Thursday, February 16, 2012

The World Shall Judge Him to Be a Thing of Naught

1 Nephi 19:7–9

I know I have mentioned the book The Hiding Place in a previous post, but reading these scriptures from the Book of Mormon have brought it to mind once again. I was impressed with the family of Miss Ten Boom and their regard for a loving Heavenly Father. Not only did they fear God and desire to act in a manner that would be pleasing to Him, the description that was given of the people they associated with also loved God and His Son. In reading this I mentioned to my Hubby that we no longer live in a God fearing society. Gone are the days when the majority see their wrong actions as something that might bring the wrath of heaven down upon them. If the question was posed today "What think ye of Christ?" (Matt 22:42) would the answer be "I really don't think of Him at all."
Elder Neal A. Maxwell once said "Comparatively, brothers and sisters, it matters very little what people think of us, but it matters very much what we think of Him."
My days are busy with the daily tasks of caring for and worrying about a family. There are several enticing "things" of the world that also draw my attention (I have a slight addiction to Amazon, Apple products, Tiny Yorkies and good deals on My point is, I could do more to think of Him whose name I take upon myself every Sunday.
I am full of mistakes in life, but I make no mistake in saying that through Jesus Christ we can overcome the muddles of this mortal life. Through Him worlds were created (D&C 14:9) and miracles wrought, and through Him I can be transformed into the human being He sees me capable of being. A great article from a BYU devotional talks of Christ’s Grace being sufficient to transform us:
"Christ’s arrangement with us is similar to a mom providing music lessons for her child. Mom pays the piano teacher. Because Mom pays the debt in full, she can turn to her child and ask for something. What is it? Practice! Does the child’s practice pay the piano teacher? No. Does the child’s practice repay Mom for paying the piano teacher? No. Practicing is how the child shows appreciation for Mom’s incredible gift. It is how he takes advantage of the amazing opportunity Mom is giving him to live his life at a higher level. Mom’s joy is found not in getting repaid but in seeing her gift used—seeing her child improve. And so she continues to call for practice, practice, practice."
This was an analogy I could relate very well to. Not only did I gain understanding from this analogy but some of my daily guilt of not measuring up to perfection was swept away. Perfect I am not, but practicing I can do!
I love Christ, I know He lives! I know He will help me along the way.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Solidifying of a Testimony

I am playing the song "Praise to the Man" today at a baptism. I chose this song because all over the world primary children learned this hymn and sang it with power in their primary programs several months ago. My children love this hymn and sing it with gusto.
Several years ago at a child's baptism, my own testimony of the boy Joseph's experience in the Sacred Grove was solidified. To know that Joseph Smith was chosen by God to restore His gospel is fundamental in the building of a testimony. I hope that through song my testimony of this man will bring the spirit into the meeting to be felt by the children who have chosen to be baptized today.
Through all the persecution and ridicule that Joseph Smith received while on this earth, he remained true to his call from the Heavens. Today I echo the words of the hymn written in his honor and give "praise to the man that communed with Jehovah"!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fried Eggs

If someone asked me today what my favorite eggs are I would say fried eggs. This is what I was thinking about as I did the dishes tonight. (I am aware that I am strange)
After concluding to myself that fried eggs would definitely be my favorite (if by chance someone asked) I then began to question myself as to why they were my favorite. Conclusion: the pan and the spatula are easier to clean.
This strange self conversation led me ask other questions of myself and I came to realize it has been a while since I have gotten to know myself.
Proper attention, over the past 9 years, has been placed on raising our four small children. They are still very time consuming and busy, however, with the school year in session I have been given a two hour window every Thursday with which I can think to myself, pray and study the scriptures without interruption, clean and do laundry, or run errands in a speedy fashion. This little window of time in my week has become a journey in and of its self. I have gotten to know myself a little better, both the good and the bad. What surprised me about this journey was that I have found a friend in myself and I like her(most of the time). Another surprising discovery was the deep longing and desire for the Lord's stamp of approval on the life I am living and the manner in which I am living it. For the most part I knew what areas needed working on, but I wondered if I needed to do more. I wondered what it was that I could not see about myself. The answers to this prayer have been sweet and deeply personal.
There is a loving Heavenly Father that watches over us. I am His child. He will freely give His love if we but ask and and listen.

