Tuesday, October 31, 2017
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Several years ago, I was able to go to Utah and attend Women's Conference on the BYU Campus. It was an amazing experience and I loved it. One of the things you can choose to do there is to participate in a virtual choir.
If you sign up, you are sent the music to learn on your own. Then, on the first day of the conference, you show up two hours early to practice the songs you have learned. At some point in the program, the choir sings the songs they are practiced. It is quite an overwhelming experience!
It even sounds good, so that makes it especially eventful. Every single woman there, singing one of four parts that they learned on their own time and in their own small corner of the world. Those parts blended into a perfect harmony that fills me with joy.
There is so much hate in the world today. So many who feel oppressed and trodden upon. I love the above thought by Jeffrey R. Holland. It reminds me that we were each born to be different.
We each get to stand out in our own unique ways. I am not the same as anyone else.
If I want to belong to something where everyone is exactly the same, I am living in the wrong place for that. Every single on of us have differences. Some of them are visible to others. Some of them are only visible to ourselves. Some of them are physical, some are emotional, some are mental. But we all have differences. We are unique sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father.
When I hear about people who are oppressed or treated differently, I can't help but wonder how that makes Heavenly Father feel. He created all of us. He loves each one of us. He blesses us and walks with us and wants us to love one another the way that He does.
He doesn't ever ask us to become like anyone else. He just wants us to become His.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Oh, how appropriate this quote is today. I try not to be political on my blog or in my postings. I try and keep an open heart and mind toward others and their beliefs and values. But, with everything going on today all over the United States, I feel the need to address this. There are too many things going on that are hate related.
Hate is always wrong. I amazes me that we spend so much time judging others, that we forget that Heavenly Father has commanded us to love them. I have a hard time with the things that have gone on in Virginia. I have a harder time with the acceptance of the things that are currently happening in Oregon and even in Utah.
Don't get me wrong, I believe in free speech, but I also believe that the right to swing my fist ends where you nose begins. Why, in this day and age, do we find it necessary to hurt others? I get that your beliefs are different from mine, I understand that our ancestors come from different places with different ways of looking at things, but that does not excuse unkindness or outright aggression. It does not excuse the taking of another's life or freedoms because of beliefs.
I do not like violence. I do not advocate it in any way or for any reason. I especially do not like the ugliness that is spreading across our country. I have friends from all races, and from all denominations. I have friends who are gay and straight. I am well acquainted with many different ways of viewing things. I am also very embarrassed that anyone could believe they are better than someone else because of our uniqueness.
I am not black, but I have suffered prejudices in all its ugliness.
I am not gay, but I too have been judged because of things I do differently.
I am religious, but don't believe that my right to believe that way should interfere with your right to believe however you see fit.
My thoughts are that we should spend more time looking for ways in which we are the same, and less time looking for ways in which we can judge each others differences.
In Utah and Oregon, there are people who are putting posters around schools against other races. There are people who want to say they are superior to others. It actually causes me physical pain to think that someone else's children see these things on a daily basis, and believe, even if for only a minute, that they might be right. It makes me sick to my stomach that there is anyone who would cause injury and death to another because of differences in the way we look, or believe, or are.
I am also an EMT, and have seen that we all bleed red. At the very heart, we are the same. God created each of us in His image. He does not only claim one people, one nationality, one group, one belief. We are all His. Maybe, it is about time we started acting like it.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
I have found this one to be more true than I ever imagined. Belief is a personal matter, but if you don't study and learn and grow, your beliefs will change. If you don't have a personal testimony, there will come a time when it will be easier to not believe. There will be times when others will sway you with their arguments or opinions.
All my life, I have had a testimony that God loves me. I can't even begin to explain why I felt so strongly about that. Perhaps it is because of the fear I had as a child, seeing a face in the window that terrified me and praying so hard for it to go away. Feeling the comfort and knowledge that is was gone and I was safe. It never seemed to matter what church I was going to either. My testimony at that time was not built upon a church. It was built upon a Savior. It seemed to me that I could find Him anywhere if I looked hard enough.
I think that might be why my testimony today is so strong. It is because I have looked for Him and believed in Him no matter where I was or what I was doing. When I searched for Him, I found others who taught me of His love. When I needed Him, He was there. He didn't take away the bad things in my life, but He was always there so that I did not walk the path alone.
I have learned that I have to look for His influence in my life. He does not shout out to me. He does not appear beside me to save the day. Mostly, He is just there. Comforting my journey, lighting my way, reminding me that I am loved and needed and enough.
The world would have us believe there is no Savior, that He is a great myth. That there is no righteousness or unrighteousness. That we don't need a God in our lives anymore. I have even heard that we have outgrown our need for Him. But I say, He is there waiting for you to hear the still small voice. He is there to carry you forward when your footsteps falter with fatigue and weariness. He is there to heal your heart and make you whole.
We never outgrow our need for acceptance and love. We never outgrow our need for understanding and peace. We never could possibly outgrow our need for Him.
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.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
– no words –
capturing a moment from our lives.
I want to pause, savor and remember.
that brings a smile to my lips,
and joy to my heart.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
I am working on this. Silence as an answer. I get frustrated when people yell at me and behave badly. I want to lash out with words to wipe the smirk off their face. I know that I cannot, but I get very tired of two year old temper tantrums in the supposedly adult population of the world I live in. I am exhausted by the bad behavior of others. I get equally exhausted by the frustrations of my teens who are getting ready to get out of school. It is finals, field trips, graduation, senior projects, senior trips, concerts and activity after activity after activity. Culminating in a wild summer with cousins and the other daughters summer earning money by babysitting.
