I have had a little bit of a hard week this week (and last week honestly!) especially because Lily is in a sleep regression, was sick, then I was sick. Everything has just been a little tough lately, and I won’t really complain much, because I know I am very blessed and hard days come and go, but it’s ok to recognize the hard days and go through the motions to get to better days. This morning I was reading in 2 Nephi 2 where Lehi is giving last words to his son, Jacob, before he died. Jacob was Lehi’s first child born in the wilderness, and he experienced a lot of trials because of his older brothers and their situation overall. Despite this and his young age, Jacob was faithful in listening to his father and to Nephi. In verse 1 and 2, Lehi tells Jacob,
“1. And now, Jacob, I speak unto you: Thou art my firstborn in the days of my tribulation in the wilderness. And behold, in thy childhood thou hast suffered afflictions and much sorrow, because of the rudeness of thy brethren.
2 Nevertheless, Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.”
I don’t always receive comfort or revelation when I read the scriptures. I guess it just isn’t normally the way the Spirit speaks to me, but this was important, and I knew it. Jacob had dealt with a lot of crap. He was born into a difficult situation and wanted to be good. He knew of the “greatness of God” and because he was righteous, he was told that “he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain”. We all face difficulties and bad days, but our afflictions don’t have to be in vain. We don’t have to suffer meaninglessly. Our trials can instead be for our gain when we are working to live righteously. When we don’t give up, when we keep praying, when we keep Christ at the center of our lives even though it’s hard, our trials and difficulties can be seen as they really are- opportunities to grow faith and to receive blessings. It doesn’t seem like it at the time, and it’s hard to keep an eternal focus when we’re struggling, feeling defeated and down, but the Lord is on our side and He NEVER loses His eternal focus. As we strive to keep the Spirit as our companion, we will see how our afflictions are consecrated for our gain.
I was reading through 1 Nephi again and been writing notes in my journaling Book of Mormon (got it from Line Upon Line, see them here! I am not paid for this, just love their books!). I have also been trying to highlight where the Savior is mentioned and pay more attention to the lessons taught by the prophets. They gave us great examples of endurance, faith, and steadfastness. This was a passage that stuck out to me a while back and I’ve been thinking about it lately as I’ve faced my own trials. Nephi and his family have been wandering around in the wilderness (just before he was commanded to build a ship) and he was talking about how they had had a lot of affliction as they traveled. However, at the same time, he recognized the incredible blessings they were given as they faced those afflictions. Nephi, to me, was the ultimate example of a positive, eternal attitude. He tells us in 17:3 that “And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God He doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which He has commanded them”. Sometimes we are commanded to face hard things in order to find a better way. Sometimes I don’t consider our trials really “commandments”, but I still believe that we are strengthened and nourished through them as we strive to keep the commandments given us. Just after Nephi told his brothers he was going to build a ship, Laman and Lemuel recall the same account of traveling in the wilderness, but point out every single negative thing they can without acknowledging any of the blessings they were given. This attitude is more what I tend to lean towards sometimes, unfortunately. It’s so much easier to be sad about things, recognizing the difficulties and letting them consume us into a dark, depressive state. Or just making us want to eat a full gallon of ice cream while watching a cheesy Hallmark movie… depends on the day… Either way, we can find comfort in the fact (and it is a fact) that if we are working to keep the commandments of the Lord, we will be blessed in our trials. If we can work on recognizing them, we will find ourselves with a more Nephi-like attitude of positivity and gratitude. I am thankful for his example and hope I can be more like him to grow my relationship with my Savior. I hope you can, too!
Nope. I didn’t go there. Unfortunately I haven’t traveled this far; however, my niece was just called to this mission! We were so excited for her! We had a fun gathering at a family member’s home with cookies and treats while she got onto her Instagram to announce it live. It was really fun and so cute! She was really excited and we were all ecstatic for her. The Scotland/Ireland mission looks pretty large and I’m sure she’ll love the change of climate and scenery compared to Utah. We were all looking up how nice it is there and now I really just want to move!!!! Maybe…. we’ll see… still waiting to figure out where we’ll end up after Spencer finishes school. Honestly it probably will be state-side, but a girl can dream, right?! I know my niece will be an excellent missionary. I feel like today’s youth are way ahead of where I ever was as a youth. They’ve definitely been sent here at the right time to prepare the world for the coming of Christ.
Besides that, Lily has been sick a little, so we’ve been trying to handle her.
Spencer finished this semester of school and only has 2 left of classes and 1 of an internship. We are very, VERY excited for him to be done. He’s been a trooper handling it all.
We also got called recently to teach the 11 year olds in our ward. I have never taught that age and we only have 2 boys that come regularly. It’s new, and I’m learning. It’s always a blessing to teach and learn from kids.
Sorry my thoughts are a little scattered this week. We’ve been pretty busy and have had a lot going on. Sometimes it’s nice to just write out a little bit and clear my head!
I don’t have a digital download this week, but have had a lot to think about with our Come, Follow Me and personal scripture study. I’m so grateful for the scriptures and the principles they teach. We are sure in need of the direction right now. It will continue to be increasingly important for us to build our testimonies and foundations of faith on the words of Christ as we struggle through these latter-days. I’m so thankful for the guidance we have!
