More of my journey to Jesus. We started this journey about 13 years ago, as I mentioned in my last post. As my husband and I progressed in going deeper and deeper into the things of the Lord we decided to offer a prayer that the Lord could have anything He wanted from us. He didn't need to take it, because we already give it all. And I can say, He challenged that offering from every angle.
In my last post I told you how I would get up in the middle of the night to seek the face of the Lord and the Lord told me, in a dream, I was too much in the world to approach Him at that time. When I asked Him to tell me when I would be ready - the scriptures floated in front of me and out came the words, "Line upon line. Precept upon precept." The last 13 years has been a journey of line upon line. Precept upon precept.
Not knowing how to navigate this journey, I began by reading John Pontius' book, "Following the Light of Christ into His Presence." In that book he teaches the importance of seeking the Lord's will and challenges you to write down all your promptings. By writing down the promptings you bring your thoughts into reality and you can see if your promptings were from the Lord or from the adversary. Once you determine the prompting was from the Lord, then you follow it. Literally you "follow the light of Christ" until it brings you into His presence.
I got a small notebook and began that challenge. I had lot's of small kids and so my promptings tended to be small. Learning to hear the voice of the Lord was foreign to me and took a lot of trial and error. I was deceived many, many times, but the Lord was merciful to me as I was learning to have, "an eye single to His Glory". It has taken me over a decade to trust what I'm hearing and to make sure my motivations are purely to do His will and not self serving in some hidden recess of my heart. I don't think I have "arrived," but I'm more at peace. It is challenging to overcome the many false beliefs about what the Lord would and would not prompt me to do.
Since it's Christmas I will tell you of the five years we had no Christmas! After we had our first child we tried to do "Santa" and found it felt very awkward to repeatedly lie and build up a fantasy that would have to be destroyed later when they grew up and we had to say, "just kidding" and give them the talk about Santa not being real. I had a friend who, when their oldest child turned 8 and was preparing for baptism, that child began to show great hesitation in moving forward with being baptized. When my friend pressed the child as to why they were so hesitant the child said, "Well, you lied about Santa - how do I know you're not lying about Jesus too?" After that we chose to end that fantasy and went for reality and it felt very freeing.
In 2015 my husband and I both felt a prompting to pull away from the world to a greater degree. One area we pulled back was to offer up our Christmas to the Lord. We talked to our kids about this feeling and asked if they felt they could give up their Christmas to bless other people. We felt to donate everything we would have spent on Christmas, vacations, and more - to a charity that helps children. We stopped having a tree. No decorations. No....presents. Nothing but a nice meal and Jesus.
Am I telling you that you must do this too? Zero percent. Each journey is unique so separate yourself from what we felt to do as you read this. Each family has different struggles and trials and maybe you will be asked to give up anger, or food, or family, or who knows what. All I know is that Christmas, at that time, was what we felt we needed to give up to get closer to Him. During those years of not having a Christmas we learned the value of sacrifice. We learned to put others needs before our own, and we learned to worship the Lord. When you don't wake up to presents, you wake up to Him and He is Glorious!
We learned to do Hanukah and to spend each evening singing praises in the dark, with nothing but the menorah lights illuminating our little home. We even learned to dance to the Lord. I look back at those times with great awe that we were able to let go of all our pride, all our stiff and proper ways and just....dance! Those years and times were filled with visions and dreams for our children.
Two years ago my husband and I got a prompting at the exact same time that our offering had been accepted and our entire family received a beautiful Christmas gift from the Lord. I know Christmas has pagan roots, so we don't celebrate it in the way that most people do, but we bring the focus of Christ in our home to a greater degree. Even still, we got online and bought a used tree someone didn't want anymore and I spray painted the decorations they gave with it and made...a Jesus tree. I wish the idea was original but I copied my Jesus-loving best friend's tree. I'm showing it to give you some ideas for making Christ your center in the home at this time of year. I was beholden to what photos I could garner from a stack of old Liahona magazines my neighbor gave me. The photos of Jesus were slim...very slim. But I digress...
The Jesus Tree!
Now I feel to share excerpts from my journal during this time (2017). They are totally unrelated to Christmas and just a couple entries that I found interesting today:
(One of my children) then said that they had a dream the night before and saw in the dream that (someone was assassinated) and then the world got really bad and in their dream they wished they could “just skip that part in time”. I asked (my child) this morning if they could remember more about the dream. They said that (edit)...And that the world was worried and thought war was going to break out. And then they said there was ‘darkness’. And I said, “What does that mean?” They said, “It was without God.” And they said they wanted to just skip that part it was so dark. They are 9 years old and we don’t talk about things like that to our children. Talking with (this child) while I was making dinner I asked if they remembered in their dream when they saw the world was without God. They said they did and then they described to me this, “You know when you drink milk all gone and then you look at the cup and there is just a small part left on the cup on the sides? That’s all believers on earth that will be left when everything goes dark. You know how when the world began there was all good on the earth and nothing bad had happened yet...or very little bad had happened yet? It was the exact opposite. There was barely any good left. And there will be dark all over the world and the good people will try to gather together to Zion.”
