Monday, April 30, 2012

Mysterious Ways

Yesterday morning I entered a lecture hall at BYU.  The room was awfully familiar and surprisingly tan from top to bottom; tan linoleum, tan bulletin board walls, tan chairs, tan walls.  I vaguely remembered sleeping in a room like this 10 years ago, when I should have been learning about photosynthesis or string theory.  But yesterday instead of sleeping, I was dressed in my Sunday best, trying my hardest to look like a competent adult.  I watched the college students shuffle and flirt, and I felt like I should be sitting with them, talking about roommates, and classes.  Instead, I took my seat next to Jordan and waited for us to be introduced as the newest members of this small college congregation's bishopric.

We have known for about a week that we would be serving in this new student ward.  I was excited but had some selfish reservations.  I really love our home ward.  For the last seven months I have been soothed and healed by the people in my congregation.  They bring me food, they walk with me, they hug me at church, they tell me I am doing great things.  I am a woman who lives for positive feedback, and the people of my ward give it to me.  As I sat amongst these oddly-dressed twenty-somethings I wondered, who will take care of me here?

The answer came to me as the meeting progressed.  I was asked to concisely introduce myself, and share my testimony.  Instead I talked briefly about Jordan, since I knew he wouldn't talk about himself.  I mentioned his two year stint of not shaving, and his love of rivers and mountains. I became emotional as I told them what a good man he is.  I touched lightly on my jobs and interests, and then I paused, and told them about sweet Jonah.  I explained that our little family has lived a beautiful life, in a beautiful place, but it has not been easy or expected.  I told them that I know that God loves me, as he loves them,...because that is the one thing I feel sure of.  Then I took my seat, and I watched as Jordan stood up, made everyone cry, and then left them laughing.  I felt my fidgety heart settle, and knew that he would do great things for these students. 

My personal answer to my selfish question came from the other couple, the Sorensens, that will be serving with us in this new calling.  We have never met them.  They are a beautiful bright couple, blessed with seven children.  At first I wondered how we could possibly connect, but as they each spoke, they explained that they too have lost children, unexpectedly and accidentally.  I knew instantly that this sweet couple understood us, and would take care of us.  It seemed to me that we had come together for a unique purpose.

As I sat through the rest of the meeting I thought about how strangely and perfectly God cares for His children. I have been trying for months to lay a path for healing and stability for our family, and it has not worked.  I have put my faith in the work of my own hands, believing that I needed to prepare a way for God, so that He could open doors for me.  And yet my best laid plans have led to closed doors and dead ends.  I have presented Him with my own ideas only to be redirected.  All of my frantic and panicked effort has only led to exhaustion paired with increased humility. 

Yet, in this unexpected moment He lifted me from my comfortable perch, and let me witness His work unfold simply, like a delicate flower; without force or coercion; without strained effort.  I sat astounded in my tan chair, as I felt an overwhelming confirmation of His love and purpose for me.

God, who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. 2 Timothy 1:8-9


  1. I needed this tonight Julie, thank you.

  2. So wonderful!! I'm excited for you both. (and startingg to realize that pretty much every time I read your blog, the likelihood of tears is high).0

  3. I, too, needed to hear this tonight. Thank you so much for sharing your sweet and humble testimony.