Saturday, February 21, 2015

The "Ites" Menatility

With hubbie being away and having a quiet night with just me and the four legged kiddos and nothing on television I decided to listen to one of the Education Weeks that had been taped last week.  This talk was given by Renata Forste" at Byu Women's Conference, April 29, 2010 and was entitled "Coming Together and Sustaining Each other in Righteous Choices."

In the LDS Church their is a woman's organization called the "Relief Society."  It was formed where woman over the age of 18  could come together and serve one another and their communities and edify and lift those drooping hands.  My mother loved the Relief Society and all her sisters.
Me on the other hand, have always struggled with the "sisterhood" that is suppose to en body the Relief Society.  Most of the sisters have been raised in the church and never strayed and to me they were the perfect model for that common misconception of "Perfect Molly Mormon."
I have and still do not have the traits that "Perfect Molly Mormon has."
I found myself avoiding the Relief Society like the plague.
Preferring to arrive late at the meetings and attend Sunday School and Sacrament meetings.

Sister Forste opened her talk with this passage found in 1 Corinthians 1:10:
 "Now I beseech you {sisters} by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement."

She then points out that we all "speak the same testimony and that is what unites us."
She than gave two examples, one she shared was with two of her Visiting Teaching companions both were older ladies and African American.  She made the point that she did not have very much with them in common but when they talked and shared their testimonies of Joseph Smith they had much in common and they were united as Sisters.  She then explained that she did not feel that connection in her home ward and then shared this scripture found in Romans 1:12:
 "That is, that I may be comforted with you by the mutual faith of both you and me."

She then goes on to to explain that as Covenant women we all come from all walks of life, all ages, martial status, income, ethnic backgrounds... but together "we speak the same simple testimony we comfort each other and sustain each other in our mutual faith. Our testimony of Jesus Christ crosses all boundaries political,racial...we are the same as Covenant daughters of God. That does not mean we are the same in all our life decisions or even how we live the principles of the gospel."

She then shared a statement shared by Sister Funk who was the Young Woman's President,
"The Lord wants us all to return to Him but not in a straight line; meaning that the Lord does not expect us all to be exactly alike." "We are individuals,united in our commitment to the Gospel we receive the same saving ordinances but our life experiences are not the same."

She then talks about our life experiences being different and our challenges are unique our talents, strengths and weakness and backgrounds may vary but we come together because of our same faith, testimony and commitment to the gospel.  She then explains that when we understand what brings us together is our testimony of Jesus Christ then there would be no division among us as Sisters Saints.
She then quotes another scripture from  Corinthians 12:25:
"That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another."

She then went on to tell about a division that took place in her home ward because of the diversity of the members. The ward consisted of older members and college students.  The young student wives began to feel that "their challenges and needs were so unique they needed separate attention apart from their sisters.  Some of these wives felt that they needed their own Relief Society classes specific to them.  They preferred to only socialize and Visit Teach each other. These sisters did not allow the gospel of Jesus Christ to unify them but instead being absorbed in their own needs wanted to be a part. They felt they could only come together and be sustained by those that shared the same circumstances.   Focused on themselves they could not see the strength and wisdom available to them by joining together with all the sisters of their ward"

She then talked about the Nephites in fourth Nephi, "Among whom there was not any matter of "ites" but they were in one the Children of Christ heirs to the Kingdom of God and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God."
She then quoted a quote from Sister Parkin, "Satan know that sharing unites our sisterhood through everyday and the eternities.  He knows selfishness will begin to destroy sharing, which destroys unity, which destroys Zion...Bring your talents, your gifts, your individuality so that we can be one."
She then quoted a passage from the Doctrine Covenants, "I say unto you be one and if ye are not one ye are not mine."

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch!  I could so relate to those sisters who felt they needed a "separate relief society specific to me."  I had never thought I was being selfish in this desire, I felt I was "mis-understood."  I believe her talk spoke to me deeply because of an experience I had in my first year of Seminary where we were challenged to "Create Zion" and we studied Enoch's story.
 I still have that music book and I love one of the songs where the author penned these words:
 "One night I dreamed a dream; I saw a noble city, with those who were so pure and of one mind and heart.  Oh what joy, peace, and love filled the souls of Zion.  At dawn when I awoke, I looked around with longing and lo beauty was there.  I felt the joy and light.  Then I knew and the dream burst forth and was Zion."
I remember playing that song on the piano countless times.
 I had an experience that seminary year that was so very special to me that even during my darkest moments of inactivity I found my self longing for that beauty and light of Zion.

