Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Finding Me

I was visiting with a friend this morning and we were visiting about my end of year experience and how it has changed me.
As we were talking I shared with her "the experience I had was between my Heavenly Father and me, He was teaching me.  In my other experiences it was concerning my husband."

Since our conversation I have been been reflecting on my comment I had made to her about my experience had opened new doors to my personal relationship with our Heavenly Father.

I love the lyrics "I am a child of God and He has sent me here...."
I have found myself reflecting on my relationship with my Heavenly Father before "He sent me here."

The entire time I was in the hospital I felt His spirit all around me, speaking peace to my troubled soul and teaching me.
The Spirit guided me to get off of the morphine when it was time, so that I could talk to my doctors.  My most profound experience was when my potassium levels dropped into critical levels and my body systems started shutting down.

In one of the Priesthood blessing I received it was all about my Heavenly Father's great love for me and how He felt about who I'd become.  It was amazing and humbling.  That was when the door first opened to me and I found myself wondering about my relationship with Him before I came here.

As I have been reflecting on my blessings I see His hand in every aspect of my life.
In my scripture reading I'm drawn to passages which describes His feelings to His disciples and friends.  My temple name as I have studied its meaning gives me glimpses into our pre-mortal relationship.

It is so easy to get caught up in the here and now; we forget we once lived in our Heavenly home with Him and our brothers and sisters. 
There is no doubt in my mind the Adversary is very good at clouding our vision of who we were and who we are to become.

I'm surrounded by good people who made some terrible choices and now are living with the consequences of their choices. 
They had no idea who they were and no memory of where they came from. 
It is truly heartbreaking for me.

As I searched LDS.org for a talk that went along with my thoughts I came across this devotional talk given by Douglas L Callister Sept 19 2006 entitled:

"You Refined Heavenly Home"

