Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Steps into the Darkness

Noah and I have made some pretty big life changing decisions based on prayers in the last few months. These decisions require us to take some leaps of faith and steps into the darkness.
 I wanted to share some of the insights I have received and some of the messages I have found to help along this new journey.

After Noahs brother Keyn got in his accident (more on that here) we talked a lot about the future. The Sunday after Noah got home from Alaska we went to church and I cried almost the whole time, and felt so strongly that we need to be able to help Noahs family. Everything that anyone said seemed to just be more of a nudge in the direction that my feeligns were headed. When we got back to the car after church Noah and I both looked at each other and said, "We need to do whatever we can to help our family." The feeling was mutual for us that we need to be in a position to be able to help his family out and that being in Utah was not going to help us do that. We talked a lot about our options and looked into trying to do a humanitarian move through the military to Alaska to be there for his family. We looked into that  but it was not an option because Noah was not needed as the sole care provider. We then talked about a few more options and decided that we needed to go to the temple to pray about some of these major decisions.

While we were in the temple I asked the Lord what he wanted from us. I also pleaded with him that his answer would be clear and that I would be able to know exactly what he wanted from us. I was very scared because the questions were so life changing that I really felt like I needed to know what he wanted from me, so that when times got hard or the pathway did not seem so clear or brightly lit that I would be able to have the Faith to continue on.

After my prayer was over I waited for an answer and I received the most beautiful and peacefully clear answer I have ever received. I was told that we were supposed to get out of the military so that we could help Noah's family and that we needed to apply for jobs in North Carolina and Georgia, there were several other things that I heard that explained the reason for this answer. I was very confused about the last part because Noahs family lives in Alaska and we both were praying about getting out and moving to Alaska. I knew though that the Lord was very clear on where we should apply. When we finished praying Noah and I talked to each other, we did our typical 1-2-3 answer at the same time thing and I was brought to an even more greater sense of peace and clarity when I realized that Noah and I both received word for word the same answer.

The first tool I utilized during this time was Prayer.
I talked to Noah, I talked to my friends, I started doing research and nothing seemed to add up on paper to let me know that the decisions we had made were the right ones.
We had already got our confirmation from the Lord but it seemed like the more I talked about it, the more it just didn't seem to make sense. It was during this time that I remembered this quote that I heard years ago, "Have you prayed about it as much as you've talked about it?'
It was then that I realized that it was okay to talk it out with people, but that the only peace that would come to me in regards to this decision was going to come by talking to my Father in Heaven. It didn't matter that I had already recieved my answer, it mattered more that I continued to turn to him for peace as I followed his instructions. We knew it was what the Lord wanted, so who better to talk out the logistics with then him?

We left the temple that day and the very next day the military announced that they were doing a force management which basically means that they would let people who qualified and applied out of the remainder of their contract. Noah applied to palace chase which means that he would move from active duty Air Force into the Guard working 1 weekend a month. Things quickly fell into place for the Palace Chase move. An Air Traffic Control guard unit position opened up in Charlotte, North Carolina (which is almost unheard of). He applied for that and they were super excited to find out all of his ATC experience, and immediately said they wanted him. We then had to wait on the Air Force side to approve it. After waiting for 8 weeks on a process that should have taken 2 (he was one of the first to get his paperwork in) and watching several people he works with get approved after turning in their paperwork after him we finally were able to get a hold of someone who informed us that Noahs paperwork was misplaced. So we resubmitted and waited again. Just last Friday we were finally approved and as of May 31st, 2014 we will be out of active duty military and moving in Civilian life. 

