Tag Archives: Christianity

Oh Have Mercy!

Helping-others
Photo Credit: http://www.techtricksworld.com

Funny how the mind picks things to ponder on.  This morning will waiting for Roscoe and Enos to finish their “business” outside, my mind drifted to how we judge people, we being me.

I try really hard to walk the path my Savior, Jesus Christ, asks.  He commands us to be merciful.  Yes we obey he laws of the land and execute righteous judgement in  prosecution of criminals doing so, but within ourselves and while dealing with offenders our charge command is to be merciful.

Why is that?  Does it matter?  Not really.  I think though in addition to the fact that in order to being able to receive the gift of mercy ourselves we must be merciful, there  is another piece to it.  We cannot see inside of an individual like out Savior can.  We have not watched their daily struggles or successes, and seen what brought them to this point

Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables comes to mind.  Jean ValJean, imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread..  He was not a mean or a cruel thief, he stole because his nephew was starving.  We received a huge prison sentence for this.  When released he could not find work because of his past.  Eventually going to a parish, he steals the silver.  This time however, the priest shows him mercy, and explains to the constables that the silver was a gift, and even goes so far as to give him a candlestick that he missed.  Because of this kindness, not only ValJean’s life was changed, but many others.

I am not saying if someone breaks in to our homes to say, “oh you forgot this.” I am saying that we can be more freely forgiving, more free to offer the hand of fellowship, free to serve those that are least serve-able

I could be completely wrong in this hypothesis, but I feel if people exhibited more charity and mercy, there would not be a need for so much “justice”. Some of those, especially the youth, that are acting out, and fall into the jaws of justice would feel compelled to change because they would see their worth as human beings and as sons and daughters of God.

Such would be my hope.

Thanks for reading.  Have a wonderful Saturday.  ~Hope

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Songs of the Heart Sunday: One Clear Voice

“And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-12.)

I am so grateful that I have been taught to listen for that voice, recognize, and that this weekend I have been given the strength and courage to act on those promptings.

Yesterday my husband and I had a wonderful day together, most of it enjoying the beauties of the surrounding islands. It was absolutely wonderful and relaxing. Nature is providing becoming a refuge for me. I loved sitting on the bench listening to the waves, the birds, the families, while feeling the wind on my face, and trying to capture on my camera the peace I felt.

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When the evening storms started to roll in I made my way back to the car a few feet away. Even driving through the storm was peaceful, almost symbolic, thunderheads around, rain coming down, yet bright sun rays shown through. I just knew that I would see “my rainbow”. I even changed my camera lens preparing for the gift that I knew He would send me, as if it was already in the works, claiming it as mine.

He sent me a rainbow, but not in the form of a colorful bow in the sky, but an email from MJ’s Mom. I claimed it as my rainbow.

When we came home, my husband decided that we would go ahead and pack up the two modems that we need to send back to Comcast. We found one, no problem. Packed it up ready to go. The other completely eluded us. We looked everywhere, for hours. My relaxing peaceful day gone. I was now anxious and frustrated, and experiencing the negative feelings about myself that automatically come as a result of my PTSD. I prayed several times as I looked. Finally after my ideas of where it could be were completely exhausted, and I was so triggered into negative thoughts about myself and my traumas I decided I needed to step back and work on my pictures to get into the now, and a peaceful point.

The more I tried the more I wondered where the modem was. Again, I prayed. This time pouring my heart out in gratitude for a great day, and pleading for the return of that peace. I told my Father in Heaven that I had no idea, where the modem is, but I knew that He did. I begged that He led me to where is was. I turned back to work on the pictures again hoping to feel a prompting to where the ellusive modem was hiding.

On our desk sits notebook that I scribble and doodle on. While waiting for the next batch of pictures to download, I scribbled.

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“Where’s the modem” (The black out is where I had scribbled my full name.) “I’m so frustrated. Urgh!!”

No sooner had I written those words did I hear that familiar voice. The voice that has guided me so many times before. “I am going to see if you trust me. Go relax in your chair in the livingroom.” when the Spirit speaks directly to you, you need to act. Relaxing. Not so easy, but I had asked, and I wanted to trust.

