Begin Again

Again, the spirit has called and called me here to write and to share. Again and again I allowed myself to get caught up in things that distracted me. Now, here I am with a six-month-old baby wishing I had been recording my spiritual insights and experiences here all along and kicking myself for not doing this day after day.

Today I begin again. Because the day I walked into Niki Mantyla’s class nearly three years ago and the day she announced that our final for the class would be a blog discussing something that changed our lives (the very blog you are reading) I knew this was the message Heavenly Father wanted me to share. The joy I had in my heart would grow and grow each time I did.

I promise not to be like Chemish and Amaron. I will not blow my chance to bless a life and say nothing of value or be arrogant in my comments. I will do all I can to give my readers something useful, something good, something beneficial to think on and learn from.

I promise not to be like Chemish and Amaron. I will not blow my chance to bless a life and say nothing of value or be arrogant in my comments.

Today I want to begin by sharing the thought I had while listening to Mormon Channel Talk Radio. Yes, this is a thing I do several days a week if I ever know I am going to be home for a while and have no place to go or nothing pressing that day. I listen when I need a little spiritual upliftment. I listen when my scripture study was cut short by things like feeding the baby or changing the baby or playing with the baby. You catch my drift. At any rate, I highly recommend that anyone try listening. Each day is filled with conference talks, Mormon Messages, programs produced by the church and the Mormon Channel. The content is fabulous and trust me you will thank yourself for listening.

I love how the spirit can make any talk, any scripture, any discussion relevant and so very personal to each of us if we are seeking to receive it. Today I had the restoration on my mind since this is the theme for April in Young Women’s. I received several thoughts and direction due to segments today. I was excited and grateful to look further into the promptings I received. Then later as I was putting the baby to sleep, I overheard a piece of a BYU speech from Elder Holland that gave me much to reflect on. The quote, “When suffering, we may in fact be nearer to God than we’ve ever been in our entire lives. That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would-be temple.” 

This quote was especially powerful today because I have a dearly loved sister who is going through an excruciating experience and I have had a hard time finding the words to express comfort to her. Last night, I found myself on the phone with her explaining how I will sometimes look for others are in much worse situations than I am to help me find the good in difficult times. When I was going through my divorce, I would read holocaust novels. When we spent ten days with Chloe in the NICU I would think of parents who were not able to hold or take their babies home from the hospital. Last night it was a tale of a friend who endured something similar but without the support and companionship of a loving husband.

“When suffering, we may in fact be nearer to God than we’ve ever been in our entire lives. That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would-be temple.”

As I was listening to Elder Holland’s speech today, it hit me that maybe the reason we do this is that as we look for examples of suffering greater than ours, we will ultimately be lead to the perfect example who is Jesus Christ, who suffered more than any other human ever has or ever will. He suffered so that we would not have to, and when we give our pain, disappointment, discouragement, suffering and doubts over to him, we will learn as Elder Holland says, “every experience can become a redemptive experience if we remain bonded to our Father in Heaven through it.

. . . maybe the reason we do this is that as we look for examples of suffering greater than ours, we will ultimately be lead to the perfect example who is Jesus Christ . . .

These difficult lessons teach us that man’s extremity is God’s opportunity, and if we will be humble and faithful, if we will be believing and not curse God for our problems, He can turn the unfair and inhumane and debilitating prisons of our lives into temples—or at least into a circumstance that can bring comfort and revelation, divine companionship and peace.”

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith even said that perhaps such sufferings have to happen—not only can they happen, perhaps they have to. Regarding the events that took place at Liberty Jail, he said:

“As I have read the history of those days, the days that went before and days that came after, I have reached the conclusion that the hardships, the persecution, the almost universal opposition [toward the Church at that time] were necessary. At any rate they became school teachers to our people. They helped to make [them] strong.

I testify that this is true. I know that the challenging times we have in this life are all there to give us experience. Everything that we survive becomes our teacher, helping us to help others, to have empathy and compassion and a deeper understanding. It is my prayer that I will be able share this hopeful message with any of you who may be suffering. I urge you to listen to the words of Elder Holland, yes all 45 minutes of it, and I promise you will be uplifted and edified. Christ will carry you through your most difficult times if you reach up, he will take your hand. I know this to be true and I leave this testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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