Over the course of my life, I have gained a certain expertise at throwing pity parties for myself. The formula is pretty easy — if you’re interested. The first step is to cook up ideas about exactly how life or some part of it should look in a perfect world. Next, decide that your happiness and the validation that God (or someone else) truly loves you hinges on getting exactly what you want. When it doesn’t happen that way, refuse to see the good that you do have, ignore the beauty that is being bestowed upon you because it doesn’t look like you want it to look, and throw a big fit instead. The bigger the pout, the better.
I was in one of those moods as I was reading President Monson’s address at the September 2013 General Relief Society Meeting. I totally missed the message of love and the divine watch care that is available to anyone who is willing to turn to God. I totally missed the message that He is aware when our life is difficult and doesn’t look like we want, and ignored the words of comfort offered. All I could focus on was the miracle that a young mother received when a near stranger brought her a loaf of bread and the realization that Father was watching over her.
My reaction was to look to the heavens and ask, “Where’s my loaf of bread?” (Yes, I really did!) I was so blind to all of the good that surrounded me, that all I could see was the perfection that I lacked! Figuratively or literally, I wanted my Heavenly Father to provide me a loaf of home made bread.
Enter the Visiting Teachers
If you are unfamiliar with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the term “visiting teacher” is probably rather meaningless to you. It’s a beautiful system in our church that teams up women in the church and assigns us to watch over each other. I have seen amazing friendships forged as the women meet and serve each other.
I adore my visiting teachers. I can count on their visit each month, and they are very attuned to my needs and have, through instinct and inspiration, met my needs repeatedly. The fact that they like me makes it even better!
Anyway, my visiting teachers were schedule to visit just a few days after I had thrown my challenge up to God. As they were entering my home, one of them was holding a large paper shopping bag and looked a little sheepish. Her first words were to ask, “Do you like home made bread?” I must have gotten a strange look on my face, because she quickly launched into an explanation: “I’m not sure why I felt like baking bread today, because I baked for my family a few days ago, and I don’t even like making bread. Now I have way too much bread to store, and I need to give it to somebody.” The bag was filled with SIX loaves of home made bread!
I probably made her feel even worse, because I think I started laughing before I could explain.
In the end, I accepted her gift with a grateful and humbled heart. I related the story to them, and assured her that she was listening to inspiration so that Heavenly Father could teach me a lesson. My heart was filled with love for a sister who would take the time and put in the effort to make so much bread without knowing why she was doing it. I had my miracle, and it became part of the experiences I needed so that I could see that I am surrounded by God’s love on every side — in EVERY situation.
I am thankful beyond words to be loved by a Heavenly Father and a Savior that know me so completely and care so deeply for me! It took a few more humbling experiences before I really started to learn, grow, and overcome my bad attitude. I am sure there will be days when I slip back into it again. But, I have been blessed to learn to turn toward God instead of away from him when life gets tough. Because of that change, I have been blessed to be able to see the blessings that come to me through every experience in life. I have never lacked anything I needed to find peace and happiness in life — except a heart that was willing to accept it!