Tuesday, July 25, 2017

"The decisions of [the family]... are to be made in all righteousness..." (D&C 107:30)

As I have raised my children I have always used the phrase, "Make good choices". For me, making good choices is a way of making decisions. Pres. Thomas S. Monson said, "Decisions determine destiny".

In my scripture study the other day I read a couple of verses that started me pondering about the role of patience in making decisions. As I have applied this scripture to myself, a quorum being "a particularly chosen group" (quorum), could be applied to a family (or any other group). Thus, for personal purposes I put in the word "family" in place of quorum. The scripture is this:
"The decisions of [the family]... are to be made in all righteousness, in holiness, and lowliness of heart, meekness and long suffering, and in faith, and virtue, and knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity. Because the promise is, if these things abound in them they shall not be unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord" (D&C 107:30-31). 
This started me to think about how I make decisions and that I sometimes make them in a heightened emotional state. What if I really tried to be conscious of how I made my decisions and choices? To think that I would make a decision "made in all holiness", or "in faith and virtue, and knowledge"? If I have faith in Christ that He knows all things and coupled that with virtue, and got all the knowledge or correct information before I made a decision, what difference would that make in my relationships, in and out of my family ties? (As I continue to study this, I am finding that I have more questions than answers...and I have a heck of a long way to go. I will continue practicing making good choices)

The one that really jumped out at me was to make decisions "in all...temperance, [in all] patience". Temperance means: "moderation or self-restraint in action, statement, etc.; self-control"(temperance). I figure when the Lord is putting temperance and patience together, there is really a need to emphasize being in control of myself and how I treat others. I must ask myself, what kind of difference would making decisions "in all patience" make? And then I ask myself how I am actually doing in being patient in making all decisions...that's a great question for which I believe my answer will be eternally sought after.

The real blessing after applying this counsel from God is "if these things abound in [us we] shall not be unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord"(D&C 107:31; see also 2 Peter 1:5-8). The blessing of knowing God, of learning of His ways, comes when we make decisions after His pattern, and not after the ways of man (see Isaiah 55;8-9).

I love these amazing people more than words can express
As I have added photos to this blog, I have again been hit with the love so deep and powerful for these souls, my children and my husband. I love being around them, with them, and watching them as they learn and grow, no matter their ages. And I love that with my husband, we can make decisions together "in all righteousness". The decisions I make affect my loved one. And above anything, I want them to know how much I love them. Thus I will continue to work on making good choices.
My son that is serving a mission in Argentina. I sure love him...
And miss him! Yet I know the decision to serve the Lord on a mission is the right one for him.
The decisions I make and how I make them influence these beloved souls! 

Friday, May 26, 2017

"And the large and spacious building...is the vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men" (1 Nephi 12:18)

With some of the changes that have taken place in my life I have had to change how I live and even think. I have been trying to focus on the fact that I am a human being, not a human doing. Christ prayed: "And now Father, I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one" (3 Nephi 19:23 italics added). This insight about being rather than always doing has helped me see things with a new view. I hope I can share some insights from 1 Nephi 12:18 that have come from wanting to be, and not always needing to "do".
"And the large and spacious building...is the vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men. And a great and a terrible gulf divideth them; yea, even the word of the justice of the Eternal God, and the Messiah who is the Lamb of God, of whom the Holy Ghost beareth record, from the beginning of the world until this time, and from this time henceforth and forever" (1 Nephi 12:18).
I had to ask, what does "vain imaginations" mean? Vain means "excessively...concerned about one's appearance, qualities, achievements" I immediately thought of the obsession with weight in our society, or whether or not one looks good enough or the constant comparison of one's abilities or qualities. Vain also means "(3) ineffectual or unsuccessful; futile. (4) without real significance, value, or importance; baseless or worthless. (5) Archaic. senseless or foolish" (Vain). I thought of the many things that are of no real value -being angry with myself because I didn't do enough or disappointed that I can't do all I used to be able to do". These kinds of thought do not bring me closer to God. They are focused on doing enough. These thoughts are "foolish" because they are not "things as they really are" (Jacob 4:13).

And what about "imaginations"? It is "the faculty of...forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses". It is also defined  "Archaically[as]: a plan, scheme, or plot" (Imaginations). How much time is spent focusing on things that are not really "present to the senses", even the truth about ourselves (see Jacob 4:13), that we are "children of God" (Romans 8:16; 17; 21)?

Putting "vain imaginations" together made me think that the "large and spacious building" is made up of senseless and foolish plans or lack thereof. I realize that I am filled with vain imaginations. I put way too much concern or focus on baseless and worthless plans, self defeating thoughts that are not real or present. And sometimes I spend way too much time in the large and spacious building of self loathing, self defeat, or way too much time in the building of fear. Other foolish plans can include the constant need to be doing and missing the many opportunities of "being", even being kind, being patient, being still.

As I give a little more notice to what is in this verse, the "great and terrible gulf" that divides the righteous from the people in the "great and spacious building" is "the word of the justice of [God]". Sometimes, I spend so much time focused on others or my own imperfections, wasting time on things that are not present, I start to "suppose that mercy can rob justice", which is not true. "Nay; not one whit"! (Alma 42:25). It is pride that keeps me from trusting God and His "plan of mercy" (Alma 42:15, 31). The goal is to "be still. and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10 italics added) because one cannot "do" still.

