Thursday, February 27, 2014

Building Fortifications: The Power of a Mother Who STUDIES SCRIPTURE

My first introduction to the scriptures came when I was in grade school. For Family Home Evening many times we would find our favorite scripture and share what it meant to us.  The only scripture I remember sharing back then was
1 Corinthians 10:13  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
I still love that power-packed scripture which testifies of deliverance and hope.  The experience of sharing favorite scriptures introduced me to the books I have come to love today.

A few years later, I decided I wanted to be able to read the scriptures more, and began reading them on my own although I understood really nothing.  That really didn't matter to me, because what happened was, I FELT a power of the Spirit enter my everyday life.  THAT  kept me reading although I didn't understand a lot of the storyline.

A scripture that changed my life

A few years later, I was a seminary student and I was part of a consecutive club to see how many days in a row we could read the scriptures.  A powerful scripture became a part of my life back then, that still governs my life today is:

Matthew 6:33   But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

I put this scripture to the test as a high school student to see if I really did put the Lord first, if He really would bless me.  Every morning I would read my scriptures as part of my morning routine. I wanted to know if I put the Lord first in my day, if "all these things would be added unto me". 

Would He bless me?
Would I notice a difference?

  I became aware of  a power  that was directly related to my scripture study. When I read my scriptures my day went well. It was as simple as that.   I did well in school, I was happy, I was directed by the Spirit, etc. The Lord did bless me, and  I did notice a difference. 

 I still live by this today because I learned of it's impact and truth way back then.

Young Motherhood and becoming "too busy"

When I became a young mother and had many demands on me, I knew the power of scripture, but let it slip.  If the Lord isn't first in our lives, HE becomes last.  I reached the low point when the Lord became last. 

I had some great excuses!  I had 4 children at this time and they were all really little. I had a 3 yr. old, a 2 yr. old, and newborn twins.  I was constantly running in million directions...around the clock. Even in the middle of the night! I was SO overwhelmed, and just getting through each day seemed like a great event.   I wanted to read my scriptures,  but was really struggling with fitting it in. I just didn't seem to have time for it.  Here is the secret:  You don't ever find the time to " fit it in" when it comes to scripture reading.  You have to "make the time", and you  make the choice to read your scriptures. 

When I did, it was just like the scripture tells us in Mosiah 2:24 ..., he doth immediately bless you;
The Lord immediately blessed me, and that which seemed overwhelming and almost impossible, became easy and joyful.  

Creating a habit

One of the best things you can literally do is to create a habit and routine in your life as the mother, of readying and studying your scriptures.  You will be a better mother. You will be happier. You will have the spirit as your companion. 

Find a time, that works for you, but also a time, when your children  see you reading, so they know that their mother reads the scriptures. It will make a difference in their lives.  That will teach them more about the importance of reading, than any lecture you could give them.

One of my daughters was asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting as part of the graduating high school students in our ward.  She was talking about the power of the scriptures in her life, and she mentioned that what helped her to read her scriptures was to see her mom up early in the morning reading her scriptures.    I honestly didn't even know she noticed.  Beside making me want to cry! That made me realize the impact that  my habits can have in the home. 

There is power and influence in motherhood!

Here is a great talk by Julie B. Beck  My Soul Delighteth in the Scriptures where she compares the  habit of scripture study with learning how to make rolls, and how the aroma of the rolls fills her house, much like the spirit fills her home when she reads the scriptures.  ENJOY!

Spiritual Fortification Series:

Strong Families
Building Fortifications for our Families

Monday, February 24, 2014

Building Fortifications: STRONG FAMILIES

You are reading the very first post in a series of posts about spiritually strengthening our homes and families by building up  strong fortifications in our lives.

This morning in our family scripture study we were reading Alma 49 and it is ALL about FORTIFICATIONS as well as the chapter following it.  So appropriate for what I am personally studying. 

"...and they had cast up dirt round about to shield them from the arrows and the stones ..."
"...the Nephites had dug up a ridge of earth round about them, which was so high that the Lamanites could not cast their stones and their arrows at them that they might take effect, neither could they come upon them save it was by their place of entrance. .."
"...they were prepared for them, in a manner which never had been known ..." 
" their astonishment, the city of Noah, which had hitherto been a weak place, had now, by the means of Moroni, become strong..."

I love these references to building up fortifications to strengthen and protect.  If we want to have strong families, we have to build up fortifications. 

One observation I have is that over-use of technology weakens people.  It takes down our abilities to receive revelation.  It weakens who we are.

