"...but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer." 3 Nephi 22:8







Monday, April 28, 2014

I Believe in Miracles

I believe in miracles!

Today, I am thinking about the goodness of Heavenly Father as He watches over my family. I am grateful that among life's challenges, difficulties, and disappointments there are also huge blessings and miracles that come our way. I am very appreciative that my children are wise and strong in their faith in the Savior Jesus Christ and filled with determination to serve Him. They are kind, friendly, and helpful to others. They go out of their way to include, involve, and encourage others. Their hearts are filled with the desire to live lives patterned after the Savior.

They are amazing people, who bless my life with their words and deeds. I admire, adore and appreciate them all.

They are my teachers!

Because they are so important to me and because they are such good, honorable people, it is very challenging for me to watch them struggle. I weep when they weep. I hear the sorrow, disappointment, and frustration in their voices. And I want to spare them the pain that comes with this life.

But I know that this life is filled with things that challenge us and make us struggle. That is part of the plan that Heavenly Father has put into place for us all. It is not intended that we sail through this life unscathed by the mortal experience. It is intended that we learn and grow and become more as Christ is because of the things we experience.

It is intended that we exercise our faith to make it grow. It is intended that we get on our knees and pray frequently. It is intended that we pray in our hearts always. It is also part of the plan that we learn to be grateful during those things that take us to our knees, not just when the trial has passed us by.

My mind and my faith tells me all this as I sit on the sidelines and watch my family face the challenges of life. There is so little that I can do to help them. My wisdom is so limited that there is nothing that I can say that will solve their problems. There is little that I can say to comfort or help them. But I try!

I can pray for them. And I do, often. Though I do not know the answers, I believe that Heavenly Father does. Though I do not understand the timing, Heavenly Father does. And because I believe, I continue to plead with Him on behalf of my family members. When there is nothing else that I can do to help them, I can always pray.

Prayer may not help them in ways that anyone can see. It may not hasten an answer to a specific need or challenge. It may not immediately bear the fruit that I would desire. But I believe it can be an avenue of strength during the hard moments of any trial, not only for them but for me also.

And I need all the help I can get!

I have seen the miracles as they come. I rejoice in miracles and express my appreciation to God for those miracles. It is a joyful moment when I am able to clearly recognize the hands of a loving Heavenly Father guiding and blessing my family members.

To Him I say thank you for all the miracles in our lives!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Opposition

Perhaps it only happens to me. I do the best I can to plan life and work the plan. Then the world happens and the plan can fall apart, right before my very eyes. It may be that the things that interrupt my plan are really good and worthwhile. Some of the things that interrupt may really be a whole lot better than what I could have planned.  It is easy to see the blessing of those wonderful things that alter my plan.

But sometimes the interruptions are not so wonderful. They may in fact be challenging or even difficult. While it is easy to be grateful for those things that bump into life that are good, it is more challenging to smile when the things that can alter life are hard.

This life is in so many ways about opposition. Good and bad. Hard and easy. Right and wrong.

It is not always difficult to determine how we feel about many of those choices. There may be a lot of 'gray' area involved or there may be too many good choices. It can be difficult to decide which choice has the best possible outcome when there are so many good options. There are also times when it seems easy to make the right choice because there appears to be only one good choice.

But sometimes decisions are just so hard to decide.

I set a personal goal at the first of this year to work on having a happy heart and to smile more. To some people this may seem silly. But I had my reasons. I have actually worked on being happy every day for many years. But I wanted to step it up and do more. I have known some people that are naturally very happy. I envy them. Sometimes happiness is work for me.

There have been many things that have come along to 'rob' me of happiness since I set that goal, but I have continued to pursue my goal. There have been days when it has been very hard to feel genuine happiness, but I have 'practiced' smiling until my heart got the message. I have practiced smiling while driving in the car. I have practiced smiling while doing mundane chores. I have practiced smiling when my mind wanted to speak words that did not match my smile.

