I had done all that I could do on my own. In fact, I had spent hours working towards my goal because I wanted the Lord to see that I really had given it my all. Finally. I had reached a point where I was feeling defeated and that I had wasted countless hours of my time. I was worried that what I had been praying for was never going to happen. If that was going to be the case I would let a handful of people down that were counting on me. I would then have to problem solve a whole other set of issues that would stem from my prayer not being answered (the way I wanted it to be). I dreaded having to face these issues and was running out of hope.
After a few days of dragging around this ball and chain of despair, I realized that if I continued on this "poor me" attitude it would take me on a downward spiral which would greatly affect my family and my well being. I wanted to be happy again, but I just couldn't find anything to be happy about. I was fatigued from the burden of doubt and hopelessness and began to lose my desire to be positively productive. I'd rather take a nap and sleep my unhappiness away. I knew I needed to do something more.
About mid morning, I knelt down in humble prayer and told the Lord how I felt. I let Him know that I needed His help. I told Him that I wanted to feel the Spirit and I wanted to be guided back to that place where I could feel strength and happiness. After that I went about the rest of my morning doing my daily tasks not feeling too much better but hanging on to my hope that the Lord had heard my prayer and would help me.
After the kids went down for a nap I felt strongly that I needed to read the January Ensign. Realizing that if I didn't read the Ensign I would probably opt to take a wasteful nap. I knew that at least by reading the Ensign I would open up a channel for the Spirit to speak to me. I had been praying for help hadn't I? I needed to then put myself in a position where I could feel the Spirit.
I opened it up to the very first page titled, Living the Abundant Life by President Thomas S. Monson. Intrigued by the title I began to read. Just a few sentences into the message I knew that this message was meant for me. The Spirit had guided me to it. President Monson gave counsel about how to reach your goals and find success. He spoke about having a positive attitude and believing in yourself. He said,
"So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment."
Though I have told myself similar words of comfort before and probably had given similar advice to family member and friends in the past who came to me needing a boost, it was the mere fact that I had been guided to these words and they were from a prophet, that I felt the Lord was speaking directly to me. Immediately I felt the warm wave of love and peace come over me.
President Monson concludes his message by saying,
"There will be times when you will be frightened and discouraged. You may feel that you are defeated. The odds of obtaining victory may appear overwhelming. At times you may feel like David trying to fight Goliath. But remember—David did win!"
I was already feeling that burden of despair leave my body. I put the Ensign down and thought I would rest for a minute and ponder on what had just happened. It was then I felt a sudden push or urge to pick the Ensign back up and that there was more. I flipped it open to Recognizing God's Hand in Our Daily Blessings by Elder D. Todd Christofferson. The subtitle read, Asking for and receiving daily bread at God's hand plays a vital part in learning to trust Him and in enduring life's challenges. Again that warm wave of love came over me.
These three paragraphs spoke right to me,
"Some time before I was called as a General Authority, I faced a personal economic challenge that persisted for several years. It ebbed and flowed in seriousness and urgency, but it never went away. At times this challenge threatened the welfare of my family, and I thought we might be facing financial ruin. I prayed for some miraculous intervention to deliver us. Although I offered that prayer many times with great sincerity and earnest desire, the answer in the end was no. Finally, I learned to pray as the Savior did: “Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). I sought the Lord’s help with each tiny step along the way to a final resolution.
There were times when I had exhausted all my resources, when I had nowhere and no one to turn to for help to meet the exigency before me. With no other recourse, more than once I fell down before my Heavenly Father, begging in tears for His help. And He did help. Sometimes it was nothing more than a sense of peace, a feeling of assurance that things would work out. I might not see how or what the path would be, but He gave me to know that, directly or indirectly, He would open a way. Circumstances might change, a new and helpful idea might come to mind, some unanticipated income or other resource might appear at just the right time. Somehow there was a resolution.
Though I suffered then, I am grateful now that there was not a quick solution to my problem. The fact that I was forced to turn to God for help almost daily over an extended period of years taught me how to truly pray and get answers to prayer and taught me in a practical way to have faith in God. I came to know my Savior and my Heavenly Father in a way and to a degree that might not have happened otherwise or that might have taken me much longer. I learned that daily bread is a precious commodity. I learned that manna today could be as real as the physical manna of biblical history. I learned to trust in the Lord with all my heart. I learned to walk with Him day by day."
Could I be grateful for slow solutions to achieving my goal? Yes, I could! God was aware of my situation and he would not let me fall into a circumstance that I couldn't handle. I needed to trust that He had an answer and that it had been slow in coming for a good reason. He wanted me to know that He hears me and wants to bless me. With His tender mercy he extended two magnificent blessings right away just to let me know He is there and to build up my faith.
My phone received a text. I looked down and read the glorious message. A new neighbor that I had been trying to befriend over the last couple of months had finally said, "Yes" to an invite I had extended to her. Not only had she said she wanted to attend a church activity with me, she let me know how much she was looking forward to it! This was the boost I needed to lift me up off the couch and get me back to my old self. I turned on the music and began to clean the house and cook a delicious dinner. I was so happy!!
I went down to the basement to gather some things and something told me, "Take your phone with you". I thought to myself, "Why?" I'll only be gone a few minutes. Then the voice said, "You are going to get an important phone call while you are in the basement, take the phone with you or you will miss this opportunity." So, I headed back up the stairs and grabbed my phone.
I was looking for 6 specific items in a pile of packed up boxes. To my surprise I found them much quicker than expected and right as I picked up the last item, I thought "This would be perfect timing if that call came now." And of course - my phone rang. I answered the call and yes, it was an opportunity of a life time. A lady in a position of great influence had came across one of my blogs and had tracked me down to propose an opportunity of a life time. We talked for a little while and she said she would get back to me if it her proposal was going to be possible. I was so happy! Realizing that yes, this opportunity might lead to nothing at all, I recognized that it was Heavenly Father's way of showing me that he cares about me and the things that I work hard on are making a difference. He knew this would make my day!
I ended up having a wonderful night and a wonderful weekend. Changing my attitude made all the difference. If I hadn't decided to reach out to the Lord, listen for the Spirit's guidance and then act, I wouldn't have had such an amazing experience. My testimony grew in leaps and bounds that day and I felt so much closer to the Lord. I still didn't have an answer to my 2 year long prayer however I could see that God was blessing me in so many other ways and that he had a plan, I just needed to trust Him.
I love that God is so forgiving and loving. I can tell you from my own experiences that I know if you let Him, He will show you How much He loves you. You just have to ask for it and then look for it. We may be waiting for an answer to a prayer that we are losing patience on. As soon as we lose our patience, we lose our trust. We then lose out on daily blessings He freely extends to us, because we choose not to see them.
Next time you are in a moment of despair, ask to feel the Lord's hand and ask for the Spirit to guide you. Then put yourself in a position to feel the Spirit. Read your scriptures, your Ensign, listen to hymns whatever it takes for you to be able to hear or read the words that God has sent for you. Be in tune and you will receive the daily blessings He knows you need to help you out of your despair. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.