Sunday, March 30, 2014

An equation for peace!

In my scripture studies this morning I was struck with a thought that I hadn't really pondered sufficiently before. I was reading in the book of Enos in the Book of Mormon about what he was feeling and going through after he 'wrestled with God' and repented of his sins.

* In order to explain my rambling thoughts I better tell you that I will have the scriptures quoted in italics and my own thoughts in the parenthesis. *

"And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, 

before I received a remission of my sins.  

 (So here I learn that in order for me to actually be forgiven of my own sins, I need to wrestle with God. Since I don't believe that to be literal, and because I would never feel comfortable praying in a singlet, I looked it up in the Dictionary and found a more appropriate definition:  "to contend, as in a struggle for mastery; grapple: to wrestle with one's conscience."   What does that struggle for mastery look like? Is it me  struggling to be the master of my own thoughts and actions? Is it me surrendering to Christ as my master?)
Behold...the words which I had often heard my father speak

 concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep

 into my heart.
(This gives me hope that one day, my children will remember the things that I am telling them about God their Father and about eternal life and about the path they need to walk on daily.)

 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my

 Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and 

supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I 

cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise 

my voice high that it reached the heavens.

(I have spent many a day and many a night crying unto my Maker. Usually at times when I am faced with unpleasant occurrences or trials. It strikes me that this man was just out to hunt and pondering things, I hope to get to the point where I am able to spend more time thinking of the Savior and of eternity throughout my every day, and not just in times of trial, fear, or loneliness.)
And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are

 forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.

 And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my 

guilt was swept away.

(The simplicity of this formula is so plain and beautiful to me. It was a one-liner. He just KNEW that since God couldn't lie, and God told him that his sins were forgiven, then it was instant - his guilt was swept away. I love how it didn't slowly dissipate into the air a tiny bit at a time or happen over weeks or months. It was just SWEPT away. Like that. Done. I have had to remind myself of this time and time again. I have felt forgiven of things, and then later, I give in to the whisperings of Satan and start to doubt myself or remember my own sins, and this reminds me that I need to simply TRUST God when he says I am forgiven. Because he CANNOT lie. Period.)
And I said: Lord, how is it done?
 And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom

 thou hast never before heard nor seen.

(The part that always stands out to me about this verse is the word BEFORE. It makes me think that at this time he was actually able to see the Lord and be with him, face to face. It makes me think that he had so much faith that nothing was withheld from him. If he was only hearing a voice in his head, then wouldn't it say "whom thou hast never heard nor seen" instead of "whom thou hast never BEFORE heard nor seen? I don't know. I am not proclaiming any sort of doctrine or idea here other than what I feel when I read it.)

Wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.
(The thing that I love about God and Christ proclaiming this is that I picture me, and all human beings as having some sort of holes in us. And when our faith can make us whole, it makes me think that Christ, and only Christ has actually filed up our HOLES and made us WHOLE again.)

And after I, Enos, had heard these words, my faith began

 to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed unto him with 

many long strugglings for my brethren.

(I think it is so amazing to watch that as soon as a person is made WHOLE or their faith is solid or unshaken, then they will instantly turn outward. They will look outward to serve others. Have you seen that happen? Have you seen someone with UNSHAKEN faith? I have seen this happen. I have seen it in the actions of new converts who want to instantly share the gospel with others after they have been so recently saved. I have seen it in the lives of new mothers who have knocked on the very door of death themselves, only then to turn and give their all and be willing to sacrifice their own goals and aspirations in service to their brand new babies. I have seen it in the testimony of the prophets as they plead with every member of the Church with all their energy.)

And I had faith, and I did cry unto God that he would 

preserve the records; and he covenanted with me that he 

would bring them forth unto the Lamanites in his own due 


(Isn't it interesting that the first thing that Enos asked for when the Lord told him he could ask for anything because of his faith, was for God to preserve the records?  Even though we are blessed with the technology nowadays to have endless electronic copies of all of the scriptures and words of the prophets at our fingertips, this makes me think of my own personal 'records'.  In my mind that would equal my scrapbooks and journals. Sometimes I think to myself - what if there were a fire or a major flood or catastrophe, what would be the physical belongings that I would truly mourn the loss of? It would be the scrapbooks with years and years of photos of my babies growing up in our home. The handwritten letters from my grandparents who are all gone. The pictures of the best day of my life, the day I married Greg in the Salt Lake Temple. The journals that I wrote in every single day of my 18 month mission. The letters of love and testimony that Greg and I wrote to each other. THOSE are the records that I would miss. Why would I miss those things? Because they are a testament to my children and future grandchildren of what is important to me, of what really matters, of what I want for them.)  
And I, Enos, knew it would be according to the covenant 

which he had made; wherefore

         my soul did rest.
(This is the grand "Aha" moment that I had. While reading this, I was struck with a constant thought in my life, one that I know many others have felt as well. It goes something like this: 

"Why can't Jesus just come already?" 
or "Oh, I can't wait for Jesus to come." 
Why do I, and so many other people who love the Lord, long for that moment? I know that for me, it is because I grow weary of the evils of the day. I grow tired of the plaguing sins of our times that infiltrate my heart and my home and the hearts and homes of those I love. Understanding the revelations of what is yet to come, I fear for the future of my children. I often dream of the day when Christ returns as one where I will be able to just relax and have all fear and all strife and all wars and bloodshed and anger and hatred and disease be magically gone. Where I will simply be able to emotionally and spiritually and physically REST. 
But this verse just told me otherwise. 
It is the equation of peace that I have been needing to be reminded of. 
It tells me that I don't have to wait for Jesus to come.
It tells me that my very SOUL can have true REST in this life. 
Right now. 
By simply keeping the covenants that I have made with the Lord.

