The best test I ever failed - Thanks dad

It's the end of the school year and my kids are counting the days until they don't have to worry about homework, studying or tests.  Last week I was helping my son study for an upcoming test and he ask me if I had ever flunked a test.  I admit it.   I have failed a test before.   But there was one test I failed that I will never forget because I learned some skills after taking that test that I still use to this day.  I reminded him of my story about faith, and he rolled his eyes a bit, smiled and said,  "yeah, I know that one mom." 
If you ask my kids about having faith, there is a good chance they will tell you this story.  They have heard me tell it hundreds of times because, even younger kids can understand the point of the story and it's a good reminder for us grown ups too.  So, let me tell you a story. 
me & my brother

I was 10 years old and I was listening intently to my Sunday school teacher.  She was teaching us about faith and she ask me to read a scripture. 
What I read was this:
 “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, … nothing shall be impossible unto you” 
This was incredible news to me!!  She held out her hand and we all looked at the tiny little mustard seed.  I was thrilled because I was sure I had at least that much faith!  
The next day I went to school with big plans.  I sat at my desk and listened to my math teacher review what we needed to study for our test the next day. I didn't really pay much attention because I didn't need to study. Why would I study?! I got FAITH!
That night after dinner my dad ask me if I had homework and I said no.  I planned on surprising him with my test results the next day.  Why on earth would I do homework when all I needed was faith?!  Duh! 
The next day at school I couldn't help myself... I had to brag a bit to my friends about how I didn't need to study to get an A+ on the test.  My friends were in awe! I folded my arms, leaned back a bit in my chair and in my most boastful sounding voice said; "Yep, I don't have to study 'cause I got lots of faith."  I even went so far as to say "I have so much faith, I wouldn't even need to take the test to get an A!"     (I know, I know. I pushed it to far....way to far. But I was 10 years old!)
Well, I think you can see where this is going so, it may not come as a surprise to hear that when the test results were passed out later that day, I got an F. F as in FAIL.  My 10 year old brain was in shock.  What about all that faith?!  My teacher had obviously left some important information out of the lesson!!
I was sitting at the kitchen table that night still confused by the days events.  My father sat down and I explained. I told him the whole story. When I finished my sad tale, he said only five words. He said:
"FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD"
I spent the next half hour listening to my father explain to me how faith works. I went to bed that night with my math test on the floor next to me with a big red F on it and it was okay because I learned that expecting success without hard work, is like looking for fruit in places you didn't plant seeds... and that lesson was something I have never forgotten.

my Father
  "...my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children."
My dad has a specific skill set.  From a very early age, he was a walking, talking set of scriptures, and there were times that I was happy about that...  But there were many times my scriptorian father drove me nuts as well.....

I think I have heard my dad tell me this joke at least ten thousand times... Ready? Here's how our conversation played out....
Did you know that in the scriptures it says that Satan is a woman?
I've heard this one.
it says that Satan is a woman!  Did you know that?
No dad......Where does it say that?
In D&C 52:14   it says Satan is abroad in the land! (insert my father laughing like this is extremely funny, and as if it's the first time he heard this joke)
That was a lot funnier the first hundred times i heard it dad.
Get it?!  A BROAD?  You know, a Broad, as in "Woman"!  (insert my father still cracking himself up)
You're killin' me dad...Seriously.

My sister Lisa & I
Aside from knowing and constantly sharing every joke he had EVER heard and found entertaining, about anything having to do with the scriptures, there was this thing my dad did that would drive me crazy.
When I was a young girl, my father would tell me that every problem we have in life, can be solved by reading the scriptures. This just didn't sound right to me so I would always say to him, "Not EVERY problem, Dad".  But he was so sure of himself!!  "Yes dear, every single trial we have, big or small.  You can find the answer to your problem in the scriptures!!"
As a young girl, I would try and test this theory. I would name all sorts of topics and sure enough, he would pull some scripture out of his head, proving his point. Finally, I thought I had found the one problem that could never be solved!
I sat down at the table across from my father and announced that his glory days were over. This was it, my moment to shine and prove him wrong! Topic?   Diaper Rash.  Pretty good one, Right?!!  I was all ready to gloat as he flipped through the pages of his scriptures but he didn’t even open them!
"Even better", I thought.  "He already knows I am right!"  
It was a glorious moment for a 12 year old girl..... until he spoke.
He said "Is that it? Are you sure?" and he was smiling!! I was sure he was bluffing, so I told him I knew I was right.  I mean, come on!!!  Diapers weren’t even invented yet!  Unless somehow there was some missing scroll from the Sermon on the Mount, I figured I was safe in assuming i was going to win this!! 
My father just kept smiling with that crazy smirk he gets when he believes he is about to say something extremely witty....so I braced myself and then He picked up the book in front of him, turned to the back and read this:
D&C Section 122
“All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience”
and then he quoted this scripture... 
“Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days”  (D&C 24:8).
DANG IT! 
My parents and me
Now that I am a bit older and hopefully wiser, I think I understand what he was trying to tell me.  I cant always flip to a specific page and read a verse that instantly solves my problems. 
But, What I can do, and have done many times, is read a quote or verse about *HOW* to make it through life’s challenges, and in my opinion, it usually all comes down to faith. Do I have enough faith to do what my Heavenly Father asks, even when I don't understand?  I am sure trying to, but I am a work in progress.

 I wanted to post this because with Father's Day, just around the corner, I have been thinking about the good things I learned from my father.  I love him for showing me, from a very young age, how important his faith was to him.  If he did nothing else for me, it is this one thing I would cling to.  How many children out there would have loved to be born into a home where they were raised to believe they were a son or daughter of God?  In my life, I see it as a blessing, which eventually led to those same things being important to me as well.  I think I clung to the faith of my parents until I was able to slowly begin to build my own faith & testimony of Christ.   So, I wanted share just a few things my dad taught me.  The things that also make me smile and laugh a bit. Sometimes what I learned, was from his heart, in his own words and other times by the words of my Book of Mormon hero's, and on Father's Day this year that is what I will be grateful for most of all when I think of my father. 
*Some of those HOW's are:
Be patient and understanding when God lets you struggle to grow and answers come a piece at a time over an extended period.
Trust in God and in His willingness to provide help when needed, no matter how challenging the circumstance.
Obey His commandments and live to demonstrate that He can trust you.
Be sensitive to the quiet prompting of the Spirit.
Act courageously on that prompting.

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