Monday, November 16, 2009
I had been asleep for a few hours and was in the middle of a dream when I was suddenly awake and felt like I should go check on my son. It took me a few minutes to convince myself to get out of my warm bed, but I am so glad I did. I went into his room and it was very cold. My little boy had kicked off all his covers and his poor bare legs (he went to bed in shorts) were icy cold. I covered his legs with his blankets and went back to bed. He ended up sleeping through the night. It was great!
I know that my prayers always get answered, but it is such a testimony builder when something small that you pray for is given to me. I feel like this was a tender mercy given to me from Heavenly Father, showing me that he loves me so much that my simple little request was granted. Heavenly Father is just waiting to give us blessings and all we need to do is ask.
"Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened." 3 Nephi 27:29
Sunday, November 15, 2009
My brother was in awe over how excited the tour guide and some of the other grads were. My brother began to wonder how a person can serve and make the world a better place if all he or she can think about is the next best place to indulge oneself.
In the Church, we are encouraged to serve. In fact, the leaders of our Church at every level are not paid for their service. It is all voluntary. It sometimes takes A LOT of time. But, it's worth it. Friendships are gained. Satisfaction is felt in that what we are doing is what the Lord would have us do.
I guess in a way, it's a bit of a modern utopia where we are taught to take care of everyone and make the world a better place.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
"That the Lord may help him to think straight, and to pursue a straight course regardless of personal advantage, factional interest, or political persuasion, should be the daily prayer of every Latter-day Saint." (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, Chapter 17).
It is that last bit that really strikes me, although I find the first part fairly humorous. In political systems around the world there is a great deal of animosity between political parties, and between those who are in power and those who would like to be in power. In the United States, the Republicans and Democrats cannot seem to see eye to eye on anything. So what do we do when our party is not in power? President Grant has a wonderful suggestion, we pray for those that are in power. We pray that they will "think straight, and to pursue a straight course regardless of personal advantage, factional interest, or political persuasion."
We may not like who is in power, we may not like their policies, but would it not be productive to pray that to the Lord, who is over all, that those making decisions will make good policies and see beyond politics.
On the mount the Lord taught, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matt 5: 42-43).
I believe that faithful prayer from good people can make a difference. That even if we don't like someone, the Lord does love them, and can influence them for good, particularly when those decisions they make affect so many of his children.
Monday, November 9, 2009
The other day I was reading a lesson from the Joseph Smith manual that we have used for the past two years as the basis of Relief Society and Priesthood lessons and it came to a part where Joseph was talking about how people perceive his imperfections. He was explaining how he is just a person, like all others, and how he is not free from making mistakes. He points out that, "no man lives without fault. Do you think that even Jesus, if He were here, would be without fault in your eyes? His enemies said all manner of evil against Him - they all watched for iniquity in Him." This idea felt like a slap in the face to me. If I would have been on earth at the time of the Savior would I have found fault in a poor, seemingly unschooled, travelling preacher? Would I have been looking to the prominent citizens of the day as my ideal of a perfect life and have missed the true perfection that was found in our Lord when he was on the earth?
A friend recently shared the idea that we should be striving for excellence in this life, not perfection. I know that I need to take a step back and reflect on what true excellence could be in my own life. I can also do better to overlook others' possible flaws and realize that they could be much farther on their journey of excellence than I. I am never going to have airbrushed features or "perfect kids", but I can have a stronger family and a strengthened commitment to the things that really matter.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I just barely started reading the Book of Mormon again. This time I am reading it along with the study Manual Making Precious Things Plain by Randal S. Chase. It has given be so much insight into the very history and details of these sacred scriptures. I admit that I am only on 1 Nephi:3, but the in depth studying will be so worth it. I read just yesterday something in this manual that really gave me something to think about. It was as if I needed it right at his time in my life. I have said many times recently that I am so tired of always taking a step into the dark. For the past year and a half we have always been right there at the edge, never knowing what is going to come next, or how we are going to make it. You will understand the lesson that I learned from this story. It is told by Elder Boyd K. Packer: (Click on the text to enlarge)
When we moved to San Francisco we came without even knowing were we were going to live. We stayed here even when we weren't sure where we would get the money to stay. Now we are getting ready to leave without even knowing where we are going next or how we are going to live. It has been so hard. But we have come this far, we have made it. I just hope to keep the faith that the Lord will guide our family where it needs to be and that he will light the way in the darkness.
Afterthought: We are now settled in our first home in SLC, after a long journey. We made it... we took that step in the dark. Put our faith in the Lord's hands... and prayed that He would take care of us. He has never let us down.
If You Could Hie to Kolob
1. If you could hie to Kolob
In the twinkling of an eye,
And then continue onward
With that same speed to fly,
Do you think that you could ever,
Through all eternity,
Find out the generation
Where Gods began to be?
2. Or see the grand beginning,
Where space did not extend?
Or view the last creation,
Where Gods and matter end?
Methinks the Spirit whispers,
“No man has found ‘pure space,’
Nor seen the outside curtains,
Where nothing has a place.”
3. The works of God continue,
And worlds and lives abound;
Improvement and progression
Have one eternal round.
There is no end to matter;
There is no end to space;
There is no end to spirit;
There is no end to race.
4. There is no end to virtue;
There is no end to might;
There is no end to wisdom;
There is no end to light.
There is no end to union;
There is no end to youth;
There is no end to priesthood;
There is no end to truth.
5. There is no end to glory;
There is no end to love;
There is no end to being;
There is no death above.
There is no end to glory;
There is no end to love;
There is no end to being;
There is no death above.
Text: William W. Phelps, 1792–1872
Music: English melody, arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1872–1958, from the English Hymnal
“284: If You Could Hie to Kolob,” Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, no. 284
Sunday, November 1, 2009
This is kind of a hard post for me to write, more awkward than anything, but I feel that it should be done. I have a cousin who died a week ago Friday. She'd had cancer 12 years ago, recovered, then was feeling tired recently. She went to the doctor a couple weeks ago and was told she had days to weeks left; cancer was throughout her body. Within two weeks, she was gone.
If that's not sad enough, she was only 43 and left behind her husband and two children, ages 13 and 9.
What I feel is even more tragic is that she and her immediate family had been estranged from her family (mother & father or my aunt and uncle and basically all our extended family) for the last 20 years!
Now luckily, or should I say mercifully, amends were made and forgivenesses given before she passed on, but I see such tragedy in losing that 20 years. My cousin's kids did not know their grandparents, nor most of their cousins on my side of the family. In fact, I was able to witness my uncle meeting his 9-year old granddaughter for the first time. It should have been joyous, but it was painfully awkward!
As far as I know, the estrangement was not caused by a major, horrible event, but many small, insignificant events. There were times over the last 20 years when amends could have been made, but were not. There were times when forgiveness could have been granted, but was not.
I, like anyone, do not have perfect relationships with all whom I associate. This experience, however, inspires me to do better with my strained and awkward relationships and to be forgiving and more merciful.
I can do my part in fixing my relationships, but where I get stuck, the Lord can help me make it further, help make it the rest of the way. How dreadful it would be to die and reach the other side wishing I'd had better relationships here on Earth.
I pray we can all improve our relationships and not waste decades holding grudges. Give it to the Lord.