I went to my chair, but I continued to look. I looked on both end tables, and under them. I heard my name, then the word, “Relax.”

Inhaling deeply and exhaling slowing, I rested my head on the back of my chair. As I did my eyes rested straight across the room on our metal cd rack full of cds, my husband’s cane hanging from it obscuring the view of anything behind it, unless you were sitting in my chair. You could see maybe a half an inch or an inch at the very least. In that gap I saw the hidden, most literally, modem. I had such an overwhelming feeling of “Be Still and Know the I Am God.”

Heavenly Father knows cares about even the smallest of our problems. In the scheme on the world’s struggles, a lost modem ranks pretty low, but as His daughter nothing or no one ranks higher. He loves each of us so much. He blesses us for acting on those promptings we receive.

He knows each of us personally and by name. He stands beside us during our life’s teaching moments as they provide a springboard for other moments.

For me He knew that I needed that experience last night in trusting Him. Acting on voice of the Spirit, to feeling closer to the Spirit than I have in a while, to feel strong enough to recognize then act on the prompting today that will be pivitol in my journey of healing.

My alarm was set for 7:30. It did not go off. Awakened at 8:30, it would have been easy to to say there is no way, since Church starts at 9:00. However, I quickly did my hair and makeup, dressed, and jumped in the car. It was I few minutes before 9:00. My husband had decided to stay home.

As I turned on the highway to head towards Church, I saw him. My childhood friend, the one who many years ago raped me. My initial feeling was the fight or flight, then something else happened. It was a peace that prompted me it was okay, and it was time to pull over and talk to him. Reason told me it was crazy, Little Hope did not like the idea, but peace and the Spirit spoke calming assurance that it was going to be okay. I pulled several feet in front of him lest the closer he came, I change my mind. He walked by my window, I called his name. Reminded him who I was. He said he knew who I was, he made comments about where my Church was when I was little, so he did know exactly who I was. Other memories of our youth, he did not remember, or atleast his mouth could not relay what his mind was thinking. He many years of hard living on drugs as left him very schitzopranic like. As parted ways, he told me to be careful out there. That brought tears to my eyes. I still need to process alot from the meeting, but I feel like it is a possitive step in my healing journey.

Again I am so very grateful that I was able to talk to my friend, parent little Hope as she was afraid and let her know that I can take over and live, and we are going the be okay. Only through the comforting voice of the Spirit was I able to do these things. I am eternally grateful.

Songs of the Heart Sunday: Let This Be My Prayer

Our Father in heaven is not an umpire who is trying to count us out. He is not a competitor who is trying to outsmart us. He is not a prosecutor who is trying to convict us. He is a loving Father who wants our happiness and eternal progress and who will help us all he can – if we will but give him in our lives an opportunity to do so with obedience and humility, and faith and patience. ~ Richard L Evans

A friend of mine felt prompted to send me this quote. I know the prompting came as a tender mercy from Heavenly Father. In the struggles I face, I do sometimes ask why? Or beg Him to give me a break, sometimes feeling like the red-headed step-child because of all that I have been put through. I try to remain faithful, occasionally not keeping my foot on the straight and narrow, but I am generally on the path looking towards God in Faith, as the trials of faith pour down.

I want to focus on prayer as a two-way conversation with our Father in Heaven. I hope to do it through music, quotes, and my own words.

This first song is a sweet song with a child questioning if Heavenly Father hears prayers. We sing it at Church. It is called A Child’s Prayer.

Our next song, Be Still, has always touched me. I know Heavenly Father hears my prayers, My Savior Jesus Christ suffered the things I endure, and the Holy Ghost comforts me.

Elder David A Bednar spoke about prayer. This message really touched me. I often give a grocery list prayer. I am thankful for, I need, they need, and end it. I really need to communicate with my Father.

