Thursday, August 15, 2013

What Do I Know?

We are creatures of continual change and growth. That's how God made us. We have this deep, innate desire/urge to progress. We seek for knowledge and guidance, ways to learn and improve. We find comfort in answers, excitement in success, and peace in heavenly support.

We are imperfect. God made us that way, too. I like to call myself perfectly imperfect :)  I believe He made me this way so I can learn to trust Him with my weakness, and He can help me make them strengths.  It's a beautiful principle, really. In black and white, on a glowing screen, it rings true. But, in real life, it is harder to see, and even a bit scary to live.

At least, it was for me the day before I wrote this post.

I have two biological children. Twelve years ago I had a mandatory complete hysterectomy due to medical issues.  The night before my surgery I requested a blessing from my bishop. In it, Heavenly Father told me my family wasn't finished growing. I'll admit, I peaked open one eye and looked towards the ceiling as I thought, "You do know what kind of surgery I'm having tomorrow, right?"

Of course He did.

And of course He was right.

Three years ago my youngest daughter (then six) joined our family through adoption.  Most of my life, through my own intellect and His guidance, I've been able to figure things out. But, my daughter came with a slew of problems that were completely new to me.

The things she would do and say were difficult for me to understand and accept. Many a night I would cry myself to sleep, convinced someone else could be a better mother. I mean, what mother doesn't understand her child? What mother has no idea what is best for her child? What mother wishes she could go away on an extended kid-free vacation . . . for like a year? (Okay, that last one wasn't serious...mostly.)

Over the years she has grown and improved--and so have I. She has blossomed into a beautiful young lady who loves her family and her faith. Through prayer and study, I have obtained a greater knowledge, understanding, and skill in helping her. More times than not things run pretty smoothly around here, and all is well.

Until something like yesterday happens.

I won't say what she did. Sufficeth it to say, while visiting a friend's house she did something that was just off the wall crazy.

I get an "FYI" text from her friend's mom, and in less than five minutes I was bringing my daughter home.

I was so upset I wouldn't speak for the first ten minutes. I could have, but the well of my emotions would have violently spilled over. So, I kept quiet. 

When I was ready to talk, in measured and control tones, I informed her of the consequences of her actions, and sent her to her "thinking pad" on the floor to write sentences while I escaped to my room and cried.

What was she thinking? Who is this kid anyway? Haven't I taught her better? Doesn't she know better? 

The questions and doubts rushed through my heart and head and out my tears. I became angry, embarrassed, frustrated, and lost. What do I do with this child?

I counseled with my husband and a good friend, who offered peace and support. But, it wasn't until late last night that I received the answer I needed to hear from my Father in Heaven. And it wasn't the answer I was expecting.

My mind was taken back to my scripture study that morning. I had read Alma 40, part of Alma's letter to his son Corianton. He had been teaching Corianton about the resurrection, and came to a point of doctrine that Alma, himself, didn't know. I had underlined the last half of verse 5, which read, " . . . it mattereth not; for God knoweth all these things; and it sufficeth me to know that this is the case."

Alma didn't know all the answers. And he was okay with that.

Then a truth hit me like a ton of bricks: My anger and frustration didn't come from what my daughter had done, but from the fact that I didn't know why she would do it, and I didn't know what I needed to do to help her.

I realized I was upset because I didn't have the answers. (Perhaps that is why I enjoy writing so much--because not only can I control the questions, but the answers as well.)

I let that realization sink in a bit deeper in my soul as I rolled it around in my brain. The real reason I am angry is because of me. 

It's really hard when God shines a light on a weakness. As I said above, it's a beautiful theory and scripture (Ether 12:27), but in reality, it is really hard. And honestly, it took a few minutes for it to sink in. The problem is with me.

As soon as I accepted that God-given truth, the end of the verse came back to my mind, " . . . God knoweth all these things; and it sufficeth me to know that this is the case."

God knows my daughter. He knows why she does what she does. Even though I don't have all the answers about her, HE does. He knows I am weak, imperfect, and He still brought her to me. I find great peace in that. I need to trust that He knows all things. And I need to find the strength to be okay not knowing everything.

As a mom, I wish I had all the answers. In that respect, I'm like the millions of other parent that jokingly mourn the lack of a parenting manual. But I don't. I do all I can to educate myself--reading, studying, praying, talking, teaching, etc. But, even after all I can do, there are certain things that, in this life, I may never fully understand. And that's okay. Because God does.

That's where the faith comes in. Not just the faith to know, but having the faith not to know. It's a hard concept, especially when it comes to your own kids. But, I have to say, in the light of the day, and my new faith and perspective, I am at peace.

My daughter came in to my room this morning to show me her sentences. She was happy and proud of her work, seemingly unmarred from the choices of the day before. I don't get it. But, He does. And that's enough for me.

I gave her a hug and told her I loved her. She smiled and said, "I know," and skipped out of my room.

I don't t know everything, but I DO know that God does. I DO know that God trusts me with her (my gift), and my other two children(my joy and my heart.) I DO know that God is parenting them with me. I DO know that as I follow His guidance I become a better mother. I DO know that I love my children and they love me. I DO know that He will take care of what I can't.

And I DO know that it's okay not to know anything else.


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