Sunday, April 29, 2012

Stripling Warriors

 There is a story found in the Book of Mormon which teaches about 2,000 young man who entered into a covenant to defend their liberty and country.  They were described as follows:

"They were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage,
and also for strength and activity; but behold this was not all--
they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.
Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught
to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him."

I had the privilege of  getting to spend four hours with such a group of young men.
I was inspired by their actions.
These young men from different areas of the
United States had been called to serve a mission
 in a remote part of Africa.  

Me being me I would have been shaking in my shoes but these valiant young men were anxious and eager to help and teach their brothers and sisters in any way they could.  

They had truly been taught to "keep the commandments of God and walk uprightly before him."

"Behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall;"
"They had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers saying:
We do no doubt our mothers knew it."

As I interacted with these remarkable young men each testified of the example of their mothers
and credited their mothers with why there were there that day.

One young man played football and had many colleges seeking him for his talent with football.
I made the comment that it must have been hard for him to walk away from his dream
of playing football to serve a mission.

He simply smiled and said, "Football is not what the Lord was wanting me to do at this time.
 He wanted me here on a mission."
He then shared,
"I am trusting in Him that when I return from my mission
 if it be His will I can still play football;
if not I know He will open another doorway to me."

WOW!!  What incredible faith coming from a young man
who was in his early 20's.  

As we parted I knew that the people of Africa were going to come to know some very valiant and special young men and what a grand journey they would have.

As they disappeared from my view I found myself thanking my Heavenly Father and asking that one day on their return trip home, could we not meet again and I be graced to bask in their warmth and zeal for four hours more or longer. 

Though our meeting was brief I shall always carry a special place in my heart for those young men and their families and when my faith starts to falter, I hope to remember that young's mans example of faith and courage to help carry me through my darkest hours.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

When the Shades are Drawn

In my line of work I am surrounded by those whose loved ones windows who once had brilliant sunshine  radiating into their minds only to find that one day the have shades have been drawn and their minds are darkened to the reality of here and now.

Their loved ones stand by hoping for a brief raising of those drawn shades,
so they can visit with their loved one, one last time.

I have heard their pain and shared their tears as they share,
"I feel like I have lost my loved one twice, once to Alzheimer's and then to death."

Witnessing someone I love very much dealing with this disease with her mother
 inspired me to pen these words:

                                  As a child we romped and played in our own little world 
surrounded with loved ones we held so dear.
Then comes a day our loved one wanders away 
taking their love and assurance that all will be okay.
One faces actions most cruel and unkind,
 leaving one feeling dazed and confused 
and wondering "what did I do?"  

Where once there was sunshine 
there is now darkness and gloom.
One watches helplessly as their loved one
 sits quietly in their darkened room 
surrounded by memories of loved ones 
who have passed from our view.  

To them we are strangers 
whom they've never knew.
With tender hearts breaking 
one searches for the loved one 
they once knew 

and find themselves longing
 for the warmth of the sun 
to once again shine.
With silent tears falling 
they look to Him who understands all 
and in great anguish silently pleads
  for the day to soon come 
                                       when once again bright rays of the sun will penetrate all 
and our loved ones will no longer see strangers 
but will greet us with outstretched arms filled with their love.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Power of Prayer

All my life I have felt the influence of heartfelt prayers in my behalf.
It is a reassuring power that calms ones mind.

As a teen who was wayward and lost I know there were many silent prayers offered in my behalf
that one day I would find my way out of the darkness and back home.

When I started my incredible journey I offered many prayers for guidance and strength.
Each and everyone of my prayers were answered.
After my journey mom, poppers and I embarked on a journey where once again there were many prayers, blood sweat and tears.
Once again each and everyone of those prayers were answered.

I shall never forget the heart surgeon who was going to put a pace maker in my 93 year old mother.
Just before the surgery he approached my mother and asked
if she would mind if he said a prayer.
My mother took his hand and I was so humbled when this surgeon asked in his prayer that God would guide his hands during the surgery.  He did not share our belief but he was a God fearing man.    

When my parents were called home I once again offered prayers for guidance and along the way I met  many good people who would each and every day let me know that even though they did not share my faith, they were praying for me daily.
 How I grew to love those unselfish friends.

After graduating from nursing school I asked friends to pray for me that I would pass the N-Clex
 so that I could become a licensed nurse.
 I spent many hours in the temple feasting upon the prayers offered in that holy house.
 I could feel each and every prayer buoying me along.

Today as I was assisting one of my adopted grandpa's at breakfast, he grabbed my hand and said, "thank you" and then proceeded to say, "I'm going to pray for you."
With my hand in his this gentle God fearing man said the sweetest prayer in my behalf.
It was one of those priceless moments
that one cherishes deep within their heart.

After his prayer I thanked him for his kindness and let him know that all would be well because of his prayer.

Needless to say my step was a little lighter after that prayer.
In return I offered up a silent prayer in my heart asking our Father to bless that wonderful man and thanking Him for allowing me to rub shoulders with some of His great and noble ones.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Conference Thoughts

I had to record Conference talks to our dvr so I could listen to them on my days off.
One of the first talks that I caught my attention was made on Sunday afternoon by one of the seventy.

