Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Day 264 of 365 days of Solace: God of Second Chances!

Our puppy when we first got her.
Seen in the arms of a small 6 yr old.
Last night as I was picking up in the kitchen I was growing increasing sad about a personal insecurity involving a current life experience.

Around this time I looked over at our beautiful puppy/teen dog asleep in her kennel. She just looked so adorable and my heart was strangely filled with love for her!

Our puppy 7 months later!!!
Seen in the arms of my 5'8" daughter! 
I did something I never have done before. I went over and opened her kennel to pet her soft cream and tan fur. She laid her head and paws out of the kennel and just enjoyed my scratching her behind her ears and under her chin. When I finished, she ("Sunny") was mildly resistant to going back to bed, but she climbed back in as I closed the door for the night.
Same daughter with the same doggy just 7 months earlier!

As I turned to walk off, I realized something. For those few minutes I felt happy as I petted and loved
on her adorableness, and I'd even forgotten what I'd been thinking about. "Wow!" I thought, "So that's why people have dogs. To help with sadness or depression." It was fascinating to see how a simple, loving act could alter my mood!

I am generally a very happy person, but I do have to keep my mood in check. Last night was one of those kind of nights.

As melancholy feelings set in again, after petting Sunny, I did everything in my power to fight them off! I prayed, read my scriptures and wrote careful notes in my journal as to why I think I was beginning to feel less happy than usual.

I needed to analyze the thought processes and try to catch and alter (through positive, hopeful words) any unhealthy thought patterns which would lead me to feeling sadness and apathy for my many blessings.

I don't like feeling that way, and I will always put up a fight at the first sign of sadness! I knew I could have put on a movie, played music, eat cookies or ice cream!, but those things are generally band-aides to console the symptom of pain, not treat the wound for real and eventual healing. I chose to be spiritually proactive at this time, even if the other way would have been easier.

My prayerful and reflective journal writing helped me to understand what insecurity was influencing my mood. The only problem is that I felt my reasoning was not overly unhealthy, but plausibly justifiable! Meaning--maybe there was a good reason to be concerned over my concern!


As I wrote I had a song come to my thoughts, "Someone Is Listening When you Pray", and I was not only reminded that a deeply compassionate God is very aware of my feelings, but that it is important to remember that I must walk with faith, not always being able to understand the answers to some questions--no matter how important I think those answers are at the time! (I must trust His perfect timing!) 





So I went to bed without the answers, and took comfort that Heavenly Father knew me, his daughter, and that my life is in His hands. I hoped that getting some sleep would help my mood.


When I woke up to a quiet house I was surprised to hear that in my thoughts the song was blaring, "Do you believe God's love is true, that you know what you should do...God is a God of second chances." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj-7_HUa2kY

I realized that my sadness was gone! I happily jumped out of bed and went in and greeted my sleeping boys with a "Goodmorning, Goodmorning. It's a wonderful morning" song! Today is my second chance!




I hope you find things to feel grateful for today.
I hope that if you are feeling sad or worried that you will do all the positive things in your power to alter your mood for the better. 

I hope you will ultimately allow the power of Christ's atonement to help heal you.


Some healing doesn't come immediately, or quickly, but I KNOW that healing will ultimately come if we look to God and allow him to guide us through the choices of our earthly experience.

Know that even when you feel sad, that you can have the peace of God to help you through any darkness.

Do your best! Give God the rest!

I am thankful for God's compassion, and for music that fills this world with beauty and testament of His love for each one of us.

Look Up! "There is HOPE and Happiness Ahead." (Jeffrey R. Holland)

God Gives all of US second Chances!

Much Love,
Christine

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Day 262 of 365 days of Solace: An early Wake-up call!

Last night I went to bed quite late because I was trying to make last nights post as clear, scripturally sound, and as near error free as possible! In truth I kept seeing errors or thinking of how to reword my intricate wording, and consequently I didn't go to bed until about 2:15 am! I wasn't too worried though. I know I could sleep in on this wonderful day of Saturday, as there was no church or school to wake up earlier for.

At 7:50 I got an early (for me!) wake up call from God. Into my very sleep brain I heard, "Wake up, wake up you sleepy head! Get up, get up get out of bed!" I wanted to ignore it, but I have vowed to God that my life is his, and if he wanted me to be awake then I would be. I'll do whatever He asks of me.

