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Sunday, May 25, 2014

"It's Not About The Money"

I am going to jump to the punch line and tell you how the title of this blog came to be, and then I will tell you what it means to me.

One day in 2012, I had just come from talking with my sister in law Trin, I don't remember what we talked about. I walked out her front door, down the stairs and down the walkway; turned left on the sidewalk, and then took a half right out the neighbor's driveway onto the 700 North. Just as I got about half way across the street, my brain was opened and the words "It's not about the money"came pouring in.

Now if you have ever received revelation you know that it usually doesn't always come like that. It is  quite and subtle, and can make you wonder if it was just you talking to yourself or Father actually sharing something with you. In this case there was no doubt it was Father! There have only been a few times that he has ever shared anything like that with me in such a direct and matter a fact manner, so he had my full attention. I was very excited because I knew my perspective would never be the same concerning money.

A bit of a background on me. I come from a very poor upbringing. My Dad's focus was always on the fact that we never had enough money, which we didn't. Many of our clothes were handmade and from the local thrift store. Some Christmas mornings were met with very few gifts and/or gifts with someone Else's name on it that had it before us. Six of us lived in a three bedroom single wide trailer with panel thin walls. The front of the trailer was rusting away from the water cooler  on the roof that was leaking. And there was always a car broke down in the front yard. Many meals consisted of fried potatoes and/or scrambled eggs. We were what you would call "Trailer Trash". We fit the mold perfectly.

With that insight, when I finally got out on my own and made money it didn't last for long because I didn't know how to save. That has been a trail that I have dealt with my whole life. As I look back on my life, I understand why it was such a problem, I was never taught. I always had money, just never enough to pay the bills and rent on time, or at all. I am surprised and grateful that despite this flaw, I still found someone that would marry me and trust me. Being without money, or having very little is harder on women than men. Women want that security.

It's not like I an lazy or don't like to work. I am one of the hardest working people I know. I have been hired away from many temp jobs because I am such a good worker. My patriarchal blessing says: "Become the best and well skilled in all that you do. "There is great pleasure in work and the Lord intended that we should be faithful and diligent in pursuing labors in this life." I have pondered over that for years wondering what it means. It seems obvious, but council from Father is never really what we think it is, and it can mean many different things.

What does the title of the blog mean to me? I have to admit that I didn't know what it meant to me when it came to me. I just knew it was going to change my life. As I have thought about my employment history, at times I felt very dysfunctional and inadequate and wondered why I struggled with it. Since that great and wonderful insight, I realized that my "in between jobs" moments were actually learning moments for me to put my trust in Father.

Many times as I read the scriptures, and before I did, I would ask Father to give me direction as to what I should do about finding work and money. Whether it was in the chapter that was next in my reading or if I did my "random scripture pick", the council would be:

Matthew 6:31-34

"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed.

(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."    

For many years this was hard council to take and accept because it meant I would have to ask for help from my Church, and ask landlords to be patient, and be late on bills. I just couldn't see how this was part of Father's plan for me. It just didn't make sense. And for many years it wouldn't make sense but I would still follow His direction because that was my best choice. This all changed in the last year when it finally clicked!

This life isn't meant to be comfortable and easy. If we desire to return to live with Father and Jesus, and all of our loved one's, we should expect to be tried and tested. A dear friend calls this the "Abrahamic sacrifice". Abraham wanted a son more than anything, but his wife Sarah was unable to have children until her old age, when she had Jacob. In time Abraham was asked by Christ to sacrifice his son to Father as a sign that he would do all that was asked of him. When it came to the final act Abraham didn't have to make the actual sacrifice. His willingness was enough to satisfy Father. Each of us will have our own sacrifice to make that will require of us to sacrifice that one thing that means the most to us. Christ gave his life for us, we should be willing to give ours back in return. Church President Ezra Taft Benson said "Many are willing to die for their religion, but how many are willing to live for it?" 

For Lynsie and I, giving up our will to the will of Christ was our sacrifice. I have to admit that I didn't realize that is what I wanted more than anything. I wanted to be obedient and do all that was asked of me, I just didn't realize to what depth we would be tested. What made this so hard was not knowing how we would make ends meet. Sometimes we didn't. Our phones were turned off twice, and the last time we were dropped altogether. We were on the verge of having our gas and utilities turned many times. At times all we had was spare change that wasn't enough to buy gas or food. And what was even more humbling and humiliating, was being directed to go to our local church leader and ask for help with rent and bills multiple times. This is where the words "It's not about the money " really sunk in. It was about putting our complete trust in Christ, not in the money. Elder Russell M. Nelson said in the April 2014 General Conference, "Yet so many people look only to their bank balance for peace."

I know those around us had their opinions as to what we should do to remedy our situation. As humans we want to "fix" that which appears to be broken without really seeing that the best thing we could do is ask if help is needed. If not, then give support, don't judge, and love. Some of our hardest trials were knowing and feeling the judgements of those that should have loved us and supported us the most. But knowing of what other's were saying actually made me stronger because I knew that what we were going through was from heaven and making us more faithful.

I was aware that this trial was much harder for Lynsie than for me. I had been going through this trial for many years so it was a bit easier but still a challenge because I didn't know how to trust myself, the way I do now. I can honestly say that I am very grateful for that trial and all the trials I have had because they have made me the person I am today, and I like who I am!

In closing I will share one of my favorite scriptures with you. It is found in the Book of Mormon, Jacob 2:17-19

Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you.
But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.
 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.
To me, this is what life is about. It's not about the money!


    

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