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







Friday, January 29, 2016

Weaknesses

The list of faults and weaknesses I carry around with me every day is long and overwhelming. I become very frustrated when they rear their ugly heads. Some of them I have worked on for so long. I have felt like I had made such good progress that I patted myself on the back. And suddenly they are back, staring me in the face and taunting me. I cannot believe it. How did that happen, I ask myself. But it happens again and again. And then I am disappointed in me. Disappointment and discouragement can quickly halt my progress if I let it. My mind and weary heart want to say, who cares!

Sometimes it has been easy for me to see my weaknesses and faults. But sometimes it has shocked me when the realization came. Seriously, me? I really have this character flaw? But it is true, that I do. Heavenly Father in His wisdom and desire for me to become allows me to see the things that are in need of CHANGE.

But to be downright honest, I really do not like to see my faults and weaknesses. It is hard to admit to them. It would be much easier to hide from the.

Someone I have known for many, many years recently said something to me that I have pondered over and over. It will leave me for a bit and return again and cause me to think. What was said was hauntingly and brutally honest. In talking about this person's birth family, it was said that for whatever reason his family members were incapable of seeing beyond their own needs. They were so consumed with taking care of themselves that they could not see the needs of anyone else around them.

I do not think that this was meant as a compliment!

They were words spoken with feeling and deep meaning. It was courageous to say, because it also indicated the realization that this described the person who said this/ The speaker was also recognizing being so concerned for self that others needs were invisible.

Frankly I was stunned by the words I heard. Too shocked to speak, I said nothing. But the words were true to the one who spoke them. And as I have pondered on what I know about this person's siblings, I think that they really are true. I have pondered on the experiences I have had over the years with this family and the truth of these words resonate within me. They are often very unkind to each other and to others around them. It has seemed that a lot of collateral damage was left behind in the wake of many experiences with their sharp tongues and witty words.

It was a great lesson to me to see this person accept responsibility for flaws and weaknesses. It must have been a challenge to see the possibility of being self consumed. To accept it would have been an insurmountable task for me. But he not only accepted it of himself, he accepted responsibility for it. Then he came to an understanding that it was a weakness shared with siblings.

This bold honesty has touched my heart and helped me see my weakness. It is hard for me to face my flaws and accept responsibility for them. It is hard to say it to myself and almost impossible for me to admit them to others. I am lacking in the courage that I saw in this situation. It is a very good lesson for me.

I am grateful that Heavenly Father in His wisdom shows me the things I need to work on. I am grateful that He is kind and patient in showing me weaknesses so that I can overcome and try to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. It is a miracle that I have The Atonement of Jesus Christ in  my life to help me as I struggle to become who I want to be and who Heavenly Father sent me here to become. Life's lessons are often challenging and overwhelming, but with Jesus Christ as my Savior, all things are possible!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Holy Ghost

Awoke early and started my day in an ordinary way, a bit frustrated that I did not sleep as long as I desired. Was putting ingredients in the crock pot to make a pot of turkey soup for tonight's supper. A simple, quiet reminder of an ingredient I had not remembered to add came to mind, gently reminding me again of the blessings that have come to me because of the influence of The Holy Ghost in my life. This was not a big deal. No one's life was in danger. It did not involve lots of money or lots of time. It was a reminder that I needed to retrieve the forgotten item from the downstairs freezer and add it to the soup.

Often for me this is the kind of reminder that I receive. Simple, quiet and perhaps not a big deal. But I am grateful for each of these messages that I receive. They help remind me that Heavenly Father is aware of me. Each reminder is a little package of love from heaven that helps me strive a little harder to be obedient. But each of these also helps me as I practice to learn how to listen to The Holy Ghost better. And I hope that as I learn to listen better, I also learn to obey better!

But there are also moments when the impressions of The Holy Ghost are more important. A few days ago as I puzzled over a problem that had been handed to me, I felt completely helpless. I had no idea where to turn. I felt lost and clueless. But as I pondered, the impression came. It was a person I needed help from. I resisted that urge for a small moment then forged ahead.

It was exactly the right information for me. By the end of the day major portions of light had flooded the darkness that had surrounded me. The impossible was suddenly doable. The knowledge from this person has continued as I have forged ahead on my path of faith. This problem has not been solved. It is a long term situation with a huge learning curve. But I had no idea how to begin or what direction to turn. That one name opened the door and shoved me through.

I have pondered on the blessing of inspiration through The Holy Ghost often, but perhaps not often enough. His counsel sends me to do things I would never have considered. His counsel leads me down roads that bless my life. The inspiration settles my nerves when I need to be calm. He moves me to action when I had not planned to do anything along the lines of His whisperings.

In moments of life threatening situations the calm has also been accompanied by instructions of what to do and when to do it and how to do it. The inspiration of The Holy Ghost has prevented huge mistakes from happening at my hands.

His counsel has led me to be in places and to do things that are clearly beyond my own capabilities. I have studied hard to learn and then leaned on Him to help me remember. I have succeeded in college classes that have been beyond my ability, because The Holy Ghost has been my teacher.

I have felt inspiration flow into my mind as water flows from a pitcher. Inspiration has come so swiftly that my hand could not write fast enough to put the words on paper. His influence is sometimes the gentle feeling of peace that flows amidst my world of chaos. I have awakened in the night to receive instructions that were vitally important. I have felt the quiet, gentle voice in my mind and in my heart.

