Thought I’d share a quote from Jeff Foxworthy.
“We sing about God because we believe in him. We are not trying to offend anybody, but the evidence we have seen of Him in our small little lives trumps your opinion about whether or not He exists.”
On Sunday we talked about how we receive communication from God. I think one word that we use to describe that communication is inspiration. Yesterday I was just listening to the radio and I had a moment of “inspiration,” of “understanding” or “enlightenment” about something that pertained to the world I live in. It mostly was just an understanding that meant something for me, but I really appreciate being better able to understand things. What would the world be like if people no longer received “inspiration?” I think relationships would suffer, medical and technological advances would suffer, quality of life would drastically decrease, etc until we literally would have nothing left. One could try to argue that inspiration is just an intellectual event, but we all know that our intellects can be flawed. When is the last time you had a moment of inspiration that left you worse off than before the inspiration, or inspiration that didn’t result in something better than our self? Possibly we drastically underestimate the role that communication with God influences the world we live in.
Here is a link to look more up yourself if you feel so inclined.
Before Christmas my elementary age kids had a short bout with whatever cold thing they picked up at school. Not a big deal and they missed very little school. As soon as school got out Kimber got it again. This time she was a little sicker and we were worried she would miss Christmas due to being so sick so we called and got her a blessing. The next day instead of being better her brother was also sick. By the end of the day it was obvious that it was spreading and we called for more blessings all around. It ended up being a good thing because a few children were showing signs of coming down with the cold, and two more actually needed blessings for other issues, so we did a round for everyone’s “maintenance and prevention.” The next morning everyone felt great and no one was sick at all for Christmas. 🙂 I was so glad we received those prevention blessings.
We have been enjoying a lot of Christmas music around here, and a lot of great music in general. It is unbelievable how much musical talent there is in the world. There are people of all races, ethnicity, religions, and backgrounds who have so much talent to offer. God does not seem to discriminate when it comes to handing out musical gifts, and we all have the opportunity to enjoy it.
(I have been a little disappointed with the exclusively secular “holiday music” played on the radio this year. Anyone else notice that?)
One thing I have learned is that you can only notice the miracles around you when you cultivate an attitude of gratitude for the Lord. Only rarely does he interfere so much that we can see the miracles without looking and being aware that he is helping. Usually he assists in more quiet ways, and only a grateful and humble heart can even see those assists. I have appreciated the time I get to spend most days to sit and be quiet and find that assistance. For Thanksgiving week I hope to focus on things I forget to be thankful for.
Today I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for food. I was sitting down to eat last night and found myself blessing the food like I do every meal. Then I thought, why do I always bless the food? I probably don’t really need divine intervention to assure that it was prepared in a healthy manner. Half of what we eat we know isn’t good for us anyway, so it is not to plead for good health from the food. Occasionally it is with gratitude that we had the resources to purchase the food, but we don’t really experience actual hunger in this country. Most likely I should be praying to remember and recognize that even the food we consume every single day was ultimately provided by our Creator. Personally I have a tendency to be grateful to the people who directly purchased and prepared it. I rarely think about the many steps involved in growing, raising, harvesting, packaging, transporting and retailing what I just ate. I rarely think of everything that has to come together to make it as convenient for me as it really is. And unfortunately, I almost never actually remember to thank God for all the systems that work together in the earth itself so that I can enjoy a variety of wonderful foods, and the privilege I enjoy of living in extreme convenience. So this week I will try to actually mean it when I thank him for the food.
Yesterday I saw God work in a very mysterious way. My middle child needed some help, but he had it in his mind that a specific someone would come and help him in a specific way. He refused to allow anyone else to help. His refusal to let other people help has caused some serious problems both for my son and others involved in the activity. The person that my son wanted to help him was not available, and even if that person suddenly became available, he no longer did that type of work and was not inclined to help anyone else out either. He had been asked before and could no longer do the work properly. We had asked before and he had tried before but could not do what needed to be done. (Vague intentionally. Sorry.)
Yesterday another activity was coming up and my boy had to get the project done. The exact person that he had been hoping for stopped by for a visit, unannounced, and found himself at our home while his vehicle was being repaired with nothing to do. I was a little hesitant to ask for the help because it was so difficult for our visitor. Instead he just stepped right in and went to work in a way I have not seen him work in years. It was as if he had never stopped doing that work, and was able to help my boy out and satisfy the desire my middle child had been holding out for. My boy is very happy, and I don’t know if the visitor was even aware of the impact that his actions had. The fact that he was able to do the work so well was an obvious miracle, but the timing and the arrival to our home were also miracles.
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.
One of my adult daughter’s favorite conference talks was a talk on tithing. I can understand why because she lives it so beautifully. Elder Bednar talked about the small, subtle blessings that come from paying our tithing. I know we have had more countless little blessings than we can count. I think both my adult daughter and myself understand what was meant by the blessings of gratitude that often accompany the payment of tithing. I have seen that gratitude and those blessings work together to deliver to us enjoyment of many of the better things of life. Despite the pitiful numbers reported on our IRS forms at the end of the year, and our larger than average family size, one example that comes to mind is how we have found ways to send our children to college without any student debt.
My daughter especially has seen this blessing as she has attended school away from home. Doors are opened. She is well aware that most of her fellow students, and even roommates simply could not get by on what she has to get by on. She does have to be more frugal, but she has sufficient. I’d like to share two examples of how her faithfulness has inspired me.
Just wanted to share a few examples of the principles in action that were so beautifully covered by Elder Bednar.
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.