We have a Prophet on the earth today. His name is Thomas S Monson. I loved his message on prayer given at a semi-annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

I want to end with one last song and my testimony of prayer. I do know my prayers are heard by my Father in Heaven. Those that I speak out loud, those that I whisper, those that I think, and those that I scream through tears. I know as my loving Father He wants to hear from me more, and my prayers of gratitude need to be more sincere and thought out, as does the rest of my prayers. I need to take more time in quiet reflection after my prayers to hear and feel those promptings and words He offers me.

Years ago I heard one of the saddest stories on a radio station. I was glad I was pulling into my apartment complex, because I bawled like a baby. This teenager called in to the station after scanning through the radio as we all often do. I think I Can Only Imagine had just played and the DJ was talking about prayer, and how he prays everyday that he and his family gets to be with Jesus. He said something to the effect that we should all pray for that. That statement is what prompted this girl, I want to say she was 17 or 18, to call in. She started right out of the gate that she had been to a few churches, but in each of them she was taught that only the leaders could pray. She had often wanted to talk to God, about the things going on in her life, and ask Him questions, but based on the teaches of the churches her parents took her too she felt she would be sinning to pray. She mentioned some of the horrible things she had experienced in her life that she felt that talking to God, and not having someone do it for her would comfort her, but instead she felt alone and betrayed by God. Then she asked through tears “Can I really pray?” The DJ said “Yes, not only can you, but God wants you to.” The DJ prayed with her, she did not speak, but he expressed gratitude for guiding her to the station that day to answer the question in her heart.

I am so grateful that I was taught to pray as a little child. As I prayed and saw the prayers answered my faith grew.

This last song is The Prayer sung by Jessie Funk Clark and Daniel Beck.

You Can Be Mended

You will probably be bombarded with uplifting videos and posts from me today. I woke up feeling very anxious and depressed. I need to start getting ready for Church soon, very soon, I am trying to pull myself together by watching videos.

When I find one that I think might help my readers, I post it.

Song of the Heart Sunday: Hope of God’s Light

“It is part of our condition as mortal beings to sometimes feel as though we are surrounded by darkness. We might have lost a loved one; a child might have strayed; we might have received a troubling medical diagnosis; we might have employment challenges and be burdened by doubts or fears; or we might feel alone or unloved.

“But even though we may feel lost in the midst of our current circumstances, God promises the hope of His light — He promises to illuminate the way before us and show us the way out of darkness….

“There may be some among you who feel darkness encroaching upon you,” he said. “You may feel burdened by worry, fear, or doubt. To you and to all of us, I repeat a wonderful and certain truth — God’s light is real. It is available to all. It gives life to all things. … It can illuminate the path before us and lead us through the darkest night into the promise of a new dawn.” Dieter F Uchtdorf

This talk touches my heart and souls and the Spirit testifies that it is true.

Blocking Out Negativity With Music

My husband is watching a tv show that has a good bit of swearing in it. Swearing is one of those things that bothers me. Ironically, I have found myself saying a word or two since I have been going through these most difficult days. I do not like that. That is one of the reasons I put on my headphones and started listening to uplifting music and watching uplifting videos. I do not want negative words to be the first things that pop into my mind when I get angry, and if I put a filter on my mind it seems it is easier to control my mouth. Go figure.

Ironically, the first song I listened to tonight on the LDS Radio was a saddness trigger for me. I am not sure why except that maybe I sang it around the time I was abused. It used to be one of my favorite songs. It is still a beautiful song, just makes me alittle weepy.

Right after that song came on, I was comforted by this beautiful song. I thought about the things I have been taking photos of lately, and the love Heavenly Father has for them, and how it does not compare with the love He has for me.

Then I started searching Youtube. These next three videos are songs that touched my heart.

The first one made me want to sob. I want to put it on my Iphone, and when I cry put it on repeat, for when others ask questions vocally or with their eyes.

These next two are basically my testimony of Jesus Christ put to music.

Daily Prompt: Morality Play, In A Changing World

Daily Prompt: Morality Play
Where do your morals come from — your family? Your faith? Your philosophical worldview? How do you deal with those who don’t share them, or derive them from a different source?

This is an interesting topic for me to write about. It is one I have lived.

