Showing posts with label love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label love. Show all posts

Sunday, May 15, 2016

For Time and All Eternity

During my teen years I developed an unfortunately negative view of and attitude toward marriage and children. Partly this came from experience. Though I have since learned that my parents expressed their feelings of love and tenderness in private, what I too often witnessed were criticisms and arguments. Also, growing up as the oldest of a large family—the tenth child was born during my senior year in high school—I experienced all of the drudgery and few of the joys of motherhood.

An even bigger contributing factor was that I failed to understand certain doctrines and principles and misunderstood others. I thought that marriage and motherhood meant that I had to diminish, to become less than my full potential, to sacrifice the essence of who I was and the things I most desired. I thought I would be miserable! Though I dreamed of romance, I tended to avoid boys and dating because I truly believed in the gospel, the scriptures, and the commandments, and therefore I couldn’t see how I could have the romance I craved without the marriage and family I feared.

I needed to understand why marriage and family were eternal parts of the gospel, and all my prayers and study of the Book of Mormon left me dissatisfied. The first glimmers of an answer came when I went to the temple in August 1992. The Holy Ghost taught me that Heavenly Father was pleased with Eve’s purity and righteous desires. I knew that not only did he love Eve, but he loved all of his daughters, and he loved me. I knew that he would never require of me anything that wouldn’t lead to my greater happiness.

A year later I was serving a mission. As I studied the October 1993 Conference Report, tears filled my eyes as certain talks finally answered my questions. In fact, several of the talks contained doctrines that would be collected, refined, and published two years later in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.  (See talks by Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Boyd K. Packer.)

In the safety of a mission environment when dating and marriage were clearly against the rules and I didn’t have to act immediately, I felt the first seeds in my heart that marriage and children just might be right for me.

Even though I had a testimony of the importance of marriage in the Plan, it was still hard to exercise the faith I needed to act on it. The real test came almost four years later. I’m ashamed to say that not even an hour after I accepted my husband’s proposal, I told him that I wasn’t sure and needed more time. The problem wasn’t this man I knew I loved; the problem was marriage itself. It was forever, but would it lead to my eternal happiness or misery? The next several hours of uncertainty were agonizing for him and for me. I spent them on my knees, plagued with tears, fears, and indecision.

Finally, as I read from the Book of Mormon, the impression came to me that I could not rely upon my own feelings in this matter but must rely on the witnesses of others. I thought of what I had learned of marriage, and I also had the witness of those close to me, who assured me that he was a wonderful man. That evening I called him and said I was saying yes for real this time. Our very short six-week engagement was filled with more doubts and fears, which I tried to keep to myself, but finally the day came, and in 1997 we were sealed in the Mount Timpanogos temple.


We will have been married 19 years in August, and we have three children. Marrying him has proven to be one of the greatest blessings of my life, and each year gets better! I know that the doctrine of eternal marriage leads to our happiness, and that happiness in marriage results when covenants are made and kept between two people who serve, honor, and love the Lord and each other.

Cedar Hills 10th Ward member (blog post submitted by anonymous)

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Adversity - Yoked Through Love

Lately I've been thinking a lot about adversity. I know it's foolish or short sighted to think about the rotator cuff surgery I am facing as adversity, but to me that's what it is.  It's a kind of adversity that won't last too long. I've faced adversities before that have lasted decades. Some kinds of adversity I have been struggling with for perhaps a life time! Today a scripture from the Bible came to my mind:

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matt. 11:28-30)

This is a very well known New Testament verse. But do we know what it means? I think, perhaps, that we slip on past the details and slide into the notion that Christ's way is the easy way, or, at the very least, the easier way. This seems like an almost seductive notion. But that makes no sense at all, so how does this verse address adversity?


In biblical times the yoke was a device of great assistance to those who tilled the field. It allowed the strength of a second animal to be linked and coupled with the effort of a single animal, sharing and reducing the heavy labor of the plow or wagon. A burden that was overwhelming or perhaps impossible for one to bear could be equitably and comfortably borne by two bound together with a common yoke.