So, here is the equation: Make and Keep Covenants = Soul can REST.

Even amidst the hectic crazy busy life of a mother with so many young children, when I am feeling overwhelmed and underloved. When things get to be over-the-top or I am feeling under-the-weather. When life feels overly-heavy and I am under-nourished. When I am overly-exhausted and under-slept. I can still have REST FOR MY SOUL.  I can feel it when I pause to re-examine what I am doing to keep my end of the bargain - to keep my covenants. 
I can strive to be better at my baptismal covenant of 'bearing one another's burdens' as I take the time to visit my sick friend, listen to my heartbroken teenager, and pray for the anguish of my frustrated toddlers.
I can strive to be better at my temple covenants as I fulfill my Church calling, go to the temple frequently, and serve my husband with pure unselfish motives.
And as I do those small acts each day, they are the tokens that I am placing before the Lord to show him that I am striving - that I am trying - that I am longing to be a COVENANT KEEPER. 
And in doing that, I can have REST to my SOUL each and every day!)

 Enos finishes with the beautiful and more eternal 'promise of rest' that we usually think of:

And I soon go to the place of my
rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen.

I love Enos. I love what I have learned from his example to me. I know that I can also be blessed with PEACE in my heart and REST in my soul.  Not only after death, but in life as well. I am unshakeable in this knowledge: That this is the JOY that lies inside of us as we keep our covenants. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sometimes you just gotta scream into a pillow....

Sometimes - when things build up inside of your head and your heart - you just need a good scream.
Sometimes you just need to scream into a pillow.
It just so happens that this little quiet innocent piece of a forgotten blog is my pillow at the moment.
I haven't been spending much time with this pillow lately. It's more like one that I put aside carefully as I got wrapped up in the blanket of school.
Speaking of family has been uber-supportive...for which I am grateful beyond measure.

OK - so about that little it goes.

Lately, there has been a lot of people that I know and love - and people that they know and love, getting caught up in some 'sidelines' and 'distractions'. Namely, things that are of a spiritual nature. I finally have to let it be known how I feel about it.

I am not completely naive to the ways of the world - to the ways of Satan.

Satan has always used the one thing he doesn't have to try and destroy the souls of men - our bodies. I have known this and seen this for a long time. It is in the rampant pornography, the now common foul and vulgar swear words regarding bodily functions, the glorification and normalization of extramarital sex.

 What else besides a mortal body for progression has Satan lost? Oh yeah, a family. So he attacks the very foundational unit of eternity - the family. I have been seeing and noticing these things were happening for a long long time. As a 5 year old I remember hearing the word "divorce" for the first time and actually crying into my pillow that night as my little 5 year old self tried to comprehend that such a word even existed. It seemed so contrary to anything 'normal' in my eyes. But over the years - I have begun to accept this and many other sad mortal ailments for what they are: the effects of human choice coupled with bounteous influences from Satan. I see it in the subtleties of everyday life - the degrading of parents in television and media, the popularization of teen motherhood, the Hollywood version of the 'perfect life' being all about finding and maximizing ones' SELF, never about sacrificing one's self for a marriage or a family. The steady increase in contraception, abortion, and general 'out-datedness' of having anything more than 1.2 children. 

The worldliness is something that I kinda saw coming as well. We are all guilty of it to some degree or another at times in our lives. People spending more time ON-line than IN-prayer. People seeking for glory and praise rather then giving it to God. People concerned more with what they HAVE than what they GIVE. People worrying about material possessions and homes and clothing and styles more than they do about their church callings and teaching their families the gospel. 

What I DID NOT SEE COMING or even imagine at all was the silent crumbling of faith in the prophets and apostles. The lack of reverence for their counsel and love. All my life as I would read scriptural accounts of people 'stoning the prophets', I fathomed it could possibly happen in our day, but it would be coming from the anti-Mormons and those people who just didn't understand the Church – not in a million years did I imagine it would come from a former Church leader in such a public mockery in a court of law.
Something else that I NEVER EVER IMAGINED is that the women of my faith would be so tempted to wish for priesthood. I have thought intensely about this and I honestly cannot fathom WHY they are seeking for this? It is such a sacred and holy gift – meant to be used to bless ALL of God’s children. Why are they doing this? In the name of “being heard” or “opening dialogue”? I have been an ordinance worker in the Holy temple of God. I have had the privilege of participating fully in pronouncing beautiful blessings from the Lord – but even in that very act I didn’t desire to be given the Priesthood. 
Is there even such a thing as a priestesshood? 
I don’t know. 
I don’t feel like I need to know. 
I don’t feel like I need to press the prophet to find out. 
There are just too many beautiful mysteries ahead that I am content to spend all my days on the Earth praising the Lord for the bountiful mercies and love He already bestows on me. 
I am a most unprofitable servant with the treasures I now have – why would I ask for more?
Every time I get to the 29th chapter of Alma, I read and feel empathy for the desires of Alma’s heart when he exclaims “Oh that I were an angel”…
Because let's face it - sometimes don't we all just want to shout it from the rooftops. (Or into a bloggy pillow?)
I know I want to. 
With all the love in my heart, I want to say to the women who are currently seeking for additional powers:
“Can you not see the power that is IN you? 
Can you not see the greatest power in this world – to create human life – is already within YOU? 
There is no greater power, no loftier goal, no higher aspiration, no grander position than to be able to bring forth the children of the Most High God to their next estate! 
Wake up! Wake up women! 
And then FALL to your knees in gratitude to your God for what He has entrusted to you. 
Stop spending your days in a vain and selfish pursuit for more when you don’t even realize the magnitude of what you have.”
But alas, I ought to be content with the testimony in my own heart, the love in my home, the covenant-keeping spouse that honors his priesthood with diligence, and the seven sweet spirits in my care.