"Half a century ago Elder Adam S Bennion of the Quorum of the Twelve was the assigned speaker at this devotional.  His address was preceded by a stirring passage from 
Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni, performed by one of the university's fine choral groups.
Elder Bennion was so touched that he began his message with these words "I will shorten my remarks today so that this musical masterpiece may be performed for us a second time at the close of this assembly."
The nearer we get to God, the more easily our spirits are touched by refined and beautiful things.  If we could part the veil and observe our heavenly home, we would be impressed with the cultivated minds and hearts of those who so happily live there.
I imagine that our heavenly parents are exquisitely refined.
In this great gospel of emulations, one of the purposes of our earthly probation is to become liek them in every conceivable way so that we may be comfortable in the presence of heavenly parentage and, in the lanugage of Enos, see their faces "with pleasure."
Brigham Young said:  "We are trying to be the image of those who live in heaven; we are trying to pattern after them, to look like them, to walk and talk like them."
To prepare us to do this, the 13th article of faith encourages:  "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."
Refinement and spirituality are two strings drawn by the same bow.
Today I would like to peek behind the veil that temporarily separates us from our heavenly home and paint a word picture of the virtuous, lovely, and refined circumstances that exist there.  I will speak of the language, literature, music, and art of heaven, as well as the immaculate appearance of heavenly beings, for I believe that in heaven we will find each of these in pure and perfected form.
God speaks all languages, and He speaks them properly.  He is restrained and modest of speech.  When God described the grand creational process of this earth, He said in measured tones that "It was good."  We would be disappointed if God had to use "awesome" or other exaggerated phrases in every paragraph.
Britain's Ben Jonson said:  "Language most shows a man: Speak, that I may see thee."
Our language reveals our thoughts, our virtues, our insecurities, our doubts, even the homes from which we come.  We will feel more comfortable in Heavenly Father's presence if we have developed proper habits of speech.  We not only wish to see God's face "with pleasure."
we want to open out mouths with confidence that our speech 
harmonizes with the refinement of heaven. 
We will thrill to hear exalted beings express their sublime thoughts in perfectly chosen words.
I suppose that the language of heaven, properly spoken may approach a form of music.
Did C.S. Lewis have this in mind when he wrote "Isn't it funny the way some combinations of words can give you---almost apart from their meaning---a thrill like music?"
At Jesus' birth the angels appeared and spoke, not sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to men."  We now try to capture that beauty in song, but the original angelic utterance was in spoken words, which thrilled like music.
Van Wyck Brooks, in his biography The Life of Emerson. told us that Ralph Waldo Emerson was invited to speak at the commemoration of the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth.
After proper introduction Emerson presented himself at the pulpit and then sat down.
He had forgotten his notes.  He preferred to say nothing rather than words not well measured.
For some, it was Emerson in one of his most eloquent hours.
A few years ago overheard a Church leader lament the fact that he never had tome for anything except to read the scriptures and other works of literature and to prepare talks.
His wife admiringly responded, "I know, dear.  We all know.  We know every time you stand up to speak."  As he spoke, listeners saw.  The unremitting preparation through a lifetime of reading great literature naturally produced messages eloquent in both phase and substance.
Refinement in speech is more than a polished elocution.  It results from purity of thought and sincerity of expression.  A child's prayer on occasion may reflect the language of heaven more nearly than a Shakespearean soliloquy.
Refinement in speech is reflected not only in our choice of words but also int he thins we talk about.  There are those who always speak of themselves, and they are either insecure or proud.
There are those who always speak of others.  They are usually very boring.  There are those who speak of stirring ideas, compelling books, and inspiring doctrine.  
These are the few who make their mark in this world.  The subjects discussed in heaven are not trifling or mundane.  They are sublime beyond our most extended imagination.
We will feel at home there if we are rehearsed on this earth in conversing about the refined and noble, clothing our expressions in well-measured words.
I grew up in a home in which the Sunday afternoon meal was in institution. 
We remained in our church attire.  My parents almost always invited a special guest to join us at the dinner table.  Several times it was the then president of this university.
We were expected to remain at the table and converse about worthwhile things.
In later years, as a student at this school we attempted to do the same, often gathering in one of the Heritage Hall's kitchens on a Sabbath afternoon for a reverie of uplifting conversation.
Is there a generation today that needs to be superficially entertained?  What is the prospect of a young man sitting in a dorm on a Friday evening to read a great book and be thrilled by the music of the masters?  Is Friday evening a frenetic flight to see where the entertainment and action will be?  Could our society produce a Newton or a Mozart?  Can 85 channels and uncountable DVDs ever fill our insatiable appetite to be entertained?  Do any unwisely become addicted to computer games or Internet surfing, thereby missing the richer experiences of great reading, conversations, and music enjoyment?
Once wrote:  "We need the slower and more lasting stimulus of solitary reading as a relief from the pressure on eye, ear and nerves of the torrent of information and entertainment pouring from ever-open electronic jaws."  This solitary reading should evidence our spiritual and refined taste in selection of the reading materials.
Another said:  "{Educations} has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading."  This happy chapter of your lives at Brigham Young University will help you focus on reading materials of greatest worth.
I don't know whether our heavenly home has a television set or a DVD machine, but in my mind's imagery it surely has a grand piano and a magnificent library.
There was a fine library in the home of President Hinkley's youth.  It was not an ostentatious home, but the library contained about 1,000 volumes of the rich literature of the world and President Hinckley spent his early years immersed in these books.  When President Hinckley once came to my home he spent time perusing the library.  He observed the 50-volume collection of the Harvard Classics, he commented that he has the same collection in his home, and said he had read much of it.  To be well read, however, if is not necessary to possess expensive collections of literature, for they are available to rich and poor alike in the libraires of the world.
