Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"SINGLE" TESTIMONY!!

I finally got it! Well, at least I think. What I am about to reveal will be what I suspect a real “Duh” for most people, but like a testimony, this is now something I can claim and hold on to for my own!

My goal is to get to the temple before Thursday each week. If I put off going to the temple until Thursday, I find it gets harder and hard to go. A few weeks ago, I was having a particular hard week getting out of bed. I always shoot for Tuesday mornings, but this particular Tuesday, I had stayed up until 3 the morning and just did not hear my 4:30 AM alarm go off. So Wed, I had a girlfriend committed to go with me to the temple, and I surely would not sleep in when I needed to give her a ride. Wednesday morning, I opened my eyes to a 7:20 alarm clock! I was bound and determined to get there Thursday morning for any later in the week, there would be too great of power convincing me I was too busy and just put off going to the temple until next week. The justification would start. “This is just one time missing the temple. You can go next week.” (I have discovered that this type of thinking can come with going to institue/reading scriptures/saying prayers/attending all church meetings. I honestly feel -- “justification”--is a tool of the devil. But as some wise friend told me, you may be able to miss one day of saying your prayers or reading your scriptures, but don’t you dare miss two! After one day, the Devil already has a finger in the door. After two--perhaps a whole foot. Don’t risk it!)

Friday came and I woke up yet again after 7 am. What was happening!?! Seriously, anyone who knows me knows I am a morning person and a late night party pooper! I have a really hard time staying happy or perky after 11, ha, usually 10:30 pm. (I know I am somewhat pathetic). But you tell me I have to get up by 4 AM and I can bounce out of bed and go the whole day. (Garb will attest to this!) Now, I remind you I am single, and don’t have kids... so perhaps when I am drained and up all night I may turn into a night person instead.

Friday night, I pleaded with the Lord (like I had done the previous 3 nights). I told him that I didn’t have time to stay at the temple for 3 hours on Saturday because I didn’t wake up early, but that I needed to get their early so there would be no wait. But I also knew that I tried all week to get out of bed, with a plea in my prayers the night before. I went to bed with faith that the Lord would help me get up.

Saturday morning, I was awoken... I can’t tell you by what, but I surely can tell you by who! I popped my eyes open, didn’t even remember at first, that I needed to get to the temple. I actually got out of bed, no problem and it wasn’t until I was awake for a few mins did I realize the magnitude of the miracle of being awake! I hurried and got ready for the temple. I stepped outside to run to my car and found snow had covered the ground and the sky was still letting down a blanket of it. This is a picture that I snapped while walking up to the temple that morning.



There could not have been a wider smile or wetter cheeks of gratitude as I walked through those temple doors. HE DID IT!! He got me there! I think this is true in all aspects of our lives. When the Lord gives us a commandment, like Nephi, if we will move our feet/actions in faith, he will prepare a way for us to accomplish what he has asked/commanded us to do (3 Ne 3:7)!

7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

He got me to the temple!! And I had been sincerely trying all week. God is amazing!!

Okay, so yesterday as I went to the temple ( Yes, happy to be back on my Tuesday normal schedule) I went with Dad. As I stated in my last blog, I have been pondering over the struggles of many friends, even my own. It seemed like everyone was fighting personal demons this past weekend. As I walked through the temple gates and up the side walk, I pondered over what it means to be “single”. (Warning, what you are about to read is a “duh” I am sure for most people out there, but this was an awaking moment for me to be clued into that duh!)

I have had a mortal body for 26 years. A spirit daughter of my Heavenly Father for, I don’t know how long and before that, an intelligence that was organized (Abr 3:22). I know I came to this earth life to receive a body and have experiences that would try/test my faith so I can become more like my Heavenly Father and then ultimately I will be worthy to return home to him. And all of this is made possible because of my older brother Jesus Christ and his selfless atonement.

