When faced with life's challenges,
it is Important to Remember
that although Daniel was saved from the lions,
he was not saved from the Lion's Den.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The source of the light

I was really touched by this one.  I have not been able to see a silver lining for a very long time.  Sometimes, it feels as if God cannot possibly be there.  This was a good reminder for me.  My mind knows that He is there, my testimony knows he is there, but my heart can feel very alone sometimes. 
I have learned that we are all going through different "stuff".  Often, it feels like more than we can possibly bear. 
It hurts. 
It hinders.
It blinds us to what might be coming. 
The "stuff" we go through becomes our own mixed up sense of reality.  It isn't our entire existence, but it can certainly feel like it.  It can make everything else feel like a negative in our lives.  The very hardest thing for me during those times is to trust God that it will somehow work out right. 
As I listen to the talks of others, I know that there have been many things that I have not had to go through.  But the things that are on my plate, are more than enough for me.  I used to believe that God never gave us things that we couldn't handle.  I have come to understand that He does.  He gives us many things that are too great for us to bear alone.  Those things turn our hearts toward Him. 
I don't believe that he causes our problems and difficulties.  I do believe that they are caused by three things:  One is our own sins.  Our own decisions when they are the wrong choices can give us pain and suffering. 
Two is the sins of others.  I don't believe that the Lord causes abuse or anger or murder or anything else.  I have learned that He allows us all our free agency and when people make bad choices, it leads to bad things for others. 
Three is sometimes it is just life.  Hurricanes happen, tornadoes, flooding, famine, hardships.  All those things can bring pain and suffering that we are not exempt from. 
I am over simplifying here, but still it remains true.  God does not cause our problems.  He does allow us to go through things that are too big for us to bear alone.  We can choose to turn to Him and know that He is there.  We can choose to believe that somehow, in ways we have yet to understand, the blessings will be more than the suffering. 
He is the source of the light in the darkness of life.  If we turn to Him, whatever happens in the here and now is not the most important thing we will go through.  Choosing Him in the midst of darkness, is. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Healing our Problems

I love this quote!  I have been trying to teach this to my children all their lives.  I try and remember it myself.  I have been known to say:  "Church is for the sinners, not the saints".  Too many of us try way too hard to pretend to be someone we are not on the Sabbath Day.  The problem is, that gets exhausting after a while.  We can't heal our problems if we are always trying to hind them from others. 
This has been brought home to me in such a forceful way.  There is someone at church who does not like me.  They think that I am somehow to blame for something I did not do.  They do not look me in the eye, or are not kind in any way.  It makes going to church a little bit hard for me. 
But, I will be the first to admit that I am not perfect.  It is possible that I have totally wronged someone without meaning to.  It is possible that I have made more than one mistake in this crazy mixed up life of mine.  And it is completely possible that I have managed to offend others in the process. 
When we stop judging others and just love them, we give them permission to change.  We help them in that process.  Just because someone has made a mistake, does not mean that they are completely evil.  The same is true of those whom we perceive to be "good".  We all make mistakes.  We all do things wrong.  We all have more things that we should be doing in our lives.  We all sin. 
So,  as the Sabbath day approaches and we walk into our various churches, let us remember that we are all there for the same reason.  We are there to worship our Lord and Savior.  We are there to seek His forgiveness as well as His spirit.  We aren't there to show anyone else how pious we can be.  We are there because we are His.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The First Prompting

This one has been proven true in my own life.  No matter how hard I try, it always seems so easy to ignore those first promptings.  Sometimes I wonder what Heavenly Father must think of us as we go on our merry way and ignore Him.  A really good example of this came from a friend of mine.  I really felt like I needed to go see her.  I really wanted too, but life has gotten so much in the way of things, that I put it off.  In putting it off, I received word that she was in the hospital and soon passed away. 
To this day, I feel regret that I did not go and see her before she left this world.  I feel sorrow that I had such a strong impression to be with her and that I ignored that feeling for the chaos around me.  No matter how busy I was, I know that I could have made time to go and see her.  I just did not believe that prompting. 
I could tell you of so many instances when I was prompted to do something.  When I felt the need to help or just be there, but I made excuses as to why I couldn't go.  I can also tell you of times that I felt that strongly about something and went anyway.  There are so many times that the spirit wants us to act in His behalf.  That we need to help, or just be there for another of God's children. 
That first thought that runs through your mind, that first impression, that first moment of decision making, is the one that counts the most. 
Do you listen to His promptings?  Do you hear the sounds of need?  Do you care enough? 
My prayer today is that each one of us may stretch our spiritual selves just a little bit further to hear His voice and do His work.  My we all be a little kinder to our neighbors and our friends.  May we feel the promptings of pure inspiration and help serve those around us.   

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Our Heavenly Connections

My life is being taken over by technology.  The phone is always ringing.  I can nearly always be reached.  I rarely get a moment to put it aside.  Have you ever noticed that someone's phone always rings during prayer?  Have you ever felt like it would be amazing to sit down to dinner and not have someone answering their phones, or the door, or their email, or facebook, or any other number of apps and annoyances.  It seems to me that my life is filled with ring tones.
There are times, I look around and think, how has this happened.  Technology was put here to help us do the things we need to do.  However, it also makes it easier to do the wrong things instead of the right ones. 
In my day, we only had one house phone.  I had to sit out on the dog house with the phone as far as it would reach in order to get any privacy at all.  Everything was attached by a cord.  In this day of wifi and wireless technology, it is way too easy to get attached to the fast paced world that we need to leave behind every once in a while. 
This past weekend, we went to the campout for my husbands work.  There was no cell reception at the site.  It was wonderful to see the kids play and just be kids.  No electronics or TV or Gameboys or anything else that required charging and phone service.  We took one of our grandsons, and it brought tears to my eyes to see him running and playing all over the camp ground.  Of course, he found the mud puddle, and he bathed in it completely.  I justified it by thinking it MUST be good for his skin.  He had a ball running through the mud and losing his shoes and finding them again. 
Technology has it's good points, but also it's bad ones.  Anything that comes between us and our communications with our Heavenly Father and our family, really needs to be changed.  We need to decide to change it.  So, in your life, what is most important to you?  What are you going to change?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

