Spiritual Lessons from Unemployment

It has been three weeks since I quit my job at Reset; it turns out there is a period of adjustment as one becomes accustomed to new wings and flight. Taking a flying leap off a cliff is a paradox of exhilaration, terror, romance, boredom, excitement and occasionally piddling around the house in my pajamas. I am learning a ton.

Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence

I wish to encourage every one of you today regarding opposition that so often comes after enlightened decisions have been made, after moments of revelation and conviction have given us a peace and an assurance we thought we would never lose… Beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts…Don’t give in. Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness…Face your doubts. Master your fears. “Cast not away therefore your confidence.” Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you.
-Elder Jeffery R. Holland

As I studied my scriptures last week, I was prompted to re-read Elder Holland’s speech, “Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence”.  It is my new anthem for this period of time. Moments of great illumination are often proceeded by great opposition; great opposition also follows moments of clarity and personal revelation. I can’t give up and I can’t doubt the path. 

Patience

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. – Hebrews 10:35-36

Basically, I suck at patience. On my mission, companionships focused on developing a Christ-like attribute each week. I hated the weeks we chose patience, faith and optimism. Those were the weeks that everyone fell out of the bap pool, all our investigators and lessons disappeared, people were rude on the street, or I ended up in the hospital. The Lord doesn’t mess around when we ask to become more Christ-like; He tests us to teach us. Since quitting my job, I have been inspired to study this personally elusive quality and am learning about patience in beautiful new ways.

I usually don’t know how to function unless I’m going ten thousand miles an hour doing fourteen different things at once. I don’t know how to relax. I’ve always had many things to throw myself into 5000%: a cause, a job, a passion, people. As I learn how to align these passions with my family and shifting priorities, the Lord wants me to slow down and take my time. It is hard. But, I’m learning to differentiate between inspiration and impulse, revelation and misdirection. I’m learning that I can still throw myself headfirst into many things; they are simply rearranged differently. Patience is not just for getting through hard things, it is also in waiting faithfully for the good ones. It is pushing forward in the Lord’s time even if I don’t yet know what I’m pushing toward.

Floating Forward

The Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind. And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.
–Ether 6:5-6

I often think of these scriptures when I am enduring my own personal tempests. They remind me that storms carry me toward my own promised lands. The last few months were a violent tempest that blew me across an ocean. I may be a little beat up, but I survived and I’m stronger. Now, I’m floating on the water, the sun is shining and the breeze is pleasantly cool. I have a tropical drink in one hand and I’m soaking up the warm rays.

At first, I was slowly going a little bit crazy.

I felt like I wasn’t progressing because I wasn’t rushing around trying to survive a storm or work overload. But, I’m learning that there are many ways to press ahead on the Lord’s path. We don’t only grow and progress in tempests; ships can still move forward when the weather is nice. I can learn and grow, receive guidance, and head toward my promised land in peaceful, happy times too.

Whaaa?

There is still work to do; it is just different than the work I’ve done before. The gentle wind and lapping waves are still carrying me in the right direction. I need to put in work and trust in God.

And be grateful for calm seas and a warm sun.

Teach at Home

We might all ask ourselves: do our children receive our best spiritual, intellectual, and creative efforts, or do they receive our leftover time and talents, after we have given our all to our church calling or professional pursuits? – Elder Tad R. Callister

This quote hit me hard one morning as I listened to Elder Callister’s talk in my car. I was coming home from work exhausted and drained. I spent weekends recovering from the week. Carter was getting my leftovers.

I’ve realized, it’s time to turn back home. Carter needs me. He is my son and my most treasured student. I will have no greater impact anywhere in the world than here, with him, in our home. It’s time to teach.


There have already been so many miracles in the last few weeks. Opportunities, connections, experiences, tender mercies and miracles popping up all over the place. I’ve been amazed. I know in a year or two, I will be able to look back to this time and say, OH. This and this and this are why life unfolded so surprisingly. I will be able say specifically, this door opened, this was made possible, I was prepared to, our family was prepared for… and I am so grateful. The Lord knows what He’s doing and His plan is infinitely more perfect than mine.

Plus, now I’m not missing as many of these parenting gems!IMG_4091

A Letter to My Mom

A little over a week ago, I was asked to give a short talk at church for Mother’s Day and I accepted the invitation thinking that inspiration would flow easily on the topic of motherhood. I spent the week following my usual pattern of seeking revelation by praying, pondering, studying scriptures and reading numerous conference talks. Thoughts formed into words that I spent several hours writing in my journal on Saturday evening. Usually, when I write talks for church, the ideas seem to flow easily through my pen, but I found myself crossing out thought after thought and restarting the talk over and over again. At about 11 o’clock, I felt that the Spirit had completely left me in a stupor of thought; I realized with horror that the talk I had been working on was not the talk that the Lord wanted me to share. Fortunately, Andy made me go to sleep instead of staying awake in an uninspired, sleepy state of panic.

