Friday, April 27, 2012

Clay and Talents

“But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand".” – Isaiah 64:8

I’ve always loved that scripture. I’ve always wanted to be humble and trusting enough to be the clay – to allow the Lord to mold and shape me, to give me the experiences I need to have, to become the finished product I want to be – the finished product I surely wanted to become when I waited anxiously to come to this earth.

But, I have to admit, being clay is painful, and scary, and being pushed and changed and molded is so uncomfortable.

I had to almost chuckle because about two weeks ago I had posted about how life with Anders felt calm and normal now. I had been feeling very much like I was on top of this little life of mine again. That very evening, circumstances changed making my life far more complicated and overwhelming. I feel sheepish to say much about it because it is the sort of thing that, trial though it is for me, it completely would be no big deal to many. But I have cried and struggled and felt such a sympathy and understanding of old Jonah who tried to leave his life – everything and everyone he knew – and simply run away to a completely new country just to avoid doing what the Lord had asked him to do; to avoid something that seemed hard and scary and overwhelming. I am such a wimp. But I absolutely know the Lord has been aware of me. It has been almost ridiculous the sheer number of things I have picked up and read that have spoken so specifically to my current circumstances. I have been reminded that even when he lets us struggle, he never leaves us comfortless. I have already grown and felt myself pulled and stretched, and beyond that, I have no doubt that before very long, the very things that are so overwhelming right now, will seem to be no big deal. Partly because I know myself: I know that one of my weaknesses down here is to be very scared, very worried, and very overwhelmed at the start of pretty much any new thing. But, before long, it becomes normal and fine and I have confidence in my ability to handle it, and gratitude to the Lord for giving me the ability to handle it so well. And partly because, at one of my very lowest crying and praying moments this week, I was reminded of these words that the Lord spoke to the people of Alma in the Book of Mormon when they were being persecuted:

“I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs . . . .

“And now, it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.” (Mosiah 24:14-15)

But, it is a strange thing this life. I recall a time when I was very small. I had stubbed my toe and it was stinging and hurting quite badly. At the time, I remember thinking, “And this surely isn’t the last time I will be hurt! I have a long life ahead of me, and there is absolutely no way I will make it through with out any more injuries.” That was a pretty frightening thought for a little girl as I tried to contemplate all the pain I might ever feel and how I would handle it. I am afraid I am still a little bit of that girl. I have learned a lot. I do, with all of my heart, trust my Heavenly Father, and, in honesty, I know that I don’t want to be let out of any experience that I need to have in this life to progress eternally, and, I know that I will be given the specific strength I need to meet each new thing, but there are moments when I am just feeling the pain from having “stubbed my toe” – or something much more painful – and I feel awfully frightened of all the inevitable difficult experiences there are yet to have in this life.

BUT! On a more positive note, already the chaos of the last two weeks is settling. Today, I have felt free to relax a little and do some of the things I simply enjoy doing. My Mike has been gone during this past two weeks of stress, and I am anxiously and excitedly looking at the clock and waiting for his arrival late tonight, and picturing how happy it will be to run out to the driveway to throw my arms around him and know he is here and mine.

And, my kids are cute and fun. Today Goldie came home and tossed her schoolwork on the table. A small paper on talents immediately caught my eye. In her nicest penmanship it read:

“It is nice to have talents. I will write about two talents that I have. First there’s fence climbing. I’m good even if it’s wet. and it’s fun. And I can see my neighbor’s yard.”

Oh I loved that. This very day I read an Albert Einstein quote that I had read before but forgotten. It said:

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”

That, along with Goldie’s awesome paper describing “fence climbing” as one of her best talents, made me so happy and reminded me how silly we are as humans – always going about comparing our weaknesses to others strengths and not even stopping to realize how amazing we are at things like climbing fences.


Perla said...

That was so so good, dear sister! I love you and am proud of you and I know that your going to do great. I also hope you'll share these little tender mercies and your testimony more often. Regarding our earlier conversation, I absolutely think it's appropriate to share these things. I think Elder Scott's advice/instruction is not something you should worry about because I think you've always used the spirit to know what is appropriate to share. These are the kinss of things that hero us to buoy each other up. Nearly 1/4 of our most sacred sacrament meetings is dedicated to allowing us to share our testimonies because that it effigies both ourselves and the listeners. Anyway, you're amazing and I love you!

Perla said...

Oh, and sorry that you have to translate so many of my words. I'm Swyping on my phone and sometimes it chooses a different word than what i'm thinking.

Nancy said...

Piece of cake. Kinss=kinds, hero=help, effigies=edifies (though I wish it was effigies). Thanks Shan. I love you.

Lara said...

I was very touched by this post Nancy. I hope you are able to find comfort while wrapping your head around whatever challenge has come across your path. You are a runner... Its hard to see what lies ahead when at the base of a hill. It may seem high and the climb tiring. But one foot in front of the other and you are on top again. With a fantastic view that might include a few more hills but a wonderful journey ahead.

Nancy said...

Thanks Lara. Perfect analogy for me right now.

Jana said...

I hope you have enjoyed a nice weekend with your honey home - although it was probably a very crazy Sunday given the circumstances! Just think, Monday will now be your favorite day too!

And I wish Shan had really meant effigies too!

Ashley said...

your blog is always so very very good, nancy. i find myself often doing the bare minimum on my own blog. its usually something i feel like i should get done, like a chore sorta. when i read your blog, i get the feeling you don't approach it with the same attitude i do. i have to keep telling myself that i have time still to become a GREAT blogger. if i work at it, in a few years, i could have a meaningful and insightful and charming and witty and unique blog too. you're an inspiration to me. i love you.

jami said...

you are amazing, do you know that? and when i read your words and your sweet testimony, i get the feeling that i need to do more and be more - and i admire you so much. (and have since the day i met you.)

i hope you know that your words made me feel so much better today. our little family drove through amish country yesterday, and it's SO beautiful. just farmland everywhere, and they are all out getting their fields ready, and it just made me cry. i think jason wondered how amish country could do that to someone, but i guess i was thinking of goodbyes and leaving and it's always a little bittersweet for me. i look ahead at our new challenge and am filled with worry and am overwhelmed at all it means for my little family, and i was so glad to blog hop here today. so thanks for all those reminders -- that the path is filled with things we need to help us become who we can be ... i am sending happy, hopeful thoughts for you as you begin a new challenge ... and thanks again for your sweet reminders. :)

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