I prayed to know what to do, but I had no thought. I did see my husband wasn't in bed sleeping. Not a big surprise because he's an "early bird" and I'm a "night owl!" But I decided to go see what he was doing.

I searched the house, but I did not find him, until I went down the stairs to the basement. You won't
be able to imagine this, and I wish I'd taken a photo!, but there was my husband sitting on the couch, his hands to his head in frustration, and he looked a lot like the millers daughter from the children's classic story of Rumplstiltskin! (You can read that story here if you'd like: http://www.grimmstories.com/en/grimm_fairy-tales/rumpelstiltskin )

As soon as I saw him I knew why God had woken me, but just to make sure I quietly asked, "Did you want some help?" I was hoping he'd say no, and then I could go back to bed! :))

Briant said with concern, "I'm glad you are here. I didn't know how to get started on all these clothes. We need to get rid of a lot to the D.I. (a thrift shop). We have too many clothes, and the boys are making a mess in their room." My husband had a valid point. Our 7 and 9 year old love to dig through their clothes finding the perfect outfit.

I agreed to help and I sat down and began sorting. By the end of the day we had 4 large black trash bags ready to donate to D.I.! It took many hours of studying, sorting, and separating, but we finally had achieved a big feat of tackling an accumulations of too many clothes for 7 people. (In part because we experience extreme seasons where we live) But whatever the reason it felt great to accomplish that, and then to take it to the thrift store, along with a big lazy-boy recliner chair just taking up space!

I know my husband was grateful to have me there, and I was thankful to be there taking part in an errand of the Lord. He knew my husband was feeling overwhelmed at tackling this room full of clean laundry that we just didn't have space for!

I am thankful for my husband working hard in the house today and yesterday. I have some health issues that make energy and movement challenging at times, but with Briant's help, and the help of God, I was able to accomplish some great things today!

I need to get to bed now. Church is tomorrow, and it's one of my favorite days of the week!
If you want to experience church as I do, please find a Mormon Meeting house near you. Everyone is welcome! No matter your age, color, language, or lifestyle. You will always be welcomed! And the cool thing is that we dot the earth, as seen only in part here! :)  https://www.lds.org/maps/meetinghouses/


Take Care,
Christine



Friday, November 25, 2016

Day 261 of 365 days of Solace: Johnny Lingo, lessons, and Love

Tonight I showed my children a movie they have not seen before. I own it, but wasn't sure I wanted to introduce the alcoholic father theme to them.

I asked my two youngest what happens when they drink alcohol. My newly turned 7 year old said, "They die." I explained that over time because it destroys the liver, but that is not what happens immediately.  

My 9 year old struggled to find the word, but then remembered it, "They get drunk."  "Yes," I replied, and I proceeded to talk about the effects of alcohol on the brain and body. 

I also talked about how people who make movies try to make it seems funny to see someone acting drunk, but that it really isn't funny because it's hurting the person, and it's very addictive.  Of course I talked about a few other things, like our religious belief in the "Mormon" church (The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints).

Some of you may think this is strange, but I want my children to enjoy the innocence of youth. I do not tell them all the lifestyles and choices live. Instead I focus on the blessings that come from living a life that is virtuous before Heavenly Father.  

Having values and Christ-based traditions will bless them as they grow and realize how much turmoil and confusion is in the world. If I do my part as a parent to loving teach and nurture them in the ways of Jesus Christ, they will indeed understand the blessings of this scripture which says:

"And we atalk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we bprophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our cchildren may know to what source they may look for a dremission of their sins.)" (2 Nephi 25:26)
 As my children get older they are going to understand more, and yes, lose their innocence to some degree.  I'm trying to do my best to help my children see the beauty and goodness in the world and in people, before they realize just how much sorrow exists.

This movie, The Legend of Johnny Lingo, was actually a perfect teaching tool.

