I Had a Timeout

This weekend I went to a one day LDS women’s conference in Tacoma.  Speakers and musicians came together to uplift, enlighten, entice us to buy their merchandise and charge $16 for a sandwich.  I told Laylee I was going to a class to learn how to be a better mommy.  The info was certainly presented.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see how well it took.

They call it Time Out for Women but it’s nothing like the kind of timeout we usually do at my house.  In fact, if I were to tell Laylee what we did there, I’m afraid she’d never again be satisfied with the timeout corner she’s come to love.

autographThere were a few differences.  At this timeout, we were allowed to talk, eat candy and play with toys.  I carpooled out there with several friends from Hickville and met up with some new friends from these here interwebs.  Natalie and No Cool Story even brought me a toy to play with in the form of a lovely bejeweled crown so I could be queen for the day. 

Don’t worry, I was not a wicked queen and I killed almost no one or put their hearts in a box.  Autographs were exchanged, they introduced me to their friend Frog Eye Salad and we all tried to contain our internerdery as much as possible. 

time outWe had a blast gabbing and I wish they lived close enough to hang out more often, even though I was freakishly tall in comparison to both Natalie and NCS.  I guess I could learn to slouch…more.  Alas, I think we will have to continue communicating through the written word like Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, except online, without a lake or an evil Christopher Plummer.  Maybe we’re more like Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks without bookstores or New York City or romance or a dog.  Whatever.  I wish they lived closer.

So, I learned a few things.  I know a few of my readers are Mormon but most are not so I’ll just share some fairly universal good thoughts.

1.  It’s more effective to drink pop from a can that’s been sitting still than from a can that’s just been shaken.  This thought came from Merrilee Browne Boyack who taught that we need to wait for the right moments to have serious discussions with our spouses and children.  When your 3 year old is throwing a tantrum at Target, it’s probably not the best time to open a dialogue about the importance of self control and the inappropriateness of employing the swirling fists of fury in public places.  It’s probably a good time to ignore her.  She is a shaken can of pop.  Sometimes you, the parent, are the shaken can of pop.  If you’re mad to the point of explosion, wait to talk about it until you’re a little more gruntled.

2.  Sometimes the Lord will take us to a place where no one can help us but Him and there we will receive our greatest blessings.  Camille Fronk Olson used the story of Lazarus from John chapter 11 to illustrate a time when Christ required some of His most faithful followers and dearest friends to wait until 4 days after their brother had died before He came and raised him from the dead.  They waited in anguish, thinking the Lord had ignored their pleas for help.  She quoted Alex Haley who said “God may not always come when we ask Him, but He’ll always be on time.” (I’m having a hard time finding that quote online.)

3.  At times prayers seem unanswered.  Michael Wilcox suggested that when this happens, we generally conclude one of four things, God’s not there, God doesn’t care, God doesn’t listen, or I’m not worthy to have my prayers answered.  These conclusions are wrong.  God is there.  He does care.  He does listen.  I am worthy because I am His child.

Wilcox explained that to understand why my prayers seem unanswered, I need to understand a bit about the nature of God.  In Matthew chapter 14 is the story of Christ walking across the water to his disciples in the 4th watch of the night, when they were being tossed about on stormy seas.  The 4th watch is the last watch of the night from 3AM to sunrise.  The Lord often comes at the end of a long night of darkness.  I believe that He allows us to experience the darkness so we can more fully feel His light when it comes.

Sometimes I feel like he has waited WAY past the 4th watch to come to me or answer my prayers.  In these moments, somehow I am still able to survive.  Wilcox suggests that this is because He has given me other experiences in my life to make me strong and able to weather the storms that rage around me.

I need to create a space in my heart to receive the answer he is trying to give me.  Sometimes I do not receive an answer to my prayers because I am not ready to receive what he is waiting to give.  He will help me create that space but sometimes it takes more time than I would prefer.   Sometimes it takes more pain than I am comfortable to chisel away a place for the answer to fit.

It has been a great weekend.  I got away with my friends.  I made a few new ones.  130 kids took over our church services with songs and wise teachings, such as “Moses is my favorite prophet because I like his beard.”Â  Magoo almost didn’t melt down during church.  Laylee drew some tiny people tonight and the letter B.  I’m feeling recharged and ready for the new week to start. Go. Fight. Win.

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