Tuesday, July 15, 2014

MAFIA, KIDNEY STONE, and HE KNEW_ Lessons Not Lost

Time seems to slip away quickly, and although I have had MANY things I would have loved to blog about, other priorities have taken over and writing has been put on the back burner. But today my heart is full and I just need to share some of the things the Lord has given me to see/experience/hear.

     The other day a sweet woman contacted Mr. Dashing to see if she could get a blessing set up for her daughter who was going into surgery the next day. We both made some calls to find another priesthood holder to help. Mr. Dashing dressed in his suit (as I knew he would) and with me attending and wanting to show respect for the priesthood blessing, dressed in a dress.
     We stopped by the home of another priesthood brother who has a pretty awesome story about his journey/becoming active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He came to the car--and I worried that he might feel bad because of how we were dressed. After some time in the car he asked Mr. Dashing if he had just gotten off work or just liked to be in a suit. The answer came that Mr. Dashing tried to dress in a white shirt and tie when administrating in the priesthood whenever possible. That was new news to this brother and he said he had never heard of it. But the conversation was left at that.
     We went into the home and after some good conversation, these two priesthood brethren laid their hands on the 30 year old's head and gave her a blessing of strength, peace and comfort for the next day surgery.
     After the blessing was given, this good brother, Ed, placed his hands on the shoulders of the young woman and testified to her about the blessing of receiving a blessing before surgery. He showed his scars on his head from a brain surgery and this good sweet man testified that he knew that no matter what happened the next day--he knew Jesus would be with her.  I was touched by his powerful, simple testifying of what he knew to be true. The words out of this rough and tough pictures up and down the arms, large man--touched me.
     We drove home with the spirit and asked Ed some different questions. He said that he had recently gone through the temple and that there was no turning back now. That He, then he proceeded to jab Mr. Dashing and then pointed back to me-- that we ALL were now solders for God because we had all been through the temple. That no matter what our priesthood holders said/asked, ours was to follow and serve. I smiled as I listened to his love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I thanked Heavenly Father for a man that was so willing and worthy to use the priesthood of God at a moments notice.
     Moments before arriving at his home Ed said, "I love the gospel! It is like being in the Mafia for GOOD!" He then explained in the mafia (I didn't ask him how he was so attached to the Mafia-- :) maybe a story for another day) you might get a call to do something needed at 2 am--and you just go and do it. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints-- whenever you get a call to do good (this day it was at 6:30 at night) you just go and do it! I smiled with his die heart conviction to the gospel of Jesus Christ and his commitment to be a solider for God.
     Ed got out of the car and as he went to shut the door he said the next time he would be dressed appropriately and have a shirt and tie on. He said it was the first he had heard of it, but he said he would do the same. We later heard that he chatted with bishop in asking him if one should wear a shirt and tie for administering a blessing. Bishop mentioned that whenever possible--that dressing for the priesthood was best. Ed then told Bishop he would do it. ...:) Oh this man who is in the Mafia for GOOD! ;) Warmed my heart and left me praising God. Great example to both Mr. Dashing and myself.

