Friday, June 30, 2017
Sometimes, I get so caught up in the chaos that is my life, that I do not look for ways to serve others. I forget, for a time, that serving others is really also something that makes me feel better about myself. This week, there were a couple of friends who needed me, and I stopped what I was doing and went and served.
I have found that service is rarely convenient. It almost never comes at the right time in my life. It is usually something I have to drop everything else for and just go and do. It can be so much easier to just lay in bed and wallow in my exhaustion.
Funny thing though, when I finally get up the courage to just do it, I find myself with more energy and more love and more compassion than I started out with. I find myself wanting to help even more.
One of the things we are doing in Primary this year is teaching the children to "dare to choose the right". They are each challenged every week to dare another child to do something that is right and kind and good. Then the next week they get to tell who they dared, what they asked them to do, and whether or not they did it. They also get to put a gumball in a jar to show all the "good dares" that they have done.
They seem to get really involved in it and some of the dares are simple, but some have actually been pretty complicated. So, this week, going with that theme, I am going to dare you to serve someone else. Help to ease their heartache. Help them to bear their sorrows. You can choose what you do. It can be as simple as a phone call, or a visit. You can make a dinner or a dessert, or even a loaf of bread.
Whatever you decide to do, put a little bit of yourself into it. I promise that as we seek to serve others, our own doubts and fears and even pain becomes a little bit easier to bear.
Give it a try! I dare you!
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd, finds joy in seeing His diseased sheep progress toward healing.
"We get a glimpse into our Heavenly Father’s character as we recognize the immense compassion He has for sinners and appreciate the distinction He makes between sin and those who sin. This glimpse helps us have a more “correct [understanding of] his character, perfections, and attributes” and is foundational to exercising faith in Him and in His Son, Jesus Christ.
The Savior’s compassion in the face of our imperfections draws us toward Him and motivates us in our repeated struggles to repent and emulate Him. As we become more like Him, we learn to treat others as He does, regardless of any outward characteristic or behavior".
I loved this talk, especially since he used one of my favorite books and plays as an analogy. He quoted from Les Miserables. I especially liked how he compared sin to a disease, and how the Savior does not withdraw from disease even when it is terrible to look upon. I loved how he reminds us that the Savior is a healer. He truly has compassion for each one of us. And in ways we don't understand, He know what we are going through and what we need.
As children of God, we also need to learn to model His behavior in our own lives. We need to reach out to those who are suffering and learn to love them in spite of what they have done. We need to seek others out so that no one feels alone, or lonely or lost.
I have a friend who is going through a very difficult time right now. She does not feel as if anyone understands and she does not want to be a burden on others. I too, have felt just that way, but there is joy in giving and joy in receiving. Allow others to be blessed by helping you through the hard times. Be there for them in their own difficulties. As we seek to love one another and help one another we can become more like Him.
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
I really love to listen to Elder Holland speak. He reminds me of the person that I should be. I do not like it when people judge me, and I also do not like it when I find myself judging others. I used to look at people and judge myself by what I perceived them to be. I have learned that is not a true estimation of me (or them). I have found some amazing people who do not fit whatever standards that I set for myself. It does not make them less or me more. I should only ever judge myself against myself. Who I want to be, against who I really am.
I love this quote because there are so many people with questions. I have questions. I have always had questions. It is just that, as I grow older, I am more willing to wait for the answers. I guess I am looking forward to the next life when all the answers will be there for me to find.
When I was younger, I wanted everything to be mapped out for me. I wanted the answers to be written somewhere that I could read and find. I thought that every single thing was in black and white. There were no grey areas in life. It was either wrong or right. No in-between. Now I know better. There are so many shades of grey that I am surprised when I do find my own answers. I am learning that it is perfectly OK to see things differently than anyone else. It is fine not to be on the same page as long as we can reach across the distance and be tolerant and understanding.
I am learning that kindness means a lot more than being right. And that it can make all the difference in acceptance and love. I have learned that we don't have to have all the answers to just love each other.
None of us have all the answers, and every single one of us have questions about doctrine, gospel, scriptures, commandments and even trials and blessings. Some peoples questions are more intense than others. Some struggle to understand what is happening and why it is happening. Some struggle with things that have changed. Others struggle with the questions of why bad things happen to good people.
I think the point of this is that the closer to God we become, the less we will need to know every answer. Sometimes, it is OK to wait for a while and see what happens. Sometimes answers come after we have our own experiences. Sometimes answers come through prayers, or friendship, or reading the scriptures, Sometimes, the answers may never seem to come.
There are so many things I used to need answers to. And some I have actually received. Others I am still working on. But the one thing I have learned is to not let the things I don't understand cause me to doubt the things that I know are true.
There are things that I know as surely as I know the sun will rise and the night will come. There are even more things that I don't know.
So hold on and remember that someday, we will have the answers to everything we want to know. The time will come when I suspect that we will look back and wonder how we ever doubted. When we will see the hand of God through every moment of our lives. When we will realize that He did not cause the bad and that he walked through it with us every step of the way.
