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I Am... Mama and Writer

First Mama.  Then Writer.  Though, of late, the latter has consumed a great deal of time as I work to get things in order to potentially be ...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Trials as Blessings

As any Christian should know, we are supposed to be thankful for the joys and blessings of life AS WELL AS the trials and difficulties. One of the trials in life is to recognize the trials as blessings - at this has been a great difficulty for me! Well, since our move to our current home, I have actually come to see many of our trials and difficulties as blessings. My shortcoming (failure?) has been in the LONG time it takes me to recognize them as such. Translated, that means that whilst in the trial I'm all down and depressed and feeling like either Jess or the world is beating up on me/us. It can certainly seem like that, of course. And so I realize that I'm not a ridiculous person to have these feelings. But when I have been able to "see with spiritual eyes," as it were, and discern the gift in/of the trial I've felt disappointed in myself for not seeing with those clear eye while in the MIDST of those trials. Ya know?

I feel joyful and thankful during this, our current trial, because I can see the hand of The Lord at work in our lives even while IN the difficulty.

As a reminder, our car broke down and we sold it for $200. I'm not sure if I mentioned that the problem was that it was overheating. Jess thought he could remove the thermostat and it would be fine, but that particular car cannot operate without a thermostat. Anyway, it became a really troublesome situation and took two and a half days worth of Jessie's time off to deal with. Not only was the money spent really not available, per se, but Jessie's time away from the girls was SUPER expensive to me. In fact, the time he was not able to spend with them troubled me more than the monetary expense since we technically had the money as a result of that extra gov't money we received this year.

Anyway... all that info is really just to draw an interesting coinkydink for you later....

Last night the van broke down. Yeah, can you believe it? Poor Jess is feeling like the world is VERY heavy on his back right now. First the car, then his illness, the realization that our bills and growing disproportionate to our income (due to increased student loan payment), and now the van. :( I know I've mentioned before that he's been pretty stressed out lately. (We have, but I would say I'm definitely in the "eyes of the spirit" ability through all of it a bit more than ever before - so it's not weighing super heavy on me.) He just felt like the added burden of the problem with the van was unbearable.

The problem? It overheated... for the second time (and third time to get too hot - while I'm not TOO certain of the distinction, I know it is an important one). So, Jess came in from work last night REALLY dark. I mean, his whole countenance was just DARK. When he came in from parking the van he didn't speak to me, so I knew something was very wrong. He told me about the problem and I felt concern, but not really worried.

As it happens, I felt immediately that we could not spend anything to repair it via a shop (or really at all) because of our financial situation. And, honestly, I was thinking more in terms of finding rides for Jess to get to and from work and asking around for HELP. I had some specific ideas of help we could ask for, but not sure who or how to ask.

Jess went to bed and I sat up pondering upon the problem. I, basically always, feel that when something goes wrong it is a direct result of something I've done wrong. I've had this feeling as long as I can remember (way back in 6th grade I remember this feeling!). Anyway... I kept sitting there and trying to figure out ways I could fix things and sort of praying without formally praying. There came to me the very distinct impression as a voice in my mind, "It isn't about you this time." And I felt SO relieved and just better. But then I wondered what Jess had done wrong! (So typical of me, really.) He hadn't done anything wrong. Just in case you're wondering, but the answer to my wondering mind came as I read the next Chapter in my Book of Mormon. Alma 32 I won't go into the realization that came to me for numerous reasons, but if you know the chapter and my family, you may have a pretty good clue without it. :)

Anyway... the funny part about all of that (wondering and realization) is that I was sitting there prior to reading and thought, "How likely is it that the answer I need will be in the next chapter I would be reading anyway!?" And then, as I started to read I thought, "Well, it probably won't be here, so I'm going to skim through here until I feel some peace and feel some sort of understanding." All of that I thought while I was still in the first verse. Well, it didn't take long before I felt completely at peace and sure that the very chapter I was reading did, in fact, contain the answers and understanding I desperately sought.

And so, I began to be in the "seeing with spiritual eyes!"

