By small and simple things

Two Sundays ago I woke up and made Trevan a special birthday breakfast. Well, not incredibly special, just pancakes with whipped cream and strawberries, and scrambled eggs with sausage. But I did bring it to him in bed (a tradition in our family for those who have a birthday), so that was something.

After that, I went downstairs and turned on the Roku to see what program I could watch to kick off my Sabbath before the kids woke up. Originally, I thought I might find an episode of the discussions on the scriptures from BYUtv. My mom has raved about them many times. Since I interruptions were imminent and I enjoy those more when I can have uninterrupted focus, I instead selected a talk from the October 2017 General Conference. Scrolling through the sessions, I decided to watch John C. Pingree’s address called, “I have a work for Thee”.

His opening words were:

“To Moses, God declared, ‘I have a work for thee’ (Moses 1:6). Have you ever wondered if Heavenly Father has a work for you? Are there important things He has prepared you—and specifically you—to accomplish? I testify the answer is yes!”

And while I usually think that kind of a message is talking about my blog, books, and podcast, etc., I also know they very much refer to family history research and my family history calling (a.k.a. my assignment at church).

Normally, I feel like I should be making some kind of giant splash with my work, but the thought often overwhelms me and sometimes renders me motionless. Gratefully, in that moment, the Spirit gently nudged me with a simple idea of what I should do next. I was to put on my Sunday clothes and go to each of the 4 buildings in our stake, and post the pamphlet about “Language Skills Needed” on the bulletin boards at each of the buildings. That’s it. That’s all I needed to do. It wasn’t a big splash, but it planted a seed.

I knew that if I did my part to get those pamphlets posted, the Lord could guide the right people to notice them. I was reminded once again that it is by small and simple things that the Lord does his work. Knowing this helped me calm down and enjoy my day just a little better.

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God multiplies things

Diana with her husband

Here is another installment in my Tender Mercies article series. Today’s story comes from Diana Johnson, who writes:

Leslie, I’m so grateful I met you about 7-8 months before my husband’s stroke. Reading your books increased my faith and helped put me in the frame of mind to experience so many miracles. With all my heart, I KNOW that God multiplies what we have when we share! He has already shown this to me.

Back in 2006, I gave my sister my share of profits from the sale of our parents’ home (about $10,000, because she was in dire need). We were in need as well; but I felt her need was greater. That, plus a loan of about $3,000, which I eventually forgave.

Ten years later, my husband suffered a massive stroke, and could no longer work. Miraculously, it happened when his Wal-Mart bus run was cancelled due to BYUI students leaving for Christmas. Otherwise, his stroke would have occurred while driving a busload of students!

And when our need was the greatest (after my husband’s stroke), the amount I gave my sister was returned to me, multiplied, in a miraculous, unexpected way:

I received a certified letter in the mail, which at first I ignored, thinking it was just another notice from the IRS. When I finally picked up the letter from the post office, I was informed that a previously unknown retirement was waiting for me from BYUI, where I had taught for 15 years. I had worked part-time, but was told that part time and adjunct instructors receive no retirement. Yet, here was a certified letter informing me of a lump sum which had been held for me for years, and growing without my knowledge. 

That unexpected retirement was close to $24,000, equivalent to one year’s salary that my husband made at a part-time job just before his stroke. And this has lasted us much longer than a year, due to other financial miracles: donations, an unexpected deposit from Social Security to our credit union account with a letter (which showed up later) informing us that they had not credited my husband properly for his military service!

While my husband was still in intensive care, I also received a call from DMBA (my retirement account), informing me that they had discovered another $5,000 plus that was owed me. This was exactly the extra amount I needed to pay for home medical equipment I had ordered, and didn’t know how I would pay for it! 

And then, when my husband suffered a relapse, putting him back in intensive care, my son tried to give us a thousand dollars to help pay the hospital bill.  They were expecting a new baby, so I told him to keep it until they had enough saved for their baby.  But two days later, I received a hospital bill discounted over $1000 (beyond the Medicare discounts)!!… 

…I have learned that when we live in LOVE, FAITH, and GENEROSITY, the Lord can return the same for us, in every time of need!

You can read more about Diana’s miracles here.

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What about you?

So, maybe you’re not a millionaire. Maybe you haven’t yet realized that big vision for your life. Maybe your relationships aren’t what you want them to be. Maybe you’re still waiting for that breakthrough that never seems to come. Maybe you struggle with your health, or maybe you’re caring for someone else who is.

But even so…

Have you seen God’s hand in your life, sustaining you from day to day?

I want to hear about it. Submit your stories here!

#RareFaithTenderMercies
#ModernMiracles

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The rest… already winners

My friend Kevin Allen gets a donut and a drink at the local QT convenience store every morning, and has done so for years. Sometimes he writes about his encounters there, and they never fail to entertain, amuse, or inspire. Now, with his permission, I am excited to begin sharing his “QT Chronicles” here at my blog.

Enjoy!!!

QT Chronicles, by Kevin Allen
March 14, 2018

I go to the same CircleK every morning, when I’m not at QT. Today the lines were longer than normal and I accidentally chose the correct, faster-moving line. I hope it doesn’t throw off the Universe.

I watched the other line as a guy started doing his “Lotto business” for the week. (It’s Wednesday.) There were only two people behind him but I assure you, he is still there now (an hour later) organizing for the big win he will have tonight. My turn at the front of my line I looked over and called the two people waiting to come and get in front of me, even though there were a half-dozen people behind me. To my surprise…NOT A GRUMBLE. Everyone agreed with my actions.

