I am not alone. I have my dear children, my loving family, my friends, my church leaders, my neighbors, but of course none of them really fills that void of a husband to counsel with and build a future with. I pray alone to know what plans to make, what classes to take, how to have enough time for my children and homemaking. I wish to see what job I’m going to have and if it will provide well for my family, if I’ll get the opportunity to go to graduate school, and if my children will be okay, and so much more.
I have prayed and fasted to know what to do and have not seen a flashing neon sign in my mind telling me what is at the end. Not surprising, I know, but still, I was struggling to made decisions when I didn’t know exactly where I was going. I have been grateful to feel guided to my major and strengthened through my classes. But I thought I should know what I should do when I graduate in about 2 years. I prayed to see that so I could prepare now.
In the middle of my fasting, I had a quiet moment where I was able to pick up the May 2011 General Conference edition of The Ensign. I just happened to open to Elder Bednar’s talk “The Spirit of Revelation”. Here is a video of the talk, if you’d like to watch to it all, but I will quote a bit of it below (out of order).
I love how he explains that often our revelation is like the sun coming up at dawn, little by little, gradually beginning to lighten the day. It isn’t always like a light suddenly being flipped on and everything going from pitch black to completely light. Heavenly Father usually sends his revelation little by little and we need to learn to see that this kind of revelation is just as divine of a blessing. Me? I wanted a big flood light. The kind they have at the stadiums. I’m impatient like that and sure wish I’d hurry up and learn patience.
“Both the history of the Church and our personal lives are replete with examples of the Lord’s pattern for receiving revelation ‘line upon line, precept upon precept.’ For example, the fundamental truths of the restored gospel were not delivered to the Prophet Joseph Smith all at once in the Sacred Grove. These priceless treasures were revealed as circumstances warranted and as the timing was right.”
“As circumstances were warranted and as the timing was right.” Hmmmm. So if I have prayed about my future and it hasn’t been revealed to me, it’s because the timing isn’t right and I don’t need to know. Okay.
“The very ‘simpleness of the way’ (1 Nephi 17:41) of receiving small and incremental spiritual impressions that over time and in totality constitute a desired answer or the direction we need may cause us to look ‘beyond the mark’ (Jacob 4:14).”
I have felt guided and impressed to make certain decisions, but because I didn’t get it all at once (the light switched on), I was looking beyond the mark.
“This pattern of revelation tends to be more common than rare and is evident in the experiences of Nephi as he tried several different approaches before successfully obtaining the plates of brass from Laban (see 1 Nephi 3–4). Ultimately, he was led by the Spirit to Jerusalem, ‘not knowing beforehand the things which [he] should do’ (1 Nephi 4:6).”
Nephi did not get to see the big picture or have all his questions answered. He just obediently followed the promptings and direction he received. He didn’t know where he was going, but Heavenly Father did and that’s all that mattered. I don’t know where I am going, but my Heavenly Father does. I do not get to know beforehand the things I should do, but I will always be guided to where the next step should be. So step by step it is.
I also loved this part.
“’Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground. Therefore this is thy gift; apply unto it’ (D&C 8:3–4).
I emphasize the phrase ‘apply unto it’ in relation to the spirit of revelation.”
Receiving revelation takes work and preparation and requires us to be worthy of the gift of the Spirit.
So after reading this and feeling grateful that I understood what I needed that day, I had a new prayer. I did not ask to see everything. I asked to be guided to my next step and I expressed my gratitude.
The next day I had reason to express my gratitude yet again. I received news that I was awarded a scholarship for half of my tuition and a Pell Grant would cover the rest and my books. What a blessing. I was given a bit more light. One more step guided.
It reminds me of the part of Indiana Jones where he steps out, not seeing a path. I know, using pop culture to explain spiritual things... But it’s what I thought of.
So I’ll keep praying for patience and to see the steps I’m being guided to take without looking beyond the mark or ignoring the miracle of revelation in my life.