Sunday, January 31, 2016

You can't change what you can't see

"Perhaps at no other time do we feel the divine love of the Savior as abundantly as we do when we repent."—Linda S. Reeves, "Claim the Blessings of Your Covenants"

So today was a great lesson on Repentance and the need for it in our lives. One of my favorite quotes from the lesson was "When we repent, our life changes."
It made me think of an experience I had several years ago. I was cleaning my house and had asked a friend to come and help me. As she came in the house she noticed a Computer tower that was on top of a shelf in plain sight that was broken. I had put it up there when it broke to deal with it later. But then it disappeared, at least to me. I never saw it again. It just sat there in plain sight but I couldn't see it. She said "What about this Computer tower?" In that question I could suddenly see it and noticed that it was indeed taking up good space and cluttering up the house. I couldn't clean it until I could see it. In the lesson it quotes one of the greatest stories of repentance in the Book of Mormon it is the story of Alma the Younger. 

“My soul was harrowed up [troubled] to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins.
“Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments.
“… So great had been my iniquities, that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror.
“… It came to pass that as I was … harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy … concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
“Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me. …
“And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more. …
“And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!
“… There can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy” (Alma 36:12–14, 17–21).
I had never noticed the word "saw" in that scripture until today. Only once Alma saw what he was doing as sinful could he make the necessary steps to change and repent. Only once he recognized his need for the Savior could he call upon him to help. Last quote from the lesson: "We should repent now, every day. When we get up in the morning, we should examine ourselves to see whether the Spirit of God is with us. At night before we go to sleep, we should review our acts and words of the day and ask the Lord to help us recognize the things for which we need to repent. By repenting every day and having the Lord forgive our sins, we will experience the daily process of becoming perfect. As with Alma, our happiness and joy can be sweet and exquisite."
Several questions come to mind as I think about this message for me today. First, What do I need to see more clearly in my self and my life so I can start to change? and Second, How can I implement this question into my daily prayers so my best friend, Jesus,  can help me to see myself and my life more clearly? 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Rest of the Lord

Moroni 7: Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.

I loved this scripture because it talks about our receiving rest now not just in the after life. I have spent almost 6 years of my life pregnant and about 6 years of my life with a newborn/ infant in my home. This means that sleep is very important to me because I have known many years that I have not had enough.

On my mission there was a saying that you were "sleep-full" like in English when say we have eaten enough we are full. There were many years when I was sleep empty. 

I need 8-9 hours of sleep. And I found when I had a newborn or infant if they could just give me 3-4 hours in a row I could function pretty well. 

But the rest I am desiring now is different, it is a more spiritual rest than physical. It is a rest that the Savior talks about in this scripture.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28–29).
I also loved this definition by President Joseph F. Smith: “To my mind, it means entering into the knowledge and love of God, having faith in his purpose and in his plan, to such an extent that we know we are right, and that we are not hunting for something else, we are not disturbed by every wind of doctrine, or by the cunning and craftiness of men who lie in wait to deceive. We know of the doctrine that it is of God, and we do not ask any questions of anybody about it; they are welcome to their opinions, to their ideas and to their vagaries. The man who has reached that degree of faith in God that all doubt and fear have been cast from him, he has entered into ‘God’s rest’” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [1998], 56).
This rest is what my soul seeks and desires to feel peace and quiet. It is a Heavenly Gift that comes to my soul as I make time to "feast upon the words of Christ". 
I loved the talk Rest unto your souls from the 2010 General conference. This was my favorite quote.
"The promise to enter into the rest of the Lord, to receive the gift of peace, is far from a temporary, worldly satisfaction. It is indeed a heavenly gift: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). He has the power to heal and to strengthen the soul." Per G. Malm Rest unto Your Souls  OCTOBER 2010
This is also very related to the Sabbath day as a day of Rest. I loved The Sabbath Is a Delight By Elder Russell M. Nelson April 2015.
One of the things I do that steal my rest and peace are worrying about things out of my control. A good friend after listening to me worry about something I had no control over said " You will just have to trust the Lord." I said 'Oh yes I know." Then she looked right at me and said "No, I mean you will have to trust the Lord!" At that moment I realized she meant I had no other choice. I had to trust the Lord because that was all I could do. This is where the rest part comes in. I was fretful and anxious-- But as soon as she showed me the uselessness and waste of all that energy I was able to give it to the Lord and trust that He was on it in all the ways I could not be and so many more that I was not even able to understand or know about. He was perfectly powerful to take that burden upon his ample shoulders and let me "bear a song away" instead. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

What desirest thou?

