"Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good..." (Doctrine & Covenants 90:24).
I have always believed this to be true and as I look back over the course of my life I see that it is. This truth has been reiterated to me this last week or so. I'm always amazed and overcome with gratitude for the tender mercies and blessings bestowed upon me by the Lord. Sometimes I wonder how He can love me so much as to bless my life so abundantly. My heart overflows with love for Him.
Let me explain what I mean.
As a young teenager of 14 years of age, I desired to know if the Book of Mormon was indeed another testament of Jesus Christ and if the writings within it were true. I knew the only way for me to gain this testimony would be for me to read it and pray about it. And so I did. I was blessed with such a powerful witness I knew I could never deny the truthfulness of this book.
Several years later I was dating a couple of boys and I needed to make a decision as to which one to marry. I was young - only 18 years old, but I knew that if I were sincere in my desire, the Lord would bless me with an answer. I made the decision as to the one I wanted to marry and then took my decision to Heavenly Father in prayer. Again I was blessed with a powerful witness that the choice to marry my husband was indeed the correct choice. I never doubted that choice and our marriage is still strong and we are united even after two decades together.
A few months after we were married, I felt a strong desire to move back to our hometown. We prayed about it and again received that strong feeling that our decision was correct. I talked to a friend the next day who offered me a temporary job working the front desk at H&R Block for the tax season. It was part time and the pay was low, but it was enough for us to move home. My husband's father drove down with his pickup and a small trailer the next weekend. We put our bed, our couch, and our wedding gifts in the trailer. We loaded up everything else we owned into my 1979 Ford Mustang and my husband's 1976 Chevy Luv pickup and went home. We've been here ever since. We've never regretted that move. It has been a blessing to be here and to raise our children where we were raised and to be close to family.
My temporary job was coming to an end and my husband still hadn't found steady employment. My father had kept him busy finishing concrete here and there while I worked at the tax place. Our faith continued to be strong and we prayed for help in finding my husband more steady and permanent employment. Two weeks before my job was to end, my husband found a job at the power plant a few miles out of town. It only paid $6.00 per hour, but it was enough for us to pay our rent and the rest of our bills. That was in 1993.
Just under two months after that, we were surprised to discover we were expecting our first baby. We were very excited. We felt that it was time to find a house. We applied for a loan and hoped that it would be accepted. It was denied because we were young and didn't have enough income or enough credit. We were very sad, but we kept praying and kept looking and trying. After our daughter was born, we applied again with the Farmer's Home Administration. Now that our household had three instead of two we qualified for a loan with assistance for low-income home buyers. Our house payment was $250 per month. That house helped us to build our credit and gave us a good start. We lived in that house for three years.
We really wanted to find a job that could give us health and dental insurance. It was not going to be a possibility at my husband's current job. So we prayed and left it in the hands of the Lord again. We soon found out that a new facility was being built in our county. We filled out an application and my husband's application was accepted. He had to go through 7 weeks of training. Generally, these jobs require new employees to complete their training in Tucson (a 5 hour drive from here), but since it was a brand new facility they decided to do one large training locally for all the new employees. My husband didn't have to leave us for 7 weeks. With a new baby, that was a blessing to us. His job still has the best medical and dental insurance in our county. It isn't the best of jobs, but it has been stable even through the fallout of our economy in recent years. It also allowed me to stay home with our babies. I NEVER had to send my kids to day care. Not once. His job has been a blessing in our lives.
Many prayers have been answered since.
Fast forward to recently. My husband was required to change shifts at work. Starting April 1st of this year, he was required to work the graveyard shift. This also meant his days off were in the middle of week. He couldn't go to church with us. He has used up a large majority of his vacation time to take time off on the weekends as often as possible so he could attend church on Sunday. We weren't sure how long his time on the graveyard shift would be, but we have prayed that he could go back to a day shift with weekends off again so that we can have the same days off work together and so that he could again attend church with us. Also, since his vacation time is so low, it meant he wouldn't be able to take very many more Sundays off to go to church with us.
Four weeks ago I was given a new calling (kind of like a job or service we give in our church, but we don't get paid and it is strictly voluntary; we believe our callings come through proper authority from God). This new calling means I will be gone at least one Sunday per month and my kids would need to go to our ward (members of a congregation who live in the same vicinity) by themselves at least part of the time. I hadn't really thought of it at all. But then my husband found out unexpectedly that a new position on the day shift was coming open so he applied for it. We found out last week that he did in fact get the position and started yesterday. He didn't even have to wait the normal two weeks between positions because no one else even applied. I started my new calling last Sunday (two days ago). Just when I needed my husband to have weekends off, he has them. My kids won't have to go to church alone. It all happened quite suddenly and unexpectedly. Indeed it was another answer to our prayers.
Some people would say this is all coincidence. Fate. Karma. Destiny. I don't believe in coincidence. I believe in God the Father. I believe in Jesus Christ who is God's only begotten son in the flesh. I believe in the Holy Ghost. I believe they are distinct and separate individuals. I believe they are in control of this earth and every creature and person upon it. I believe we are known to them by name and I have a personal relationship with each one, individually. I know who I am. I know where I came from. And I know where I am going. I don't have a shred of doubt about any of these things.
We live in a world that is ever growing in scepticism and doubt concerning things of a divine nature. People are searching high and low to find peace and direction in their lives. There is much confusion and despair. There is unrest and unease. There is fear where faith used to be. People are swayed by lies and deceit on every turn. Satan knows how to infuse just enough truth into the lies that people don't know what to believe anymore. It makes me sad.
I will not ever deny the power of God in my life. I will not ever deny that Jesus is the Christ. I will not ever deny the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I believe that God still speaks to a prophet today. I believe He answers our prayers. I believe He has a plan for each of us. He knows what we need and when we will need it. I believe that when we are obedient to His commandments and seek after Him day and night, He will bless us. We will see His hand in our lives when we exercise faith in Him. But we have to WANT His hand in our lives if we are to have those blessings that are meant for us.
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened" (Matthew 7: 7-8).
I believe this to be so. If you don't believe me - try it. Put God to the test and see for yourself.