Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Quietness




This week is filled with a flurry of activity, as we prepare to move to a new home. My heart and mind are caught up in many thoughts as I pack, throw away, and try to get my family ready.

I have thought a great deal about our first year in Colorado. This past year has been a quiet, yet burning crucible, with some of the more difficult trials that we have faced. They have been so personal that I have not written many of them.

But as I look back on this year, I am astonished. It has been a year of tremendous growth and beauty. This year has changed us forever, and we will never be the same. And that is largely because of the difficulties that we have faced. I wouldn't trade those things, painful as they have been, for anything.

The other thing that has astonished me is that we have somehow been okay. This year has met us with burdens that are great, as we have been unable to sell our home and as we have gone through a very costly cross-country move. Yet somehow, as we have strived to follow what the Lord has directed us to do, we have been alright. In fact, we are flourishing. We have been blessed abundantly, and somehow, we are doing well, in spite of the turmoil in the world.

It has truly taught me something. That has we try to do our best at following what the Lord says, we will be taken care of. I had a conversation with an acquaintance recently who was angry at me for suggesting that she trust the Lord, and she stated that "If we leave it up to Him, we will suffer. I have to make my own decisions." While it's true that you do need to make decisions, and that you do have the possibility of suffering, the only way to joy is through Him. I felt nothing but sorrow for this woman, whose pain was evident. But my sorrow was not for any misfortune she may have had. It was for the lack of trust and love for her Father, Who so dearly loves her.

Somehow, regardless of everything, the Lord has blessed us beyond what seems possible. And I believe it is because of this, which has been my creed since before I had a family:
"And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places."
-Isaiah 32:17-18
I believe that, regardless of where we have lived or what has been happening, we have dwelled in a "peaceable habitation," because we have tried to follow our Father. I am truly one of the most vastly imperfect people that I know, so imperfect and full of error that at times it causes me great sorrow. But I believe firmly in a loving Father who sees our hearts, and Who knows, in spite of imperfections and sins, the desires of our hearts, as well as our potential. Somehow, even though we are terribly imperfect, He blesses us anyway, when He knows we are genuinely trying our best to be righteous. He blesses us with peace, quietness, and assurance. He blesses us with a peaceable habitation.

And sometimes these blessings come to us in different ways. This past year, some of our greatest blessings have been our profoundest trials. And some have been bounty in spite of leanness. But always, as we have strived to do our best, there has been a peaceable habitation, and quietness and assurance.

As we prepare to go to a new home, my greatest hope is to create for my family a "peaceable habitation," a "quiet resting place." And I know that the only way to truly do that is to follow our Father, and to strive with all my heart to do as He asks.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A birthday and an announcement...

My birthday was this weekend. It was perfect. Quite possibly the best birthday I've ever had. We just spent time together as a family, and it was heaven for me.

We drove to Estes Park on Saturday, to just enjoy the air and the quiet together.




My little women. :)



My best friend.



What a sweetie. :)



Who gets to be married to that handsome man? :)





Playing by the lake was so pleasant and so peaceful.
It was heaven to just leave the rush behind for a day.































We spent a lot of time throwing the foxtail around, too. :)












It was a happy and perfect day, which was such a gift to us, as so much turmoil and sadness and difficulty has been going on in the world and with so many of our loved ones. It has all weighed on all of us, and it was such a blessing to have a day to reflect on the blessings of life, rather than being overshadowed by the difficulties.


...and I suppose I'd like to use my birthday post to announce something that many of you do not know yet.







This is one of the greatest miracles that has ever happened in my life. More about this miracle later. :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Teeth, teeth, teeth!

What a big week for our four-year-old!

First she lost one tooth...

...and then two were gone!



The tooth fairy has been very busy! And our oldest is about to lose another tooth, too, so the tooth fairy will be back again soon! :)

Hope

Friday, October 16, 2009

Angels


A few weeks ago, our ward had the annual Primary Children's Program. Our oldest daughter had a part, which in a ward as large as this, is not too common. Though she had done fine in earlier programs in our smaller ward, this one was harder for her. Whenever she would stand in front of the very large audience of children, or imagine the even larger audience at Sacrament Meeting, she would feel absolutely terrified, and have a complete meltdown.

