This is not a story from the TOFW weekend I ever thought I’d share this publicly, in fact only one other person at this point knows the particulars of this story. But I have an overwhelming feeling that I need to share it, and I need to share it today. It’s a hard story for me to tell, one, because there are portions that paint me in a bad light, which I’m just prideful enough to still hate, and two, because I share one of the big goals of my heart and that’s really hard for me for some reason. I have a hard time sharing my goals because I worry about what people will think if I fail. Yes, I hear the pride in that statement, and I’m working on it (hence the post). I don’t know what I expect to happen, it’s not like I’ve ever failed at something and had people point their fingers and laugh at me, in fact a lot of my greatest failures coincide with receiving the greatest support, but that prideful natural man in me still likes to keep these things close to the chest.
Leading up to TOFW I had a particular impression to pray for one of the presenters, Elaine Dalton. I didn’t have any idea why, but the strength of spirit that filled me each time I did so left me with no doubt that it was needed. I myself was feeling completely impatient to get answers for something I was seeking, but instead of praying for that I was asked to pray for Elaine.
Then I made a major mistake, I’m ashamed I did it because it’s awful, but that doesn’t change the fact that I did it. In my effort to get the answers that weren’t coming fast enough for me I asked a friend for a priesthood blessing before my friends and I departed. This righteous man did as I asked and gave me what was not at all what I wanted because it didn’t have anything I wanted to hear, although it did confirm over and over the love and awareness my Savior has for me. Though it wasn’t what I wanted, it was exactly what prideful Amy needed. While I was receiving that blessing the spirit said to me “You’re trying to cheat. You know it’s not time for the answer to be revealed and you are trying to use a priesthood blessing to take a shortcut.” The spirit was 100% right and I was ashamed of myself for so lightly treating things of such spiritual importance. I used that poor man, I tried to get him to do what I wanted. I am truly sorry that I did so, and I’m grateful that righteous man listened to the spirit and not my manipulation attempts.
We said goodbye to our husbands and we ladies headed off to Portland. The plan was to attend a session at the Portland Temple before heading to the TOFW conference. I spent the majority of the temple session ashamed of what I had done and pleading with the Lord to forgive me for my folly. After the session in those quiet moments of reflection the spirit whispered to me again “Be patient little one.”
Little one! He called me little one! If you’ve ever called me “little” you’ll know that I respond by saying “I am not little, I am normal sized!” The Spirit and I have an interesting relationship, he knows how to get my attention and motivate me, and sometimes that motivation comes from being goaded.
I knew that phrase, little one, was not chosen by accident, it was definitely used because it would stand out to me. I love the ability that we have to search the entire standard works for a word or phrase in seconds. What a blessing! The phrase “little one” is used all over the scriptures, but one stood out to me:
To prepare the weak for those things which are coming on the earth, and for the Lord’s errand in the day when the weak shall confound the wise, and the little one become a strong nation and two shall put their tens of thousands to fight.
The footnotes all lead me to scriptures about how the Lord would use the weak things of the earth to accomplish His purposes and how he teaches the unlearned because the learned wouldn’t listen and how the weak will confound the wise The phrase little one started to sound a little more appealing (though I’ll still argue that I’m normal sized, I’m 5’4″ which is average height for an american woman, average = normal). Through various footnotes I ended up in Matthew 13 where it talks about the mustard seed “Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” (Matthew 13:32)
I was being taught that I am still but a little seed, and sometimes may be discounted because I am one of the littlest among seeds, but I am still only a seed. At some point I will grow into the tree and be the greatest among herbs. The double meaning being a caution not to be prideful and try to shortcut my way to becoming a tree by abuse of priesthood power.
It now felt like I was sufficiently humble (at least for that day) and ready to receive what I was supposed to learn at TOFW, and I was richly blessed. That evening Elaine Dalton said something along the lines of “This morning I was running and I was stopped in my tracks because I received an impression so strong that is just for you. I don’t know who was praying for this answer, maybe it’s for all of you, but I need to tell you the next verse.” She had been speaking about a verse in the hymn How Firm a Foundation, and then she proceeded to recite this verse to us:
The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for reposeI will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,I’ll never, no never, I’ll never, no never,I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!(How Firm a Foundation, Hymn #85, Verse 7)
Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.(Alma 26:12)