President David O McKay was inclined to awaken at 4:00 am, skim read up to two books each day, and then commence his labors at 6:00 am.  He could quote 1,000 poems from memory.
We knew that whenever he stood at the pulpit.  He referred to the grand masters of literature as the "minor prophets."  He was a living embodiment of the scriptural admonition to  "seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom."
My wife and I recently spent four years on Church assignment in Eastern Europe, residing in Moscow, Russia.  We often traveled on the Moscow underground subway called the Metro.
We noticed the bowed heads of the Russian passengers, for they were reading Tolstoy, Chekhov, Dostoyevsky, or Pushkin--and sometimes, Mark Twain.  The people were poor, but they were not obsessed with their poverty.  
They possessed the rich tradition of Russian literature, art and music.
Elder James E Talmage, before his call to the Twelve, was a mining geologist. 
He once spoke of the features of a certain geology he had observed during a field trip more than a year before.  He explained that he could not with certainty recall the terrain until after he developed a photograph he had made of the location.  The photographic plate had been laid away in darkness for an extended time.  It had only been exposed to the light for one-fifieth of a second--but the image was indelibly impressed on the negative, awaiting a future date to reveal its message.  The lesson does not escape us.  The images to which our minds are exposed are held in store, seemingly forgotten for years.  But at the crucial moment they re-present themselves to influence our thoughts and lives.  And so it is with the music, literature, art, media, and other images to which we are exposed.  The pamphlet For the Strength of Youth states:  "Whatever you read, listen to, or look at has an effect on you.  Therefore, choose only entertainment and media that uplift you."
These are the words of President McKay:  
As with companions so with books.  We may choose those which make us better more intelligent, more appreciative of the good and the beautiful in the world, or we may choose the trashy, the vulgar, the obscene, which will make us feel as though we've been "wallowing in the mire."
If we know the books located at the bedside,  we know much about the man.
A good book, such as the scriptures, becomes a lifelong companion.
A thoughtful man wrote:  An unliterary man may be defined as one who reads books once only.
I can't imagine a man really enjoying a bood and reading it only once.
Clearly one most read every good book at least once every ten years.
The sure mark of an unliterary man is that he considers "I've read it already" to be a conclusive argument against reading a work....Those who read great works, on the other hand, will read the same work ten, twenty, or thirty times during the course of their life."
Of all the works worthy of repetitive reading, the scriptures stand paramount, for they are not founded in the opinions of men.  Over the years I have oft remembered the counsel of the late Hugh Nibley:  "If you pray for an angel to visit you, you know what he'll do if he comes.  He'll just quote the scriptures to you---so you're wasting you time waiting for what we already have."
Many years ago, while living in another part of the country, I became acquainted with a fine Latter-day Saint young man.  He was superior athlete, but he never attended a cultural event.  Living in the same community was a lovely LDS sister.  She spoke French as well as English.  She played the violin  She presented herself as a refined daughter of God.
One day the American Ballet Theatre came to our town.  A group of us decided to attend, including this young man and woman.  Now and then I glanced at the young man during the ballet.  His eyes were riveted on the stage.  Windows of new appreciation were opened.
After the performance he approached me privately and said , in reference to the refined young sister, "Where have I been all of my life?"  This is what I want in my home.  This is what I want as the mother of my children.  Until now I thought only physical appearance mattered."
I gently reminded him that she would likely be drawn to one of refined nature, like herself, and it was time for him to look within.
Dear daughters of God, you are the crown jewels of all His creations.  There has never been a sunset, symphony, or work or art as lovely as you.  May you catch the vision that you are destined to be a refined and regal queen honored by uncountable posterity, worlds without end.
If we could peek behind the heavenly veil we would likely be inspired by the music of heaven, perhaps more glorious than any music we have heard on this earth.
When some music has passed the tests of time and been cherished by the noble and refined, our failure to appreciate it is not an indictment of grand music.  The omission is within.
If a young person grows up on a steady diet of hamburgers and french fries, he is not likely to become a gourmet.  But the fault is not with fine food.  He just grew up on something less.  Some have grown up on a steady diet of musical french fries.
Elder Neal A Maxwell said:  We...live in a world that is to prove to the tasteless, and we need to provide an opportunity to cultivate a taste for the finest music.  And likewise, we're in a world that's so attuned to the now that we need to permit people to be more attuned to the best music of all the ages."  
A few years ago I made my way to the bedroom of one of my sons to say good night.  He was a junior in high school.  A I approached his room I heard the strains of Tchaikovsky's sixth symphony.  I was surprised.  I knew the boy loved sports, but I din't know he loved Tchaikovsky.  Month's later, as my wife and I were listening to a videotape of three tenors singing, our son came in and sat down.  He listened and saw, and a new appreciation developed.
He said:  "You never told me about opera."  He took the videotape to his room, and I never saw it again.  Appreciation of the finest in music does not depend on your age.
President J Reuben Clark of the First Presidency, one of our greatest Christ scholars, used to listen to inspirational music in the evening before he began his insightful writings concerning the life of the Savior.  The music opened his spiritual pores, as it does for all of us.
Recognizing the penetrating influence of great music, Oscar Wilde had one of his characters say:  "After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed and mourning over tragedies that were not my own."  After the first performance of Messiah, Handel said:  "My lord, I should be sorry if I only entertained them; I wish to make them better."  Hayden "dressed in is best clothes to compose because he said he was going before his maker."  There are events of life so sublime that they cannot be imagined without the companionship of beautiful music.  We could not have a Christmas without carols or a general conference without sacred anthems.  And there could not be heaven without music or surpassing beauty.  Brigham Young said:  "There is no music in hell, for all good music belongs to heaven."  It would be punishment enough to go to hell and not hear a note of music for all eternity.  This would be a good time to sift through your music library and choose primarily that which uplifts and inspires  It is part of the maturing process of your eternal journey.
