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Enduring

Enduring is not easy. Oh no! Yet, when I think about my Lord, and all He went through, I know that what I go through is minor. Did you ever notice how when we hear other people’s problems our own are not as bad?

Many of my friends also suffer in various ways. I pray for them, and I know they pray for me, that our pain may be lessened. Some of the people I admire most have been those who suffered much more than I ever will. Just to name two: Spencer W. Kimball and Neal A. Maxwell. Yet they endured well. I pray I may be as valiant as they.

We all suffer in one form or another. The thing that keeps me going is my faith in Jesus Christ. When I am in great pain, I do what my doctor(s) tell me to do, yet I also take it to the Lord. I am a firm believer that  Jesus Christ has restored the Priesthood back to the Earth to bless men and women, and so I ask for blessings at the hands of those who not only hold, but “honor” that Priesthood. Just because someone says they are a priest does not make then one. Only those who “Honor Their Covenants” and “Keep the Commandments or strive so to do” are worthy to hold the “Power” that comes with that calling. (Just my humble opinion.)

Anne Morrow Lindbergh wisely cautioned:

“I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable” (quoted in “Lindbergh Nightmare,” Time, 5 February 1973, 35).

Certain forms of suffering, endured well, can actually be ennobling.

Annie Swetchine said,

“Those who have suffered much are like those who know many languages; they have learned to understand and be understood by all” (quoted in Neal A. Maxwell, We Will Prove Them Herewith [1982], 123).

When I reflect upon my Saviour and think upon all he endured at the hands of others, I cringe. I tend to whine from time to time over my struggles, yet He never did. They spit upon him. They beat him. They scourged him with whips. They cast him in prison. They dragged him through the town naked and placed a crown of thorns upon his head, before they nailed him to that cross. And to make it even worse, they did that “after” he had bled at every pore because of the pains, mourning, depression, injustice and sins of everyone who ever has been born, who was then alive, and all who would yet be born. Yet, he still had compassion.

Jesus Christ rose victorious over death and He did that for you and me. Our pains only last a short time compared to the pains of those who reject him or refuse to repent of their own sins.

Another wise man, who was also a prophet of God, Gordon B. Hinckley once said,

“Don’t get discouraged, things will work out!”

I hung that quote with his photograph on the wall in my bedroom. When I am feeling sorry for myself, and start to get discouraged, I look up and see it, and know things will work out. I turn my head and look upon my other wall and see the picture of the current Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and think about him telling me to:

“Be more positive…”

When President Ezra Taft Benson called me to Salt Lake City, Utah, he said (among other things):

“Hang the words of the prophets on your walls, and then go out and do good.”

I am a firm believer in following the prophets and have always been blessed because I do that. It is not that I do not experience problems, for I surely do. It is that after – I experience greater blessings and that makes it worth whatever I have gone through.

In the Holy Bible we read:

“And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” (Matthew 19:29)

God does not lie.

Gentle hugs from a distance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You don’t believe in God?

Earlier this week, I read a post by a lady that broke my heart. I share my answer here for all who do not believe that God exists since He allows bad things to happen.

My dear Sister, it sounds as though you have been abused in horrible ways, and my heart goes out to you. I wish I could comfort you by putting my arms around you and taking you away from those who harmed you. But, I am not there in person. I can only share with you what I have learned in my 70 years of life.

Right now, you do not believe that God exists, however, that is only because you don’t know Him. Bless your heart. That is not your fault. All you have experienced is the pain of life, not the joy of knowing Him.

God will not stop anyone from using their own agency. At times, we must step back mentally and allow others to do what they do. We can warn and caution, but then we must let them make their own choices. God will make them pay for what they have done to you. Those who are kind to you, will be blessed for that kindness. If you make bad choices, He will not stop you, for the same reason.

At one time there was a major war regarding two options: our having the right to choose for ourselves or being compelled to do everything. Jesus Christ came to Earth in a body just like ours so that He could learn how we feel and why we do the things we do. He came to help us be able to get back home – where we are loved and cared for. He also had to suffer at the hands of evil people, just as we do. The only difference between Jesus Christ and us is that He was half God and half Mortal. The mortal part meant He could die a physical death. The God part meant he had the power within himself to overcome death and finish the plan God wanted for us who chose agency.

The fact that you have a body of flesh and bone with blood means that you chose agency. Which meant you would have to suffer, just as Jesus Christ suffered. Which also meant you would have to allow others their agency as well.