The guy that jumped at the opportunity first checked out before me and paid for my donut and health-food drink. I thanked him and paid for the guy behind me. I watched as he paid for the guy behind him. It went at least four generations before I had cleared the store doors. Easy enough with everybody holding no more than a donut and coffee and some just coffee. Nobody but the guy who bought my stuff paid any more than normal, and yet, everybody felt like they had done a huge “good turn” for the day in buying someone else’s treats. The clerk had fun too.

When I left, the store was full of smiles, except for one guy who was oblivious to it all, as he organized himself to win a hundred million dollars tonight.

The rest of us are already winners.

QT ChroniclesMarch 14, 2018I go to the same CircleK every morning, when I'm not at QT. Today the lines were longer…

Posted by Kevin K. Allen on Wednesday, March 14, 2018

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Letting God Finish our Masterpieces

 

I could see in her eyes that it wasn’t good news. After hours and hours of hard labor with my fourth child, my midwife told me I hadn’t begun dilating. In fact, my cervix wasn’t even fully effaced. Seriously?

I was ready to cry.

With each of my other pregnancies I felt like I had some control. To get my contractions to increase in frequency and intensity, I paced. All over the house. And it worked!

I have proof:

  • Baby #1 – I arrived at the hospital dilated to a 7.
  • Baby #2 – I arrived at the hospital dilated to a 6.
  • Baby #3 – I arrived at the hospital dilated to a 5.

And the nurses were awesome. They let me wait to be admitted while I continued pacing and progressed to a 7 or so.

So here I was broadsided with this news about Baby #4.

Death by Castor Oil

Now to be completely truthful, I may or may not have tried to tempt Fate. I was worried that my husband would miss Baby’s debut if we didn’t have her that weekend. So I took castor oil.

Let me give you a hint. DON’T. EVER. TAKE. CASTOR. OIL. No questions asked. Just don’t do it.

So after the unspeakable effects of the castor oil, it seemed to affect my labor like Pitocin. What do I mean? Well, basically my contractions were super hard without progress.

What Now?

So my midwife delivered the news. I was devastated. See…in the past I simply walked off my pain. But now? Suddenly I needed major labor support. I felt so ridiculous! Like something was wrong with me. Here I hadn’t even begun dilating and we had used up just about every one of my midwife’s tricks!

Well…I gave myself a generous 30 seconds to decide my next step. I was really at a loss. But I felt that all I could really do was to surrender.

I had assumed I could control the situation…that I could hurry things along. But in reality there was nothing I could do. Except choose how I would respond.

If I was going to labor for another 5-10 hours, the only thing that made sense was to get some rest. So I chose to let go. We stuck a movie in (I have no memory whatsoever of what it was), and I laid down on the couch.

Understand – laying down was always the most painful way for me to labor. But it felt like the right thing to do.

Time to Give Up?

Let me back up for just a sec. During my pregnancy my midwife told me that when I started to feel like I was done…just ready to give up and go home…it would most likely mean that I was in transition. Interesting concept.

Okay. So hold that thought.

Back to the Story

I laid on that dang couch trying to sleep for about 45 minutes. It took a lot of self control to just stay there and breathe through those contractions. It was pretty miserable, but I already knew that pushing through and trying to make it happen wasn’t working. I didn’t believe for a second that I could progress just laying around, but what choice did I have?

I finally got up to run to the restroom, but as I stood up….OUCH!! I thought I was going to die. I had a horrible contraction, and I was DONE. I was exhausted, emotional, and I wanted to go home and forget the whole thing.

Wait.

This was kind of a deja vu moment. Didn’t my midwife say something about this?….Hmmm. Ah yes. She suggested these feelings meant transition. But there was no way…I wasn’t even fully effaced.

Still, I asked her to check me. She reluctantly did so, and then I watched the panic set in. I WAS DILATED TO 9 CENTIMETERS! The baby came about 15 minutes later. Yup. It’s true.

Letting Go

Isn’t it fascinating? How much time do we spend trying to control things? We want things to happen on our timeline. We want answers now! We want the pain gone NOW! And yet, it wasn’t until I finally let go of my timing and left it in God’s hands that I progressed. And it was much faster than ever before. By a LOT. God did more for my progression in those 45 minutes than I could have possibly done on my own.

Painting Your Masterpiece

Ya know? We all have things we are creating. We have these beautiful dreams we are painting on the canvas of life. And I, for one, am one of those people who just can’t walk away from these masterpieces. I guess I’ve always believed that the painting will never get finished if I’m not there for every last stroke.

Apparently it was time for these beliefs of mine to be challenged.

My baby’s delivery was a defining moment for me. It inspired a lot of questions.

Is it possible that we don’t really make things happen? Could it be that we are only part of the equation? Could we possibly be fighting against a Higher Power when we try to do it all on our own? And in our own way?

Be Still and Know That I am God

Are you good for me to just share my interpretation of all this?

Here goes…We don’t have to do it all. We don’t have to make things happen. We don’t have to be everything to everyone. And we don’t have to run faster than we have strength.

When we put forth our best efforts, we can slow down a bit. Take a step back. Then we can rest assured that Life will take care of the rest. We can let go and trust God.

Consider the peace that will come when we stop and remember that sometimes, in the stillness, the finishing touches are performed by the Master Painter, Himself. And in the end, with nothing more that we can do, our Masterpiece is beautifully and perfectly complete.

Author Stephanie Francom is a Mindset Mastery Certified Mentor and Genius Bootcamp Facilitator. Join Stephanie for our next Genius Bootcamp – Click here to learn more.

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For more on this topic, read Hidden Treasures: Heaven’s Astonishing Help with Your Money Matters (free!)

Related: Your ability to Create (video)
Related: How to Surrender, and why you’d want to

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