I heard this quote in Sunday school a while back and it stuck with me, making me think about God’s character. George Q. Cannon tells us that He won’t desert us because it isn’t in His character to do so. If you think about His love, as incomprehensible as it may be to us, we’ll likely come to the same conclusion Brother Cannon did- the Lord will never leave us out to dry. He has always helped those that turn to Him. The righteous face many difficulties in life, sometimes more than the unrighteous it seems, but with them we will not “be consumed or overwhelmed. We shall emerge from all these trials and difficulties the better and purer for them, if we only trust in our God and keep His commandments.” I saw a post recently on Facebook that has been circulating with a picture of Christ knocking at the door without a handle, waiting to be let in. It had text bubbles saying, “Let me in!” “Why?” “So I can save you from what I’m going to do to you if you don’t”. I thought this was incredibly sad. People don’t realize that Christ is not creating problems for them. He is not to blame. If only we could see that He is the one protecting us from the aggressive blows of Satan, our love for Him would be so much greater. We would have a more solemn respect for His sacrifices and patience. He is not trying to save us from Himself, He is trying to save us from the very real and horrible things Satan is constantly throwing our way. “God will never desert us. He never has, and He never will.” Seek Him as a friend and help in this life, and blessings will indeed follow.
I hope you all had a wonderful 4th! We definitely had lots of fun and were able to check out the local festivities, fireworks, and food! St George had a carnival downtown, which Lily was still a little too small to enjoy, so we headed over to the Children’s Museum which had great crafts for the younger kids. She got to make this cute necklace!
She loved it and we’re going to have to get some more jewelry making kits for her. We also got to ride on the carousel and walk around the park area before heading out to see what grandma had come up with for the day.
Turns out Grandma had been busy all morning making these festive dishes! A flag bean dip and a flag cake (one of the grandkid’s favorites!)
After that we headed out into the warm sun for some fun. It was a perfect day for bubbles and sprinklers!
Later that night we headed to the fireworks. I didn’t get a good picture of Lily there, but it was a lot of fun and she really enjoyed it.
I am grateful for this country we live in. It may seem torn at times, and even broken in a lot of ways, but it still is full of good people who pray for the leaders and strive to do what’s right. I am grateful for the men and women who have dedicated their lives to ensuring we maintain the comforts of life we enjoy. I think it’s something we often take for granted. I hope you all enjoyed your holiday and had time to reflect on the blessing it is to be in the USA!
We got a calling in our ward finally! We are teaching 11 year old Sunday school, which I was a little nervous about because I haven’t taught that age before. They are so fun, though! We are excited to work with them. I’m thankful I have the chance to do a calling again, as it’s been a while since I’ve had one. The kids are very positive and happy, despite some major challenges. One kid just went through a house fire and their family had been moving between places to live while it was getting fixed. They still showed up every week since in their Sunday best. Another girl was back from being with her mom and was now in our ward for a few weeks with her dad. It seems like separated families are becoming more and more common. I understand it’s necessary sometimes, it just is sad to see kids deal with it. Some handle it better than others. I think the Lord and angels help a lot in these situations. Both these kids were very polite, willing to listen, and participated in class. I already love them. I found this quote by Dieter F. Uchtdorf from his talk that I really liked- “We can choose to be grateful, no matter what”. Gratitude is a choice and an attitude we can have when our heart is in the right place. Maybe that’s why kids seem to have it more, they are closer to God in many ways. I hope I can be more grateful for the things I enjoy and blessings I have. Not only do I want to be grateful, but I want to use my blessings to bless others whenever I can. That is kind of the thought of Latter Day Box. We wanted to bless people’s lives. We could have done any business, but we wanted to do something positive that would help people want to grow their testimony of Christ. Any growth like this is sure to help in life, and we need all the help we can get!
Spencer and I were able to go to the temple and do sealings this week. We’d been pretty good about going every week, but when Lily got sick it seemed like we had things just pop up in the way every time we intended to go (that’s always how it goes, huh!). So we finally got to go again and it was so nice. We don’t normally bring names for sealings because we realized that almost everyone does. This is excellent! It’s great to see so many people doing family history and sealing their families together. Unfortunately, there are a ton of names in the system at the temple that don’t get done because everyone brings their own names. We feel really good about being able to go and help with those names. The sealers are always so thankful to see us and we love being able to serve in that way. We do have family names to bring, and I’m sure we will, but for now we are enjoying serving others that may not otherwise be noticed. All families will eventually be sealed if they accept it, so it’s great to take care of that ordinance for so many! We are grateful for the temple and the knowledge we have of eternal families. I know I’ll have my daughter with me forever, and I’ll have my parents and husband and in-laws. Some people probably aren’t that excited about the in-laws part… but I am! I hope you have a chance to visit the temple. I hope you can walk the temple grounds and feel the sacred spirit that resides there. I hope you get the chance to be sealed as a family, do the ordinance for others, or participate in other temple work. The service rendered in the temple will bond you with those on the other side of the veil. What a blessing!