God is anxious to bless you, but you must trust Him. Do you know how tiny a mustard seed is? Go to a garden shop and ask to see one. A mustard seed amount of faith is all you need to ask for God’s help to understand. He will help you to find Him. He will do that for you, I promise. I was an abused as a baby, child and youth. When I was a young adult I was also abused in ways that would make your skin crawl. Yet, I came to know that God cares. He really does and He will show you if you will allow Him to.

Sorry to be so long winded, but I could not sleep until I bore my testimony to you. Gentle hugs from a sister who has been there, and come to really know God personally. You are one of His daughters, and He wants you to know that. Look at the sky in the morning and think about what there is to bless you. The very air you breathe, trees and flowers, animals, planets and stars, and YOU!

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Don’t Give Up

I do not know if you are religious or not, but I wish to share something with you that has helped me.

“When we allow God to come into our lives (or we are wise enough to come into His) He “enlarges our steps” for the path we must walk – or, in more modern language, He gives us bigger feet that do not slip.”

“But other elements of God’s miraculous help consists of things He does to, in effect, let us help ourselves. Some paths we feel we just can’t walk. Some mountains seem just too high to climb. Some steps are just too difficult to take. When that is so, heaven does intervene, but often it is not to smooth out the path or remove the mountain or shorten the steps. More often than not, God sends help in a different way. He makes us stronger and more sure-footed. In effect, He gives us bigger feet, stronger legs, a firmer back, more stiffened shoulders. He deals with us rather than with the problem we face. We then proceed with new strength, less slipping, and are all the stronger for it.”                                                 Jeffery R Holland, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Just as you have illnesses that frustrate you, I too have many disabling illnesses. Arthritis, at times so bad, that my neck; shoulders; back; arms; knees; even my fingers and toes tend to hurt even just to move them. I also have stomach issues: GERD and Barrett’s Disease, thus, at times, I vomit a lot. I had a hole in my right eye and lost all the fluid. I was horribly abused as a small child and in my growing up years. I had more blows to my head than a boxer receives over many years in the ring. I had been in a car accident that almost cost me my life. My children had been kidnapped when they were mere babies. I have had recurring bouts with cancer. As a child, I had protein malnutrition.

It came to pass in my life, there was a period of time (four years in fact) that I had to stay mostly in bed or at a hospital. During that time, I contracted e-coli; double pneumonia; blood clots; and Cellulitis on my legs so bad that I almost died from each as well as could have lost both my legs. I have been in and out of various types of hospitals since I was about 6 years old. The majority of the time I have had zero help from others. When I developed cancer as a young woman, my husband walked out on me and my new baby to fend for ourselves.

As you can see, I understand just how hard some of you have it in life. Yet, I want you to know that the words of Jeffrey R Holland are true. I testify to you that I am able to walk now. I can see again with both eyes and there are no more lesions on my brain. The growths throughout my body are all gone. I still have both legs. I still have issues, yes, however, I can do more now and be happier than I have ever been in my entire life.

Psalms 18: 36 “Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.”

Psalms 94:17-19  “Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.”

Jesus is “The Christ” in Greek = Messiah in Hebrew. We know that Jehovah = God of the earth of the Old Testament. I learned that Jesus is the Christ, by what I experienced as a small child. He took me out of that closet. He was with me in that back yard. He was with me at my uncle’s home. He was with me in institutions. God sent missionaries to find me when I was out in the desert in Arizona and they taught me all I needed to know: so that I could recognize that it was He who had been with me as a child in California. There might be mistakes in the scriptures, yet they are men’s mistakes not God’s. God lives. Jesus is the Christ. The Atonement He made on our behalf is real, if we will seek it. The Holy Spirit is real. He teaches us truth and never lies.

I don’t mean to be preachy, but I felt you needed to hear these things this morning. Please, don’t give up. I know how badly you want all this crap to end, but don’t give up. I know there are times when it gets bad before it can get better. What you are going through will not last forever.

“Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and He will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that He may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” Alma 37:37

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One Mercy from God

I love what Elder Oaks once said in regard to us who have suffered at the poor choices others made:

“While God will not prevent those choices, He will bless us to endure the consequences of other’s choices. And those whose mortal opportunities are cut short or reduced by the choices of others eventually have every blessing and opportunity offered through the Mercy and Atonement of Jesus Christ.”  Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Apostle of Jesus Christ. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints. He is also a well known speaker and an attorney.

