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







Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Three Miracles

I believe in miracles!  I believe that Heavenly Father is wise and loving. I believe that He wants to gather all of His children home to Him. He wants us to learn and grow. We need to struggle and sometimes fail to accomplish that growth. Many things that make my life seem hard are part of this world I live in. Some of the things that are hard come because of my own choices. Some come from lack of knowledge and experience. Others come at the hands of others who are also 'practicing' in this world to become like God.

I believe that God wants us all to succeed. I believe that He suffers with us as we suffer. I believe that Heavenly Father is the first in line to cheer us on when we need it most. He stands with us to keep us from falling, ready to help us stand again and go forth with faith. Comfort comes because of His goodness when we are wounded and lost.

God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to this earth, watched with pride as Christ lived a sinless life, set the perfect example, and invited all to follow Him. Heavenly Father allowed His Son to suffer and die for the sins of all mankind, because of His great love for each of us. I cannot imagine this was an easy time for one even so great as God. His pain must have been immeasurable. But I think His joy was also immeasurable because The Atonement of Jesus Christ provided a way for all of us to change, repent, and return to His very presence.

I believe part of the reason for God's miracles in our lives is to help us through the quagmire of life. I believe there may be many other reasons for His gift of miracles. Some may heal our physical pain. Others may heal our broken hearts. Some miracles move His work forward. Some help strengthen our testimony. Some may warn us of danger. And sometimes, I think God wants us to know that He is aware of us. He wants us to feel we are drawing closer to Him. I think He simply wants us to see His presence in our lives

I think that many people only believe in big miracles. But I want to see them all!  I look for miracles around me. But sometimes they surprise me when they happen. I see them in unexpected places. I experience God's love in small ways that no one else would even notice. I like seeing Heavenly Father's hands in my life, guiding me, protecting me and  strengthening me.

Over this past weekend I experienced three miracles. They were small. To many they would be insignificant. Some would call them simple coincidences. Some may even question my logic. But it matters not. They were miracles to me!  They were evidence to me of God's awareness of me. Through these miracles, unasked for and undeserved, I heard my Heavenly Father say to me, "I am here, beside you." I felt that God knew who I was, where I was, and how I was doing. He acknowledged me.

I did not hear that I was perfect. I did not hear that I was never going to struggle again. I did not hear that life was suddenly going to be easy. But I did understand that as long as I am trying, Heavenly Father is with me.

None of these miracles were life changing for anyone but me. I desire that my heart changes with each miracle. I desire that with each miracle, my spirit strengthens and learns better how to be more in tune with my Heavenly Father. I desire that my will softens and bends a little more to His will. I desire to become who God wants me to be.

It was the weekend of three miracles for me. But the frosting on the cake was the big miracle that followed when the weekend was over. It was a life changer for many. It was worked for and prayed for and pleaded for. It was very significant.

I acknowledge the source of all the miracles in my life with gratitude and love. I bear testimony to the goodness of God The Father, His Beloved Son Jesus Christ, and The Holy Ghost. They are real. They are present and aware. They have power and goodness and grace. They send forth miracles of all sizes and shapes.

And I need every single miracle!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Unbroken"

Shortly after the book Unbroken was available at my library, I put in a request to read it. I had to wait a bit because it was obviously a very popular book. I was anxious for my turn. What was it that made this book so wonderful that so many people were waiting in a line to read it?

After weeks of waiting, the phone call came. The book Unbroken was available for me to read. I had seven days to check it out and then three weeks to read it. I could not renew the book because there was still a waiting list of others who wanted a turn. 

As I drove to the library to pick up this long awaited book, I wondered if it was worth the wait.

Unbroken was one of the hardest books I have ever read. But it was also one of the best books I have ever read. I hope to read it again, someday, when I do not have another long list of books to read and so many other things to do with my time. I often have several books here, waiting to be read. So Unbroken will wait for another season.

I was stunned by the cruelty of human beings to other human beings. It is beyond my comprehension!  Though I have not experienced things that were common place during this horrific world war, I have read and listened to Prisoner's of War talk about their experiences. I am not completely ignorant to the ugly side of life. If I choose to listen to the news, I can also be stunned by today's cruelty.