This would also be a fine time to learn a musical instrument or improve musical skills now partially possessed.  On the eve of his release, one of my fine missionaries during my tenure as a mission president spoke of a girl at home with whom he intended to renew association. 
He inquired, "How will I know if she is the right one?"  I suggested, among other things, that he invite her to a cultural event.  If she responded that this would be on no interest to her, then maybe he should pursue other alternatives.  But if she had compelling spiritual qualities and could be enthralled by culture of Friday and love the athletic contest on Saturday, she might be the type of young lady he could choose as the mother for his children.  IT might be balanced and rewarding to be paired with her for eternity.
That which has been said about bringing great language, music, and literature into home may be said with equal truth of great art--perhaps tastefully displayed in our heavenly home.
It may also be said of our physical appearance and manners, as well as the order of the place in which we live, the way we offer our prayers, and the way we read God's word.
I once had opportunity to visit briefly with Audrey Hepburn, the great actresses of days gone by, at the time she was making the movie My Fair Lady.  She spoke of the opening scene in the movie in which she depicted a modest, unpolished flower girl.  Her face had been besmirched with charcoal to make her seem part of her surroundings.  "But," she said, with a twinkle in her eyes, "I was wearing my Chanel perfume.  Inside I still knew I was a lady."
It doesn't take expensive perfume to make a lady, but it does require cleanliness, modesty, self-respect, and pride in one's appearance.  Many years ago an associate of mine decided he would please his wife by sharing with her a very specific compliment each night as he arrived home.
One night he praised her cooking.  A second night he thanked he for excellence in housekeeping.  A third night he acknowledged her fine influence on the children.  The fourth night , before he could speak, she said:  "I know what your doing.  I thank you for it.  But don't say any of those beautiful things.  Just tell me you think I am beautiful."
She expressed an important need that she had.  Woman ought  to be praised for all the gifts they possess that so unselfishly add to the richness of our lives, including their attentiveness to their personal appearance.  We must not "Let ourselves go" and become so casual--even sloppy--in our appearance that we distance ourselves from the beauty heaven has given us.
Every man has the right to be married to a woman who makes herself as beautiful as she can be and who looks in the mirror to tidy herself up before he comes home.  Every woman had a right to be married to a man who keeps himself clean, physically as well as morally, and takes pride in his appearance.  A husband should hurry home because if the angel who awaits him, and that angel should be watching the clock awaiting his arrival.
Occasionally a young man comes home from his mission and hastens to distance himself in appearance from everything associated with his missionary service.  He becomes slovenly.
Heaven blushes.  The young man who wants an exemplary spouse needs to look in the mirror and ask why she would want him.  Then he should shave and press his clothes.
Years ago I attended a stake conference in California at which the wife of the stake president shared this story:  She had been born considerably after the other children in the family, and her father was unusually protective of her.  When a suitor would stop by to pick her up for a date, the father would look him over very carefully and then say:  "Do you want to date my princess?  Go home and wash you car and shine your shoes.  Then I will give my permission"  
I sometimes wonder what if our Heavenly Father whispers the same when we date His precious daughters.  The Book of Mormon speaks of a people who "did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely."  There are those who flippantly say:  "How I look has nothing to di with how God feels about me."  But it is possible for both earthly and heavenly parents to have unspoken disappointment in their offspring without diminished love.  I say it again:  Sometimes heaven blushes but loves on.  President Joseph F Smith, the sixth president of the Church, owned a few things, but he took care of them.  He was fastidious in his appearance.  
He pressed his dollar bills to remove the wrinkles.  He allowed none but himself to pack his overnight bag.  He knew where every article, nut, and bolt of the household was, and each had its place.  Would this be true of the environment in which you live?  Is is a house of order?  Need you dust, clean, and rearrange before you invite the Spirit of the Lord into your apartment?  President Lorenzo Snow said:  "The Lord does not intend the Saints shall live always in dens and caves of the earth, but that they shall build fine houses.  When the Lord comes he will not expect to meet a dirty people, but a people of refinment."
David Starr Jordan, a former president of Stanford University, wrote:
"To by vulgar is to do that which is not the best of its kind.  It is to do poor things in poor ways, and to be satisfied with that....It is vulgar to wear dirty linend when one is not engaged in dirty work.  It is vulgar to like poor music, to read weak books, to feed on sensational newspapers----to find amusement in trashy novels, to enjoy vulgar theatres, to find pleasure in cheap jokes."
I once a heard a story about and imaginary king whose wife gave birth to a baby boy.  The parents knew that the lad would someday inherit the kingdom.  Desiring that their son be a wise king, fully familiar with the needs of the people over whom he would reign, the king and queen took the infant into the country to be raised as part of a peasant family.
He was told nothing of his secret destiny until he became a man.  At the appropriate time the king and queen returned to the country to confer on their son the kingdom.  They were greatly disappointed.  Having not been told nothing of his appointed destiny, he was exactly that which life had prepared him to be.  He understood the proper care of animals and the gathering of crops, but he knew nothing of armies and palaces and courtyards and presiding.  
He had lost his vision.
It should not be difficult for you to glean the truth in this story.  
Another King, your Father in Heaven, has sent you away from His presence to have experiences you would not have had in your heavenly home---all in preparation for the conferral of a kingdom.  He doesn't want you to lose your vision.  
You are children of an exalted being.  You are foreordained to preside as kings and queens.
You will live in a home and environment of infinite refinement and beauty, as reflected in the language, literature, art, music, and order of heaven.
I close with the words of President Brigham Young:  "Let us...show to the world that we have talent and taste, and prove to the heavens that our minds are set on beauty and true excellence, so that we can become worthy to enjoy the society of angels."
Even more, that we may enjoy the refined society of heavenly parentage, for we are of the race of the gods, being children of the Most High.
This is my testimony and my humble supplication for you, in the name of Jesus Christ , Amen."

