Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Quote of the Day

Young T, the backseat driver:
"Mom, don't ever fall off the cliff in the car.  That would not be a smart plan."

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I believe...

I believe in God.  He is our Father.  He loves me and wants me to learn, grow, and be happy.  He knows me and my life.  He spends His time blessing, guiding, teaching, and serving us.  And He knows much better than I do what will make me happy.  He is kinder, more loving, more understanding, more just, and more merciful than I understand.

I believe in Jesus Christ.  He is our brother.  He also loves me and wants to help me become everything that is good.  He suffered the consequences of my mistakes to give me an opportunity to change and improve.  He is willing to help me learn to do better as long as I am willing to trust Him.  He can turn any pain, any hurt, any mistake, any experience into good, if I continue to turn to Him.

I believe in prayer.  When I pray to my Father, in the name of Christ, He listens.  When I pray with my children and my husband, our marriage and our family are stronger.  I'm not sure how it works, but I have felt the guidance, the power, and the love that comes into my life and into my family when we pray.

I believe in scriptures and revelation.  Our Father speaks to us in many ways.  Sometimes it is thoughts that bring understanding and peace.  Sometimes it is words spoken by others.  Often, for me, it is in the scriptures.  The words written long ago by His prophets often seem to make sense for me today.  Like prayer, they bring power and peace into my life and into my family when we read them.  I have found peace and answers in the Bible (words from Jewish and Christian prophets), the Book of Mormon (words from American prophets), the Doctrine and Covenants (words from modern prophets), and the Pearl of Great Price (a little bit of everything).

I believe in prophets.  Our Father wants to speak to us.  He does so in many ways.  One of those ways is through his servants.  I believe there were prophets long ago (Abraham, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Moses, Samuel, Peter, Paul, John, and more.)  I believe Joseph Smith was a prophet, as was Brigham Young.  And I believe there are prophets and apostles today.  Thomas S. Monson and the other apostles serve God, and God speaks through them.  I believe that prophets, ancient and modern, are flawed humans who are striving to be good.  They make mistakes and don't always understand the great scope of Heavenly Father's love and plan.  But God uses them anyway and miracles happen.  The prophets and apostles of today are some of the kindest, most sincere, most loving men I know.

I believe that God has a plan, and it is good.  I often don't understand His plan.  But I have seen in my life how following the scriptures, the prophets, and the personal guidance God gives me blesses my life greatly.  Obedience to principles such as tithing, chastity, giving to the poor, and serving those around me has protected me and brought amazing blessings into my life.

I believe God loves each of His children, man or woman.  He guides each one as much as they will listen in ways that they will understand.  There is much good in most religions.  There are also many mistakes.  I believe we will all be surprised at the Truth when we finally understand.  I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by Christ and has authority from Him to baptize and teach the people of the world.  There is power in His priesthood to bless our lives.

I believe that faith is partly a choice and partly a gift.  I don't understand everything.  I don't have answers for many of the concerns that I have or that others have.  For some of them, I have partial answers.  For others, I have peace without understanding.  And for some, I choose to trust God.  I have chosen to believe.  I have chosen to believe because I have experienced the peace and happiness that come from following Christ.  I have chosen to believe because the people I look up to most and most want to become like believe.  From what I've seen, those who spend their lives serving and loving God are much more loving, more kind, more patient than those who serve themselves.  They seem to have a bigger world view, a greater willingness to sacrifice and serve others, and a better understanding of life in general.  Their peace and faith carry them through the difficulties of life.  While they will make mistakes, they seem closer to the truth that really matters and more willing to admit mistakes than many other people.  I choose to become like them.

I believe in repentance.  I believe a loving Father does not want us stuck making the same mistakes over and over.  And so He teaches us and shows us where we are wrong.  We can then change and become better.  The atonement of Christ picks up the pieces, allowing us to move forward.  I know that many of my beliefs and actions are wrong.  I am grateful for the chance to change, even if I don't enjoy learning that I am wrong.

I believe in family and love.  The family can provide both support and opportunities for growth.  In families we learn to serve, love, forgive, and change.  Fathers and mothers are each important to children.  Children are worth the sacrifice and struggle that they bring.  While each family's culture and structure are as individual as the people that belong to it, each should be based on charity, the kind of love that serves and sacrifices, is patient and joyful.  I believe that families and marriages can become eternal, that we will know and love each other in heaven.

I believe in the atonement of Christ.  I believe that because of His sacrifice, all things can be made right.  Because of Him, we will live again after we die.  Because of Him, our mistakes (and those of others) can be fixed, our pain can be healed, and we can be made better than we ever could become on our own.  He is the only reason this confused, painful, often wicked world is worth it.

I believe in miracles.  God often is active in our lives.  Sometimes we notice.  Sometimes we don't.  Sometimes we can explain His presence away.  Sometimes we can't.  As we pray for help, trust in Him, and pay attention, we will be amazed at the miracles that come.  Some are little, like finding a parking space right where we really need one.  Others are big, like finding just the right doctor to heal a child.  Some are events, like a friend showing up on a hard day.  Others are part of us, like finding the ability to be patient and calm with a child who just lost all control.  They range from ideas and phone calls to visions and visits from angels.  All of them are gifts from a Father who loves us and knows our individual, daily needs.

I believe in the dignity and beauty of individuals.  Somehow, as God teaches us to be more loving, more obedient, and more faithful, He helps us become more ourselves.  He loves us each for our uniqueness and works to turn us into the best version of ourselves we can be.  As we grow more like Him, we remain different from, yet compatible with, each other.

Living up to my beliefs will take a lifetime, maybe more.  Applying them to my life isn't always straight forward.  Thank you for your patience with me as I learn.