 Afterward we talked about how this young boy and young girl didn't really know their true value or identity. They believed the lying words of what other said about them. They
internalized the cruelty, unkindness, circumstantial trials, and poverty, believing what these things seemed to teach them of their identity

In the end that boy grew to be someone of righteous power and influence and that girl was recognized as the most virtuous jewel of the island! Quite a turn around from their former circumstances

After the movie I had something of an epiphany as we had family scripture together. My daughter read for us in 1 Nephi 21 (compare to Isaiah 49) where it reads:

 And he hath made my mouth like a sharp asword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;
I got excited when I heard her read this verse and I had her go back and repeat it. I then explained it as I understand it. Which is is that Jesus Christ came to this earth and following the natural course of his mortal body he grew into manhood. From his youth he had a gift of speaking wisdom and understanding. (a "mouth like a sharp sword")

And yet, even in his wisdom those (with exception to a very few) around Jesus did not see him as for who He was-- the Messiah, who had come to save his people, and the world!

Instead His people tried to attach an identity to Christ, which was ordinary, such as when they asked,
"Is not this the acarpenter, the son of Mary, the bbrother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him."  (Mark 6:3 KJV)
Can you believe it?! They tried to label Christ's identity and value as nothing special, even worthless! 

And yet, in this process of growth and experience the Savior was figuratively in the "shadow," in that he was not initially recognized for WHO HE was (and IS!). His people did not recognize Him, nor identify the perfect, omniscient care of God, our Heavenly Father, who did kept Christ in the "shadow of His hand  (and) hid" Him. I believe that the Savior was protective so hidden.
If Heavenly Father had wanted His son to be more easily recognizable don't you think he would have created him to be born into a higher social standing, and given him the face and beauty of an angel. After all, the corruption of society basis value on beauty!

Wouldn't having status and beauty been an easy way to get the attention of the world?  Yes, surely! But those things would have impeded the real purpose of Christ's mission on earth. Christ was hidden in what seemed physical and social imperfection. He seemed to have all the odds against his success. And yet it was in fact those very odds which helped Christ to be "polished" and prepared for His redemptive, atoning sacrifice and crowning glory! 


Nothing easily gained can be truly treasured! Those who seek to know Christ and willingly face any sacrifice, sorrow and persecution in that endeavor, also know that part of treasuring Christ in our hearts is having paid the price to know and appreciate that sacred gift of testimony that He is the son of God, and our Savior and Redeemer!




When I read this segment "and made Christ a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid (Him)," I think about a rock polisher, which turns and grinds rocks in a small container and with fine grit intermixed with the rocks they rub, hit, and tumble into the other rocks and in the process are polished through what would seem a painful experience. 

But that tumbling and turning is what helps the rocks to become shiny and polished! I read about Christ's polishing and hiding to show that Christ was figuratively "polished, but also hidden away in the supreme creator's figurative warrior bag (represented by a weapon of war--an arrow in a quiver), and awaiting his warrior action on the front line. 



Now, I'm no expert in rocks or arrows, but imagine, if you will that The Creator, God the Father, has a quiver (bag/pouch/sack) filled with finely crafted, polished, sharpened arrows (representing men and women of
righteousness who fight off evil and influence others for good), but this uniquely special arrow spoken of in this verse is His son Jesus Christ was saved and hidden until our God, the divine warrior (so to speak), was ready to pull this arrow (His son) out of the quiver and put his marksmanship against evil to its ultimate aim---the freeing of His children from sin and damnation (being cut off from the presence of God).  Talk about the ultimate secret weapon against sin!!

As my daughter read this scripture I realized that applications of this singular verse compared not only to the movie, but my own life! 

Can you imagine a bag filled with strong, beautifully crafted arrows? Can you now imagine anyone in this world who has ever lived, or lived now, who is an arrow of God--straight, righteously beautiful, trustworthy, and focused on the sole duty of allowing God to aim and shoot wherever God points? Can you understand how Gods aim is perfect, and how he seems to know how to work with an arrow that is resistant or hesitant? Sometimes you may wonder why the arrow lands as it does, or why we find we've been shot into an
unpleasant place, and yet God in His perfect wisdom can create "beauty for ashes" (Isaiah 61:1–3)?! Just as He did with Christ, He too can do with us!

There is no "arrow" (person), as perfect as Jesus Christ, but I can certainly think of men 
and women who have blessed my life because they were willing to be carried in the quiver of God and let His perfect marksmanship point the way they should fly through the battlefield of life. 



