We focused a lot on Elder Uchtdorf's and Elder Holland's Sunday remarks on never giving up and always continuing on because with the Lord we are never shattered beyond repair nor are we beyond His saving hand.
What I noticed most about our lessons recently is those we teach have opened up so much more about questions and concerns they have. What struck me about these experiences is how much better we were able to answer their questions and address their concerns when we simply let them do 90% of the talking. We listen as they explain their specific concerns and describe their experiences in an effort to resolve them for themselves. We pose questions here and there for better understanding, but what was amazing was how they would talk themselves through their concerns and eventually find the answer for themselves.
For example, in one of our lessons we talked about God's love for each one of us and the member we were visiting with talked about how she always struggles to feel and recognize God's love for her. She talked about how she knew that He loves all His children so the question wasn't whether or not He loved her, but how she could discern His love. We listened and asked her what she was thinking it would feel like and what she was expecting it to be, and she thought about it and started by saying she thought it would be an overwhelming joy far above normal everyday happiness.
We then talked about how God works through small and simple means and that even though occasionally there are amazing spiritual experiences, more often than not it's in the little feelings, the tender mercies of life, a feeling of peace and comfort, a feeling of gratitude when we think on all the blessings we have in life. Thinking about it now I've found it's similar to the things my dad would do and would have us do for my mom. Granted there were occasions when he would buy her flowers and a gift or a card or they would go on a date night, but mostly it was the small things he would do and would encourage us to do. Tidy up the house, clear the sink of dishes, vacuum and/or sweep, dust, take out the garbage, have our homework done earlier, and doing a load of laundry. The small things that are easily overlooked but can make the whole difference.
God's love is similar. I've recently started reading in the Old Testament and after the flood the Lord made a promise to Noah that He would never again destroy the earth by flood and as a sign of His promise after each time it rained there would be a bow across the sky. A rainbow. A simple thing we are all to accustomed to but a sign of God's love for His children that has existed since the time of Noah. Then there is the beautiful springtime, which we associate with rebirth, when things blossom and bloom and erupt with color and a newness of life. He created this world for us to live on, but He didn't just create it to sustain life. He filled it with beauty and variety. And there are infinitely many other tender mercies and signs of His love that He gives to us daily that often times we bypass without thinking twice. If we ever question His love for us we need only take time to look around us. The hymn "Count your Blessings" has so much more meaning to me now that I have taken time to read and really think about the verses.
- When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
- Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
- Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
- Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
- And you will keep singing as the days go by.
- When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
- So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
God has truly given us so much we need only think about it all and we can be quickly overwhelmed with how much God has given to us and done for us. I hope and pray that you never doubt the love our Father in Heaven has for you individually, but if you do please look at the world around you. Look at everything and everyone God has given and sent your way. Living a righteous life is not living an easy life, but because we have Christ on our side supporting us it is a much easier and by far a much happier life.
I love you all! Have a great week! Stay safe, stay faithful!