Sunday, February 1, 2015

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.

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