What in the world is wrong with us as  people?  I simply do not get it! 

But as we went to the local cheap movie theater to watch the movie Unbroken for a second time last night, I thought instead of about the cruelty and hard things in life. I thought about my blessings. I thought about how lucky I am. Though I feel I too have experienced hard things in my life, I have no comprehension of life lived by some who survived prison camps. I am clueless to the suffering of those who suffered to death. My hardships look like a vacation to those who have suffered so much at the hands of cruel, power hungry men.

I am in awe of the courage, faith, determination and strength of will demonstrated by those who have been willing to sacrifice everything for their country and their family and their belief. I am reminded of the courage of Captain Moroni in the Book of Mormon who tore his own coat and made a flag to bear among the people of his day. His coat reminded them that they were fighting for their religious beliefs, their families, and their freedom. It was a symbol that rallied many who did not want to fight, but would, because they believed in God.

Though I feel the movie of the life of Louis Zamperini was compelling and told the story well, it did not tell how very hard it was for him to return to real life, constantly haunted by the evil of his prison days. It was hard!  It racked his life for a very long time. It wreaked havoc on his family. I cannot imagine how hard it was for his family to watch him suffer, and not be able to ease his pain.

But Louis turned to God. He put his trust in Heavenly Father who rescued him and lead him on a path of service and forgiveness. This too is a powerful lesson for me. I wish I was more like Louis. I wish I had more faith and courage and determination.

His story has penetrated my heart. His story reminds me that I am blessed to have a testimony of God the Eternal Father, His beloved Son Jesus Christ and the reality of The Holy Ghost. I am grateful for the blessings of my life and for the goodness of many who I interact with on a regular basis. I am grateful for the lessons of the life of a man who lived a life, damaged, wounded, and beaten but also Unbroken.  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Multitasking

It seems that multitasking is a way of life for most people that I know. Some are very good at it. They seem to move flawlessly through a multitude of tasks, roles, and responsibilities seamlessly, without a hitch. They accomplish mountains of tasks in minimal amounts of time and never even break a sweat. At least that is often what I see.

It is possible that behind the scenes, they are stressed or frustrated to tears. They may find significant mistakes and errors in their tasks. They may feel that they run faster than they are capable of and that nothing ever goes right. But on the outside, perfection is what I see.

I had two, in my face, wake up calls this week about multitasking, that could have turned out very badly for me. I felt that they were a clear warning to me that my mind was not focused on the task at hand, but instead was focusing on the myriad of tasks I needed to accomplish. Those distractions caused my mind to be too far away from where it needed to be.

I felt Heavenly Father protected me from my own stupidity. I am indeed grateful for His watchful care and His gentle reminder that there are times when we need to simply slow down and pay attention to what we are doing.

Many mistakes happen when I try to work at or think about too many projects, problems, or assignments at once. I find myself undoing or redoing things, which is generally accompanied by frustration. At times, I find myself moving from task to task, accomplishing little, but trying to do them all at once. I simply lose the ability to focus on what I need to be doing adequately enough to do it well. I pick out stitches on projects, because I was not paying enough attention. I put things away or down and cannot remember where I put them. I do not seem to remember what the next thing in the process that I needed to do was on a project, because I am working on too many at one time.

My mind has a difficult time focusing on reading, sometimes. I want to read from my scriptures every day. It is a goal I work at. I generally do not allow myself to read anything else, until I have read from the scriptures. I believe it is a huge priority for me. My attitude is better and my spirit is strengthened. I often receive inspiration and enlightenment when I read. But only when I focus and pay attention. Too often my mind wanders to that list of jobs, waiting for me to do. Or a noise distracts me. Or anyone of dozen other thoughts, some important and some not.

I do not consider myself to be a mental pigmy, but sometimes my multitasking mind seems to be my enemy!

