Last October, 2019, our church had a General Conference where the prophet and apostles of God spoke.
But I felt I was half asleep. Not literally (although sometimes I did doze off) but spiritually. I was so overwhelmed with teaching and family demands to really take time to listen.
By around January 2020 I was even more overwhelmed, but felt a spiritual nagging: I needed to wake up.
I brought this concern to God: “Please,” I prayed as I studied the scriptures, “I feel I’m missing things. Tell me what to read and study, and send me resources to rouse me.”
I should have remembered that when you ask God to change you, He will do so in magnificent fashion. I forgot to brace myself.
Coming at me in the following weeks, from friends and acquaintances, was a flood of podcasts, book recommendations, speeches, church talks, and scriptural accounts that not only woke me up but nearly set me on spiritual fire.
Then came March—specifically Friday, March 13, when I said good-bye to my students for the last time and didn’t yet know it. The Spirit spoke to me that it would be the last time, but I brushed that aside as “unbelievable.”
None of us would believe anything that followed.
This was part of my “waking up,” and it has been brutal for all of us. (But it’s not all my fault, I promise.)
In some ways the past five months have been a huge blessing: all of the activities and events with school that I would have been responsible for I didn’t have to do. I had more time for my family, for study, and to look deeply at the world and see what was looking back.
Recently I’ve thought about my earlier listlessness and contrasted it to my now-intense alertness, especially when I’ve had readers message me with, “Isn’t it crazy how parts of your books parallel what’s happening today?” and “Did you accidentally write history?” (Yes, it is crazy; no, I didn’t intend to prescribe history.)
Those comments have left me wondering, Why didn’t I see any of this coming?
Then yesterday I saw this post in a group I follow: “Remember the 10 virgins who waited for the Bridegroom to come?
“They had fallen asleep—all of them had fallen asleep. And then when they awoke, five were ready to follow Him to the supper, while the other five were unprepared and had to run to find oil for their lamps . . .”
I was struck by “all of them had fallen asleep.”
It’s ok that I didn’t see this coming, that NONE of us saw this coming. We weren’t expected to.
But now we’re waking up.
Now it’s time to trim our lamps and get hustling.
Some are slower than others to wake up–I am solidly a mid-to-late-morning person. No “up before dawn around here.” I’m so grateful for friends who are earlier risers and noticed when I was ready to see what was going on. I was fully awake by the time March came around, and I was still alarmed, but now we are “awake to a sense of [our] awful situation.”
Today I realize that we need to rid ourselves of petty anger, self-righteousness, and divisiveness. Satan’s doing all he can to splinter us, and he’s (literally) damned good at it.
But we can be better than him!
It doesn’t matter what “stupid” or “ignorant” thing someone posts on social media, look past it and love them anyway. We don’t all have to agree about everything, but we need to set aside our differences so that we can stand together strong in the midst of the storms that are coming.
And they are coming.
I’ve been quiet on my website because every time I’ve come here to write something, the Spirit has held me back. I’m not sure why.
Today, though, I feel strongly I need to share this message.
Look past the arguments meant to divide us.
Instead, cling to each other.
Hold tight together.
Brace yourselves, look to God, and live.
One last thing, from a book that truly is “writing history” and teaching me daily how to respond:
23 . . . it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get apower and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of bdestruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.
24 Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this asecret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.
25 For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the afreedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who bbeguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath chardened the hearts of men that they have dmurdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.
26 Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have ano power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be bpersuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all crighteousness and be saved.
~Ether 8: 23-26 The Book of Mormon