Thursday, February 27, 2014

I delight in abiding peace.

a really big tree with a goss hawk
ephriam, utah
february 2014

one of my favorite hymms is abide with me 'tis eventide. as a missionary in the missionary training center, my district (or group of missionaries with whom i learned how to be a missionary with) sang this song on our last sunday before departing to our respective missions (some went to canada halifax, some to adelaide australia). and i've loved it a little more since then.

i love the word abide. the dictionary says that it means to accept or act in accordance with but another definition means to continue without fading or being lost. 

mortality is all about continuing, enduring. there are lots of ways we can continue, but to continue without beautiful is that? we are all in a wilderness of sorts, going through trials and having experiences in profound trust. to continue without fading we must have a deep trust, a trust that is deeper than the unknowns of today and tomorrow, the heartache and heartbreak of days to come and the yearnings of an honest soul. we must place an abiding trust in our lord and saviour jesus christ.

as i look at my life sometimes i get easily overwhelmed by all the things i can't see, all the things i wish i could see and all the pieces of life that i'm not sure how they will play together.  and yet i feel peace. 

that is one of the things that i love the most about the gospel and why i believe and have come to know of its truthfulness. i am a peace seeker. nothing can be a substitute for true abiding peace. peace brings happiness. and that happiness brings hope. these provide a foundation to continue on down the path without being lost and to continue on without failing. to abide with him and in him forever.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I delight in voices.

utah sunsets
february 2014

There has been much to delight about lately! There is a scriptural gem that keeps coming back to me. It's a principle that truly has been such a blessing as I continue striving to understand it better.

The Voices

First of all, I should say that this concept is not my own. I read about it in a book called, "The Light of Christ" by John Pontius. While I don't know John personally, I have come to admire him and appreciate his dedication to learning the gospel and living the gospel. I should also add that as I have used these principles to distinguish the voices of a healthy mind that I feel they are true. They resonate with me personally. I feel that it has blessed my life for good. So take what you will and I hope something can be a gem for you.

In his book, John says this,
"It is one thing to say we must follow the voice of our conscience, which is the voice of the Lord within us. It is quite another to be able to clearly distinguish from the other voices we hear. Toward that end, let us cast some light upon the other voices {this coming after a lengthy discussion about the function of a conscience}.

Elder James E. Faust had this to say about the voices we hear:
'But we hear other voices. Paul said, "There many kinds of voices in the world." (1 Corinthians 14:10) that compete with the voice of the Spirit. Such is the situation in the world. (Faust, "Voice of the Spirit," ellpses in original)."

John then goes on to identify three main sources of voices in a healthy mind. First, the voice of your own mind, second the voice that comes from Satan's realm, and third, the voice of the Lord through the Holy Spirit.

Here's what stands out to me about each of these:

the voice of my own mind
-you hear yourself think, you talk with yourself, discuss things with yourself, argue with yourself, etc. it is often unsure, questions things and is undecisive.
-it asks questions
-often takes a personal case e.g., i think i will fast today

the voice from satan's realm
-we deal with his minions, messangers, tempters
-the voice from this realm is cleaverly disguised and enticing
- "The adversary tries to smother this voice [of the Holy Spirit] with a multitude of loud, persistent, persuasive, and appealing voices: murmuring voices, conjuring up perceived injustices; whining voices, abhorring challenge and work; seductive voices, offering sensual enticements; soothing voices, lulling us into carnal security; intellectual voices, profession sophistication and superiority; proud voices, relying on the arm of the flesh; flattering voices, puffing us up with pride; cynical voices, destryoing hope; entertaining voices, promoting pleasure seeking; commercial voices, tempting us to "spend money for that which is of no worth" and our "labor for that which cannot satisfy." (2 Nephi 9:51), and delirious voices, spawning the desire for a "high"...[which is] death-defying experiences for nothing more than a thrill. (Faust, "Voice of the Spirit," 7)"
-promptings from this source will nearly always be stated as an absolute
-will always lead us away from the truth.
-they cannot forcue us to do anything, uness we yield to them, and they value our inability to see them.
-while the Holy Spirit generally ptompts us only once, the tempters often voice many objections to each prompting. e.g., The Holy Spirit may ptompt us to call everyone to family prayers. The evil ones suggest many reasons why we should not obey "everyone is tired. they will complain, you don't feel like it. people are already in bed. its late. its useless. you can do it tomorrow."

