Friday, October 21, 2011

Come What May and Love It

A few years ago a beloved leader of my church shared some inspiring words his mother told him when times were tough.  She said, "Come what may, and love it."

I've thought a lot about that lately. Things don't always turn out like we planned, and life is full of difficulties. Our minds know that is part of the process of growth.  We know the purpose of this life is to reach our potential and be like our Savior.

We cannot think that we can become like Him unless we pass through our own furnace of adversity.

So, how do we make it through the tough times, when our minds know but our hearts might fail? How do we say to ourselves, "Come what may, and love it?"

Elder Wirthland puts it far better than I ever could.

He teaches that "the way we react in adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be."

The four keys he shares to doing this are:

1. Learn to laugh. It will extend your life, and theirs.

2. Seek for the eternal.  Difficult times are "on the job training" which stretches our understanding, builds our character, and increases our compassion for others.

3. Understand the principle of compensation. "That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way." "Every tear today will eventually be returned a hundred fold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude."

4. Trust in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They want us to be happy and be successful.  

"The simple secret is this: Put your trust in the Lord, do your best and leave the rest to Him."

Thank you Elder Wirthlin. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hope and Faith- and a Car.

Faith and hope.

They are talked about a number of times in the scriptures.  Paul speaks of them in various forms and fashions in nearly every book he authored in the New Testament.

I have read much and thought much about faith and hope, the integral nature of their relationship, the very meaning of their words.  It has always been a notion of mine that they were one in the same- a belief in something.

But as I was reading my scriptures this morning I came across this verse,that, when I read it, painted a clear picture (at least in my mind) of the relationship of hope and faith.

"And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this becasue of your faith in him according to the promise." (Moroni 7:41)

I thought about it for a bit, and this is what I came up with. You'll have to forgive me for the somewhat juvenile analogy - but sometimes that is how my brain grasps things the best. :)

Our testimony is a car.  Faith is the engine.  Hope is the steering wheel.

We choose the car we like, then we accessorize it to our taste.   In turn, we choose the church with the doctrine we like, then we fill in our testimony with the things we like: the Atonement, Heavenly Father, healing, tithing, service, Sunday service, miracles, prayer, priesthood etc.

We can be comfortable in our car, even love our car, but without an engine, our car will take us no where. It will just sit there, looking good.

We can be comfortable in our church, even love it, but without faith, we will not be moved to action. Faith is the belief that the elements of our testimony are real and true, even though we cannot or feel immediate proof.      Faith in what we believe moves us to align ourselves with our beliefs, not the other way around.  With faith we move and grow.  Without faith, we will simply sit and go no where.

A car with a with an engine is great- especially if you know where you want to go.  In order to reach your destination, you need to steer the car, so that it moves in the proper direction.  Without a steering wheel you could probably get through Nevada, but you would be lost in the Rocky Mountains.

Hope is the desired destination or outcome.  We hope to live with God again.  We hope we can find peace through prayer. We hope that following the commandments.  Our hope points us in the direction of where we want faith will take us.

Would our faith move us to action that would bring us to a hopeless conclusion? No.  We hope that we will reach our highest potential, be with our families forever and achieve ultimate joy. And we have faith that as we follow the gospel in word and deed we will make it there.

We believe in Jesus (testimony). We have faith that he died for us(so we follow Him.) and it is our hope that, because of our testimony and our faith in action, we will become like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and have eternal life.

Again here is the verse: And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this becasue of your faith in him according to the promise."

I have read this verse many times in my life, and this morning it took on a whole new meaning. (Personal revelation- a topic worthy of not only a blog post, but volumes of books written about it.)

Testimony is the car.   Faith is the engine.  Hope is the destination.

What do I hope for?  How will I get there?  What will take me there?

What do you hope for?  How are you going to get there? What will take you there?

For me, I know what I hope for.  I have faith that my Savior and Father in Heaven will guide me there.  And I believe that the doctrines I have a testimony of will carry me through.

How about you?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Just One Question

I love teaching my class of 5 and 6-year-olds each Sunday. They say the cutest things.  The lesson was about staying pure and making good choices.  There was a point in the lesson where we talked about Jesus and what He would do in certain situations.

Then I asked them a question: If they could meet Jesus face to face today, what would they ask Him?

I loved the questions they came up with.

"I would ask Him how He got here."

"I would ask Him out He made the earth."

"I would ask Him how He made the scriptures."

"I would ask Him what He likes."

"I would ask Him how I can help Him."

I asked myself the question, too.  If my Savior came to my home today, sat on my couch and said I could ask Him anything- what would I ask? What would I ask?

What would you ask Him?

Honestly, I would probably want to ask Him all the questions the kids shared today, and then some.  Then I would thank Him for all He has done and will do for me. 

But, what if I could only ask one question?  Out of all the questions in my mind and heart, what one question would I want answered more than anything.

What would your one question be? I'm sure each of our questions would be as different as we are. 

As for me, after much thought, I finally picked on out.  

If my Savior came to me and I could ask Him one question, it would be this: May I hug you?

I know it sounds strange.  I mean, here is Deity that knows everything, that is everything, that could tell me anything, and I ask for a hug.  Why?

I'll tell you why.  I already have a knowledge of the gospel and Plan of Salvation, I already know where I came from and where I am going.  I already know about His life.  True- there are millions of missing details, but I already know everything I need to get me back to my Heavenly Father without ever seeing my Savior facet to face. (Blessings of being a member of His church.)

But, what I have longed for (rightly or not) when I pray is to feel more: to feel Him more, to be comforted by Him more.  I have even been known to plead in prayer for eternal arms to hold me tight and bring me peace. 

So, even though I would love to know exactly how the Atonement works and what that was like for Him, I already know that the Atonement is for me, and that it works in my life.  

