My life is busy. I wear a fitbit daily and get almost 10,000 steps within the walls of my own home. It's hard to slow down, hard to listen, hard to think clearly with a 3yr old and newborn. I have found that when I give the small seconds of "me" time to the Lord, the moments when I immediately want to tune-out on Pinterest or put my show on Netflix but stop to read my scriptures first, those small acts are rewarded through impressions from His spirit in my day.
I absolutely know that this is not a time of life where I am delving into the scriptures, I am reading them between no naps and the next feeding, but the little time I give has been multiplied. At first it felt ridiculous, only a minute here, a verse there, but I have a strong belief that it is in keeping with small and simple acts of obedience that will yield great results (aka the gift of Faith).
Lately I've wondered why so many of my friends have stopped living the commandments of Jesus Christ. It is an ongoing pain within my heart, every single friend flashes through my mind in a given week. It actually devastates me and they have no idea. My heart breaks for what they are missing, who they are missing. The Savior- Their Savior.
I listened to a familiar hymn this weekend and the words found me differently;
He lives to comfort me when faint,
He lives to hear my soul's complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears
He lives to wipe away my tears
He lives to calm my troubled heart
He lives all blessings to impart.
As I sang I realized that Jesus Christ lives for ME. His atonement was about ME, and He lives today for ME. The words came instantly to my mind, "Do you live for Him?"
I hope that I can live for Him the way He lives for me. He truly is my personal Savior, and I love Him.
Recently, my prayers have been guilt-inducing. As I’ve prayed and asked God for specific blessings, my mind filled with situations of people I know who face trials severe and heart wrenching. I felt bad sending my personal petitions to God when I thought of others throughout the world in greater need.
However, I recently had two experiences that let me know God wants me to ask for blessings; He wants all of us to do so no matter our life circumstance.
The first experience came as I was reading in the Book of Mormon. I was reading chapter 7 in the book of Alma, where it says, “And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive,” (Alma 7:20).
What struck me about this passage of scripture was that we are taught to ask for whatsoever things we need. There were no size qualifications listed. It doesn’t matter if the blessings we seek are big or small. Our Father in Heaven always wants us to ask Him for what we need.
The second experience came in the form of a visit from a friend who came over to my home the same day I read that passage of scripture. She had no idea about the guilt I felt, nor about my experience reading the scriptures earlier that day.
When she came over, she shared her feelings of guilt when praying because of the number of people in greater need of blessings than her. She then shared that while studying the scriptures, she had learned that she looked at prayer and God’s ability to bless His children from a mortal and incorrect perspective. She came to learn that she limited God’s power to bless His children by viewing His ability to grant blessings as finite.
I realized while listening to her that I too had limited God’s power in my guilt. I too had viewed God as having a finite number of blessings to bestow. However, His ability to bless His children is unlimited and infinite. When we ask for blessings, we are not taking away blessings from someone else. God has an unlimited supply of blessings.
Instead of worrying about if I am asking for more than my “fair share” of blessings (since that’s not actually a thing), I need to focus my energy on heeding the counsel in the last line of Alma 7:20 which says, “…always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.” My new goal is to focus on expressing gratitude for all the blessings I receive – whether big or small.
Most of you that know me, know I have a very serious obsession with the place I workout. I mean, on the real, I am drinking that proverbial kool-aid hardcore. One of the reasons I love it so much, is that despite how long I've been going, I still feel like I might die after every. single. class. Often I send texts to friends after class saying casual things such as, "I think my legs might fall off" or "I just can't feel my arms they may no longer be attached to my body" etc. etc.
One of my FAVORITE tank tops I've ever seen anyone wear to class has big screen-print letters on the front that read, " ... but did you die?"
I can imagine a lot of people being on the receiving end of my overly dramatic texts thinking that exact same thing. "Ok yeah, Sara, maybe it was an intense workout, but, did you die?" Or! All of the instructors during class that make you work harder than you ever think is possible with innocent smiles on their faces afterward saying, "but did you die?"
Now to make this all gospel relevant :) I've recently been reading in Alma in the Book of Mormon, particularly the story of Helaman and his "2,000 stripling warriors". It's the story of a military captain who leads teenage boys into battle and miraculously, none of them are killed. All this despite the fact that they had never been in battle before, were outnumbered and were lots younger (and we can imagine, weaker) than their opponents.
Usually, when we talk about this story at church, we focus on the fact that NO ONE DIED! (To Helaman and all his warriors, "buuut did you die?") And we forget the part where they may not have died, but ALL of them were injured. Two hundred of them (10 percent for you math people) "fainted because of the loss of blood" and "neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds" (that's one hundred percent you math-y's). (Alma 57:25) They may have all lived, but none of them came away unscathed.
Sometimes, I can get very caught up in wanting my life to go exactly perfect. I think that there must be a recipe that if I follow, my life WILL go perfectly. If that were true, the warriors of Helaman were probably following it. In the scriptures it states that "they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness". They were 100 percent obedient. What they had control over, they were absolutely perfect at. And yet! They were ALL still injured.
I've been reading a book by Elder Neal A. Maxwell that discusses this concept more in depth. He breaks down "life's challenges" into three different types.
Type 1 is when challenging things happen to us because of our own mistakes or sins. You know the drill, consequences for our actions and decisions.
Type 2 happen because we are human. God "sendeth rain on the just and the unjust." (Matthew 5:45). These type of challenges have the potential to happen to everyone because we are human. A somber example would be that we all will eventually die.
Type 3! Oh Type 3! These challenges come to us even in our innocence! "For whom the Lord loveth he chaseneth," (Hebrews 12:6). In our current scriptural example, the "sons of Helaman" as they were called, were innocent of any wrong doing. Their parents had actually made a pact of peace to NEVER take up arms against any one ever again in their lives. They were truly good people trying to live good lives. It really wasn't fair that they had to go and fight. And that's mostly the point. If it had been fair, it wouldn't have been the same kind of challenge. If their obedience and "doing everything right" had exempted them from injury and trial, it wouldn't have been the same kind of challenge.
So! My point in all of this. We all face difficulties in life, some are our own fault and some are for the expressed purpose of helping us to learn and grow as people and become more like our Savior. Ultimately, I don't think that we will stand before the judgement bar of God and He will tell us, "but, did you die?" (and not just because we will have and that point will be moot :) ). I think He will love us and be proud of us and be the only one who can fully appreciate all of the wounds we received, whether they be spiritual, mental or physical, on our journey back to Him.
I can't think of many feelings that I love more than leaving an exercise class after being completely rocked and then sense of accomplishment knowing that I can do hard things! and that I am stronger than I think! I imagine that feeling probably is amplified times a billion when we look back on our lives, not unscathed but also not defeated :)
I hope that you all know how much I love and believe in you. Life is hard, and I am so grateful for wonderful friends, family and a God who love me and help me through it! :) Love you too much!
Messages of Faith
Our blog contributors will deliver consistent messages of faith to try and help all of us come closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Subscribe and receive an
e-mail update every time we post!