And sometimes the myriad of tasks that seem to be on my mind cause me to lose sleep. It may be that I cannot fall asleep at night as I lay in bed stewing up a storm of worry over the tasks. Or I may wake up in the middle of the night, begin to think about too many things and no longer be able to sleep. Today, instead, I woke up way to early and began to run through my 'things to do today' list and could not go back to sleep.

Another prime time for mental mistakes occurs when I am driving. I usually have a mental agenda of tasks I am off to perform. I frequently even have a written list of my assignments. But as I drive, I am thinking about them, instead of paying close attention to my driving. Sometimes I realize where I am, after I have driven past my destination.  Both of my wake up calls this week took place as I was out and about, multitasking.

Fortunately nothing serious happened. No one was in any danger. I just made mistakes that were frankly dumb!

As I have pondered the two incidents, I have wondered what I need to do to change my mental multitasking. How do I slow it down? Where is the switch that shuts it down? Where is the tracking knob that controls the static that messes with my mind?

I do not know the answers yet, but I believe that they will come. I believe that Heavenly Father speaks to me through the power of The Holy Ghost. I believe He has clearly warned me of danger ahead. He has brought to my attention the need to do things differently. He will help me see how, step by step. I know that He protected me from myself.

And I am profoundly grateful!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Service is a Blessing

Sometimes the opportunity to serve presents itself at a moment that appears to be especially inconvenient. The issue may be that the time the service needs to be given is not workable with things that are already scheduled. It could also be that the moment someone asks me to serve is perhaps one of the worst possible moments to ask me to do one more thing. There are lots of service opportunities out there to be had, but no one person can do them all. Sometimes one must say no. I have even said, if you just cannot find anyone else to do what is needed, please call me back and I will see if I can figure out a way to make it happen.

Recently I was asked to serve. It was not a major commitment of either time or energy. But I was asked at one of the most inconvenient moments of my week, maybe the month. I already felt completely buried with other things, including a multitude of service opportunities. I was running as fast and as hard as I could go and my first thought as I stood dripping wet from the shower, was "Are you kidding me? I cannot take on one more thing." And my mind really meant that. I did not know if I even had anything scheduled on the calendar for the time I would need to serve. I had no idea if I had the time to prepare for this opportunity. All I knew was that it was well after noon and I was just now climbing out of the shower, hurrying to prepare for a long service opportunity.

I asked a few questions to clarify the information as my mind scrambled trying to figure out what to say. I am sorry to say I felt tears begin to form very close to my eyes. They were tears prompted by that feeling of being stretched a little to far.

But I heard my voice say, "I will take care of it."

My mind was stunned at what it heard my voice say. As I dried, dressed, and prepared to leave, I repented and prayed for the mighty change of heart that I needed to have to not resent the opportunity to serve. Scriptures came to mind, reminding me that how we serve is what really matters. I knew my attitude needed an adjustment. I had a couple of days for Heavenly Father  to work on me, and help me on the road to become.

And He did!

Over the next several days, in between other obligations, I prepared and prayed for guidance to do the right thing in the right way, to feel the blessing of this opportunity to serve, to serve willingly with a happy heart.

I had prepared to play a musical number on the piano in a number of different ways. I was unsure just which piece would be most appropriate. So I prayed to understand the will of The Lord, when I needed to know. I headed off for my opportunity to serve, still very uncertain just what to play. I arrived at the long term care facility, truly happy to serve, but still unsure of just what these residents needed to hear.

I had played here before, but not for a long time. I had forgotten how much noise there would be. I had not thought of the constant confusion that was part of normal life as workers cared for the aged and infirm. The piano was old, with some non functioning keys. Probably needed to be tuned.

But none of that mattered. When I sat down to play, I knew what I should play. The noise completely ceased. I do not know whether anyone else heard the silence wash over the large room or whether the silence was a gift for me.

The arrangement of sacred hymns was heard as a witness to all of The Savior Jesus Christ. Music told of His mission, His love, His sacrifice, and His resurrection.  I walked away from this opportunity with a heart filled with gratitude for the blessing of this opportunity to share my testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ, with my fingers.