Tag Archive | Christ

Open Hearts

In my church we take time each month to visit individuals.  It is an attempt to not forget the lost sheep.  As we visited yesterday and shared the message that the Lord does not forget anyone, two of the sisters I visit opened right up.  Both were sisters I have been visiting with for a while now, and both are less than fully active in our faith.  As we started to share, each one of the sisters felt a connection to that lost sheep, and after months, and even years for one of them, of my visiting monthly they actually shared with me the root of their own personal struggles to full participation in the gospel of Christ.  Each struggle is unique, and each of us has our own personal demons.

I don’t know how to fix either problem.  I rather suspect that it is not my goal to fix the problem, but rather my privilege to support them through it.  One of them I share the same struggle, I just have chosen to deal with it differently.  However, I think step one in helping anyone change their heart is to love them as the Savior does.  I hope that by having someone to support them through it that each one of these daughters of God can have a miracle in their life of being reconverted to Christ.

Prayer

Last week I was helping out with a volunteer group.  I was in charge of a large activity.  I felt to take some time that morning that I could know how to focus my time and efforts to make the most of my work there.  I didn’t even really know what I was praying for specifically, so my prayer sort of rambled and sounded like, “whatever it is I am supposed to be praying for help with I hope you know already better than I do cuz I have no idea what I’m praying for.”  A few hours later I was delivering permission slips to the parents and felt to step in and visit with one of the families I had not talked to for a while.  The conversation was kind of skirting around some potentially stressful family situations, but I felt directly impressed to share a personal struggle that our family had gone through a few years earlier.  It turns out that was the exact thing that they were dealing with, and by sharing my story I was able to offer some hope and insight about how to deal with everything.  It had nothing to do with the activity, except that was where the contact came in.  I’m glad that Heavenly Father knew what I was praying for help for even if I didn’t.

 

Taught by Kids

My 7 year old gave me a lesson this week.  We were at an exhibit about the life of Jesus Christ.  You walked around the room and saw chronological photos from his birth to his resurrection and ascension.  I was trying to teach my 5 year old about the resurrection.  We paused at the picture of the crucifixion and I asked him why he thought Christ had allowed them to put him on the cross and kill him.  The answer I was looking for was so that he could die and be resurrected.  He suggested that the men were bad people.  I nodded my head and started to agree with him.  It was then that my daughter stepped in and corrected the both of us.  No, she informed us.  It was because they didn’t know what they were doing and they needed to be forgiven.

She was of course correct.  I guess I need to be a whole lot more careful who I judge to be evil, and how often I forget everyone’s need for a Savior.  There are many things we all do wrong because we don’t fully understand how evil we all really are.  It took a child to remind me of that.  Why is it that children seem to understand these things more clearly sometimes?

Apostles and Prophets

A few months ago I had an interesting experience.  We were right in the middle of dealing with a serious mental health crisis with my son.  As we were dealing with this particular issue, we found out that Pres. Jeffry R. Holland was coming to visit our ward.  It would be a short visit and he would be very busy, but I wondered about the timing.  If I really believed that he was an apostle of God, as were the apostles at the time of Christ, could he help our family?  Throughout the scriptures are stories of children and families being healed by Christ and the apostles.  I knew that I love my child every bit as much as the parents in ancient times, and I knew that I needed help.  Was help being sent?  Did I have enough faith to receive help?  I had many questions about how to help my son that needed answering, that my local leaders were unable to address sufficiently.

 

I did a lot of praying and a lot of fasting.  I didn’t know exactly what type of help I needed.  I was not sure exactly what to pray for.  I prayed that if there was any way that this apostle could help our family that we would have enough faith to receive that help.  I was told that my prayers had been heard, and that it was taken care of.  The visit came and went.  I had no direct interaction with President Holland.  We attended a dinner with him, my son declined to attend, but we brought others to join us.  As far as I knew, my son avoided any potential contact the same way he has continued to avoid all potential help.  Still, I was at peace that my prayers had been heard and accepted.

 

This last weekend was LDS General Conference weekend.  The incident over the summer was pretty much out of my mind.  Then Elder Holland stepped up to speak.  He opened his talk by stating that he was going to address those dealing with serious mental health problems.  He then proceeded to answer all of my questions that truly needed answering.  It was a direct answer to my personal prayers and I can not question that the Lord heard and answered my prayers this summer.

 

View of Conference Center spire taken from sou...

View of Conference Center spire taken from south of the Center on North Temple St., Salt Lake City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Child’s Faith

I try to teach my children to decide what they want in life, consult with the Lord, then go forward to make it happen, having faith that the path will be opened for them.  My middle daughter really wanted to be a part of the theater production this year.  We have some serious scheduling conflicts with the rehearsal times, but told her if she really wanted it to go for it anyway and we would find a way.  She auditioned but didn’t make it.  It was tough but she put on her best face and said “There is always next year.”  The next week she got a call.  They had missed a pile of people to call to invite to be a part of the behind the scenes.  She was ecstatic.  She just wanted to be involved.  Not only that, but the crew she got put on has a different schedule and we have no more scheduling conflicts.

