As It Were A Dream

There is a passage in the book of Jacob that always stands out to me.

In Chapter 7 verse 26, Jacob is concluding his record, and says:

 “…the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days.”

Jacob’s life was full of many many trials.

Mist on Antelope Island

He was born in the wilderness, after his family had already left Jerusalem. So he never had a real home. All he knew was wandering, moving from place to place in order to survive. He had amazing parents, and Nephi was probably the best brother a person could ask for. But he grew up with his brothers Laman and Lemuel constantly causing contention and trying to murder their family! When Lehi blessed Jacob in 2 Nephi chapter 2, he told him, “..in thy childhood thou hast suffered afflictions and much sorrow, because of the rudeness of thy brethren.” His days were filled with wars, and probably much confusion. Temporally, I wonder if Jacob ever felt secure.

Spiritually, he was a giant.

Going back to Lehi’s blessing, he continued, “…Nevertheless, Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.”

In writing of Sherem, the antichrist, Jacob said “And he had hope to shake me from the faith, notwithstanding the many revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken.”

Jacob knew the goodness and glory of God. He was blessed with a great testimony of Christ and of the gospel.

He became a righteous and great minister among his people. He gave us the allegory of the olive tree. He rejoiced in keeping the record on the plates. He was bold and said what needed to be said. I mean, just think about the book of Jacob. There are so many nuggets in those few chapters that teach and fill the reader with the desire to be better.

So focusing back on the phrase he uses- our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream. I’ve been thinking about that a lot over the last month or so.

Because I feel the same way.Rainstorm on Antelope Island

When Carey was laid off last December, it was a shock for sure. But I was certain that within a month at most, he’d be back to work and that it would be even better than what he was doing before.

A month passed, and then another. We still had some energy, and were blessed with a temp position to help pay the bills. Still looking for the next step, and certain it was just around the corner.

Then all of a sudden it is July. And I’m not really sure where the last seven months have gone, except that they have gone and we are still trudging along feeling almost directionless. Still so grateful for the temp work, but keenly aware that there are only a few weeks left until that dries up.

I admit that the stress of the last seven months has really gotten to me. I’ve put on some weight, I have less motivation to keep up my house and keep up my regular routine, tensions are often high at home and my kids definitely feel that lack of normalcy and security. While we aim to stay where we are, we really don’t know if we’ll be here even a month from now. It’s not like we haven’t continued living- we have. We still go on little getaways, we still have movie night, we still make plans, we still live. But there is this shadow hanging over all of it for me.

With all those emotions and stresses, it really does feel like the months have passed away like as it were unto us a dream. It’s the best way I can describe it.

But I have had this growing feeling inside of me that I don’t want to waste this time. I feel like I have just been waiting for this trial to end, and not much else. I’ve been sleeping through it.

So how do I wake up live intentionally, instead of just waiting out my days? How do I grow and learn during this trial?

Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.  (Ephesians 5:14)

We see that word several times in the scriptures.

Awake.

In chapter 3, Jacob tells us to, “…arouse the faculties of your souls; shake yourselves that ye may awake from the slumber of death..”

Alma encourages us to “..awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words..”

Lehi pleads to his children, “O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep… Awake! and arise from the dust…”

The Light on the BeachI’ve actually been working on this blog post for a week or so. I’ve felt like there is something that I really need to learn in this, so I’ve been studying it out and pondering a lot. As I said above, I’ve been asleep. I desperately want to wake up! Because when it comes down to it, I know deep down this trial will come to an end, and I will be amazed (but not surprised) at what the Lord has done for us. But I don’t want to look back on it and see that I squandered my opportunity for growth, or that I whined my way through it.

The term Arouse your faculties caught my curiosity when I was studying. It is often seen when the writer is pleading for the reader to awake. I’ve read the phrase hundreds of times in my life, but never thought too much about it until now. I turned to the dictionary to try to understand it more.

Arouse: verb – To evoke or awaken

Evoke: verb – To bring or recall to the conscious mind. Or, to Remember.

Faculty: noun – An inherent mental or physical power.

Inherent: adjective – Existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute. Deep-rooted, fundamental. Perhaps eternal?

So to arouse your faculties means to remember your eternal power.

Remember who you are.

We are children of God. All of us! We have eternal spirits. We have power! We lived before this life and we will live and progress after.

We are not meant to sleep our way through this life. What would be the point of that?

It’s hard. When you feel so weighed down it’s hard to just get up.

But remember that you can. Just the desire to get up is enough to start stirring that power within you. Not just your power, but the power of God, and angels, and friends from the other side of the veil who are all rooting for you and cheering you on.

Sky

There will always be trials. That’s why we’re here. Some will trip us up and some will knock us down completely.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 says, Better is the end of thing than the beginning thereof..