Once the moral shrew. Looking down on others who did not walk the perfect moral line that I did, ostracized even my very best friends for their choices in life, perceiving their choices which were different from my “pristine” life as offenses against me and our friendship. I suppose I developed my morals from both church and family, but taking it to the extreme was all my doing.

It is amazing how the holier than thou can be knocked of their high horses, and learn humility. Falling off is not the funnest thing, but you can meet some of the most interesting people on your way off. Realizing also that you can still maintain, or reclaim your morality through repentance without being condescending or self-righteous. Shew that horse on along.

I heard a quote by Dieter F Uchtdorf in the last year or so that really stuck with me, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.” I believe he had read it on a bumper sticker.

I know several people who are extremely homophobic. Do I “agree” or “understand” that lifestyle, simply put no. I will always believe marriage should be between a man and a woman, but some of my dearest friends are homosexual. I would give my life for them and they for me. I sat and talked with one the other day, he had me rolling laughing because he talked about how he cannot stand the gay community. I had to double take, and wanted to remind him how long he has been with his partner. He is against gay rights and gay adoption. He mentioned that those who speak out and making “such a ruckus” are making it difficult on those who just want to live their lives. I had never thought about that. He is a great man, and I love him like a brother.

I remember the first time I found out someone I knew drank and had premarital sex. I was crushed. How would I ever look them in the eyes again, how could they ever look me in the eyes again. I realize now that aside from my family those that have had these bumps or even made these as their choices, but fought family and friends for the right to make their choices have been some of my greatest confidants and cheerleaders. Recognizing the hurt of letting those you love down, whether by their choice to be let down or something you actually did, or even your feeling of letting them down. That’s a lot of letting down.

I was 31 when I got married, though I never crossed that line completely before marriage, but it became blurry many times. Often too close for comfort, definitely too close to judge anyone else.

Alcohol and drugs, I have never tried either. There are several reasons behind this. Addiction runs in my family. I have an uncle and a cousin that are/were addicts. I know I have an addictive personality, and seeing what those substances have done to our family, I could not do that to my parents, siblings, husband, or my niece and nephews.

All in all, the covenants I have made with Heavenly Father help me to stay moral. Whether it is chastity or refraining from alcohol and drugs, those are things I made covenants to do, if you have not, that is your choice. My friendship does not depend on it, though I might not choose to be around when you are drinking heavily or smoking (being around smoke gets me physically sick).

We all have our agency.

 

Close Enough To Touch

A friend talked about the story of the of the woman with with the issue of blood who in faith reach out and touched the Savior’s robe and was healed. That story always touched me. I have often imagined myself pressing my way through the crowd to touch the hem of his robe, and then falling short.

Several years ago I had the opportunity to perform in a production of Women at the Well. One of the scenes that I participated in was bathing the Saviors feet. During the production the spirit was so strong that the feet of gentleman who portrayed Jesus Christ were drenched with my tears when the scene was over.

The scene of the woman of great faith was also portrayed. This is the song that was sang at that time.

With mental health issues we often feel like if we can only get close enough to touch then we will be healed. I know that He is mindful of us, and with us. It is so hard. So so hard, but one of my favorite things is knowing that He went through the things He did so we would not be alone when we went through our Gethsemanes.

Trying to Remember My Talents

When I was a teenager sitting in Young Women (the Church program for the girls 12-18), we had a lesson on talents. To set the stage of this class, you need to realize our class was very small. Three young women to be exact, myself and my two best friends. Bec was already an amazing artist, and Mandy, she was extremely musically talented.

So when the question was posed, with what talents have you been blessed? The answers quickly evident for Bec and Mandy, when and came to me crickets. So the teacher, who happened to be Bec’s Mom, asked for their help, they thought and thought, and the talent they came up with was that I loved people. Not really the talent a sixteen year old wants to hear as her talent. Especially when her best friends have talent oozing from the them. Not only could I not see a real talent, but those who knew me inside and out could not either. I was crushed.