I still struggle with my sisters in my home relief society but thanks to a special friend who teaches in my beloved Branch that I love so very and with the whispering's of the Spirit I am finding the courage to attend my home branch relief society and coming out of my comfort zone and trying to see them as my sister in the gospel and not as an "ite".

I was young when I longed for the Zion that Enoch established and also the Nephite's after the coming of Christ.  That joy and happiness is so very wonderful yet can be so fleeting if one gets caught up in self.
Sister Forste then closes with another Ouch for my pride.
She related an experience while on her mission.  Her companion was always asked to speak at Zone Conference and she was never asked and she felt she was just as good a missionary as her companion and she started to feel resentment; as she prayed about it she received this message, "This is not about you.  Zone Conference is not about you it's about training missionaries and the mission leaders can call on whoever they are inspired to call on whether or not you speak at Zone Conference is irrelevant.
Just because you are not asked to speak at Zone Conference does not mean your not a good missionary.  Basically the Spirit told me to get over it."

Before this story she shared a quote from Elder Holland,
"It is Lucifer, our common enemy whose cry down through the corridors of time is always and to everyone, "Give me thine honor."...As others seem to grow larger in out sight, we think we must therefore be smaller.
 So, unfortunately, we occasionally act that way."

Double ouch for me.

In 2008 the Spirit had whispered that it was time for me to step back and let someone else step forward.  I was puzzled. I had so many amazing callings within the ward and could not imagine that coming to an end.  Boy did it come to an end.  I was reduced to being, "just a visiting teacher."  I was horrified and I must admit I reacted rather small.
 Looking back I am pained at how I belittled myself.  I had forgotten the power associated with Visiting Teaching, I had forgotten the worth of a soul but I am now magnifying my calling as a Visiting Teacher and giving it my all just as I did all my "awesome" callings and amazing things are happening.  I am no longer bothered that I am in the background.  Maybe because as Elder Pace said, " I am convinced that when we obtain a witness of who we really are and posses healthy feelings of self-worth because of it, our joy in the accomplishments of others is magnified.  When that joy is felt, we should share it .  To be humble is to recognize our utter dependence upon the Lord...To lack confidence is to have feelings of low self-worth...both pride and a lack of self-confidence cause us to  focus excessively on ourselves and to deny the power of God in our lives."

I am starting to realize who I am as a divine daughter of my Heavenly Father whose love for me is divine.  He fills my soul with peace and love when life becomes unkind.  Do I struggle with low self-worth?  Each and every day I battle my insecurities but I am getting older and that baggage is getting to heavy for me to carry.  I guess that's why the Spirit has whispered that it is time to let go of all the baggage but boy is it hard but with His help I am slowly letting go one finger at a time.

Do I still struggle with my "ite" syndrome hex yes, but fortunately Heavenly Father knows me so very well and He is so very patient as He continues to remind me of that Seminary class so many years ago where in my young heart all I wanted was to establish Zion.

May we lose our "ites" mentality that we may enjoy our shared testimonies of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In closing I would like to close with another quote from Elder Pace,

 "When I leave this frail existence, When I lay this mortal by, Father, Mother, may I meet you In your royal courts on high?  Then at length, when I've completed all you sent me forth to do, With your mutual approbation Let me come and dwell with you." (Oh My Father hymn 292)

"Sisters I testify that when you stand in front of your heavenly parents in those royal courts on high and look into Her eyes and behold her countenance, any question you ever had about the role of women in the kingdom will evaporate into the rich celestial air, because at that moment you will see standing directly in front of you, your divine nature and destiny."

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Lessons Learned from Lots Wife

Today in Relief Society the lesson was based on a talk by Elder Jeffrey R Holland's Address,
"The Best is Yet to Be."

