Relate through Christ

As a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints I get to meet a lot of people everyday that come from unique backgrounds and circumstances.  So many people face huge trials and have extremely difficult lives. I’m quite the opposite. I feel like my life has been so easy. I’m not saying that nothing has gone wrong or I haven’t had struggles, but in general nothing traumatic and or life shattering has happened to me. I have four awesome brothers and two wonderful parents that have pretty much always been there for me. My parents have always  provided for our needs and we have a great relationship. This sometimes creates a challenge for me as a missionary because I feel that I can’t relate to people that have faced serious, traumatic hardships.  I told this to one of my companions and she said, “Just teach them about Jesus Christ. He’s what they need.” How very true this is. Of course there are always those people that can only be touched by someone that has faced similar circumstances but, as a whole, what we all need is Jesus Christ. Christ is the way that we find happiness. Through Christ we are able to overcome any trial that we face, whether it’s traumatic or just uncomfortable.

In the scriptures we learn a lot about Jesus Christ and most importantly about His atonement.  Some of my favorite scriptures are found in the Book of Mormon (another Testament of Jesus Christ). They are scriptures from the prophet Isaiah quoted by a prophet named Abinadi.  He quotes in Mosiah 14:3-5 (see also Isaiah 53:3-5),

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrow; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”


Through Christ, and only Christ, we are able to overcome grief, sorrow, afflictions, rejection and any other type of negative feeling you could possible think of. Because of Christ’s suffering we are able to be healed spiritually and physically. He is the one that understands all that we are going through. Turn to the Savior in your sorrows, he will make you whole.

The Light and the Life of the World

Tis the Season to be jolly! In the world today I sometimes wonder if most people really know why this is the season to be jolly. Why do we have Christmas and  what makes it so special? One of the speakers in a recent church meeting said, “Christmas is special because of Easter. If    there had been no resurrection than Jesus Christ would have been just another baby born in Bethlehem.” And it’s true. Because Christ suffered for our sins, because he was resurrected on the third day, he is more than just another baby born in Bethlehem. He is the Savior and Redeemer, the light and life of the world.  Christmas is the time that we celebrate the gift that was given to every man, woman and child.

“For unto US a child is born, unto US a son is given.” -Isaiah 9:6- (emphasis added)

The greatest gift ever given, the baby born in Bethlehem, Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer. Jesus Christ came to earth and die for us so that we all may receive eternal life. Without his wonderful gift, death would be the end and families would not be able to be together forever. This is the gift that we celebrate every December. So in this wonderful celebration make sure that you always keep the Savior in your heart. Do not get so caught up in the candy, presents, lights, ornaments and all of the other Christmas traditions that you have no room left for the Savior. As Elder David A. Bednar said, “Each of us is a innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus!”

Joy to the world the Lord is come, let earth receive her king!

Let every heart prepare Him room.

Strains to prove

Do you ever have those days, weeks, months or even years that are so draining and straining that you aren’t sure you can handle much more? I certainly do! And sometimes I wonder, “Why in the world do we even need to have days and weeks and what-nots like that? Why does life need to be so hard? So difficult? And so emotionally exhausting? Can’t it just be easy? Sunshine and flowers.” To me that sounds pretty perfect, and far too easy. One of my new favorite quotes goes like this

     It is trail that proves one thing strong and another weak. A cobweb is as strong as the mightiest cable when there is no strain upon it.

~Henry Ward Beecher~

We all wish that life didn’t have to be so hard, but it’s those hard times in our lives that prove to us how strong we can truly be. And the only way that we  can withstand all trials in our life is through the help of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our trials will not disapear when we follow the Savior, but they will be easier to bear and overcome. In the Book of Mormon it tells a story about a group of people called the Lamanites that chose not to follow Christ:

They were once a delightsome people, and they had Christ for their shepherd; yea, they were led even by God the Father.            

But now, behold, they were led about by Satan, even as chaff is driven before the wind, or as a vessel is tossed about upon the waves, without sail or anchor, or without anything wherewith to steer her; and even as she is, so are they.

Mormon 5:17-18 (Book of Mormon)

When we try and live our lives without the guidance of  the Savior we are like a vessel being tossed upon the waves without an anchor or a sail, or any means wherewith to guide us. The trials are always there. They help us to learn and to grow. They prove our strength and they help us learn to rely upon the Savior. The sun shines and the rain falls on the wicked and the righteous alike, but when we follow the Savior we have Him as our anchor and guide throughout whatever storms may come our way. Trust in the Savior and He will guide you.

“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.”

Ether 12:4 (Book of Mormon)

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The Weaver

My Life is but a weaving
between my Lord and me;
I cannot choose the colors
He worketh steadily.

Oft times He weaveth sorrow
And I, in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper,
And I the under side.

 

Not til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver’s skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

He knows, He loves, He cares,
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives His very best to those
Who leave the choice with Him.