For me, I refuse to doubt my faith. For me, church is for all of us imperfect sinners. It is the place I go when I need to feel comfort and faith. For me, there is room in that inn for each one of us.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
We live in a very competitive society. I know that my work environment is competitive and sometimes, even my church environment is competitive also. One thing that really has helped me, is to find things that I love about whatever I am doing. When I manage to love my own life, it makes it easier not to be jealous about something that someone else has.
I will use church as an example. A few years ago, I was called to be in the young women's presidency. I have never worked with the young women before and all three of my girls were there so I really loved it. I went out of my way to do the job to the best of my ability and was so excited to be there. I was there less than a year and was called back to the primary as a teacher. I couldn't help but think I must have done something wrong.
The young women's president assured me that she tried to keep me, but the primary needed me more. Understand, I have been serving in primary for more years than I can count. I was 14 when I was first called to teach. I love the primary, but I really love doing something different once in awhile. I also don't believe in turning down a calling, no matter how disappointed I might be, so back to primary I went.
I ended up teaching autistic children, something I had never done before. I also ended up filling in for other teachers when they did not show up. I discovered that I had a talent for teaching a lesson with little preparation. So many years of teaching have helped to make me, in some way, familiar with the lessons. I tried to always be willing to do anything that was needed without complaining. Then, in the summer of last year, I was called to be the primary chorister. This is perhaps the only calling in Primary that I haven't had the privilege of doing. I wasn't sure how it would go, or how qualified I would be. I struggled to find my own place in the teaching and singing time. Then I realized, that I did not have to be like any other chorister the kids have ever had. I could be myself and teach them to love music.
So, I am not competitive with anyone else for singing. I do things my own way. We have bells and egg shakers and scarves. We have learned more songs this year than ever before. I made leading batons for them to "help" me and learn new things. I love this calling. I love these kids. In short, the more competitive I am not, the easier it is to find my own place. The easier it becomes to make singing time and happy time for these children.
I have made books with the songs in them for the teachers and enjoy involving them in the singing. The children have really blossomed as we learn together that they are pretty much capable of learning anything, (and even singing it loudly!).
I am learning that by completing others, it makes my own calling so much easier to do. I love having this place of completeness in my life. It has taken me a long time to get here, even if the only person I was competing against was often myself. As I allow the support and encouragement of others to surround me, I recognize the miracle of harmony in my life. I am learning that Heavenly Father really does know where I needed to be. I am grateful that I allowed Him to lead the way.
Friday, May 19, 2017
Psalms 112:7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings:
his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.
I keep getting bad news. Sometimes it follows me around like breathing. I went to the dr. this week and found all kinds of problems. I am pretty sure most (and maybe even all of them) are related to stress. I know that I feel exhausted. I know that I am struggling, I know that the depression and anxiety that are my constant battles have been rearing ugly heads on a regular basis. Sometimes life is just plain hard. Sometimes it throws you a curve ball that you really didn't plan on dealing with. You would think after the craziness of the last 4 years, I would be used to curve balls. Instead, I am exhausted and wish I were an ostrich that could hide my head in the sand and just pretend it was all perfect. I have learned that the bad news in my life comes with lots of loud noise and confusion. It can be so overwhelming that I can't hear the quiet whisper of the good things to come. I love that scripture in Psalms. Don't ask me how I found it today. I just turned the page and it was there. Promising me that I don't need to be afraid of evil tidings. I just need to fix my heart and trust the Lord for the rest. I just need to breathe in and out and let it go.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
April 2017 General Conference
Of the Seventy
Because of God’s holy plan, we know that birth and death are actually just milestones on our journey to eternal life with our Heavenly Father.
What a reminder for me. During our lives, it is easy to see birth as a beginning and death as an ending. It can be hard to find the comfort that we need as we struggle with grieving. I really liked this talk because it reminded me that so much of what we think are beginnings and endings are actually just milestones along the way.
He talked about being a physician and being with people when they just had a baby and also with them when they died. I too, have experienced both. I have to say that death itself doesn't hold any fear for me. I think I will miss it here, but I am not afraid. If I have any fear at all it is in the wonder of how painful it might be. I am honestly not that fond of pain.
I had a discussion with someone the other day. She is terrified to die. For her it is an ending of the only story she has known. She can't even imagine life after death and isn't sure that is what really happens. That made me sad. I suspect that my beliefs sustain me through this part of my trial.
I loved listening to Elder Clayton as he talked about the three pillars. The first was the creation of the earth and the setting for our mortal journeys. The second was the fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve. Because of that fall, we all receive marvelous blessings. We have the opportunity to receive bodies of our own and we have the chance to make our own choices and to grow and learn.
The third pillar was the atonement of Jesus Christ. That through Him all mankind may be saved. That we would not perish, but have everlasting life. I love the remembrance of the emptiness of the tomb. There was nothing there. He was and is a resurrected being. He is the Savior of us all.
There truly is so much more to our existence than just birth and death. I have had the privilege of being with those who have passed away. I have held their hands and felt their peace and acceptance. I know that this life is not the end. It is only a stopping place along the way, a learning place if you will.
I am so grateful to a Heavenly Father who loves each and everyone of us and wants us to have the opportunity to come home to Him.