The Ultimate Test
Miracles come in different forms. See this little house above? Neither of us are carpenters but we built this little playhouse for our grandchildren--that's a miracle in itself.
One day the thoughts of providing a playhouse for the children seemed like a good idea. Another one of mine! I think my companion must cringe each time I get another one of those "ideas." So we began checking out the market to see what was available. Molded plastic boxes only big enough to turn around in weren't suitable. "I know! Let's build one!" I got a look--
We began with great energy and enthusiasm (at least I did), and my faithful companion followed Grandma--anything for the grandchildren. Before it was finished I wondered how we ever had the courage to start it in the first place. I found consolation in the thought that Nephi built a boat. I knew if our marriage survived this, it had to be made in heaven!
We found out that if youre not skilled and try to do something like this, then you need the endowment, literally. Gifts from heaven such as patience, long suffering, wisdom, charity, and a healthy sense of humor alone will help one to finish such an undertaking! When we started we had a little patience (very little), no wisdom (or we wouldnt have started in the first place), had to develop humor (we felt like the 3 stooges trying to built Taj Mahalour daughter helped add to the fun), suffered longer than we wanted to, and we know the endowment came because we didnt kill each other.
His thinkingone must have an exact pattern, and an intense drive just to get things done--We had to change the plans--it was too small.
My thinkingartisticcustom design everythingdo it right (that usually meant do it the way I thought it should be done) or let me do it! He didnt necessarily think my way was right. Im melancholy/choleric so that always irritated me. Hes melancholy/phlegmaticthats stubborn. We had a problem. Jesus knew that and probably chuckled. The joke was on uswe had to learn with each other-not an easy task. But look at that picture above! We did it!
The Team Of Horses
In the first 10 years of our marriage, the Lord saw our struggles and told me our work would begin when we pulled together. I thought, That sounds like a team of horses, and a team has a leader. And naturally the leader should be the husband. But we were to be different from other couplesan understatement! There was to be no lead horse herewe both were leaders and would have to learn to pull together. If we didnt, we wouldnt get anywhere! I had a dream:
I was walking with some relatives, and up ahead was a worldly building with lights and enticing music coming from within. They all had tickets and began entering the building. I wanted to go with them, but I didnt have a ticket. (Having a ticket means you have paid a price to get it. Lehi and Nephi also saw this worldly building.) I didnt go in. I walked on alone down a path where people stared at me as if I were peculiar. (I was different. I carried my Bible to work, and put it in the drawer to read as I painted cards at Hallmark. I joyously talked about the gospel and the love of Christ any chance I got. And I got a reputation, to some it was a distinctionI was sought out for spiritual counsel.)
Down the road I saw a rustic old red barn. Upon entering, I discovered artists paintings hanging around the walls. A contest was in progress and my work was being judged also. I took first place, but the prizes for all winners were the same (only what earth can give as a rewarda small token of honor).
The scene changed, and I was standing beside a beautiful blue stream with grasses along the banks...no dirt or filth anywhere. I was caught up in the stream and carried along (my lifes travel on earth) and then there was another with me (marriage). We seemed to be conversing the distance of the stream. We came to the end of it and got out together. We were standing on a bluff overlooking a beautiful valley. The trees were brilliant green, life as Id never before seen it, and I awoke.
I understood all of itmy artwork excelled from the time God sent the angel of Walt Disney in a dream to explain the concept of color to me. Then my deceased high school art teacher showed up in a dream. I knew her at 80, but she looked about in her 30s. She asked me if I needed help, and did I want it? Of course I said yes, and from then on, received it.
Mr. Disney actually insulted me, now that I think back on it, but he was right. He said my colors were atrocious, or nauseating, or something like it. Maybe as an angel he had to put it mildly. I'm sure he wouldn't have hired me to work at the Disney Studio when he was alive if my understanding of his angelic reaction to my work was accurate. He got his point across, then told me how to correct ita simple rule in art Id never been taught.
He said to put any colors I wanted to use on my palette and than take another color and mix that one with every one of the others. In doing this there would be a link between all the colors and they would be compatible. I tried it and it worked.
As I thought about that the Spirit said Jesus Christ is like that link. He's the unifying force that blends hearts into one. Our skin colors vary with different nationalities on God's rainbow palette, but because (and when) Jesus Christ is there, we become one in harmony on His canvas through the love of Jesus Christ.
Mr. Disney never returned after that first informative prick to my pride; but I was aware of unseen angelic help from then on for several years. My work did improve remarkablythus winning the prize in the dream.
But the stream?
One day our pastor, Bill LaGrece, was visiting. I told him about the blue stream and he had the interpretation. He said it meant that our lives would be different from the average couplewed be a strong team; each one a lead horse is the best way to describe it. As Jesus said, when we pulled together ...If not, we wouldnt be able to work. But we were yoked together for Gods purpose. Gene is that team worker. While I have written books, Gene has held down the fort, always does the grocery shopping, cooks the meals, usually makes sure I eat, takes care of the yard work, and keeps me supplied with any materials I need to do my writingwhich includes buying expensive machines (computers, scanners, printers). Hes one heck of a team horse, plus he is a loyal friend. You cant beat that combination.
But what about the valley in my dream that we stood together and viewed? The Millennial Reign? So what did we need to build a playhouse for? To see if the team could finally pull together?
An Angel Fixed The Washers
One of the best ways to help as a team member is to silently pray for God to send angels, if necessary, to help your partner when hes having a difficult time. God always seems to send me around just at the right time to pray for Gene. I remember one time Gene was struggling, trying to put a screw inside the drum of our washing machine. It was in an awkward place to reach, and the screw refused to go in. Gene was about ready to blow when I came and saw his need. I prayed for help, and left. In a few minutes Gene came in; the job was completed. When he told me what happened, I chuckled, for I knew one of Gods angel mechanics had come to the rescue.
What happened? Gene dropped the screw driverthats all. It bounced on the screw, and the screw popped in place. Try that one again! Thats team work partners who pray for each other, and a God who will send His angels to help us so we can keep our sanity. You cant beat prayer!
My story reminds me of one I read in Guideposts.1 A young mother had problems with her washing machine. It would stop working when it was full of water and clothes. Her mechanical husband was away on duty in the service so she prayed for help. God sent one of His mechanics, apparently putting a temporary zap on it, because it worked perfectly until the day her husband came home. Then it returned to its antics. Of course she never saw the angel. Neither did we, but we saw the results.
I wonder if angels were helping us build our playhouse?
1. Guideposts, His Mysterious Ways (book), p. 115