I personally know that the gift of Agency was not free. We all pay a price and Jesus Christ, the Son of the Most High God paid the highest price. He took upon himself our pain. Not just the sins of the world, but our pain. Yes, He knows about pain, suffering at the hands of others. He knows how we felt when beaten, starved, abused in horrendous ways, that we feel no one else understands. Yet He understands.

Many times, I have felt his tender mercy as I have felt His loving influence sweep over me. Many times I have felt lifted from off this horrible planet where others only saw beauty. Many times I have wanted to die rather than suffer more torture at the hands of evil men and women. Yet, through it all, Father was watching and weeping. The Lord paid a very high price for us, all because He loves us. I had never felt that dept of love that He has shown me.

I’m sorry if many of you do not know Him. I am sorry if this bothers you, but I just want you to know that I know God lives. I do pray this will not be deleted, but if it is, I have said my piece. Thank you for caring about me. It means a lot to me, as a feral child, to have others hear me.

I love this song. It speak volumes of love. When I hear the sweet voices of children in song it send chills down my spine. I hope you all have a great day. Hugs from a distance.

Photograph by Steve Gills.

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Faith to be healed

A few months ago, my doctor told me that a spot on my lungs needs to be checked out. He felt it might be growing again. At that time I told him I don’t want to know if it is. I already have enough problems. Yet, in my heart and mind I was concerned. Over the years cancer has plagued me from to time.

In the past I have been told many things. For example: I was told by four or five doctors I have MS and also told by three that no, I do not have it. Which is rather funny since those other MRI’s revealed so many lesions and I continue to have all the symptoms, even though at first I did not know that is what they were. I have been told I have a degenerative bone disease and also been told that can’t be possible since it can only be arthritis and bursitis, as if that doesn’t hurt.  I have been told my pain comes from fibromyalgia and also been told, since I don’t hurt all the time, I must not have it. I have had tumorous growths on my kidney, my spleen was swollen, my liver was almost dead and then told: that diagnoses must have been wrong, after all, even though your kidney is shaped funny, it is clear and working. From time to time I have had tumors and almost lost my leg because of them. As well as diabetes when in the past I had the opposite, low blood sugar where I had to be hospitalized to bring me back up. I have had numerous concussions, bruises, abrasions, been locked up and tied up and restrained rather than treated with kindness, been told I have emphysema, when it was double pneumonia, mistreated by those whom should have known better, and in general just had a lousy time being alive.

Through all this, the Lord has never left me alone. Yes, you heard me right. He has been with me through it all. Even before I knew that I was a child of God, He was there for me. I have been locked up, had my memories erased, been drugged, and called a liar because I spoke truth. I have been called crazy since a young girl because I would not willingly do those things others thought was right, yet I knew were wrong.

Since joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints, those whom honor the priesthood have blessed me and God has healed me time and time again, which seems to disturb medical doctors. It also disturbs others in that they complain that God has not healed them nor their loved ones, and they want to know why He does this for me. I try to help them understand that it has nothing to do with me. It is all from God’s will. He knows I have no loved ones to take care of me. He knows I have wanted to be His since I was just a wee child, even though I had no humans to care about me. I believe with all my heart that God only allows us to go through what we need to go through in order to be closer to the Lord and be prepared to dwell with those who suffered so much in the name of the Lord.

Brigham Young once said: “Trials Are Necessary—We are now in a day of trial to prove ourselves worthy or unworthy of the life which is to come.” (Journal of Discourses, volume 12:167)

Since joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints, and receiving my own endowments, I wanted to retire at the Los Angeles Temple, so I could just stay on hallowed ground full time where I knew I would be safe and serve in the Holy Temple of our Lord until Father brings me home. But that is not to be.

We all can find comfort in the scriptures and when we do not have access to them, we still have them in our hearts and minds. Recently, I was in the ER at the University of Utah Medical Center awaiting the results of yet another MRI. Due to a lot of blood and other issues, I feared I might have had a blood clot. On the monitor beside my bed was a screen saver of stars rushing towards me. It made me smile. I had been thinking of the hymns to keep calm while in pain and this made me think of the Hymn “If You could Hie to Kolob” (Hymn 284 in the Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints, 1985 edition) This gave me peace. Especially verse 5) “There is no end to glory; there is no end to love; there is no end to being; there is no death above.” words written by William Cowper (1731-1800)  See also Psalms 107: 23-31 or Romans 8-24-28

Being alone in life is not easy, but when you have the Lord on your side, you can have peace no matter where you are. I am most grateful for my Branch President who always gives me good counsel. In this particular situation, he told me to be obedient to my doctors. Thus, after I prayed and asked Father to help me be calm in explaining why I felt I needed to go home rather than another institution, He gave it to me and I was able to return to my own little apartment.

