On Sunday my sweet little Max who is the most painfully shy of all my children walked all the way up to the front of the chapel to share his beliefs with the rest of our ward family. And then he learned what the rest of us have learned from awkward experience, that the long walk back to your seat is the worst part. I was so excited that he had such a strong desire to do SOMETHING, but also that he conquered one of his biggest fears and walked up there and got it done.
Tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of the day that I was baptized and became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
And so I thought it an appropriate time to share some of my beliefs.
I don't claim to KNOW much.
I have seen the blessings of tithing in my personal life so often that I could not deny that they are anything else but blessings from a loving Father in Heaven.
I have a soft spot in my heart for Relief Society and the visiting teaching program. This wasn't always the case and as an active member of the church I used to wonder why I needed visiting teachers to come and check on me once a month. I'll let you know if I need anything. But the truth is that I will NEVER let you know if I need anything. And so we see once again that God knows our needs better even than we do. When Cash was a newborn baby I was faced one night with all of my company and help returning to their homes and work, including my husband who had to return to an out of town internship. The weekend was over and Gwen had to go back to school the next day and I suddenly had 3 children. It seems so silly now to think about, but I was in tears trying to decide if I should leave the baby in his warm bed the next morning while I drove Gwen to school or bundle him up and take him out in the cold. All those dramatic emotions! Just as I had gotten my emotions under control, one of my sweet visiting teachers showed up with dinner. She walked it into the kitchen and as she was leaving she turned around and asked me how Gwen was going to get to school the next day and could she please pick her up and drive her to school for awhile? I am not a fan of crying in front of people, but I felt especially stupid crying about driving a child to school and in front of this visiting teacher who I was sure disliked me because I had a history of forgetting our appointments and standing them up. I believe that our Father in Heaven uses those around us to answer our prayers and that we are all here to help and serve one another. And we are best able to help and serve others when we have our own affairs and relationships in order. Hopefully someday I will get to that point. Gwen was nervous to ride to school with this sweet older lady. But she drove her to school for a few weeks and they developed a cute little friendship that Gwen will always remember and talks about still.
I don't claim to understand much about the atonement. At all. The older I get the more I have a desire to learn and I'm slowly adding to my store of knowledge. And then I forget and have to relearn. Again and again. I have one experience that I like to think of when I start to forget that I'm worth something. One day I just didn't know how I was going to keep plugging along. I felt alone, worthless, unwanted, misunderstood, and completely hopeless that any of that would ever change. And then I had a clear thought. Not a clear voice, but a clear thought. You know the kind that can later be discounted to just your own intelligence. I discount a lot of my clear thoughts after the fact to just coincidence or my own paranoia. I have never heard a clear "voice" or had a burning in my bosom. We all experience things differently and I am still learning to recognize when I am feeling the spirit. But this clear thought that I had is one that I could not discount as anything but a tender mercy from a loving Father in Heaven who could see that I was in desperate need of love and understanding from SOMEONE. I realized with such clarity that I am not ever alone. That I have a Father in Heaven and His son Jesus Christ who know me and notice me and understand me. I felt so strongly for just a moment that they saw what I was going through and that they grieved with me and that they appreciated my efforts and sacrifices. I also could see clearly for just a small moment that I what I was so concerned about, while valid and a struggle for me, had to do with other human experiences. We are all here on earth trying to learn to control our bodies. Life is hard for all of us and we are all going through different difficulties. Because I am such a people pleaser I have to repeat to myself a lot, "Fear God, not man." And this thought entered my mind again during this moment and helped me realize that not only should I "fear God, not man" when I'm trying to have the courage to choose the right, but also when I am feeling helpless and alone. Not necessarily fear God, but definitely do not fear man. I feel like maybe this story is too internal and with not enough back story to make sense to anyone else, but there it is. It was a tender mercy at a difficult time in my life that I've been able to draw on so many times since then when I feel like I just can't go any longer on the path that I'm on. I have a hard time sometimes really understanding that Jesus died for all of us and loves all of us. How many people have and will live on this earth and He loves all of us? And not collectively, but individually? I cannot wrap my brain around that and have trouble believing it a lot of the time. So I am thankful for a small glimmer of feeling that love that I can hold onto in times of disbelief or trials.
I feel like I should finish up with a joke. But my baby is crying and I missed my chance for a shower.