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







Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Enabling Power of the Atonement

I realize that I am very slow to learn sometimes. It frustrates me, but I try not to give up. Everything in life does not require the same amount of study and sacrifice. I hope that I figured out after the first burn that the stove is hot and should not be touched. I also believe it did not take too many shocks with a plug in an electric outlet to learn that electricity can cause quite a jolt. Scalded hands are a quick way to learn that the hot water heater is turned up too high.

Some lessons have been learned very easily by the experiences of others. Because I know someone whose hand and arm were shredded by a lawn mower, I keep my hands far afield from the blade - always. A relative was burned severely by a sparkler, yes the relatively harmless fire works kind. I know that they can be dangerous. I watched one motorcycle accident and learned that I probably should not drive one of those dangerous beasts.

But I am constantly trying to learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some seasons have found me rather complacent about learning spiritual truths, which of course I am not proud to admit. But during other seasons, I find myself on a quest, because I cannot learn to live what I do not know and understand.

My current quest is to learn more about the Atonement of The Savior Jesus Christ. I have read many articles. I have read many scriptures. I have read a few books and I am always on the look out for more. I have listened to many talks. I want to know more about the Atonement and how it can help me change my life.

Because I was blessed to attend BYU Women's Conference again this year, I found myself feasting on words about the Atonement. I wanted to hear it all. More than once. It was hard to pick and choose. It was sad to miss the talks that I could not attend. But I felt so blessed to spend two days listening and learning from others about The Atonement. I want to hear it all again and again. Technology will probably provide me with an opportunity to listen to some of them again, but not nearly soon enough. I just cannot seem to remember it very well.

On Sunday I listened to a talk that I have heard before, several times. Nothing that was said was new. But something finally clicked in my mind. I read several other talks that reinforced this same concept in my mind with an understanding that has been missing for me.

I am so grateful!

I have such a new appreciation for Jesus Christ and His Infinite Atonement. I can now see more clearly the many ways that my life has been blessed by the Enabling Power of The Atonement. Some of them large and some of them small. I can understand how Grace has blessed my life as I have been able to do things that were definitely beyond my own capacity. I have seen how my burdens were carried when they felt so heavy on my shoulders. I can see how flashes of inspiration have come in a moment of need and often before. My vision has changed and enlarged. I have more clearly seen the comfort that has come through the Atonement's Grace.

Though this knowledge has blessed my life immensely, it also reminds me how little I really know. It propels me forever forward on my quest.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Gratitude of Mothers

Mother's Day has come and gone. To tell the truth, it caught me unprepared this year and perhaps this post will not be meaningful to anyone, but me. But it is a good exercise in gratitude for me to ponder about the Mothers who have influenced me for good. And if I do not take advantage of the opportunity to express gratitude, how will anyone know that I am grateful? Even Heavenly Father appreciates hearing the words of gratitude that we give to Him who created us all.

I am infinitely grateful to Heavenly Father who blessed me with wonderful children. They have changed my life. I have been educated by them. I have been molded and refined by them. And it continues to be so. I had the incredible privilege to phone chat with each of the six wondrous souls who still teach and strengthen me with their faith, testimony, and example. I hope I am never too old to learn from these wise adults who are doing all they can to be good parents, citizens, and disciples of Jesus Christ. I adore them all.

I was blessed to have a talented mother, who would not let life define who she was. She instead defined life by her drive and ambition to conquer the hard things that came her way. My Mother served with all her might in the things she was asked to do. It wears me out just to think about her life and her good works. Though she was told there were things she could not do, she proved so many wrong and did them anyway. I am infinitely grateful for the sacrifices of my Mother in my behalf. I look back with moments of regret that I did not serve her or honor her adequately when I had the chance. My Mother was a lady. Today, as I realize how blessed I was to have her be my Mother, I appreciate and honor her.

