Sunday, June 4, 2017

A Life Well Lived

I LOVED this short message my friend Cathy shared with me.  I especially love the artwork on the front.  Hard to see in this picture, but this woman looks pregnant, and she has a chest of money, and a scale in her hand.  Perhaps weighing the sacrifice of some things to for others?  Perhaps the job mothers have of trying to find balance in life?  I'm not sure, but it is beautiful.

Is the purpose of life to pass a test?  Something that shows our worthiness to return to God and deserve a good afterlife?

Brother M. said today, that it is not to pass a test, in the way that you've filled in all the blanks properly, dotted all your i's and crossed all your t's to show how perfect you are.  No.  It is about becoming.  Becoming like Him.  Like God, or like the example He gave us in his son, Jesus Christ.  They are one and the same in that sense.

Through our experiences and choices, we learn by the light of Christ, what works for us and what doesn't.  Just like a child may learn not to touch a stove or they'll get hurt.  We learn what kind of life we want to live.

The spirit of God can be with us occasionally, helping us to weave our personal story; the life we make.  But the Spirit can be with us constantly if/when we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost after baptism, helping us to weave a life story more amazing than we could have ever dreamed alone.

Some deny the light of Christ until it is no longer is there and they think only in dark paths.  But the greater number yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and do good, and become better, even if but a little.  For as we grow, we see the affect we have on those around us, and we see what truly matters, and we become overall kinder and gentler creatures.

Since we all are distinct individuals, and partially affected by the time-period that we are born in, and the circumstances which we are born into and come into, we are not all expected to accomplish the same amount in our time here.  God takes us from the point we begin, and moves us forward, toward Him, in a way we can handle.  He is constantly aware of us and our needs and is trying to lead us home.  He has engraven us upon the palms of his hands and loves us even now, just as we are, without us having to do a single thing to "earn" His love.  He is our Father afterall.

The extent to which we put our lives in His hands and live his gospel affects how much he can do with us;  how much we progress to becoming like Him.  It is important simply to be moving forward, even if it is in baby steps.  But sometimes we have the privilege and ability to move forward in giant steps.  My mission was like that for me. 

Another time like that for me was the weekend we were able to spend with our stake president and the other bishops and their wives in our stake.  I cannot adequately express what I saw and experienced there, but to say I am truly amazed at the people I get to associate with.  And just amazed at all they (the leaders of the church) have become because of their love and devotion to God. 

And as we know, whenever we are giving and serving, we can't help but be blessed ourselves.  Be grateful for every opportunity to serve!  It helps you more than it helps those you serve.  (One does not set out serving for selfish reasons but you cannot stop the flow of blessings regardless).  I look around me and the best of people in the world call me their friend.  How did that happen?!  It makes me want to shout for joy.  The gospel is true joy.

What greater gift dost thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.

A friend said that he is a wonder to his coworkers because of the life he lives.  But he says, "How could I live any other way than by faith?"  I could see that if I worked in his office I would be in absolute awe of him and his life, especially if I didn't know the gospel.  He has the conviction to know that faith in Jesus Christ is the only true way to happiness, peace, and purpose.  The exact thing the world is searching desperately for!

When such a friend from us departs,
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.

On our way home from our trip to LA, we got a message from Pat's cousin Angela that Grandma Dixie had collapsed and was taken to the hospital.  We said a family prayer and shortly afterward, a message came from Pat's mom Brenda that she had died.  How sudden!  How unexpected!  She was such a beautiful lady, and it is so sad for us that she is gone.  It is the end of a generation.  She was our last grandparent.  As happy as we are for her, we are so very sad she's gone.  Pat's grandparents were always overjoyed to see us and made us feel so special and so loved.  They had that way with everyone.  We are so glad to have her books with her stories of her life.  As she said herself, "when all is said and done and your life nears an end, there is very little else that matters other than your family and the hope they can be with you forever.  Live for it.  Our family is what brings us true joy."

1. I have a fam'ly here on earth.
They are so good to me.
I want to share my life with them through all eternity.
Fam'lies can be together forever
Through Heav'nly Father's plan.
I always want to be with my own family,
And the Lord has shown me how I can.
The Lord has shown me how I can.
2. While I am in my early years,
I'll prepare most carefully,
So I can marry in God's temple for eternity.

All the songs in this post were what we sang in Sacrament meeting today and I cried a lot.  They all seemed to be for her.  What a happy reunion she will have had on the other side of the veil.  I hope to be like her and am so thankful for her example and for her love.  Talk about living a life of service and love for family!  This is what it means to become.

Upon the cross our Savior died,
But, dying, brought new birth
Through resurrection's miracle
To all the sons of earth.

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