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

What Ministering means to me

I was so excited to hear about the new "ministering" program. 
It has been interesting to me see all the various comments and concerns about this new program.
As I have been reading about it on lds.org I found my heart filled with gratitude as I realized that I have been on my own little personal "ministering program" all along.

I have been immensely blessed by my following the first two commandments:

 "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, might, mind and soul.  
and Love thy neighbor as thyself." 

I'm sure I'll continue to have my assigned Sisters from my Branch but I have so many I come in contact with that I'm not "assigned" to.

One of my favorite things is to buy a pizza from our local mom and pop take and bake pizza or one of our pizza franchises and drop it off just out of the blue.
 Why you say?  
The biggest reason is while I am in town I'll have someone pop into my mind and this thought "I bet they would love to have a pizza night."

Today someone who is very special to me is fighting her final battle here on this motral plane.
I was going to take her to her favorite restaurant for lunch but when I arrived she was just to weak.
Her second favorite things I could pick up from our local KFC and Dairy Queen, so I went out and brought our lunch to her.  She was thrilled to have her favorite drink from Dairy Queen.  
She shared with me I was the only one that brought that special drink.

While in the temple a few week ago a beautiful woman in a wheel chair caught my eye. 
I found myself watching and admiring her for her quiet strength. 
 After the session I said a quick prayer that I would run into her so I could let her know what an inspiration she was and how beautiful she was.
As I headed to the dressing room there she sat quietly weeping. 
I approached her and shared with her how much she inspired me and how beautiful she was.  
She threw her arms around me and I we hugged as she continued to weep and thank me.

A few years ago I found myself in a ward far from my home branch.  I was drawn to this beautiful lady and I found myself drawn to her. 
I shared with her how great she was and what an inspiration she was.  
This beautiful sister burst into tears and shared with me how she had pleaded with Heavenly Father to let her know she was not just a "face in the ward."

Many years ago at a woman's timeout I found myself drawn to a woman who was sitting besides me.  The Spirit kept whispering I needed to tell this total stranger about my brother Terry.
Me being me I argued with the Spirit.  You can imagine who won.  
As the speaker was finishing his talk my chair was lifted forcing me to my feet with a firm
This sweet sister and I made our way to a quiet corner where I blurted out to her what had happened with my brother.  Her mouth dropped and tears came as she quietly asked "How did you know?"
Her son had ended his life the same way my brother had just two weeks prior and her friend had brought her to this womens time out hoping she would find peace.

I have held others of another faith as they have poured their broken hearts out to me.  
I have shared with many "how special they are because they are a child of a loving Heavenly Father and our Heavenly Father loves them just as much as He loves me."
I have whispered words of hope and encouragement to the down trodden.

I have loved each and every one of them and they have loved me.

Our Savior's parting words were "love one another as I have loved you."

I am so grateful that He has blessed me with a loving heart for one and all.
I am also grateful that in my personal ministry He has blessed me with many whom I call friend.

What a great opportunity for us to become "more Savior like thee."

Monday, March 19, 2018

Hope, Watch and Pray

There are some unexpected curve balls that are thrown at you in this life which so affect you that you're never the same.

In 2012 I found myself studying the teachings of Elder Neil a Maxwell and there was a statement he made that has lingered in the back of my mind: 
 "A disciple of Christ must lay all upon the alter of discipleship."

In 1998 I found myself studying the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his prayer in Liberty Jail and the Lord response stuck a deep chord within me:  
"My son this is but a small moment...but if thou endurest it well...."