Too much Internet, TV, games, endless texting, etc. takes up our valuable time, and weakens us as people and families. We become so busy, with nothing.  It is like we are spinning around in a hamster wheel, not getting anywhere, or gaining anything positive from it. 

In order to strengthen our families and ourselves, let's look at how much, sometimes pointless, technology we are letting in.  There is a pay-off.  The time we give to pointless technology time, is less time we have developing who we need to be. It dulls our senses, makes it hard to feel the spirit, or takes away the desire to even want to.

Mothers  we need to get off the computer and pay attention to our families.  Less Face book, Twitter, Snap-chat, blogging, texting, etc.

Julie B. Beck said,
"A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all of the people or do all of the worthy things her heart yearns to do. Life is not calm for most women, and each day seems to require the accomplishment of a million things, most of which are important. A good woman must constantly resist alluring and deceptive messages from many sources telling her that she is entitled to more time away from her responsibilities and that she deserves a life of greater ease and independence. But with personal revelation, she can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently.

The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life. Qualifying for the Lord’s Spirit begins with a desire for that Spirit and implies a certain degree of worthiness. Keeping the commandments, repenting, and renewing covenants made at baptism lead to the blessing of always having the Lord’s Spirit with us.      Making and keeping temple covenants also adds spiritual strength and power to a woman’s life. Many answers to difficult questions are found by reading the scriptures because the scriptures are an aid to revelation.    Insight found in scripture accumulates over time, so it is important to spend some time in the scriptures every day. Daily prayer is also essential to having the Lord’s Spirit with us. 4 Those who earnestly seek help through prayer and scripture study often have a paper and pencil nearby to write questions and record impressions and ideas.

Revelation can come hour by hour and moment by moment as we do the right things. When women nurture as Christ nurtured, a power and peace can descend to guide when help is needed. For instance, mothers can feel help from the Spirit even when tired, noisy children are clamoring for attention, but they can be distanced from the Spirit if they lose their temper with children. Being in the right places allows us to receive guidance. It requires a conscious effort to diminish distractions, but having the Spirit of revelation makes it possible to prevail over opposition and persist in faith through difficult days and essential routine tasks. " And Upon the Handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit

Build up your Fortifications! 
Strengthen your family


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Building Fortifications for our families

In the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and throughout history people have built
 to protect themselves from the enemy.

DEFINITION: Fortification/a defensive wall or other reinforcement built to strengthen a place against attack.

Physical Fortifications
Rock Wall covered in vegetation used as a border
marker built by ancient Mayans  

Today we need spiritual never before.
Following the Prophet

Scripture Study

Faith in the Atonement and the life and mission of Jesus Christ
Strong Marriages
Strong Families
Faith in Jesus Christ
Attending the temple and
Striving to be worthy of the temple
Family Home Evening
Family Meals Together
Family Prayer

Over the next few posts, I am going to be writing about building spiritual fortifications for our families.

I hope you stay tuned!


Monday, February 10, 2014

Doing Hard Things

Can we endure through hard things?  Can our children endure through hard things?

In order to best prepare our children for missions, marriage, and life....they need to be able to endure through hard things without giving up.

Let me share an example:

When I was preparing to go on my mission....many moons ago....the one thing  I wasn't prepared for was HARD THINGS.  I had it pretty easy. 

I had been to college for several semesters, and had come back home again.  It was then that I decided to go on a mission.  My parents were thrilled for me, but up until that point, I really hadn't done anything really hard.

This was in Arkansas, home of Tyson chicken, and I got a job at a chicken plant packaging chicken strips for Taco Bell's chicken fajtas.  I hhhhhhhhhhated the job so much! It was in the middle of the summer in Arkansas, which if anyone knows, is very hot, yet I went to work everyday in a 30 degree freezer. A freezer because, we had to keep the chicken very cold.   Everyday I went to work bundled up in 3 layers of clothes.  The people I worked with I came to love, but at first I felt like a rabbit in a dog pen. I was a little Mormon girl with a group of very non-religious people who lived on the edge of society.

I went to work many days with tears rolling down my cheeks. I did NOT want to go.  It was extremely boring, monotonous, freezing cold, and long hours with people I was sure hated me.  My Mom felt my sympathies and probably would have let me quit that job out of the pure love of her mother heart.

My Dad, saw past the moment, into the future, and knew if I was going to survive a mission, I had to learn to do something hard. My Dad, wouldn't let me quit my job.....(Thanks Dad)

Through that summer job at a lonely chicken plant, I learned how to endure.  I learned how to be happy even when my circumstances didn't make me happy.  I learned how to work hard, long hours, without giving up. 

