The Moment When You Decide

Remember that one time I got engaged and then my life fell apart? What? You don’t? Well, I do. It was a fine time for me. I was sporting a lovely ring and looking forward to eternity with the man I loved most in the world. And then I lost my job. And then I couldn’t see my fiance because he was 4 hours away and my car broke down.
And his car broke down.
And he lost HIS job.
And we talked on the phone and wondered if all of these were small warning signs about what we were getting ourselves into. We got married anyway.
It rained a lot that day.

Are the stars stacked against us? Maybe. But God’s on our side, and I think he sometimes plays pool with stars.

Isn’t the Temple in the background of our picture beautiful? I went there today. Alone.
I like to go alone sometimes. I like the quiet ride over and back. I like keeping my thoughts inside while I’m in the Temple and only letting them out to my Father in Heaven. We talk. I tell Him things. I ask Him things. He speaks peace to my soul, and I am completely wrapped up in a something of a Heavenly Hug.
I come home refreshed, recharged, refocused, and skinnier.
Except not skinnier. Especially not today, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

I made a decision to go to the Temple. I secured a sitter for the boy. I secured a play date for the girl. I called the Temple and secured myself a seat in the 10:30 session. What could be more perfect than a mid-morning, mid-week session? Those are the best! They’re the smallest: quiet, cozy little sessions that go on while everyone else is at work.
I got up early and got ready, doing my best to look my best because the Temple IS the best and when you’re inside you don’t want to look anything BUT your best. I woke the kids up. We were out of the door by 9:00.
It is a 45 minute drive to the Temple, that gave me 15 minutes to get my kiddos squared away at their destinations and put me at the Temple by 10.
A full thirty minutes early to take my time, soak in the spirit of the Temple, and breathe the humidified air (and use the lotion in the bathroom which I so dearly love).
I made sure I had all my gear. I made sure the kids had all THEIR gear. And I started the car.
Except it wouldn’t start.
The rain came down and my own personal flood started to come up. I unloaded the kids, reloaded them into our little blue truck that is -I kid you not -the vehicular equivalent of a three-legged dog.
I had to take the truck to the Temple and just PRAY it made it, PRAY the speedometer would work and gas gauge would give me a correct reading and and and…
I counted my blessings that my husband had unloaded the trash bins from the bed of the truck, and I pulled out of my driveway.
I kissed the boy approximately 20 times and sent him off.
I drove the girl to her play date to find only to find that the date was off -so I rushed my daughter back to the sitter. Kissed her brow as rain rolled down our faces (not really, but it sounded nice), and off I went.
By this time it was just after 9:30.
I pulled onto the highway, hoping, PRAYING that the truck would make it. The AC is broken, but air (hot air) still blows through the vents. I turned the dial to “defrost” and cranked the air in hopes of reducing the fog that was mounting all around.
The gas gauge read 1/4 tank. I HAD to believe it because there was no time to stop.
I would make it to the Temple at 10:15 which was almost TOO close for comfort, but I had called. I had a seat reserved. It would be fine.
I did get there at 10:15 and found, very much to my surprise, that not everyone was working on a Tuesday (mid-morning). In fact, SOME people were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and they had lots of children and grandchildren, and all of them wanted to attend the same session I did.
I barely made it in that session -by the SKIN of my teeth (teeth don’t have skin, but IF THEY DID).
I’ve never been to a fuller session in my life. We weren’t able to start until 11.

I told my sitter I would be home around 1. I walked out of the Temple doors sometime around 1:15, and I was STARVING.
I called the sitter, apologized, and went directly to Arby’s where I ordered enough food to feed a starving family in Africa.

And let. me. tell. you.
I almost did NOT take that trip. I almost turned around and bagged the whole thing approximately 5 times, including once while I was actually waiting in line to go to the session. I know that sounds crazy, but you weren’t there. You didn’t see the line!
Why? Why did I go forward with something that every force of Hell’s Nature was obviously up against? Because I wanted to prove that I could.
I wanted to show my Heavenly Father that despite EVERYTHING, he could count on me to DO what I SAID I’D DO. And you know what? I did.
Sometimes we just need those fighter days. We need days where we don’t give up even though we want to, and we rest our heads peacefully on our pillows that night with a clear, confident conscience.
An I DID IT conscience.

Do I think the Lord would still love me if I had bagged the trip? Yes, I do. I think He understands when we’re just too beaten to handle one more thing.
But I think when he sees us handle that one more thing on top of everything else… when he sees us take it and make LUNCH out of it, He bursts with pride. I want to make Him proud.
I think of President Monson pointing to his chest and saying something like, “If the Lord needs something done, he can count on Tom Monson.”

Here’s the actual quote:

“The sweetest experience I know in life is to feel a prompting and act upon it and later find out that it was the fulfillment of someone’s prayer or someone’s need.  And I always want the Lord to know that if He needs an errand run, Tom Monson will run that errand for Him.” ~President Thomas S. Monson
I wanted to show the Lord that it didn’t matter if I didn’t have a car or a job, I was GOING to the Temple. And I did.
I wanted to show the Lord that it didn’t matter if I didn’t have a nice car or pretty hair (oh sweet rain and humidity and lack of AC -you worked your magic today) or a serene countenance, I was GOING to the Temple.
And I did.
There’s something great about doing hard things. There’s so many lessons buried under the muck of it all, and it’s so satisfying to get down there, get covered in all manner of muds, and come away a better person with an armload of lessons you wouldn’t have learned any other way.
Of course I’m not talking about a hectic morning that has the potential to keep us from the Temple. I’m talking about much, much more than that. It’s the first lesson the Lord taught me this morning.
I kept going in the muck, and I learned that WHEN I DO THAT whether it’s trivial muck (like this morning) or serious muck that makes me cry myself to sleep… My Heavenly Father notices me.
He sees me not giving up.
He blesses me and teaches me things I wouldn’t learn if I wasn’t willing to go through it.
He KNOWS my heart.

Today I almost stayed home to bake food in the comfort of my kitchen, and that would have been okay. Sometimes we can’t handle hard things, so we take breaks and breathers and we become escape artists (How can I avoid dealing with this today? Hmmmm… time to read a book!).
And while baking is a good thing to do, it wasn’t the BEST thing to do. It was the easiest, but not the most beneficial.
The words of peace, revelation, and comfort that my Heavenly Father SPOKE to me today in the Temple are priceless gems… the value of which no freshly baked cookie could compensate for.
I’m refreshed, refocused, repaired, recharged and substantially fatter (physically fat as well as spiritually).

Life is hard.
Thank goodness for that.

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