Thursday, June 27, 2013

One Drop at a Time

I've written before about how I was touched and changed by Elder M. Russell Ballard's talk "Be Anxiously Engaged" given in October 2012 conference. I'm not sure I can really express in words how that talk became a catalyst for change in my life, but I am trying harder than I've ever tried to love and serve and be the kind of woman I am meant to be.

So I have been anxiously waiting for the chance to read "One Drop at a Time"... a short and beautiful book by Elder Ballard about service, based on his talk. It is beautiful and it has touched my heart again, just as much as the original talk.

I love this:
Imagine what good we can do in the world if we all join together, united as followers of Christ, anxiously and busily responding to the needs of others and serving those around us-our families, our friends, our neighbors, our fellow citizens. As the Epistle of James notes, service is the very definition of pure religion. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

He says that if each of us did small, daily acts of Christlike love we would have a transformative effect upon the world.

I love this imagery: "There is power in our love for God and for His children, and when that love is tangibly manifest in millions of acts of Christian kindness, it will sweeten and nourish the world with the life-sustaining nectar of faith, hope and charity."

The women of the world are seeking for power. Seeking to prove their worth as women, to prove that they are just as important, valuable, intelligent, and strong as men. But they, to a great degree, are seeking for that power and that proof in the wrong ways. I love my job. I feel like what I do is valuable and I feel it is a part of who I am meant to be on this Earth and what I am meant to accomplish. But it doesn't actually bring me as much JOY as I thought it would. But when I am cuddling with my 4 year old or watching my 8 year old read or helping my 10 year old practice the violin, I do feel joy. When I see them playing happily together and hear their giggles, I feel joy. When I've reached out and helped someone else... watched their children for them, taken them a meal, cried with them, listened to them, visited them, and/or prayed for them, I do feel JOY. Not just a little moment of happiness. But true joy. And I know that there is real POWER in these moments. Power to heal, to lift, to bless...and power that will last through the eternities, not for just a few short moments on the Earth.

I have such a long way to go. I am still trying to learn how to find balance between time with my family and time serving in my calling. I am still trying to increase my desire to serve and decrease my desire for worldly things. I am so far from where I want to end up, but I do feel that I'm on the right path.

I love this part too:
Reach out to one another with love, for "charity never faileth" (Moroni 7:46). Many of your sisters may be hurting for one reason or another. Reach out to those who suffer, listen to their concerns, be worthy of their trust, and always keep their confidences. Share their burdens. Teach them, both by precept and by example, about Heavenly Father's plan for His children....Teach them about the essential part adversity plays in our eternal lives. Take them by the hand and help them to repent, forgive, have faith, endure or do whatever is needed. Never forget that the Lord may work a miracle in their lives through you.

And one more quote...he says that just as bees one-twelfth of one teaspoon of honey adds up, that our combined efforts will have "a compounding effect of good that will bring the Light of Christ to this ever-darkening world." Can't you feel Light filling your life when you serve and bless others? I sure can. There is plenty of darkness and despair around us, but there is also so much that is good and pure and true and in the end, the Light will win. I want the Light of Christ in my life each day.