~Author Unknown~

The Rains Still Come

The wise man built his house upon the rock, the wise man built his house upon the rock, the wise man built his houe upon the rock and the rains came tumbling down. The rains came down and the floods came up, the rains came down and the floods came up, the rains came down and the floods came up and the house on the rock stood still!The foolish man built his house upon the sand, the foolish man built his house upon the sand, the foolish man built his house upon the sand and the rains came tumbling down.  The rains came down and the floods came up, The rains came down and the floods came up, The rains came down and the floods came up and the house on the sand washed away!

This was one of my most favorite songs to sing in church when I was a young girl and has since come to mean so much more to me than it previously did. I loved all the little hand actions and singing loud and what not. Now that I’m older the meaning has become deeper and more personal. It tells the story of two different men, the wise man and the foolish man. Two very different characteristics yet somehow their lives have something in common. The wise man built his house on the rock, a solid foundation and the foolish man built his house on the sand…not very solid at all. Once again, two very different ideas, but here is where their stories collide. The rains came down and the floods came up. The rains and the floods came to both men, both houses, both foundations. Yet the only one that survived was the house on the rock.

What a wonderful example to build our lives after. We all have trials, or rains and floods, in our lives and the only way to survive those floods is by being a wise man/woman and building our house upon the rock. That rock is our Savior Jesus Christ and the principles of His church.

When we build our lives on the Savior’s teachings then we are able to weather any storm. Like the wise man, the rains will still come, along with the floods (relying on the Savior will not take away our trials) but we will have the strength we need to make it through any storm that comes our way. I testify that only through the strenght and teachings of our Savior will we be able to make it through the storms of life that beset each of us on a daily basis. Live His teachings. Build on His rock.

Things of Worth

 

Once upon a time there was a little boy proudly walking down the street to the candy store with one dollar. As he was walking, he met a man. He walked up to the man and said, “Look at what I have! I have one dollar!”
“Wow what a beautiful dollar,” replied the man. “I will give you two quarters for your one dollar.”
Two quarters?! Thought the little boy. Two is certainly more than one. So he traded the man his one dollar for two quarters.
He continued confidently down the street with his two quarters where he met a woman. He showed her his two, beautiful quarters. She oohed and ahed and said to him, “I will trade you three dimes for your two quarters.”
“Three dimes?! This day is getteing better and better!” exclaimed the little boy. He continued down the street trading his three dimes for four nickles and his four nickles for five pennies. How lucky I am! thought the little boy as he energetically swung open the door to the candy store. “I started out with only one dollar and now I have five pennies!”  He took his five pennies to the front desk and showed the shiny coins to the clerk. “I would like to buy some candy.”
“I’m sorry son,” replied the clerk, “but you don’t have enough money.” The clerk explained to the crestfallen boy the worth of the five pennies. Dejectedly, the young boy slowly and sadly walked out the door with his five pennies.

Our Heavenly Father has given us the gospel (a dollar) to show us the way to return to live with Him. How often do we trade this gift for things of the world that are of little worth? When we return to the presence of our Heavenly Father what will we have to show him? A big screen TV? The nicest car money can buy? Worldly possessions? Or will we come with a testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ? Knowledge of the scriptures that our Heavenly Father has given to guide us? Let us not trade things of eternal value for those things that only bring us temporary, earthly satisfaction.

Having Faith in the Lord’s Direction

Have you ever played Bingo before? Every Saturday I and other fellow missionaries play a bundle of thrilling, nerve wracking, rounds of  Bingo at the local care center with the elderly. Many times I find myself so close to being able to call that coveted word, “Bingo!” and claim my prize of one mini candy bar! “All I need is G67! G67!” I focus so hard on getting that last number that I so desperately need. I wait and wait for them to call that number, usually to no avail, and frustration inevitably follows. They never call my number! Why don’t they ever call the ONE number that I need! In the midst of my maniacal, inner raving the lady sitting next to me breaks my ranting thoughts and, pointing at my card, says, “You got a Bingo.” What? Where?! They never called G67, how could I get Bingo? As I take a good look at my card I find that somehow along the way I trulydid get Bingo! It wasn’t the way I was planning on, nor with the numbers I focused so hard to get, but a different direction all together.

Many times our lives follow the same pattern. We focus so hard on one path or direction that we feel we should take, completely neglecting any other options. Frustration and anxiety follow as things don’t seem to work out the way we had planned. A loving, all knowing God tries so desprately to lead us on the path that He knows will bring us the most joy and happiness. Many times I find myselff trying to rebel, to follow my own understanding. But I know that as we take a step back and get the bigger picture, see the whole card and pray for the guidance of our Heavenly Father, we may soon see that our way isn’t always the best one. We realize that our Heavenly Father can see the whole picture and He knows what we need in order to find true happiness in this life and grow to our fullest potential. When we allow our Heavenly Father to guide our path and have patience in His plan then we will all gain the greatest reward, (and it isn’t a mini candybar) eternal life in the presence of our Heavenly Father.