A place to share struggles and triumphs, a place to bless and serve - but never a place to murmur or complain. 

Monday, December 31, 2007

At Peace with Yourself

A thought just crossed my mind - it is simple, but profound. You cannot truly have a "peaceable walk with the children of men" until you have made peace with yourself. An important factor in the service and love that we share with one another is our motivation. For me, today, this means that my messy after vacation house is not a reflection of my worth as a person. For me, today, this means that I can allow my children time to decompress and have a little fun while I'm cleaning the messy house. For me, today, this means that I can look forward to the New Year with hope and excitement without the need to berate myself for the failures of the past year. It means that I can look to the growth that came to me and say with honesty, "I like who I am Now and though I wouldn't want to go through it again, I wouldn't want those struggles to be removed from my life." That's what it means to me to be at peace with myself on a day to day basis.
When we truly feel that we are enough, as imperfect as we are, our service can be truly Christlike. Striving to feel the love that Our Savior and Heavenly Father have for us, and to feel that deeply in our soul also leads us to recognize the love that They have, in turn, for our brothers and sisters. We will serve out of pure love, rather than "because we will be better for it." We will give out of a desire to make life better for our brothers and sisters (whether we know them or not), rather than the desire to "keep the commandments." The precious understanding of Their undying love for us can make every part of our life more bearable, more wonderful, more peaceful.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Look Up!

My Dad recently gave me a blessing and counseled me to pour my heart out to the Lord. I feel like I'm always talking to the Lord, but I need to find a time a place when focus more on what I'm telling him, and really think about what I'm telling him, too. I had one of those days last Saturday. Not out of the normal for me right now - just a huge struggle when I wasn't expecting a huge struggle. It was heavy on my heart. Still brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. Anyway, I was headed into Wal-Mart for some last minute groceries, my head was dropped low. I was trying not to cry. I heard that voice in my heart - "Look up." I'm thinking, "I know - the lovely blue sky with white fluffy clouds always makes me smile. . ." but then again - "Look UP."
Right there, just like on any other Wal-Mart in the world "Open 24 hours." I remembered my Dad's blessing, and then I hear. "I'm here for you."
Funny how the Lord can use those little every day things to teach us the most powerful of lessons, isn't it?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Strength from Failure