Then there came the mandatory parent meeting.  Both her father and I were working and did not have enough notice to get off of work.  I tried contacting some other parents I knew were involved, but no luck.  Then that morning I got an e-mail that something had come up and we had to make a last minute change to my schedule.  A hole opened up exactly during the parent meeting and I was able to attend.

The best part was my daughter looking at me, smiling, and saying, “You were right Mom.  Things do work out if they are supposed to.”  I smiled back and said, “That was your faith in action Katie.”

 

Protecting the Family

As my difficult son returned home, it created a lot a chaos in the home.  He does not get physically destructive, mostly just spiritually and emotionally destructive.  We knew things would be difficult for a while, but wanted to believe we could handle it.  We could not handle him, and he is currently out of the home, but in a very safe place.  There has been a lot of leftover emotion here and everyone tends to get a little too irritated a little too easily.  Far too much bickering and petty arguing.  Early on in the summer I wanted to do something to prepare for his arrival emotionally.  I knew of a book that we had studied from early in our marriage, and I wanted some of the lessons from that book.  It turns out that it has been rewritten, and is rather difficult to get a hold of.   It is called Strengthening the Family, and is put out by LDS Social Services.  It can’t even be ordered online, and everyone who knew about the book didn’t have a copy.  We had tried some other programs, but they just weren’t what we needed.  Finally last week we were able to get our hands on a copy through an unexpected source.

Yesterday we had our first lesson, and there was such a strong spirit.  This was exactly what we needed to re-hear.  I’d like to summarize what we talked about.

The chapter we focused on was called “Communicating with Love.”  We discussed the effect that our words have on those around us.  Even unintentionally it is harmful to use words that lecture, moralize, preach, interrogate, discount, placate, provide empty reassurances, judge, condemn, threaten, blame, criticize, ridicule, or ignore another’s feelings.  We recognized some of those phrases that have popped up in our home.  We recommitted to stopping those behaviors, and to pattern our communication after the Savior.  The lesson points out how the Savior chose to communicate.  He was slow to condemn, forgiving, compassionate, considerate of His family, willing to return good for evil, loving of children, appreciative, eager to serve, and willing to sacrifice.  We finished the lesson up by practicing using statements that start with “I,” and communicate how another’s actions affect us.  We practiced using these types of forgiving statements instead of starting out our sentences with “you” and using blame.  Most of the family caught on very quickly.  I am so happy we finally found this lesson.  I think we need it over and over again!

It has been 24 hours and there has not been a single argument, fight, disagreement, or unkind word spoken here.  It is amazing how a parent can know exactly what is needed and where to find it.  I only wish we could have found it a little earlier. 🙂

 

 

 

Gethsemane

The line "Y en tus hermoso olivares,"...

 

I’m going through some audio tapes from 1984, when we spent Easter in the Holy Land.  I was going to upload a clip of the audio, but it won’t let me.  Here is a rough transcription. It is a recording from Daniel Rona, recorded with permission for personal use.

 

 

 

“Gethsemane (on Mt. Of Olives)= vineyard, or orchard where wine is pressed. Geth = garden Sheme = oil, or stuff you squeeze out. How do you recognize a wine press person – feet and clothing stained red.

 

 

 

Read from scriptures. (matthew – 8 verses) Most significant thing that has ever happened. The public part, happened at the rock quarry. The crucifixion was a public atonement – for everyone. Gethsemane not for everyone, only for those who take advantage of it through repentance.

 

Here the Savior suffered for our sins (and we say it much to easily.) We are basically good people trying to do the best we can, and we can’t even stand in for our own children, and we can’t take away their hurts, or our own. He even atoned for those trying to be wicked. We don’t have comprehension what he went through that night. Story – Elder Faust. He stood under these trees and said, “I’ve been here before.” He felt so unworthy when he was called to the quorm of the 12, that he was in actual pain, and felt he couldn’t do it. He hurt like he never hurt before. Pres. Kimball replied that they understood, because they had all gone through it. He was trying to explain that this was like the cup being pressed to his lips. He did not have to drink it. He felt he had been to Gethsemane before. It takes a long time for us to come close to comprehending what the Savior went through, just because of who we are. I’m grateful for it, I want it. He said “Repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, .and your sufferings be sore, how hard to bear, etc.” Find scripture

 

He hurt so much that night that he bled from every pore of his body. What did he look like? D&C 46? Who is this, who cometh down. 133: “He shall say, I am he . . . red in his apparel. The sun shall hide his face in shame. Etc

 

