Thursday, September 29, 2011

Love Much?

I was flipping through my scriptures today and came across Luke:47 where there is a story about Jesus that I love.  He was invited to eat at a Pharisee's house. A woman, who was a sinner, heard he was there and came to meet him.  She brought an alabaster box of ointment. Then she proceeded to wash his feet with her tears and hair then anoint them.

The Pharisee wasn't too happy with it.  He must have thought the woman dirty and beneath him, for he said, "This man, if he were a prophet, would have known the manner of woman this is that touched him; for she is  a sinner."

The Savior's response was beautiful.  He said, When I came to your house, you didn't offer me water or a kiss, you didn't offer to anoint my head with oil- but this woman came here and anointed my feet.

Then he said,  ...Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much.

Then in verse 50 the Savior said to the woman, "Thy faith hath saved thee. Go in peace."

I love formulas.  A + B = C.  Here the Savior teaches us that Faith + Love = Forgiveness.

With courage she came to the Pharisee's house to see the Savior.  Obviously they knew each other and the Pharisee wasn't fond of her. She didn't care that she wasn't invited (the Pharisee didn't seem the type to invite her kind to his home, vs. 39.) She paid no attention to what the men in the room thought of her as she knelt at the Savior's feet and wept.

Her love for Jesus and faith in Him outweighed her fear of men.

Her love for Jesus brought her to His feet, to tears and to forgiveness and peace.

She loved Him much; and because of that she was forgiven much.

Given the chance, I would kneel at His feet and do the same.  That will probably not happen in my lifetime.  But, I can still follow this woman's example still.

I can make my love for the Savior stronger than my fear of men.  I can live boldly.  (My husband calls it being "conspicuously LDS.")  I can sacrifice my time and my possessions for Him. I can follow where He leads. I can go where He goes. I can weep when I kneel down to pray.  I can love Him much.

I am a sinner, like the woman in this story, but there is hope. As I have faith and love Him much, I can be forgiven much.  And then I can find peace.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

More Stairs? Seriously?

I spent the day in Seattle yesterday enjoying the sights and sounds of the city.  I walked through Pike Place Market, saw the ferries in the sound, ate gelato and even saw a political protest in the middle of a busy intersection.  It was quite an eventful day.

But, the highlight of my day was a lunch date with my husband. He wanted to take me somewhere different for lunch, so we grabbed some teryaki from a local deli and headed to the rooftop patio of Rainier Square.

We walked inside the mall and found the flight of stairs that led to the top.  Now, I don't mind a few stairs.  My home is a two-story house and I seem to manage alright. But, you see, I've got Parker Knees.  You won't find it in any medical book- it's a family condition that runs in our family, on the Parker side.  It means I've got crappy knees that creek, crack, pop and ache.  They also hurt like crazy when I walk up and down stairs.

So, when we approached the first flight of stairs, I was ok.  I have become immune to climbing one or two flights. But, the stairs kept coming and coming.  By the time we reached what we thought was the last set of stairs my husband said, "I should have found you an elevator." 

And there were still two more flights.

(Now- before you assume the building is a million stories high, there were only five sets of stairs- but with Parker knees five seems like a million.)

I started up the stairs and felt a shooting pain in my knee.  Instinctively I reached out for my husband's hand and he held it the rest of the way. He didn't pull me up the stairs, he simply held my hand. But it made me feel so much better.

As I stood at the bottom of the last flight of stairs I could see the windows above and the glass door which let to the roof patio (insert angelic choirs singing, Aaaaaaaaa in unison.)

The hike up the stairs was worth it.We had a wonderful lunch together enjoying each others' company and the beautiful elevated view of Seattle.

I thought about my little stair incident this morning. The stairs were not insurmountable, but they were a painful challenge (did I mention that I am still walking on sore pinky toe I broke last month. Poor me!) But, as I held my husband's hand I got the support I needed ease some pain and get to the top. 

It was a small act on his part, and he probably didn't realize the impact it had on me, but it did.

In Hebrews 12:12 Paul exhorts the people to "lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees."

Most of life's most challenging times are not the make-it-or-break-it ones.  They are often those times when we are "enduring to the end."  When the challenges we face are ongoing or repeating: sickness, a challenging child, financial issues, depression, etc.     

It's those times that we might look at the day and think, "More? Seriously?" We may doubt ourselves and feel discouraged. But,  Heavenly Father knows we can make it. He also knows how much a supportive hand can help. 

At times when our hands hang down, or our knees feel feeble, have faith.  God is aware and will send support.  Then there are times when we are the ones that lift another.

He is aware of our trials, but most often He answers prayers by through those around us. So, when you stand in the middle of your trials and see another batch of the same, and think, "More trials? Seriously?" Look around. Someone will be there to lift you up. 

Most likely someone already is-you just have to reach out- keep going and then enjoy the view.