We practiced and practiced at home. At home, she could say it without a problem. She spoke with emphasis and poise, and felt very ready, but each time we would go to church, she would absolutely freeze.

I struggled to know how to help her. She was discouraged and embarrassed. She felt so sad and defeated. As a mother, I hurt, because I want my kids to learn to do hard things. But I also feared that if she wasn't able to do this difficult thing, it might knock her confidence down a great deal, and she wouldn't feel that she could do other hard things.

I prayed every day to know how to help her. Then one day, when she and I were talking, inspiration flashed to my mind.

We had invited a little friend of theirs to the program, in spite of the ensuing disaster. After inviting her, we talked together that afternoon about what a good thing it was that she had invited her friend, and that she was being a good missionary by trying to share the Gospel. All of a sudden, inspiration came, as I remembered a scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants:
"And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." - D&C 84:88
I shared that scripture with her, and told her that since she was being a missionary, that promise applied to her. I promised her that, if she would have faith, the Lord would be with her, and that angels would be standing all around her, to help her. It amazed her, and she thought about it for days. She began to pray for help, and for angels to come.

The morning of the program, I was nervous. I prayed fervently for her faith to have help. But as soon as we sat on the stand at church, I looked over at her from where I was sitting with my Sunday School class. She was smiling at me, and she quietly called to me, "Mommy, I can feel them."

When the time came for her to do her part, she stood bravely and said it without problem or hesitation. It was miraculous to watch the transformation. As I stood next to her, I could feel it, too. She was elated, and felt so happy. That night, she prayed with gratitude in her heart, and has spoken ever since of the angels that came to help her.

She seeks for help now. She asks for it. She has faith that it will come.

I have tried to take her example. As things have been challenging and have gotten difficult over the past few weeks, I have remembered her miracle, and the help she received.

The other night, I struggled a great deal. I have had a sadness I just couldn't name and it was wearing me down. I felt sad and overwhelmed. That night, after breaking down to Matt, I prayed sincerely for help.

The next day, I received a phone call from a dear friend, and during the course of that conversation, she not only taught me by her example of letting go of things she had wanted and planned, but she listened to me, long enough for me to finally put into words what was hurting inside, and to help me to understand and handle my own sadness better.

When I hung up, I thanked Heavenly Father for her call, and I realized in that moment that he had sent me my own angel, to stand beside me and to help me. I am grateful beyond words, and things are better inside of me, now that I have been able to understand the confusing feelings that I was having. The sadness has lightened.

Angels come in many forms. They can be unseen, heavenly visitors, and they can be right around us. Either way, they are sent from the Lord to be "round about [us], to bear [us] up." They really come.

I am grateful for the things that are hard. They give us a chance to feel our Father's love, and for us to see just how much He cares, and how much He wants to help us.

Whose angel will you be today?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Change


I find that my life is caught up in a season of change right now. So much is changing, in my heart, mind, and life.





It is interesting to feel this period of change come during this time of the year. I love autumn. I love the colors, the smells, the crisp air, the warm, comforting foods I make my family.


But it is striking just how much everything changes. Leaves, once green and lush, dry up, turn colors, and blow away. The air grows colder. Everything is more exposed.





The change is often painful. It is hard to say good-bye to summer loveliness, knowing that after this brief period of change, a long winter is coming.


So why is it that I love this season of change so very much?


I have thought about that a lot this week, as I have watched the leaves blow by.




Change can be difficult. Change and growth are often painful. Yet, the season of change, autumn, is the most glorious of the year.


Could it be that the seasons of change in our lives are the most glorious, as well?



I believe so.


It is only by going through those changing periods, at times painful, cold, and stark, that we become the beauty that is waiting underneath. Something about the change and the cold can help to bring out the very best, the most lovely, within each of us, if we let it.


As I look back on my life, the difficult periods, the changing periods, are the ones most golden and lovely to me, because without them, I wouldn't have what I have in my heart. I wouldn't be who I am now. I wouldn't feel what I feel.


Thank Thee, Father, for the glorious changing seasons, both on our lovely earth, and in our lives.


(PS - Lesson learned from fall picture day? When life dumps you in a cold, muddy pond, keep smiling.) :)