Some of us know this bit. We remember this from a lesson on the pioneers, or from an episode of Little House on the Prairie, or maybe from reading some Louis L’Amour westerns. But somehow we get the idea that the creature in the other bow is Christ. That Christ is the other ox. But Christ isn’t the other ox. It’s His yoke; He owns it. In this metaphor, Christ is the driver.

So who’s in the other bow? We are taught from a very young age that we are the Lord’s hands, that God accomplishes His work through us. WE are, every one of us, yoked to each other—with Christ’s yoke. We are yoked through covenant, and, more importantly, through love.

So it’s no surprise that nearly every church or Bible lesson is a discussion of histology: the knitting of souls, one to another, like cells into tissue, tissues into organs, organs into systems, and the systems into the organisms—children of God, knit together into the Body of Christ.

How are we knit together? One of the things that knits us together is how we react to adversity. Do we take on the Yoke of Christ? Or do we take another path? Do we “mourn with those that mourn”? Do we “comfort those that stand in need of comfort”? Do we “stand [in the place] of God at all times and in all things, and in all places”? (Mosiah 18:8-10) Adversity really is part of God’s plan for our eternal progress. It’s a personal crucible that burns away our impurities, that points up the cracks in our shells. But it’s more than that, really. Adversity is an opportunity for us to seek out others, and together build the Body of Christ.

Lee Williams

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Is My Heart Healed?

Have you ever had a question in your mind for years, pondering on it from time to time, wondering if you will ever figure it out? I have a few questions like this, and I think about them sometimes, but mostly I just “put them on a shelf” in my mind until I receive some future enlightenment that reminds me of my question.  Then I can run to my “shelf” and grab my question off and rejoice that I have an answer—or at least a tiny bit of an answer—to my question.  Then I think about it more and put it back on the shelf if needed until more understanding comes to me.

I was given a blessing once when off at college when I was very sick.  I was having an allergic reaction to some medication taken after my wisdom teeth had been removed.  I remember my brother arriving to give me a priesthood blessing just before I was taken to the hospital.  Some of the words of that blessing have always stayed with me, and I have wondered about them for years.  I was told that the Lord knew of my circumstances and would “heal my heart.”  Yet, it was not my heart that was physically sick!  I knew it and my brother knew it, so what did this blessing mean?

I wondered if I was being called to repentance because the Lord knew of my many sins and imperfections.

I wondered if the Lord was telling me that I wasn’t a very kind or nice person and I needed to change, or that my choices in life up to that point hadn’t been done wisely and I needed to improve.

Another piece of enlightenment came to me a little while back.

As I listened to a January 21, 2014 BYU Devotional speech by Jonathan G. Sandberg entitled “Healing = Courage + Action + Grace,” clarity came.

"Healing is much more than ‘getting better’ or ‘having our problems go away.’ Healing is growth, development, and maturation. In a word, healing is change. It takes time and energy and struggle, but healing teaches us.”

When the Lord told me I had a heart that needed to be healed, He wasn’t chastising me, he was encouraging me and letting me know that staying focused on His plan was more important than anything else going on in my life at any time.  He was there for me and more aware of my complete situation than I was. It was a blessing of love and hope.

The Lord knew I was going to be fine with my allergic reaction.  He also knew all of my struggles, joys, and fears. He took this opportunity to remind me that He had a bigger work for me than I could imagine, to trust Him, and to stay on the path no matter how hard it got physically or spiritually. He would work with me. And He did and still does.

Every now and then I get a new glimpse into how He sees me and what He wants me to be. When I get this insight, I also realize that it is going to take continued work from me—and healing and strength from Him—for me to get there.

I didn’t fully understand the blessing because I couldn’t at the time. It has taken growth through living and experiencing to be able to look back on much of my life and see how I have been taught, corrected, changed. I know I still don’t fully see nor completely understand His great and perfect love for me and for all of us.  I have to keep remembering to trust Him and to keep seeking Him. I need to offer Him a softened heart, so He can continue to teach me and heal me.

I am grateful for my testimony that God lives. He watches over us, plans for us, and guides us as we give our hearts and efforts to Him. I know that He does all of this because He loves us and that through our Savior we can become whole and healed. 

I have wondered, “Is my heart healed?”  My answer is “Not completely yet.” But it’s doing much better than the day I received that blessing 22 years ago.

Kelly Ericson