Friday, April 08, 2011

By this Shall All Men Know


My heart is a little heavy today and so I sat down to re-watch an address from our General Conference {described in this post} with every expectation that it would tell me that I could withstand my trials and would give me little reminders of how to do just that.  A particular address had come into my mind to view, one by Elder Russell M Ballard.  As I watched the address, unexpected words were spoken.  Not of specific ways I could receive strength but of how I could give strength to others.  I was a little taken aback by the message at first.  I was thinking "this couldn't be the talk that Heavenly Father wanted me to hear".  I needed to hear about how I could receive strength.  Hmmm...  As I began to tune out my own thoughts and really tried to listen to the words of Elder Ballard, my heart began to soften and I began to understand what Heavenly Father wanted me to hear.

"The gospel of Jesus Christ is simple, no matter how much we try to make it complicated...What are the precious, simple things of the gospel that bring clarity and purpose to our lives?"  Elder Ballard relates one simple, but profound principle that he believes "encompasses the entirety gospel of Jesus Christ".  And "[i]f we whole-heartedly embrace and make this principle the focus of our lives, it will purify and sanctify us..."  The Savior reveals this principle to his apostles on the eve of his Crucifixion. "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."  John 13:34-35

I love what Elder Ballard says about this love.  He states that this love as the Savior describes, "is an active love.  Its not manifested through large and heroic deeds but rather by simple acts of kindness and service."  He states that there are a myriad of ways and circumstances in which we can serve and love others.  This is the part that always seems to overwhelm me.  I always feel as if I am falling short in my service to others.  But I love how he proceeds, "First, charity begins at home."  At home.  In my home.  To my family first.  My sweet cousin called me this morning and reminded me that I had a lot on my plate and that I have many in my own home and in my family that I serve everyday.  I so appreciated that.  Viewing my daily life in the light of service infuses my day to day tasks with much more purpose.

I have a tendency to think that I must accomplish as Elder Ballard says, "large and heroic deeds" for it to be considered service.  Recently I have been receiving a message over and over again.  Things come little by little, things are accomplished little by little, over time, not all at once, rarely with some huge manifestation or occurrence.  Things such as change, answers to prayer, patience, personal revelation.  This is a gospel truth.  "That by small and simple things are great things brought to pass".  Alma 37:6  Yes, the large and heroic deeds as well as the huge manifestation or occurrences are also gospel truths as in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith's First Vision.  But for most of us, for me, I must learn patience, {hmmm... didn't I just write about that one}, and see that the small things over time combine to become things of great importance- my child's character, an answer to prayer, an orderly home, a friendship, my own change of heart.  I pray that I will see the divine more often in those little things, including little people:-), I am surrounded by everyday, that I may give more of myself to them that I may achieve more "clarity and purpose in my life".

4 comments:

  1. I chose this photo because it captures Mike's favorite part of his morning, Felicity eating his breakfast banana. One of those little things you hope you don't forget as a parent.

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  2. I'm so happy when I see that you are doing ok in the midst of your trials...you are doing fabulously! Your "little people" are so blessed to have you as their mother and they will one day "arise up and call you blessed"!! I love you sweetie!!

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  3. Thanks Mommy:-) I have been blessed with a wonderful example in you!
    Love you.

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  4. Thanks for being such an inspiration to me Ann! I love you!

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