Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Is There No Other Way?

 Life throws us all in many directions we never expected.  There are times where we have all been on our knees asking for help, for guidance and even miracles.  We plead with our father to change our course and to make it easier.  We ask him, "Is there no other way?"

  My family has gone through a lot of changes, some good and some not so good.  And in our struggle, I have selfishly asked my Father in Heaven to lighten my load.  And I have wanted it lightened the way I see fit.  I have begged him to change things, I have asked, "Is there no other way?"

  Just as Christ plead with his Father in the Garden if it be possible to take the cup from him, but not his will, but God's will be done.  God did not send us to this earth to make our lives easier, we must go through trials and sorrows.   We must continually do the things that we need to do to strengthen our faith.  And by doing so it will allow us to more fully trust in the Lord and his plan for us all individually.

  Sometimes things have to get harder before they can get better.  If things only ever worked in our favor, well, then that would be the way that Satan wanted this world to work.  He wanted everything to be easy, and all the glory to be his own.  But that is just simply not how it is meant to be.  Things will get hard, and things will not always come easily, but if we have faith and trust in him, things will be ok.  Maybe not right when we want them to, but when we need them to the most.  God will not leave us alone.  He will test us to the very core.  He knows that we will become weak and want to give up.  But he has given us the tools and his love to help us all along the way, even when it seems we can no longer bear the pain we may be feeling.

  So when we ask, "Lord, is there no other way?"  He may say, no.  But trust him, he will not leave you to bear the burdens alone.  Do not fear him, trust and rely on him.

  Recently I read a post where someone, who has taken a path away from the church described those who believe in this faith in a way that shocked me,  They said that they were angry at the wounds inflicted on us all, (Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), by fear poorly disguised as faith.  I sat there and my jaw dropped.  My faith is a disguise inflicted on me......by fear?  A faith that has taught me to love and help ALL those around me regardless of our differences?  This comment shook me to the core, not with anger, but sadness.  How had this person so wonderful, fallen away?  I cannot answer that question for that person, but I can tell you this.  If we do not continually do our part on this earth and trust in our Father in Heaven, we to can begin to doubt and question it all.

"Doubt your doubts, before you doubt your faith" ~President Uchtdorf

  So when we are in our moments of despair, trail and fear.  Trust in him and know that this test is only for a small moment.  And that it will pass from us.  And if we trust in him, we will be blessed and comforted.  He will show us the way so that we may know with a surety of the right course.  He will not leave us doubtful, but hopeful.

  My prayer for everyone on this earth is that we can all trust in our Heavenly Father and trust in his perfect plan.  And know that we are never left alone.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Consider Your Words

Not long ago I was sitting in Relief Society with a friend.  I had just told her that we had sold our home and we sat there and talked about a few things, we were sure to talk quietly in order to not bother those around us.  My friend was expressing some things that were going on in her life that were a little stressful, and I was offering my comfort and listening ear.  You see this friend is dear to me and I love her.  She is a strong woman who I look up to and admire.  When the opening exercises were finished and the lesson began we finished our conversation and listened.  Even raising our hands in participation to the lesson.  The lesson was great and I learned a lot.

A couple weeks had passed by and my friend came to me and told me of something that had just happened that had upset her.  She said that she was approached by someone in the Relief Society Presidency and was told that people had been complaining about us talking, and that we were to disruptive.  My friend was shocked and just apologized, but at the same time was very hurt. She told me that she was already struggling with coming to church, because she had so many things going on, and this was just that last thing she needed.  I was surprised because we were not very loud, and honestly only talked during the announcements.  I did not think we were being to disruptive, and had someone asked us to quiet down, I would have been fine.  But instead we had to be treated like 5 yr old's.

Now, do not take this the wrong way.  I LOVE Relief Society and I love my friendships I have with my fellow sisters.  And I am sure there are times when maybe we have all talked to much and not listened enough.  But my point is this.  In that moment, on that day, my friend needed me.  She needed me to listen.  And I wanted to be there for her very much.  That was the moment she finally could talk to someone and she took that moment.