What desirest thou? is the question Nephi is asked by the Angel when he is taken away to a high mountain in response to his desire to understand the vision of the Tree of Life that his father Lehi had seen. (1 Nephi 11)

I have been pondering this question in my own life and wondering if I was asked the same question what would my answer be? What do I desire? Like Nephi do I desire to understand more fully and more personally the words of the prophets? Like Nephi do I put forth the effort to  inquire of the Lord (1 Nephi 15:8)? or like Lamen and Lemuel do I think the things that the prophets ask are Hard (1 Nephi 16:1)?

And in a broader sense what if the real test of this life is that question. What desirest thou? What if that is the true test of our discipleship and probation is the answer to that question? 

Our desires are an important test of our heart and the dedication or lack there of to the Lord. 

Alma discusses the importance of desire at the judgement bar here:

Alma 41:5

5 The one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh.

This desire is certainly one that would help you gain mastery of your other desires?

3 Nephi 19:9

9 And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them.
And this certainly discusses righteous desires to do good and help others.
8 Verily, verily, I say unto you, even as you desire of me so it shall be done unto you; and, if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation.
This desire is a good place to begin when you find the truth to be hard.

Alma 32:27

27 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.

Here is a list of my desires at this time. 

Rest, Peace, Order, Healing, Light, Truth, Cleanliness, Energy, Purpose and mission driven, deep connection to eternal identity and heritage, Unity in my marriage and family. Consistent revelation

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Creating an Eternal Marriage relationship

"For a relationship to survive, both parties must bring magic with them. Although I don't believe in a one-and-only soul mate for anyone, I do know this: Once you commit to being married, your spouse becomes your soul mate, and it's your duty to work every day to keep it that way. Once you have committed, the search for a soul mate is over; our thoughts and actions turn from looking to creating."
~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Wanted to share some things I have been doing to "work every day to keep it that way". One thing is my meditation. I have included statements in my mediation and intention for the year that I want to implement and place deep in my heart so it becomes a solid part of who I am. Not something I have to constantly work to choose but something that comes naturally and easily.

Here is my meditation: 

"I always have dinner ready when Mike gets home from work so he has a peaceful evening and reward for his hard work for our family in providing for us. I never take for granted his willingness to get up each morning and go out to labor for the welfare and support of our family. Mike’s income is enough and to spare and we have more then we need always. I always spend less than I am given and have extra when it is needed.

Each evening before dad gets home we clean the house as a family and make it a place that is peaceful and relaxing to come home to. Mike loves to walk into our home because he feels loved and appreciated here. He loves to come home each evening and feels welcome and loved."

One reason for some of the meditation was I listened to a talk by John Bytheway about marriage that really impacted and inspired me. In it he talked about how when you are first married you appreciate everything your spouse does for you. But as the time goes on you start to expect more and appreciate less. You start to take for granted the things they do for you and expect them to continue rather than constantly acknowledge the gift and blessing they are in your life. It becomes a negative cycle. 

He also discussed how those things we expect are only noticed when they are not done. For example you might expect to find clean underwear magically in your drawer each morning and as long as you do you say nothing. But the one morning there is nothing in that drawer and you lose it because that expectation was not met. He suggested that the better way is to acknowledge and express gratitude for that drawer being full and recognize there was no magic getting it done but that someone loved and served you to make sure that was done for you.

I shared a idea for a Christmas Gift for our husbands here and it has been a huge blessing to me and to our marriage. It is a Journal that I write in things I am grateful for about my husband and kind things he has done for me throughout the year. It helps me focus on what is going right and magnifying that in our relationship.

One entry this last week was about a sweet gift my husband gave me. He was leaving for work in a snow storm and I was leaving just after him to take my son to school. We said our goodbyes and he walked out the door first. I finished getting ready and out the door. As I walked out I was so discouraged to see the snow and thought "Oh it is so cold and I will have to dig out my car." But the next thing I noticed was the sound of scraping windows. I thought "Oh Mike is having to scrape his car. Yuck" more cold.  But then I noticed his car was all scraped and it was my windows he was scraping.  What a sweet blessing to me to be able to get in my car and drive away all cleaned off by my sweet man. 

This and many other such acts of kindness have been more gratefully received and documented for our children because of this Christmas journal idea.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I too can be a witness of the Book of Mormon

I have been working through an amazing resource from the Red headed hostess blog. Her Book of Mormon journal has been such a blessing to me. It requires me to think more deeply and in more detail about each facet of the Book of Mormon and the questions are so powerful.

One of the first surprises was the part about the testimony of the 3 and 8 witnesses. I have always sort of skipped over this part. Not because it wasn't important to me. Knowing there were witnesses to verify what Joseph said was true was important but it seemed I understood that part and could move on.  But her question was Which parts of the testimony did you have to be there to experience and which parts can you say?  This was powerful for me because it helped me connect in a powerful way to the things that the witnesses of the Book of Mormon said.