Another great blessing that came from that dismal job was I had many opportunities before my mission to share the gospel.  I wasn't just a little Mormon girl. I was a little Mormon girl going on a mission, and everyone knew it.  They would ask honest questions about our beliefs.  They asked the hard questions. And they all watched me like a hawk.  They all respected me and wouldn't swear around me or tell bad jokes.  I never asked them not to, but they knew who I was, and kind of watched over me in a big-brother kind of way. 

This was such a life-changing experience that made all the difference in my life.  I left that job and that experience with confidence and joy. If I didn't have that experience I don't know if I would have been able to endure the hardness of my mission.  (Thanks Dad, I owe this to you!  Thank you for being the kind of Dad to put me through the hard things so I would be ready for what was coming.)

Mothers Who Know understand this principle:
 Life is going to be hard. Missions are going to be very hard. Marriage is going to be very hard. Being parents is very hard. Life is hard, and to expect it, and to prepare for it, and at some point get some practice at living it. I am glad I did.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Testimonies of our Living Prophets

October 2013 Conference
Our next General Conference is only a few months away!

 I love the words of our prophets and apostles.
As the months pass away from our last conference, I find myself forgetting what
I felt and what I heard. 
It is so good to go back and read their talks and
  hear them bear testimony. 
I am grateful to have living prophets and  apostles on the earth today!
Elder Robert D. Hales
"I bear my special witness that the Lord Jesus Christ lives and stands at the head of this Church. This is His general conference. I promise you in His name that if you pray with a sincere desire to hear your Heavenly Father’s voice in the messages of this conference, you will discover that He has spoken to you to help you, to strengthen you, and to lead you home into His presence."
Elder David A. Bednar
"I testify spiritual and temporal blessings come into our lives as we live the law of tithing. I bear witness that such blessings often are significant but subtle. I also declare that the simplicity of the Lord’s way that is so evident in the temporal affairs of His Church provides patterns that can guide us as individuals and as families. I pray each of us may learn and benefit from these important lessons, in the sacred name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen."
President Uchtdorf
"I plead with all who hear or read these words: Come, join with us. Come heed the call of the gentle Christ. Take up your cross and follow Him.
Come, join with us! For here you will find what is precious beyond price.
I testify that here you will find the words of eternal life, the promise of blessed redemption, and the pathway to peace and happiness.
I earnestly pray that your own search for truth will impress upon your heart the desire to come and join with us. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen."
President Boyd K. Packer
"I bear certain witness of the scriptures as a key to our spiritual protection. I also bear witness of the healing power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, “that through him all might be saved”who will be saved. The Lord’s Church has been established on the earth once again. Of the truthfulness of the gospel I bear witness. Of Him I am a witness. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
Elder D. Todd Christofferson
"Sisters, of all your associations, it is your relationship with God, your Heavenly Father, who is the source of your moral power, that you must always put first in your life. Remember that Jesus’s power came through His single-minded devotion to the will of the Father. He never varied from that which pleased His Father. Strive to be that kind of disciple of the Father and the Son, and your influence will never fade."
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
"I testify of the holy Resurrection, that unspeakable cornerstone gift in the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ! With the Apostle Paul, I testify that that which was sown in corruption will one day be raised in incorruption and that which was sown in weakness will ultimately be raised in power. I bear witness of that day when loved ones whom we knew to have disabilities in mortality will stand before us glorified and grand, breathtakingly perfect in body and mind. What a thrilling moment that will be! I do not know whether we will be happier for ourselves that we have witnessed such a miracle or happier for them that they are fully perfect and finally “free at last.” Until that hour when Christ’s consummate gift is evident to us all, may we live by faith, hold fast to hope, and show “compassion one of another,” I pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen"
Elder Russell M.  Ballard
"From my own experience I can testify to you that the Lord will hear your prayers and you will have many opportunities now and for years to come to introduce the gospel of Jesus Christ to Heavenly Father’s precious children. President Monson, we have listened. We will all seek to find the one. I pray that all of us may experience the great joy that comes from missionary service, in the sacred name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen."
Elder L. Tom Perry
"You young men—I encourage you to use your bright minds to study and learn the Articles of Faith and the doctrines they teach. They are among the most important and certainly the most concise statements of doctrine in the Church. If you will use them as a guide to direct your studies of the gospel of Jesus Christ, you will find yourself prepared to declare your witness of the restored truth to the world. You will be able to declare in simple, straightforward, and profound ways the core beliefs you hold dear as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I add my testimony to the truthfulness of the thirteen Articles of Faith in the name of our Lord and Savior, even Jesus Christ, amen."