In this life, there is a goal to accomplish the principles and ordinances of the gospel. First faith in the Lord, my Savior, Jesus Christ. Second the need for repentance. Then third Baptism by immersion for the remission of my sins. And then the glorious fourth, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands (Articles of Faith #4). After these steps, comes the temple ordinances/covenants/endowment for me and for the past of the earth. Those that lived in this earth but did not have the opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then, comes a marriage, sealed for time and all eternity in the temple--the Lord’s house. And of course none of this will stay valid unless I endure to the end. ...but I finally get it!

All my sister-in-laws and lots of my married friends always say, “Enjoy this time while you are single, because it will be gone and you will had wished you did more. I wish I would have done more with my single time.” No offense, but when someone married says this to someone single, someone without their own honey, that comment acts more as a sting to the heart then actual good/happy advice. I will be the first to admit that being single can be quite difficult at times. But my trip temple yesterday brought about the most amazing revelation/ah ha moment... again, for you married folks, I know you already know this! But I finally get it!!

Back to being an unorganized intelligence that was organized, to a spirit daughter of my Heavenly Father, born to my amazing earthly parents. I have gained the body and ultimately hope to end up with my own little family- to become one with my future spouse and live through all eternity with him by my side doing whatever God has/wants us to do in Eternity.

Here is the brake through to my heart and my brain. Being “single” is a SINGLE moment in the span of eternities. Just like when we draw a lie on the chalk board at church. (I don't claim amazing skills in word document... or maybe after this creation, I should! :D And please, I don't claim math skills, so this is obviously not proportioned right, but hopefully you get the idea.)



We usually think about the tiny mark representing how long earth life is, and everything we do on that little line effects all the rest of eternity! But what if we zoom in on that little line? There is a very short period of time when we can be single and powerful. Grade school, we are still learning to interact with the world. High-school is all about ourselves and trying to find out who we are. This attitude follows into college. But it is here, the time being single out of high school-- even when the stakes of school/getting an education- working- paying for bills is so demanding--even in the mist of all of those things... that time being single that gives us our moment to be one of God’s ultimate tools!!

Now please don’t read me wrong. I am the first to tell you that Motherhood is the most noble calling given to women on this earth. And my greatest goal (besides returning to live with Him) is to have a family and raise my children (how ever they come) to God so they can one day return to him too. But, for the first time in my life, I have a testimony of the power of being single! However long Heavenly Father intends that to be, I am not sure. I know there are many who have longed for a loving companion and are coming closer to the end of this earth life then the beginning of it, but for whatever reason, they have not been blessed with the gift of marriage. I know there are many who have been blessed with the gift of marriage but have not had the privilege of having a kind companion. Or there are some who have had the blessing, but now suffer from the effects of choices and the agency of others and are now back on the yellow line of being single. I know that God has plans for us all to be an eternal family, and I am confident he will get us to that destination in this earth life or after this life... “when” is a word in His knowledge bank, not mine. But what I do know, is that there is power in being single, willing and able! There is power in Him taking our (non attached lives) and doing good for others, by/through our singleness. We can be as Holland called the “earthly Angels”. Okay, and I have met many wonderful married people who are still earthly angles...and I surely don’t want anyone married reading this and becoming sad that they are not still single... this is not for you! :) But for all of my single friends, old and young--if we will be/allow it, GOD WILL MAKE US POWERFUL! And what a blessing it is at this time in our life--this short time of being single (whether 30 years to 90+ years) God uses his “singles” for good!

I probably run the risk of many people wanting to slap me with a “duh” and also those who want to slap me with the, “I am done being single Bryn”. Believe me, I can slap my own face for both sides, because I understand. But so amazing was the temple yesterday... just walking up to the doors and hearing all the birds sing... and being empowered with this testimony... “Single people have a great work to do!”

I left the temple with a smile. With an urgency. I may end up being single for the rest of my life... but I hold on to the hope that I eventually will get married, in this life or the next. But to be single, with a body for my spirit to work in--this is a short time--it is God’s time!! And I intend to give Him every min!! I can honestly say, I love being single!

