Friday, January 22, 2010

Asking and Receiving

My children ask me for things on a daily basis.

"Can I have some milk? Can I play the wii? Can I go to so and so's house? Can I take Lucky out? Can I have candy?"

Sometimes I say yes, which is met with joy. Sometimes I say no, which is met with wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I hear "that's not fair!why not!But you said!"etc, etc.

Of course I remember being a kid, and thinking that my parents were so mean. I was sure that I knew better than they did and that they were just being so unfair.

Now that I'm a parent, I realize that this is normal, for the parent to seem unfair.

It takes some maturity to recognize that mom and dad really do know that 6 cookies aren't good for you, or that the friends house you want to go to has a parent mom and dad are not comfortable with, or that your brain will fry if you play video games all day.

I sat thinking about this phenomenon yesterday. After a certain child of mine was so distraught over our answer of no. I could see that this child just didn't understand why we were saying no, that we appeared so unfair. Yet I was confident in my answer to my darling offspring.

After mulling the whole conversation over in my head, I realized that how I was feeling must be how our Heavenly Father feels so often.

He must get bazillions of requests that He has to say no to.

And in response, many of His children wail and cry and sometimes turn their backs on Him because they were not given what they wanted.

Yet, as our Father, doesn't he truly know what's best for us, even if we can't see it at the time?

When I was in college I had a boyfriend that I had been dating since highschool. I loved him with all that I was capable of at the time. By 3 years into our relationship, we wanted to get married.

But I had one problem.

I was Mormon, and he was not.

My whole life I had planned to get married in the
Temple. Though I loved this boy, I couldn't marry him unless it was for eternity.

But he was not interested. He wouldn't listen to the missionaries, he would barely talk to me about it, and he just didn't understand why it mattered.

So I prayed. I prayed and I prayed that his heart would be softened, that he would eventually join the church so that we could be married.

It never happened. His mind was never changed and it eventually drove us apart.

I was heart broken. And at the time I didn't understand why I couldn't have what I wanted.

I mourned the loss of this relationship and felt sad for a very long time.

But 2 years later, I met Jeff.

And suddenly the wisdom of my Father in Heaven became apparent to me.

Though I had cared deeply for the other boy, it was nothing compared to the capacity to love that I developed with Jeff.

Jeff shared my beliefs, he shared my ideals, my goals and my love for my Savior.

If Heavenly Father had answered my prayer in the way I had wanted, instead of the way that was good for me, I would have missed out on a happiness unsurpassed by any other relationship in my life.

But it required that I listened to that answer, as hard as it was. It required that I didn't just go ahead and do what I wanted anyway and then expect Heavenly Father to make it turn out alright.

It required faith. And believe me, my faith was small at the time, but it was there.

And now as a parent myself, I understand more of the wisdom of Father in Heaven.

He knows everything that will be good for us, bad for us. What experiences will be difficult but bring us growth, and the joy that awaits us if we listen to Him.

As the scriptures say "Therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you."

So we are to ask, but be ready to receive. It won't always be the answer we want, but we will receive what is best for us. Even if it's painful at the time.

The hard part comes in trusting that God truly knows what will be best for us. That as much as we may mentally or physically stomp our feet, cry and wail, or complain that it isn't fair, He still will answer in the way that is right.

And I know that each of us can look back and see things that didn't work out that we are so glad about now. Maybe you didn't pray for them, maybe you just wished in your heart, but in hindsight it is now obvious that the right answer was no.

I can think of times when I ignored the answer I had been given and went ahead and did what I wanted anyway. The results were not so good. But I learned, and hopefully I can keep those experiences in mind the next time I don't get the answer I want.

Many of us fight so hard to be in charge of our own lives, to prove our independence and shrewd decision making abilities. We fight so hard that we forget that help is available. We don't realize that trusting in our Father in Heaven to help us doesn't remove our ability to choose, it just helps us to choose better, to improve our odds at happiness.

And I for one can always do with more happiness. Can't you?


  1. great thoughts! I had a similar experience as a "young woman" with similar results. Even over the course of the years I didn't "get" it. And then I met up with that other young man, and after an enjoyable meal and some conversation it all made sense. I wish we could all just "trust" a bit more. more faith!!

  2. i love how heavenly father really does save the best for us, much of which, i suspect, we won't truly appreciate until this life is over.

  3. you are so wise.

    i sure love you!

  4. Very well said. It's exactly the same.


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