This week, I am working really hard on responding to negativity with silence and a smile. I just have to make sure that they do not perceive my smile as laughter. That could get me in a whole different mess. It could also heighten the misunderstandings that already surround me.
Today, I am smiling more and frowning less. It does seem to make a difference. Maybe, not so much in the way others behave, but definitely in my own level of stress, and my own feelings of peace. It helps me to breath. I makes those bad moments seem, no so bad after all.
I am not sure that silence is always the best answer, but I am sure that I should use it more often. People really want to be listened to. They want to explain what is wrong. So, even when I know, I am trying harder to give them the chance to put it into their own words. The chance to express themselves. The chance to hear their own voices in all the noise that surrounds us.
Now, if only it worked for getting my teenagers to do the dishes.......
Monday, May 8, 2017
This one gets me into trouble on a regular basis. So many times, in my work or even at church, people think that they understood something I said that I never meant the way they heard, and can't even remember saying. Take work for example. I had someone get really angry with me because he said that one of us told him it was fine that he didn't renew his box. Problem is, none of us would ever say that because if you don't renew your box, you lose it and the lock gets changed and the mail gets sent back to sender. It really is not a choice we have. The computer system tells us when to close a box and what boxes to close. With nearly 3000 PO Boxes, it is not something that I can even begin to remember.
That is just one instance of a big misunderstanding. I seem to attract those like some people attract flies. Even if I don't say it, it is always, always, always my fault. I have been very stressed lately. At work, we are two clerks down and I only have four to begin with. We are working weekends, holidays and early mornings. Mostly I am just tired. And people sometimes (or even often) take advantage of that.
My boss told me today that there is light at the end of the tunnel. So, hopefully that means the hiring process is moving along at a nice pace now. The wheels on this bus seem to move oh so slow!
I cannot believe how exhausted I really am. Of course, it probably doesn't help that I run for the fire department nearly every night, and there are so many things going on in my personal life.
My husband is having surgery on Friday, My daughter is graduating at the end of the month. I am behind on getting the announcements out and on doing her collage for her pictures for her friends. She is also getting ready to go on her senior trip and thinks she needs new pants with everything else.
Sometimes, I know that I say the right things, but people just hear what they want to hear, and they don't hear what they don't want to. It is so hard for me to say no, but when I do, people don't believe that I mean it. I must be easy to convince that I am wrong or something.
This week, I am trying a little harder to take care of myself. I am writing, I am reading my scriptures, I am trying to be kind even when I say no. It doesn't always work, but it helps if I am not quite so frustrated with the life that I am living. I just don't cope well when I feel like those around me are taking advantage of me. So, this week, I am only going to be responsible for what I say, and not for what they want to hear. I am only responsible for what I mean, and not what anyone else perceives. I am only responsible for me.
Sunday, May 7, 2017
Thursday, May 4, 2017
His Daily Guiding Hand
April 2017 General Conference By M. Joseph BroughSecond Counselor in the Young Men General Presidency
"Heavenly Father knows what you and I need
better than anyone else".
This talk was comforting to me.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf explained: “Our Father in Heaven knows His children’s needs better than anyone else. It is His work and glory to help us at every turn, giving us marvelous temporal and spiritual resources to help us on our path to return to Him.”
Listen to those words: Heavenly Father knows what you and I need better than anyone else. As a result, He has developed a personal care package suited to each one of us. It has many components. It includes His Son and the Atonement, the Holy Ghost, commandments, scriptures, prayer, prophets, apostles, parents, grandparents, local Church leaders, and many others—all to help us return to live with Him someday.
I love the idea of a care package from a loving Heavenly Father. Something is included in it that we will all need. I am trying to teach someone about this care package and answer their questions about the gospel as they struggle with a fledgling testimony. What a beautiful thought, that Heavenly Father has given us something that is unique and just for us. That He knows and loves us individually.
He talks about the commandments being part of this care package. That they are there to protect us from harm. Most of the troubles that I have seen in my life, come from at least a partial failure to keep the commandments. Why is it, when we do wrong, we want forgiveness and pardon? But when others do wrong, sometimes we want someone to say that we are better than they are? Sometimes, people act like the commandments apply to everyone except ourselves.
I love that Heavenly Father wants to bless us. He wants us to come home. He wants us to believe that we can.
My favorite part was when he states:
"Perhaps Heavenly Father’s greatest care package component is described in these words: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.”
To teach us all that we must do, Jesus Christ led the way by giving the perfect example that we must try to emulate. He pleads with us with arms outstretched to come, follow Him.9 And when we fail, which we all do, He reminds us, “For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent.”
What a wonderful gift! Repentance is not a punishment; it is a privilege. It is a privilege that leads and guides us. No wonder the scriptures declare that we should teach nothing save repentance".
I wonder how many of us look upon repentance as a gift? It is not a punishment for bad behavior. It is our chance to change and come back to God. It is our welcome home into His enfolding arms.
In my pride, I wish that I were perfect. I wish that I did not need anyone else to help me get back to Heaven. I wish I could say that I DESERVED to go there. But I know my sins better than anyone. I know that I will never get there on my own. I am so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father, who gave His some Jesus Christ, that I could have the opportunity to live with Him again. There is nothing in me that deserves His love. He gives it unconditionally and in spite of my worst behavior. Daily in my life, I see His guiding hand leading me, guiding me and walking beside me as I struggle to find my way. How blessed I am for His loving care package that is designed to get me safely home again.
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
A single photo
– no words –
capturing a moment from our lives.
I want to pause, savor and remember.
that brings a smile to my lips,
and joy to my heart.