Miracles, Not Just Resolutions

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by Heather@Women in the Scriptures

new yearI don’t really like making New Year resolutions. Unless they are something I’ve already been working on, I never remember to do them. They just don’t work for me.

Instead, my husband and I write down New Year Miracles. Each new year we write down three or four things that we’d like to see happen during the next year. They are always things that at the time seem utterly and completely impossible, things that if they really were to happen would indeed be miracles. Sometimes we ask for miracles for ourselves, but usually we ask for miracles to happen to people we care deeply about. Since they are things near and dear to our heart it isn’t hard to think about them often and to offer up silent and vocal prayers for them throughout the year.

My husband and I started this tradition not long after we were married and then several years ago I read this story by Elder Boyd K. Packer in which he and his wife do something similar. He said:

Donna and I attended an unusual dinner at the home of one of our beloved friends. It was a New Year’s Eve party. Our host had an activity for the evening. He read a quotation from Heber C. Kimball: “I have said often, you may write blessings for yourselves and insert every good thing you can think of, and it will all come to pass on your heads, if you do right.” (From an address in the Old Tabernacle, August 1853.)

He gave each of us a sheet of paper and an envelope and suggested we write upon the paper the things we hoped to achieve in the new year. We were asked to seal the envelope and put our name on it. “I will take these to the bank and put them in the vault,” he said. “A year from now we will meet again and have a dinner and I will deliver them to you. And we will tell if you wish, how nearly we have achieved our goals.” We thoughtfully set our goals that night and sealed them up, and they were delivered to the vault to lay unopened for a full year. Six things were on our list, each relating to a blessing for someone dear. Each seemed near to the impossible. One, for instance related to a sister and … marriage. Worthiness was no problem; it was her body so crippled with disease that a [marriage] was out of the question, or was it?

The year rolled by and the envelopes were delivered to us again. During the year, with those goals in mind, we had prayed now and then, and then little opportunities came by. They would have gone unnoticed if we had not set the goals. We were able to move forward, first with one goal, then with another. Five impossible things had happened. The sixth related to the solution of a problem of a friend. It was on New Year’s Eve that I received a telephone call from across the country. My friend excitedly told me that his problem had been solved. He knew nothing of the notes in the envelope.

Last year I wrote down four miracles, things that I was sure could never happen that year but which my heart yearned for desperately. I can bear strong testimony that God is still a God of miracles because one of my impossible things was answered directly this year, another was answered in a roundabout way, and one of the miracles I prayed for two years ago was answered this year. I’ve noticed that sometimes God doesn’t always perform the miracle in the year I pray for it but I’ve come to trust in God’s timing and wisdom. I know that the other two miracles I prayed for will someday be answered in His own time and His own way.

Perhaps these impossible things would still have happened if I hadn’t been praying for them to happen, but then they wouldn’t have been miracles. Miracles are things that need to be asked for… they take faith. Jesus never performed a miracle unless someone specifically sought him out and asked for it. They demonstrated their faith in His power by being humble enough to ask Him for the miracle they wanted, whether it was for themselves or someone they loved. If we want to see miracles we have to have the faith to ask for them.

I am asking for some pretty impossible things this year. Part of my heart doubts that there is any way they will be able to happen, but the other part of my heart is full of faith in God. I know that with Him nothing is impossible… even miracles.

photo by: *Sally M*

About Heather@Women in the Scriptures

I am a scripture loving, baby snuggling, chicken raising, modern dancing, garden growing, home birthing, doula working, fast swimming, muffin loving, Mormon wife, mother, sister, and daughter.

9 Responses to Miracles, Not Just Resolutions

  1. Bonnie says:

    I am so excited about this! I had never read Elder Packer’s quote, nor had I ever put miracles and goals together on New Year’s Day, but I believe in goals and miracles, writing our own blessings, and living in that zone of faith-hope-charity that invites the companionship and collaboration of heaven.

    I am going to sit down today and record in my journal all the miracles that happened this past year (they are rolling forward in my thinking so quickly I can’t name them all!) and then use New Year’s to write blessings (it has always inspired me how Joseph invited others to do that.) I am embarrassed to say that while I pray daily for others in very specific ways, I hadn’t thought about involving them in my goals for miracles, and I’m going to change that too.