Monday, February 6, 2012

"Irritation Often Precedes Instruction"

The title of today's post is a quote from Elder Maxwell. Let's relate the title to losing a tooth and a new one breaking through. This is my six year old's first experience in losing a tooth. (Although as a toddler she almost lost her two top front teeth when her siblings dropped her face first on the tile floor, but that's a story of irritation for another time)
This story of irritation takes place in the wilderness with Lehi and his family. I have come to the part where Nephi's bow of fine steel breaks. An interesting note-the bow was thought to be made with materials that would remain strong. How many times have I taken the time to prepare and find that it is still not enough? Or have taken steps in an endeavor that, in my mind would prevent anything from going wrong? I am generally an optimist and enjoy living in my little rosy bubble. This story is for me because when something goes terribly wrong or something prevents me from accomplishing the task that is so important in my mind, my response could use some work to reach that of Nephi's.
Elder Maxwell continues “Nephi’s broken bow doubtless brought to him some irritation, but not immobilizing bitterness. After all, he was just trying to feed the extended family, so why should he have to contend as well with a broken bow? Yet out of that episode came a great teaching moment."
At times (such as tonight and Family Home Evening) I feel as described above "I'm just trying to teach my children the gospel, why do I have to deal with them fighting when I'm trying to bring the spirit into our home?! Sound familiar? If not, then please tell me what magic spell you are using so that I may apply it on my 4 children.
Now for the great teaching moment. After breaking his bow Nephi didn't dwell on the why's and what if's, he got to work and made a new one out of wood. Then instead of taking over and praying to the Lord himself he went to his father Lehi(who has been murmuring and has lost the spirit for the moment) and asked him to pray and ask where to find food. Nephi's humility, strength and wise confidence in his wavering, superior father opened the way for Lehi to repent and restore his standing with God and regain leadership. The lesson: don't waste energy on the "why me" and also, wise confidence in men builds them. Admittedly, I have thought to know better than someone that has leadership over me. I'm sure in your mind you can think of someone right now that you could probably out do in a particular calling or position. What growth would come if we only did things we were already good at?
Just like the old tooth coming out to make room for the new, the Lord, with His goodness and knowledge of what we really need, will give us experiences that may cause irritation but will ultimately stretch us and make grow a stronger version of ourselves.
Thankfully we have Jesus Christ to lean on through such growing experiences.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Gift


A few things have brought this topic to mind. In the Bible, Jesus Christ taught "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despite fully use you and persecute you". In the beginning of the Book of Mormon, time and time again, Nephi's brothers rebel against him and his father Lehi. They curse and persecute Nephi and time after time again Nephi forgives them "I did frankly forgive them all that they had done". (1 Nephi 7:21)
I just finished the book "The Hiding Place". This is my second time reading, the first when I was a teen. This time I appreciated more, and related deeper to the truths Miss Ten Boom discovered and wrote about in her experience through the holocaust. At one point of her story she comes into contact with one of the guards that treated her and others horribly in the concentration camp. She described the horrible scenes that returned to her memory at the sight of him. He extended his hand and thanked her for her message of joy and redemption through the Lord Jesus. She then described the feelings that passed through her and difficulty in taking his offered hand. She knew she needed to forgive but found not the strength within herself to do it. She then offered a silent plea "Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give Your forgiveness." The moment she took the man's hand, an overwhelming love for him sprang form her heart. Then she writes "And so I discovered that it is not our forgiveness any more than our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself."
I know through Jesus all things are possible. This is how Nephi was able to "frankly forgive" his brothers again and again. "Allow God the be the judge of others' harmful actions. Forgiveness can heal terrible wounds, replacing the poison of contention and hatred with the peace and love that only God can give." (True to the Faith, forgiveness)