I went home devastated. I knelt beside my bed and poured out my heart to Heavenly Father begging Him to let me have another talent. I wanted one that others would see and recognize, one other than just a great capacity to “love people.” I promised Him that if He showed me my talent and helped me develop it, I would use it for good.

The next day in English literature we started studying poetry. Poetry. Yeah right. I hated reading. I would not even read the cliff notes for the books for school I hated reading so much!

BUT that day…Never before had the words looked so beautiful to me. I loved the way they sounded and flowed. I loved the way that the thoughts seem to form at my finger tips so rapidly, almost guided by some unseen being. It was so amazing.

That night I penned my first real poem.

Everytime I see this Greg Olsen picture I think of that poem, so it is a fitting introduction.
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Big Brother

Big Brother used to tease me,
Called me His little squirt.
He sheltered me from trouble,
Never wanted me to hurt.

The time soon came His leaving,
The tears I shed, not few;
But He promised He’d prepare for me,
The place I must go too.

The days without Him seemed endless
And I wondered where He was sent.
I asked Father, this my question,
“Where is this place Big Brother Jesus went?”

Father smiled and then He hugged me.
The answer He thought I should know.
“Dear Child, Your Brother is preparing the world-
The place you soon will go.”

“What is this world you speak of?
Is it far or is it near?
Oh now I miss, Big Brother Jesus.
How I wish that He were here.”

“My dear child” Father answered.
“He has gone, not far, to earth.
Your Brother Jesus is doing well.
He though he had a humble birth.

We are with Him during each moment.
He knows we truly care.
All He must do to be with us,
Is to kneel, and ask in prayer.”

“But how long will He be gone?”
I asked Father still confused.
I was but a little spirit then,
My Big Brother I was afraid to lose.

“A time I cannot tell you Child,
For this you cannot know.
No fear should you have of losing your Brother,
He is doing My work below.”

Father’s words so gentle,
That I felt like I could ask,
“Dear Father, when then can I go,
To earth to complete my task?”

“Your time will come all too quickly.
My Child you must prepare.
Earth life is not easy.
Search for me when you get there.

In me you will find all answers,
To problems that will come.
Dear Child, fear not your life,
For in my Kingdom, no one’s alone.”

“But where do I look to find you.”
I questioned Father with care.
“Close by you” He whispered,
“As as a child’s prayer.”

With most of my questions answered,
Along my way I went,
To begin to make myself ready,
For earth life to be sent.

My day finally came,
But before He let me go,
A secret to tell me,
Something each Child of His must know.

“Your time has come to leave me.
Dear Child your valiance great.
I have saved you for this important time.
No longer do you need to wait.”

He paused just for a moment,
Then quietly He sighed.
“This part of the Plan is scary for most.
A veil I place before your eyes.

This way you will not remember
Anything before your birth.
You must search for me my Child,
To learn of your great worth.

I place within you a special gift
This gift I call your heart.
It will help you know and feel what’s right,
And help you do your part.

Never go against it
Because what you feel, you’ll see
Will never lead you to do wrong,
When the feelings come from me.”

He kissed me on my forehead,
On my way I had to go.
It was my turn to prove myself worthy,
And live my life below.

When I reached the earth I saw,
That everything was new.
I could not remember Father,
Nor my Big Brother who I loved too.

The family to whom He sent me,
So loving and so kind,
Helped me to gain a testimony,
That my nature is divine.

The talks with Father I remember not,
Nor the days from whence I came,
But my family here on earth,
Prepared me for life same.

One night as I was praying,
I looked up over my bed.
A picture of a man was hanging.
Beneath that picture said,

“Suffer not the little children
To come unto me.”
Something in His words alone,
And in His face I began to see…

The Big Brother that I new before,
The one I held so dear.
A feeling sparked within my heart.
A feeling I felt so clear.

I saw My Brother, Jesus Christ,
Hanging there upon my wall.
I knew He had prepared the world for me,
And died and rose again for us all!

I have other poems that I will share along and along. I really wish I could finding my poetry inside myself again, hopefully over time I will.

But for now, it is blogging, and I am also going to give photography a try. Anything to help me focus and get out of my head.