The teacher opened the discussion with this question,
"what is the shortest scripture in our scriptures?"
The class answered, "Jesus Wept."
She confirmed that that indeed was one of the shortest scriptures but there was another.

She then directed us to
Luke 17:32:
 "Remember Lot's  wife."

As the class discussion began I found myself sharing the heartbreak that came with not being able to bear children in this life and how easy it is to get lost in that despair and lose hope in "the best is yet to be."
While the words were coming out of my mouth I found myself also thinking that I too could have very easily been Lot's wife and looked back.
But then the thought came,
"are you not now like Lot's wife?"
As that came into my mind the discussion had turned to faith.

A Sister was relating how she felt Lot's wife had turned back because she was worried about the posterity she had left and that she would never see them again.

Instantly a memory from an Institute class started playing out in my mind, in which the teacher had asked if the class had thought Laman and Lemuel had been cast off.
We were all nodding our head "Yes."
Then the teacher reminded us about the process of repentance and how even in the next life there would be an opportunity to repent.
I then found myself sharing that insight and the lesson that I had learned that day was that everyone would have the opportunity to repent and that we had no idea how it worked on the other side just that it would be harder since they were just spiritual beings, but we are promised that if we repent and come back into to the fold we could be together again through the sealing power.

In my mind this question was then posed to me,
"If you believe in the Lord's promise of repentance,
why do you doubt His promise of one day having a great posterity?"

I was speechless.  I truly have a lot to reflect and ponder on.

Below is Elder Hollands address, his inspired words have given me a lot to think about.

One thing is for sure I will never look at that one passage of scripture in the same light ever again, "Remember Lot's wife."

The Best Is Yet to Be

From a Brigham Young University devotional address given on January 13, 2009. For the full text of the address in English, visithttp://speeches.byu.edu.

Jeffrey R. Holland
Look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future.
The start of a new year is the traditional time to take stock of our lives and see where we are going, measured against the backdrop of where we have been. I don’t want to talk about New Year’s resolutions, but I do want to talk about the past and the future, with an eye toward any time of transition and change in our lives—and those moments come virtually every day.
As a scriptural theme for this discussion, I have chosen Luke 17:32, where the Savior cautions, “Remember Lot’s wife.” What did He mean by such an enigmatic little phrase? To find out, we need to do as He suggested. Let’s recall who Lot’s wife was.
The story, of course, comes to us out of the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, when the Lord, having had as much as He could stand of the worst that men and women could do, told Lot and his family to flee because those cities were about to be destroyed. “Escape for thy life,” the Lord said. “Look not behind thee … ; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed” (Genesis 19:17; emphasis added).
With less than immediate obedience and more than a little negotiation, Lot and his family ultimately did leave town but just in the nick of time. The scriptures tell us what happened at daybreak the morning following their escape:
“The Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;
“And he overthrew those cities” (Genesis 19:24–25).
My theme comes in the next verse. Surely, with the Lord’s counsel—“look not behind thee”—ringing clearly in her ears, Lot’s wife, the record says, “looked back,” and she was turned into a pillar of salt (see verse 26).
Just what did Lot’s wife do that was so wrong? As a student of history, I have thought about that and offer a partial answer. Apparently, what was wrong with Lot’s wife was that she wasn’t just looking back; in her heart she wanted to go back. It would appear that even before she was past the city limits, she was already missing what Sodom and Gomorrah had offered her. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles once said, such people know they should have their primary residence in Zion, but they still hope to keep a summer cottage in Babylon. 1
It is possible that Lot’s wife looked back with resentment toward the Lord for what He was asking her to leave behind. We certainly know that Laman and Lemuel were resentful when Lehi and his family were commanded to leave Jerusalem. So it isn’t just that she looked back; she looked backlongingly. In short, her attachment to the past outweighed her confidence in the future. That, apparently, was at least part of her sin.