Another journal entry:
Yesterday (my husband) fasted so he could approach the Lord this morning. When we went to bed I battled the adversary ALL night long. Twice I awoke in anger getting very upset with Ryan for things both of us have no idea about what I was saying. I felt so terrible when I woke this morning and remembered how rude I was to him and I apologized as soon as he woke up. But it was the strangest thing to awaken twice in anger/rage towards Ryan.
Then I woke up at 2:30am to a terrible dream. I saw (my son) (he is almost 5 years old). He was just sitting in front of me in a white room. I looked right at him and his whole body seized and his eyes went black - even the white parts were black. I watched him shake as the adversary possessed his body. I awoke in great fear. I began praying and casting out. Recalling my anger with Ryan and recognizing that the adversary was attempting to thwart us getting up to spend time with the Lord at 3:30am. I went in my closet praying mightily and cleansing (my son), then all of the kids. I felt the evil spirit that was tormenting our home. I said to the dark spirit, “I love you. I forgive you. What happened in your life that you have such anger to see our happy home?” I sensed this was the wrong thing to say because I felt the darkness increase in a rage. I called out to Father for His help and after much cleansing, I felt peace was restored to our home.
I prayed for help with my temper and attitude with my children. I asked Jesus when I would be given the gift to be at peace all the time with my kids. He said, “Look to me in every thought. Doubt not. Fear not. Be believing.” I told him I thought I was trying to look to Him in all my thoughts. I think about Him fairly constantly. I asked Him if this was not doing what He asked. He said I wasn’t looking to Him in every thought. That it is different to "think" of someone and what He was asking me to do was to seek His will in every thought.
I cried out to the Lord for about an hour. I would be overcome with tiredness and pray with my head to the floor. I would get tired and the Spirit would tell me to sit up and keep trying. I pushed and pushed for an hour and a half and then grew very weary. I could see nothing though I felt the spirit strongly. Eventually I apologized to the Lord and went and laid in my bed. I had the thought, “What would you do if you couldn’t breathe in your sleep?” I said that I would call out to Father for help. Then I slept and within an hour I was overcome and I could not breathe. I was paralyzed and could not move nor draw air to call for help. I was struggling desperately to move and then I called out to Father for help. I calmed myself and waited, struggling for air. Within a few more seconds I was released and could draw breath. My heart was pounding hard as I laid in bed trying to regain breath. With my eyes closed in the dark I saw small circular shapes moving in circles and then shift to moving in squares. That happened for about a minute. I had never seen those shapes in my closed eyes before.
Ryan too had been up since 3:30am fasting and praying. By this point it was about 6:30am and I got up and came out to the living room and the kids had been in an argument with each other over something BEYOND small and insignificant. But it had taken up about 30 minutes of their morning as they battled out their frustration. Ryan was working with them to calmly solve it. I came out and said that it was a dark spirit and we needed to pray. As I knelt and talked to the kids (my almost 5 year old son) said, “I had a dream last night. Heavenly Father came to me with animals (he is OBSESSED with animals). Heavenly Father was petting rhino’s and bison and buffalo and cats and dogs. He even let me ride them. Then He told me that He wanted me to meet His Son and He said, “This is my Son - hear Him”. Then Jesus came and said, “No darkness or evil will be able to get in your mind or your heart or with you. It will be cast out of all parts of your body.” And He touched me on my shoulders. I asked (my son) what he thought when he woke up and he said, “I thought...That was an AWESOME dream!”
I was so astounded. Then (my 8 year old child) said, “I had a dream last night too. I dreamed satan came into my room and he had lots of little squiggly things that were black and trying to get me. He chased me and got me and threw me in a dark pit. When I fell into the pit he said to me, “It has no end.” And I fell until I finally woke up.
(My 9 year old son) said that two nights ago he was sleeping and in his dream a dark figure came into his room and turned off his white noise, which woke him up. He said he could see the man standing in his room. The man laughed and pounced onto his chest.
If the adversary is working us like this, I feel that the Lord is near. I know we are to build an altar as I saw in my vision. The Lord told me a few weeks ago it was to be on the Fall Equinox. I feel this is something the adversary will try to stop at all costs.
Well, there's some sharing for today. I have felt that I need to share from my journal more and share how my journey has gone (thus far). I hope it's helpful. Or gives food for thought.
3....Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ (personal revelation...seeking to know His will); for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.
4 Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.
5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do. (2 Nephi 32)
If you are wondering what to do...ask the Lord and find out - "What is the next thing I can do to get closer to you? What is the next thing I need to give up? What is the next thing I need to learn? What next?"
It will be different for everyone.