Sunday morning, the baby woke me up early, poking me in the eye and waiting expectantly for me to pay attention to him. After reading to him a bit, I rolled out of bed and prayed for inspiration. I had planned to work on a letter to my mother as part of her Mother’s Day gift, and after praying, I felt inspired to begin writing the letter. As I began writing, a surge of the Spirit indicated clearly that the letter to my mother was the talk the Lord wanted me to give that afternoon. I invited my mother to sacrament meeting and she agreed to come. I have never felt more terrified approaching the pulpit in my life. Here is the unabridged version…for posterity.

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My mom with me; me with Carter

Dear Mom,

Now that I’m a mom there are some things I’d like to tell you. I feel closer to you than I ever have before and I feel like I understand you better than I ever could before. I look at Carter and cannot explain the depth of love that fills my heart and sometimes overwhelms me. Now I know in a way I never understood before how you feel when you look at me.  I never knew how much a person could love and I never knew just how much I have been loved by you.

When I watch you with Carter, I see you with me 33 years ago.  I love watching you take care of him, play with him, talk so goofily with him and feed him endlessly (no wonder I was so obese!) because I can see in my mind how you must have been with me when I was his age. And it makes me love you more. I don’t know why it never fully occurred to me that your memories of me don’t begin when my memories of you start. Not until I had a child of my own did I understand just how long and through how much you have actually known and loved me.

I sometimes get so frustrated when I feel like you still see me as a little child, but now I understand why and I hope it never changes.  Because when a child grows in your body, part of you becomes that child. And when a newborn grows up in your arms, you discover and learn that child in a way that no one else can. And when a child needs you so much (s)he lights up when you walk into a room, there is a part of you that never wants that to end. I know that now. And I am sorry I ever stopped greeting you with the light, joy and smile of an infant. I’m sure you have missed that these many years and I promise to try to show on my face the feelings that never left my heart.

Thank you, mom, for everything you have done and everything you continue to do for me because now that I’m a mom, I know that there is no way I will ever be able to understand exactly what this means or exactly how much this is. After all, how does one quantify the choices, worry, feelings and actions that represent the giving of one life to another? Now I know that when I was born, your life was no longer your own. Who you were, who you hoped to be and what you hoped to do and accomplish changed when I came into your life. I don’t even know that person because everything you have done since then was with David and me in mind. I wish I could know the pre-me you because the stories of your life are part of me too.

Now that I’m a mom, I understand better what true courage means. It is the million choices a mother makes every single day to put her children and family first despite the manifold pressures to choose differently. It is the never ending miracle of balancing the world on your fingertips. For you, it was forging ahead with two young children into an unsafe and unknown future with nothing but love for your kids to drive you forward. It was trusting again after devastating betrayal and heartbreak. It was raising children in a culture and language that are not your native ones, watching them grow up with perspectives and outlooks different than your own and loving them in the face of obstacles, miscommunication and misunderstandings. It is the story of a life that you may not have chosen, but that you live joyfully for the love you feel for me and David.  Now that I’m a mom, I know you would go through anything for us.

Now that I’m a mom, I’m beginning to understand pure love and joy. I’ve watched Carter sleeping and looked up at the clock only to realize three hours have slipped by. When I am with Carter, my heart feels complete. I’m just beginning to realize that you feel this way about me too. Your greatest joys are not in my accomplishments or achievements but in me.  Just ME. And all your heart desires is to be close to mine.  I see that better now.

You may not hold the same religious beliefs, but I want you to know that motherhood has pointed me closer to Christ and God, just as it has pointed me closer to you. I understand in a better way my purpose and direction in life. I know more clearly what my priorities are. I know more of the depth and expanse of the love that our Father in Heaven feels for us and of the incomprehensible magnitude of the sacrifice the Savior made for us. Just as I don’t get the details of your giving to me and David, I don’t understand the Lord’s actions for us. But now I know better what I do not know. And I know that it is real.

Motherhood is love, and love is God, and God gives us power to do impossible things. The work you have done and continue to do is the most powerful and important work of God. I am so very very blessed to be yours. 我愛妳! I love you.

Love,