(Tune into next week, where I am sure I will have a broken heart or a crushed “crush”--but I am going to hold on to this simple sweet-tasting testimony. There is so much to get done, for God, for the world, while in this moment of my singleness!)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

AMEN TO MEG

I just took a moment to read Meg's blog entitled, "my life feels like a ticking time bomb, set to go off once a day every day..." It is worthy of the read! Thanks Meg. I think we all can relate to what you wrote.
http://meggersbloggers.blogspot.com

SMITE IT



It seems like everyone I know is having struggles lately. And it doesn’t seem to be small ones either. As I was pondering this evening on the need to have challenges in our lives, I was reading through 3 Nephi 28. The Disciples Jesus Christ chose from the Nephite group were all caught up into heaven (3 Nephi 28:13). After this experience they went forth and ministered unto all the people. Verses 19 and 20 are very interesting.

19 And they were cast into prison by them who did not belong to the church. And the prisons could not hold them, for they were rent in twain.

20 And they were cast down into the earth; but they did smite the earth with the word of God, insomuch that by his power they were delivered out of the depths of the earth; and therefore they could not dig pits sufficient to hold them.


What is it exactly did they do to the pits they were thrown into? “They did smite the earth with the word of God..” and by doing this, by the Savior’s power they were delivered out of the depths of the earth! Therefore there was no hole too great or too deep that they could not be delivered from.

Is this not a parallel for my own life?!

When I am faced with a prison situation, a habit that enslaves, or a trial/test in life that becomes the deepest blackest hole, what do I need to do to receive the power to be delivered from the depths of the hole/pit? SMITE MY PROBLEM/TRIAL/BAD HABBIT/AFFLICTION with the WORD OF GOD!!! By doing so, I can receive HIS power and thus be delivered out of the depths of my affliction. This puts a great spin on the greatness of the scriptures.. the words of God!

Now that being said, I am also aware, going back to what my Bishop taught... that Lehi prayed for Mercy, not deliverance. I know there are times and seasons. But there is great value in trusting that “they (the evils of the world/our own natural man/the devil himself) can not dig pits sufficient enough to hold us when we smite/use/apply/ponder/study/consume/live the word of God! There can not be pits sufficient to hold us down.

Of course I know that sometimes because of our wrong choices or perhaps what life dishes out--we may find ourselves in our own personal prison, or quite wounded from falling into the pit because of the pit’s depth. I fell on the ice over a month ago, and am just now feeling my bruised hip bone start to become whole again. Some may think, “Well great, I smite my problems with the word of God, but I still need to climb out of the pit [the problem] once there is an opening and I am quite wounded from the effects of being in the pit... so how do I become whole enough to get out of the pit when an opening is made?!” Jacob 2:8!!

Jacob had to be bold with the people in reprimanding them for not keeping the commandments. He was mindful that many of the woman and children listening had tender hearts. He then says...

And it supposeth me that they have come up hither to hear the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which healeth the wounded soul.

Not only can we smite the pits of problems/addictions/wrong habits/afflictions/loneliness/broken-hearts/depression/anger/disappointment with the Word of God to receive His power to get out of them... the word of God will ALSO heal our wounded soul, so we will have the ability to climb out, when an opening is made. This is an amazing, beautiful reminder of the power scriptures can have/do have in our every day lives. Have I smitten my “pit” today with the word of God? Have a used His words to balm up my wounds?

Deep.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

EXPLORING FORGIVENESS (Part 1)

Not sure why I am posting this?? This is a paper I wrote for my English class last year. I was not allowed to turn it into a "church" paper, meaning I could not use the one source I go to everything for-- The Book of Mormon. I was not to take sides in this paper, but "explore" a topic of my choosing. The point of the paper was to leave the reader with a view point from two different angles. Perhaps I will sometime share my short thesis on Forgiveness. I don't claim this to be an amazing paper. I just felt like I should post it. If anyone would like the references, just let me know and I will email you the books.