I found 10 things that the witnesses said in their testimony that I too can say.

"We know that the plates have been translated by the gift and power of God. His voice has declared it unto us." I know this because I have had a witness from the Holy Ghost born to my soul that it is true many times. I know the power of God is found in the book and that I gain that power in my own life as I study it daily.

"We know of assurity that work it true." I too know it is true and that I learn new truth that blesses my soul each time I read from it's pages. Feasting is a scripture word for a special kind of scripture study and truely fills your soul.

"We declare with words of soberness" and "We testify". Both of these I too can say. I love the Book of Mormon and testify of its truth and power to bless our lives and fill us with greater light and truth.

"We give our names to the world to witness of the Book of Mormon" as a full time missionary to Taiwan and as a mother to the most important people in my life I give my name to the world that the Book of Mormon is true. I testify that it has blessed me and helped me as a mother in my most important and overwhelming work and mission. Raising children is a challenge and I am so grateful for the blessing of the Book of Mormon to teach me how to do it and to bring me to Christ so I too can direct my children to the Savior. I love him and know that the Book of Mormon guides us to him.

"We lie not." I too lie not about my experiences with the Book of Mormon. It has brought me great joy and happiness. I love it and my Savior with all my heart.

I too am a witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I can say God has declared the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon to me again and again. I know that what Joseph Smith said is true through my own experience " A man (or woman) will get nearer to God through the Book of Mormon that any other book." I know of assurity that work is true. I testify of the truth, peace, happiness, and power that the Book of Mormon has brought into my life. I have also seen first hand the power of the book in the lives of others to bring them to Christ and help them change and grow.

"I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world … that the Book of Mormon is true." Jeffery R Holland Safety for the Soul

Monday, January 25, 2016

Partaking of the fruit and Joy

"We must find quiet moments to seek greater light and truth. And when we receive it…live it, share it…defend it."—Cheryl A. Esplin, "Filling our Homes with Light and Truth"

My youngest is listening to The Book of Mormon with a goal to finish by his 8th birthday in August. He was sharing some of what he learned yesterday. 

This was his take "The dad was afraid for Lamen and Lemuel" 
Me "Why was he afraid for them?" 
A: "Because they didn't eat the fruit of the tree."

I have been thinking a lot about this answer. How often don't we eat of the fruit of the tree? What can I do to eat of the fruit of the tree more often? How can I feel the love of God for me in my life more often and consistently? It goes with a scripture I found at the temple last week D&C 88:32-33

This part really stood out to me. "to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received."

I have been thinking about this part a lot. How much am I denied in joy because I am not willing to receive it? How much more would the Lord give me if I was open and grateful to receiving? 

I have also been wondering if getting to the tree is really a daily journey? I have felt the Love of God for me. I feel like I have partaken of the fruit in the past and have felt the Love of God for me. But like Alma says in Alma 5 “Can I feel so now?” Like right Now?  Right now I feel tired and overwhelmed?  Right now I feel grumpy and like my burdens are too great for me.

Wondering a lot about this word feeling. Have learned from many sources that Love is a verb and an action we take to show love. It is not really this magic feeling all the time. Actually not most of the time, most of the time Love is work and doing things for others without thought for ourselves and not really about feelings. Sometimes you don’t really want to do love at all but that is when you show forth the most love by doing it anyway.

Can I feel so now? Meaning can I do the things that help me feel the Love of God for me? Can I cling to the rod of iron long enough to get to the tree? Can I resist the mocking of the world and ignore the distractions to enjoy the fruit of the tree? Can I show my love for my Father by obedience and diligence.

How are you doing feeling the Love of God for you? 

Elder M. Russell Ballard said, “One of the sweetest messages the Spirit will relay is how the Lord feels about you.”6

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Idea for 3 spiritual goals for the new year

At our recent Ward conference we were challenged to have 3 spiritual goals for the coming year.

A monthly temple goal
A monthly ministry goal
and A weekly doctrine goal.

A friend showed me a center piece she had created for her table to help her family with the goal to Ponderize.

I had my 12 year old help me create one this week out of old 3 ring binders with the clear plastic covers you can put pictures or things in.  My daughter had the idea to put flowers in the middle and it makes me so happy. It has 3 places for different messages. 

Our first doctrine is the doctrine of the family. We studied my favorite quote from this First Presidency message  

"We owe our families the kind of relationship we can take into the presence of God. We must try not to give offense or take offense. We can determine to forgive quickly and fully. We can try to seek the happiness of others above our own. We can be kind in our speech. As we try to do all these things, we will invite the Holy Ghost into our families and into our lives."

The second about ministry within our families.

The third is from Vaughn J. Featherstone about the temple. It is so powerful.