Wednesday, November 12, 2014

When I Was the Stranger . . .

As I listened to THIS talk this afternoon, I thought about these words of the Savior,

"I was a stranger, and ye took me in." 

For the first time I realized that there have been times in my life when I have been the stranger.

When I was hungry to know if going on a mission was really the right thing to do (I had my mission call and everything!), a well-respected man walked into my workplace, began a conversation with me, and left me with these words, "I wish my wife had served a mission for the sole purpose of the unique, self-tailored experiences she would have received." I knew it was the right thing for me to do.

When I was thirsty for spiritual water, a sweet sister in our ward who had eight children of her own, watched my five under five once a week so I could attend an Institute class.

When I felt naked and exposed to a pain I could hardly bear, a sister from the ward reached out and invited me to join in a neighborhood "playdate" group. While she didn't know how much I hated playdates, her friendship was healing balm to my deeply troubled soul.

I became sick with complications right after delivering my ninth child. While in emergency surgery, dear friends and precious family members prayed and exercised faith. I woke up in ICU surrounded by my concerned husband, my caring sister, and a cherished friend who had lost her husband a year prior and had yet to step into another hospital since his passing. I am still overcome with feelings of humble gratitude for the powerful love of wonderful people in my life.

When our family was made a prisoner to the housing crash in 2008, my visiting teaching companion became our landlord, blessing our family with experiences and deep friendships that set us free in so many ways.

Yes, I have been a stranger, and I was taken in.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Some Thoughts on Premortal, Mortal and Eternal Identity and Purpose

Tad R. Callister taught this past General Conference, “In the life to come, I do not know if titles such as bishop or Relief Society president will survive, but I do know that the titles of husband and wife, father and mother, will continue and be revered, worlds without end.”

Interestingly, none of us know the titles our Heavenly Father held before He became known simply as “Father” to us. But would it matter? Would His pre-Father titles make any difference on how we would receive Him?

 * * *

For those who walked with Jesus during His mortal life, they knew not of Him, either.

Neal A. Maxwell said, “Though crucified briefly between two thieves, Jesus now sits eternally on the right hand of God! He is the Lord of the constructed universe, yet He was known merely as ‘the carpenter’s son.’

“He fashioned worlds without number, providing us with astrophysical awe when we view even ‘the least of these.’  Yet, to aid just one blind man—with clay formed from spittle, ‘He from thick films [purged] the visual ray, / And on the sightless eyeball [poured] the day.’” (Alexander Pope, in Frederic W. Farrar, The Life of Christ, New York: E. P. Dutton and Co., 1893, p. 394; see John 9:6.)

* * *

I'm learning that my true identity - who I really am - is forming and developing as I learn my relationship with my Eternal Father. And as I strive to be more like Him and His Son, I realize how fleeting titles are!

Once, I was a senior class president (which still catches up with me every ten years :) I've held the title of "Social Planner," software instructor, help desk supervisor, administrative assistant; Primary teacher; and Young Women's President.

Right now, I'm a full-time student, third grade “copy” mom, and Gospel Doctrine Teacher.

But all these titles mean nothing if I cannot learn about my divine nature as a daughter of my Heavenly Father and my eternal role as a wife and a mother.

And perhaps, one day, when I have been completely refined, wholly understanding my relationship with my Eternal Father, I will see why being called, “Mother” beats every other title given by man!