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Does Not Forgiving Affect the Physical Body -Presented by Bryndi Cloward March '08

An ancient saying from India states that, “Forgiveness is the ornament of the brave” (Henderson 111). I think this gives one a pretty clear picture of what forgiving can take at times. Wikipedia tells us that forgiveness is a mental process. The process of not feeling “...resentment, indignation or anger against another person for a perceived offense...” (“Forgiveness” ). Interesting that the definition would include “perceived offense.” Does that mean that we can perceive something that really didn’t happen or perceive that someone should ask for our forgiveness when in their eyes they don’t think they have done anything wrong? Interesting.
There are many different aspects of forgiveness. Of course when I started this paper, I was worried about how much research I would be able to find on forgiveness, but after small efforts, I found that a lot of people have pondered and thought over this topic. I hope to explore the options about forgiving or not forgiving and what effects it can have on us.
I have always assumed that we should forgive everyone at all times. No matter what was done, who was hurt, what was said or not said. Forgiveness is just a given--it is something we must all do. With this opinion in my mind, I was quite shocked to find a heading for a chapter in a book labeled as, “Why & When to Forgive” (Schimmel 61). Is there really a time when we should not forgive?
Solomon Schimmel, in his Wounds Not Healed by Time, shared that he had a secret fantasy when he was a child. Reflecting back on his fantasy, Schimmel stated:
...I would become President of the United States in order to perform one specific action. As President, I would order the strategic Air Command, armed with nuclear weapons, to totally annihilate Germany and the German people so that never again would Germans be able to do to the world and to the Jewish people what they had done in World War II and the Holocaust. Once this mission was accomplished, I would resign from the Presidency, satisfied that I had exacted just revenge and retribution on the Nazis and save the world from future aggression, brutality, torture, and murder.
Schimmel admits that it was a “horrific” fantasy and he is grateful that he was not able to follow through with his childhood thoughts (5).
Schimmel was not in the concentration camps, however in reference to what happened to those people in those camps he said, “I have not forgotten nor have I forgiven (what right do I have to forgive evils that were perpetrated on others?) what the Nazis and their collaborators did during their years in power” (5). He later admits that it is not right to have feelings of wanting to destroy a whole nation, because not everyone in Germany was involved in the evil acts. But I think his comment for revenge is a common one. I remember being in 2nd grade and learning about the Holocaust and thinking to myself I wish I could have been a solider in Hitler’s army. I would have gained his trust and his friendship. I thought if I could just get close enough to him,
I would have shot him, putting an end to so much misery. In my mind I knew that the other soldiers would hunt me down and probably torture me for what I did, but I was determined in my mind that if I could just get close enough to kill Hitler, it wouldn’t matter what the aftermath would be. I was far from thinking forgiveness.
I would like to think that I would forgive the Nazis for what they did, however, would I still be able to say that if my family had been in those camps? The stakes for forgiveness would be slightly higher. When we are hurt or see the hurt in others, revenge looks quite sweet. Do we have the right to forgive the evils that are done to others?
If one does not forgive the wrongs of someone else, what can the long-term effects have on that person? Schimmel says that “...whenever I read accounts of Nazi crimes, my blood boils and the childhood rage and desire for vengeance and retribution against Germans is triggered” (5). It cannot be comfortable to have your blood boil, and yet I think we have all experienced that feeling at some point in our lives.
Surely it is easier to forgive someone who shows/feels remorse about what they did. When someone is truly penitent, I find it is hard to hold a grudge. But what if the one who has faulted you feels no remorse?
Years ago in New York, a nun was raped horribly by two men. When they were finished raping her they “cut 27 crosses into her body with a nail file” (Schimmel 61).
