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Arguments with God

When I met my husband-to-be, he had some big-time stake calling. The kind that requires temple trips with the stake presidency. The kind that causes him to miss a date with me to BYU’s Preference dance. The kind that made girls think he was a good Mormon catch. I thought it was because he was a good kisser and a sexy dancer.

After we married, it was more of the same. Sam was a ward leader somewhere or other and I served on the activities committee or as ward chorister. The complete Biblical unequally yoked thing.

Yea, I know, I know. It’s not where you serve, but how you serve. All callings are equal before the Lord. And I’m obviously just as pious as President Hinckley.

I knew that’s how it would always be. Sam would be the area authority seventy and I’d be a nursery worker or the den mother. He was just that kind of guy. And I was just that kind of gal. And somewhere along the line I knew that meant that I was not favored of God. I wasn’t just not chosen, I wasn’t called either.

One day the bishop informed us that Sam would be released as the executive secretary within the next month. This came as something of a relief, since he was working on his PhD and time-consuming callings did not lend themselves to 18-hour study marathons. But two weeks before the release was to come, a counselor in the stake presidency came to our apartment to extend to him the call of Elder’s Quorum president. Of course (and as usual) we accepted.

As soon as the counselor left, Sam just leaned his head back on the couch and stared at the ceiling. I waited. Nothing.

“What?” I asked.

“Oh, I’m just not sure if I will ever get my dissertation done.”

That was it. I’d had it. “What do you mean? Don’t you get it? God loves you! He’ll never love me like that! It is such an honor! I can only dream that he would ever trust me like that!”

Sam just blinked back at me in the aggravating way righteous people do when “the others” come unhinged over nothing.

Two weeks later, I was called to serve as the education counselor.

Today, almost two decades later, I found out that the woman who submitted my name to be her counselor, didn’t want to. She didn’t want to so much that she argued with God about the prompting and assembled a presidency without me, before giving in.

I’d like her to know that she is right. The calling was about the ongoing ward leadership and about preparing me to be the next president and all that. But it also was about her and it was about me, too. That calling changed my life. It made me see that in spite of all my incredible shortcomings, in spite of all my sin and failing, I was still acceptable to God. And even though my perspective was incredibly distorted, it taught me that lesson in a way probably the only way that I could have understood it.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Sharilee10 May 29, 2007, 5:14 am

    This response goes with this thread, but I don’t know how to delete it from the other thread, so it’s in both places.


    Wow. I’m speechless, and that doesn’t happen very often. I am also in tears . . . now that does happen hourly as the Lord continually sends incredible blessings into my life as He did today when He led me to re-connect with you.

    I have always been so grateful that I didn’t just forge ahead and turn in someone else’s name, which it would have been so easy to do. The Bishopric REALLY wanted to put everyone in together that day. They kept asking me to pray again and give them a name, and I can’t tell you how close I came to just giving them the name I was thinking, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. As Joseph Smith said, “I knew, and I knew God knew I knew”, and I just couldn’t go against it, in spite of the tremendous fear I had of being inadequate next to you (you do get that my fear was a compliment, right? It’s not that I didn’t ‘want’ you– it’s that I was so afraid of being so much ‘less than’ you!)

    In spite of the bishopric’s repeated requests for a name, I just couldn’t turn in the name I had selected because I knew it wasn’t what God wanted. I delayed and bought myself another week thinking we could figure something out, come to some kind of compromise . . . and that is exactly what I suppose we did . . . but it wasn’t the compromise I had in mind. The compromise was that I trust Him and He would be there for me and would bless me and would make me equal to the task. In the very instant that I agreed in my heart to do what I knew the Lord wanted me to do, the fear fled and I felt an instant bond and love for you. I always found it so interesting that He did make me equal to the task— ofttimes through you. When I had my baby you were the one who carried on. Whenever I couldn’t be there you carried on. You were always there and I felt perhaps a deeper partnership with you than even some of the others I served with. I used to marvel at how the Lord had blessed me and how much I learned from you. Of course, I thought He had been so insistent because He knew you would be such a blessing in my life and I was so grateful that I hadn’t just turned in a different name and missed out on that opportunity. I am now doubly grateful as I realize, once again, it wasn’t all about ME! Gee . . . it’s time to learn that lesson, I guess!

    Thank you for sharing the rest of the story!

  • mlinford May 29, 2007, 4:41 pm

    I was soooo hoping you would share this story. Thank you…it brought tears to my eyes. Wow.

  • facethemusic May 29, 2007, 7:38 pm

    Great article, great story, too!
    Isn’t meeting up with old friends fun?

    I only have one experience in the “arguing with God” department. But it was a signficant one.
    Let’s just say that God won the argument and I ended up cancelling a wedding 3 days before it was to take place. When I look at the wonderful man I DID marry, I’m grateful everyday that Heavenly Father won that argument, and I don’t argue with Him anymore. 🙂

  • Alison Moore Smith May 29, 2007, 2:55 pm

    Sharilee, I did get the compliment, thank you. And the ones that followed. Thank you, again, for the very kind words.

    Must add that it truly mystifies me. I’ve heard similar things a few times in my life, but I can’t figure out why I would intimidate anyone. As Sue said, I’m just a schmuck. And when you met me, I was still incredibly insecure. Hats don’t change that. 🙂

    Speaking of when you had your baby at that crazy birthing center…I can’t even print some of the hilarious stuff we all talked about. But I remember. 🙂

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