    When I taught Moroni this past two weeks in Gospel Doctrine and for the first time noticed that the Book of Moroni isn’t a hodge-podge of “we forgot this” and “that’s not in there” and saw it for the incredible structure of Zion-building that it is, I realized that miracles are intended to be an integral part of the Zion life. Thank you for sharing this at just the perfect time for me to do some implementing!

  2. Paul says:

    What a great idea! I’ll begin mulling miracles now.

  3. Bonnie says:

    The comparison between miracles and resolutions keeps coming back to me – so important! A friend commented that she spends too much time in politics to like the word “resolution” because it’s a meaningless political ploy with no intention and no teeth. I agree. New Year’s resolutions often become exactly that: a political ploy with ourselves. Beyond that, however, is the fact that most New Year’s resolutions are focused on the self as the actor, while miracles are an acknowledgement that God is the primary actor and we are along with our faith and “showing up” for the ride. The difference is vital! How many times in the scriptures does the Lord say that if we are faithless and disobedient we will be left to ourselves. Isn’t that the attitude with which we largely embark on New Year’s resolutions?? Crazy. Why would we do that? Why would we consciously embark on a process without God?

    • I love these thoughts. One of the things that I feel I’ve learned the most about doing “miracles” is that sometimes there are really things that you CAN NOT change. No matter how hard you try or work for it. Sometimes there are circumstances beyond your control, or choices that other people make, that you can’t do any thing about. In those cases it doesn’t matter how many goals you set or how much help you get… you just have to turn it over to the Lord. I think that is really how Jon and I started to do the miracles thing, because the things I really wanted to change I had no power to do. But God did, and he did change it.

      • Bonnie says:

        Yes! Precisely! Miracles have long been a pet interest of mine, and I have written many times about them, filled with curiosity and wonder. I’ve enjoyed many of them in answer to prayers in crisis. This past month I had a very sacred opportunity to ask for one and receive it and I’m still blown away by it. Then a week later I began my personal course of study to teach Moroni and thought more deeply about miracles because of the readings. We are supposed to be surrounded by them, to breathe them in and out as naturally as if God walked daily beside us chatting. We are intended to know minute by minute where we stand with God, what to ask, and how to see it when we receive. We really are intended to know when mountains need moved and to have the faith to ask it in a timely manner. And it begins when we surrender, recognizing that of ourselves, we are nothing! With Joy!!

  4. Paul says:

    Bonnie, your comment reminds me of another related principle, the mis-guided notion of spiritual self-sufficiency. One the one hand, we want to be off the bishop’s worry list, but on the other hand, we will NEVER be spiritually self-sufficient; were it any other way, there would be no need for a Savior.

  5. Jendoop says:

    I’m with you on not doing resolutions. It seems like a plan for failure to set goals based on a day on the calendar. Each Sunday is an opportunity to renew and each new day is a day to start again – some of the greatest blessings that we take forgranted simply because they’re so bountiful, it doesn’t make them any less valuable.

    This idea of asking for miracles is so wonderful that I’m nearly afraid to do it. Just thinking about it I get overwhelmed wondering what it would be like if the miracles I hope for came to be, like it takes my breath away.

    I’ll be thinking about what miracles happened in the past year, my tendency is to remember the bad things that happened or what I wanted to happen and didn’t. So recalling the miracles is something I need to do for the sake of gratitude if nothing else. Thank you for sharing this!

  6. templegoer says:

    Whilst I’m not discounting the reality of the possibility of miracles, when I look at the miracles of the last year they are all miracles of my own submission to God’s desire to make me aware of a greater good than I can imagine. They are also counter-intuitive.

    I really never imagined that so much good could come about by asserting my need for change in my relationship with my spouse, nor the blessing that could become for our entire household and possibly generations to come.

    Who knew?

  7. templegoer says:

    And I think I am learning not to set God’s agenda for Him.
    Whilst I love the inspirational tone of this post, I’m past ‘tempting’ God. We do indeed have a daughter in our household who’s body is so crippled with disease that she cannot leave the house making it less than likely that she will now marry. She has had to learn to let that go, and chafing at reality only makes us all more sore. Whilst I have no doubt of God’s goodness, it would only compound our suffering to notice it. In order to preserve our faith we have to focus on other things, often the fact that we have lived together in love for one more day. So, I think I may be giving the approach of the original poster a miss, and focus on submission to the beautiful universe.

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