Isn't it exciting to think that, like Christ, our lives may not initially seem of great value or purpose and yet we have a seedling of understanding that helps us feel that there is more to our existence that just barely surviving the trials of life, and then dying??!

Doesn't it make you consider how the cruely and unkindness of people and circumstance may actually be polishing you and I, and helping us protect us and polish us, so that we can ultimately "fill the measure of (our) creation"?! (compare to Doctrine and Covenants 49:17 and Doctrine and Covenants 88:19

The "measure" of our lives will never equally compare to the grand scale as Jesus Christ, but whatever good we do here on earth will affect the eternal significance of ourselves and others that we have positively influenced!


You and I are in the process of something great, but we need to look to God and let him teach us where he wants us to aim the unique gifts of quiver and arrows that he has given us stewardship over for our personalized journeys.


"You are not forgotten."
".... wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love."
"Just think of it: You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious Being in the universe! You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time!"
"He who created and knows the stars knows you and your name!" 
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/forget-me-not?lang=eng&_r=1 

As you look for the witnesses of God's love for you, I am certain that you will have a glimpse into knowing that you are LOVED and of GREAT WORTH!









To close with a quote from The Legend of Johnny Lingo: 

"....love is a most costly commodity. The more you are willing to pay, the more valuable the prize. The question is, are you willing to pay the price?" 
Let us all be willing to pay the price for true love. A love which protects, polishes, and points us heavenward!  

Christine





Thursday, November 17, 2016

Day 249 of 365 days of Solace: Simply Stated!

Dear (friend),

If I could write all I think and feel right now, it would not be on plain lined paper with only black pen, but instead it would be filled with colors, drawing, and flourishes. On MANY pages it would celebrate the spiritual thoughts and feelings of my heart with musical and artistic flair! But, as it stands I shall attempt to minimally share a few concepts and hope you will draw upon my past years of words to fill in the blanks with thoughts, feelings, and emotion. I think you have plenty of material to pull from! I hope that if you can't remember all the stories you will nonetheless remember my love and gratitude from Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost (and yes, for you). 
Wow! I LOVE this artists symbolic work. It moves
my soul! See more at"
http://www.rassouli.com/symbolic_paintings.htm

This journey has been bitter-sweet. There have been many tears, doubts, questions and anguish. And yet, for all the sorrow, there has been indescribable comfort, remarkable miracles and blessings, extra doses of spiritual outpouring of love, peace, and (now) happiness. I know that the tears will come again, but I intend to draw upon my lessons from the Lord, to help see me through all things.  

Here are some things I've learned through the tribulations of life: 

  • Even in the gospel family, and even when we are abundantly blessed with the Spirit, our mortal frailties and subjective feelings, biases, and points of reference affect every person's perspective of truth.
  • The Lord helps us learn at our own pace, and teaches us of His absolute truths at a pace perfect to our needs.
  • Even when there is larger truth to any given matter, the Lord will commonly only give us things relevant to our need to
     understand in moving forward. 


  • Seeing the big picture does not mean we are seeing the whole picture.
  • A person, no matter how beautiful in spirit, is still imperfect!
  • Even the heroes of the world (Except Jesus Christ) have shortcomings. (This gives me courage, and helps me see that I'm adequate!)
  • Social status doesn't define a person's capacity to influence and bless the lives of others.
  • Every person can play an important role in the kingdom of God, no matter how large or small their contribution.
  • Our influence for good is immeasurable to our view. (Amen to that! Because I know you have no true idea of how you've blessed me!:)
  • Love really is THE positive catalyst for all change of a person's soul.
  • My love and offering are acceptable to God, and sufficient to love and serve others, but only when I am using the support and grace of Christ's wings to bless, inspire, and sustain me.
The hand of God is visible in each day of my life from the deeply profound to the superficially mundane, if I am worthy and blessed with a vision beyond myself and beyond the moment. I never wish to take back the lessons of the years in my life because they are helping me to reach my potential. I feel only gratitude for life, even for the heartaches. And let's be honest, one of my heart aches is named (your name)! But I truly count you among my "many blessings" and "count (those) blessings and name them one by one!" (LDS Hymn #241) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fMjgS4vu4o


Photo of the original of this same letter. Lucky for you because I'm better at art than hand writing, unlike you!
P.S. And it was 4 handwritten pages, but only 1.5 typed pages. Impressive! :))

Even in your choice to be (what appears to me) to be formal and lacking your usual warmth, I hold out the hope that some friendships are enduring. :) I will respect your choices, but contrary to any words or any amount of silence-- I BELIEVE in YOU! And I am proud of you! I know you have made a big difference in this world. I know you will make many other wonderful and influential decisions in building up the kingdom of God on Earth!

