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







Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday Gratitude

As I awoke this morning, it occurred to me that I had not sat at the computer for several days. I had a slew of emails to delete or respond to and I had not even thought of writing a blog. Life has swallowed me up for a brief season, and many things have been left unattended. But today is the last day of this particular season and tomorrow begins another change.

Frankly I am exhausted! My body aches and my head is foggy. My voice is croaking and cracking and temporarily fades from time to time. I have lost hours of sleep caused by stress and exhaustion. My soul is complaining in weariness.

But I know that I will make it through this one last day. I know this, because I have made it through all the hard, challenging, exhausting days that have already gone before.

It has been a season of stretching. It has been a season of tears and sorrow. It has been a season of inequity. It has been a season of unfairness. It has been a season of unkindness. It has been a season of trials.

But it has also been a season of learning. It has been a season of faith.It has been a season of kindness and appreciation. It has been a season of expanding my circle of friends. It has been a season of patience. It has been a season of service. It has been a season of hellos and goodbyes.

It has been a season of learning to trust Heavenly Father.

The path I have walked was guided by His hand. I promised that I would do all that I could to do my best on this path. And I did.

But He also did all that He could for me. No matter how tired I was - I was blessed to be able to do whatever was required of me each day. No matter how hurt my feelings were - Heavenly Father carried that burden so I could return day after day to do what He had asked me to do. When I needed to be silent - God shut my mouth. When I needed to speak - God gave me the words to say. When I needed greater physical capacity or mental understanding - The Almighty was there for me. During this season, Heavenly Father lifted, carried, dragged, pushed, and pulled me along.

And I am filled with gratitude to the very core of my worn out weary soul.

As I embarked on this adventure - I knew that I would be asked to make many hard choices and sacrifices. That turned out to be absolutely correct. But because I was prepared, I was able to make those sacrifices and trust in Heavenly Father's wisdom.

It would be unfair if I did not mention that I made lots of mistakes. I was often corrected and teased for my failures. Many days I wondered why I was where I was and why I was doing what I was doing. I felt the frustration and impatience of others. I heard lots of words of criticism directed at myself and others. I struggled to make it through many days. I had to gird up my loins to go back for more on others. It was HARD!

But there were moments of growth in little people that I got to see. I watched little children who learned to use language successfully, and learned to control their unbridled tempers, who learned to practice being patient and who learned to successfully use a pair of scissors and a bottle of glue.

Sometimes my clothes were wet from their puddles of tears or an overflowing sink or a craft project gone amiss. But some moments were sweet with their success and their smiles and their hugs.

And through it all, I felt the enabling power of The Atonement of Jesus Christ in my life.

Though my successes to others may not seem very big at all - I know that they were not my successes at all. They all belong to those on the other side of the veil who have lifted, carried and strengthened me along the way.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Gratitude for the Trials I Have Not Had

There are plenty of trials and challenges in this world to go around. Sometimes I really feel like I have received more than my share. It can be easy to put blinders on and see only the things that are hard for me, the insurmountable tasks, the hurdles that seem too high for me to jump. It can become easy to feel sorry for myself and wallow in self pity for a season. This is of course, is not helpful. But it happens nonetheless.

Looking at the trials of others can bring me up sharply. It can remind me of how really blessed I am. I can see others whose struggles would crush me. I marvel at the strength and faith and courage that is present in their struggles. And I feel pretty weak.

But I also feel grateful. Grateful that I do not have the trials that others have to endure. Grateful that I do not have cancer or lung disease or kidney disease. Grateful that I am not homeless. Grateful that I do not have wayward children. And the list goes on.

I have great gratitude for every good day. I am appreciative of the beauty of the world in which I live. I appreciate the sunshine and the rain. I hear the sound of the birds in the trees and delight in the color of the flowers. I look heavenward and see the blue of the sky and the puffy cotton candy clouds. The green of the grass and the majesty of the trees lift my eyes heavenward with gratitude.

I am grateful that my children have roofs over their heads, steady income, and safe transportation. I am grateful that my grandchildren are being raised with love, kindness, dignity, and respect. I appreciate that my children have more of everything to offer their children than I did. What a joy to know that my children are parenting much better than I did. Their vision of family life is so much grander than mine was.

I am grateful that I have a safe place to live, food to eat, and running water. I am grateful that there is money to spend and money to save. I appreciate a car that takes me where I need to go and returns me home again. I am grateful for electricity and a running furnace. Technology is a huge blessing for me. I appreciate listening to wonderful things via the internet, emails and google chat.

Years ago I heard a song written by a woman dying from the ravages of cancer. She expressed appreciation for all the trials she had not had to suffer or endure. I learned a lot from her song. I wondered why I was not more grateful for what I did have and why I spent so much time and energy on the things I felt I lacked. It is a lesson that I learn again and again, as I wander through the circle of attitudes of abundance and lack.

I am indeed grateful for the trials that I have not yet had to endure, and to those who endure them so well to teach me, bless me, and strengthen me.

