Friday, February 27, 2009

The Blackberry Bush

This was another article in the Ensign that got me thinking.

Donnell Allan, “The Blessing of the Blackberry Bush,” Ensign, Feb 2009, 53

"One day when our son Jesse was a toddler, I was watching our children play in the yard. Suddenly I realized that he was no longer with the others. One moment he was there, and the next he was gone.

"My heart pounded in panic. I called out for him as I frantically searched the yard. Soon I heard his frightened cries, which I followed. I found Jesse in the yard next door, entangled in the middle of some blackberry vines. He struggled to escape, but each time he moved, thorns from the vines buried themselves deeper into his clothing and skin. He was frightened and in pain. It took me quite some time to remove each thorn and pull Jesse free.

"It hurt me to see my little child suffer. But then I remembered the large pond located in the neighbor’s yard. If the blackberries had not detained Jesse, he might have wandered into the pond and risked drowning.

"I’ve since learned that God sometimes allows us to stumble into thorny places to protect us from more harmful situations. He loves us and does what is best for us, even when it hurts terribly, because sometimes the pain is necessary for our physical safety or spiritual growth. When we turn to Him in our trials, He carefully pulls out the thorns and comforts our hearts.

"Years after that incident with Jesse, I was touched when I came across this passage from Elder George Q. Cannon (1827–1901): “The Saints should always remember that God sees not as man sees; that he does not willingly afflict his children, and that if he requires them to endure present privation and trial, it is that they may escape greater tribulations which would otherwise inevitably overtake them. If He deprives them of any present blessing, it is that he may bestow upon them greater and more glorious ones by-and-by.”1

"My experience with my son—what I now call “the parable of the blackberries”—has brought comfort to me as I have watched my children endure trials and challenges. I am reminded that our trials and suffering have purpose and that the Lord always has our best interest in mind, even when allowing us to suffer temporarily among life’s blackberry thorns."

Sometimes I think about the trials I go through and wonder about the trials I could be asked to endure instead. While I have some hard days, I feel so fortunate to have trials that I know I can handle. (I may not feel like that at the time, but it IS true!)

The third paragraph of this article also makes me think of our Heavenly Father. He can only help us as we call to Him. It pains Him to see us struggling, but He can't do anything until we make the choice to ask Him for help. As soon as we do, He's there to help us and comfort us.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New Resource

I've just discovered a great new website. It's called Mormons Made It has a few simple videos that explain such things as what to expect when coming to an LDS church on Sunday, or what is The Book of Mormon. They're already planning on more videos, as well. It seems to be a great resource, so go check it out!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Book of Mormon in 3 Months

I've decided to read The Book of Mormon in 3 months again, and I would love for you to join me! Last summer I did this same thing, and I learned SO much!!

I'll be starting March 1st, so you still have time to decide. But please let me know if you'd like to join me! I can email you a copy of the chart I've made up that tells you how much to read each day.

I know that reading The Book of Mormon makes life easier! Every day I DON'T read is a chaotic day!! I love reading it in all different ways - fast, slow, by topic. Each way teaches me something different, and I love it!

My email: blhvamos (at) gmail (dot) com

Monday, February 9, 2009

Running to Him

Every once in a while, I come across a really great article in the Ensign that I can't help but share. This one is from this month's Ensign.

"Years ago my son Derek competed in a much-anticipated track meet. For three years of his young life, he had prepared for and hoped to win the two-mile race. Now as we watched with the crowd gathered near the finish line, it seemed the race would last forever. When Derek crossed the line first, the crowd burst into cheers. He was surrounded by coaches, teammates, and friends offering congratulations. Derek seemed relieved and thrilled to have finally accomplished his goal.

"I noticed, however, that in the tangle of the crowd, he was frantically scanning the field as though he wanted to be somewhere else. I watched, with tears in my eyes, as Derek bolted across the field, arms outstretched, into the open arms of his father - the place he wanted to be. I recorded that moment in my mind - a moment when I saw just how much our son loves and needs his dad.

"Derek's preparation for this event had not been easy. There were times of discouragement, disappointment, and sometimes despair. But Derek had the constant support of his greatest fan - his father! In rain, wind, sleet, or snow my husband was at every race offering Derek encouragement.

"At those races my husband stood apart from the other spectators at what I considered an odd place. He wasn't at the finish line or even along the final stretch, but at a distant corner on the far side of the field. Once I asked him why he stood there. I will never forget his answer. He said, 'I stand at the place my son needs me the most. He needs to know I'm there at the most challenging moment - when his legs burn and he feels like he cannot go on. He needs to hear at that far corner a voice telling him to keep moving because he has worked hard and deserves to do his very best. There will be cheers at the beginning and loving support at the end, but I will be at the corner where I know he feels like giving up.'

"As I watched Derek leave his team at the finish line and run a great distance into his father's arms, I realized that spiritual whispers of encouragement from my Father in Heaven have not come at moments in my life when I felt most sure of myself. Instead, those reminders of His love have come when I thought I could go no farther, when I felt as if my spiritual legs would collapse in exhaustion. I have felt His love and I have known then, as I know now, that I am His child. As I remember my husband's arms encircling our son, I imagine what it will be like to cross the finish line of this life and run into the waiting arms of our Father in Heaven. I am grateful for His support and that of our Savior, Jesus Christ, which has helped ease every difficult turn in my life."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Speaking by the Power of the Holy Ghost

Today, I came across 2 Nephi 33:1. The last half reads, "for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men."

In the margins, I have written, "always speak with the Holy Ghost, especially to kids." This was, once again, an eye opener to me. There's been a lot of stress in my life lately, and when I'm stressed I tend to not be so nice. (Read: I tend to yell more.) This scripture made me realize that all the yelling in the world isn't going to do anything!

When I have the Spirit with me, He will carry my message "unto the hearts of the children." If I speak with the Spirit, they'll understand with the Spirit.
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