Monday, April 23, 2012

LIttle Reminders

Doug's off for the week.  He will be living in Anaconda during the week and coming home on weekends thru most of the summer.  To say that its a relief that he has a decent, career-oriented job would be gross understatement.  After more than a year of no kind of steady (or even much unsteady) employment at all, we're darn near elated.  That being said, we will be a part-time family for several months, we will be making significantly less than we were in Lindsay (where we were already on a budget), we will be moving, doing someplace completely new for us and our kids with no family immediately near, and all the challenges that presents.  There are still hurdles to leap, but we are very optimistic.

This weekend, I've had a lot of sweet reminders that I'm loved.  The lesson that I taught this week was "Eternally Indebted to Your Heavenly Father", and focused primarily on the Atonement.  When President Tree, our stake President, entered Sacrament Meeting a few minutes after it started this morning and took his place on the stand, I smiled.  How strangely coincidental that our Stake President in Montana is the older brother of my two closest friends in California.  It was a reminder that though I am obviously deeply indebted to the Lord for his grace, he has scattered thousands of other blessings, large and small, throughout my life as well.

In Relief Society, the lesson was on Elder Scott's October 2011 talk, "The Power of Scripture", and we were asked if we'd like to share a favorite scripture.  I have lots of "favorites" (depending on what's going on in life at the moment), but one I come back to often is D&C 6:21, 34, 36: "Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  I am the same that came unto mine own, and mine own received me not. I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not. . .Therefore, fear not, little flock, do good;  let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. . . Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not."

When I reread that, it nearly always helps me to instantly be cheerful.  There is someone who knows more than I do, who understands better than I do, who is happy to lead and guide, if I am willing to listen and seek inspiration.  It reminds me over and over again that the hard things never last forever, but all the very best things absolutely do last forever.

Just before he left, Doug gave the kids and I each a blessing.  I don't care to share much publicly, but suffice it to say that it was good for my heart to hear things I intellectually knew, but perhaps hadn't spiritually absorbed--that my Father is even more mindful and appreciative of me and what I am trying to do than perhaps I wanted to give him credit for.  It validated a lot of what I thought was happening around me recently.  I've come to understand and appreciate Paul's words more and more the older I get, about what it really means that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers.

Here's the bottom line: the adversary is real.  He is actively trying to destroy good things, with every tool available to him.  He despises few things more than a happy, content family steadily working together toward eternal goals.  Perhaps one of the only things he hates more than that is when many good, faithful, diligent families continually edify one another with love, forgiveness, patience and charity, joyfully helping each other further along on a celestial road.  Such unity, such mutual love and support, enrages him, and he will try to break it up, destroy it, any way he can.

Some of his most common tools are discouragement and contention.  We all get frustrated sometimes, we all get discouraged, and the Lord understands that.  But we give the adversary a little victory if we give into those things and start reacting to our family from a place of stress and aggravation, or start making decisions from a place of fear or anxiety.  One of the adversaries most cherished weapons is making people believe that he is more powerful than he truly is--the Lord told Satan that he would put enmity between Satan and the seed of Adam and Eve, that Satan would have the power to bruise man's heel--but that man would have the power to crush his head.  He is a formidable foe, but he in an eminently beatable one.  When commanded to depart by the proper authority, he must leave.  He cannot linger in the light.

The more we live our lives in the light, the less power he has to influence us.  Don't be discouraged.  Don't quit.  It is important to remember that while Jesus did indeed save the whole world, he healed and uplifted people one by one, and that is how he still works.  The Atonement covers all sins, all hurts, all sorrows, which means it covers every single one--including yours.  The Lord knows and loves each one of us personally.  In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer: he has overcome the world.  If we stop and pay attention, we will find loving little reminders of that fact shining little hints of light all over our lives.

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