Thursday, August 18, 2016

Last sleepover of the summer

I love summer!  My kids love summer.  I love staying up late and sleeping in.  I love seeing my kids outside running around.  I love the time to read, get better organized, blog, spend time as a family, and be more relaxed.  And I especially love that my children have such good friends.  So when they asked if they could do a sleepover before their friend Peyton moves this week, I said yes.  Ella organized it because Michelle was at Oakcrest.  So Peyton, DJ, Liv, and Tia came over.  We had pizza and cookies and chips.  They watched some shows and talked and hung out.  Gabby went with her friend Gracie...they went swimming and had a sleepover at Gracie's house. 

I love these girls.  I love serving in Young Women's and getting to know these sweet girls.  I am so glad that my girls have such good, good friends.

Unfortunately, the night wasn't completely without incident.  Michelle and Liv had been at Oakcrest all week together.   They were both tired and maybe having a sleepover the day they got home wasn't such a good idea.  As they were talking, Michelle said something that hurt Liv's feelings. Suddenly, one of the girls came out to tell me that Liv was crying.  Liv didn't want to talk about it; she just wanted to go home.  I took her home and then went in to try and find out what had happened.  Michelle was crying.  I had her come sit in the living room and talk to me.  She said she was pretty sure she had hurt Liv's feelings.  She didn't mean to be mean, and she felt horrible.  She said Liv had said that she felt like she was losing her best friend.  Michelle said she was tired and emotional and she also said that she had just had one of the best and most spiritual weeks of her life and she felt like she had ruined that.  She came home and wanted to be better and had already messed up.  We ended up having a good discussion about the Atonement and repentance and forgiveness.  She sent a text apologizing to Liv and I think their friendship is going to be just fine...perhaps even stronger because hopefully they will learn to be careful about how they tease one another and talk to one another.  They are both such good girls.  Genuinely good girls. 

I understand how disappointing it is to have a spiritual experience and have a desire to be better and then make a mistake...and I think situations like this are one of the reasons I love Alma 22: 18 so much.  Aaron is teaching King Lamoni's father and King Lamoni's father, the king, prays, "O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee..."  I love this because he has the DESIRE to give away all his sins in order to know God.  I am certain that he wasn't perfect from that moment on.  I am certain he still sinned, but he no longer desired to sin.  In Alma 41:3, 5 it says,

 "And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good....The one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh."  (bold added by me, not in the original)

I believe our Heavenly Father is very merciful and just and he rewards us not just according to our works but also to our desires.  I have desires to be patient and forgiving and full of love, but sometimes my actions don't meet up with my desires.  I believe that He knows my heart and blesses me based on my desires and my actions.  That's not to say that we shouldn't try to become better and try to give up our sins and try to make our actions match our desires.  But, at least for me, I often have better success having good desires and so I am very thankful for this merciful plan.

Elder Holland said,
"...surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don't expect it and often feel they don't deserve it....however late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you don't think you have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love.  It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ's Atonement shines."

What a blessing that is!!  I hope I can do a better job of teaching my children to understand and use the Atonement.  How thankful I am for my merciful and loving Father in Heaven.