I had pondered long about who I should call for help and how I could/should handle the situation. When it came time for my prayer before bed I brought my ideas to the Lord and mentioned that I thought I should call our Home Teacher and Relief Society President. The VERY specific response was, simply, "Call Joey." I asked again about calling our Relief Society Pres and weather I should call the compassionate service leader instead. The same response came very quietly, but almost sternly, "Just call Joey." So, I felt it was super clear that our Home Teacher should be the one and only call I needed to make. I went to bed feeling calm and relieved.

I don't know if I've mentioned how I tend to be a sort of "satellite dish" of people's feelings. But this ability/curse is especially strong with people I know well and love deeply. Well, Jess, obviously fits into that category.

I woke up with the girls this morning to give Jess a couple hours more to rest (he's usually up with the girls because I have had a VERY difficult time sleeping well at night). I called Joey almost first thing because he usually goes for a bike ride on Saturday mornings, so I figured I'd probably end up leaving him a message. He was actually home preparing to depart for the week! So, we talked and I shared the difficult situation in which we found ourselves. After all of it he asked how he could help. I told him I wasn't really sure, but that I hoped he might have a suggestion of something he might be able to do or someone to call - but that I felt I should just ask him for help. He told me that his brother-in-law was REALLY good with vehicles, so he would give him a call and let me know what he found out.

Jess woke up soon after and he was hyper stressed. I started to feel really worried, which I think goes back to the "satellite dish" issue more than my own personal feelings. He was just sure that we should take the van to a shop or some such suggestion. I was equally sure we just needed to just ask for help and told him I'd already talked to Joey. Jess felt that he really had to do SOMEthing, which I can totally understand and relate to. So, he went and made a call to our Elder's Quorum Pres and left a message there. Joey called back soon after and Jess talked to him and then got to work on trying to remove the thermostat (do you remember the car!? thus the funny coinkydink).

As far as I knew, Jess was working on trying to remove the thermostat when he came back to talk to me (I was lying down with the non-stop headache I've had for more than 2 weeks now AND, of course, fatigue). He seemed weird, but wasn't DARK anymore. The weirdest thing about the way he came back to talk to me was that he asked me to sit up in bed. This is a never-before-made sort of request, thus strange.

I sat up and he started to tell me a little story. He told me that Joey had just stopped by and given him the bag Jess now had and tole a story of his own. The story was one Joey shared with me right after it happened.

Basically, Joey has a full-time job and does side work for extra money. Well, about 9 months ago he did some of that side work on a Sunday, which he normally would not do. Subsequent to that he didn't receive ANY side work at all until this past week. Joey told Jess that he was sure he received the extra work this week so that he could help us!

Jess Weirdness
So then Jess hands me the bag. By this time my hubbie has already mentioned to me that the needed thermostat was in it, so handing me the bad felt rather weird. Next Jess tells me to open the bag and I felt this sort of creepy weirdness around him again. But I opened the plastic bad anyway. In the bad is the thermostat box and a receipt. On the back of the receipt Joey has written other possible parts that may need to be replaced in the repair job and their respective prices. That touched me because it was SUPER thoughtful and just a bit of "extra mile" sort of thing. Next Jess tells me to open the box. REALLY WEIRD weirdness from him. I did. In the box is a yellow piece of paper that says, "Thanks for being such good friends. Joey" And I started to get all teary eyed because here we are asking for help and HE is thanking US for being good friends! I look at Jess and he gives me this strange look like, 'anything else?' So I look in the little box again and there I see what looks like a 20$ bill. I get even more teary eyed and pull it out only to realize that it's a STACK of 20$ bills!!!! Obviously, if you know me, you know I was full on crying at this point. And NO, I'm not joking. I am TOTALLY 100% serious! $200 worth of 20s, as a matter-of-fact! Can you believe it?!?!! A crazy thing about that amount is that the most expensive replacement part listed on the back of the receipt was $209 and some change!

