October 12, 2008

Alma, chapter 6-7

A couple of things stood out in these chapters for me. Alma 7:12 talks about the Savior and the atonement. I like how it explains that the atonement wasn't just to overcome the sins of the world, but how the Savior "will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy... that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."

I like this verse, too-- 23 "And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; begin 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." It kind of reiterates and then adds to the things that stuck out to me in the previous reading.

I went back and started to listen to the Saturday morning session of conference today. Summer Chatwin was in town conference weekend and we totally blew off Saturday with the intention to go back and listen. It's nice to have it on the Internet so I can actually do it. Anyway, I was surprised to hear of 5 new temples going up. The coolest one was in Rome, Italy. I couldn't believe that. Also Philadelphia is getting a new temple. That's awesome. President Monson told the saints to pray that other countries would allow the church to be present in their lands. He also said that he knew that many were struggling with challenges and that he knew the leaders who would speak in this conference had prayed to know what to speak about. It got me geared up to listen.

L. Tom Perry spoke next. I cried at the beginning of his talk as I felt like he was speaking directly to me. Like Monson, he talked about how many of the saints were dealing with hard situations that lead to extra stress in their lives. He challenged us to be positive. He quoted someone, not sure who--"The best is yet to be." He talked about the basic needs in life:
1. Food. Obey the word of wisdom and take care of our bodies. He talked about the discussion of the word of wisdom in the "For the Strength of Youth" packet. I want to look that up and read what it says. Blessings are given to us when we live the word of wisdom. It kind of hit home to me. I haven't been eating very well lately and I know it affects my energy, mood, and whatever.
2. Clothing. Dress modestly and nicely. Don't be a hoochie or a slob.
3. Shelter. Don't live beyond your means. Buy a modest home-- one you can afford.
4. Fuel. Spiritual fuel. Emulate the 5 virgins.
He also talked about simplifying your life. I enjoyed his talk.

Okay so today I had a really neat experience. I can think of only one other time when I felt like the spirit was kind of hitting me over the head-- knocking sense into me. I watched High school Musical 2 today. (Trust me, this is not a testimony of HSM2). It was based in Albuquerque, NM. I swear it almost made me cry. When Randy was offered the Lordsburg station, we both felt like it was the most perfect place for our family. I remember flying out to Albuquerque and then driving several hours to Artesia to see Randy at the academy and having this overwhelming feeling come over me that NM was where we belonged. I felt that at Ricks, too, the first time I went out. I just knew that was where the Lord wanted us.

When we moved out there we LOVED the ward. It was like family. We fit right in, we had instant friends-- it was great. When we learned that Maren was sick, we tried to convince ourselves that we would be okay returning to NM after her surgeries in DC, but reality quickly set it and we soon began to understand that we would never return to NM with Maren. It was a punch in the stomach. We fought for 5 years to get out of DC and now after tasting a few months of our "perfect" life we where being thrown back into our least favorite place to live.

I think Randy made peace with it before he left and came back here to DC more permanently. I remember him telling me that he prayed about it and he really felt that God let us live out there to give us a break from DC-- well, give Randy a break. That was nice of him. I never really did make peace. I came to the conclusion that we'd never go back. I kind of talked myself into thinking I didn't really like NM that much, anyway, but deep inside I really missed it and was really kind of perturbed at God for taking it away from me and my family.

So watching the NM scenery on HSM2 and then thinking of Randy this morning, back at our house, visiting our old ward, things kind of came to a head for me. I was really annoyed about the whole thing. I wanted to be back in NM and I wanted to find a way to make it work-- to take Maren back there with us, but I just knew it wouldn't work. I was crabby most of the morning and then at one point I had Maren sitting up in her Bumbo chair on the kitchen counter while I was doing dishes. I stopped for a minute to make her laugh. I took a bottle of vitamins and shook it while weaving it in and out of my legs like a basketball. She was laughing and then it just hit me. I looked at her and couldn't help but cry as I stared at her in amazement.

I remember praying several times after Maren's diagnosis that HF would allow Maren to be apart of our family now in this life. I knew she would be sealed to us and be ours forever, but prayed so hard for Maren to know her family now. I thought of how all of our prayers had been answered and how blessed we have been through this entire thing. Then "sacrifice" popped into my mind-- giving up something good for something better. NM was good, but being together as a family was better-- no matter where we had to live.

It was MY decision. We could have opted to terminate the pregnancy. We could have opted to take Maren home after she was born and let her fade back into the presence of her Heavenly Father. But we didn't want that. We wanted our daughter and we prayed for her. Heavenly Father saw fit to let her be here with us. We weren't pushed out of NM. We were lead to DC so our daughter would have the care she needed to fulfill an answer to our prayer.

The last time the spirit hit me with such force-- knocking back onto the right track of thinking was just after Randy and I got married. Again I was at the kitchen sink (it's kind of like my sacred grove, I guess) doing the dishes very angrily. I remember thinking that how I had just thrown my entire life away-- that I was forced into a life of motherhood and housekeeping when I could have been so much more.

And then all of the sudden it dawned on me. I wasn't forced to do anything. I WANTED to be a wife and a mother. I did those dishes because I wanted to. I did those dishes out of love, not out of responsibility or duty. It changed my whole attitude of marriage and who I was, really. Of course I've had short periods in my life when I wanted to get out of the house and be "more," but I am quickly reminded of that experience and brought back to my little reality.

It's funny how Satan works on me. It's like he pits me against God. Both times I was really frustrated with God. It's quite scary how he can twist and turn things. Thank goodness for the Holy Ghost.


MaryBeth said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences Sarah. I must admit I get a bit jealous when you share stories of Maren and how she is still with you, but then I realize that more than jealousy, I am truly grateful that HF saw fit to allow her to stay with you. She is such a special little girl and I pray that you will be able to soak up her sweetness for many years to come.

I love you so much and am so thankful for your example to me. You're my favorite sister ever...in Maryland...although I really am bugged that you don't live closer.

The Schoonies said...

Sarah -
Thanks for sharing your amazing thoughts/experiences. You brought tears to my eyes and gave me a lot of encouragement today. Thanks!
Elder Perry's talk was the only talk I really had a chance to listen to that weekend and I was really grateful for the words he spoke.
I hope that your 2 weeks pass by ok with Randy gone.

*~Petra~* said...

Sarah, thanks so much for sharing this. I LOVE your spiritual posts.

I so often harp on the struggles I am having and forget the blessings... you have reminded me that I have much to be grateful for, and that is what I need to focus on.

I also totally blew off some of Saturday's conference and I need to go and listen to all the talks. There is so much there... it always gets me through the next six months. :)