It's been a busy few days and the rest of this week will be pretty full as well.
I'm becoming very aware of how much smaller the new house is when compared to the old one as the hot summer days keep us all inside and bored. It's too hot to even enjoy anything outside and the kids are clocking in too many hours of Dr. Who, but it beats going out and being smothered by this humidity.
I have plenty to do though, as we still have a full room that we should have unpacked already, that would add to the kid space, but we just haven't been able to get to it yet.
Anyway, the missionaries are coming over for dinner tonight and I thought I'd post my talk from Sunday.
I have the talks the girls gave on the other computer and will post them when I can and Matt just writes a few notes and then has the whole congregation listening, so he rarely has an actual talk I can post.
I've had a lot of gospel related thoughts pressing on my mind lately, a lot of thinking about how we perceive things and how they really are. I feel like I'm on the edge of a growing phase in my testimony and it will be interesting to see where it leads. I know where I want it to lead.
Anyway, I've got a sheet cake to frost so here is my talk from Sacrament Meeting this week- please excuse the bad grammar, it was a talk, not a written assignment.
Good Morning Brothers and Sisters,
We were asked to speak a couple of weeks ago on building a firm foundation to overcome adversity and because it is so close to Pioneer day, possibly work in something about pioneers. I thought about the topic and worked out my talk in my head, but when I actually sat down to write my talk out, everything sounded completely wrong. I put my thoughts to paper, I read and reviewed and worked on it for a long time and after weeks of preparing the talk mentally, I realized I needed to just throw it all out and start again.
I realized this last night.
I don’t know why, I don’t know if I needed the shake up or if someone else did, but I’m going to do my best to give the talk I feel most prompted to give, rather than the one I had prepared earlier.
As you may know, our family moved here early June. It may or may not be obvious that I am terrified. I don’t think I realized how comfortable I was until I was suddenly so very uncomfortable that I struggled to notice anything else.
When Matt got the assignment to Manhattan we had just returned from a family vacation, my oldest was talking about possibly moving out and getting an apartment nearby, (something I was putting a lot of effort into sabotaging ) and we were deciding if we were going to spend the next tax return paying off bills or taking a trip out East this summer.
For years, Matt and I have talked about and dreamed of coming out here, but it wasn’t real by any means. Everything was going great where we were, the kids were happy and settled, we’d made it through some really challenging things as individuals and as a family and for the first time in a long time, I was feeling really secure in my knowledge of who I was and what my purpose was in life. If I ever wondered, all I needed to do was look around me and I was surrounded by evidence and proof of my mission in life.
Fast forward to now, I look around me and it’s this old house with spiders and the sounds of my kids running through the house don’t quite sound the same as they did in the old house and I have this heightened awareness of too many subtle differences between where I am now and where I was before. It shakes up that confidence I had and I find myself questioning who I am-- as I am faced with how I felt about myself in one place vs, how I feel in a new environment. I don’t feel the same and it’s requiring me to really ask myself why that is.
It’s requiring me to remind myself that WHERE I am, is not WHO I am.
Where I am is exactly where the Lord has brought me at this time, WHO I am, is exactly who I have prepared myself to be. Who I am is the same person regardless of where my feet stand. Knowing that is what makes the difference between enduring the trials of life to the end, or being swept up by them and giving up.
One of my favorite apostles is Peter.
I grew to love him especially as I was going through a season in my life where I very much wanted to serve the Lord and do what was right, but I was not on the most solid ground, it seemed that every time I’d make a leap forward, I do something that sent me tumbling right back and my service to the Lord resembled more of a clumsy puppy than a anything else. I wanted so very much to do what was right and I felt so inadequate in the offerings I was making.
In Matthew chapter 14, we read of Christ walking on the water.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
I read that, and can’t you just see it? They see the Savior, on the water and it has to be pretty strange and kind of freaks the apostles out. As soon as he realizes who it is and that it’s okay, Peter wants nothing more than to be near the Savior, right away. I would think that if the Savior had said “jump in the water and swim”, Peter would have done it, he loved Jesus Christ so much and his testimony was so strong.
So Peter leaves the boat and also walks on water to join the Savior.
What a miracle, what an amazing experience.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
For many years I’d read these passages in the Bible and I’d think “well, that’s what happens when you leave the safety of the boat....” But eventually, what stood out most to me wasn’t that moment Peter walked on Water, it was the realization that here he was, in the middle of the sea- walking on water, having the miracle already happen and when he looked about, he got scared. Even with the Savior right by him, it was scary out there. the storms were raging, the wind was blowing and even with the strong foundation he had, it scared him enough that he faltered.