Today and every day, I am grateful for the Gift of The Holy Ghost in my life. I continue to pray that I will hear His voice. And that I will be obedient!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Miracles

Winter has a fairly strong grasp on the world where I live. The light of day fades early as the storm clouds cast their shadows across the sun. Cold winds blast my face and hands as I brave going outdoors. Early morning darkness penetrates the landscape when I arise from bed to face the day. It is truly cold. There are days that seem dreary and downright gloomy. This can be a hard time of year for many who struggle with the dreary season of cold and snow and darkness. The loss of sunlight can quickly wrap one in a depressive spirit. It can be a challenge to survive.

But is a season of miracles despite the sometimes oppressive doom and gloom. Where I live the snow is vital. This dry desert climate is dependent on snowfall for the water that feeds the farmland and allows our food to grow. Agriculture is a huge driving force in our local economy. We need the snow to fill our mountains and our rivers and our aquifers. Without the winter snow, there would no chance for crops to grow. Domestic water would be scarce. Drought is a very real possibility. Snow is a miracle!

I weary of the cold. My lips chap and my skin is dry and it takes me a long time to get warm when I escape from the biting wind. But the cold is also a miracle. Without the season of subzero temperatures, summer insects multiply unencumbered and become intolerable in the warmth of summer. Mosquitos, flies, and so many more make the outdoors challenging. But also small nuisance critters thrive unabated with a mild winter season. Voles, mice and such beasties arrive en masse to destroy the land and crops.

Also a miracle for me are things I take for granted. I am so grateful to have a working furnace that keeps my house warm. It is truly a blessing to have water that runs hot and cold in my own home from faucets and showers. Indoor plumbing is still a miracle for me. I appreciate electricity so much. I would struggle in so many ways without it. Each of my working appliances is miraculous. I am grateful for their service. I appreciate a car that starts and takes me wherever I go.

That brings us to the miracle of a house to live in. We are homeowners. Many people are not. Though our house is small, many around the world would be thrilled beyond compare to have such a dwelling.

As I ponder on the gifts of God, I am grateful for my hands that serve me hour after hour each and every day. There are so few things that I do that do not require the use of my hands. Also miraculous are eyes that see and ears that hear and a heart that feels. My legs and feet often overworked, but they recover and serve me endlessly. What a blessing it is to have a body that functions and serves me so well.

Miraculous are the other gifts of God such as faith and hope and prayer and gifts of ancient scriptures and words of modern day prophets. The gift of the internet and devices to access so easily these spiritual messages are incomprehensible to me. But that makes them even more miraculous. With a few clicks of an icon or a mouse, I can hear the prophet speak. I can see his face. I can feel his power.

Also miraculous and beyond comprehension to me are the gift of The Atonement and the gift of Priesthood Power. Heavenly Father let us choose to come to earth. But He did not leave us without help to navigate this world that can be frightening and overwhelming. He provided us with plans and tools to help us find our way in this season of our experience. God provided a Redeemer to rescue me and The Holy Ghost to teach and guide me.

Though this world can be dark and cold and dreary, I feel so blessed by all these miracles and more that bless my life every day. They bring to me the Light of Christ and hope in His promises. Today and every day my life is filled with miracles unseen and also received with gratitude.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A New Year

A wonderful Christmas season has just passed for me. I enjoyed the time with family in person and via technology. It is truly a miraculous time to live!  I can not only talk to my family across the country, but I can see them and watch as they show me their gifts and projects. I am completely clueless how any of this works, but grateful to have access to it so easily.

As I approach each new year, it is a time for me to reflect on my life. I evaluate the progress that I have or have not made over the last year and identify what I need to continue to work on and decide what new things may be needed in my list of things to improve, or things to start, or things that need to be stopped. Many people call them resolutions. I just look at them as my goals for self improvement.

Already I am seeing things that need to be added to my list of weaknesses, and it is just a few days into 2016. Scriptures teach that if we will ask Heavenly Father to help us identify our weakness, He will help us in that search. And I have done that, many times. Last night two new weaknesses were brought to my attention. Certainly neither of them is a new weakness, but it really did not dawn on me until last evening that they were weaknesses.

Heavenly Father also teaches through scripture that if we seek His help with humility and faith, we will be strengthened in our weakness. He has the capacity to make these weak things strong. I am so grateful that God has the capacity to make these weaknesses strong, because I do not. Thus the word weakness is truly applicable.

The next thing for me after recognition of the weakness is to identify if I am enjoying the weakness and want it to continue in my life or if I have a desire to give it up. Heavenly Father respects agency. He will not force me to give up a weakness. I have to be willing to give it up first. Sometimes it is truly more comfortable to keep a tight hold on a weakness. It is hard to change. It is hard to admit that in this area or that area, I am imperfect. And certainly it can be very painful to have our weakness pointed out to us.

But it is impossible to let go of a weakness and hold onto it at the same time.

The miracle of The Atonement of Jesus Christ comes into play in my life as I recognize my weaknesses, take them to Heavenly Father and acknowledge them, and then ask for His help. You see, I cannot do it alone.

Another miracle of The Atonement is that as I struggle to overcome, God is patient with me as I stumble, scrape my knees, and rise again to give it another go. He is far more patient with me than I am. There is no question that He is more patient with me than I am with others. (Yes, there is another of my weaknesses).

Scriptures frequently remind me that God is always reaching out His arm of strength to me. He reaches out His hands to lift me when I fall. Heavenly Father and The Savior Jesus Christ will walk with me as I put forth whatever effort I have. And when my strength and capacity is gone, God will carry me through my trials.