My grandmothers were also incredible women. I have wept bitter tears of sorrow for the burdens that they were required to carry. In differing ways, each of my grandmothers was treated with a great lack of kindness and a load of disrespect, which they neither earned or deserved. Unlike me, they bore it silently, with grace and dignity. I am in awe of their composure and kindness in the face of the challenges they endured. I am also sorrowful as I ponder on my own lack of kindness toward them in this life. Though young and foolish, there was no excuse for my own unappreciative behavior. They were women of faith, hope, courage, and kindness. These women too were ladies.

One of the greatest blessings in my life is that the Mothers of my grandchildren have made the choice for Motherhood to be their full time career. Today, that is rare. I cannot adequately express how I honor them for the choice that they have made to sacrifice so much because of the love they have for the little darlings that are so important to them in their lives. Though there are others who could provide good care for my grandchildren, I stand firm in my belief that no one else can fill the shoes of their own Mother. I know that Motherhood is not easy. Many Mother's cannot remember the last time they had an uninterrupted night of sleep, or an uninterrupted shower, or an uninterrupted phone conversation. Though they have slaved over a hot stove and served a hot meal, they usually eat cold food. Life can be a constant car ride and a constant state of confusion. But these Mothers love their children infinitely. Today I am blessed because of their goodness.

There are other women who have Mothered me over the years. How wonderful it is that there are women who help us as we grow along life's path. I am grateful for the influence of these women who are my sisters, my friends, and my examples.

Today, I think of a Heavenly Mother and wonder what it is like to be Her. I wonder at the sorrows that may fill Her heart and the tears She may shed because of unkindness in the world, for I think She loves are Her children. Mothers weep with their children in their heartache and loneliness. I wonder about Her sense of humor. Does She laugh at my silliness? Does She shake Her head as She watches me run head first into disaster, again? Does She miss us as much as we miss Her?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Kindness

Sometimes it seems that kindness is fading in the world around me. Rudeness has reared its ugly head and chased away common courtesy and concern for others. But recently I watched a very kind person serve another, even when there were differences of opinions and different visions of a situation.

I was invited to a baby shower. This was not what I would consider to be a typical party. Most baby showers that I have attended as either a guest or recipient were all planned by the hostess or hostesses. The person being honored did not spend any money or time planning the party. They just showed up. But this was not the case.

It was the first baby shower given by the hostess. She had a grand vision for the event. She wanted to plan the shower that she never had. And it seemed over the top. When her budget ran dry, she asked for financial help from the mother to be. During the discussions, the mother to be also agreed to provide some of the food and the juice that would be served. Soon the commitment included arriving early at the facility to set up and remaining after the shower to clean up.

The shower was lovely. I hope that the hostess went away feeling that her first baby shower was successful. I hope that she will choose to create other showers in her future. But I also hope that she has learned some things that will serve her. And perhaps the mother to be as well.

The mother to be was infinitely kind as she provided prizes and food. She hauled food, stacked chairs, set up the room, and filled the food platters. She smiled through it all including the cleaning up part at the end. She was weary, but wanted her friend to succeed.

All she really wanted was to arrive for a simple baby shower.

Last week I was the object of the kindness of others. It filled my heart with such gladness to see others who were willing to go out of their way to help me solve a problem or two and adjust their lives to include me. For me, that is a rare occurrence. Because of their kindness, the impossible became not only possible, but doable. I cannot remember the last time I was showered with such kindness. For the first time in a very long time, I felt that I belonged somewhere and that I had value to someone. Phone calls, emails and Facebook messages flew among us as details fell into place. I was offered an abundance of help and ideas.

We do not live near each other in proximity. The women who served me live in Provo, Sandy, Draper, and Melba. But they are my neighbors just the same. They are also my family. These women then served me by listening to me. A rare treat as well in my life. On occasion they at least acted like I might possibly have something valuable to say. I felt that I was worth listening to. I might have even offered something worth laughing about.

We laughed with each other and shared our hearts. We worked together to meet each others differing needs. We ate, and we giggled, and we learned.

But mostly I think I learned about kindness from the five women who blessed my life. Thank you friends! I hope you each know who you are and that you lifted my heart and my soul.

When I read this yesterday I thought of each of you.

"In the end all that  matters is kindness."