Then in 2017 I found those two teachings coming full circle in my life along with some teachings from the Prophet Brigham Young.

I have had many curve balls thrown at me which during my dark days of inactivity almost destroyed me but the Lord loves His children and in their darkest moments no matter where they are He will come to comfort and offer hope if one would let Him. 
Unfortunately I was one who refused His comfort and told Him I didn't need Him during those dark days.  
Yet He still sent help with a message of hope.

Last night as I was driving home from work I found myself singing the song "Hope of Israel."
I kept singing these two verses with the music playing in my mind:

" Hope of Israel, Zion’s army,
Children of the promised day,
See, the Chieftain signals onward,
And the battle’s in array!
Hope of Israel, rise in might
With the sword of truth and right;
Sound the war-cry, “Watch and pray!”
Vanquish ev’ry foe today."

Hope, Watch and Pray were bolded in my mind.

My 2017 ended in such a way that the only person who understands what I endured is the Lord.
I have been fragmented and feel like I lost myself somewhere in that darkness. 
I've faced darkness before and I with the Lord's help found my way back to the light but this darkness was different and it has left me a very different person.
When I interacted with a few of my friends they asked me "what happened to you?  Where is the girl we knew?"  I couldn't answer because I couldn't explain what I had endured.  
I know that one thing I started to lose when the darkness came was hope.

I found myself going through daily actions but I had lost my smile and the joy in my soul. 

Then the Lord opened a door and for the first time since my experience I felt right about something.
When I entered I found myself surrounded by old friends and I immediately felt I was home.
I found myself humming as I walked hallways and my smile and joy had returned to my soul.

I once again have an hour drive to get to work and the residents I work with are quite challenging.  

I have been listening to Talmage's "Jesus the Christ
The chapters I have been listening to the author talks about Christs Parables when he was confronted by the Jewish Sadduces and Pharisees.
The Lepers and Samaritans who were the lowest of the low, cast out and despised yet in the Saviors eyes were valuable and charitable were the stars. 
I am now working with those who many consider the lowest of low, have been cast out from their families and are despised by many yet like the Savior are loved and valuable to me and I know to Him also.

The one thing that haunted me from my experience was how truly alone I was for a brief moment.
My only family is my husband and when he is out of reach my orphans status truly sets in but I have been abundantly blessed with a true blue friends who know right when their needed and the Lord always comes but as Kennith Cope has stated in a song:   "Now Lord  Jesus...now its my turn and my little burden is getting worse I weep for me Jesus..I wish that I could run to you and all of this would end...but you're up there and I'm down here dear Jesus..." 
In his lyrics Kenneth Cope makes a comment about seeing Jesus face and being close to Him.
The one thing I have realized is that I am homesick for my heavenly home and I long to see our Savior's face and be close to Him; but "I'm down here and He's up there."

I was promised many years ago "the angel of death shall pass you by."
At the time I found that promise a little strange but over the years I have faced death and for a brief moment got to go home and taste that exquisite joy yet I was called back here each time.
I guess that is why I do not fear death I know what is waiting when I am called to return home.
But it leaves a longing in you a longing for that eternal home but I know the Lord has a job for me to accomplish while here and He has allowed me a season to complete it.
Again going back to a statement made by Elder Maxwell "Only the Lord knows how many miles we travel before we have that eternal sleep."

Many years ago a beloved Stake President with tears in his eyes commented "You have faced your own private Gethsemane."

In closing I would like to share the beautiful lyrics to Kenneth Cope's song entitled "Gethsemane":

(written by Kenneth Cope) 
My Lord Jesus
Me in heaven—You on earth
You’re in the garden
And Your heavy burden is growing worse
I weep for You, Jesus 
My poor Jesus
I’m so sorry to make You cry
But I’m far from like You
And all my sins, Lord, demand this price 
I wish that I could come to You
And wipe away the blood
And then I’d bear Your cross, Lord
If I could
But I’m up here
And You’re down there, Jesus 
My poor Jesus
I’m so sorry to make You die
But, please, for me, Jesus
Now Lord Jesus
You’re in heaven and I’m on earth
Now it’s my turn
And my little burden is getting worse
I weep for me, Jesus 
Oh kind Jesus
I keep trying to win this fight
But I just can’t change me
I need Your grace, Lord
Please provide 
I wish that I could run to You
And all of this would end
If I could see Your face
Have You close again
But You’re up there
And I’m down here, Oh Jesus 
My Lord Jesus
If You’ve got time to spend with me tonight
Then fly to me, Jesus

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Universal Laguage

Sunday was my first time back to my home ward in over two months.
I must admit it was a big step for me at this time as I continue to try and put my broken pieces back to together.
The Relief Society lesson was about becoming one.  The teacher opened with a story of a young lady who was confined in a wheel chair and could not speak.  She then asked "how could you communicate with someone who cannot speak?"
An answer immediately came into my mind "love."
She then continued to share how a woman knelt down in front of this young lady and placed her hand on her knee and looked directly into her eyes for a long moment.
 Love is truly the universal language but sadly it is not spoken enough.