The really funny thing about this amazing gift is that just earlier this week I'd used one of my Dad's super corny jokes about money in talking with someone. The person with whom I was speaking had asked if there was some way she could help me and my family. I'd pulled out the, "Oh... no. Unless of course you have a stack of bills lying around that you don't need!" Yes, I know, it IS a totally lame joke and felt really REALLY silly for using it. But it's almost as if I couldn't stop myself! Seriously! Anyway... the fact that within the same week of saying such a ludicrous thing out loud and it happening is just beyond amazing, wonderful, and miraculous to me!!! We are so tremendously blessed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And, to continue my theme of the HUGE blessing of seeing with spiritual eyes:

Jess was pretty sure he needed to purchase a specific tool because of the tight situation he has to work in while trying to remove and install the thermostat. I don't know the name of the tool, but it has a universal joint and Jessie's description of it made total sense and I could see in my mind why it would be necessary. So I was totally okay with that expenditure (of gift money!), but he would need to find someone to help him get the part. So, we talked about how to handle that. I'd spoken to one of my Visiting Teachers because I was trying to line up a ride for my family to get to church and she'd already volunteered to take Jess to work, so I figured she wouldn't mind taking him to the parts store instead. So, he called her. And instead of driving him there, she picked up some tools from her husband's big rig (in which he had the needed tool) and brought it to our house. It appears that there is still a part of the tool Jess might need, but it's very likely that he will be able to borrow it as well. (Let's hope, right?)

So one of my VTs offered Jess a ride, another person offered to bring Jess to AND from work all within a couple hours of each other. Thus far we have not had to accept either offer because, as it happens, Jess got a ride into work with a guy who just moved into our little town about a week ago. This guy "coincidentally" works the same schedule as Jess and lives a few blocks away! Can you believe it?? Yes, I AM serious. Can't you just see how Father has prepared the way for our current difficulty to be less difficult - even a blessing?? Boy, I can!!!

I feel such abiding gratitude and even joy in this situation because of the "spiritual seeing" I have been blessed with!!

I have to admit I don't often feel or see the blessing in the constant headaches I've had... or the fatigue, either, for that matter. But I'm making SOME progress, at least. :) hehehe

In Other News about Tori
OH!! I have wonderful news to share. I'm very pleased and perhaps a bit impressed even with this tidbit. ... Assuming I walk today, I will have made it through my FIRST week of walking 6 days out of 7!!!!! Also, because of how last week worked out with the weather, as of yesterday I had walked 8 days straight. Cool, right? I feel good about it because I'm really listening to my body. For instance, even though I walked 50 minutes yesterday, the pace was super slow because I had a muscle cramp in my right side almost the whole time (at varying degrees of pain). I haven't been able to maintain my 80 minute goal, but I still feel really good about my accomplishments (especially just getting OUT and DOING it!!!). ^_^

about Ria and Kitty Kat
Ria and Kat finally got to talk to their Mimi. They want to talk to her every day, though they often don't mention it specifically. They'll say "Mimi," or "Papa" and I'll know they want me to call. My Mom, though, works quite a lot currently, so it's rather pointless to call most of the time. Of course, I do call anyway after some of those unasked requests so that they can leave a message or something.

Anyway, the point is that they both were able to talk to her and BOY, did they talk! I think Ria was on the phone with Mimi for at least 30 minutes. Seriously!!! I left her to it, much of the time, but when I was working on the cookies I was making (specifically for Jessie's midnight cookie run) I was able to hear and observe a bit. It was HILARIOUS! Ria was full of all kinds of sighs and intakes of breath. I'm definitely going to have to pay attention to how I talk on the phone because I can't imagine who else she's mimicking! I mean, Jess is like a poker player almost 24/7! So, it wouldn't be him.... It was entertaining.

Kat was MUCH more vocal on the phone with Mimi than she's been previously on the phone, in general. The really interesting part about the conversation was that I could TOTALLY tell that Kat wanted to tell Mimi about her own hair. So, while Mimi was listening I asked Kat a couple questions and then conveyed the statement Kat desired to share, which was basically, "My hair is really long in front. It hangs into my eyes. I don't like it, so I push it out of my face." After I conveyed that message I asked Kat if that's what she wanted to tell Mimi and she was just tickled pink that I'd said the right thing! What a joy to be able to interpret correctly!!! ^_^

And to share something that I sort of take for granted, but realize I probably shouldn't... so I want to compliment my eldest daughter to you: Ria cleans her own room and has been really successfully doing this since just before her 4th birthday. The closet in which she keeps her toys is not super organized, but everything is put away. Her books are even stacked properly with her 3 different sets stacked together in groups. She's wonderful, don't you think?

I love my family!!!

1 comment:

Heidi said...

Another great example of Heavenly Father always looking out for you! You seem to have a great ward too! Thanks for posting this story!

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