Obedience is the first rule of heaven.

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Comfort

“True discipleship is for volunteers only. Only volunteers will trust the Guide sufficiently to follow Him in the dangerous ascent which only He can lead.”
― Neal A. Maxwell

I do love this quote from Elder Maxwell. And that poster of Elder Holland speaking gives me great hope. I also love God’s Son’s Temples. Yes, I am referring to the Houses of the Lord, Jesus Christ which are spotted around the earth at this time.

I have several chronic illnesses. Some tell me I must be a real bad sinner to be so sick all my life. Some tell me that God is punishing me for something I must have done before I came here. Before I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints, I believed them.

In the Holy Bible: John 9:3 says:

“Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints, God has restored to earth the Holy Priesthood. This priesthood has the power to heal. I know this is truth, as men who honor that priesthood have blessed me many times to be healed.

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/9.3?lang=eng#media=jesus-heals-a-man-born-blind

I invite you to watch this video so you too can see how they do it. This power that God gave to His Son, Jesus Christ, He has also given to worthy men in this day and age.

The thing I want you to notice is, after Jesus put the clay in his eyes, he told him to do something. Because the man did what the Lord told him to do, he was healed. It is the same today. We must have the faith to do what the Lord asks us to do before the blessings take place.

I don’t know why God has allowed me the honor to suffer for Him. I join Paul in stating this fact. (Acts 5: 41-42.) I only know this is truth.

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Meditation

When I was young, I lived with my uncle and his 2nd wife. During the summer they took all of us foster children to Yosemite to camp for a week. Back in those day, one could put up a tent, set up camp and just go enjoy nature. It was wonderful.

There was a spot at the bottom of the falls where a small pond pooled and we could go swimming. Back then, I was still afraid of water, nonetheless, soon I was splashing and having a grand time with the rest of the children. The days were warm and the nights awe inspiring. The sky was clear and the air crisp. It reminded me of when I lived out back. Now I was around people, but I think I liked it better in the back yard than with this group of people.

One night, after we had gone to bed, I heard my cousin giggling. I rolled over and peeked towards her tent. There were two bear cubs playing with her stuff. One of them was licking her toes. I just lay there watching them, until they finally wandered off. Then, I jumped up and asked my cousin if she had washed her feet before she went to bed. She said, “No”, but after that she did each night. I heard later that she got the tent and I got the sleeping bag since I would not do what was required of me before we came. Silly them. I liked sleeping outdoors better anyway.

During the week there was what is called a “Fire Fall” where the boy scouts would build a large bonfire and then at a certain time shout out, “Let the fire fall” and then push the hot coals over the cliff. It was an actual waterfall of red rather than a normal waterfall. You could hear the shout all across the valley below.

After everyone was asleep, I would go over to pond and walk behind the falls and touch the water. I would think about God and how He was watching us even though we were far from home. I wondered if my mother could see me. Due to some issues caused by my earlier youth, I was in a lot of physical pain most of the time. However, when I was out in nature I felt such peace. I could almost ignore the pain and depression of not having anyone to really love me in a good way.

Many times over the years I would come back to Yosemite by myself, then I moved to the desert and found the same type of peace among the cactus flowers. Then, I moved to be close to the ocean. I loved it in San Diego, California. I used to play the Autoharp and would take my instrument where ever I went to sing praises to the Lord. Back then, I did not know that I was really His daughter, but I wanted to have a Father like him.

There were times in my life when I had to be very quiet. I used to draw to help me pass the time and soon I became almost good at it. I used to push my dresser in front of my bedroom door to keep me and the smaller children safe and to keep others out of my room. Finally I began to run away, even though they kept taking me back. After I got older, I learned that I could earn meals by playing music or drawing people in restaurants, and when I set up my easel on the sidewalks, I could earn money by drawing those who saw my work. Soon, I had enough money to get a place to live. But even sleeping in the mountains or on the beach, I felt much safer alone than being around others.

It wasn’t until I moved to Yuma, Arizona that I began to learn who I really am.

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