Saturday, December 8, 2007

Blessings of Giving and Receiving Service

Today my husband was laid off of work. He had this job for a year. He was laid off from the previous job as well. Before that he ran his own business, when that business dwindled we lost our home. Needless to say it has been a difficult couple of years. It would seem reasonable that I would be in a puddle of tears and despair right now. If this had occured a month ago, I would have been. But the Lord has blessed me with understanding.

Just the other day I had a break through...I think I learned what the Lord has been trying to teach me through all of this. When it happened, I could really feel the Spirit again.

It is hard to explain what happened. The first step was admitting to myself, and talking to the Bishop about how I was mad at the Lord. That was a big step. When I did that, I starting feeling the Spirit again, but not as fully as I am accustomed to. Then when I accepted the full "lesson", I began to feel the Spirit in full, if you will.

I'm trying to put all my thoughts about this in order and write it in a way that I hope will help others.

You see, one day when I was angry with the Lord I prayed and asked Him, "Nephi said you would prepare a way. I've paid my tithing and fast offerings. Why aren't you making a way for me to continue to be a stay at home mom?"

The Spirit said, "I have prepared a way. I gave you a very generous Bishop, and the Bishop's storehouse." (Our Bishop had us bring in our medical bills, and the church paid half of them. It was such a blessing and relief. He also encouraged me to continue to stay at home, and not to feel bad about using the Bishop's Storehouse. "If the members don't use it, it goes to the Food Bank, but we would rather give it to the members.")

Still that was not the answer that I wanted. The answer I wanted was for my husband to have a job that would cover the bills.

What I learned (this was a process to learn and accept) is that when we receive service we are giving a service. In order for one to serve, there must be one to be served. Neither one is better than the other, both are necessary. Both have lessons and growth for us.

Accepting service is hard particularly because we have to humble ourselves and accept that we cannot do something by ourselves. We have to admit to ourselves and others that we need help.

And yet learning to accept service is so important, because if we cannot accept service...we cannot accept the Atonement. That was the greatest service ever performed. To truly accept it, we must sincerely humble ourselves.

People think they understand the Atonement, but they really don't. I know because I was one of them for many years...a returned missionary, married in the temple, but I didn't not really understand. NOW I am just beginning to understand.

People think they can accept the Atonement, but I believe if we are not humble enough to accept service from another person we are not fully ready to receive the Atonement. To allow the Lord to cleanse all your secret places, your most embarrassing sins, your weaknesses...that requires some deep humility. That is why serving and being served is so important.

So, if it is the Lord's will that I learn more about being that I can more fully accept the Atonement, then I put myself into His hands.

I now look at needing assistance, any kind of assistance, as a sort of calling. The calling may be long or short, but it is a calling.

The Lord chooses how and when we will serve. For now, He has asked me to serve by being the receiving one. I will do whatever He asks, because I want to be worthy of Him.