Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Creator

We were privileged to live on the coast in Washington for nearly nine years exactly. And by on the coast I mean that if you drove too far down the only road in our town, you'd fall off into the ocean. We could hear the water's rumble out our window at any time. It was a 5 minute drive (or less) to sit on the beach and watch the waves roll in. We lived on.the.coast.
Not long after we moved there, we went down to one of the large rock jetty's that poke out into the water. It was a fun place to climb around and see awesome sea life when the tide was low. It's also one of the best places to gather shells....
On this particular trip, I climbed and hiked to the end of the rocks, a place that is a considerable distance out into the water. The wind is always blowing, and blocks out noises from the beach.
I looked up the beach to my right and I looked down the beach to my left. I looked out in front of me. In all three directions was only water, this great expanse of beautiful, amazing ocean.
A powerful thougth struck me: the same God who had created all of this water ~ so much it was more than my eye could take in ~ had created: ME.
I was overwhelmed with warmth and love and reminded that He knew who I was, and where I was.
He knows each one of us. He knows why we're here, and what our purpose is. He loves us and wants us to be happy. He sent His son so that we could not be permanently separated from Him.
Our Heavenly Father is the creator of all things, big and small. His omnipotent, never-ending awareness for all things includes you and me, even when we might stand small, surrounded by the hugenes of His ocean or up to our elbows in the daily tasks of life.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jesus and the Trash Guy

Monday morning is a big deal at our house.

You see, the trash guys come on Monday mornings, and their coming is a much-anticipated, looked forward to event for our son, who is now three.
He knows that Monday means "Trash Guys".

And I make sure he is awake and aware that they are coming.
"Nate! The Trash Guys are coming!" "Come watch out the window!"

We listen for the truck when it's in our neighborhood, and I watch to see when the truck has finally come around the corner and we have just two houses to be at our front window.
One morning not long ago, Nate and I were still upstairs when I heard the truck round the corner. I came tearing down the stairs, calling to him to come down QUICK so he didn't miss them. (Missing them would mean the end to a happy morning...that only had to happen once!)
And as I hauled myself down faster than I was used to, I wondered why we made such a big deal about this....sure, for the enjoyment of our boy, who we love. But really ~ what else (or who else) would we made such a big deal for?
Grandma? maybe....yes, we kind of do.....
What about Jesus?
Would we make sure we were up, would we be watching, listening, WAITING for Him, knowing he was coming, even if we were never sure exactly when?
Would we come tearing down the stairs for Him?
I know that by doing the little things regularly ~ things like family prayer, scriptures, FHE, attending our meetings and fufilling our callings ~ we are showing Him that we're ready.
Or getting there.
But are we as EXCITED about these things as we are when the Trash Guys round the corner?
Sometimes people giggle during prayers (the littlest ones wandering away even...). Sometimes we're lucky to make it through two verses in our scriptures. Sometimes FHE lessons are three minutes long.
Sometimes we get these things done (at least initially) more out of obligation
than elation for the opportunity..
I know someday He will come. And I know I want to be ready and to have helped prepare all the people I live with.
Joyfully living the Gospel starts with me.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The View From Higher Ground

In Amos 8:11-13, it is written:

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord; And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the work of the Lord, and shall not find it.
In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst."

The thought that crossed my mind when I read these recently was, even though they foretold the day of the great apostasy, could they also speak of, or apply to, individual and very personal apostasies? Apostasies that we bring upon ourselves because of our willfulness, our disobedience, laziness, or lack of faith?

Just as those of the great apostasy lost great blessings because of their unwillingness to follow the Savior, so can we fail to reach our full potential if we do not keep Him in our sights at all times, safeguarding ourselves against temptation and distraction.

We have no reason to be spiritually malnourished, yet do we take full advantage of the gifts we have been given?

From the scriptures to church attendance to prayer to the temple.... are we making the most of all we have?

Do we find ourselves in a comfortable place? One where we do as much as need to do to feel good, as much as is convenient, but not more? More that would require additional discipline, determination and stretching and would result in growth and untold blessings?

It's easy to fall into a steady pace on a road until that path becomes deep and then we find ourselves in a rut that requires work to get out of.

In a Conference address a few years ago, President Monson addressed the topic of being our best selves. He offered these questions to guide our thinking:

1. Am I what I want to be?

2. Am I closer to the Savior today than I was yesterday?

3. Will I be closer yet tomorrow?

4. Do I have the courage to change for the better?

That last one ~ do I have the courage to change for the better ~ caught me. Change takes courage. Courage takes strength, determination and focus.

Even if we find ourselves in a spiritual rut today, there is a way up and onto higher ground. President Monson reminds us of the words the Savior taught on the American continent, when answering the question, "What manner of persons ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am."

We need only look to that perfect exemplar, Jesus Christ, to find our way. We are blessed with the privilege and power of prayer to gain direction and understanding in becoming our best selves.

It is my testimony that prayer is a wonderful gift! It is the thing that can keep us away from temptation, help us find greater love and understanding for our family and friends, and keep us focused on our eternal goals. There is nothing not worthy of praying about.

Heavenly Father loves us. He knows who we are and is ready to help us accomplish all that we came here to do.