I tell you this story for one reason.  Be careful before you judge.  Be careful before you assume the reason behind someones actions.  You do not know what they are going through.  If there is a problem, consider your approach carefully and prayerfully.  Though your intentions may be completely innocent, your words can sound harsh and cruel. All it takes is 2 or 3 words in a sentence to hurt someone, even unintentionally.  Instead of telling someone that there has been complaints consider sitting with that person next time and seeing how things really are.  Or maybe you should just leave it alone.  There are many ways to approach someone with a concern.  If you need to approach someone about something, do so prayerfully.

I know we are all imperfect.  We are all learning in this sojourn of life.  The best way to make it through, is with kindness.  Be mindful of those around you.  Treat others how you desire to be treated.  Love those who do not love you.  It is hard, but it is possible.  Our Savior will be there to help us all along the way.  He will help us see people the way he sees them, if we ask him to.

I love this gospel with all my heart.  I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior.  I know that we are tested daily and we need not face the hardships alone.  I hope we can all strive to uplift those around us.  We are all loved, we are all cherished.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Where is Truth?

I remember sitting in a meeting one Sunday.  It happened to be a Fast and Testimony meeting. Sometimes those are my favorite, and sometimes they are not.  But this specific day has stuck with me.  Not because what this person said was profound, but it was because it was, in my opinion, wrong.  This person was speaking of a time where they had traveled somewhere.  As they were on vacation they visited many sights, as people do while on vacation.  On one particular day they visited an old church.  He talked about the architecture and it's beauty.  He talked about the services that he witnessed while there.  I was enjoying his story, until he said something that struck me and deeply bothered me.  He said, "This church was beautiful, but that didn't matter because God wasn't there."  I remember having the urge to stand up and verbally disagree with him, because how could he say that!?  God not there?  How could he really believe that?  Why did this hit me so deeply you may ask?  I will tell you.

  When I was 15 I received my patriarchal blessing.  It is an experience that is different and sacred to each individual.  And only something one shares at certain times when the individual feels they should share.  At least that is how it has been for me.  In my blessing there was something that was said, that has helped me in many instances in my life.  It said, "All truth comes from God, regardless of where you learn it."  So to me that meant, that God is everywhere if we let him in.  So when this person said that God was not there. I knew, I knew that God was indeed there.  Though they may not have the entire truth, they have truth. Truth comes from God, so God was there.  Of that I have no doubt.

  I tell you this story because today, I had another moment where I learned of truth from a movie.  The movie is called Confessions of a Prodigal Son.  It is not an LDS produced film.  In fact it had no mention of the LDS faith.  But it spoke of God and it spoke of love.  And it touched my heart so deeply.  Something that the father in the movie said, who also was a Pastor, was this, 

 "Today I am sad, I am sad because of my son. Who some of you know, left 2 years ago.  And I am sad, not because I am angry at his choices or disappointed in who he is, as he most likely thinks. I'm sad because I miss him, and I love him.  And I am sad because I cannot love him enough.  I cannot love him back to me.  You know that's all I really want.  So the message I have for you today, is that God loves you.  But not the way you think. See if you think that God is vengeful or angry, then you do not know God's love, which is infinite and supernatural.  We can't possibly understand the depth of God's love for us because we can't fit an all powerful, an all knowing glorious God into our minds. So no matter where you are in your life today, no matter what road you've taken or path you have wandered or you feel you know is the wrong path.  Don't ever think that God is angry or he is disappointed in you.  Know today, the he just, very simply LOVES YOU.  Just loves you profoundly. And he wants you to come home."

  I found this touching because it made me think of my own past and put it into a perspective I had not thought of before.  It taught me a truth about God and about myself. 

  I remember when I left home.  I remember pulling away with my car full as my parents stood in the doorway and watched me go.  I can't imagine how hard that must have been for them.  Did my mother cry?  Did my father fear for me?  The answer is probably yes to both of those questions.  I remember driving into a new city and suddenly I felt sick.  I put the feeling aside and just claimed I was homesick.  Was I?  Yes, but that was not why I was feeling the way I felt.  I knew deep inside, that I had made the wrong choice.  But I was not going to let my parents or God be right.  I was going to prove them all wrong.  The problem with that is, you cannot prove God wrong.  And when you try, all you find is unhappiness.