His Spirit to Comfort

I like to find Memes with meaning.  Ones that help me through the hour, the day, the week, the life that I am living.  This one reminded me today that I really am not alone.  And when I think very hard about it, I realize that His spirit does visit me in my sorrows, and it is always uplifting.  Sometimes it doesn't take away the pain or the suffering, but it does give me the strength I need to endure. 
The past several years have been hard on me.  I feel like I have aged 10 years for every single one of them.  I feel tired and drained.  My mind spins with the need to defend myself against the slander of others.  Yet, when I pray, I feel His peace.  No defense is necessary.  Somehow, everything will work out.  Maybe, not quite the way I would wish, but it will work out nevertheless. 
Letting go of negative feelings can be hard.  Letting go of feeling wronged can be even harder.  But I know that it is necessary to move on.  I am trusting that God has my back and that someday, all will be made right.  I don't know how, I don't know when, I don't even know what He will do, but I believe He has the power to change hearts and soften them.  I believe that He knows what needs to be done. 
So, although He never takes away another's free agency, He also never takes away the consequences of the sin.  He lets us make our own decisions and our own choices.  I believe that someday, those who do not repent will end up feeling the pain that they have caused others along the way.  I think they will come to a realization of the magnitude of suffering that they have inflicted on others.  I think that, in the end, they will come to know the pain that I have felt. 
His redeeming love and the atonement are there for each one of us.  Even (or especially) when we make terrible choices in our lives.  Part of repentance is to feel sorrow and make amends.  I can wait with the surety that all will be made right. 
So today, I choose to be comforted.  I choose to be encouraged and inspired.  I choose to forgive. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Who we are becoming

What a comfort it is to my heart to read this today.  I am pretty sure that every one of us has something in our past we are ashamed of.  We have all made mistakes.  We have all chosen the wrong path.  We have all lived in this crazy mixed up world.
Why is it so hard to forgive ourselves for our past mistakes?  Even after we repent, our hearts and minds keep turning back the page and wallowing in the "who we once were", past.  It is like we see the atonement as something that applies to everyone else except ourselves.  Like we are exempt from the grace that is promised to us.  And the Lord's hands that reach out to comfort us. 
With all the things going on in the world today, I find it even more necessary to forgive myself for my past mistakes.   It becomes even more necessary to live in the present than in the past.  It becomes more meaningful.  I have a difficult time in letting go of what has happened.  Not so much the things that others have done to me, but the things that I have done to myself or to others.  I find it hard to forgive the child, the youth or even the adult for the mistakes of the past, even when I have truly repented of them and not repeated them. 
I am unsure of what makes it nearly impossible for me to accept the Lord's atonement in my own behalf.  It is like there is a voice in my head telling me that I will never be good enough for His love.  I have noticed that it is much easier to forgive others and passionately defend their right to repent, than it is to forgive myself.  The adult in me expects the five year old child that I was to have known better. 
I have learned that depression is living too much of our lives in the past.  It robs us of the present with it's whispers of "should have", "could have", and "would have".  My present is so mixed up in the past that I find it hard to put it all aside.  I am sure that the Savior who suffered so much for my sins, is sad when I can't find it within myself, to extend the law of mercy to even such as I. 
My goal for this week is to be a little kinder to myself.  To appreciate the present moments.  To love myself a little more and protect myself a little less.  To allow myself to learn from my mistakes instead of condemning me for them. 
It is a comfort for me to know and understand that the Lord forgives and forgets.  He doesn't hold the past against me.  He wants me to grow and become who I am supposed to be.  May we all strive just a little bit harder to be a little bit kinder to ourselves.  We are always worth His Love. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Even the smallest act

This one, I have seen for myself.  There was a time in my life when I did not know what it was to believe.  A time when I was hurt and angry and sure that I was completely unlovable.  I have had to learn the "as if" principle in my life. 
When you don't know the answer, you live "as if" you do.  You keep the commandments that are hard as well as the ones that are easy.  You choose to live the way that God tells you to live, and you don't question why.  I believe that the answers come when we live the hard things well. 
I have learned that God loves me, by living as if I knew that He did.  He then provided examples to me that I could not miss.  I have learned that obedience is important, by living the commandments that are hard.  I can't say that I always do everything right, as a matter of fact, I don't do so many things that I should.  But I can say that I try my best. 
I have learned that He knows I will make mistakes.  I have learned the redeeming power of His atonement through those mistakes.  I have felt His love in the midst of repentance.  I have felt the change of heart that comes from changing my life. 
I believe that it is by small things that great things come to pass.  As we struggle and learn and grow, our testimonies are strengthened. Our hearts are changed.  Our love for others increases.  All these things are good.  They remind me that we are each important to our loving Heavenly Father, no matter what our beliefs are.  We are His children, and He wants to see us become more than we have ever dreamed we could be. 
He knows what bonfires we are capable of blazing. 
He knows exactly who we are. 
And most of all, He loves us so much more than our mistakes and short comings.  He loves us exactly as we are now and also as the men and women that we could be.