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.

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. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

A desire to change

Maybe this is something I need to work on.  I do not like change.  I do not like it when things don't go as planned.  I do not like the need to do a 180 degree turn when the road is not wide enough to manage it.  I am a planner.  I am not spontaneous at all.  Really I can say that I know how Martha felt when she was trying to do everything by herself.  She had to learn to change.  And I bet it wasn't easy at all.
I love Martha, in her worry of whether everything looked good enough for the Savior.  In her need for perfection in the humbleness of her home.  I sometimes look at my house and wish that magic really existed and that I could wiggle my nose or snap my fingers and have perfect.  The desire is there, but the strength is long gone. 

2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 

When I pass away, one of the first people that I want to meet is Martha.  I want to know how she managed to change.  How she managed to learn to put her Savior before all else.  I want to know how she could put aside the natural woman and choose the good part.  When I hear the Savior rebuke her, I hear Him say the same things to me in my heart. 
Change is always hard.  It is exhausting.  It is overwhelming.  It is a trial all by itself. 
Have you ever had to deal with so many changes that you were overwhelmed into shutdown mode?   Have you every been frozen in place and totally and completely unable to cope?
I have, but I wish so much that I was stronger than that.

I remember one year, we came home Christmas eve to water streaming out the ceiling in our garage.  Some people can just start cleaning and everything would work out.  Me, I go numb.  My mind shuts down.  I don't know where to start or what to do.  The water was freezing.  It was about 20 below and it was not a warm night.  I did not even know how to help.  Thank goodness for a loving home teacher who cam immediately and started getting the water out of there.  He was amazing.  In my weakness, I found strength and love in the work of another.  At that point in my life, I wasn't even capable of being a Martha.  I think I was one of multitude that did not know what to do. 
I am not always like this.  Sometimes I can jump right in and do what needs doing.  But sometimes, I just need someone to take over and tell me what to do. 

This man, taught me what Christ like love looked like.  I am pretty sure Christmas Eve was not the time he wanted to be helping us.  But he showed the saviors love by doing that wonderful service for me.  He did not know what I was going through at the time.  He did not know what I needed.  But I believe the Lord touched his heart and at that moment he knew exactly what to do. 

I believe the Lord will change our hearts as we seek to become more like Him.  He will help us to overcome the water and the world to do a good work.  He will let us know how to reach out and help his children.  A change of heart is more than accepting the Gospel in our lives.  It is more than admitting that Jesus is the Christ.  It is more than sharing a gospel message.  I believe a true change of heart takes place on evenings like that difficult Christmas eve night.  In freezing water and ice, surrounded by ruined things.  A true change of heart is what makes us willing to bear one another's burdens.  To mourn with those who mourn and comfort those in need of comfort.  A true change of heart may not be convenient, but it is necessary.   As we seek to serve Him and take upon ourselves His name, our hearts will change to become more like Him. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

What is Mine, God?

I am so very tired.  Sometimes, it feels as if it will take every bit of my energy to take just one more step.  I am overwhelmed and burdened down.  Often, I am not even sure why.  There is just so much going on and it takes every fiber of my being to just endure and step forward.   
As I struggle, I can't help but wonder just how much of what I am taking upon myself is really mine, and how much belongs to someone else.  There is a saying that I like that says:  "Anxiety is when you care too much about everything.  Depression is when you don't really care about anything.  Having both is just like Hell".
Sometimes, I feel like a drop off zone.  Someone has a problem, they come to me, and I just let them drop it onto my shoulders and I take care of it.  It becomes my problem.  It is a very hard habit to get out of.  It is a difficult thing to do.  Obviously, when I fail, it is spectacularly epic. 
And yes, I fail often when I try and take on more than I can handle. 
My goal is to separate myself from the need to fix everything for others and focus on what is mine to actually solve.   That is a very tall order for me. 
I have decided that the biggest gift I could give myself would be to put everything into the Lord's hands and trust Him to help me in my journey. 
It sounds easy, right?  It is not.  I do not trust easily.  I keep fighting to hold onto things that were never intended to be mine.  I think I want the control so that I know it gets done. 
My way. 
However, my way is not the only way.  I remember going rock climbing many years ago.  I had to learn an entire new way of doing things.  Even simple things, like hiking, take on new meaning when your goal is to reach a point to climb.  And, oh my gosh, the repelling down for the first time is downright terrifying. 
About 3/4 of the way up I mistakenly looked down to the ground that was far below.  I was on belay, but did not trust the rope and sucked myself into the rock.  I could not move.  I was frozen in place.  The people I was with had to wait until my hands gave out and I tumbled from the cliff. 
The rope held, I had beautiful bruises and scrapes, and I kept climbing.  I learned to trust my companions and the rope that kept us safe. 
Faith is the rope, the Lord has each one of us on Belay.  He will keep us safe.  It doesn't mean we aren't tested and tried to our limits.  It does me that we are really never alone. 
Today, I will breathe and let go. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Looking Bad

I love it when a quote resonates with me like this one does.  Our world today is so competitive.  We seem to spend way too much time worrying about how others perceive us, instead of thinking about how God perceives our actions.  I can't even begin to tell you how many times people will try to tell me something bad about someone else, thinking somehow, that minimizes their own sins.  All it really does is call even more attention to them. 
Why is gossip so prevalent today?  I live in a small town.  Which, believe it or not, I actually like most of the time.  The only thing that I have real difficulties with is the fact that people think they "know" all about me.  They pass rumors like they were serving a potluck dinner at the neighborhood church.  I get to learn things about myself that I never even knew!
Perhaps the hardest is when people find it necessary to tell me who likes me and who doesn't.  That is not information that I need in my life.  It is not necessary to my eternal salvation, and could even be detrimental to the person that I currently am. 
Why do we insist on telling each other all the negative things?  It is like we somehow, take secret pleasure in making others feel badly about themselves.  We do not ever know what trials someone is facing.  We may think we have a good idea, but unless we are walking in their shoes, we truly don't understand. 
My trials are unique to me.  You are not asked to go through them.  From where I am sitting, they are hard.  They are painful.  They are as much as I can bear.  To hear others say that they know someone who has been through worse, is not helpful in the least.  In this spot I am in, it is a difficult challenge to face and I have to get through it myself. 
I worry about failing and falling and making mistakes. 
I worry about losing the battle and more importantly, the war. 
I worry about who I might become or who I can't become. 
I worry that I have done something in my life to deserve these particular trials. 
I worry, and I keep worrying.
My goal today, and every day for that matter, is to leave my place in this world just a little better than I found it.  I want people to leave my presence feeling a little better about themselves instead of worse.  I want them to feel valued and respected.  I want to remember that we all have our own difficult places.  And that they are hard for each one of us to endure.  Anything that we can do to make the lives of others just a little better, is something we should try and do. 
I doesn't take much effort to try and be a little more positive in our daily interactions with others.