Talking to the Lord and finding the peace that I needed was essential to moving forward on this new path, but the next part was a little bit harder. The next part required us to actually take the step, to move forward in Faith. 
Elder Richard G Scott said "When you are living worthy and your choice is consistent with the Savior's teachings and you need to act, proceed with trust."
Trusting the Lords answer and then trusting ourselves was essential. I'm the kind of person that just wants to see whats up ahead, not everything ahead, but enough to where I am confident in the decision I made. But where is the Faith and trust in that? It certainly takes much more Faith to take a step into the darkness with no light to lead your way then it does to see your pathway well lit. I was thinking about this exact thing when I came across a story that Boyd K. Packer told-

“Shortly after I was called as a General Authority, I went to Elder Harold B. Lee for counsel. He listened very carefully to my problem and suggested that I see President David O. McKay. President McKay counseled me as to the direction I should go. I was very willing to be obedient but saw no way possible for me to do as he counseled me to do.
“I returned to Elder Lee and told him that I saw no way to move in the direction I was counseled to go. He said, ‘The trouble with you is you want to see the end from the beginning.’ I replied that I would like to see at least a step or two ahead. Then came the lesson of a lifetime: ‘You must learn to walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness; then the light will appear and show the way before you.’ Then he quoted these 18 words from the Book of Mormon:
“‘Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith’” (Ether 12:6).

The trial of our Faith doesn't come from us staying put in the light. The trial of Faith comes when we follow the promptings of the Lord and take a step or two into the darkness.

Noah applied for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for an Air Traffic Control job. The FAA decided this time around that they didn't want anyone with Air Traffic Control background, they wanted to revamp the program and thought that bringing in inexperienced people of various backgrounds would help them with that, so Noah was turned down for the job offers. He has been applying for various other Air Traffic Control jobs around the nation but because all of the other 9000+ guys like Noah who didn't make the FAA cut either are also applying to these jobs the odds are not great. At times when I think of the logistics of being jobless with 4 kids in just a few months I am really scared. On paper it just looks bad. But in reality and in the Lords plan (which is still unclear to us) there is so much peace. With Noah going into the Guard we will still have Health insurance which is a HUGE relief for us. We have done as the Prophets and Apostles of our church have instructed and have 6+ months of savings as well as a TON of food storage. We have been formulating plans of what we will do if May 31st comes around and we don't have any job offers and we have put our Faith in the Lord. 

I love the Joseph Smith quote above. "Faith is the moving cause of all action." 
Every single step we have taken on this road since January have been steps into complete worldly darkness lead by the peaceful light of Christ. 
I have no idea what the next few months, or year or years hold for us. I don't have very many answers and I have lots of logistical questions, but I also have an incredible amount of peace and a renewed sense of strength guiding my steps. The Lords plan and my plan may not be the same thing, but we both want the end result for my life and I want to take his path to get me there, after all he truly knows the way better then I do. 

We have become very keenly aware through all of this, that just because you know you are doing what the Lord wants you to do, DOES NOT at all mean that your journey will be easy or that your pathway will be clear. It does not mean that because you are following the Lords pathway that everything will fall into place and work out perfectly, after all these types of journeys and trials are about building upon our Faith, and we can not easily do that if everything works out perfectly. Ive thought about the story of Abraham and Issac a lot these past few months and I am constantly reminded that the Lord knows all things. When he told Abraham to kill Issac he knew that Abraham would do anything he asked him to do, the lesson was more for Abraham to learn more about himself. Abraham learned how far he was willing to go for the Lord, he realized how strong his Faith was because it was put to the test. Sometimes I have wondered if when the time came if my faith would be strong enough, if it would be good enough and here I am having my Abrahamic moment and learning a little bit (okay maybe a lot) about me and about my Faith. On Mt. Moriah Abraham had his greatest sacrifice, when he with held nothing from the Lord, the Lord with held nothing from him. I hope that I am strong enough to with hold nothing from the Lord so that he has room to pour out and with hold not his blessings for me.

So while the road ahead is dark and its kind of scary to put one foot in front of the other when I can not see the pathway clearly and when I have no idea what the end of this looks like, its also really thrilling because my Faith in the Lord has increased and therefore so has my relationship with my Father in Heaven.

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