I have been back to work for three weeks a place I feel safe and loved because of the love shared between my adopted grand-mas, grand-pas and me.
I once heard a speaker who made this comment "why do we hunger for love?  I believe it is because of the love we felt from our Heavenly Parents that lingers when we come to this mortal plane."
I cannot count the many times I have felt that pure love surge through me.
How grateful I am to have tasted my Heavenly Father's great love for me.
My favorite Stake President shared this testimony with me "As a father I get a glimpse of our Father's love for us.  I know He loves us with a love that we cannot understand."

I was approached by a friend I have interacted with for many years.
I love and admire this sweet lady.
As we were visiting she burst into tears and said "I feel so alone."
My heart ached with her and I found myself telling her about the journey I was on and shared with her an experience that I had not been able to share with anyone.
Tears flowed from both our eyes as we hugged.
She then made a comment that shifted my perspective and reminded me of a promise I had made to my Heavenly Father so many years ago.

As I was messing around on my lap top this morning I came across this talk from Neill F Marriott
her words spoke to me and brought an understanding that I have been searching for.

I know there are many who love me, I have been blessed to feel that love.  But there are many who do not and that is ok too.  It is not up to me ensure I am loved by everyone.
It is up to me to love everyone as my Father has asked me to.

Many years ago I made a promise to Him and Him alone and He has blessed me with some amazing blessings.  He has also stretched me to deepen my understanding. 
I know what my heart desires and so does He and I know as long as I strive to follow Him those desires will one day come true.

I hope Sisters Marriot's words touch and inspire you as they did me.

