Sunday, 5 April 2020

Faith affirming moments . . .



As most of you know, yesterday was the first day of our semi-annual Church Conference.  As usual all of the talks we have listened to thus far have been amazing, but the one given by Elder Neal L Anderson had me thinking about it all night, even in  my dreams.   He spoke of the Spiritually Defining Experiences in our lives and admonished us to embrace our Sacred memories, believe them, write them down, and then to share them.  I thought that this morning I would do just that.  Sacred memories and experiences are those moments in time when our Heavenly Father reaches out to us in unmistakable ways and lets us know that He knows us, loves us and is there for us . . .  here are some of mine. 



Back in 1999, we had gotten our first computer.  I wasn't able to be on it for much time each day as back then you paid to be online by the minute, but I did find a chatroom that was an LDS chatroom. Included was a Gospel Doctrine room and I spend some time in it each day, challenging the people I found in the room with questions, etc.  I was actually a bit evangelically argumentative in a way I find embarassing to think about now.  These people did not know who I was, or where I was from, but they were always very patient with me and answered my questions in ways that made utter and complete sense to me. After one particularly heated debate I remember getting off the computer and thinking to myself that if Joseph Smith could pray and get answers, then so could I, so I said a little prayer . . . "Heavenly Father, if this Gospel is true, then send me a Book of Mormon." I then got busy with my day and kind of forgot about it.  

The next day my father was at my home for lunch, and as we were sitting in the kitchen eating and talking, there was a knock on my back door.  This was mid January in Nova Scotia, back when they had really snowy and cold Januaries. Our home was not in a town or a subdivision but on a secondary highway.  I opened the door and there on my doorstep were two shivering Missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  MY first question to them was, did you bring me a Book of Mormon?  They were blown away at my reception to say the least.  They had been on their way to a meeting and the spirit had told them to stop at my house.  My prayer had been answered in a clear, concise and very defining way.  God had given me my answer succinctly and without qustion, and further more . . .  I knew it, and I knew He knew I knew it.  I was baptised on the 8th of July that year and have never looked back. 



At the General Conference in October of 2011.  The Elder Dieter F Uchtdorf gave a talk entitled Forget Me Not.  I have always loved his talks, but this one was so amazing it was like he was talking just to me.  I was that person who had so often in my life felt forgotten, as a child, as an adult, etc.  His talk had really resonated with me and I did this little piece of art about it afterwards.  Todd said to me, you should send a copy to President Uchtdorf.  At first I poo-poohed the idea, but then I thought why not.  So we went and got a frame, packed it up and sent it to Salt Lake City with a letter of thanks for his talk.  It was shortly after that when the Doctors thought I might have ovarian cancer. Ovarian Cancer is a killer.  I completely forgot about the talk and the artwork.  My life was overtaken with tests, and waiting for results, and . . .  yes . . .  I admit it . . .  fear.  One day on a Friday morning in mid-November I heard the mail drop through our mail box onto the front hall floor.  I went to pick it up. There on the mat were two letters.  One was from the hospital and the other was from the Office of the Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  There is no question as to which one I opened first.



Right. The one from the church, or to be exact . . .  President Uchtdorf.  I knew in that moment, when I read his words, that everything would be alright.  It would be several weeks before I would know for sure, but that day, in the front hall of my house, I knew it was all okay, no matter what happened.  I felt the peace that passeth understanding.  Later that day I was re-reading the letter in bed with tears in my eyes, and I said to Todd, an Apostle of the Lord has told me that my Heavenly Father has blessed me and that He is mindful of the desires of my heart.  This is something that I thought I knew anyways, but this letter was  a solid confirmation and a poke from my Heavenly Father which said, Hey!  I got this! I love you! Not yet your time!  And even if it was my time, I knew I was definitely not alone.

But it wasn't even so much the fact that it wasn't yet my time that mattered most, it was that my Heavenly Father knew and loved me so much that He set up the timing of all of this to come at exactly the right time for me. From the get-go  . . . you can't imagine how much comfort I have gotten from that letter through the years since then.  With the difficulties I have with certain members of my family, through Todd's cancer treatments, etc.  this letter has served to remind me always that my Heavenly Father is mindful of the desires of my heart.  It has helped me to be patient and to wait on His timing and His answers in all things.    




Another time I was feeling particularly blue on a Sunday morning, probably Mother's Day or some such, with very tender feelings about the way certain members of my family see me and how they treat me, and I just wanted to go home.  So we decided to leave right after Sacrament meeting.  Half way across the parking lot I spied a piece of paper on the pavement.  It was a small paper heart and when I picked it up, printed on it in ink were three words. "You are loved."  I knew who it came from.

And these are just three of my spiritually defining experiences.  There are so very many more. These might be the most striking of them, but I can honestly say that every single day of my life I am  reminded in small and simple ways that my Heavenly Father is mindful of me and knows me by name. That I am not alone in anything.  That He cares about even the smallest, most mundane desires of my heart.  That anything that matters to me matters to Him, and beyond that.  Most importantly that I MATTER TO HIM.   