If this had been me, what would my reaction been? Would I have been afraid to go anywhere by myself? Would I live my life in fear with the memories that would surely flood my mind any time a man approached me? Would I be able to forgive someone who did that to me, or worse, who did such an awful action to someone I loved?
You may be surprised, as was I, to find out that this nun never testified against her rapists. She did not have a hunger for revenge and hoped that in forgiving them, they would become “sensitive” to what they had done. Amazing praise to the person who can forgive such an ugly crime, however, these men were not charged for rape and assault because she did not testify. They received light sentences and were locked away for a fairly short time compared to the crime they performed. Schimmel poses the question if the nun was unethical in forgiving the men and not testifying, because sooner then later these two men would be back out on the streets (61). As a community member, would I have been able to forgive the nun for not testifying against such horrible crimes? Often when forgiveness is involved, there is not just one party forgiving the wrongs of another. It can have a chain effect.
Are there acts that are not unforgivable, such as “...battering, murder, abuse of children” (qtd. in Smith 321). With such acts could it be that, “...focusing on forgiving detracts from the seriousness and unacceptability of the act...”(Smith 321). This thought could apply back to what the nun did. Did her forgiveness take away the seriousness of what those men did?
I have a friend whose dad had a pilot license. He would take his little family flying. On one particular trip, he made a poor judgment call. His plane only had 1/3 tank of gas left. He had a few dollars on him and when he asked the flight staff where the gas tank was, they responded that it was clear on the other side of the airport. Feeling sheepish over the truck coming to his plane to fill up only a few dollars of gas, he decided that the plane had enough to get him going where he needed to go.
The flight started out fine and their destination was almost in view, when the plane ran out of gas. He had to make a crash landing. He was flying with his bride and four little kids, one of which was a two-year-old girl, my friend. The plane crashed and they all lived. The two-year-old girl was able to leave the hospital with 350 stitches in her skull and 100 stitches in her left eye. The doctors told the family that there were so many shards of glass in her head that they would continue to make their way out of her skull. To this day, that little girl who is now a mother and grandmother, finds shards of glass on her pillow from time to time. Migraines haunt her months, likely from the distress caused on the skull so long ago. And yet in all of this, she does not have any anger or resentment. There is no need to forgive, because she does not find fault with her dad’s poor decision (Gardner). Would I have been able to forgive my dad for making such a bad judgment call because of his pride not allowing him to purchase only three dollars worth of gas?
So what if someone decides they are not going to forgive. Can not forgiving or not showing forgiveness affect our physical being and happiness?
Schimmel, who is Jewish, was approached by a Christian biblical scholar. The Scholar had learned that Schimmel was a Jew and asked if he didn’t think it was about time for the Israelis to forgive and forget what the Palestinian terrorists are doing and what they had done. Schimmel replied, “I asked him whether he had ever held in his arms the bloody body parts of his dead child killed by a grenade thrown into a schoolroom by a Palestinian terrorist” (65). The man did not have much to say after this remark. After a few more minutes of speaking with this scholar, Schimmel discovered that the man was preaching the facts of forgiveness but he expressed some lingering resentment toward a colleague who had failed to give him appropriate credit due on a paper he had produced. Schimmel didn’t think this man was aware that he was preaching repentance and yet was unable to forgive a minor offense -- an offense that had happened over a decade ago (66)!
Are there things that can’t be forgiven or rather should not be forgiven? Does not forgiving someone really add another dimension to one’s life? Is it not a big deal to not hold grudges or resentment for long periods of time? By forgiving, are we truly freed from the effects of resentment? I will look deeper into these thoughts in my next paper.