Faith Points to the Future

As a new year begins and we try to benefit from a proper view of what has gone before, I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives.
So a more theological way to talk about Lot’s wife is to say that she did not have faith. She doubted the Lord’s ability to give her something better than she already had. Apparently, she thought that nothing that lay ahead could possibly be as good as what she was leaving behind.
To yearn to go back to a world that cannot be lived in now, to be perennially dissatisfied with present circumstances and have only dismal views of the future, and to miss the here and now and tomorrow because we are so trapped in the there and then and yesterday are some of the sins of Lot’s wife.
After the Apostle Paul reviewed the privileged and rewarding life of his early years—his birthright, education, and standing in the Jewish community—he says to the Philippians that all of that was “dung” compared to his conversion to Christianity. He says, and I paraphrase, “I have stopped rhapsodizing about ‘the good old days’ and now eagerly look toward the future ‘that I may apprehend that for which Christ apprehended me’” (see Philippians 3:7–12). Then come these verses:
“This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13–14).
No Lot’s wife here. No looking back at Sodom and Gomorrah here. Paul knows it is out there in the future, up ahead wherever heaven is taking us, that we will win “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Forgive and Forget

There is something in many of us that particularly fails to forgive and forget earlier mistakes in life—either our mistakes or the mistakes of others. It is not good. It is not Christian. It stands in terrible opposition to the grandeur and majesty of the Atonement of Christ. To be tied to earlier mistakes is the worst kind of wallowing in the past from which we are called to cease and desist.
I was told once of a young man who for many years was more or less the brunt of every joke in his school. He had some disadvantages, and it was easy for his peers to tease him. Later in his life he moved away. He eventually joined the army and had some successful experiences there in getting an education and generally stepping away from his past. Above all, as many in the military do, he discovered the beauty and majesty of the Church and became active and happy in it.
Then, after several years, he returned to the town of his youth. Most of his generation had moved on but not all. Apparently, when he returned quite successful and quite reborn, the same old mind-set that had existed before was still there, waiting for his return. To the people in his hometown, he was still just old “so-and-so”—you remember the guy who had the problem, the idiosyncrasy, the quirky nature, and did such and such. And wasn’t it all just hilarious?
Little by little this man’s Pauline effort to leave that which was behind and grasp the prize that God had laid before him was gradually diminished until he died about the way he had lived in his youth. He came full circle: again inactive and unhappy and the brunt of a new generation of jokes. Yet he had had that one bright, beautiful midlife moment when he had been able to rise above his past and truly see who he was and what he could become. Too bad, too sad that he was again to be surrounded by a whole batch of Lot’s wives, those who thought his past was more interesting than his future. They managed to rip out of his grasp that for which Christ had grasped him. And he died sad, though through little fault of his own.
That also happens in marriages and other relationships. I can’t tell you the number of couples I have counseled who, when they are deeply hurt or even just deeply stressed, reach farther and farther into the past to find yet a bigger brick to throw through the window “pain” of their marriage. When something is over and done with, when it has been repented of as fully as it can be repented of, when life has moved on as it should and a lot of other wonderfully good things have happened since then, it is not right to go back and open some ancient wound that the Son of God Himself died to heal.
Let people repent. Let people grow. Believe that people can change and improve. Is that faith? Yes! Is that hope? Yes! Is that charity? Yes! Above all, it is charity, the pure love of Christ. If something is buried in the past, leave it buried. Don’t keep going back with your little sand pail and beach shovel to dig it up, wave it around, and then throw it at someone, saying, “Hey! Do you remember this?” Splat!
Well, guess what? That is probably going to result in some ugly morsel being dug up out of your landfill with the reply, “Yeah, I remember it. Doyou remember this?” Splat.
And soon enough everyone comes out of that exchange dirty and muddy and unhappy and hurt, when what our Father in Heaven pleads for is cleanliness and kindness and happiness and healing.
Such dwelling on past lives, including past mistakes, is just not right! It is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. In some ways it is worse than Lot’s wife because at least she destroyed only herself. In cases of marriage and family, wards and branches, apartments and neighborhoods, we can end up destroying so many others.
Perhaps at this beginning of a new year there is no greater requirement for us than to do as the Lord Himself said He does: “He who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more” (D&C 58:42).
The proviso, of course, is that repentance has to be sincere, but when it is and when honest effort is being made to progress, we are guilty of the greater sin if we keep remembering and recalling and rebashing someone with his or her earlier mistakes—and that someone might be ourselves. We can be so hard on ourselves—often much more so than on others!
Now, like the Anti-Nephi-Lehies of the Book of Mormon, bury your weapons of war and leave them buried (see Alma 24). Forgive and do that which is sometimes harder than to forgive: forget. And when it comes to mind again, forget it again.

