Friday, January 1, 2010

Oil In My Lamp

January 1, 2010. Happy Birthday Mom!

This blog is written in extreme gratitude to my dear family, extended family, friends and especially my caring Heavenly Father and my Friend, Brother, and Savior Jesus Christ, who have all carried me through this past year.

2009 was quite a year. It started with the funeral of my mother who died in late December. My father had died 6 months earlier. Then my daughter's husband died, leaving her with three sons and no life insurance. Then my youngest son's wife left him, and because of her difficult situation and finances couldn't take their four children. My son had to stop working evenings and weekends because he needed to watch the kids and couldn't afford to pay his mortgage. So he and the children moved in with me while we worked on renting out his condo to help pay for the mortgage. It didn't rent. I put quite a bit of money into fixing it up and it still didn't rent. After several months he eventually moved back in but is still struggling with his mortgage and making enough money to pay for babysitters while he works long hours.

I left my employment and started my own practice in August, which I had been planning for awhile, and didn't have an income while we paid start-up costs. Then my middle son's wife left him and she came from San Diego to Utah to be with her parents while she worked things out, and he left a good job to come up here to be close to his children, and is looking for a job. Then the business I owned with my oldest son failed, leaving a very large debt, and him looking for work with 6 children to support.

I felt in my heart to assist my children who were struggling, emotionally and financially, and was able to do so for awhile, but then my new business did not bring an income as quickly as we expected it to (true of all new businesses), and I ran out of money and couldn't pay my own bills and the heavy debt from the failed business.

But this is written not to disclose my weaknesses and those of my family, but to show that all of us are going through problems and difficulties right now. Everyone I talk to is going through serious struggles, whether in their relationships, financial situation, illness--physical or emotional, etc.

I believe in the Law of the Harvest--what we sow we shall reap. So I was pondering on why life seems to have been so difficult this year, and what I have been sowing that would reap such results. And while learning the lessons of many mistakes made, the Lord also opened my mind to the myriad of blessings I have received this year. I have truly been enriched this year. I was given to know that this past year was to assist me in filling my lamp with oil.

The parable of the Ten Virgins tells how ten virgins were waiting for the bridegroom. When he finally came, 5 of them had not prepared well enough and didn't have enough oil in their lamps to attend the wedding procession. There have been many interpretations of what this parable means, and what kind of preparation is needed to fill our lamps as we await the coming of the Bridegroom and deal with the difficult times that are upon us and what may be coming in the future.

My lamp has been filled this year in the following ways:
1. A stronger faith that I am not alone. As I would pray about my difficult financial situation, I would be led to the scripture in Matthew 6: "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns: yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not better than they?" And "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?"

Over and over again, even though I wouldn't know how I was going to pay my next bill, the Lord would promise me He would take care of me. And He did, mostly through other people. Every time it was important, some money showed up to pay the next bill. My sister started a part-time job and has been sending me all of her income every two weeks. My brothers have sent checks as gifts. A great friend paid for some of my property taxes and sent extra payments on a car he had bought from me because he knew I needed the money. Some unexpected money came in from my parent's estate. My business partner paid money out to me without taking any herself so both I and the business could keep going. My middle son, while looking for a better job, has come in to help us organize our business and make it profitable. The Lord has touched the hearts of so many, many people, and they have responded and truly blessed my life.

2. A greater knowledge that all is in Divine Order. So often, when I was concerned about my children or grandchildren, or myself for various reasons, the Lord would fill my heart with peace and a knowledge that whatever was happening was for our best good, and to accept whatever came. I came to have an incredible peace in my heart that even if there was no one to assist me, and I lost everything, all would be well and I could find joy, peace and happiness. I came to a peaceful knowledge that God and angels were watching over my children, their spouses and my grandchildren; that each was learning the lessons they came here to learn; that they didn't come to have perfect lives but to learn through their experiences, and that we were all learning the lessons of repentance and forgiveness, what love truly is, and trusting more in the atonement of the Savior.

3. A greater knowledge that I WILL be able to handle whatever comes because the Lord WILL strengthen me. There is often a lot of anxiety and fear over the future. We don't know what may be coming and if we will be able to handle it. I came to know that these difficult things I have gone through and am going through now are teaching me how God strengthens me to meet the challenges I am given. I never thought I could survive my house burning down, going through medical school with six children, dealing with some of the problems I have dealt with in my children, going through an unwanted divorce, surviving on my own, losing my parents, having no money, etc.; but I have. Through each challenge, I have been strengthened to meet it. Often in the middle of the challenge I didn't feel strong, and often felt like giving in and giving up, but looking back on each event, I can see how I was carried through, time and time again.

4. A greater faith in the Atonement of my Savior. I have made many, many mistakes. But through the Love and Mercy extended to me, the Lord has paid for them and helps me through the affect they have had on me and those around me. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden [through your own mistakes], and I will give you rest." The perfect plan has been created so that I can learn through my own choices and experiences, and can learn by experiencing the results of my own weaknesses and the weaknesses of those around me, and as I lean on Him and have faith in His atoning Love the burdens that come upon me because of those choices and weaknesses are lightened, and I become stronger and more able to make better choices; to choose love, light, wisdom, trust, joy and peace because I have learned what it feels like when I choose the opposite.

"Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing" -Helen Keller

I trust in the Lord with all my heart. I lean not unto mine own understandings. In all my ways I acknowledge Him, and He directs my paths.

Until we meet again,
Dr. Judi


Marci said...

Oh Aunt Judi, I am SO sorry to hear about the difficulties your family has been experiencing this year! Please know that we are praying for you and your family and thank you for reminding us of the blessings that continue to come even through the trials and tribulations.

Jesse Stay said...

So sorry to hear about all your trials Aunt Judi! You are a light to many, especially your family. Please keep that lamp full so you can continue being such a light!

Is Tom in Utah now? Please tell him I'd love to hang out if he ever needs someone to hang out with.

peggy said...

Dear Judi,
Absolutely beautiful! Your ability to be honest, from the heart and learn from a heart wrenching year is simply why we all love you.. No other doctor puts their true self out there for all to learn from. Your are a fresh dose of realism that gives us all courage to let go and give our will over to the true healer, GOD.. I love you with all my heart, Peggy

Shauna said...

Loved your post! I read this last night on the suggestion of a friend~
The Uses of Adversity:

Dr. Judi said...

Thank you, Shauna. Beautiful article. I have always loved Carlfred Broderick. He is a very wise man.

Anonymous said...

Hi judi, I finelly got around to reading this and I am so happy I did. It's amazing the things we go through and yet can still find streangth and happiness from what we see as the most trying or devistaing times in our lives. I can honestly say I'm more than happy to leave 2009 in the past. I experienced a lot of hurt during that year but in many ways am now reaping the joys from it. I can't say I would want to live through any of it again but I can say I am a much stronger and loving person because of it. thank you for sharing your experiences, it truely has touched me. Love you lots, becky.