the voice of the Lord through the Holy Spirit
-this voice grows in content and quality as one heeds its direction until it becomes a significant guide and measure of truth.
-it often prompts contrary to where you were headed.
-easy to recognize because its the only one of the three that prompts to do good. these promptings come as absolute statements. e.g., fast today

This just resonates with me. I love it. Coming from a mind that never sleeps and that can't just turn off thoughts about now, tomorrow, yesterday, 5 minutes ago, and endless other points in time...I often feel like things get jumbled around. I feel confused, overwhelmed and like I'm failing.

I have found that by taking single thoughts that i have and recognizing their source, that power has come into my life. I have learned lessons in discernment, in trust, and in just how much the Lord wants to communicate with us, and not just wants but tries to communicate with us.  I delight in being empowered to know how I can more fully act for myself and not be acted upon. I delight in being able to choose.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I delight in spiritual gifts.

quote on the wall
sacred gifts exhibit
byu moa
january 2014

spiritual gifts.
sacred gifts.
simple gifts. 

of all the gifts that can be given, these gifts are most meaningful. both for ourselves and for others. 

something that was said this weekend at women's conference has really stuck with me (paraphrasing):

"know the gifts you've been given for they are the gifts given to bless your life 
and the lives of those around you."

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

storm parallels

oregon coast
fall 2014

i love coastal storms. there is something about a storm rolling in off the ocean, causing the waves to swell, the sky to be black, the mists to rise and to for the feeling in the air to completely change.

i love the perspective these types of storms bring. sometimes you can see the blue sky from where you are and on the other side of the storm. sometimes all you can see across the vast expanse of ocean is black with no end in sight. watching the black clouds sweep across the blue sky is reminiscent of life. 

sometimes we are sitting in the sun, basking in all the beauty we are surrounded by, by the view that we have and by the peacefulness that surrounds our present circumstances. 

and then the storm comes rolling in and we say to ourselves, 'what happened to the sun?'

i know that storms are only temporary. 

this too shall pass and the sun shall again shine upon your face.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

I delight in inspiring and inspired work.

Portrait of Christ, the Savior: I am the Way, the truth and the Light
Heinrich Hofmann

In reference to this picture which was his own personal picture of the Savior, Mr. Hofmann said,
"I wanted to hang it over my bed and when I went to rest in the evening, it should look at me, earnestly scrutinizing and ask: Have you lived this day in my spirit according to my commandments?"

"In his lifetime many people questioned Hofmann about his model for the boy Jesus. He responded, "when I read about Christ in the Bible, there areises spontaneously before my fancy a picture of him which I try to retain and reporduce--that is my only prototype."
-Heinrich Hofmann refering to his picture Jesus in the Temple

I felt so deeply touched by the Sacred Gifts Exhibit at BYU this weekend.  I love art and I love my Savior so the two combined was incredible.  At the beginning of the movie there was a statement that said this exhibit brining together the works of Bloch, Schwartz and Hofmann was 12 years in the making. How incredible is that? There is something to be said for being able to see the originals. I feel like there are aspects and meaning to the picture that aren't and really can't be expressed in a print. 

I delighted so much in a sweet volunteer who as I was looking at the last picture in the exhibit (at least in the order I went), Jesus Teaching in the Temple, who pointed out that in all of Heinrich Hofmann's faces of Christ looked the same. As I looked at other pictures, I immediately recognized that she was correct. She told us that he had prayed to receive a vision that he could know Christ and how to paint him. She said that Carl Bloch used models. As I revisited paintings throughout the exhibit, I realized she was correct and the art became even more deeply moving to me. 

I love that Mr. Hofmann had such a love for the Savior that he painted this picture above for himself. That he might make sure that his life was in line, that he would not just paint the Savior but pray and seek to really know Him and to live his teachings.