You are a person of righteousness, which stands independent of (status). The seedling of your beauty came trailing with you before your birth, and before your (status), and I have no doubt you will continue to grow in "beauty like the sun
(Son)"! (Your (status) just afforded me the privilege to (get to know you better). I pray for you daily, and I pray that you will continue to diligently strive to walk the strict road that Jesus walked.


With Christ-like love,

Christine

P.S. I recommend this talk. I liked reading about the power of words which this man had through his expression of "spiritual thoughts" in the BYU class he taught. I think I especially liked one story in there--I think you'll know it when you hear it!! ;)


Here's a scripture that moved me to tears in the temple recently:

Alma 37:16-18


Do you understand what I'm saying here?!!
  16 But if ye keep the commandments of God, and do with these things which are sacred according to that which the Lord doth command you, (for you must appeal unto the Lord for all things whatsoever ye must do with them) behold, no power of earth or hell can atake them from you, for God is powerful to the fulfilling of all his words.

  17 For he will fulfil all his apromises which he shall make unto you, for he has fulfilled his promises which he has made unto our fathers.

  18 For he promised unto them that he would apreserve these things for a wise purpose in him, that he might show forth his power unto future generations.



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Day 252 of 365 days of Solace: My Unforgettable Birthday

This "new (happier) chapter" of my life has been filled with many blessings from God. He has helped to squeeze the depths of sorrow out of my soul like a bitter tube of toothpaste and has replaced the contents of my life with joy. Joy, beyond words. Joy which moves me beyond the unanswered questions of life.

The joy I feel comes with a new confidence and perspective myself. A confidence that comes through faith and power of Jesus Christ's atonement. I no longer worry what others are thinking about me. Namely, the opinions of one person. I still care for their well-being, but I don't worry if I can be acceptable and approved of by them. Opinions certainly influence me, but I don't give the same power to the opinions of others now.  Heavenly Father is the end all opinion that I care about. It's been an indescribable experience!

Which reminds me of a powerful message I heard as I did my makeup this morning:

"Because our conduit of connection with God has become clogged, we increasingly reach out to people around us—mortals like ourselves—for help and support. We gain a sense of security and direction from the opinions of others expressed through social media, blogspots, emails, self-help books, and numerous other sources. But the danger here is that all mortal knowing is by nature limited and flawed. ...Even if the “flesh” we rely on is our own mental capacity and even if we’re blessed with genius-level abilities, there will still always be something that we can’t see or that we fail to understand. The flesh is always limited, unless it is complemented by the power of the Spirit."
"When we lose contact with our spiritual abilities, we are easily led to assume that truth is a matter of consensus. To the mortal mind, the more widely something is believed, the more truth it seems to have. Often, with our mortal thinking, we fail to understand that even if a particular idea has received a hundred million “likes,” if it doesn’t receive the one “like” that really matters—that is, the stamp of testimony through the power of the Holy Spirit of God—it still remains merely mortal opinion and is therefore inadequate and limited. If we aren’t careful, when we slip into complete trust in our mortal modes of perceiving, we will find ourselves truly on our own, reliant only on our limited personal abilities as we wander through the vast cyber-foyer of media and public opinion...."
https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/michelle-stott-james_empty-centers-fire-lord/
Five of my very special gifts from God! My children!
Today I turned 46! I was blessed to spend several hours of my day with a friend who has finally returned to the LDS temple after a 20 year absence!  I was so proud of her because it required, on her part, a lot of change and sacrifices for God. I've envisioned this day for her for years, and I was thrilled when she finally made the decision that she wanted this enough to sacrifice for it.

