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.
I wrote a letter to a friend last week. I was worried about him and just wanted to be in touch. I couldn’t find a generic friendship card so I mailed the letter in a get well soon card, hoping it wouldn’t be too weird. In a sad coincidence the letter should have gotten there only hours after he was actually admitted to the hospital. More appropriate than it was intended to be.
I am at a rather strange place in my life where I have decided I need all new friends. Or at least to reconnect with old friends again. As I look back at my week there were four people who did more to help me this week than any of my “friends” have this entire summer. Three were old friends who we don’t cross paths as often any more, and one is a person I had only met once before. I think friendship is something that I have taken for granted too often. A friend who goes out of their way to see how you are doing is a blessing that can too easily be dismissed. When we find a good friend who can support and help us, and we can return the favor, I think that qualifies as a miracle.
Yesterday I had a situation come up that was going to cause a significant problem between myself and a family member. It was a situation that needed to be discussed, but I knew it would probably elicit some hostility and anger from the other party. Okay, I was pretty upset as well. I have been praying a lot about this particular family member.
Then out of the blue he called me for no reason at all. We chatted for a while, then I said, “I have a question for you . . .” The words just came out. I had not planned them. When I finished the short conversation my first thought was, wow – what a great way to deal with the problem! They were not my words, they fixed one entire problem and potentially solved the larger problem as well. Neither side had any negative reaction. Things were left with the other side offering to look into the issue and get back to me as soon as possible.
A few days ago I was trying to get a hold of someone who had recently moved to my area to bring them something. I didn’t know their name or phone number or address, just basically who they were. They didn’t know who I was or that I wanted to get a hold of them.
Wednesday an old friend called me asking for a favor. I was busy and was going to let voice mail get it, but felt I should answer anyway. I haven’t contacted this particular friend for a while, but she was looking for someone to help out with a project that happened to involve the first person I needed to get a hold of. She needed me to bring them something else, so she called me up and gave me the name and address that I was looking for, without even knowing I had been wanting that information.
My 11 year old has a friend that can be a little pesky and annoying at times, but they are friends anyway. Monday, this friend called to tell my daughter that her dog had just been run over and had died. (The friend’s dog.) She was so sad. The beautiful thing was to see that my daughter knew just what to do. She went to the kitchen, made her favorite treat, then took the birthday money she had just got, and bought her friend a stuffed dog that would always remind her of the pet. She then walked the 12 blocks to bring them over and comfort her friend.
Death itself qualifies as a miracle, but the effect that it has on the living can be rather impressive as well.
The gateway to heaven via prayer is in and of itself a miracle. However, often we have a rote prayer, and a rote response – “done” or “not now” type response. Yesterday I had a very odd response that reminded me that someone really is listening.
I was praying for a favor for someone else, so I knew it wasn’t just me being rote and trivial. It was kind of important and would have a dramatic impact on that person’s quality of life, and I had promised to do some serious praying for them. I got an instant answer. Not just as soon as I finished praying, but as soon as I had opened my mouth. I was told that I was not supposed to pray for that particular favor – not even just to ask. I thought it was a sort of odd answer, definitely not what I expected, so I started to ask why. I guess I probably need to work on questioning the Lord and how he works, because I was told to just leave it alone. I felt sort of awkward going back to that friend and saying that I was unable to pray for them in this instance.
I did learn a few things though. I was reminded how closely God is listening. I was also reminded that he knows each and every one of us, and he knows us well enough to tailor specific answers to each and every sincere prayer. I also suspect that those specific answers are exactly what we need, whether we realize it or not.
I’m finally home, and at my computer. Today I wanted to reflect on the power each of us has in us to achieve our goals. I was teaching a lesson on building stronger family relationships through mercy and not judging. I wanted to take that lesson into my life, and as I did so, and acted on my promptings I found a new friend in my family that I didn’t know I had.
My oldest daughter also had a similar experience. She had made a commitment to be more social and outgoing. This is something that is very difficult and intimidating for her. But as she did her part, started reading books on friendship, and connecting a little more on facebook, she too has been blessed. Within one month of her commitment to improving herself she has got new roommates who I think will help her with that commitment, and she has been asked out by a guy she likes, twice!
Sometimes it takes just a little effort, and sometimes it takes a lot of effort, but I believe that we all have the ability to change ourselves. One of the evidences of where we came from before this life.