The Best Is Yet to Be

You can remember just enough to avoid repeating the mistake, but then put the rest of it all on the dung heap Paul spoke of to the Philippians. Dismiss the destructive, and keep dismissing it until the beauty of the Atonement of Christ has revealed to you your bright future and the bright future of your family, your friends, and your neighbors. God doesn’t care nearly as much about where you have been as He does about where you are and, with His help, where you are willing to go. That is the thing Lot’s wife didn’t get—and neither did Laman and Lemuel and a host of others in the scriptures.
This is an important matter to consider at the start of a new year—and every day ought to be the start of a new year and a new life. Such is the wonder of faith, repentance, and the miracle of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The poet Robert Browning wrote:
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in his hand
Who saith, “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!” 2
Some of you may wonder: Is there any future for me? What does a new year or a new semester, a new major or a new romance, a new job or a new home hold for me? Will I be safe? Will life be sound? Can I trust in the Lord and in the future? Or would it be better to look back, to go back, to stay in the past?
To all such of every generation, I call out, “Remember Lot’s wife.” Faith is for the future. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there. Faith trusts that God has great things in store for each of us and that Christ truly is the “high priest of good things to come” (Hebrews 9:11).
Keep your eyes on your dreams, however distant and far away. Live to see the miracles of repentance and forgiveness, of trust and divine love that will transform your life today, tomorrow, and forever. That is a New Year’s resolution I ask you to keep.
Young Adults

Leaving the Past in the Past

When I was 16, I didn’t get along with my twin brother at all. We fought about everything. One day he humiliated me at school with an intensely critical and personal attack in front of a group of friends. His actions and hurtful words left me devastated in a way my teenage self could not bear. Even when our parents confronted him about the incident, he never said he was sorry. For years I held onto the pain.
He was still on his mission when I received my own mission call. I was preparing to enter the temple and began to reflect on my life to find where I needed to change to feel prepared to go to the temple. I realized that even though I didn’t often think about what my brother did, I still needed to forgive him.
My brother had hurt me more than anyone else, and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to forgive him. So I prayed for help from Heavenly Father.
With His help, I decided to start writing my brother regularly on his mission. Before that, I’m sorry to admit, I hardly wrote him at all. Then I sent him a package. When I left on my mission, he came with my parents to the missionary training center and gave me a hug. He even wrote me a few times.
I know that even though it may take time, with Heavenly Father’s help, we can let the past remain in the past.
Illustration by Scott Greer

Learning from This Article

What lessons from the past can guide you in the future?
What blessings do you want to exercise faith to receive?
Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there. Faith trusts that God has great things in store for each of us.
Paul taught, “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Live to see the miracles of repentance and forgiveness, of trust and divine love that will transform your life today, tomorrow, and forever.
As Lot and his family left Sodom, Lot’s wife looked back and was turned to a pillar of salt for disobeying the Lord (see Genesis 19:26).

Life's Defining Moments

Recently I had the opportunity of making a new friend who has also had her fair share of trials and heartache.  I admire her silent strength, patience and wisdom.
As we were sharing stories, I shared with her a particularly painful memory of an interaction between my brother and I.
Tears were pouring down my face as I shared that memory with her.
When I completed she lovingly and thoughtfully looked at me and simply said,

"You had a defining moment which has made you who you are today."
She then shared with me a couple of her defining moments. It was at that moment I was humbled by her deep inner strength and inspired by her patience with which she had endured.

I found myself reflecting on the "defining moments" that have woven in and out of my life and have molded me into the woman I am today.
I would like to share with you a few of those moments in hopes that as my friends words inspired me maybe something in my words will inspire you.

One of the first defining moment that directly impacted my life was the heart ache of never being able to bear children.  I found myself consumed with guilt and failure.  It was during that dark period my only brother chose to end his life which created the defining moment which I had shared with my friend.  While I was going through those dark times, I had no idea they were going to shape and mold me into the person that I am today.

