Wednesday, August 31, 2011

He Who Knows Each Sparrow...

We made it home from our big adventure! I can't wait to share pictures and stories soon. To put it simply, our trip to El Salvador was life changing... so much so that words have to yet come that could adequately express my feelings. I'm just now beginning to truly soak it all in and grasp the depth of our experiences.

I suppose in order to truly paint the picture, I have to go back a bit... even a week or so before the trip began. The weeks leading up to Girls Camp and El Salvador were rather stressful. I found myself lost in projects, meetings, to-do lists, and occasional break-downs (both physical and emotional). I couldn't begin to think about our trip until Girls Camp was complete. By the week of camp I was really starting to feel run-down. With the wonderful help of ward members, family, and my dear husband Danny, everything was completed in time, and all I had left to do was see the girls off and join them a few days later.

The girls were heading off to camp and for the moment out of my hands. The morning I saw them off an unexpected need arose. Outside was a sweet little bird who had fallen from his nest and in danger of becoming the next meal for a hungry cat. Danny and I managed to rescue the poor baby, careful not to touch him in hopes his mother would return to care for him. She did in fact come back to his aid for several hours, and I was confident that he was going to survive. Unfortunately, by the end of the day she was no longer attending to him, and things weren't looking good for the sweet little bird. We gave him water and tried to get him to eat, but the poor baby didn't make it in the end. I'd done all I could for him, but it simply wasn't enough. I had a very hard time with this, but at least felt glad that I had tried to help.

Perhaps I was so deeply saddened because I was feeling the exact same way about my calling. I'd spent countless hours preparing for camp and yet my health didn't permit me to be there the whole time and truly feel that I was giving the girls my best. All too often throughout the last year I've felt that my best efforts have been dismally unsuccessful. At the same time I was trying to get my scrapbooking class up and going (thus far, a flop), applying for the American Crafts Design Team (yet another rejection), and now preparing to join the girls for the last two days of camp, return home, and leave the following week for El Salvador.

I managed to make it up to camp and had a wonderful experience, as noted in my previous post. The story continues. The day after returning from camp I was extremely run-down and ill. By now I was wondering if El Salvador was really going to happen, and if I was going to be completely miserable there. With a heavy dose of antibiotics and an even heavier dose of faith, we began packing and preparing to leave the country.

By Thursday, things were looking up and I was starting to feel better. I was cleaning the house and finishing some last minute preparations to leave with my counselors for Young Women. Multi-tasking has never been my strong-suit, but I was feeling quite accomplished. The last thing to tackle were the dishes. Scrub, scrub, scrub and several minutes later they were finally complete! I reached over to run the disposal and that's when yet another unexpected turn of events arose. No plate on the switch and wet hands... Yes, I managed to electrocute myself... in a BIG way. Next thing I know, I'm on the other side of the room, almost incoherent and unsure about what had just happened. I managed to call my mom, and bless her heart, though she couldn't understand me, she knew something was wrong, and rushed to my aid within minutes. She found me laying on the ground with Dolly on top of me, licking me to keep me conscious. (SUPER-DOG!) A trip to the ER didn't really fit in the plans I had made, but sometimes that's just the way life goes. It was an extremely scary experience, but I know the Lord blessed me with specific tender mercies and strength. Thank heavens for tender mercies; for loved ones, (seen and un-seen, people and pets) who rush to our aid when we are in need.

So what does all of this  have to do with that baby bird? He who knows even the sparrows, knows and loves me, Lynley Jill. Throughout the last few weeks the Lord has been teaching me a lot about grace, humility, and submitting to His will. I've had to rely heavily on Him and recognize my own limitations. I've learned that I can't do it on my own, and I'm not a failure when my efforts seem to fall short. I am learning to let go of my own worldly desires and embrace God's plan for me. While at times the answers I seek seem to be slow in coming, I know He hasn't forgotten or forsaken me. The love and compassion I felt for that little bird was a reminder of His love for me. Maybe I'm just small and simple, but he cares enough to rescue ME, to come to my aid, and to succor ME in my afflictions.  He's sent ministering angels to my side more times than I know throughout these troubling times.

Needless to say, there was great opposition leading up to our trip, but somehow this gave me confidence that it was going to be an extraordinary experience, and indeed it was. I think perhaps all of the struggles leading up to El Salvador where humbling me, and preparing me for great things. I'll fill you in on those adventures soon.

With Love,


Brett said...

Beautifully said Lynley! Sometimes the most effective way the Lord has of deepening our discipleship and of teaching us of his profound love for us is by permitting us to enter into "the fellowship of His sufferings" (Phil. 3:10). Ironically, it is often in the moments of greatest hardship that we become most aware of the profound depth of His love and concern for us. And somehow, in the midst of tasting "the least degree" (D&C 19:21) of what He endured, He qualifies us to become better disciples and witnesses of His goodness and grace to those around us (Mosiah 24:14).

Stephanie said...

Well said, both of you! If I may, let me add a couple more scriptures to what Brett has shared. In Philippians 4:13, we read "I can do all things through Christ who strenghteneth me.” Doctrine and Covenants 58:3-4 reminds us of the eternal perspective of our Heavenly Father and Saviour, Jesus Christ: “Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. / For after much tribulation come the blessings.” Oh how hard it is to be mortal sometimes, with all of the trials and tribulations that accompany this state, but these scriptures remind me that I’m not alone on the journey. Your blog does the same thing, LJ! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Love you lots!

Whitney said...

Thanks so much for sharing Lynley! Such a beautful story. I've been thinking a lot about you, and wondering how your trip was. I'm glad you are home safe adn sound and that you had such a good experience.

Jeni C. said...

What a beautiful entry! I read it yesterday just before lunch ended & had to fight back tears so that I could go & get my class. You have a way with words, but more importantly, you have a way of saying things in a way that the Spirit can touch people's hearts! Love you lots!