I like going to church.
(no, that is not what i learned this week...haha!)
I'm not very good at organizing my spiritual thoughts on the fly (coming up with witty or sarcastic things on the fly is more my forte...haha!), so I don't make too many comments in Sunday School or Relief Society, but I absolutely love learning from those who can. I can think of about four women that I always learn something from every week in church. They just say things during class that make a light come on in my understanding.
I had two of those moments this past week at church, and I have been thinking about them all week. The first one was kind of about why sometimes it seem like God doesn't care about us, or that he lets bad things happen to us and we feel alone and sad. A woman in Sunday School explained it like this:
She has a baby girl who is almost 2 years old. Each Sunday, she takes her daughter to the nursery and leaves her there with very capable adults, toys, snacks, and lots of little friends. Each Sunday, her daughter screams and cries. She doesn't want to be left in the nursery. She feels sad and alone. She feels like, "Why would my mother leave me here?" Each week, this mommy would love to just hold her baby...but she knows that her daughter needs to learn how to do something that is hard; something that she doesn't want to do, but that will help her. She loves her daughter more than she can explain, but that doesn't stop baby from feeling sad and lost. Her mom returns...each week...to pick her up and hug and kiss her. She would never leave her for good, just for short periods of time in the hands of caring people, and she is never really very far away.
I think that is why sometimes it feels like God doesn't care. Like he has dropped me off "in the nursery" and I don't want to be there. I scream and cry. I wonder why he would leave me there. Why do I have to be here "in the nursery", when I would really much rather be where I feel comfortable. The door between me and Him isn't locked, he just needs me to do something hard, something I don't want to do, but that will help me. I know that He loves me (and all of you too). He loves us more than we could ever understand, and that means that sometimes we have to go through hard things, The hard things help us grow. They help us gain experiences that shape who we are.
He always comes back too.
He doesn't leave us "in the nursery" forever, but when we are small (in understanding), it seems like forever. Two hours in the nursery can seem like forever to a two year old. The desire to be near our parents at two years old is incredibly strong...sometimes almost like super glue! haha! There may be caring people around us, there might be great food, and lots of friends...but we have a strong desire to have our parents right there in the room with us. All of us are like that with our Heavenly Father. We feel much better when we know He is right there, holding our hand. When he gives us something hard, the first thing most of us think is,
"Can't you just give this hard thing to someone else and stay here with me?"
How would we grow if God held our hand for everything? We wouldn't...and He knows that. We know that too, but I don't know anyone who prefers bumpy, pothole filled roads to cruising down easy street.And that takes me to the other thing that I learned this week.
"God doesn't give us things that we can't handle"
I have heard versions of this quote my whole life. A part of this truth didn't click (for me) until this Sunday. I had the realization that while I am going through whatever hard thing I'm going through, not only am I not alone and have the apparent capability to handle it , Heavenly Father picked it for me. He gave it to me. He KNOWS me and KNOWS that it will be hard. He also KNOWS that I can handle it!
How cool is that?!
He knows that up to this point in my life I couldn't handle (for example) the death of a parent, spouse or child. He hasn't given that to me. That doesn't mean that he won't give it to me in the future, but it means that He knows who I am and knows that that isn't an experience that was meant for me up to this point. We wouldn't try to teach a two year old how to drive a car, because they lack many of the physical and mental abilities to learn and apply those principles. By the same token, God knows that I don't (up to this point in my life) have the necessary abilities to learn and grow from that experience. That will be something that I will most likely have to experience later. All of us are going to die...but so far in my life I haven't had to experience the death of a parent, spouse, or child.
I bought a necklace a few weeks ago from a woman who has had to endure a few hard things recently. She has been dealing with a contested adoption for the past year and a half, and in order to be able to pay for all the legal fees that come with a contested adoption, she and her friends have opened a virtual jewelry and clothing shop called the r house couture on etsy.
I loved this piece! It reminds me that I really can do hard things. It's like this necklace has super powers! haha! As I'm walking around and the beads are clinking against the silver disc, I have the words at the forefront of my mind...I can do hard things...and it really seems to help! I seem to be more productive and focused on accomplishing things while wearing it.
I love going to church. I love being surrounded by others who can teach me. I am grateful for their talents and their ability to say things that speak to me. I will work on focusing more on what I can learn from doing hard things, then how much I don't like doing them. I know Heavenly Father loves me. I know he wants what is best for me. I know for sure...