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If you made it this far, great job! What a long task! I hope this helps someone out there.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

HOPE FLOATS

video

This Sunday came with a wonderful lesson given by Patrice. She was prepared and taught by the spirit. She asked the question, "Why do people stop going to church?" Many people gave answers, but one Sister's answer stirred my soul... She said, "Some people do not go to church because they just have no hope." I looked into this Sister's sweet eyes and found a soul at the end of her rope, not knowing what to do. She had no hope.

I can say that those times have come to me before. This summer when Dad was in the hospital and it seemed the days were often getting a lot darker than brighter--I felt a lack of hope. Back in Oct, on a particular hard weekend, I found myself feeling without hope. All weekend I fought the feelings of no hope.

I was the best person at giving personal pep talks! I told myself that I was being dumb to feel this way. After all, hadn't I been given countless blessings that were filled with hope?! I felt I was "lost" and yet I knew that I could be found. It was a personal war in my head. For my head told me, "Bryndi, don't be silly, there are SO many things to hope for. You know what Heavenly Father has told you, just have faith in it!" But my heart was not matching up with the logic in my head.

I ended up needing to pick up a girl for church. After waiting some time at the girls door, I decided I had better run and find a building somewhere close so I could partake the sacrament. I entered a chapel, where I did not know one soul, and sat in on their sacrament meeting. The spirit was beautiful, but my heart would not give in--and I silently wept the whole meeting. Then it was off to my ward. I didn't want my girls to be worried about me, so I put on the bravest/happiest face I could muster. One sweet sister looked me down in class and mouthed, "What is wrong?" I just smiled and as the lesson went on I wondered how she knew something was wrong? I was pretty sure the puffy red eyes and nose were gone. Then the thought came, "Bryndi, she is your visiting teacher." I couldn't help but smile over her inspired stewardship. (LOVE VISITING TEACHING--I know it changes lives!)

Well the afternoon went on, and I tried very hard to be positive around all my girls. Before RS was over I felt that I should see Bishop. I thought there was no way I was going to talk to Bishop about this. After all I had monthly meetings with him to talk about all the sisters needs, but not my own, and certainly not about having no hope. In my head I felt I was being ridiculous and I kept trying to give myself the pep talks of, "Bryndi, just read a past blessing, hold to it. Where is your faith girl, come on!" But my heart, again would not match up with my head.

After church I had several meetings and was running around, but the feeling to see Bishop was still there. I can honestly say I didn't avoid seeing him, because I really didn't have time, but still the thought/impression came. At one point around 6:30ish I asked the clerk if Bishop was available. He told me that he didn't know if he was free, but that Bishop's door was open so I should just walk in. I pondered over it for a second. Then a phone call came and it was Bishop's sister. She asked if I would get another CD of her scanned pictures to her because she lost the one she had. I quickly drove over to work to copy the pictures off my computer. I believe it was nearly 7:30, when I finished with my items at church and had the CD burned. Bishop's sister was in Spanish Fork and I wondered if by some miracle Bishop was still at church so he could drop off the CD to his sister. I called him up and he said he was just leaving the church, but that he would wait for me. I pulled up to the church parking lot and there was Bishop in his car. I pulled up next to his, the windows went down and the CD was passed over. Bishop and I discussed a few of the Sister's needs. I smiled and said good night (and mind you, I can be pretty happy when I put on that mask)... but as I started to roll up my window--Bishop said, "Wait! How is Bryndi doing?" I couldn't help but smile at his inspired comment, and without being able to control it I said, "fine" while the tears started a steady stream out the corner of my eye. Bishop didn't say anything, but had the look of, I am waiting. I told him of my plight... how ridiculous I felt to not be having hope with life and the future. I told him I knew I was crazy because we belong to the gospel OF HOPE!! I told him there was so many reasons to not but feel hope--and yet I was having a hard time grasping on to any of them.

Bishop said some kind things, made me laugh. We talked for 20 mins in that parking lot--and that was all I needed!! By the time Bishop drove away, I rolled up my car window and said a prayer of thank you to Heavenly Father. Bishop told me all the things my head had been telling me all day--but for whatever reason, the Lord knew that if I heard it from Bishop, my heart would be satisfied and take hold of hope again.

I learned several valuable lessons from this. Again, when the Lord tells you something, just do it!! I had the impression to talk with Bishop, but justified that my problem was dumb and I surely didn't want to take him away from his family any longer. I also learned that when we are in our moments of darkness, the Lord will inspire us either how to get out, or endure. This time, there was a way out of the feeling and it was through Bishop's words.

