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.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rise above the pond

When I lived in Mesa, my husband decided that he wanted a fish pond.  He designed and built it with his own hands and we put gold fish inside it.  After we had the fish, a neighborhood cat discovered that they made a rather tasty snack.  We talked with some friends that had a pond, and they gave us some beautiful water lilies to put in our pond. 

I loved those flowering water lilies. They added a serene beauty and sweet fragrance to our pond, and they also gave the goldfish somewhere to hide.  They had an even greater advantage though, they would hide the water from view.  If any of you have ever had a pond in the Arizona desert, you know that the algae goes crazy, and you can end up with a big green mess for the first couple of years until you get everything in balance.
One of the things that you can do to help achieve that balance is to plant real plants in the pond.  Lilies and other plants help to control the algae and provide an environment that keeps the fish alive.  They also hide the sent of algae and fish.  That makes it much nicer to sit on the patio and enjoy the pond.  The leaves of the water lily floated on the water’s surface, and a long, winding stalk anchored its position in the pond. The stalk continued to grow and the lilies would float around the pond, even when the summer rains caused the water to rise over the edge of the pond, the lilies would still be floating on the top of the much deeper water.

Each one of us are much like this beautiful water lily. We live in a challenging world surrounded with temptations and trials; yet our testimony of Jesus Christ, (like the stalk of the flower) can be our anchor. Faith in the Him will strengthen and help our testimonies to grow.  I know that we will be able to rise above the floods of evil that continue to happen throughout our world.
An anchor is defined as: “a reliable or principal support; and something that serves to hold an object firmly".  Your testimony can be your anchor and will provide you with the principal support you need in order to return home to your Heavenly Father.  It will also help to hold you firmly on the straight and narrow way as you strive to keep the commandments and live the gospel in an uncertain and changing world.
Your faith will help your testimony to grow and keep it strong, even when you face challenges and temptations.  Faith is a gift from God, but you must nurture your faith to keep it strong.  You can nurture it through prayer, keeping the commandments, reading the scriptures, and also reading and listening to the words of our living latter day prophets. 
Our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, has said:  “Sometimes the best answers that people can [get] to the questions of life are found there upon their knees calling upon our Heavenly Father.
if they will remember that the Lord is mindful of them and will answer their prayers, they will be able to meet every challenge that comes to them.”
Notice that he did not say some challenges, or even most challenges.  He said every challenge.  So, the first part in rising above the pond is in remembering the the Lord is mindful of you.  He KNOWS who you are.  He KNOWS your name.  He loves you.  You are HIS!  The lord has given us great guidance through the scriptures.  Alma is one of my favorite places to go when I need to study about faith. 
Alma 32:27 states,  “But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.”

Are you willing to try Alma’s experiment to increase your faith? Can you exercise even a particle of faith? Do you have a desire to believe?  Most important of all, can you trust your Heavenly Father to answer your prayers?

When I was seeking to know if the gospel was true, I had a very strong impression that I needed to live "as if" it were true, and that the answer would come after I had made that choice.  So, I looked in my closet and found that I had one dress that fit the standards of the church.  It was a bright yellow skirt and a white blouse.  That was it!  All the rest of my dresses were thrown out or given away.  I had three pairs of pants and four shirts that qualified for those same standards.  I was 14 years old and I had no cute clothes!  Do you know how big of a decision this was for me?  But, I did it.  Back then, I had to buy every piece of clothing in my closet.  I could not ask my parents.  They did not buy my clothes, so this was a very big sacrifice for me.  I remember that the next school year I took a sewing class so that I could learn to make my own clothes so that I would have something different to wear!  It was a challenge, but it was also a joy.  As I exercised beginnings of my faith, I was strengthened and supported by the Lord.  My testimony grew and increased and I felt the influence of the spirit in my life.  I came to know that the gospel was true, that the Lord answers prayers, and that He loved me.  I learned of the importance of modesty before I ever went into the temple. 

One of the most important  things that I have learned is that you express your faith through action; by the way you live and by the things that you do.  In short, you express your faith through your own decisions. 

Sometimes we may feel that we can’t rise above the polluted pond, that our circumstances are too difficult, our trials too hard, our temptations too great. But remember Alma’s promise: “Whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.”

Like the water lily, you too can rise above the pond.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your personal story about your clothes. I admire people who were strong enough to change and accept the gospel. And at 14, I can understand why that was a big, difficult change.