About a month ago, my family thought my dad was going in for an outpatient angiogram at the hospital, and then were informed that his heart was in much worse shape than the surgeon thought it was, and that he would need at least 3 bypasses. He was then taken by ambulance to another hospital where he spent the night, and then went in for open heart surgery the next day. The night before his surgery, I spent a long time on my knees, pleading with the Lord to spare my dad. I just kept saying, “We aren’t ready, Father. We still need him.” After praying for probably an hour or so, I felt this overwhelming peace come over me, and the thought came into my mind, “Trust me. Just trust me.”
My dad’s surgery went really well, and he spent much less time on the ventilator and in the ICU than is typical. He also got to go home 2 days earlier than they originally thought he would. We feel very blessed, especially because he ended up needing 4 bypasses, and the doctor said he was very lucky he hadn’t had a heart attack already.
My dad was told he couldn’t drive for a month, post-surgery, so my daughter and I spent a few weeks in Utah this month, helping him get to his almost daily rehabilitation and doctor’s appointments. Then we followed that up with Christmas. I love, love, loved getting to spend that much time with my family, even though I missed my husband terribly. But, there was one downside. And that was the fact that my daughter sleeps HORRIBLY when we are not at home. It doesn’t matter if we are at a hotel or at a family member’s house… she just doesn’t sleep away from home. As you can imagine, that gets rather old after a while, especially because Jeff wasn’t there to share the middle-of-the-night parenting duties with me. I would say that Adeline woke up an average of 6 or 7 times a night. Many times, I just ended up bringing her into bed with me because that was easier than getting up a million times.
During one of these times when I was lying in bed, with a toddler sleeping half on the bed, and half on my face, I started thinking about what an awesome responsibility it is to be a mother, and about the great trust my daughter has in me–and whether or not that is always deserved. After all, I make mistakes every single day, and I know that is only going to continue throughout my daughter’s life. Sometimes I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing… AT ALL. And yet, when my daughter can’t sleep at night when we are in a strange or new place, the only thing that soothes her is my touch and my voice. When she gets hurt, the only person she wants, is me. And, when she is excited or proud of herself, she wants ME to notice her accomplishments and praise her. When I am making dinner, instead of using her newfound freedom (meaning, I can’t pay as much attention to her), she stands at my feet and tries to climb up my legs. She just always wants me. Me. A human being full of flaws. Me. A mortal woman who tries her hardest, but falls short every.single.day. WHY? Why does she trust me so much?
I have a few ideas about why this is, but that’s not really the point of this post. The more I thought about this concept, the more my mind started making other connections. I first started thinking about the experience I had the night before my dad’s surgery, where the Lord told me to simply trust Him. And then, I started thinking about my relationship with God. After all, I am His daughter, just like Adeline is mine. There are so many parallels between my relationship with Him and Adeline’s relationship with me… But with one major difference. HE IS PERFECT. He has NEVER given me reason to not trust Him. But do I? Do I really trust Him with the same trust Adeline has given me? When something bad happens in my life, is He the first One I turn to? When something great happens to me, do I immediately look to Him to let Him know how excited I am? Do I trust ALL of Him with ALL of me? With my whole heart?
Here’s a little analogy to illustrate what I mean. When we were in Utah, Adeline went sledding for the first time. She first rode with her cousin Lyla, who is 8 years old. She didn’t hate it, but she didn’t love it. The 2nd time, she wanted to go with Connor, who is 4 years old, and probably (okay, definitely) not as careful. She ended up TOTALLY face-planting in the snow–HARD. She was not too happy about it, either. She didn’t want to go again, but I don’t want her to grow up wimpy, so I made her go again. This time Adeline went in the middle of Abby, who is 10, and Lyla. I was pretty certain things would go well because she was wedged in between the two older girls, and I knew that they would try to protect her. She cried the whole way down, but she survived.
But do you know what amazed me about this experience? I was the one who made her go down again, even though she didn’t want to, and yet, when they were safely down the hill, and although she was still hysterically crying, she reached for ME. I was the reason she was miserable, but still, she wanted ME to comfort her. Isn’t that incredible? What did I ever do to earn that kind of trust and forgiveness?
On the other hand, I think to myself about all of the times I have been afraid, or hurt, or worried, when instead of reaching for my loving Heavenly Father to comfort me, I have pushed Him away, and been bitter and angry. That’s not to say that when unfortunate things happen in our lives that it’s not okay to feel bitter and angry. It is only natural and can actually be quite healthy to deal with our uncertainty in that way for a time. But my question is, are we as quick to trust Him as we are to be angry with Him? After all, He has never, ever, ever given us reason to not trust Him. Sure, our lives don’t always go as planned, and we sometimes find ourselves dealing with a lot of grief or pain. But He has never left us alone or comfortless. In fact, if we feel alone or comfortless, it is usually because WE have distanced ourselves from Him.
I have thought a lot about what I want to do to become a better person in the coming year. While I am sure there are MANY things I can improve on, the one that just keeps coming to me is that I need to do better at simply trusting the Lord. When something great happens in my family or in my life personally, I want to rejoice with Him. When something sad happens or when I am worried, I want my natural reaction to be to trust Him. He has never let me down before, and the scriptures say He never changes. Therefore, He will not let me down in the future, either. So, my goal for the coming year is to be quick to trust the Lord.
Now, I will admit that having this goal sort of terrifies me, because, let’s be honest, I’m probably asking for trouble. After all, when you pray for patience, the Lord doesn’t just gift you patience. He usually gives you experiences that and places people in your life who test your patience. When you pray to have more compassion, He doesn’t just give you compassion. He gives you opportunities to develop it. So when I start praying and working on trusting the Lord, I am certain that He’s not just going to wrap trust up in a box and give it to me. No, I expect that the way I will develop this trust is by having experiences that will test me and try me. But in the end, I hope that I will still see the beauty in life, and find joy this year, as I develop a deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father, and my Savior, Jesus Christ. Now, who’s with me?!