After reading Spiritual Lightening by M. Catherine Thomas, I have been asking myself more frequently, "What does Heavenly Father want me to become?" I am a "to do list" person. I am a planner. I thrive on managing my time; it's like putting puzzle pieces together. I also like to set goals and measure my progress based on those goals. Doing is much easier to measure than becoming. :-)
Elder Paul V. Johnson recently taught, "Sometimes we want to have growth without challenges and to develop strength without any struggle. But growth cannot come by taking the easy way....Our personal journey through life will provide just the right amount for our needs. Many trials are just a natural part of our mortal existence, but they play such an important role in our progress."
And so, I ask myself now, "What does the Lord want me to learn from this most recent challenge in my life? Who does he want me to become?"
In a recent blessing from my husband, I was told that I will heal, but it would require patience.
President Uchtdorf describes patience thus:
Patience—the ability to put our desires on hold for a time
Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed.
Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!
Patience means accepting that which cannot be changed and facing it with courage, grace, and faith. It means being “willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us], even as a child doth submit to his father.”
Patience means to abide in faith, knowing that sometimes it is in the waiting rather than in the receiving that we grow the most.
I didn't think I had a patience weakness. When faced with challenges, for the most part, I tend to take them in stride, doing what I can in the moment (and then freaking out later when I realize what could have happened). As my health has been in question these past couple of weeks, I've had moments of frustration, emotional outbursts, and pure exhaustion. And yet, it's not so much the waiting that has gotten me down, but rather the unknown, the lack of control of my time that frustrates me the most . . . which requires a different kind of patience, maybe it's a different kind of waiting.
I guess this is a lesson on patience after all. In his last conference address, Elder Todd D. Christofferson spoke of chastening: "Divine chastening has at least three purposes: (1) to persuade us to repent, (2) to refine and sanctify us, and (3) at times to redirect our course in life to what God knows is a better path."
I think most of us hear the word "chasten" and immediately jump to purpose #1 - the need to repent! This talk made it so overwhelmingly clear to me that the Lord is involved in the details of our lives. The Lord's chastening is one way we learn who the Lord wants us to become. I think my current situation is one in which the Lord is helping me to refine and sanctify myself by learning to be patient. Patient with myself. Patient with my children. Patient with the doctors. Patient with the Lord's timing in all of this.
When I first came home from the hospital, I instantly wanted to be in control again. I started dishing out the nagging commands only a mother can give. I started to worry about my children not learning anything and "wasting their time" rather than doing something productive. I saw the things that weren't getting done and felt bad that I couldn't take care of it.
Elder Maxwell describes patience this way: "Patient--not hectic, hurried, pushy." For me that interprets: don't be so controlling!
Elder Paul V. Johnson puts it this way: "...these trials are not just to test us. They are vitally important to the process of putting on the divine nature."
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
And so, the Lord is truly chastening me. Maybe He is not calling me to repentance, per say, but He is giving me an opportunity to more fully allign my will with His, to become refined, to put on the divine nature. Hopefully, I will use the next week or two of recovery evaluating who I want to be when all of this is over. One doctor explained, “People ask me, ‘Will I be the same after this is over?’ I tell them, ‘No, you won’t be the same. You will be so much stronger. You will be awesome!’”