With this horrendous experience, he came down and found the disciples asleep. As he arrived he told them to sleep, then told them to wake and said He is at hand who will betray me, and the multitude, of Jewish policemen, came. Judas kissed him. Scripture. Can you imagine the man whose ear was put back on, explaining how he arrested Christ? Scripture reprieving Peter. Scripture reprieving them for abducting him at night. It is illegal, according to Jewish law to arrest someone at night, unless you catch him in the very act. And they came with swords and staves to take him. It was a full moon, significant night, the night before most people would celebrate the deliverance of the People of Israel out of Israel, and look forward to a deliverer, to live again, that he paid for our mistakes. It was so much that he bled from every pore. That night he paid for our mistakes so that we wouldn’t have to. We have to pay for our mistakes in another way. We have to only by stopping them, replacing them with blessings for others”

 

 

 

 

A God of Mercy

I’ve had 2 rather shocking stories going through my mind.  I feel to share both today.

Story 1  —  A woman struggled for years with the fact that her father had killed himself.  She struggled with not only the pain of losing him, but with trying to reconcile herself to the fact that this wonderful person, who had done so many wonderful things in his life, had chosen so poorly to end it himself.  He had been sick, but that didn’t justify suicide.

Many years later she herself became seriously ill.  During her illness she couldn’t ever sleep and couldn’t function.  Her mind became stressed with lack of sleep and constant pain.  Only with the help of the doctors and modern hospital equipment was she able to eventually make a full recovery.  As she researched her disease, she found out that it was hereditary, and only in the few years before her episode had doctors really been able to identify and treat it.  Before that, it is suspected many ended up relegated to mental institutions, or dead.  She learned and understood that God was aware of every factor that lead to her father’s decision, and that God would judge in all His wisdom, complete knowledge, and mercy.  The condemnation had never been hers to make.

Story 2  —  Second is a murder story.  It was about a man who had arranged to have his entire family killed.  He arranged for the “hit man” to graze him to divert suspicion from his own involvement.  The plan was carried out and was successful, except his father who eventually recovered.  The story focused on the man who was eventually caught, admitted his involvement, but never showed any remorse or regret.  He had come from a loving family and had no reason to wish any of them dead.  He was given the death sentence.

The true story there should have been the father. At first the father wanted revenge on whoever hurt and killed his family.  However, after some prayer, he experienced a complete change of heart.  He told his son, the only family he had left, that he had chosen to forgive whoever did this to their family.  The son remained silent, positive in his own belief that the sentiment would not apply if the truth ever came out.  Eventually the police were able to piece together the source of the apparently random shooting, and reveal the son’s guilt, but the father remained true to his forgiveness.  He never once sought revenge on his son.  He never stopped loving him.  He visited him regularly in prison and headed up the appeals.  He had already unconditionally forgiven the person who had taken his family from him.

This humble father did what we have all been asked to do, despite his trying circumstances, and turned judgment completely over to God.

Next time I want to judge, I hope to remember that I may not really have the entire picture.  Next time I think it is too hard to forgive someone, and still show love, I’ll remember what unconditional love can really look like.  We are told that God is merciful, and I believe that mercy is one of the powers that creates miracles.

And the Greatest of these is LOVE

Found myself praying for some much needed wisdom today.  Felt blessed that my prayer was answered so quickly, so I thought I’d share the answer I needed to hear.

Use LOVE.  LOVE is not a default position.  LOVE is not simply something we do because we don’t know what else we can do.  LOVE is our Father in Heaven’s greatest tool in dealing with us.  Christ made no bones that LOVE is the substance of both the greatest and second greatest commandments.  The word LOVE has multiple definitions and connotations, but the most powerful type of LOVE is not simply a feeling, it is an action verb that describes an intangible power.  LOVE literally creates entire civilizations, and the absence of it destroys them.  LOVE speaks to hearts, not to minds.  No teaching, lecturing, or information has any value if there is not LOVE attached to it.  Yet, even the smallest piece of knowledge, shared with LOVE, can change the future.

I was also reminded of a quote I heard somewhere that it is not so much that love is blind, but that love has the ability to see something in another person that others have missed.

Information Age

It is so easy to see all the negatives associated with the information age.  I need to remember that there is just as much good out there as well.

My mind has recently been troubled by some poor choices and offensive actions of one of my teens.  I was very angry, and unclear how to fix the problem, as I couldn’t force someone else to change – or more specifically to grow up and find a brain!

Yesterday morning I was doing some research online to prepare my Sunday lesson.  Our church has a huge library of information available (www.lds.org), and I was overwhelmed with the amount of excellent content and advice so readily available.  I finally decided maybe I should look for some advice for my own problems.  Immediately I found the article I needed.

As I read the article, my hurt, my anger, my disappointment, and my confusion all melted away.  I found the peace I needed and the words I needed to hear.  The scriptures tell us to seek and we will find.  I suspect that is more true now than possibly ever before.

Link to parenting article can be found  HERE.