Abiding in God and Repairing the Breach

Christ has the power to bring us into loving fellowship
 with the Father and with one another.
We need to continually deepen our knowledge of and obedience to Heavenly Father.   Our relationship with Him is eternal. We are His beloved children, and that will not change. How are we going to wholeheartedly accept His invitation to draw near to Him  and thus enjoy the blessings He longs to give us in this life and in the world to come?
The Lord said to ancient Israel, and He says to us, “Yea, have loved thee  with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have drawn thee.”1  Speaking as would the Father, He also says to us, “Thou shalt abide in me, and in you;  ---therefore walk with me.”2 Do we trust Him enough to abide in Him and walk with Him?
We are here on this earth to learn and grow, and the most important learning and growing  will come from our covenant connection to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  From our faithful relationship with Them come godly knowledge, love, power,  and capacity to serve.
“We are dutybound to learn all that God has revealed about himself.”3  We must understand that God the Father directed His Son, Jesus Christ,  to create the earth for our growth, that Heavenly Father gave His Son  to pay the demands of justice for our salvation, and that the  Father’s priesthood power and the Son’s true Church with the necessary ordinances  were restored for our blessings. Can you feel the depth of love running through  Their preparations for our joy and growth? We need to know that Heavenly Father’s   plan of salvation is that we obey the laws and ordinances of the gospel   and gain eternal life and thus become as God is.4  This is the true and lasting happiness Heavenly Father offers us.   There is no other true and lasting happiness.
Our challenges can pull us off this course of happiness.   We can lose our trusting connection to God if trials drive us to distraction   instead of sending us to our knees.
This simple couplet begs us to do some priority sifting:
Some things matter; some things don’t.
few things last, but most things won’t.5
Sisters, what matters to you? What is lasting to you?   matter of lasting value to the Father is that we learn of Him, humble ourselves,   and grow in obedience to Him through earthly experiences.   He wants us to change our selfishness into service, our fears into faith.   These lasting matters can test us to our core.
It is now, with our mortal limitations, that the Father asks us to love   when loving is most difficult, to serve when serving is inconvenient,    to forgive when forgiving is soul stretching. How? How will we do it?   We earnestly reach for Heavenly Father’s help, in the name of His Son,   and do things His way instead of pridefully asserting our own will.
Water pitcher
recognized my pride when President Ezra Taft Benson spoke on   cleansing the inner vessel.6 I imagined myself as pitcher.   How was to get the residue of pride out of my pitcher?   Independently forcing ourselves to have humility and trying to make ourselves    love others is insincere and hollow, and it simply doesn’t work.   Our sins and pride create breach—or gap between us and the font of all love, our Heavenly Father.
Only the Savior’s Atonement can cleanse us of our sins and close that gap or breach.
We want to be encircled in the arms of our Heavenly Father’s love and guidance,   and so we put His will first and with broken heart plead that Christ will pour   streams of cleansing water into our pitcher. At first it may come drop by drop,   but as we seek, ask, and obey, it will come abundantly.   This living water will begin to fill us, and brimming with His love,    wcan tip the pitcher of our soul and share its contents with others who thirst for healing,   hope, and belonging.   As our inner pitcher becomes clean, our earthly relationships begin to heal.
Sacrifice of our personal agendas is required to make room for the eternal plans of God.   The Savior, who speaks for the Father, pleads with us, “Draw near unto me and   will draw near unto you.”7    Drawing near unto the Father can mean learning of His truth through the scriptures,    following prophetic counsel, and striving to do His will more completely.
Do we understand that Christ has the power to bring us into loving fellowship    with the Father and with one another?   He, by the power of the Holy Ghost, can give us needed insight into relationships.
Primary teacher told me about powerful experience with his class of 11-year-old boys. One of them, whom I’ll call Jimmy, was an uncooperative loner in class.   One Sunday the teacher was inspired to put aside his lesson and tell why he loved Jimmy. He spoke of his gratitude and his belief in this young man.   Then the teacher asked the class members to tell Jimmy something they appreciated   about him. As class members, one by one, told Jimmy why he was special to them,    the boy lowered his head and tears began to roll down his face.   This teacher and class built bridge to Jimmy’s lonely heart.    Simple love, honestly expressed, gives hope and value to others.    call this “repairing the breach or the gap.”
Perhaps our life in loving pre-mortal world set up our yearning for true,    lasting love here on earth. We are divinely designed to give love and be loved,   and the deepest love comes when we are one with God.   The Book of Mormon invites us to “be reconciled unto [God]   through the atonement of Christ.”8
Isaiah spoke of those who faithfully live the law of the fast and thus become    for their own posterity repairer of the breach.   They are the ones who, Isaiah promises, will “build the old waste places.”9    In similar way, the Savior repaired the breach, or distance, between us    and Heavenly Father. He, through His great atoning sacrifice, opens the way    for us to partake of God’s loving power, and then we are enabled to repair    the “waste places” in our personal lives. Healing emotional distance between each other   will require our acceptance of God’s love, coupled with sacrifice of our natural selfish   and fearful tendencies.
One memorable night relative and disagreed about political issue.   She briskly and thoroughly took my comments apart, proving me wrong within earshot of   family members. felt foolish and un informed and probably was.   That night as knelt to pray, hurried to explain to Heavenly Father   how difficult this relative was! talked on and on.   Perhaps paused in my complaining and the Holy Ghost had chance to get my attention, because, to my surprise, next heard myself say, “You probably want me to love her.”    Love her? prayed on, saying something like, “How can love her?    don’t think even like her. My heart is hard; my feelings are hurt. can’t do it.”
Then, surely with help from the Spirit, had new thought as said,   “But You love her, Heavenly Father. Would You give me portion of Your love for her—so can love her too?” My hard feelings softened, my heart started to change, and began   to see this person differently. began to sense her real value that Heavenly Father saw.    Isaiah writes, “The Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke    of their wound.”10
Over time the gap between us sweetly closed. But even if she had not accepted   my changed heart, had learned that Heavenly Father will help us love even those we may think are unlovable, if we plead for His aid.   The Savior’s Atonement is conduit for the constant flow of charity from our   Father in Heaven. We must choose to abide in this love in order to have charity for all.
When we give our heart to the Father and the Son, we change our world—even if circumstances around us do not change. We draw closer to Heavenly Father   and feel His tender acceptance of our efforts to be true disciples of Christ.   Our discernment, confidence, and faith increase.
Mormon tells us to pray with all energy of heart for this love and it will be bestowed upon us from its source—Heavenly Father.11Only then can we become repairers of the breach in earthly relationships.
Our Father’s infinite love reaches out to us, to bring us back into His glory and joy.   He gave His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to repair the breach that gapes wide   between us and Him. Reunion with Father in Heaven is the essence of lasting love   and eternal purpose. We must make the connection with Him now to learn what really   matters, to love as He loves, and to grow to be like Him.   testify that our faithful relationship with Heavenly Father and the Savior matters eternally   to Them and to us. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.