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







Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Easter

Easter has passed. It was a day when I was able to ponder on the meaning of Easter for me personally. I studied a bit about Jesus Christ and His Infinite Atonement. I pondered on His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane. I thought about Christ's desire to not have to do what He knew needed to be done. Because of who Jesus Christ is, I may not be able to think or feel as He did then, but I thought about myself and wondered how in the world could one willingly suffer as The Savior did? Scriptures describe agony and pain beyond my ability to comprehend. How could I, knowing what was to come, have walked willingly towards that path? Yet, though Jesus did not want to 'drink the bitter cup' He offered  His willingness to follow the plan Heavenly Father had laid out for Him.

Miraculous!

I pondered on His broken heart and spirit as He experienced the trials, struggles, temptations, and sorrows of all the world. How could He carry them all and not be completely broken? I thought about how it must have felt to be kissed by one who promised love and loyalty yet served up betrayal. I think that Christ knew it was coming, yet how painful it must have been to accept this kiss and not shrink. How kind to heal the ear of a Roman soldier when plagued by one's own suffering. How courageous to willing to go with the soldiers to face His fate.

Tis obvious to me that I am not prepared to receive the kind of power that comes with Godhood. I would too readily zap the soldier or the disloyal friend. I might have fried the one who beat me with a few stripes or he who placed a crown of plated thorns upon my head. It would be so easy to wield that power in revenge or for spite.

But He did not!

The Savior of the world suffered in silence.

Sometimes that is not so easy for me to do. I can be a champion whiner and complainer. I can shout with the best of them. I could drum up a string of words to sting and bite and accuse and blame. It is not hard to throw a tantrum and demand satisfaction.

But, because I want to be like The Savior, I try to think of Him in those moments when the natural man has full control and power over me. I picture Jesus standing before leaders of the land who mocked Him and condemned Him to death by crucifixion. I see His quiet dignity and acceptance of Heavenly Father's will. I see His trust in God's Plan of Salvation. I see that Christ's faith rises to the surface to conquer all else.

And I want to be like Him!

Though it is so hard for me to comprehend His suffering on the cross, in my mind I see Jesus asking for forgiveness for those who have mistreated Him so. That is a task that is beyond my comprehension. Yet because of who He is, I know it is so. I think of my reaction to the rudeness of others and wonder why it is so hard for me to follow that example. I wish for strength that comes through the Power of the Atonement to have the desire to forgive, the desire to be silent, to accept with more dignity that which others wish to inflict upon me.

Jesus Christ marked the path and lead the way. I cannot imagine it was easy for Him. But He did it! Each day I pray to be more like Him who suffered it all. I ask for strength to overcome the world and be like Him. Tis always a work in progress for me but is a challenge worthy of my best efforts.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Atonement

It has been a really hard season for me for a few weeks. I have seen my weaknesses and my failures a little bit to clearly. Many things have been hard and not gone well. I have felt a great deal of opposition in my life. There has been discouragement and disappointment. There have been moments of heartache and days of feeling very broken. There have been days when I have just felt like I was done with life and all its challenges.

I know that this does not just happen to me. But in the middle of a difficult season, it can be hard to keep one's perspective in place. It can be easy to see all the negative and feel 'picked on' and 'singled out.' It is much easier to wallow in a mud hole of self pity and even roll around in the mud a bit.

It has also been a season of studying more about The Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. I have read about The Atonement. I have listened to the words of those who are wiser than I am about The Atonement. I have prayed and pondered about The Atonement. I have learned a great deal but also realized that my learning is still very small.

For me it will be a life time quest.

I have a testimony that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World. I believe in who He is and what He did. I believe in His limitless ability to love, as evidenced by His gift of Atoning for my sins as well as everyone else's sins. I believe He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and died on a cross on Calvary. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Light, the Life, and the Hope of the world.

I believe that Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God. Heavenly Father loved all His children enough to allow us the opportunity to come to earth to learn and become more like Him. But I think God knew we would struggle here. We would not always choose well. We would do dumb things. We would fail and find ourselves in situations we could not handle. Because Heavenly Father loves all His children, His plan provided a Savior. He allowed His Only Begotten Son to come to earth. Christ was perfect. He committed no sin and made no mistake. He had no price that He needed to pay. But because of His great capacity to love, Jesus was willing to suffer and pay the ransom for each of us, if we were willing to submit to the terms of acceptance of His Atonement.

But my testimony of The Atonement does not mean that I have great understanding of it. Though I have studied, The Atonement is still a mystery to me. Though I believe, I am clueless about so much of it. I wish I understood more and knew better how to access the Power of the Atonement. I believe if I understood better, I could do more good. I would really like to be better and do better.

But for now, I will hold on to my testimony of The Atonement of Jesus Christ. I will feed it with reading scriptures and learning from prophets and apostles who live on this earth now. I will work to listen more closely to the whisperings of The Holy Ghost. I will try harder to walk by faith.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Opposition

The Book of Mormon teaches that there must be opposition in all things. This is not a new idea for me. I have heard it all my life. Without opposition, there we be no need to choose. Without opposition, there would be no need to take a stand. Without opposition, life would be very different indeed.

I get that I would not appreciate the warmth of the furnace in the winter if I did not experience the freezing cold wind outside or the snow that blows into my face. I would also not appreciate the blessing of air conditioning without the temperatures sneaking towards a hundred degrees. Sweet tastes really good on my tongue in opposition to bitter or salty or sour. I also really appreciate the feeling of safety that comes in opposition to the feeling of fear.

