Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More remembering

It's kind of exciting- looking back, it slowly becomes easier and easier to recognize the Lord's hand in shaping my life. But especially when I take the time to write it down so I can go back and ponder over it. Here's a (slightly edited) sample from last December:

This weekend, I felt like everything that I’ve been dealing with has kind of come to a head and I felt like I’d been punched and kicked until I fell over, and then I was still getting kicked in the stomach and I didn’t have the energy to get up. It was a combination of homework stress, research stress, family stress, dating stress, and stress over the temple- the inevitable feeling I guess, that I’m not living up to my covenants.

I was feeling worse and worse and I decided to call Matt and see if he would have time to give me a blessing that afternoon. He said yes, of course, so I drove down to Springville and spent a precious hour talking to Matt and Tricia. I feel so safe there, it’s amazing. We talked about everything that I’ve been concerned about. It’s nice to know that there’s a home I can go to and just enjoy myself. I love my house, but it’s hard to relax there.

Anyway, Matt also gave me the desired blessing. It was a beautiful blessing; I also remember how deep the love ran in that room right then. There is such power in family relationships if they are structured properly. Matt and Tricia both have such depth to them, such strength and compassion.

Today I’ve felt a little better. A little more in control. And this evening, my FHE group went up to my family’s house to hear a marvelous presentation by Michael Kennedy, the first descendent of Joseph Smith to receive the Melchisedek priesthood. He shared with us some most wonderful stories about his ancestors and also about himself. As he was talking, it was quite evident that the Lord had used him and is continuing to use him as an instrument to bring so many people to a knowledge of the gospel. But it’s not like his life has been easy or fun by any stretch of the imagination. It’s really late or I would take a little more time to type some of it up here. But two things kind of stood out to me.

First, he showed us an 18-minute preview of a movie that the Joseph Smith Family Organization funded about the life of Emma, minutely researched, from what he said. As I sat there and watched little glimpses of what Emma suffered for her faith, I recalled Matt’s counsel in the blessing to seek out examples from church history. What a good example Emma is of that.

Second, while he was telling us stories about how he came to learn about the church and be baptized and go from being a recently baptized member with an astonishingly poor grasp on what the gospel was or even who his ancestor Joseph Smith was to becoming a prominent member in close contact with the First Presidency and the head of the Joseph Smith Family Organization, I felt the presence of the heavens close by. He told us of so many "coincidences” that brought so many things about- amazing little connections that show just how closely the Lord was watching him and talking care of him. The Lord does that for everyone. It’s possible for us to kick against the pricks and make it hard for Him to help us, but he is constantly guiding and directing, or as Dad puts it, “playing chess” with so many lives. And since He has such an eternal perspective, He’ll put us through pain and suffering and subject us to misery if that’s what it takes to get us- and those around us- back to Him. Some girls in my ward have a sign up in their living room that reads, “What price are you willing to pay for eternity?” The Lord is there, and He is mindful of us. But He is mindful of us on a much deeper level than we can comprehend in this life, deeper than we can even be aware of ourselves in our mortality. Thanks to the connecting power of the atonement, we can catch a glimpse of what He feels for us, but just a glimpse.

I think I really needed that today. I'm so glad that sometimes I follow the counsel to write in my journal.

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