When he faltered, he began to sink.
When our faith falters, we also begin to sink, that sinking tends to be in a spiritual and emotional sense, but when we take our eyes from the Savior, when we start to tell ourselves that the storms around us make up who we are more than the Savior before us, we lose our footing. We lose that confidence and knowledge of who we really are.
When Peter cried out to the Savior, he pulled him up and they walked back to the ship. Peter didn’t just walk on water, he walked on water twice- and one of those times was after he had stumbled, right in front of the Savior, too. There were two miracles that happened to Peter that day, he walked on water, and then he walked on water again. How many times in our lives do we look at where we have come, or something that has happened and we fail to see that the getting up after the fall, the surviving the storm was a great miracle in itself?
It’s a wonderful thing to stand tall and progress when you are focused on the right things and the spirit is helping to boost your confidence.
It is humbling and scary when you go through things or make choices that lead you to stumble and fall. Every single one of us has found themselves stumbling after they thought they had secure footing. Every single one of us has hit the ground hard when we thought we had overcome something or that some trial was behind us and we’d figured it out. For every time you fall, there lies before you the possibility of a completely new miracle and a safe way out of those storms. They will be quieted and you will be able to walk back to the safety and presence of the Savior. You are not so far out to sea, the waves so great and wind so strong that you will be passed over not just for rescue, but for great miracles and blessings in just the next couple of steps.
Turn to him and he will walk with you and you will remember that who you are is not what has happened to you or where you lie your head at night. Who you are is a son or daughter of your father in Heaven and that is who you will always be. There is no trial that has come or will come into your life that changes that.
Life brings hard things, they aren’t kidding when they say it’s a test and sometimes it feels like that test just doesn’t let up. You ask yourself when the trial will end and there are seasons of life when we all find ourselves on our knees simply praying “peace , peace be still.” The storms do rage around us and it is hard, even knowing what we know to step out and follow the Savior, but we can do it- you can do it.
Many years ago, when I was a young mom with just my two small boys, my Parker was 3 and Zane was just a baby we had a housefire. It was a bad one, we were on the news in Phoenix and everything. Parker had been playing just a few feet from me in the next room and had managed to get ahold of a gasoline can near the closet where the water heater was. The room exploded in flames, with my son in it.
The fire was put out quickly, but my little boy was badly burned on his legs and bottom half of his body. There was an ambulance, wondering if he was going to live or die followed by months spent in the hospital ,skin grafts and more.
There were also miracles I witnessed and more tender mercies that I could ever count.
He was in so much pain and as the doctors and nurses tried to help mend his little body, part of the process involved having him get up to walk, in order to help his scarring from being too tight. This was insanely painful, and he was so little. We’d walk the halls of the burn until as best we could with a nurse and he would shake and cry and sweat from the pain.
One day he cried out “I can’t do it! This is just too hard!”
Thankfully, he had a nurse that got crouched down to face my sweet little son and she said “Parker- I know this is hard. This is VERY hard, but it is not TOO hard.”
My son looked at her and said to her “Okay. This is hard, but not TOO hard.” and he took another step and finished his walk. Every day when he’d walk he would say out loud to himself “this is hard, but not TOO hard” and he would keep going.
Parker made it through that ordeal and his wounds healed and one would never know he had ever been through something like that. That fire took a lot from us all, but it also gave us the knowledge that nothing was “too hard” and we could keep moving forward. We were not alone, someone knew how very hard things were and they also knew that we could do it. That someone is with you, through every step and every hour to help you overcome and frelease that heavy burden. He brings relief and he brings joy if you will go to him.
Going back to Peter and Christ on the water. What Christ said to his apostles when they saw him in the sea was (27) “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”
Even in your dark hours, in your times of trial, have faith and be of good cheer. He iwill help you.
D& C 61 36 And now, verily I say unto you, and what I say unto one I say unto all, be of good cheer, little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you;
37 And inasmuch as you have humbled yourselves before me, the blessings of the kingdom are yours.
38 Gird up your loins and be watchful and be sober, looking forth for the coming of the Son of Man, for he cometh in an hour you think not.
Bad things happen. People make mistakes and sometimes, life knocks the wind out of you. There are times in life where you mess up and fall on your face and times in your life when it just seems so hard.
They are the experiences in life that will all day be a part of the great story you tell future generations about that one time, when you came to Earth and it was amazing. It is a story that has more chapters that you've actually already written and forgotten and you have so many more to write.
Don’t forget that the story is about your happiness and the joy that can be found through loving the Lord and following His plan.