Monday, April 29, 2013

Feeling My Imperfections

I read D&C 50:40-42 lately and rewrote it to personalize it to myself.

"I am a little child and I can't bear all things now; I must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth...Fear not, little child, for I am His and He has overcome the world...and none of us, that the Father hath given to Christ, shall be lost."

I can find strength in this scripture because when I am discouraged I must remember NOT to try to bear everything all at once.  I must give myself the time and patience I deserve to grow.

I keep having to learn the same lessons over and over again and I get tired.
I'm tired!

I want to be able to live joyfully from day to day, doing my mediocre tasks happily and spending worthwhile time with my children.  Far too often my kids seem to be wasting away their time while I am elsewhere wasting away mine.  I want to be the kind of mom that cherishes every moment and takes advantage of it because I know it passes far too quickly.  But I'm tired.  Moments pass and I don't cherish them.  I don't hold my kids close enough.  I can't hold them close enough to stop time.  I can't, and they wouldn't appreciate it if I tried.

I want to be a different kind of mom.  But I'm only me.  And so I must look to God to build up the best of "me" there is and add to it.  Otherwise I truly feel I will fail.  So, Lord, help me.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

New Thoughts from the Old Bible

I found this scripture recently and decided to dress it up and now it's in a frame above my computer desk.  It's a friendly reminder to me of what I'm striving for in my home and in my self.

Stress can get the better of me sometimes.  Times are really tough and whenever I sit and look at our finances it is so easy to get caught up in the what-if's and the oh-no's and the I-can't-do-anything's...but then I remember the last part of this.  Rejoice in hope!  Even a little ray of hope is worth rejoicing over.  And I also remember this talk from the last conference by Bruce D. Porter.  It was a great reminder to fear not!

This past weekend we had a local street fair where local businesses set up booths for people to walk along and support one another.  I went partly because my son's dance class had a booth and were planning a dance party/performance that afternoon.  Along the street there was a woman advertising for positive thinking classes and workshops.  Her little reminder about positive thinking bringing positive results and good things coming to those who are optimistic and waiting for good things, well, it was rather timely for me.

Coming back to this little scripture I decorated, well, I didn't even realize my one little word was a part of this either.  Rule with diligence.  Makes me want to smile actually.  How many times have I wanted to give up ruling my household with my three little gremlins running around destroying everything.  Deep breathes.  Be diligent.

Every part of this strikes me as a new way of thinking.  Which is odd, because old is the bible?  But giving simply is such a neat and wonderful idea in our modern world where everything is subject to embellishment and undervalued without the bells and whistles on display.  But really, it's always the most simple gifts that mean the most.

And mercy.  I'd never really thought about how showing mercy could be a cheerful thing.  Sometimes being merciful means being forgiving even when the offender isn't even that sorry.  It can be really hard to be cheerful when showing mercy, I think.  But I think there is something quite godlike and angelic about being merciful with a smile on my face.  It's really kicking out that natural man in a way I had never contemplated before.

To be fervently  Well, fervently.  It makes me think of a bright or hot flame.  The dictionary says fervently means having or showing great warmth or intensity of spirit, feeling, enthusiasm; ardent, passionate.  Wow.  Serving fervently seems pretty neat.  And I didn't even realize how much the yellow color I used for that adds to the meaning.  I love how sometimes it seems like I am guided without even knowing it.  I love it when I am shown in God's synchronicities that He has a plan for me.

Dissimulation means hypocrisy.  So to love without any pretense, feigning nothing.  Just honestly loving.  On the surface, this may seem like an easy thing in the home.  But under the surface I think sometimes everyone struggles with that.  Being genuinely kind and loving to someone.  Showing love without pretending or trying too hard.  Being unconditional and letting go of expectations.

So much from just one little scripture.  Those words are truly from God as a gift to us to help us along the way.  What a powerful thing language is.  Definitions of word expounding on our understanding and knowledge of the truth.  Just utterances that could at one point be meaningless but when paired with ideas and given meaning and then put together in sentences...awe.  Ok I'm letting that grammary-English-passion-of-the-dorks person out again.  (Glimpse into the real me...gheesh.)  I'll leave you to your own thoughts. :)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

ReEvaluating My One Little Word

Ok so...I got carried away with the whole Service thing.

I've been thinking about it, and I don't think it was a good choice for my One Little Word this year.  Hey, it's a great idea - and it probably would work for someone else.  But, you see...I sort of have an issue with being prone to...codependency.  Ya know, trying to serve others to the point that I'm not living my own life at all?  Yeah...not really the best idea for me.

