Because I am studying conference talks and preparing Relief Society lessons and studying the gospel so intently right now, I feel like I have a million thoughts running through my head and a lot of quotes bouncing around. This is a good thing...but there are moments when my brain feels a little too full...and I know that writing is therapeutic for me. So I thought I'd just jot down some of my favorite quotes or ideas I've been thinking about lately.
In my Relief Society lesson two Sundays ago, I ran out of time. I shared the things that I think were most important to share, but I still had more to say. My lesson was on chapter 9 in Daughters of my Kingdom, "Guardians of the Hearth" and was about protecting the home and family...and recognizing our important roles as mothers, wives, women of faith and daughters of God.
In chapter 9, it tells a story about President Kimball. A man asked him if he'd been to heaven. He responded that he had glimpsed heaven many times...in the temple, in the home of a loving stake president, as he spoke with a couple that couldn't bear children but who had filled their home with 18 orphans. He said, "Heaven is a place, but also a condition; it is home and family. It is understanding and kindness. It is interdependence and selfless activity. It is quiet, sane living; personal sacrifice, genuine hospitality, wholesome concern for others. It is living the commandments of God without ostentation or hypocrisy. It is selflessness. It is all about us. We need only recognize it as we find it and enjoy it. Yes, my dear brother, I've had many glimpses of heaven." I am trying to create a home where we have glimpses of heaven. I am not always as successful as I'd like to be at this, but I am trying.
Here's our home, where I hope we catch glimpses of heaven. We are trying "to establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God." (D&C 88:119)
I've shared with several friends how much I love Emily Freeman's website, Daily Closer to Christ. I especially love her post about God's heart that I've linked to here. I love this quote from it: "Sometimes life doesn't go the way we plan. Even when we're following The Plan. I found a new favorite quote on the wall of my mom's bedroom, 'When you can't see God's hand, trust His heart.'" She talks about when things are rough, we have a choice...to turn to God and trust Him or to turn away from Him. We may wonder why our prayers don't seem to be answered (at least how we want them to) or why we face the challenges we do. She speaks of many who turned to God in their extremities: Esther, Hannah, Gideon, Elisha, Nephi, Joseph Smith. Then she says this, "He reached their reaching. In His own way, and in His own time. I have learned that in the moments when my life has taken a detour, or the storms swirl overhead, or the obstacle in my path seems insurmountable, I must open my scriptures. Answers are there.... Those pages teach us about God's heart. I am coming to understand that God's heart loves my heart." I LOVE that! God's heart loves my heart. I don't just love that. I know it is true. If only I/we could remember that every day!
The week before my lesson, I watched several talks given at the 2011 Time Out for Women. I especially enjoyed the talk by Laurel Christensen. She shared Ephesians 3:20 which says "Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think". She talked about how it seems like either of those words would suffice...exceedingly or abundantly...but that by using both it really shows how much power the Lord has to bless us...that He can do things so much more than we realize...and that through his power, we can too. She shared some experiences in life when she thought she absolutely could not do something and then found the strength to do it. One experience she shared was running a half marathon (an experience I can relate to!) When she got to mile 12, she was exhausted and in pain. She could not take another step. She was going to quit. She knew she was almost there, but she knew she couldn't make it. It was impossible. But then she heard voices cheering for her and she looked up and could see the finish line and somehow, she drew strength and made it to the end. She said, "Each of us are here to become a little closer to the woman He always intended us to be. You are living plan A. It is not too late today to change something dramatically in your life. Beware the temptation to stop at mile 12." This reminded me (among other things) that we are on our journey home...and there are people cheering us along the way...our families, our Savior, loved ones who have passed on, and so on. Sometimes the world gets so loud and so hard that we feel we must quit, but we are at mile 12... even those of us with many years let to live are, in a sense, at mile 12. I had a BYU professor that liked to say that once we leave this life, we will realize that this life is merely a parentheses in eternity...we lived before we came to earth and we will live after we die... this life is such a short time. We are on our way home... we must keep going and finish the race.
In this same talk by Laurel Christensen, she shared this quote from Elder Oaks, "When we have a vision of what we can become, our desire and our power to act increases enormously."
Desire and power. Vision. Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think. Glimpses of heaven. Beware the temptation to stop at mile 12. God's heart loves my heart. These are my favorite quotes this month. But the month is only half over... I'm sure I will have many more by the end of the month.