Gratitude is abundant for me today for a loving Heavenly Father who has given me all I have and for the strength that comes through the power of prayer. I am grateful for The Savior Jesus Christ whose Atonement rescues me, again and again and again. I appreciate the words, feelings, and impressions that come to me through the power of The Holy Ghost to teach me and guide me.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Because I live in this mortal world, I seem to get to have plenty of experiences that teach me. In other words, 'hard for me.' Now don't get me wrong; I think everyone gets to have a myriad of difficult experiences in this life. But what is difficult for someone else may not be difficult for me. And one of my last 'learning' opportunities may not be difficult for someone else. The beauty of life on this earth is that is tailor made for each of us to grow and learn in the way that will stretch us uniquely, because we are each unique.

My part time job has been particularly challenging for the last three weeks. I was somewhat warned and prepared for many of these changes. Some days have not been as bad as expected. Whew!  Relief! Some have been as expected, so though stretching, doable. And some moments have tried the patience of all of us.

As I walked into my place of work, the secretary commented, "You came back!" She told me that after the terrible day we had all experienced the day before, she wondered if anyone would come back to work the next day. She had also experienced a difficult day. One darling little child had physically attacked her and verbally assaulted her. Some of the words were unintelligible and sounded very much like a witch's hex. We all wondered what particular spell had been cast upon her. Would she be a toad before bedtime?

So amidst the chaos of the workplace I found myself assaulted by another unpleasant challenge to face. Seriously????? Is this not enough? I certainly felt like it was enough for me to deal with already. I went home discouraged, wounded, offended, angry, etc.

The natural man took over.

"I do not have to return to work," I thought. "I do not ever have to see the people that I work with again," I said to myself. (At least not the ones with whom I was struggling) I wanted to vent, complain, etc.

"I AM DONE!"

But driven to my knees, The Holy Spirit began to teach me. And I began to see things differently. I did not like what had happened at all. I despised what had been said. I did not condone the actions of others at all. But my anger, offended feelings, and wounded pride were clearly not serving me or anyone else. So I knew that I was really not done and had to 'work the problem.'

I continued to pray, seeking not only guidance but strength to let the ugly go, do the right thing, and carry on.

And it came. Within twenty four hours things were very different. Resolutions came. Humility replaced my pride. And I felt incredibly better.

But there was more to be learned. One little puzzle piece took a bit longer to fall into place. The person whose words had so hurt me had not been involved in any of the resolution phase. Nor would she. She would never hear how hurt I was by her words. She would never know what transpired to resolve a situation that she created. She was entirely absent and I felt that there was nothing I could do about it.

And I thought I had let it go. But two days later, clearly the impression came from The Holy Ghost. I was to send her a text. I heard the words in my head or perhaps I felt them in my heart. I knew exactly what to say. No accusing words!  No unkind words! Nothing but kindness flowed through my fingers. Within the words of the text were words that clarified and spoke truth about the situation. My name had been cleared simply, with kindness. It was over.

I was elated!  I felt such joy to feel that truly God had guided this situation. My heart swelled with gratitude for Heavenly Father's love and guidance. I was able to let it go , completely at peace!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Wednesday Weaknesses

This week I have been clearly reminded of my weaknesses, again. And it is only Wednesday!

Tis so disappointing to feel that I am working so hard to be better, to improve, to be more of all the things that I think that I am supposed to be and to find I have again fallen short. Being patient with myself in my failures is such a trial. I have also seen the weakness in myself of impatience with others and their weaknesses. Again!

Several someone else's in my life have brought me up short with their choices and have for a season left me feeling very weak, insecure, and very much a failure. I have been knocked to my knees again seeking forgiveness for my weaknesses and also forgiveness for my anger, frustration, and unkind feelings towards those with whom I am currently struggling.

It is hard to accept that no matter how hard one tries and no matter how much one serves, sacrifices, and remains silent; it is just never enough to be able to please in some situations. As I have pondered on these particular experiences, I have wondered, what more could I have done? How could I have done it differently? What was it that you really expected of me? And much more.

I have visited with Heavenly Father about these situations and also asked Him these same questions. I have also asked what it is that He would have me learn. Those answers will come, but perhaps not immediately or easily. But I expect to receive insight and inspiration that will help me on my quest to become a disciple of Christ.

As I have pondered my current trial, I have been inwardly drawn to think of The Savior Jesus Christ. I have wondered about my own attitudes and behaviors. I wonder if perhaps He is reminding me that I do exactly these same things to others that have been done to me. Is this a reminder that if I do not like it when it happens to me and that I need to be more careful as I interact with others?

Though Christ is perfect, without blemish, flaw, or weakness; could I seem to Him as those who have offended me? Could He sense my impatience and my need to be reminded of His patience?

Could I also need to be reminded that Jesus Christ gave all He had and all He is to the mission of Redemption? Could I need to be reminded that many of Heavenly Father's children also never feel like they receive enough no matter what is given and what is sacrificed? How much whining and bellyaching and backbiting do I return to Heavenly Father as He continually blesses me? 

Am I really that much different than those with whom I am currently feeling resentment?

Perhaps the big question for me is now, How do I respond and go forth in the situation? More simply, How would Jesus handle this one?

I am well aware that I am completely dependent on the mercy and grace of The Redeemer, even Jesus Christ who is mighty to save. Today I am leaning heavily on that grace as I strive to go forth and face the dragons of my world. I am counting on the help from Heavenly Father as inspiration comes to me through the Power of The Holy Ghost. I am pleading for spiritual strength and stamina beyond my own and I am tuning my spiritual eyes and ears towards heaven.