Tuesday, September 23, 2014

God's Trust

Trust is a powerful thing. When someone trusts us, it gives us wings and we quickly rise to the level of their trust. I am learning to trust Jane.

I trust her to go to the bathroom. And usually she can flush, wash her hands, and get re-dressed "all by my's-self". But sometimes I come in later to find the toilet paper un-rolled on the floor or the entire bottle of soap squirted all over the sink.

I trust her to stay with Steven for a minute while I pull something out of the oven or grab something from upstairs. And usually she is very sweet and sings to him or holds his hand. 

But sometimes I come back and she's smothering him, or pulling his legs or poking his eyes. 

Usually she can "read" books by herself. But sometimes this results in torn pages, especially in library books for some reason. 

I recognize that Jane is a two year-old, in some ways so grown up and in some ways barely more than a baby. Obviously I cannot trust her in everything yet, but in the things I can I try to give her the gift of trust, even when she's not always perfect. It is harder, more painful and less convenient for me to trust her, but that is how she will grow, the only way she can grow.

Elder Richard G. Scott said, "The children of Father in Heaven can do amazing things when they feel trusted. Every child of God in mortality chose the Savior's plan. Trust that given the opportunity, they will do so again." Trust in small things is a way to grow up so we can be trusted, truly trusted, in the most important thing-- choosing Christ, no matter what.

Have I grown up enough that God can truly trust me? 

I hope so, but at the same time when I feel he is trusting me too much, sometimes I think I need to remind Him, "Can't you see that I need you? Can't you see that I'm just a child with a tendency to make a mess of things? Why are you leaving me alone?" He seems to trust me more than I trust myself.

I think Jesus felt that way too. From the beginning, He knew the plan. He knew He would suffer and He was willing to fill the role of Savior. But knowing and experiencing are different. When He began to experience the suffering, He shrank and pleaded for another way. He likely doubted His ability to fulfill His role. When God withdrew His spirit, He questioned, “Why has thou forsaken me?” I think he had some of the same thoughts that we have, "I can't do this. Why are you leaving me alone?"

Though Christ may have doubted Himself, God never doubted Him. Heavenly Father had so much trust in His Son that He has been forgiving sins and promising salvation for thousands of years, based on the trust that Christ would do exactly what He said He would do.

In those most agonizing moments, Heavenly Father trusted His Son so much that He withdrew Himself instead of coming to His aid. He trusted Him to endure faithfully even when He was completely alone.

Of course we are never truly alone, just as Jane is never truly alone. I am always in the next room, aware (mostly) of what she is doing. But in the hardest moments of our lives when we feel so alone, perhaps it is a great sign of God’s trust that He does not run to our rescue. He trusts that we can be faithful even in the hardest times. We've grown up enough that He can truly trust us. And His trust allows us to grow even more, to grow to be like Him.

In a great act of trust, God sent us to this earth trusting that we would return to Him. Ultimately, our salvation depends upon us living up to that trust (and Christ living up to His, which he already has). Like Jesus we can, we must, prove faithful.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Helping in God's Work

One thing I love about Jane is that she loves helping. But she's not always... helpful.

Including Jane in my work means it will take twice as long and result in hand prints left on the mirrors, crumbs dumped out of the dustpan, and silverware dropped on the floor. I generally have to work behind her and re-wash, sweep, and clean everything she does. Usually I don't mind because I really enjoy her, but sometimes my patience wears awfully thin and I think, "This would be a whole lot easier if you weren't in my way!"

She is truly trying to help and the frustration she may cause is completely innocent, so I try to push through those moments of impatience and remember the bigger picture. Besides needing to keep the house clean enough to maintain my sanity, there are three main reasons that I involve Jane in my work: 

1. I am teaching her how to do my work because, as she likes to say, "When I'm a Mommy, I do that." One day she too will be a homemaker and a mother and I want her to have the skills to be successful and feel fulfilled in that role. 

2. I want her to experience the joy of work. 

3. I genuinely enjoy her company. Even though sweeping, emptying the dishwasher, cooking, and everything else are more challenging with a two-year-old at your side, they are also more enjoyable.

Why does the Lord let us work side-by-side with Him as He involves us in His work? Why does He allow us to be His hands, to be His extremely imperfect representatives? As we go along thinking we're doing a great job, I'm sure He is coming behind us cleaning up the mess we've made and giving us credit for the end result. His work is certainly not easier with us involved. If He weren't perfect, there may even be moments when He would think, "This would be a whole lot easier if you would stop getting in my way!" So why does He go to the trouble? 

I believe God has the same reasons to prompt us to help our neighbor, or visit a sick friend, or make a new friend, or share His gospel with someone, or accept a responsibility at church or in the community, or write a book, or the millions of other small and large things He asks us to do as He involves us in His work.  

1. He wants us to become like Him. These skills, attributes and characteristics will only come through experience as we work with Him. 

2. He wants to share with us the great joy that comes from doing His work. 

3. He genuinely enjoys working with us. 

I am so grateful that the Lord allows me to take a small part in His great work, to be tutored at His side, and to experience the eternal joy of labor in His kingdom. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Let Go and See

We babysat our friends' little boys this morning and they fell in love with Miguel. They took a dinosaur on Noah's ark and sang "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" like dogs and cows.

The younger boy is about a year and a half old and he spent a long time rolling a little white car back and forth on the arm of the couch. Miguel kept trying to show him that if you pull the car back it will go by itself, but he would not let go of the car. Miguel got it away from him once and the boy cheered as he watched the car drive itself across the armrest. And then he clung to the car again, pushing Miguel away. I told Miguel, "I wonder if this is how God feels. He's trying to tell us, 'If you will just let go for a minute, I will show you something amazing.'" 

There is an incredible little mechanism inside of this car that makes it so much more exciting than it appears, but that sweet little boy wouldn't let go long enough to discover that. He was content just with what he could see and understand, and so he missed out. 

We all have things we're clinging to that are keeping us from seeing clearly. Can we just let go? Whatever it is, just let go. Selfishness. Pride. Busyness. Worry. Addiction. Doubt. Fear. Judgment. Control. Bitterness. Anger. What am I missing when I don't let go and give God the chance to show me that there is so much more inside of me than what I can see?