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.