  There was one day when a woman stopped at a yard sale I was having where I was living, she claimed to be a Born Again Christian.  She was nice and she asked me if I knew who Jesus was.  I told her yes, I in fact did know who he was.  She asked what religion I was, I told her I was a Mormon.  She proceeded to tell me about things she found wrong with my religion.  I let her speak, and chose not to argue.  She told me of an event her church was having and invited me to attend.  I thanked her for the invitation and told her I would think about it.  We talked a little more and she asked me a few questions about myself.  As she was leaving she said something that I just today realized changed me. She said, "You claim to know Christ, yet you choose to live in Sin."  I had no response to that......because she was right.  Watching this movie today, and recalling what was said in my blessing has made me realize the God put her in my path, to help me.  She may not believe the same way I do, but she changed me.  She helped me. She had truth.  I will always be thankful for her because of that. 

  I remember the day I made the choice to come home.  My mother jumped on the next plane to get to me, and to help me.  She never expressed anger or disappointment.  When she saw me she just hugged me and I cried.  Being in her embrace was so much more than I knew I needed.  I was sorry for what I had done, and I knew I had to be better.  But the thing that helped me was knowing that I was LOVED.  And I knew I was loved by a glorious and merciful Heavenly Father and Savior.  I knew that they had been waiting for me anxiously and had nothing but love for me.  I had come home.

  Admitting we are wrong and need repentance is not an easy thing to admit.  I think we make it harder on ourselves, which causes us to fear the reaction of our loved ones, and our Heavenly Father and Savior.  But we need not fear!  They love us.  They want us to come unto them.  

Jeffrey R Holland said, 
  "No one of us is less treasured or cherished of God than another.  He loves each of us - Insecurities, Anxieties, Self Image and All."

God is all around you, if you just open your eyes, you will see his miracles.  You will feel his love for you.  So if you are feeling lost, scared or whatever you may be feeling, seek after him.  He LOVES you.  You can find truth in many places, you just have to be willing to look.  

  I know that my Savior loves me.  I know that my Heavenly Father has a marvelous plan for each of us.  He knows it will be very challenging and so hard at times.  But if we have faith and turn to him, he will buoy us up, and help us stand when we feel to weak.  Remember all truth comes from God, regardless of where you learn it.  But we must be willing to accept his truth so that we are not deceived.  Trust in God. 
Proverbs 3:5-6  5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine                                 own understanding.
                      6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Be as a Little Child

My daughter is 7, or should I say 7 1/2.  At her age the 1/2 makes a big difference.  She is preparing for her Baptism, and she is really trying hard to understand the Gospel.  Today after we talked about our faith she asked when Jesus would come.  I told her I did not know, but that I hoped it would be soon.  She then told me that not long ago she prayed that Jesus would come the next day, but Heavenly Father had not answered her prayer.  I explained to her that though Jesus would be happy to see her, he cannot come until it is time, and that he will come when he is meant to. That Heavenly Father always answers our prayers, but it is in his time, not ours.

As I have reflected on my daughters faith, it has made me think about when Jesus said in
Mark 10:15 "Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein."

Since I have become a mother I think I understand a little why this is so.  Children have perfect faith, they know Jesus in some ways better than we do as adults.  They forgive freely and easily.  They love and accept all those around them.  They have wisdom beyond their years.  And I think that is why Christ said that we must receive the kingdom of God as a little child, because they have perfect and pure faith.  They do not need to see to believe, they just know.

My daughter is a very sensitive little soul.  She hurts for those that hurt and cries for those who cry.  She strives to bring joy to everyone around her.  She was recently wronged and hurt by another, and though this person did not apologize for hurting her she still said, "Don't worry, I will still be kind to him."  She is kind to everyone around her, even if they are not kind to her.  She is such an example of Christlike love, and I am in awe of her.

As she continues to prepare to be baptized, I have given her a goal to read the Book of Mormon for children that we have.  And to get down on her knees and quietly and reverently pray and ask our Heavenly Father if it is true.  I know she is 7, and I know that she will yet face trials in her life, and that terrifies me, but I feel that if she can hold onto her faith it will help her in those moments in her life.  I hope anyway,

I believe we can learn a lot from children, because of their perfect and pure faith.  And maybe if we become a little more childlike in our faith, by being willing to trust in God and believe in him with all our hearts, we will be lifted up and have joy in our lives.  Even in dark times.

Mark 10:14 Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the Kingdom of God.