Elder and Sister Cloward - Joberg Africa
     I was chatting with my dad and mom the other day over facetime. Amen for the internet FINALLY in their African home! Makes communicating without glitches--so much nicer!
     I asked how their fast Sunday had been to which Dad replied, great and horrible. They had the missionaries over for dinner, but dad had become very uneasy with a sharp pain attacking him. A kidney stone! He did his best to be a host with much pacing. A few times he laid on his stomach and had my mom knee his back to help move the kidney stone along. Sometimes she was successful which resulted in 30 mins of rest/sleep--but followed by intense pain, pacing the floors, mopping and doing anything else to keep his mind distracted. I have had my own kidney stone before so I knew in general what my dad was going through.
     But the miracle of this agonizing moment was an aw-ha given to him through the spirit. See, early that morning as he and my mom were fasting for all of us in the family--my dad had been pondering over the sacrament prayers.
     As Latter-Day Saints, each Sunday we partake of bread that has been broken and blessed which represents Christ's body and also we partake of water that represents the blood he shed for each of us. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints--when we are baptized, we promise to take upon us Jesus Christ's name (that is--try to do as He would do/live/be). We covenant to serve and love others, to keep His commandments, to mourn with those who mourn, comfort/support/care for those in need. We also are baptized because even Christ (our sinless brother) was baptized to fulfill all righteousness/follow what was asked by Heavenly Father.
     Our baptism is a symbol/outward expression of our inner commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe that one must be baptized by someone who holds the priesthood authority (authority to act in God's name) to preform the sacred ordinance. When we are baptized, it is symbolic of putting away our old life, of whatever it was/is, and being "born again"-- to God. That means committing to keep and live His commandments. In doing so, we believe we receive a remission of our sins. That through the atonement of Christ, we are cleansed and clean- without any spot.
     After we are baptized we are confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And with that confirmation (again only done by those who have authority given them by God to do the ordinance of laying their hands upon our head) we are told to "receive the Holy Ghost".
     We believe by living/striving to repent each day and trying to keep the commandments we can have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost--the third member of the Godhead--whose job is to testify of truth, of Jesus Christ, and of Heavenly Father. Also he leads us and comforts us. Okay... back to the sacrament.
     If baptism in part is for a remission for our sins--and each of us sin every day because we are not perfect--then logically we should just stay in a baptismal font and NEVER get out because we would need to be baptized all the time! Right?! No, we are not to live in a font. But why it is so important to a Latter-Day Saint to attend church every week-- is that is where we partake of the sacrament, the bread and water representing Christ's body and blood that was shed for us-- and through that partaking of those emblems, we renew our baptismal covenants.
     So IF we partake the bread and water with a repentant heart, and we seek to be better and strive again to live as God would have us live--it is as IF we are being "baptized" each Sunday--we start our week fresh and clean, un spotted-- and ready to "KEEP TRYING/STRIVING" to do what we have promised God we would do.
     That is just a little back ground--- so back to my dad, he was pondering over the broken bread which is in similitude (represents) Christ's body that was broken and bruised for each of us. As my dad pondered about it--he said he just didn't get it. That perhaps there was something more "deep" then the bread physically representing all Christ gave us with his physical life/living. During the administration of the sacrament my dad asked God to help him better understand the broken bread.
    Well--that night, prayer answered! For after he had suffered through the attacks of the kidney stone, he felt that the attack was in direct answer to his pleading to better understand the Savior's physical suffering. That He [Jesus Christ] truly has felt all of our heartache and sorrows as well as our physical agonies.
     My dad believed he was given that brief encounter with a kidney stone as a tender mercy into a request to better understand.

    My father's words got me thinking. He said mom already was "clued" into what the bread meant by what she has had to endure... but it was just coming to me. I pondered it all week and then the Lord gave me the Ryerse's talks...

     This past Sunday brought a talk by Brother and Sister Ryerse. The words have stuck with me--and moved me. Sister Ryerse said that growing up she had pretty bad kidneys and had to go into the hospital often for treatments. Finally at 11 years old they decided to try a surgery to help correct/fix whatever was wrong with her kidneys. It sounds like it was a pretty risky procedure. And even at 11 she could remember feeling great anxiety and fear over the surgery. But she was given a blessing and was reminded that the Savior had already felt all the pain she would be going through/have--He knew exactly what she was facing... and although she didn't know how the outcome would be, she went into the surgery as a 11 year old with peace knowing that the Savior had already felt/knew what she was going through. (*Miracle--the surgery was a great success !! and shortly after her surgery the medical world stopped preforming that type of surgery because what there had been too many fatal outcomes with the procedure. She had been protected and preserved.)
     Brother Ryerse talked about the struggles of dating Melanie (Sister Ryerse) because her mom was so set on that HE was not the right one for HER daughter. Apparently the mother in law caused many tears and heartache as Sister Ryerse had received revelation from God to move forward with brother Ryerse in marriage but her mother was not supporting/would not have it.
     Brother Ryerse then said he had a profound dream while they were dating that he was sitting with Melanie's mom and expressing all the reasons he loved her daughter but she would not have it. And the more questions she asked the more Brother Ryerse tried to answer them but was left short handed by being able to satisfy any of the accusations of the mother in law to be. At the end of the dream, Melanie's mom stated to Brother Ryerse that in time things would be okay. He held to that--- and although it sounds like quite a bit of a "hell" in their dating process and probably a bit into their marriage--over time (several years and 4 kids into the marriage) it has been okay.
     Both talks were BEAUTIFUL examples of faith and perseverance/trusting in God-- even with great odds.