Would I love food as much as I do if I had never ever felt hunger? But for me hunger is such a temporary thing that I wonder is hunger that comes and lives with the impoverished really ever allowed to be a good thing? Do those who have less than I ever get to enjoy the sweetness of being truly filled?

I also understand that no pain feels really awesome when compared to hurting. Sickness passes and the feelings of health are greatly appreciated. It is a tad harder for me to appreciate the feelings that can be described as terror in opposition to the feeling of calm. 

I really do appreciate the light. But would I appreciate it as much without the contrast of darkness? It is really a good reminder for me that Jesus Christ is the Light of World. Thinking of Christ as being Light creates a really stark contrast for me with Satan and his power over darkness.

While it is true that opposition has given me the opportunity to learn a great deal, there are times when I really do not appreciate having opposition in my face. Once again I have been reminded of the trial that opposition can be to me, personally. It tries my faith and my patience.

Opposition seems to often broadside me. This makes no sense since, even to me, when I remember that the Prophet Nephi warned that opposition is a real part of this life, and always will be. So why am I never prepared when opposition strikes me?

Opposition can come from any source at any time. How does one arm oneself to stand firm in the face of opposition? If anyone in the world can help me with that, I hope they show up in my life soon so I can learn from them. Especially if they can do it kindly.

It seems that the more full my to do list seems to be, the more opposition I face. Why is it that when one is lazing around seeking nothing but entertainment and leisure that opposition hides its ugly head and leaves me alone?

Another thing I think I have learned recently is that the harder I try to do the thing that I believe is right and correct, the more the opposition seems to strike me with angry claws. Why is that?

It is unfortunate, but perhaps a reality for many, that with opposition come some of its many companions. The three D's arrive and want to move in: Discouragement, despondency, and depression. It can be so easy to give in to those feelings and just want to quit. In my mind and in my heart I hear the words and feel the feelings of 'I am done.' And I want to be as the darkness envelops me and begins to swallow me whole.

At this moment I am grateful for the blessing of The Atonement of Jesus Christ. I go to my knees again and again. I pray in my mind and in my heart. I seek for the beginning of a spark of peace and comfort to enter into the darkness within and help me fight the three D's.

Where would I be without prayer and hope that come through my faith in God the Eternal Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ. and in The Gift of the Holy Ghost?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

All is Right with the World

It is a wonderful world we live in. There are so many good things to bless our lives. Technology is exploding faster than I can possibly keep up with. I can hop in my car and drive to a store and buy what I need and be home within a reasonable amount of time. My house is warm, my water turns on, electricity comes at the flick of a switch. I have a dishwasher that washes the dishes we dirty because we are able to eat food which we either grow in a garden or buy at a store. My hamper fills with the clothes that are dirty because I have many available to wear. Then the washing machine washes them and the dryer dries them. I just need a maid to come in and fold or iron them and put them away. I pulled into a gas pump and filled up my tank of gas in the car. Was a bit annoyed cuz I had to wait a minute or two. Seriously!

I believe it is a season for miracles. I see them and hear about them and even experience them myself. It is a season of abundance in my corner of the world and perhaps even a season of the expectation that much is owed to each of us, because of the abundance that is available. It is a season of hard work and sometimes also of playing hard. It is a season of stretching and growing as I attempt to learn new things and accept new challenges and opportunities. It is a season of happiness, peace, and joyful moments.

But amidst all the good are seasons and moments and days of hard things, of disappointments and discouragement. Sometimes one can see or feel them coming. But then there are those moments when one is broadsided.

Last week really was quite good in many ways. But then there were those moments. I made a trip to the post office on Monday morning to mail a very important first class, over sized envelope to a family member about two and a half hours away from my house. I arose very early in the morning to prepare this important oversized letter, so I could make that special trip to mail it. A week later - who knows where it is? It never arrived at its intended destination. Nor has it come home to roost. Disappoinment! Along the way the week ambled with other minor inconveniences, pressures, and struggles.

Then Wham! Friday the door slammed. Literally! After feeding my husband lunch, I prepped for work and headed to the garage to drive to work. But lo, the magical electric door would not open. Oh yes, it tried, but it stuck again and again. I pulled the rip cord on the door to heft the beast of a door open so I could make it to work on time. But no budging the door. I could clearly see the huge broken spring and realized that I was stuck!

I called for help and was only ten minutes late for work. How unfair was this? I rarely park in the garage. On Thursday afternoon as I returned from work, a very large black pickup sat parked in front of my house, hogging the whole parking place. So I snagged the garage. Retribution was quick.

By night the car had been freed from its temporary prison at the cost of an enormous ransom. I swallowed pretty hard when I wrote the check. I don't think it cost that much to install the door and opener in the first place. But tearing down the garage seemed an unwelcome task.

Saturday brought a whole lot more disappointment for me. The unreasonable actions of others sometimes are such a bitter pill for me to eat. And then, as I stood at a volunteer assignment, my watch fell at my feet, band broken, perhaps beyond repair. I found it rather symbolic of my life that felt a bit broken.

But the kind words of a stranger struck my heart. I do not suppose I will ever see or speak to this person again. Would I even recognize her if I saw her. Was she a messenger from the other side to remind me that all is not lost. These are just temporal problems, bumps along the road of life. Eternity is what matters. Heavenly Father has not forgotten who I am or where I am or what is surrounding me.

It was a miracle for me to be reminded that God is in His heaven and all is right with the world