After accepting a recent calling to a leadership position at church the best piece of advice I received from my friend Jodi was, “GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY! I think the key is to put aside your agenda for God’s agenda.” Such wise words that I have tried to recall daily. I remember a time when I was going to teach a lesson on ministering. In my mind I had it all planned out. I had plenty of experiences to share on how I had been ministered to. I had ideas of wanting to share some examples from Christ’s life and what we could learn from him. Then when I actually sat down to write my notes, my mind was directed elsewhere. A couple of my ideas stayed, but my direction and subtopics looked different. The spirit was leading me to what God would have me focus on. Honestly, I was a little sad my lesson had taken a different direction. I thought what I had to share was inspired. I have no doubt my original ideas were good and pleasing to God. It was just not the right time or place for them.
Another episode more recently revolved around me wanting to share something for Easter with the sisters of our congregation. Since I would not be able to see them in person a friend shared an idea of sending a video message. I liked the sound of this. As I contemplated what I should share the thought of hope came to my mind. Everyone needs hope right now in this pandemic. Christ brings hope. I thought it was perfect for Easter. I started looking over some general conference talks that had Hope as the topics. I found some amazing quotes and insights from our apostles to share. Just before I was to record my message for the sisters, I felt prompted to scrap all my notes on hope. I felt the need to give them my plain and simple testimony of Christ. It was to come from my heart with no notes or rehearsal. I started the recording pretending like I was just standing at the pulpit during a fast and testimony meeting. I used the Spirit to help me share my faith and love for our Savior.
Do you have the courage and faith to get out of your own way in your life? Do you have the strength to drop your personal agenda for God’s? It’s one thing to rearrange and drop ideas you have for a church calling. I feel it’s on a whole different level when it’s your own life.
Recently my husband has been out of work. He has been actively looking for work since this past September. It’s been a hard, long 8 months. This is definitely not the path we would have chosen for ourselves. Unemployment is financially stressful for anyone. Then the Covid-19 pandemic came and the job interviews began to be postponed and there were less job posting popping up on websites. After job hunting for months, it was worrisome to know the economy and job market were just getting worse.
At times it’s easy for my husband and I to question God’s plan for our family. We are not perfect and have plenty of days where we help pick one another up out of doubt or anger. We have stayed faithful, despite no blessings of a job yet. Because we have kept our faith during this trial God has not forgotten us. He has provided for us with the financial blessings we would have never seen coming. From the time our savings ran out it has been one small miracle after another. We have chosen to be humble and rely on the Lord. This choice hasn’t been made once. We continually have to make it, because it’s a hard choice to make because this choice takes faith and this choice means going forward with so many unknowns.
I believe the choice of being humble assures me that my loving Heavenly Parents will provide a path for my family that is better than the one we would have chosen for ourselves. This path has already shown heartache, sorrow, joy, and happiness. In the current weeks and small moments, I won’t always know or see why this path is the better one. I might not see how this time of unemployment is shaping and growing our family or us as individuals. I do have faith and hope though that one day I will look back at this time and see exactly why it was necessary for our family to be jobless. I also have faith that God’s agenda is perfect. My mere mortal eyes might not always see the perfection or outcomes He has planned for us. It doesn’t mean they don’t exist. It just means I need every increasing faith and humility on my walk back to Him.
When I’m engaged in ministering and service my heart is turned towards God. My focus is His and not my own.
Article written by Valerie Cuevas
At the young age of 12 Valerie faced her first cancer diagnosis and survived. Twenty-five years later she lost her husband to brain cancer. She was left a widow at the age of 36 with 3 young daughters to raise. Eight months after her husband passed away, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went through surgeries and treatment while continuing to care for her family. She happily remarried in April of 2018 to a widower with 3 sons, making them the modern-day “Brady Bunch”. As a speaker and writer, she shares openly the challenges and trials that her life has been presented with and how she has triumphed over them with God and Christ.