Written in June 2012
I've been wondering lately about faith. What exactly does it mean to have faith? Is it not questioning or acting in the face of questions? Do I have faith in the Lord even if I'm scared (sometimes completely terrified) of His timing or plan? How do I pray in faith for something He may choose not to grant? Anyhow, this isn't an answer, but it is a response.
As my children get older (and more of them join our family), I find myself concerned with our responsibility. I don't know how to raise these people. I don't know how to answer their questions or which principles to teach them. I worry about how prepared they will be for the world in general and their specific place in it. I worry about teaching them to work. I worry about helping them be healthy. I have no idea how to teach them to do the things I struggle with, but I don't want to watch them have the same struggles.
And then, one morning I have an idea to help motivate them to do their jobs. All it requires of me is a piece of graph paper and a willingness to do fun things I already wanted to do with them. And, before breakfast is over, my children are motivated. (Mostly. At least for the last week.)
And then one lunchtime I have an idea to add something to lunch. And before I know it, my children are happily eating a smoothie filled with the things they often ignore. Even more, they are generally liking it. (And even giving it a Zelda inspired name. And brainstorming what to add to the one tomorrow.)
I pray for direction, expecting to wait and wait and wonder and worry, only to find that not only do I feel drawn to an answer, not only does peace and calm replace most of the concern, but the Professor supports the answer calmly when I expected to have to convince him.
I am reminded of Nephi in the Book of Mormon who wrote, "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do." I am reminded of the Doctrine and Covenants where the Lord promises multiple times to give his followers what they need "in the very hour" of their need, whether it be food, or clothes, or words to say.
I have no idea how to be the parent my children need next year. I don't know how to parent teenagers. This transition from physical/mental needs of young children to emotional/independence needs of older children is disconcerting. But the Lord has always given me what I need when I need it. Over the last ten years He has helped me have patience, make educational choices, teach my children the Gospel, choose where to live, teach my children to work, teach my children boundaries, discover and address medical issues, and more. I'm learning to trust that He will still be there next year, and the year after that, and the year after that.
I feel like Peter. I've followed His counsel out onto the waters of life, knowing that I'm walking on water that I can't walk on. If I think too much about all my responsibilities, I feel paralyzed, unable to move forward. When I focus on Him, things fall into place and I move forward. I don't like the feeling of being constantly on the verge of sinking, knowing that I'm dependent on someone else. Ignoring all the reasons my choices don't make sense while following Him takes more faith than I usually have. And yet, as I listen and follow, like Peter, I find myself doing the impossible.