At the beginning of a trial it seems it will never end. The end is where the light comes, that refreshing breeze. But the middle is where the growth happens.

The middle is where you get to remember who you are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Step Enough For Me

I am an impatient person. I like to be in control. And anyone who knows me knows that I’m a planner. I like to know what’s coming and I thrive on a schedule.

Carey and I are a little nomadic at heart, longing for change or a new adventure every year or two. When we moved here to Lake Oswego things really clicked for our boys and we decided that we would stay put for them so they could go through junior high and high school in one place, with the same friends and peers. We had our escape plan though- the moment our youngest graduated from high school, we’d move on to our next adventure.

Then something odd happened. We got comfortable. Happy. We began to recognize how blessed we are to live here. We truly love the people in our ward, and the idea of growing with them for many years started to sound really nice. Carey’s job was great and we were feeling good.

It was the end of November when I said to Carey, “What if we just stayed here, after the boys are gone? Like forever.” He thought that didn’t sound so bad.

A few days later he was laid off from his job, and everything became uncertain.

All of a sudden my calendar was up in the air. Our big vacation plans, our budget, our health insurance, any plans were dampened by the uncertainty of when and where Carey might be working. We hoped that he would find something really quickly, but that hasn’t been the case.

This was torture for me at the beginning. I needed to know what was going to happen! I couldn’t function, except to stare at a computer screen and try to find my husband a job. I knew that Heavenly Father would provide something, but I also knew that we had to do our part. So I frantically worried about missing the right job or the right contact or the right prompting. I needed to know how this was going to end, and I needed it to end like now!

light-from-cloudsThen something amazing happened. Carey and I started attending the temple weekly, and it began to bring great peace into our lives. Between that, studying scriptures, and prayer, I was able to start letting go and letting God be in charge

The fear that we wouldn’t find the right path or see the big picture began to fade as I was able to accept that God sees that big picture and I don’t need to. I really don’t! I just have to trust that God will lead us along, and won’t let us go down the wrong path.

There is a hymn that has been ever present in my mind over the last month- Lead Kindly Light. The first verse says:

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene–one step enough for me.
path-of-life
One step at a time- that is how Heavenly Father is leading us right now.
Last week Carey had two job offers on the table. Both were good, and would have given us great security. As we fasted and prayed about each of these, we felt strongly to turn them both down.
The first one wasn’t so difficult, but the second one brought the fear right back. The fear of making the wrong choice, of missing out on something. But then we decided to trust in the answers we had been given and were immediately blessed with peace.
So we’ve made it a few more steps along the path, and continue in faith for the light to illuminate where that next step will be. I don’t need to see the distant scene. God see’s it and knows the path perfectly. One step at a time is enough for me.

A Rock and A Hard Place

So unemployment sucks.

Carey was laid off just before Christmas due to a merger at his firm and it was such a blow, completely unexpected. He has been networking, interviewing, exploring so many possibilities. Currently he is doing some temp work which we are so grateful for. But the uncertainty of it all is sometimes a bit much. It is a stressful time.

We each go through cycles of emotions- sometimes together, sometimes at different times. There is hope, stress, anxiety, faith, excitement, fear, disappointment, worry.. etc. 

The last couple of days has been a little more stressful as we are trying to decide about possibly staying on permanently with his current temp job. It wouldn’t be ideal. It wouldn’t even really be permanent because it is not what he wants to do long term. But it would give us those medical benefits and the security of a paycheck. It would also severely limit his ability to pursue other avenues.

Last night while we were talking, I thought about the phrase being stuck between a rock and a hard place. When you have to decide between two things, and neither is really ideal.

I didn’t like that. The idea that no matter what you choose things are going to suck, just doesn’t fit in with the way I view life.

Through the night, another way of looking at the phrase developed in my mind.

The rock. pictures-of-jesus-1128833-print

What if we look at the rock as our Savior.

I am Messiah, the King of Zion, the Rock of Heaven, which is broad as eternity…

Moses 7:53

The hard place is any time of trial or hard situation we are in. Which, because we are mortal, there will be many of those situations in our lives.

The good news is, because Christ is Christ, He will also always be there. And if we have him and his gospel as our foundation, there is no need for that fear and anxiety. Only hope.

Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.

D&C 6:34

When we first learned that Carey was getting laid off, it was like a punch to the stomach. But at the same moment of the punch, there was an underlying peace. A trusting that things would work out and that we would be supported through this time. A remembrance of a proven track record of seeing God’s hand in each of our lives.

In times of trouble, when we are in that hard place, we can look to our Rock for strength and guidance.

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.

The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.

In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

Psalms 18:2-6

bible-video-jesus-peter-water-1432838-printThere’s always that choice, no matter the situation, to let Christ help you. His vision is greater than ours. He will see us through.

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Psalms 61:2