Monday, April 29, 2019

Promises at Baptism - Atonement

Faith #4 and #5

I take my baptismal covenants seriously. Probably because I have felt keenly the cleansing power of the Atonement in my life. I know what it feels like to suffer the pains of godly sorrow for your sins. It is not pleasant. Sure we may grow comfortable here on this Earth living in and among sin without much thought. But that is like being comfortable being dirty in a dirty place surrounded by dirty people. We grow used to what is around us and no longer see the dirt.

But I know that one day we will all be brought before the bar of God to be judged and in the presence of His holy cleanliness, the "dirt" from our sins will be all to apparent and painful to us. I have had an experience where I felt that pain and been shown the "dirt" from my sins. It was unbearably awful. Like I can't imagine having to live with that awareness and pain. I felt so bad, I felt unworthy to even pray.

Yet in the depths of that despair, I remembered how the Lord had commanded us to pray. He wanted us to turn to Him when we felt like that. I realized that it was Satan that didn't want me to pray. So I gathered all my strength and uttered a very simple, direct prayer. "Lord, please forgive me." The words were few but the feeling was deep and powerful and pleading.

In an instant, all those painful, uncomfortable, sorrowful feelings were wiped away and I was filled with joy and forgiveness and light. It was miraculous beyond anything words could adequately describe. I KNEW the Lord had forgiven me and I didn't need to worry about my past sins any longer.

I felt such gratitude to the Savior for bearing the weight of those sins and for suffering the punishment for them. I felt purchased. From that moment at the age of 14 on, I have not considered my life my own. For, I could not have lived under a consciousness of my guilt. My life was purchased almost 2000 years previously in the Garden of Gethsemene.

This is what I think of when I take the sacrament each Sunday now. I think of the debt He paid for me and thank Him for it by repenting anew and striving to recommit myself to doing my best to do His will and His work on this Earth for the remainder of my days. I take His name on me and promise to keep His commandments and I REMEMBER Him.

A Faith Strengthening Experience

Faith #3

I am glad to have the push to journal this experience which strengthened my faith.

In the spring of 2018, my family made the decision to move to San Antonio, Texas. My husband, after being unemployed for a year, got a job in San Antonio and had been commuting the 4-5 hour drive down from Flower Mound for a year. It looked like he liked the job and would be at it long term so we decided it was best to uproot the family to move down.

However, we had a big beautiful home in Flower Mound and lots of dear friends and a fantastic church congregation. None of us were eager to leave and we weren't sure the market would allow us to sell our home without us losing money on it. So, we decided to set a price on the home that would get us out breaking even and if we could sell for that amount, we would move. We hired a realtor, got the house prepped and put it on the market.

The house got an offer within a couple of weeks that was below our asking price but above the break even point we had set. We accepted the offer and started searching more diligently for a home in San Antonio. We looked at lots of home but couldn't find one we liked that met our needs.

A week or so into the process, our buyers backed out. We were disappointed, but had been having lots of traffic before we got that offer so we figured we would get another offer soon. We were wrong. Once we put our home back on the market, it was like crickets. Very few showings and none of them making offers.

Months passed. All this time, we are emotionally in limbo. We kept wondering if we would move or not. We couldn't make firm plans one way or another because we simply didn't know what the future held for us. I kept praying to enjoy the time we had there for as long as we had it and that if the Lord wanted us to move that He would help us find a buyer that could pay at least our break even price.

June came around and in the middle of June we decided to go down to San Antonio to spend a week with Jonathan. Just before we left, we got an offer on the house. Now we had recieved a couple of REALLY low ball offers that we rejected without hesitation in the weeks just previous to this but this offer, while lower than our break even price point, was worth considering.

The offer was within $10,000 of our break even price. We went back and forth with them trying to negotiate a price that would get us up to our break even point. The whole drive down to San Antonio, I was talking back and forth to my realtor and Jonathan about negotiations. By that evening it came down to a $3000 gap between what they were offering and our break even price.

Our realtor told us it was not very likely we would get a better offer since our house had been on the market so many months. But it was up to us. Jonathan was adamant that we stick to our guns and demand the break even price - which they had repeatedly refused to go to and had told us this offer was the best and final. He wanted to make sure they really wanted the house and weren't going to back out like the other offer we accepted. He felt, if they REALLY wanted the house, they shouldn't mind going up the $3000. He said he was willing to commute another year if needed.

So we said no to the offer. As we cleaned Jonathan's house in San Antonio that night I kept wondering if we were crazy. Was it really worth $3000 to have all this uncertainty and stress? Finally I told Jon, we need to pray about this. I mean we had been prayful but hadn't specifically knelt together to ask the Lord. So we paused in our cleaning and closed the bedroom door and knelt in prayer to ask the Lord if we should just accept the offer. Both of us got a fairly clear answer to just wait.

So we went forward, trusting our fate into the hands of the Lord. About 2 hours later, our realtor texted us to say the buyers were willing to go up the extra $3000. We texted back to tell her we were good with that. A minute later, she called us. She said she had just gotten a call from another interested party who had been through the house previously and wanted to see if we had any action on it. She had not yet responded to the buyers we had been negotiating with all day. It was after 10 pm at this point.

So we had her ask the second party if they wanted to put in an offer. They went to see the house again the next morning at 7 am and made an offer at 8 am for well above our break even price. We went back to the buyers we had been negotiating with all the previous day and let them know. They came back with an offer $10,000 higher than our break even price and that was more attractive as far as closing date and other things. We also had another party request a showing. We accepted the offer of the party we had long negotiated with and the party who requested a showing ended up putting in a full price back up offer the next day.

Meanwhile, that morning in San Antonio, we went to look at a few houses withour realtor down there. We finally found one that met our needs (after not finding one in a year of looking) and were able to make an offer that night which was accepted the next morning.

These 48 hours were miraculous to me. In all those months before, I was holding onto faith. I didn't know if the Lord would really have us move. The future is never certain. All I could do was try to Keep the Faith and believe and trust in the Lord and the answers to pray we felt He was giving us. I am so glad we followed the promptings we felt. More important than the extra money we got by doing so, we now have a more firm testimony that we are supposed to be here in San Antonio and in this house. That has been helpful as we have struggled to feel at home here and have sorely missed our friends, family, and life in Flower Mound. And this experience strengthened my faith that the Lord answers our prayers and that He will be there for us when we trust in Him.


Faith #2

Motherhood is the most challenging, rewarding, and holiest of callings. We partner with God to create a person in our bodies and then suffer the agony of our own personal Gethsemene's of childbirth to bring a child into the world through the sheding of blood sweat and tears. And that is the easy part. Once our children are here, they have challenges that we must help them through. They will try our patience like no one else can. But they will also love us and we them in a bond unlike any other.

It is difficult to always live close enough to the Spirit to really take full advantage of the partnership with the divine in this process of parenting. When you are late for school or church or an activity and your child is being defiant or just distracted it is hard to keep your cool and be Christlike. We as mother's mess up - all the time.

So I guess grace is a big part of mothering for me. Giving grace to your children as they are learning and having patience with them while they learn is hard but so important. And allowing grace for yourself as you mess up and try again is equally important.

Really, I just want to so entangle myself with the Savior that I can draw on the power and grace of His atonement to enable me to be the kind of mother I want to be and help me to set the tone in our home even when others in our home are grumpy or sassy or angry. If I can be strong and stay above all that, perhaps the rest of them will come up to join me in the peace above the chaos of life.