My greatest defining moment came when I decided to get my life in order and then went to my Father's Holy Temple.  That was the moment my entire life changed and I can honestly say that I became a new creature and it has been a wonderful journey of enlightenment and great peace and joy.

A defining moment came to me this morning. It was a memory of a dream that I had just after my mother had passed.  The dream disturbed me very much and I found myself questioning my Heavenly Father what the dream had meant.
One day that dream was weighing heavily on my mind.  I found myself flipping through the channels and came across a Byu Devotional where Elder Richard G Scott was addressing the students,
I found myself listening to his address.
Five minutes into the talk he shared a dream that he had had when he was newly married.
I was on the edge of my chair as he spoke because he was speaking directly to me and he was describing in exact detail my dream.  I was amazed.
He then proceeded to share with me what the dream had meant.
It was at that moment that I knew that the Brethren would never lead me astray and that I could trust their words and would be wise to listen to their counsel and follow it.

I am still amazed at how many second witnesses I have received when the Brethren speak and their counsel exactly matches the counsel that had been whispered into my heart weeks or months earlier.
I find myself in a lot of one on one situations and during the conversation I am reassuring the one that I'm with that it's okay that's why I'm here; to listen, to love and to be a friend.

Last week we had a special Stake meeting where we had a General Authority Seventy speak to us.
I loved his talk but I was humbled when he closed with a story told by Elder Bednar:

"Elder Bednar was doing some repairs on his roof and needed some nails.  He was dressed in jeans and had a baseball cap on his head; as he was in the store looking for nails a man approached and asked, 'Aren't you Elder Bednar?' to which Elder Bednar replied, 'Yes I am.'
The man then apologized and related to Elder Bednar he was having some struggles and wondered if he could visit with him.
Elder Bednar looked at the man and said, "That's why I'm here."

I felt that gentle assurance of that second witness whisper "that's why you are here."

One of the defining moments I shared in Church today had to do with my Testimony of my Lord
and Savior.
I shared with them an experience which occurred many years ago when I had been called as "The Teacher Development Teacher."  I had closed the class with my testimony that I knew that my Savior lived and loved me and loved all His children.  An elderly friend stayed behind and when everyone had left asked me, "How do you know?"  I was not sure how to explain it to him and so I asked him to give me a week to ponder and think and that I would have an answer for him the following week.  As I was searching for an answer I found myself directed to a scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 76:22-24:

22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
 23 For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—
 24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God."
The following week I shared this scripture with my friend and tears flowed from his eyes as he asked, "How did you know?  The day that I was baptized the missionaries read me this scripture."  
I am so grateful for that defining moment. 
The last defining moment I shared with my Branch members involved a young woman in an Institute class I attended many years ago.  We were all enthralled with the teachings being taught when out of the blue this young woman blurted out, "Oh how I love this Gospel!"  The class smiled and then the teacher continued on with his lesson when once again this young woman blurted out, "Oh how I love this Gospel!"  I felt a warmth come rushing over me as I looked at her sparkling eyes and radiant face and I found myself asking, "Heavenly Father may I always have her excitement and love for this great gospel even when I get old and crabby and whiny. May I always have a love for this great gospel." 
 I am much older now but I can truly say with excitement and great love, "Oh how I love this gospel!"
As I have reflected on my Defining moments I have realized that they have truly molded me into the woman that I am today and the woman I will be tomorrow.  The heartache and sorrow I endured has made it easy for me to reach out and hold a feeble hand and there are so many tender moments where I am filled with this "pure love" that fills my entire being and that love is not just for me but for the one I am holding.  It is a wonderful blessing which confirms to me:
"HE LIVES" and HE LOVES each and everyone of us with a love that is so very pure we can't even begin to understand the depths of His great love for us but oh how my heart yearns to love as He loves me.
May each of us ponder on our "Defining Moments" and how they have molded us into who we are today and know that the Master Potter, who is aware of those defining moments and whose hands we are in will mold us into a beautiful work of art if we will let Him in.