What next, Lord?
Have you ever gone to God, pleading for an answer? And then in turn, have you felt that clear, clarifying light that enters your mind as you receive it? It is one of those moments where nothing is felt but peace, so much peace that you wish you could grasp it in your hands and hold onto it forever. When it happens, whatever the answer is, do you have the courage to follow it, no matter what?
I'm caught in a moment of faith in my life where I am actively seeking, and doing. I have seen His beautiful plan for me, set it in motion in all aspects of my life, and have now found myself asking, "What next, Lord?" Well, sometimes, He gives you an answer of action, and sometimes, the harder way for me, He tells you to wait and see what He has in store. I have experienced both in different ways in the last few weeks.
On September 10th of this year, the prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posted this guidance on his FB wall... (how's that for latter-day saints? haha) He said,
"Great power lies in learning who you really are. Please take time to think prayerfully about these facts:
•You are an elect son or daughter of God. •You were created in His image. •You were taught in the spirit world to prepare you for anything and everything you would encounter during this latter part of these latter days. That teaching endures within you!
Learn for yourselves who you really are. Ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, how He feels about you and your mission here on earth. If you ask with real intent, over time the Spirit will whisper the life-changing truth to you. Record those impressions and review them often, and follow through with exactness.
I promise you that when you begin to catch even a glimpse of how your Heavenly Father sees you and what He is counting on you to do for Him, your life will never be the same!"
Reading that has touched my life, and I have read it many times since, also sharing it with my own children and husband as well. I have had special experiences teaching my oldest daughter, Lili, to use this counsel in her life. I have seen her face light up as she has come to the knowledge that her Heavenly Father loves her, and has a special plan for her. I have seen her set her own goals according to this knowledge. He truly cares about each one of us.
A few weeks ago after a hard day, in anxiety and confusion, I myself finally asked my Father in Heaven how He feels about me, and what His plans hold for my future. I told him that I wouldn't doubt or judge whatever He showed me, and then I stilled my mind and waited for an answer. This was key, because so often we hear that still, small voice of clarity, and discount it due to fear. Fear that it couldn't possibly be true, or fear that we just don't have it in us. But we do. My answer from God that night was more incredible than I could have imagined, and yes a little unbelievable, but it was everything I had ever dreamed for myself and more, and I had just promised I would believe it. I asked God how I was supposed to accomplish all these things. They were big, lofty goals that seemed overwhelming, but the answer was simple: to finish the to-do list He had already given me. I had written a few things down in a note on my phone a week or so before this after asking, "What next, Lord?" This checklist of things were tasks having to do with what may seem meaningless to some: my health, this blog, my home, etc., and while they were small and simple and not hard to do, I had yet to check them all off my list. I suddenly saw that these small steps were important and vital to my life's purpose and plan. They were a step in the right direction, and accomplishing these big things I had just seen would include lots of little steps in the right direction.
I have also felt so many emotions since releasing the video about Gio and Maya. The first week, I learned how to ignore what man thought, and his interpretations of my personal revelation. Some people were vicious in their assumptions about me, and some had all the best intentions, but didn't understand exactly what I felt and knew. I let it shake me, but no more. I am developing a new confidence in myself, who I am, what I am doing. Some people have questioned me, asking, "What next, Bethanie?" I myself have been asking in the weeks since then... "What next, Lord?", and I have received an answer more than once. It is to "right now, focus on loving and preparing for Gio, and know that things have been set in motion for Maya. Now you wait and see what the Lord will do." This answer has been a lot harder for me to follow than the checklist of actions I received for other aspects of my life. It is seemingly not an answer of action, but it does require an action of active faith, of active belief in His plan. I am doing my best to follow this answer through the doubt that constantly tries to creep in.
I know that whatever happens in my life will be through His hands, because I could not or would not even dare to accomplish these things on my own. And along the way I have to remember that every bit of sorrow brings me closer to Christ's atonement and love for me. It will not hinder, but be used to mold me. It will bring me the humility I need to keep seeking Christ for the answers and peace I will need on this path. "And fear not: for lo I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days" (Moses 1:26)
I know that this spiritual side of me, these things I am writing and posting lately are not everyone's cup of tea, but I am finally showing more sides of myself than just the safe ones, and I want to encourage people to ask God if anything touches you, no matter the emotion: joy, pain, confusion, anger... I want to invite you to ask God if He is there, if He really does have a plan for you, how He feels about you personally, and then wait in faith for that still, small voice that will answer. When I taught my daughter this the other day, early in the morning at the end of a hike, she prayed for a minute and then looked up at me saying, "Mom, I don't hear anything..." I told her that sometimes it takes longer, sitting in silence, to hear. I told her to close her eyes once more, take in the sounds of nature around her, empty her mind, and listen again. (Meanwhile I prayed my hardest too... "Pleeeease tell her something!" haha) This time after a few minutes, she opened her eyes, and with excitement, told me all about His answer for her. I had also received my own answer on how to help her achieve what she had heard, and it was an incredible moment to share.
I know that this is accessible to everyone who asks in faith, believing the answers that may come, believing that an answer will come at all! And when you get that answer from Him, don't be afraid to ask what the next step is in bringing the life He shows you to fruition. Ask in faith, "What next, Lord?" He will answer, and you may want to discount some of the answer, or change some of it, or think any of the small and simple tasks are unimportant, but resist the inclination to add to or take away from any inspiration you receive. Doing this regularly, having this discourse with your Heavenly Father, will change your life for the better.
And this might be the most important part of that advice... Whatever your answer, if you follow through, it doesn't mean it won't be hard sometimes. You will feel joy, more than you can comprehend, but it doesn't mean that sorrow won't accompany you in whatever He answers as well... Keep taking time to feel that quiet peace within you. Go into nature if you have to, somewhere away from all the noise of the world. Wake up early if you have to, before everyone else around you, if that is the only time you will experience peace and quiet. And then Remember how you felt when you first prayed. Let any sorrow or confusion bring you to your knees in humility. Let it draw you nearer to Christ. Keep faith in His plan for you rather than turning to doubt or fear. And after you have finished the work He has given you, no matter the outcome, and especially if the outcome brings you sorrow, ask Him, "What next, Lord?". He will answer.