That is not to say that all of the answers to my prayers are in the affirmative, or that I even get answers right away, but my Heavenly Father has shown me in indisputable ways that I do matter to him, always have, always will.  I am not too small, or too invisible . . .  never not good enough.  That He will always meet me right where I am and if the trial will not be moved, that He is willing to hold my hand while I go through it.  

He is just as real to me as I am to Him. 

Sometimes my faith affirming moments have been as simple as kneeling in prayer to ask for help in finding Todd's lost hearing aid (he is always losing them) and reaching out right afterwards, before I even get up,  and being able to put my hand on missing item.  A simple thing yes, but surely faith affirming.  

Not all faith defining moments come in grand gestures, but I have had enough of them to know that they come, no matter what, in one way or another.  

I just had one this morning  . . .  As I was going through my journal to get the letter from Elder Uchtdorf to share with you  a small slip of paper fell out and on it was written something from one of my sons-in-law which simply said, "Just wanted you to know that we are thinking of you today. thanks for all the love and effort you put into your kids.  Thanks for thinking of us all here. It is tough being so far away.  Great job on being persistant in your love."  Just lately I have felt like giving up on a few people for a varity of reasons.  Your heart can only get broken so many times before you feel like enough is enough. Finding this slip of paper this morning reminded me that I must never give up, no matter how much it hurts. 

Faith affirming moments.  We all have them, whether we choose to recognise them or not.  Faith in the right things is never misplaced. 

A thought to carry with you  . . .  

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

 *
How great is the love that 
the Father has lavished upon us,
that we should be called
Children of God. 
~1 John 3:1 •。★★ 。* 。 



I baked some cookies for my neighbor and her son yesterday as a thankyou for all of her help recently. In the English Kitchen today.   World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. Fabulous!  She about died when she got them. Seriously tasty.

Have a great Sunday whatever you get up to.  We will be watching more of the Conference and I will be trying to get ahold of my daughter.  I haven't been able to for several days now.  Two days ago the phone was busy every time I called and yesterday there was no answer. Trusting that all is well.  Don't forget! 


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And I do too!     
 


 






8 comments:

  1. Lovely to hear of your faith affirmations, Marie. I truly believe that prayers are answered. My mom and dad retired to a rural property where mail is delivered to your mail box close to the road. My mom was 83 years old and living alone after my dad died. It was a bright, sunny cold day in January and my mom decided to go get the mail. The stairs down to the driveway had been cleared but because my mom had little depth perception she stepped into a snowbank and couldn't get up. Her one leg was weakened by a mini stroke and she didn't have the strength in it to help her stand. The teenage son (Bret) and husband (Bill) of my mom's friend were returning home from town and out of the blue, Bill said to his son, even though it was out of their way, let's go see how Dorothy is doing. Well, long story short, they saved mom's life. She was cold and weakened by her struggles and they had to carry her into the house. Yes, she had a medic alert necklace but she was not wearing it. My mom lived another 10 years and saw all three of her grandchildren marry and saw the birth of 5 great-grand children. Bill passed away before mom did and this story was told at his funeral. I asked mom what was going through her head as she struggled in the snow. She said she just kept praying that Bret would come and help her. Well, my mom certainly knew what to pray for and God certainly answered her prayers. We were all so happy and thankful she survived her trip to the mail box.

    Hope you are able to talk to your daughter today. It must be a worry when you can't reach her. Well, it's almost 6:00 so time to think about a bit of breakfast. We ususlly have bacon and eggs on a Sunday morning. Enjoy your day. Love and hugs, Elaine

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    1. What an amazing Faith Affirming story Elaine! Thank you so much for sharing it! We all need to share these things more often. It could be a spark of light in what is a pretty bleak to some existance at the moment! I am so happy your mother survived her trip to the mailbox also. What an inspiration to us all. Praise God for Bill and Bret and their willingness to listen to their promptings! Love and hugs to you and Larry. Enjoy your day! xoxo (and your bacon and eggs!)

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  2. I got a chill reading your post, Marie. Firstly, my birthday is July 8. Secondly, in the summer of 2011 I was waiting for surgery for an ovarian tumor. During this time I "happened" to be in San Diego and had the blessing of spending a day with Lura and John. That year, as you know, Lura had been through many medical challenges. Our conversation was beyond touching and though we'd not met in person before, I knew I had met friends. My tumor turned out to be a very rare Ovarian tumor, but blessedly, benign. We never know what moments will hold for us! Blessings and good wishes, today and every day.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your Faith Affirming experience Buttercup! Love, hugs and blessings to you! xoxo

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  3. Oh Marie - this post brought tears to my eyes. I agree, this General Conference was so wonderful. I love these beautiful spiritually defining moments you shared. Thank you so much! I know how you feel about having your heart broken by family - believe me I am there too, but this conference gave me so much hope that Jesus Christ can restore relationships and mend even shattered hearts through the Atonement. I am so glad I found your blog a while back and decided to check in today and read this wonderful post. God bless you my dear blogging friend. God bless you and keep you well.

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    1. Thanks so much Deb. The Gospel makes a huge difference in people's lives if only they would give it a chance. It gives hope and light which are so needed at this time. God bless you and your family always. Love and hugs. xoxo

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