Again, this goal was put to the test as I found myself facing several large, challenging projects and deadlines last week. Added to that was the opportunity to be sick. In bed sick.

Though I found it difficult to smile through the sickness, I did manage to be where I needed to be and do what I needed to do. Many things that I could have done were left undone by the time the week was over. There were probably some things that were not done as well as I might have liked. Some things took me much longer, because of illness. But the deadlines were met and the challenges faced.

As I face a new week, I am grateful for those things I was able to do last week, when I just wanted to stay in bed. I am grateful to be reminded that opposition is part of The Great Plan of Happiness that Heavenly Father presented to us in the pre-mortal existence. I am grateful to be reminded that I can go to Him because it is His plan and plead for help when I face opposition.

I am grateful to know that Heavenly Father will help me, because He wants us all to succeed!

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Atonement Makes All the Difference

Sometimes life hands me some interesting experiences, that just seem to come from nowhere and broadside me. That does not mean that they are necessarily bad either. Just unexpected or even weird. I had one of those strange and even weird experiences last month. I could not have planned it, nor would I. It truly broadsided me and has really made me think a lot about The Savior Jesus Christ, and The Atonement.

I had an opportunity to visit with a man, younger than I and almost a total stranger. He came to me, broken and upset to ask questions about death and dying. His father was dying and he knew that there was nothing he could do to hold back the oncoming train of death. He found himself in a position to make decisions for his father, from whom he had been estranged. He had many family members who did not agree with the decisions he was making. He did not know if he was making the correct decisions either. He did not know what his father wanted for sure, because he was unable to speak, or control many body movements. ALS was ravaging his father's body, devouring almost all his physical ability.

We talked for awhile about his situation and how he felt to be doing all he could to represent his father, based on the words his father was once able to speak. His family were very outspoken, standing against him. He doubted his ability and his decision making capacity.

And I listened.

I asked this young father, whose name I did not know, what he believed happens when we die. He told me that death is the end. Then there is nothing. His father on the other hand believes in God and life after death. Even though he did not believe as his father, he supported his father's beliefs and had requested help from the ministers of the church that was important to his father. What a kind thing to do, to provide the comfort that meant so much to his father, regardless of his own beliefs. What a tender way to cherish and express his love and devotion to his father in his last days on this earth.

This young man appears to me to be a good and kind man. He loves his children and his wife. He is trying to become a better person so that he can be a better husband, father, and son. He is working and taking classes to get a degree in the hopes it will lead to a better life for the people he cares about. But he does not believe in God, any kind of God. He does not believe in life after death.

My mind has been drawn to that thought over and over. What kind of life would I lead, if I believed that there was nothing left after death? I think I would be so totally selfish and reckless. What would one have to loose? I would do only those things that make me happy. I would spend all the money I could on me. I would eat anything I wanted, anytime I wanted and not care. Why be kind? Why spend my time serving? Why sacrifice? Why spend time in church - any church? Why not make myself the most important person in the whole world to me?

I would live my life very differently, if I did not believe.

But the truth of the matter is that I believe in Heavenly Father who loves me and looks out for me. I believe He blesses me and carries me in my trials. I believe in a Savior, namely Jesus Christ who willingly suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and died for me on the cross on Golgotha, so that I might be saved from my own foolishness and folly. I believe that in that Atonement there is hope for a sinner, such as I, to return to live with Heavenly Father who is infinitely patient and merciful, not only with me but with all of us.

I believe that Heavenly Father weeps with us and mourns with us.I believe He listens to our prayers and our pleadings anytime and anywhere. I believe He is anxious to hear our prayers and our gratitude. I also believe that I am often unaware of how much He does for me and how many times He has rescued me. I believe it must be very painful for Heavenly Father when I am ungrateful and whining. Yet, I do not believe He turns away from me so that He does not have to listen to me.

Because of His great love for me, He does all of this and more, everyday!

The Atonement makes all the difference!