Friday, March 23, 2018

Prayer and Brownies

When I pray for something, I usually want it right now.  I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one.  I recently heard a young man describe how prayer and brownies are alike: When you start craving brownies you wish you could have them magically appear right when you think of them so you could enjoy them immediately.  But that is not how it works.  You have to go through the steps to get them.  You have to make the dough, then patiently wait for them to cook and cool (at least a little).  Finally, after going through the steps, you get to have brownies.  Yum!

Prayer often works the same way.  You want something, and pray about it and ask for it, and wish it could magically appear immediately, but that is not the way it happens. (At least not usually.)  You have to go through the steps.  You ask, but then you have to do your part.  You have to work and do all you can to make it happen, and then you must wait patiently for God (or whatever your higher power is) to do the rest.  

We are in this very process now... this process of waiting.  As you may know, my 18-year-old daughter Madelynn has been struggling with severe joint pain throughout her body since January of 2017.  We have tried to do our part.  We have prayed, we have fasted, we have taken her to traditional doctors of different kinds.  We have taken her to non-traditional doctors of different kinds.  We have taken her to energy workers, foot zoners and therapists.  Still we have no answers.  And so we wait.  We wait patiently (most of the time).  We continue to do our part.  We continue to take her to doctors, and try pills, supplements and foot soaks.  We continue to research and pray and wait.  Just like the brownies, we want our answer and our help now.  But it just doesn't work that way most of the time.  As Jeffery Holland once said,  "Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven..."  but they do come. 

I have a close friend whose children are grown.  She and her husband wanted to downsize and get a house with an apartment in the basement to provide some residual income.  When praying they felt good about this move.  They did their part.  They remodeled their home and put it on the market.  It did not sell.  And it did not sell.  They lowered the price.  Still it did not sell.  They changed realtors.  Still it did not sell.  Just when it felt like it would never happen, and after months and months of doing their part and waiting, they got an offer.   They were thrilled!  They began looking at houses to move into.  They looked and looked and looked.  They could not find a house they liked that fit their criteria.  Soon they were down to having to be out of the house in 2 weeks, and still nothing.  They looked at renting an apartment.  They looked at staying with relatives.  They looked at buying a condo. 

One night the realtor called and told them about yet another house that had just been posted.  They went and looked at it the next morning.  It was perfect!  It had a basement apartment already finished and ready to go.  It was in a good neighborhood.  It was in their price range.  They made the offer.  Then, as if frosting on top, the family could be out in 2 weeks! Just when it felt like things were never going to work out, it all fell into place. 

Sometimes we have to wait, and it seems like forever - just like smelling the brownies and waiting for them to be done cooking and cooling, which also sometimes seems like forever.  

Whatever you are praying for, whatever you are waiting for, don't give up.  It might happen tomorrow, but it might not.  I agree with Jeffrey Holland, it might come soon, it might come late, it might not come until heaven, but it will come.  Good things come to those who wait.....who wait on their God.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

What Goes Around Comes Around

Last week I went to help my daughter and son-in-law set up a booth at a local boutique.  Across the aisle was a lady named Debbie setting up a booth to sell scarves.  I was familiar with this booth and the woman who owned it.  She sells the most beautiful scarves you have ever seen, and teaches you great ways to wear them.  I had bought from her before, and just happened to be wearing one of her scarves that night, which of course I showed her and expressed how much I loved it.  As Debbie set up her booth and we set up ours, she ran across a scarf with a very small stain.  She told me she could not sell it and offered it to me.  I was thrilled and thanked her.   A few minutes later she came across another scarf that had come apart across the seam on one side.  She also offered me this scarf.  I was stunned, and joyfully accepted.

What this very nice woman could not possibly have known was that two months earlier I had been at a hospital visiting my dad when a sweet little Hispanic woman came into the room to do some cleaning.  I had also been wearing one of those beautiful scarves that day, a beautiful aqua-colored scarf.  She oohed and aahed over my scarf.  We chatted as she cleaned the room, then she left to go on with her work.  A little later as I was leaving I saw her down the hall getting ready to go into another patient's room.  The thought crossed my mind that she would love my scarf, and I considered giving it to her.  I stood and debated with myself in the hall.  I didn't have anything else like it, and I really liked it.  She really liked it too, and would surely appreciate having it.  She was such a sweet lady.  Before I fully knew what I was doing I found myself walking toward her and taking off the scarf and giving it to her with a smile.  It felt surreal.  Had I really just done that?  I could not take it back.  Yes, I had really done it, and the smile on her face was a mile worth it.

What struck me now, standing at the boutique, was that I had not only been paid back, I had just been paid back double.  As I stood between the booth we were setting up and the booth that Debbie was setting up, I decided to let her know how her scarves had blessed my life, and the lives of others as well.  I told her the story and pointed out that what goes around comes around.  She was touched and grateful I had shared with her.  A few minutes later she asked me what color the scarf was that I had given away.  When I told her she picked out a scarf that color and handed it to me.  I was shocked.  I felt like I couldn't accept it.  It was too much.  I felt weak in the knees at her generosity.  She insisted I take it.  I felt completely overwhelmed by her kindness and generosity.  I hugged and thanked her and secretly vowed to keep passing good karma around.

I have been guilty of scarcity thinking in the past, but I am truly learning that what goes around comes around.  I am finding that when I give generously I somehow always have what I need when I need it.

Instead of being like a dam of water holding onto whatever comes my way and trying to keep it all, I want to be like a stream, letting good things flow to me, around me, and on to others so that many can benefit.  What goes around comes around.