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I’ve headed into a “Woman Cave” for a week long honeymoon with myself and my favorite things: paper and paints, a journal and pens, profound and thought-provoking books, and passionate music; and I’m hanging a big old ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign to life so that I may enter into the bittersweet nest of introspection without unwanted interruption.

After two months of ranching (which I really regret not blogging about), witnessing more life and death than I have in my whole life, unwinding and unraveling in the beauty of alfalfa fields, mountains at sunrise and sunset, old cotton trees, running on horseback through unpaved trails, herding thousands of head of sheep to greener pastures, being away from ‘busy’ and immersed in nature and cycles of life, and feeling the most content I have ever felt in my entire life (though my skin is weathered and aged from the elements), I find myself with a new challenge.  There is no rest for a wandering soul.

Life has a way of throwing curve balls we never in our wildest dreams expect, for better or for worse.  So here I am in a little town far from home, in a tiny room, with natural hot springs within walking distance.  I’ll be pouring in knowledge and wisdom through books and authors, and painting my expressions, pouring out the emotions of my soul.  I’ll be soaking in the healing waters of mineral baths under the moonlit nights ahead, pondering the issues at hand, seeking guidance from On High.  Pushing.  Pulling.  Stretching.  Growing.

I just recently read this, and nothing rings truer right now:

God doesn’t give you the people you want,
he gives you the people you need.
to help you,
to hurt you,
to leave you,
to love you,
and to make you
the person you were
meant to be.

We have plans for our lives, and God has other plans.  We can hold tight to what we hold dear, or we can surrender our will to His.  When we tell Him we will do anything for Him, we musn’t say it casually, because He will test us, and He may not provide a ram in the thicket to bail us out.  And sometimes He asks us to do things that seem contrary to His Word, which can leave us confused.  But then we remember that asking Abraham to kill his son Isaac, wasn’t exactly orthodox, and full of contradiction, and so we can find some comfort and assurance that not everything has a textbook answer; that it is by His spirit He reveals truth unto man (John 15:26).

I’ve tried to get inside the mind of Abraham.  He was willing to face persecution.  He was willing to be misunderstood.  He was willing to be falsely accused.  He was willing to risk and give up family, and friends, like Jesus says he expects of us if we are truly willing to follow Him. (Matthew 19:29: – “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”)

Though I’ve not talked about it much, if at all, in this space, I am of Mormon persuasion, and our modern Scriptures declare that we must be “chastened and tried, even as Abraham” (D&C 101:4).  The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “You will have all kinds of trials to pass through.  And it is quite as necessary for you to be tried as it was for Abraham and other men of God… God will feel after you and he will take hold of you and wrench your very heart strings.”

Why?

“We will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; and we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abraham 3:24–25).

“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father” (Mosiah 3:19; emphasis added).

The Lord affirmed that He would “give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith. And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal. Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy. For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me” (D&C 98:12–15).

Abraham was tried in consequence of his righteousness.  But Abraham was not some anomaly in the Scriptures.  The Lord must try all his people “in all things, that they might be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom” (D&C 136:31).

Do we love our Lord above all?

Are we okay with rewards not of this world?

 Weighty matters to ponder, indeed.

 

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The Problem of Pain | Blaming God
Raising Children, Living Well, and How to Forgive
Man and Horse | The Dance
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