I went to bed last night with a disappointment on my heart, but God assured me through songs of comfort in the night that I would have a wonderful day today. Those songs reminded me of just how loved I am, and reminded me that my smile bring happiness to others. I don't completely comprehend how, but I felt the warmth of love in my heart, and I slept with happy anticipation for how my birthday would go!

My friend came and picked me up this morning. As I stepped into her car the song, "she shall have music wherever she goes" played into my thoughts. I smiled because I so appreciate the gift of angelic music God has given me. 

I sat down in the car and with her permission I asked for special blessings upon our day, and I invited the Spirit of God to join us and teach us.  

After arriving, and dressing all in white, we sat in the chapel. I wished a friend of ours had been able to attend, but as I slept I knew I would have another dear friend there. I just wasn't sure who. So I waited to see. My heart beating like Christmas morning!  Imagine my surprise when our mutual friend walked in! A friend, who is none other than my stake president. I have always felt his pure, Christ-like love for me. And Contrary to the fact that we aren't blood related, I feel like I have a brother in him, and it is always a joy for me to see him for that reason.

I knew it was no coincidence that Heavenly Father had brought him to my specific temple session to alleviate my disappointment and sadness of last night. It was a delight to spend this time with my friend, and stake president and his wife. Truly a Tender Mercy from the Lord to again remind me that His hand is in my life, and that I will not be forgotten or rejected by Him  --ever!

My girl friend cried and said she felt the presence of her mom and dad during the session, who have both passed away in the last year or two. She described how thrilling it was to be there, and how she tried to take in every word she was hearing. Her hands were even shaking with excitement. I was happy that she felt the importance of the covenants we were there making to God in how would will live our lives, and how we look to Him in all things.  

She suggested lunch after the 2 hour session. Long story short, a kind, older man had overheard me talking to my Stake President about it being my birthday. He offered to give me my birthday swats with his cane!!! Haha. "No thank you!"  But then he joked for me to have a piece of cake on him. I walked off to the cafeteria giggling, but expected nothing. 

Later that night I made a teasing face at my boy because
he has been my birthday thief for 7 years now! His birthday
is on the 12 of November, and he claims my b-day as his own!
Well, that man came down the the cafeteria a few minutes later and bought the lunches for my friend and I--as well as the dessert. Well he paid for all of it, except my dessert!! Because the kitchen chef/baker waived my pie because it is my birthday! I hugged and thanked Brother J. Hernandez, after he bought our lunch, and then off he hobbled telling this "bright, smiling young lady" to have a "happy birthday!"  I felt so thankful for his kindness, and that of the head chef! More blessings from God!

Here he is 4 days earlier. But, you don't see me blowing out
his candles!! ;) :) 
As I sat down to eat, my girl friend said she had been the one who wanted to buy me lunch to celebrate my birthday. I reminded her that while I love to celebrate my birthday, the real celebration of this day was in celebrating her re-birth.  She immediately understood the sober truth of what I said, and she reflectively replied, "Yes, that is very true." 

As we sat and visited I told her I come once or twice a week, and I'd love to come with her. She surprised me when she said we could come every Wednesday at the same time.  I was thrilled, and agreed that it was a perfect time for me too!

(quotes below are from the talk above)

"The gospel and the commandments of God are not a cage that keeps us from succeeding in the world. They are the wings that help us to soar to heights of success that we, with our mortal faculties, can’t even dream of on our own...."



Sister Neill F. Marriott.... asserted,  


Love is making space in your life for
someone else.”


This truth is valid, not just for our children or our family but for our relationship with God as well.
We show love for Christ by making space in our lives for Him.

This means consciously devoting time every day to seriously studying His words, meditating on the scriptures that teach of Him, and praying to know Him, utilizing both our mortal and our spiritual forms of perception. 
Take note of the Christmas tree that my children set up on
the 14th of November!! Haha! Coldstone cake. I love ganache.
In addition to making space in our lives for Christ, there is yet another way in which we demonstrate our love. As author Catherine Galasso-Vigorito asserted:
Love is not a special way of feeling, though lovely feelings come now and then. But real love is a commitment to live and care for another person. When that love is God’s love, it reaches out to all the people around you automatically. You just can’t help caring and sharing from the heart.8
Our service to God’s children is a visible sign of our love for Him. As we willingly serve others, we become a conduit through which His love flows to touch the lives of everyone around us. 