And even though I would want to know how He performed healing miracles, I already know that He has healed my heart and my body more than I can count.

Even though there is so much I want to know, there is one thing I want that can't be learned, taught or told: I want to know what it is like to be held in the arms of the One that loves me purely, has sacrificed all, and wants my happiness more than any other (aside our Heavenly Father.)

So, that's my one question.  

I'm curious, what would your one question be? 

Friday, October 7, 2011


Last year at our church's Harvest Festival there were a variety of games we could play.  One of them was the Mummy Game.  You stand still as your partner runs around you, unwinding a large roll of toilet paper.  You race against another team to see who can unroll the toilet paper first. In the end, you look like a wrapped up mummy (albeit a messy one!)

It was a fun game, and not as easy as it sounds.  (I, personally, enjoyed the eating-a-donut-hanging-off-a-string-with-no-hands one.  I pretty much dominated that one!)

My daughter played the mummy game a number times. One particular time she teamed up with an overzealous partner who speedily unwound three rolls of toilet paper all over her. Nearly every part of her was covered, but her feet.

She stood there, looking like a TP mummy. I wouldn't have recognized her if it weren't for her sparkling prices shoes!

I helped unwind her, layer by layer, until I was able to see and recognize my little girl again.  She said, "Whew, now I'm me again!"

Adopting an older child has had it's blessings, but it has also come with its share of challenges.  There are behaviors and habits that were developed long before she came.  Some are positive, but others are foreign and even detrimental. Some are just down-right frustrating.

But, as I've studied, prayed and pondered about it, I realized that she is playing the Mummy game, although this time it was not of her own choice.

Deep inside is my little girl.  She is strong, sweet, intelligent, patient, loving and kind.  She has amazing potential.  But, covering up much of who she really is are her behaviors.

She is wrapped up in fear and anxiety.  She has layers of sadness and anger.  Since she was young she had partners who ran around her with instability, abuse and neglect. So, now she comes to our home, wrapped in layers; and it's my job to unwind them, layer by layer, until I can see her.

I struggle because sometimes I forget that I am not seeing her, but the layers that she is wrapped up in; when she throws a fit, when tells a lie, when she makes other choices that are contrary to what we teach and practice on our home, I need to remind myself not to just stare at the layers, but to look beyond them.  I remind myself that she is under the layers, and it's my job to get to her.

This concept of layers doesn't only apply to adopted children.  They apply to all.

We are all covered in layers to some degree. Some are wrapped so tightly that it is nearly impossible to see who they really are.  They might even know who they are inside.  Others have only a thin layer; perhaps of insecurity or sadness.  But, we all have layers.

When I see someone acting in a negative way, intentional or not, I have to remind myself that behaviors are  layers.  And when I get frustrated with them, and perhaps even develop feelings of dislike for them, I have to remind myself of a saying I once heard "You cannot love behaviors."

It is difficult look at a person or child who is hurting you or attacking you and think warm fuzzies- because you can't love behaviors.

The key is to look beyond the behaviors, beyond the layers to the person wrapped up inside.  Often they cannot find their way out without help.  And almost always, they want deep down inside to feel like themselves again. Deep down we all want to be happy.

So, when I am offended by an adult, or frustrated by a child, I tell myself they are layers, not them.

Underneath we all want the same thing: to be valued, to be loved, to be needed and to be worthy.  In most cases, the people with the most behavioral issues are the ones with the most layers.  They are the ones that want to be freed the most, even if they don't know it.

I know I have my layers.  Sometimes I will say or do something contrary to who I feel I am because I am acting out of insecurity, anger or selfishness.  That isn't easy to admit, but it's true.  And, I would hope that those around me would try to look beyond my layers, too.  That they would try to see me, my righteous desires, and my potential.  And I would hope that they would love me for me, not judge me because of my layers, but see through them.

I love my daughter.  She is a challenge, with many layers.  It will probably be a life-long endeavor to unwrap them, but she is worth it.

PS- For those of you who were wondering, there is the matter of accountability we all have to unwrap our own layers.  Regardless of what has happened to us, we are accountable for how we act and what we do. This post in no way is dismissing personal accountability. (That's a whole different post!)  It is simply a visual that helps me get past the choices that some people make and see them for who they are.  It makes it easier to love them, not their behaviors. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Express Yourself (in a good way!)

I've discovered Subway Art!  I know I'm like a year behind, but I have had a great time this weekend creating some fun things for my wall.  Here's how they turned out.

It looks a lot cuter when you see the whole wall, but there are a lot of family pictures I'd rather not post- so you just get the individuals pics, but trust me, it's adorable!

Below are the documents.  I think you should be able to print them out for yourself if you'd like- although if your last name isn't Wilson, it probably won't do you much good!

The above is based on the 13 Articles of Faith- the foundation doctrines of what my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is built on.

This one is made from a the things my family chose as our own family values.  I had them posted in more of a mission-statement document, but this is much cuter and easier to read.

Hope you like them!

You Can Save a Life By Watching This Show

Tonight ABC is showing a special episode of Extreme Makeover Home Edition.  I've had the opportunity to preview it and worth watching!

It's an episode featuring a Mormon family. It’s a really powerful episode and Major League Soccer team  and a nation get involved.  The show revolves around a little boy, Jonah Gomez, who has a blood disorder, which have caused him to undergo open-heart surgery.  In this episode, EMHE  team conducts a nation-wide bone marrow drive to find a match for Jonah, signing up thousands of donors to save lives.

I love the story- and I love, love, love the Jessica, the mom!  Her faith and the love she has for her children is moving. It was a tear-jerker for me.

But, not only is it a great show, it's also an opportunity for you to help save a life.

Please watch it tonight!