I love knowing that God is merciful and just (see Alma 42:15, 31). I don't need to spend anymore time in the "great and spacious building" worrying about the appearance of my body, whether it is too fat or sick or not perfect enough. I don't need to spend anymore time focusing on "vain imaginations", even senseless or foolish plans of whether or not someone will receive justice. Rather, the joy is that I get to focus and hold onto "the rod of iron, which ...[is] the word of God, which [leads] to...the tree of life; which...[is a] representation of the love of God" (1 Nephi 11:25). And for me, it means I get to be loving, be forgiving, be one with God (see John 17:18-21).

video

Monday, March 20, 2017

"Be patient in afflictions..." (D&C 31:9)

It has been a year now since I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (or CRPS). This has been a "tribulation" that has really tested me, and continues to do so. It is very painful, limits my activity, and there is no cure. It can go into remission (I continue to hope that it will), but after having a spinal stimulator implant and having only some relief (still, it is some), I am at a point where I must begin to acknowledge the possibility that this could be a permanent condition and this could be my life! I will be honest, I have gone through such a wide range of emotions and thoughts that I have not always been the best person to be around as I have had to endure this "affliction". (Bless my family! They are the ones who have to endure me).

And so, the other day in my scripture study, I was desperate for answers. I want this to GO AWAY! I want to be able to walk again, to wear shoes and socks and not just a pair of sandals (at least I can wear a sandal). I would love to be able to ride my trike again...but all of these may never happen...(I am not ready to give up hope, but it sure is hard some days). As I pondered what to do, how to have a good attitude for the day, my scriptures were open, and I looked at them. This phrase jumped out at me: "Be patient in afflictions..." (D&C 31:9). Right.

And so, I followed the footnote. Romans 12:12: "Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation..." Again, the word patient... combined with rejoicing?! The definition of patient is: "bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc. with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like" (patient). Holy cow! I have not been the best at being patient at all...my calmness is lacking, leaning more on the lines of anger. Definitely in need of patience.

As I have pondered this definition over and over, I realize that having CRPS is not about pain, but about patience. Patience is what I can choose to focus on as I endure this "affliction". Can I just say that this is not how I envisioned learning "great patience" as I have been counseled to do?

Another scripture that has come to my mind these past couple of days: "...yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord" (Mosiah 24:15). Being cheerful, well, I am working on that one, as I am learning that it really is a part of being patient in affliction. The only way I can imagine being cheerful as I endure is to "trust in the Lord" (see Proverbs 3:5-8). Trust Him that He will strengthen me that I can bear up this burden with ease. Trust Him that He really does want what is best for me and that everything will "work together" for my good (see D&C 98:3; D&C 100:15).
"For all things are for your sakes...but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:15-18). 
In my "light affliction, which is but a moment" (and some moments feel like an eternity) I am learning yet again, it is not what I can or cannot do physically that matters. For that is the thing that is seen. What really matters is being able to follow the example of our Savior, by being patient, by enduring all things. He calls, "Come, follow me" (Luke 18:22).

I won't pretend that this is easy, it is not. And I won't pretend that I don't wish, at times, that I could just...be done- but I am not. I have yet to learn how to be patient...the thing which is not seen, which is eternal.

This is a pretty good foot day...lots of sitting, just a little swelling, but the pain (grrr).
I really am learning patience...I'm just a slow learner.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

"...God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence..." (Isaiah 35:4)

Hello World!

Today I have to share this awesome scripture with you and some of the thoughts I have had:
"Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; He will come and save you."
When I read this I had to look up "recompense". It means "to make compensation for something; repay someone". The natural woman in me wants vengeance for my pain, suffering, for the losses I have endured. Do we not all want compensation for our losses? Seeking revenge, or being bitter about all that we suffer does not make things right- money, or things will not compensate for some of the losses we have endured. Being bitter, hateful, unforgiving, seeking revenge-well, they just makes things worse, and don't even come near to compensating for the losses some have suffered.

 This scripture says that God will come with vengeance (which doesn't mean revenge. It means "greatly; extremely" (vengeance)), even God with a recompence". God is greatly coming, even with compensation. This quote by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin helped me make more sense of the powerful principle of compensation:
"The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today, will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude"
(Come What May, and Love it)
I needed this scripture today. I am trying to keep the bigger picture about some of the challenges I am going through- honestly though, it is really hard. Some days, at the end of the day, I am just so grateful I made it through. God knows what I have lost, what I have had to sacrifice and endure. He knows this for every single one of His precious children- this includes you. He knows exactly what we need to learn to become like Him. It is so not easy to learn this. But that is a different blog all in itself.

So for now, I will take comfort in this awesome scripture and the truth that God will compensate, even recompense for every loss. This I testify.
This has been one of the hardest losses yet...but there is hope for compensation....
and maybe to ride, even just a tiny bit, in the future. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

"Charity, the pure love of Christ" (Moroni 7:47)

I think the scripture I need to share today might be something I need to hear myself. I know that we all suffer and have challenges that really try our faith (see 3 Nephi 26:11). Challenges don't always make sense. Which leads me to the scripture:
Beautiful- just because we are loved
"I know that [God] loveth His children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things" (1 Nephi 11:17).
As you endure the challenges of life, I invite you to seek for the love God has for you. It is always there. I have felt it and I want everyone in the world to feel His love. This love is "charity, the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever" (Moroni 7:47). As you seek for God's love, He will fill you up with it. This love is more powerful than anything I have ever felt. It is life and heart changing. Charity is "the love that Christ has for the children of men and that the children of men have for one another. [It is] the highest, noblest, strongest kind of love, not merely affection" (Charity).

The prophet Joseph Smith said, "A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race" (Bishop Keith B. McMullin). When we feel and then are filled with the love of God, it enables us to keep trying, keep serving, keep hoping, and in so doing, we want others to feel this amazing love. So, we then go forth and help others, lift others, and this love continues to grow within us and for us. God's love for us is truly awesome.

Even though I don't understand "why" or "how come" of everything, I say to you (and myself), God loves you more than words can express. This I testify.