose what I let myself feel.  I have to remember the peace and feel the joy.

Last night, I remembered.
And today, I feel peace.
Tomorrow will be OK.
I am not tossed on the wind,
I am following my Shepherd.
He trusts me, and I trust Him.


Tiffany said...

Mmmm... love this! Esp. the part about what God speaks vs. what Satan speaks... I need to remember that more often.

Though I really kinda like the cranky Jen, too... :-)

Jaidi Clayton said...


While I was in Vegas last week for my brothers wedding, my wonderful mother in law gave me this marvelous book. IO have been reading it and it is amazing! It is called Hearing the Voice of the Lord: Principles and Patterns of PErsonal Revelation and it is by Gerald N. Lund. It is awesome, and interestingly enough, talks about a lot of the things you have talked about here...you may like it, but sounds like you may not need it either! Thanks for your posts. I LOVE reading the things you right. It always makes me think and reflect on what I am doing!

Kerri said...

Love this. Really. Thanks.

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