He talked about a young man who had been befriended by some Latter-Day Saint youth and how their friendship had blossomed and with inspired leaders this young man joined the church.
One day as he was sharing his story of conversion, he made this profound statement, "Was it worth it?
Was it worth all the time those leaders spent with me and also the time
 my Latter-day Saint friends took to befriend me?"
 Then pointing at his wife and five children he then answered,
"For me and my family the answer to that question is YES!"
The speaker went on to testify that when one is found and brought back to the fold,
 it affects not just the one but entire families.

A second witness to what I had felt while sitting in the Sealing room of the temple and what Heavenly Father washed over me with my memories of those who took the time to trudge out into the mud
and come to love and get to know me.
 Like the young man, I can boldly testify that,
"Yes it was worth it!'
 Not only did their love and faith in me bring me back to the fold but also my poppers
 and now I am linking my lost and forgotten ancestors.  (Ripples)

The next speaker made reference to "What does the Savior think of me?"
He then gave examples of adjectives the Savior had used to describe those around him,
 "hypocrite, slow to hear and then disciple and friend."

 Once again a second witness to what I had felt when I had asked for a priesthood blessing
 a few weeks back. (I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus)

The next talk came from Saturday morning session when President Uchdorf was talking about contention.
 I loved his comment when he stated,

"I could stand here and recite doctrine and scripture but this talk can be summarized with a two word lecture, "Stop It!!" He then closed with five or six questions to which I unfortunately could nod yes to two of them.
 He ended with,
 "if any of you have answered yes to any one of these questions then I ask you to remember the two word lecture, "STOP IT!"

 I have two new words of wisdom when I find myself in those situations when I sadly could shake my head yes, "STOP IT!"

Oh how I love President Monson, he spoke twice and from each one of his talks I yielded some timeless pearls of wisdom.

He talked about how busy we are racing here and there for things that are no eternal worth and then quoted the scripture, "where your heart lies there lies your treasure."

I had been thinking about blogging on that very scripture but as yet have not yet done it.
He then reminded us that our Father in Heaven is mindful of each and every one of us and is aware of the trials we are facing. (The Roller Coasters of Life)

At the beginning of the Saturday morning session conference he mentioned that we are "one."
Another one of the Seventy spoke about the differences between the gospel and the doctrine.
 It also touched me deeply.
He told of those who believe the gospel are those who daily quietly serve when no one sees but their Heavenly Father and how the doctrine entails serving in the church.
I may have the two points backwards but his explanation was clear.

Since 2008 I had been throwing myself into one of the equations and not attending my meetings as diligently as I should have.
 My rational was, "My profession is a 7-day 24 hour profession.

My Heavenly Father allowed me to believe that for a time but then He gently whispered,
"Lorie, you promised that you would serve me with all your heart, might, mind and soul;
yet here you are giving me 90% and work 110%."
 That gentlecomment cut me to the very quick of my soul.

I immediately made a change in my work schedule and how I was spending my free time.
After listening to his talk I realized that I was focusing on one area
and going strong and not nurturing the other.

Over these last several weeks I had come to the realization I was only getting one half of the blessings my Father had in store for me.
Now I am  receiving all my promised blessings.

It has always been such a great testimony to me that as I listen to the inspired words of the brethrn that the spirit has already whispered subtle hints which lead me to ponder and reflect on how I can become a better instrument in my Father's hands; and when one has the second witness through conference talks you receive that hallowed assurance that you are truly on the path your Father intended you to be on.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Roller Coasters of Life

As a young child I loved the sensation that filled ones tummy when after a very long climb, for a brief moment you are suspended at the very top of the track and then whoosh!! You are quickly dropped down and continue to go up and down until your head is spinning and your tummy is reeling and your thinking, "please let me off this ride."  I remember stepping off the ride and trying to get my feet to work properly, laughing and holding on to a close friend so you don't fall flat on your face.

Sometimes Our Heavenly Father puts you on an emotional roller coaster which is so painful that you find yourself reaching for Him and pleading for Him to let you off.  But in His infinite wisdom He allows you to climb to the very top and then allows you a brief glance before He sends you tumbling down and all around.

You feel like the car you are on just continues to climb and roll with no stopping gate in sight.
All the time you are pleading to be allowed to get off the car.

There is a moment when you are sitting at the top and seeing a peaceful serene view lying before you and just when you think you are safe to step off; whoosh the car is rolling quickly along.  You hang on with all you have because you know in whom you have trusted and who is ultimately guiding your fast moving car.
Each turn becomes steeper and curvier to where one is not able to make out what lies beyond.
You hold to your faith that at one of the turns your vision of what lies ahead will be restored and you will have a deep appreciation and understanding on what your great teacher was teaching you.
At times you may find yourself wondering, "Is this worth it?"

Just as the flesh is weak, you find your free Spirit crying, "Yes It Is!"