I really can say this was the main time in my life that I felt the pain of no hope so vividly. AND I hope it never happens again! :)

That weekend I was feeling no hope, Heavenly Father Lead me to the song in that clip. And there have been days when I will just play the song on repet as a reminder to me, that Hope really does float!

I love Either 12:4

Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

Faith brings hope! Which hope makes an anchor to our souls--which will make us SURE and STEADFAST--ALWAYS abounding in good works...and that faith and hope, will lead us to glorify our Heavenly Father!

Dictionary.com

anchor: a person or thing that can be relied on for support, stability, or security;
sure: free from doubt as to the reliability, character, action, etc., of something:
steadfast: fixed in direction; steadily directed:firm in purpose, resolution, faith...

Hope floats above and makes an anchor below, so when our storms come, and they will--we will be sure and steadfast!

The church is true! Thank goodness for the gospel!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

IT WORKED!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

MERCY

I asked Bishop if he would teach RS this past Sunday. He is such a good, good man. The whole Bishopric is called of God. He started his lesson with 1 Nephi 8:4-10

“…I saw in my dream, a dark and dreary wilderness.
And it came to pass that I saw a man, and he was dressed in a white robe; and he came and stood before me.
And it came to pass that he spake unto me, and bade me follow him.
And it came to pass that as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste.
And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies.
And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field.
And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.”


The Man dressed in white could be an angel or perhaps even the Savior.

Lehi, a prophet/mouth piece of the Lord, is bade to follow this man in a white robe. He followed him and beheld he was surrounded by a dark and dreary waste. After traveling for the space of many hours in darkness he began to pray. He then sees the large and spacious field and then the tree.

Several insights...

Lehi, a prophet of the Lord, was doing everything asked of him. He was asked to follow, and he did. Lehi wasn’t doing anything bad/sinning, he was just following the path lade before him. His path was filled with darkness, even though he was following in the right steps! He found himself surrounded in darkness (for many hours) Lehi felt the need to pray! A prophet of the Lord, walking the right path, with a man dressed in a white robe and yet he too needed to pray! (I think this teaches a great lesson on the need to prayer.)

Bishop asked us to think about what Lehi prayed for… Rather then praying for deliverance (which I would have done… deliverance from my life situation, struggles, pain, heartache, illness) Lehi prayed for the Lord to have mercy on him—according to the multitude of his tender mercies. And it wasn’t until after he prayed and asked for mercy, that he was given the next view/step/ of his journey—he saw the field and then the tree.

Bishop asked us all if Lehi would have been led straight to the tree, would he have been able to recognize the greatness of the tree or understand just how happy the fruit could make one be!? Or did the struggle through the hours of darkness bring the perspective needed to fully appreciate/understand that the Tree was desirable? Opposition in all things! I can not tell I am truly having a happy day with out have a really awful day to compare it to. My awful days make me see/understand/appreciate when I am blessed with a good one! Without the dark times/hard times/struggling times in my life, how can I know the greatness of the atonement, or the pureness/mercy of Heavenly Father? I can’t!!

Bishop stated several times,

“Lehi didn’t pray for deliverance. He prayed for mercy.”

So amazed was I that I could not stop thinking of the significance of Lehi’s prayer—praying for mercy. I have never thought in my life to pray/ask for mercy. For me, or for those around me… but Lehi felt the need. So what is so important about mercy? Some told me that deliverance is the same thing as mercy, but so profound was the thought on my mind that it seemed to be much more and very different. Two completely different things…!

