It makes me wonder what would have happened had I embraced those observations instead of explain them away. Fast forward a year or so and I see those things said to me realized. But here is the difference. It was the Spirit that whispered the words to me. Almost as if I needed that second or third witness to what had already been spoken to me by those who love me. The vehicle that was used this time was music. A song I have sung a million times and that has affected me in different ways several times. This time it was these words:
Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?Let's just put in on the record that I have had plenty to mourn about. Plenty of things that are classified as "hard". Even that word doesn't seem to encapsulate what I have been through these last four years. I have had to rely on too many people. Something that I think is really hard for most people. No one likes to be in a position where there is no other option than to open your uplifted hand and say "Help." I, like most, much prefer to be the one to offer to help and strengthen the feeble knees.
'Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell —
All is well! All is well!
The constant battering of life's trials has brought me so low that I thought there was to be no escape. That I had been called to do more than I could. But tender mercy upon tender mercy and line upon line and small moments here and there led me a step at a time. Sometimes it was people constantly opening there homes to my children who were also having a hard time. Sometimes it was an email from a random ward member after a day where I questioned... A lot.
I loved what President Uchtdorf said in this last conference. He spoke of many things that I had wished to tell some people but really, it chagrined me enough to take some of the growing pains I am currently experiencing with a more open heart. He said:
Why is it so hard to "Stop"? We all do it. Most times, I have noticed when I judge the harshest, those end up being when I needed to love the most.
This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:Stop it!It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”We must recognize that we are all imperfect—that we are beggars before God. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace? Haven’t we wished with all the energy of our souls for mercy—to be forgiven for the mistakes we have made and the sins we have committed?
So. Taking all of this in stride. Being on the judging end and also desperately trying to weather through being judged. I am working on changing my nature. It's not easy. I keep failing, but I also succeed.
Growing is hard. Sometimes I get apathetic because it is so dog gone it hard. I really start to wonder what's the point. It's too hard to fight back. And then the same words come back to mind,
"Gird up your loins; fresh courage take. Our God will never us forsake; And soon we'll have this tale to tell — All is well! All is well!"
I have been asked several times what keeps me going with all that I have on my plate. And it is this. My eye is on eternity. The things that I am learning for me and my family are things that can effect my eternal happiness. All is well. I don't have to wait for heaven to feel that.
And THAT is what I am working on. All IS well. I can thank those that have helped me to this point, but you know what? It's time for me to do more. To stand a little taller. To be a little kinder. To try a little harder.
Wish me luck.