Saturday, October 3, 2015

Changing Lenses

She's Back.

Learning how to see with spiritual eyes for the miracles still happening.
There's really no way to express how much has happened in the last year since I got home from a mission in Thailand. For those that had followed that grand adventure with me, Welcome Back.

The Story Never Ended.

Like I said.
Really no good place to "begin", except with an idea.
Let's start there.

Changing Lenses.
That's where I'm going to start. One year later, with two perfectly good eyes that have seen miracles. So many miracles I cannot begin to number them. I have seen the impossible. The inspirational. And the down-right "there is no way that just happened."
That's the setting.

But when change happens, BIG CHANGE, how hard it can be for those eyes to adjust.
The environment is new, and for some, the miraculous experiences.... "few."

I have seen many people return from glowing experiences, bright eye'd and bushy tail'd with the future in their hands just waiting to be unfolded and explored.

"The future is as bright as your faith!" Thomas S. Monson says. And I believe that man with all I've got.

So what happens when it's the EYES that lose the... BRIGHT?
What happens when we forget how to see?

This is a blog about perspective. For 18 months I saw the inexplicable. I’m here to prove that miracles still happen… but not all see them. In order for these events to be recognized at all, however subtle, one must CHANGE LENSES and begin to see with spiritual eyes. For “if these things have ceased, woe be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief”. (Book of Mormon, Moroni 7:37.)

For some, not all, the transition to “normal” life can be a rough one. It seems to some the road once paved in miraculous events can seem dim, slow, or overall just unpredictable. Or the opposite: the pace is too fast and we get swept downstream. We get over-zealous and over-schedule. For some, life moves on and decisions must be made, NOW, but the “Aha!” moments are few and the divine intervention once explicitly felt can seem............................... far.
….But is it? 
I propose the following. All of us at one point in our lives or another can fall into what the Bible recalls as being in a state of: “eyes have they, but they see not: “
“In the scriptures, the eye is often used as a symbol of a person’s ability to receive the light of God. Symbolically, a person’s eye also shows spiritual condition and an understanding of the things of God.” *
You should never begin a testimony with doubt. (Just ask Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. "That's like stuffing a bird through the beak.") But I will level with those who have wondered, "What happened to the way I used to see things? Where has this lackluster feeling of the mundane come from? This is certainly not me." I've been there.
But I am an optimist. And I believe in the ability of mortals to change the way they see their daily life. Even those faced with challenge, heartache and uncertainty. I know because I've done it.
It's easy to say this when things in your life are going well. Harder when they aren't. This blog is for those on both sides of the spectrum as well as all who fall as a dot somewhere in between. This is for all 'above the water' and all 'below' it. (That will be next week's post.)
So that's what I'm going to be talking about.
How to see things "as they really are" in the context of the every day life. Every day discipleship.
Let's start with a story.
I could talk for days about the things I see in regards to Thailand, ripple-effects, and missionaries.
But today I'm going to pick the most temporal, real, and obscure story I can. God is in every piece of our lives.

It begins with the word "wow."
As for context, here I am sitting in the reclining chair of what I anticipate will be an unfortunate orthodontist appointment. For background's sake, I have been waiting on getting jaw surgery for the last 10 years. I was in the process of doing this pre-mission but it was going so slow, and I headed the call to leave out as a missionary earlier than I had expected. I was regretful to lose all the time we had spent with braces and no luck to flip my two bottom canines to get ready for surgery. "We will just have to start over when you get back home." my orthodontist told me.
In those first few weeks as a missionary, I was almost convinced it was maybe  the wrong time for me to go. Maybe I needed that jaw surgery right now based on how much it was aching there in the training center. I remember praying, having been inspired by some sermon about how God blesses His missionaries because they are dedicated to His will. I said that night on my knees, "Heavenly Father, as your missionary I am entitled to blessings to help your work along. I need your help. I'm asking you to do whatever is possible to ease this pain so I can go to Thailand and preach the gospel. Please do something. Anything. I know you can do anything. Move my jaw and I will dedicate myself to this work."
I awoke the next morning only to realize that I didn't feel much of anything. Wait, ... what?
It wasn't until I was brushing my teeth that I realized something off about me.
My ears were lop-sided.
One clearly higher than the other.
And zero pain.
I'll let you make the inference as to what happened.

And now here we are in the present- October 2015. Just your average girl having a very unfortunate adolescent phase all over again. I admit I was bitter. It's funny how easily you can forget the miracles of the past when faced with something unpleasant in the present.
Really? I still have to get this surgery? I still have to deal with braces all over again, for what, the third time now?
Insert any other negative way to see this experience.
And here I am in the chair, staring at all the things that are going to poke and prod at me. We had started over, just as he had said. The reason this surgery is daunting is because this is my FACE we are talking about. I almost feel like I'm going to wake up from the surgery almost not recognizing myself. Months earlier I had expected just as slow of results. Just as long and depressing of another adolescent phase as the first with little to no movement of those bottom teeth. Just as much discomfort in my own skin as the struggle for self-confidence would no doubt chase me.
But then I watched as time moved and so did the teeth. Almost with ease. Entirely, rotating all the way around by a full 90 degrees.
"Wow," he said. "This never worked before. Obviously you are being blessed from your missionary service from all those prayers you said. Because we tried this before with no luck. You will be ready for surgery by Christmas."

My friends, there is no way to explain that except that God has a plan for us.

So wish me luck towards a miraculously fast expedited preparation to surgery after finals. Braces and a surgery all within less than a year? God is good. He is in the details... and the timing.

I guess it's just all about perspective. But I'd call this a "jaw dropper."

Camera photos come as "negatives." They are dark and the figures are unclear. But held up to light?
.Well......You get the picture.

It's high time we began changing lenses,
because I don't believe in coincidences.
And I have so many stories left to tell.

* ( …. THE GUIDE TO THE SCRIPTURES - definition of eye/eyes )

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