I made a goal on Sunday to feel close to God and increase my relationship with Him. I kept praying that He would help me increase my desire for a clearer understanding of my relationship with Him. I prayed that He would help me so I wouldn't give up.
I was blessed. I was incredibly blessed on Sunday to feel peace from the craziness surrounding me. I felt a ray of hope that I am not alone despite how alone and neglected by God I feel (was feeling). During the sacrament, I related this trial of feeling alone to scaffolding. Scaffolding is a term used in education that basically means you give the student help and support for the things they don't know (like scaffolding on a building so they don't fall over), but for the things they do know and understand well, you remove your help when it is no longer needed. Then you provide scaffolding for harder concepts, and remove it again when it is no longer needed. And the cycle of scaffolding continues to increase learning. If that makes sense. In the sense of the trials I've been facing lately, especially feeling alone, I realized that God has always been there, not just there but right there by my side holding me up when I absolutely need Him to be. When I've "mastered" a concept, He has removed his scaffolding holding me up a little bit to see if I am strong enough on my own.
I think that's what happened last week. Despite my determination to have a fresh start after my last post, I didn't. I pretty much finished that post feeling high and powerful over my day, and then something happened that made me feel like crap again. I prayed and prayed and still felt my faith wavering a little. I felt like my tears and freaking out should have been enough for any little sign that God was watching over me. I prayed that He would send someone just to text me and say "Hey I'm thinking about you today" to know I was cared for. Nothing. Not a single thing happened to show me He was there (although in reality, plenty of things show me His presence every single day, but when you are clouded in darkness it's hard to see). I wanted to be angry, but I knew that was bad ground to tread, so I just felt miserable.
I kept holding on, though. I held on and kept praying. I prayed earnestly. I kept my eyes open for Him. And, He did grant me relief. At church. In the hymns. In the peace I felt. In the fact that I got to lead the music in sacrament and play the piano in Relief Society. In the talks I read during the sacrament. In the little things that answered questions and prayers I'd had recently.
I realized that these things were indeed, "but a small moment." I gained perspective. And I was reminded that I can't expect growth without trial. I can't be the person I want to be if I'm not given hard things to help me grow. I saw that God had been holding me up, but then He removed Himself from me a little bit to let me see what I can do and what kind of faith I have on my own.
I turned my will over to God. Again. I find that I keep having to do that on a regular basis. I was reminded that I do have a lot of built up stress, especially with school so close (and boy-howdy, I have to daily turn myself over to God so I don't have a panic attack that school starts next week. Every day I'm getting more ready--with His help. When in reality half the time I just want to cry about it.).
Confession:I have a hard time dealing with stress. I have a hard time dealing with change. I have a hard time dealing with hard things. Surprised? Probably not. I tend to deny those traits about myself. Like how one time, I got a haircut that was a dramatic change. I almost cried, and my father-in-law said, "Well, you've never been one for change." I was mad. But he was right. I was just mad that my weakness was so obvious.
Right now, I think it's because I'm just feeling so exhausted with hard things. But when I remember that hard things are the price I pay for greatness, I feel empowered. And when I remember that Christ has felt all this and more, that He paved the way for me, I feel empowered. I have the knowledge. I have the faith. Do I have the faith to enjoy, not endure but enjoy, to the end? Yes I do.
I have to face reality, and the sooner the better.
Reality: Life is hard. Being a school-teacher is hard. Being a high-school-teacher when you are not that much older than the students is hard. Trials are hard. Financial burden is hard. Addiction is hard. Marriage is hard. Foot issues and back problems make teaching harder. Teaching Sunday School is kind of hard. Being a perfectionist is hard (I really need to loosen up). Being stressed about the fact that I'm so easily stressed out is hard. Relying on God sounds simple enough--but it's hard. My reality is that life is hard. And that is okay, because it is supposed to be hard. How else would we gain the knowledge and talents we need to return to our Father?
I know I am where I need to be. I am supposed to be teaching high school at the school I'm at. I'm supposed to help advance technology and lead the older teachers to see the vision of paperlessness (that is hard, but I'm getting there). I'm supposed to be a leader and role model for these students. I'm supposed to be married to my man. We are supposed to live where we are. I'm supposed to depend on God.
Things are hard, but I know for sure that I'm in the right place and doing the right things.
My goal for myself (which I have been working on this week) is not to get down when things are hard. I will face my fears and hardships with my brave face on. I will not get discouraged when I think I can't do something. Instead, I will pray for strength. And eat cookies if that helps do the trick. I will accept that things are hard, and life is hard. And I will tackle the hard things like they don't even phase me.
PS, my Relief Society president made the most beautiful and heart-warming announcement about addiction recovery and the Togetherness Project on Sunday. It seriously made me so happy and fuzzy inside.