It was early fall in 2001. Life was very demanding. I was due with my fourth little guy in a couple of months, and I was a newly-called, very inexperienced Primary president. My husband was beginning full-time school in a few days, in addition to his regular job. Our marriage was strained. My husband kept reassuring me that he would love the baby when he was born but he was not excited about the pregnancy. He was in a new job, with stress up to his eyeballs. Instead of having me there to take up the slack, I was needing him to do the same. It was a heavy load for both of us.
My mom and I were visiting, folding laundry when the doorbell rang. It was a member of the Bishopric. My mom went to a different part of the house, while Lewis and I spoke to him. He was there to issue a new calling to my husband: counselor in the YM presidency. My heart sank. My husband had held that calling for years, and this had been my first break from being a scout widow. He always put incredible time and energy into that calling. He left every month on a camp out, every Wednesday for scouts. We were asked if we could accept this calling. Our smiles were forced, our eyes tight when we nodded. You never turn down a calling, right? Never.
I explained to this kind brother that we had just begun childbirth classes, every Wed. night for the next month or so. It was our 4th child, but I was desperate to have my husband invested in the process. It meant everything to me. He said that was fine, he could miss a month. We explained that he was beginning night classes, that he would be gone almost every other evening. He smiled and nodded again. Then he left.
I was numb. My mom was breathless with horror for me. She couldn't believe that this would be asked of us. She told me of a similar experience she'd had when she needed to turn down a calling. With great compassion, she advised me to do the same. She knew our situation, the bishop didn't. I didn't know what to do. I'd never, ever turned down a calling, I'd never even wanted to! I was always happy to do whatever was asked of me.
I cried a lot the next few days. When I would pray, I felt comfort, but no definite direction. My husband would hold me, and tell me it would be hard, but he thought we would be blessed for it. It got worse for me. I just knew that when the time came for him to be set apart, the Bishop would place his hands on my husband's head, then take them off again, telling us there had been a mistake. On the other hand, I had such terrible feelings about it that I knew I couldn't even be in the room for it. I cried, and I cried.
Finally, my husband agreed and let me call the Bishop, and tell him we'd changed our minds. It was hard for him, and I knew I'd let him down. I made the call, and the Bishop was very disappointed. He made it very clear that he wished we had not made this decision.
I was devastated, but I still couldn't see how we could have done it. I was plagued by guilt, sure in the knowledge that I had undercut my husband's growth. Time passed, the baby was born. I got my feet under me as a Primary president. My husband's schedule was brutal. He was driven too hard with all his responsibilities. It really depleted him as a person. I repented though, oh how I repented. I was so sorry for failing what I had come to understand was a critical test.
One day, about a year later, I was feeling the weight of my mistake. I was still heartsick and wanted comfort. I opened the scriptures, randomly flipping. Then words leaped out of the page at me.
It was Alma chapter 49
3. Behold, I said that the city of Ammonihah had been rebuilt...because the Lamanites had destroyed it once because of the iniquity of the people, they supposed that it would again become an easy prey for them.
4. But behold how great was their disappointment; for behold, the Nephites had dug up a ridge of earth round about them, which was so high that the Lamanites could not cast their stones and their arrows at them that they might take effect, neither could they come upon them save it was by their place of entrance.
I understood that I was the city of Ammonihah. I had been knocked to the ground because of my weakness and my lack of faith. But I had been rebuilt, and through my experience and increased faith, I would never again repeat that mistake. My walls were so high that I was secure. The Lord knew it, and he wanted me to know that he did. I felt such relief. A short time later, my husband was extended the same calling. I was happy, overjoyed to accept.
Most of the time, our church responsibilities are pretty convenient to our schedules. They don't ask anything of us that really, truly hurts. But sometimes they do. It happened with our ancestors, with Abraham too. I think it will happen at least once to each of us. I wasn't ready the first time. It hurt us. There were consequences of my failure in the coming years that I could never have foreseen on the day I called the Bishop. I understand now, that his disappointment was because of the sorrow he knew would come to us because to our decision.
The great thing is, is that we've paid the price. Our walls are strong now, maybe even stronger than if we had not made that mistake. I will never, never turn down another calling. I will never, ever undercut my husband again. I send him out the door with a smile, whatever the time. We need our husbands. We need their help, but when it comes to Priesthood responsibilities, we need them strong. And we need to be strong for them.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Some of My Ideas for this "Place"

This is all happening so fast, and at such a crazy time. I just want to put these things down onto "paper" so that I don't forget them. I'd love to have enough people involved so that we could have specialists in many areas - Women who'd be willing to take on more specialized areas of focus and responsibility for the group. (Talk about vision, as I write, it's just myself and EarlGirl.) For example, I could easily take on Spiritual Questions, especially where it concerns self worth, the Spirit, the scriptures, etc. These are strengths for me. However, I'm personally I'm no expert in physical fitness - so I'd love to find someone out there that is - and who'd be willing to answer questions from others about it. Needless to say, I'm hoping to find women who are "feeling a call" or a need to help others in a personal way. Do you want to uplift, to strengthen and bless others because your heart draws you to it? Are you just not quite sure how to find the people that need you? I know that's me. I think this could be the perfect forum for that.

We could divide it many different ways, but here are some ideas:

Some categories could branch off. For example, there's room in Physical for Nutrition, Exercise, General Health, Illness (including serious illness of self or family members) . . . among other things. There is room in Exercise for Running, Yoga, Weight Training. . .

The possibilities are endless. We could have accountability groups as well, if the specialists, or others are willing to give the extra time. So many could benefit from the friendship and support.

Whatever your talent is - get it out from under that bushel and dust it off! Let's find out just how much we can really do for each other!

And yes, can you tell? I'm getting a little bit excited about those endless possibilities. Please feel free to contact me with any ideas, questions, willingness to engage yourself in this good cause.

Cleave unto Charity - a work in progress

I love these verses. Mostly because I'm not there yet - and because when I see people working toward this in their own lives, it inspires me to no end.

Moroni 7 : 45-48

45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.