During this last General Conference, Stanley G. Ellis, from the seventy I believe, spoke about The Lord's Way.  It was a great talk to listen to, and actually struck a chord with me about what I wrote in my last post.  But reading it now it has even more in it then listening to it.  I really liked the part where he talks about how we must govern ourselves.  "The irony is that even now we have faithful Church members everywhere who would go anywhere the prophet asked them to go.  Do we really expect President Monson to individually tell more then 14 million of us where our family is needed?  The Lord's way is that we hearken to our leaders' teachings, understand correct principles, and govern ourselves."  Awesome. :)

Anyway, there are so many links to scriptures about the Lord's guidance in how we should live our lives.  But the part that pertains to my One Little Word: Service, was the part where he referenced the Lord's way to help.

First scripture referenced was Mosiah 4:21-27, which is all about imparting our substance and stuff...but the part that struck me most was the last verse: "And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.  And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order." (emphasis added)

I'd read this scripture before, and people make reference to it at church all the time, but I hadn't ever read it directly after reading about imparting of your substance.  I'd never put the two together.  But that's the way it is!  I shouldn't leave my kids every day to help someone else get their home in order.  I can't let my own world fall apart while building up someone elses world.

I lost myself in service for a while.

That's all well and good, but I need to get my priorities in order again and start putting other things first - including myself!

I read Alma 7:23 "I would that ye should be humble, be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive."

Of all the things in this scripture, I could point to one I could work on most right now.  So here's what I'm going to do.  I'm swapping my One Little Word to:


So, I think this is better for me.  The dictionary says diligence is a constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body and mind - a degree of care and caution required by circumstances.

I'd never though about how being diligent to the Lord's commandments would also mean to be cautious and careful as well as being constant and persistent.  This is a good thing for me.

So, what can I do to start working on being more diligent?

*Praying Always: I need to remember to fall on my knees out of bed first thing in the morning.  Then pray throughout the day for the guidance in my efforts to serve others while keeping priorities straight.

*Study Scripture and Conference Talks:  I can read a scripture every morning with my little scriptures app.  Then listen to conference talks.  Read scriptures nightly to my kids, and since these are things I'm already trying to do, let's add one more.  See if I can fit one more session of study somewhere in the day where I actually sit and read for me.

*Being diligent in the commandments: honesty, tithing, church callings, etc.  Really dedicate myself to it!

*Lastly, my parenting and homemaking.  More dedication!  Do it more.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I'm Stubborn...What Are the Desires of My Heart?

I was struggling with received criticism lately.  I kept thinking to myself that I hadn't really done anything wrong and the person who had approached me may have been the only one offended and it was her fault.  There is no reason for me to explain why that wasn't sitting well on my conscience and I kept dwelling on it.  That stubborn streak within me has come out a few times lately, actually.

I went to the temple shortly after receiving this criticism.  Which was, actually, really good timing for me, even though it wasn't my own plan and others just happened to push me in that direction.  As I sit in the chapel area waiting for sessions to begin, I've created the habit to read in the scriptures they usually have available.  So I did this.  I knew I wasn't feeling close to the spirit at the moment and needed to make things feel right again somehow.  At times like that, I like to open the book up randomly and let it just speak to me.  So that's what I did.

The word "peace" jumped off the page at me, but I was being stubborn, like I said, so I about the other page.  I'll begin reading over there.  (Kind of dumb, huh...but *sighs* that's me.)  So I read the next page all the way to the bottom, then went back to the first page and read from the top.  I still hadn't really gotten anything that spoke to my soul until I once again came to the verse containing the word "peace" in it.  I finally conceded.

It was D&C 105:38-41 (I had read section 106 first...)
This is an indirect quote:
Sue for peace, not only to those who've smitten [me] but to all.  Proclaim peace! Propose peace...according to the voice of the spirit and all things shall work together for my good.  Therefore, be faithful and behold and lo, I am with you even unto the end.

I had been wanting to lash out to protect myself in a some sort of fight of flight knee-jerk reaction.  Now in reading this, I decided I needed to just let it go, and so I could return to a good state of mind and acceptance to the person who'd hurt me.  Immediately when I did this, it opened my eyes to the truthfulness in the criticism I'd received!  Now I can take it for what it's worth, learn from it, and move forward productively.