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
"We acknowledge that your path will at times be difficult. But I give you this promise in the name of the Lord: rise up and follow in the footsteps of our Redeemer and Savior, and one day you will look back and be filled with eternal gratitude that you chose to trust the Atonement and its power to lift you up and give you strength.
My dear friends and brethren, no matter how many times you have slipped or fallen, rise up! Your destiny is a glorious one! Stand tall and walk in the light of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! You are stronger than you realize. You are more capable than you can imagine. You can do it now! Of this I testify in the sacred name of our Master and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, amen."
President Henry B. Eyring
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.”
President Thomas S. Monson
"I speak of the Master Teacher, even Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind. The biblical account says of Him, He “went about doing good.”With Him as our unfailing guide and exemplar, we shall qualify for His divine help in our home teaching. Lives will be blessed. Hearts will be comforted. Souls will be saved. We will become true shepherds. That this may be so, I pray in the name of that great Shepherd, Jesus Christ, amen."
President Henry B. Eyring
"There is joy guaranteed for the faithful. From before the world was, a loving Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son loved and worked with those who They knew would wander. God will love them forever.
You have the advantage of knowing that they learned the plan of salvation from the teachings they received in the spirit world. They and you were faithful enough to be allowed to come into the world when many others were not.
With the help of the Holy Ghost, all truths will be brought to our remembrance. We cannot force that on others, but we can let them see it in our lives. We can always take courage from the assurance that we all once felt the joy of being together as a member of the beloved family of our Heavenly Father. With God’s help we can all feel that hope and that joy again. I pray that may be so for all of us in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen."
Elder Dallin H. Oaks
"I pray that we will not let the temporary challenges of mortality cause us to forget the great commandments and priorities we have been given by our Creator and our Savior. We must not set our hearts so much on the things of the world and aspire to the honors of men (see D&C 121:35) that we stop trying to achieve our eternal destiny. We who know God’s plan for His children—we who have made covenants to participate in it—have a clear responsibility. We must never deviate from our paramount desire, which is to achieve eternal life. We must never dilute our first priority—to have no other gods and to serve no other priorities ahead of God the Father and His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
May God help us to understand this priority and to be understood by others as we seek to pursue it in a wise and loving way, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
Elder Richard G. Scott
"Because your Father in Heaven loves you profoundly, the Atonement of Jesus Christ makes that strength possible. Isn’t it wonderful? Many of you have felt the burden of poor choices, and each of you can feel the elevating power of the Lord’s forgiveness, mercy, and strength. I have felt it, and I testify that it is available to each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
President Thomas S.  Monson
"May we ever strive to be close to our Heavenly Father. To do so, we must pray to Him and listen to Him every day. We truly need Him every hour, whether they be hours of sunshine or of rain. May His promise ever be our watchword: “I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”
With all the strength of my soul, I testify that God lives and loves us, that His Only Begotten Son lived and died for us, and that the gospel of Jesus Christ is that penetrating light which shines through the darkness of our lives. May it ever be so, I pray in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen."
Elder Quentin L. Cook
"We must always remember that we do not save ourselves. We are liberated by the love, grace, and atoning sacrifice of the Savior. When Lehi’s family fled, they were led by the Lord’s light. If we are true to His light, follow His commandments, and rely on His merits, we will avoid spiritual, physical, and intellectual bondage as well as the lamentation of wandering in our own wilderness, for He is mighty to save.
Let us avoid the despair and sorrow of those who fall into captivity and can no longer bear to sing the songs of Zion. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
Elder Neil L. Anderson
"The power of God’s holy priesthood is found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I testify that as you worthily participate in the ordinances of the priesthood, the Lord will give you greater strength, peace, and eternal perspective. Whatever your situation, your home will be “blessed by the strength of priesthood power” and those close to you will more fully desire these blessings for themselves.
As men and women, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters of God, we move forward together. This is our opportunity, our responsibility, and our blessing. This is our destiny—to prepare the kingdom of God for the return of the Savior. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
Elder Russell M. Nelson
'My dear brothers and sisters, each day is a day of decision, and our decisions determine our destiny. One day each of us will stand before the Lord in judgment. We will each have a personal interview with Jesus Christ. We will account for decisions that we made about our bodies, our spiritual attributes, and how we honored God’s pattern for marriage and family. That we may choose wisely each day’s decisions for eternity is my earnest prayer in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen."