The miracle of the blue jeans – Kim Sorensen
A few years ago, I found myself frequently in fervent prayer, pleading for blessings for myself and my family, blessings I knew we needed. I knew the blessings I sought were righteous desires, yet they did not come. Each time I prayed, the only impressions that came were urging me to do family history and temple work for my ancestors. The great irony was that one of the things I was seeking so fervently was more time. I felt overwhelmed with my life. I was the mother of four young children, I worked at least six hours a day on a home business, I had a demanding Church calling, and my husband traveled a lot on business and served in a student ward bishopric. Now the Lord was asking me to dedicate time and energy I didn’t think I had to family history work! It had never even crossed my mind that I should be doing my family history. I had felt that it was ‘not my season,’ that it was something I would do later in life. But in kind persistence, the answer to every prayer was the same–to seek my ancestors and do their temple work. While family history work might not be expected of everyone in my circumstances, I felt sure the Lord wanted me to become involved in it…
I knew one of the fundamental laws of revelation was obedience. President David O. McKay once said, ‘I want to tell you one thing: When the Lord tells you what to do, you’ve got to have the courage to do it or you had better not ask him again.’ If I didn’t obey the direction the Lord was giving me now, I knew I could not expect further direction.
One afternoon the demands of my life hit an all-time crescendo. I went to the Lord in prayer, and again the prompting came to seek out my ancestors and do their temple work. But this time I was willing to follow those promptings. As impossible as it seemed, I decided to make a promise that I would spend an average of an hour a day doing family history work. I felt peace in my heart as I made the commitment, but logically I could not see how I was ever going to do it.
I decided I would give the Lord my best hour of each day. I set aside the precious hour when my three-year-old was at preschool and my baby was napping. At first this was a trial of my faith. It was difficult for me to shut out all the other pressing demands in my life, but each day I diligently put in my hour, trusting that the Lord would bless me. I knew nothing about family history, so my first hours were spent doing simple things like calling family members to gather records, sitting at the computer trying to learn the family history software, and entering my family data onto the computer. Even though my daily strides were small, I knew that the Lord recognized the sacrifice I was making because I began to feel His Spirit in my life more than ever before…
I had prayed for more time. It didn’t take me long to notice that I was somehow getting more accomplished each day that I worked on family history than I ever got done on the days before I gave this hour to the Lord. Generally, the blessings came in small, almost imperceptible ways: the children weren’t getting sick, the appliances and cars didn’t need repairs, for example. But one day, the divine assistance was obvious. I had a son who needed jeans and a pair of shorts for Scout camp. I purchased some for him, but when I took them home they did not fit and were not the style he had hoped for. So I decided that on the following Saturday I would take him to the mall and try again. I figured that with the driving time, it would take at least three hours of the day. When Saturday came, I attended first to my family history and ran some errands. On my way home an impression came to my mind to go up the street, where I would find a garage sale, and there I would find some jeans for my son. It was only an impression, but I knew it did not come from me. Knowing the importance of obedience, I followed it. Sure enough, at the top of the street, there was a small garage sale being held for a local charity. When I walked in, sitting on a table in the middle of the garage was a stack of new and slightly used jeans only in my son’s size and next to it a stack of shorts also in his size. I bought every pair and still paid less than if I had purchased one or two pairs at the mall. When I took them home my son loved them! That morning I had given the Lord one hour of my time. In return, he gave me back three hours that I could spend with my children and a strengthened testimony that He lives and is mindful of even my smallest challenges.
The Spirit prompted me to work on family history. I was able to show mercy to my ancestors and bless their lives by doing for them something they could not do for themselves, and my family has been blessed abundantly. The Lord has promised each of us that if we are merciful we will also obtain mercy (Kim Sorensen, “Blessings for My Ancestors, Blessings for Me,” Ensign, August 2006).