Dictionary.com
Mercy
1.compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence:
2.the disposition to be compassionate or forbearing: 3.the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, esp. to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty. 4.an act of kindness, compassion, or favor: 5.something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing:
I love #4, but all of them are great. Lehi in a sense, prayed for compassion and kindness, not deliverance! The past few days my prayers have taken on new meaning. I have been praying for mercy, tender mercy on my friends problems, on my family dramas, and on my own weaknesses. Bishop’s insight on mercy made me think of Elder Bednar’s talk…

http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=f318118dd536c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=0a838fbe352fe010VgnVCM100000176f620a____&hideNav=1

Wow, I am going to start praying for mercy, daily. When I first started praying for mercy, I felt a little weird and slightly childish. I think of the gripping knuckle game “mercy” where one squeezes the others hands until someone screams mercy… to which the game is stopped and the gripping is loosened. But Mercy is not giving in… but rather asking for compassion/kindness to get through. Great Sunday meeting! Inspired Bishop.



I have included a picture of last months ward temple night. This was a significant night for me because Becca, Bishop’s wife, was able to come. If the Lord wants to fill me with instant love/happiness, he brings Becca into my day, for I can not help but be positive and happy around her. When Becca and I were in YW’s together, I felt the Lord was giving me this weekly gift of watching such kindness in the making. Becca always tells me she is normal, just like everyone else, but I beg to differ. She and her husband’s level of commitment is deep—and like us all I know they must have their struggles but they are great examples of trusting in the Lord and loving others in spite of their weaknesses.

As we walked to do a session, Bishop and Becca had their arms around each other. And in the session, Bishop stole glances at his beautiful bride. I saw their Christ-like love for one another… what a treat it is for me to be blessed with so many great examples. This night was no exception!

LOVER OF MY SOUL

Last week, I had the impression I needed to get a blessing. I know better then to question the Lord, and yet I still wondered what my Dad would think with me asking for one. It seems I have been getting them quite often lately. But I felt impressed to do get one. When Dad had me come into his office he asked me what I needed one for. I shrugged my head and told him I didn’t know, other then I felt I needed to get one. Dad rested his hands on my shoulders like he always does before giving me a blessing. I know that it is his time to silently pray for inspiration. This time however, his hands remained for quite some time. I didn’t give him anything to go off of because I myself didn’t know. He finally lifted his hands and for the start of the blessing asked that he would be inspired to know what to say. I was given some direct council on being blessed to feel sorrow/pain in the moment for others, but that it would not consume my life. Other beautiful things were said and I wondered what in the world was the week going to bring me with a blessing like that. AGAIN, the Lord’s wisdom is far greater and ever more reaching then my tiny understanding of anything. Some things happened that were pretty intense. And anyone would have had the right to not be okay, but I wasn’t and I didn’t feel that way at all! I received texted from people I loved asking if I was okay. I was not only okay, I was great! I felt the sorrow and the pain in the moment and surely when I prayed, but as I got up from my knees or left curtain situations, my burdens were gone and my heart was no longer heavy. God is sooo good!! I am thankful he wanted me to have a blessing before I even knew what would come into my life. It was His way of preparing me. I am still in ahh!

As I was getting ready for the morning, I heard my Dad whistling… and I found myself singing the words as he whistled…”Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to thy bosom fly..” This song caught me a little off guard. When I am home alone, I am known to be singing hymns over and over again. But here, it was a Tues morning and my Dad was whistling Jesus, Lover of my Soul. This was not exactly out of character for Dad, but it surely caught me off guard. I was immediately filled with the spirit, and although I didn’t feel in a bad mood at all, but the simple song took me to a new mood/level of happiness. I could not help but smiled as I got ready for work. The words are so beautiful from that song...

Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hid,
Till the storm of life is past.
Safe into the haven guide;
Oh, receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none;
Hangs my helpless soul on thee.
Leave, oh, leave me not alone;
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on thee is stayed;
All my help from thee I bring.
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of thy wing.

-Charles Wesley 1707-1788-


Honestly - my Dad’s little choice to whistle a church song so early on a Tues morning, set the whole tone for my day! The difference I felt in my own home… I saw the difference in his own mood too. There was more kindness, love, understanding. And where I think we have things quite great, today, they were greater… and all because he decided to whistle a hymn! Thanks Dad!