Can you tell my little boy likes Pokemon!
Well, I'm going to go eat a cold stone cake soon, which my sister bought me (but that I created!) :) I just wanted to share a few thoughts.  These aren't all the wonderful blessings of my day, or week, but they show a glimpse of God's goodness and mercy toward His children.

I hope you will consider how you can make room in your life to show your love for Christ.

I will close with a beautiful sentiment of truth:

"October 2014 general conference President Dieter F. Uchtdorf exclaimed:
"I offer you my personal witness that spiritual truth will fill your heart and bring light to your spirit. It will reveal to you pure intelligence with wonderful joy and heavenly peace. . . .
". . . If you seek God’s truth, that which now may appear dim, out of focus, and distant will gradually be revealed and clarified and become close to your heart by the light of God’s grace. Glorious spiritual vistas, unimaginable to the human eye, will be revealed to you."
Keep working toward those vistas which only God can help you see!
Christine

P.S. I asked my stake president afterward why he came today. (I wondered if someone had told me if my friend was coming there that day.) He replied that his wife said this morning that she wanted to go at that time.  I smiled and told him I had a story to tell him about his wife being inspired!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Day 205 or 365 days of Solace: To Forgive and Be Forgiven

I laughed at the punchline of this joke today:

"before you become too critical of lawyers listen to the words of my good friend Jim Gordon: “It is true that some lawyers are dishonest, arrogant, greedy, venal, amoral, ruthless buckets of toxic slime. On the other hand, it is unfair to judge the entire profession by a few hundred thousand bad apples.” "

While that joke is funny, I most appreciated this lawyer James R. Rasband's, insights on Jesus Christ and the atonement.** I never used to be very good about forgiving people. I held onto wounds and hurts and I could not let things go. I am sure I have room for improvement, but the last few years (and especially this year), I have learned a LOT about forgiveness. Some of those lessons have been tremendously painful, but as strange as it sounds, I have learned so much in the process.

(Near the end he even talks about whether or not it's alright for Christians to take matters to court (quite interesting))

Feeling forgiveness for others, or being truly forgiven is one of the sweetest experiences on earth because it means that the flow of God's pure love has room in your heart and mind. 
I compare forgiveness to being released from a dark-celled prison sentence, and being set free in a bright beautiful garden of Eden!

I have read/listened to many speakers about forgiveness, and if you would like recommendations I will gladly give them to you if you request, but for now I hope you will take the time to listen to a few reminders on the topic. I firmly believe that forgiveness is a skill that every truly happy person has learned some degree of! IF you want to be Happy you know what to do....Forgive!
I like another perspective of forgiveness he covers. Something to think about! Excerpt below:
"But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. [Matthew 6:14–15]"

"That our own forgivenss should be conditioned on forgiving others can be a hard doctrine, particularly if the sin against us is horribly wrong and out of all proportion to any harm we’ve ever committed. Even harder, the Lord has indicated in modern revelation that “he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin” (D&C 64:9).

This is a very strong statement: if we refuse to forgive, there remaineth in us the greater sin. How can this be? As I hope to explain, our salvation is conditioned on forgiving others because when we refuse to forgive, what we are really saying is that we reject, or don’t quite trust, the Atonement. And it is our acceptance of the Atonement that ultimately saves us."

"Why is it that we sometimes have trouble accepting the Atonement as recompense for the harms we suffer at others’ hands? My experience is that we can sometimes forget that the Atonement has two sides. Usually, when we think about the Atonement we focus on how mercy can satisfy the demands that justice would impose upon us.4 We are typically quicker to accept the idea that when we sin and make mistakes the Atonement is available to pay our debts."
"Forgiveness requires us to consider the other side of the Atonement—a side that we don’t think about
as often but that is equally critical. That side is the Atonement’s power to satisfy our demands of justice against others, to fulfill our rights to restitution and being made whole. We often don’t quite see how the Atonement satisfies our own demands for justice. Yet it does so. It heals us not only from the guilt we suffer when we sin, but it also heals us from the sins and hurts of others."

With the help of God, and through the power of Christ's perfect atonement ALL forgiveness is possible.

Christine

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