Later, I was studying Alma 7:23
"I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive"

It struck me that these godlike traits and qualities: humility, patience, gentleness are CHOICES first.  I think perhaps all godlike qualities begin that way. Because we are not godly, of course, because naturally we are manlike and the natural man is far from being godlike.  So, if we want to develop qualities like that, we have to begin with the choice to be that way.  It isn't easy because it isn't natural.  It takes practice to develop these things into habit and then hopefully it can become a talent.

Last week, I was being truly harrowed up by things going on in the world right now.

I love people.  I just do.  It's maybe a godlike quality I was blessed with as a talent that just came with me.  I've been blessed and burdened with charity for others, and having that is something I value very much, but sometimes I've found it can handicap my judgement about some things.  I've been hurt, and sometimes I've been very wrong.

Facebook exploded with things about marriage equality lately.  It had been something I'd been contemplating about for over a year.  I struggle with it because my church does not support marriage equality.  I understand why the church doesn't.  I believe in what my church believes in.  Marriage is between a man and a woman, and is a beautiful and sacred thing in the eyes of God.  However, I love my friends and family members who want to be loved and have relationships and cannot do so without leaving the church behind.  It's been a struggle for me from the very beginning.

I know from personal experience that these people are good and God loves them because there would be no way He possibly would not.  I believe they have a place and it's beyond my mortal understanding.  But I know God has a place for them.

I believe in letting others find their place by whatever means they choose.  I am not in charge of other people.  God is.  He knows each person individually and He knows them and can take care of them and guide them to where they need to be.  But it's not up to me.  I also don't believe it's up to any politicians or government officials to decide.  This is why I decided to support marriage equality.

That exploded.

Of course I have many friends who did not see things the same way.  I have friends who did, yes.  But everyone's views are tainted by something and I just felt like I was floating in a bunch of biased articles and information as I continued to research the church's viewpoint as well as what other people said.  Even LDS people.

The more I stuck to what I said, the more horrible I began to feel, the more reading I did...and the further I felt I was pushing something good away.  I hated it.  I didn't want to go back on what I believed in.  I didn't want to betray other beliefs.  I was so conflicted.  Then I had a REALLY BAD day where everything felt upside down and just plane wrong.

I had a visit from a friend that day.  She is not LDS, but she is very devout and believes in true principles.  I expected her to take a side and give me a lecture the same way my Facebook friends had done.  The same way I had been doing to my Facebook friends.  Sadly.

But she didn't.  She stood there listening to me talk about my inner conflict and frustrations and responded with simply saying: It's not between you and your friends or even between you and your church.  It's between you and God, and it looks to me like you need to do some real praying to set things right between you and God.  No one else can tell you that.

I had been afraid to pray.  Actually, sort of avoiding it.  I would say my prayers, and once in a while feel that little push to pray about this subject, but I always would push it away.  Because I was scared of the answers I would receive.  I was afraid that God would tell me I was wrong.  I felt like I had to be right.  My loved ones deserve happiness the same as anyone.

I decided the entire Facebook discussion was driving the spirit away from me.  So I backed down and ended all discussions on the topic on Facebook.  I was not helping anyone by sharing my stubborn spirit with other people.  In fact, I was probably feeding the adversary's plan.  It makes me want to cry to even admit that.

But the truth is, I am right to an extent.  My homosexual friends and family members are indeed children of God and God loves them.  They deserve all happiness.  They deserve to be embraced and loved and fulfilled in life.  But having marriage with someone of the same sex, as much as it may seem to be the answer, will not in fact bring them the happiness they crave.  I wish it were that simple.  I wish they could just find a spouse and get married and live happily ever after.

But that is a fairy tale that doesn't exist.  Even for a straight person!  Marriage was not the happily ever after fairy tale ending for me, and I don't know anyone who would say they had one either when they were married.  It wouldn't be that way for a homosexual either.

I then read this article which helped me see the issue a little clearer from a non-religious perspective.

The entire thing breaks my heart.  Because I truly love these people and I know they are good.  I understand where they are coming from and why they are fighting so hard for the things they want in their lives.  But I honestly feel now that what they are fighting for so hard, while they believe it will bring them happiness, will in fact bring sadness...even at a catastrophic level.

I was being stubborn.  I didn't yield to the spirit.  Now that I have, it feels a lot better.  I'm more at home in my heart.  I will continue to support and love homosexuals.  Because they deserve finding every happiness in their lives.  But sometimes God's plan for that happiness is different then ours.  Sometimes following His will is harder then we can even imagine, because it goes against what we think is the best way.  But He sees all.  HE knows all.  All we have to do is trust in that and stop being stubborn.  Choose humility.  Choose gentleness.  Choose to be patient.  Sue for peace.