SOOO why is this all touching? My dad's experience and Melanie's-- I have never written on here because there are so many of my friends who's timing for marriage and/or children have not come to fruit yet-- My time for marriage was at age 30, and a time for our first child is apparently at age 31--close to 32. Our little guy is due Sept 28th.
     I can't even express all the feelings and emotions I have gone through, that both Mr. Dashing and I have been through in the last 29 weeks, let alone the almost year of marriage.
      And the next two 1/2 months, no doubt, we will yet experience many more things in regards to being parents and raising our little one to God.
     I have been at times brought to my knees in pure fear for labor and delivery--as well of needing to wear the mother hat.
     After serving a mission in New Jersey, when I came home I found myself weeping every time I was around children. It was sometimes out of control and outright feeling of ridiculous. I longed to teach my own little ones about Jesus Christ and God's plan for them, that God hears and answer's prayers, that we lived with him before we came here to this earth, and this earth life, in big measure is learning to be obedient to the commandments of God so we can yet again, return and live with our Heavenly Father. These thoughts would consume me when I was around little children. Sooo MUCH that I had to prayed to have my heart locked from so many tender emotions. (Yeah, not sure if that was wise or not) but lock my heart He did because I finally STOPPED weeping when I was around children. YEA!
     Yes I wanted to be a mother, but because that did not seem to be in my current life plans--I moved on. I strived to do everything within my power to be God's tool as a single person. I don't say this for bragging or to be "seen" a certain way--I am just writing how I choose to deal with my dreams of wife and family not coming in my time table. I certainly didn't want to just do nothing because what "I thought was best" was not coming to past. So I choose to focus on what I could or what I felt God would have me do when the blessings I had sought for were not on the horizon for nearly 10 years....
    But here, now, with the reality growing inside of me (literally with kicks and jabs-our little man is surely going to be a great swimmer like his dad) and the truth that if it is God's will, we will have a little bundle in our arms in the not too distant future---the thought of labor, delivery, and motherhood IS such an awesome monster, or I should, HAS been a monster.
     I have taken comfort in knowing the world has been populated for thousands of years by women doing what just freaks me out to do, and in a large part they have succeeded. But what my fears were not allowing me to realize--came in my dad's and Mel's experiences... the realization/aw-ha that Jesus Christ has already felt what I have been through and will yet go through. That my situation, no matter how closely related to someone else's, Jesus Christ is the one who will know exactly what I am facing. And although I don't know outcomes or have any clue to the pains to be physically felt and emotional/mental ones that will come with the motherhood package--HE DOES. HE KNOWS! And in HIM knowing, my heart takes great peace in knowing there is no part of this journey He has not already walked/ is ready to re-walk with me...!
     Yes, I know I am slow on the bandwagon and these truths I have already realized in other areas of my life, but like reading a scripture for the 100th time and finding something completely new or just pressed to the mind in a different light--this aw-ha is amazing! And this week I am facing the future with a determined peace of mind and confidence....
     I am so grateful for where I live. For the people who have been placed on my path-- for all those who have already dived into motherhood that have been great examples.
     To all those who find that the dreams they have so long dreamed that have not come true--but they still are giving their all to God and trying to trust in His timing, how beautiful their examples are to me.

     I am not sure why Mr. Dashing was saved/prepared for me. Some days he is more celestial than I know what to do with. And I am not sure why we have been given this time to have a family--but I know that whatever path each of us are on, if we will trust in God (who has our best interest at the center of His entire existence) we will never have to face/do what we are asked to do--alone. For our exact path (whatever it is in life) has been walked by the Redeemer of all mankind. And if one chooses to have faith in Him, despite the unknowns, that someone truly can live in/with peace and hope, regardless of what the outcomes/happenings of their individual journeys may bring.

Today I am rejoicing in people who testify about being God's solider, in white shirts and ties with men willing and worthy to serve in/with the priesthood. I rejoice in beautiful examples given to me of the personal lives of others, which move me in the direction of faith--because of them living their faith!

Happiness is God placing a new piece into the puzzles before my eternal soul's journey. 
I am grateful for prayer, and repentance and the chance to become better than I am.