Sunday, October 31, 2010

Who are you?

I am so glad that Halloween has come and gone! I just can’t stand it. I’m not sure why. Alright, maybe it’s because I gain ten pounds as I inhale miniature candy bars by the fist full, or maybe it has something to do with the annual argument with my son. He doesn’t understand why I don’t want him dressing up as something like Satan’s Guardian. Hmm. Someday he’ll get it.
This year, during Trick or Treat time, it was pouring rain, and the neighborhood kids were bundled up in coats. However, this did not detour them, or their soggy parents. They were still determined to get their candy. As they came to our door, my husband would say to them things like, “Who are you?”, “What are you supposed to be?”
I got to thinking about this. Imagine how it was from my perspective. I couldn’t see the children, just heard them answer my husband’s questions. They would answer, in excited tones,”I’m Harry Potter”, “I’m a witch”, “I’m a zombie”, “I’m a lady bug.” etc.
I know it sounds strange to compare Trick or Treating with spiritual things, but it brought to mind another meeting. When we knock at his door, what will be our response to Heavenly Father’s similar questions? Will we be able to say, “I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.”, “I am polished by adversity.”, “I am changed by the grace of the atonement.”, “I am clean.”, or “I am yours, Father.”? Will we be excited to enter his presence, and receive all that he has, because we have repented, stretched spiritually, consecrated ourselves and our lives and received Christ’s image in our countenances?
I invite you to evaluate your current responses to the questions my husband asked our neighborhood children: “Who are you? What are you supposed to be?” Because our lives are different, each of us will have different answers. But, our goal is the same- to become like Christ. In this process, we need not pretend to be something other than who we are- children of Father in Heaven. We need no artificial disguises of righteousness. We need only to become righteous, or more so, more charitable, more humble, more malleable, and more like Christ.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Don't give up!

I recently made a new friend, and her story breaks my heart. I long to comfort her, and take away her sorrow. But, that is something only the Savior can completely do. Speaking about trials, she writes: “I was taken away from my parents when I was only 3 days old. I was found by authorities with a broken collar bone and had not been fed or changed for days. I was placed in a foster home for 3 years. I don't know how or why I was returned to my parents but I was. At the age of 5 my parents divorced and I went with my mother never to see my father again until the age of 18. My mother was the youngest child of 10 and she moved me down to her family. I had my problems looking back at a very young age and no one helped me or asked me why. In the first grade I can remember stealing from other kids. This behavior stayed with my thru out my school career. At the age of 7 to 17 I was sexually abused by many men. Starting with my mothers boyfriends. The major of my abuse came from my mother’s older brother. His abuse was daily and I didn't know if I was going to make it to school or not. My mother was the physically abusive to me. I looked too much like my father and therefore I deserved to be hit every time she walked by me. I finally told my mother about my abuse at age 15. She did nothing to keep me safe and because I had told I was an outcast in my family. I removed myself from my home at the age of 17 and that was the day that I feel apart and have been that way ever since. It's hard to explain but it was like the day I left is the day I died. I know longer had to fight for my life daily because the threat was gone however that is all I knew how to do. I stop living that day. I have struggled every since. I wasn't raised in any church matter of fact just the opposite. The adversary was a mighty force in our family. I joined The Church of Latter-Day Saints 12 years ago. Many people would say that I have come along way since they met me but I don't see it. I have never allowed anyone to get to close to me and that even includes Heavenly Father and the Savior. I long for it but am scared of the unknown. Your book has encouraged me to start changing my attitude and looking to find Holy Places in my life.

Although our challenges or different they are somewhat the same as they both lead us to the Savior and his Healing Power. I look forward to learning more about Grace. Boy do I need that one in my life. Thank you for letting me share with you part of my story. It's only part of my story because I'm just now learning and believing that the Savior can play a major role in healing me. So I will have to write back on the rest of my story.”

If this hits a little close to home for you, please know that you are worth loving and that healing is available through Jesus Christ and his atonement. Making and then keeping covenants with Heavenly Father will bring meaning and purpose to the struggles we face.

It isn’t fair that my new friend, and many, many others, are put into such difficult life situations, but this life isn’t about fairness. This life is about finding Christ and allowing him to help us grow and stretch until we are able to rest with him in a better world. There is a place where no hurt or physical or emotional damage will be done to us. There is a place where we will find joy, acceptance and real, pure love. There is a place prepared for you and me where mortality can do no more harm. The way to find this place is through the Way. It is the Way. Jesus really is the Christ. For me, this means that he is there to save, carry and love me every day. He is there to give me courage and strength when I have neither. He is the one who has already suffered for my sins and is anxious for me to repent and find peace. He is there to lead me back to the Father.

Don’t give up, my friend, and those friends whose stories I don’t know. Don’t give up the battle to live a Christ centered life. He will help. I know it. He loves you perfectly.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Good Gift

I have had a few months where I have felt pretty horrible physically. I am doing better now, but for a while, my doctors had no clue what was wrong. In fact, I had three of them say to me, “I don’t know what to do with you.” Isn’t that a fun diagnosis?
One day, while I was lying in bed feeling yucky and discouraged, my little boy came in to lay by me. As we were talking, he said that he wished I could still see. I agreed. Then he changed his outlook and said,” But, seeing blackness is a good gift.” I smiled at this one. He then patted my arm and said something that melted my heart, “You are a good gift, Momma.” Isn’t that darling?
My son’s simple comments that day, not only lifted my sad heart, but helped me look for the “good gift(s)” in my life. Even seeing blackness is a gift because it means I am still alive to care for my cute little family- even when they drive me crazy.
If you are reading this, you are a good gift! You really are. You are alive to do the Father’s will for you. If you are discouraged, like I was, look for those good gifts in your life. They might even be the things that get you down.