Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Growth of Faith in Trials

The Growth of Faith in Trials

This morning my insights came from Sariah, Nephi's mother.  Women are so rarely mentioned in the scriptures, but often when they are there is a very powerful lesson being taught.  I have missed this one until today.  I guess I just didn't have the life experiences to understand it yet. It ties well in with Monday's post so if you haven't read it yet... Profound Lessons Today. This is what I noticed today...

Sariah had the trial of having to wait on the Lord for her prayers to be answered.  The Lord often does not answer our prayers right away because the true growth in faith happens during the waiting.  If He helped us too quickly, we would be deprived of that increased faith.  His goal then is not to rescue us immediately, but to give us that sure knowledge and trust in him that leads to the fullness of joy.

Sariah struggles with this waiting. Perhaps this is the biggest trial she has ever had. This is the first time we hear of her murmuring against her husband and their decision to leave Jerusalem.  I am sure she had faced trials and difficulties from the journey already, but the thought of loosing all of her sons really brought her into a dark place. I understand that now, because I have been taken into that dark place many times when additional stresses have compounded the trial of losing my husband.  It is during these waiting times, that FEAR can creep into our faith.  It can destroy our hope with worries about the future, worries that may never even come to fruition.  That is not the work of God, but of the devil.  He wants us to be crippled by fear. He knows the power for good that is in all of us, and his goal is to disable us if he can get us to switch sides.

Even though Sariah struggles and feels fear, she listens to the counsel of her husband, the prophet, and she is comforted.  We learn that in that dark place she turns to the Lord and finds peace.  That is a great pattern for us.  Notice that she finds peace BEFORE the trial is ended.  Part of the reason for the delay in the answer is to give us time to come out of the darkness by turning to the Lord.  He gives us the opportunity to come to ourselves first.  THIS IS WHEN THE LEARNING HAPPENS!  It is in the coming to ourselves.  Just as

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Painting Project
Principle 3 from 21 Principles 
by Richard G Scott
(see August 2013 blog posts for more info on principle 3)

DAY 2:
So I didn't post 'day 1' because I wasn't that happy with it yet, but now it is coming along.  I have watercolored a lot, but oil is really different.  Day 1 was all wet on wet and trying to figure out how to work with opaque paint.  All of my technique for watercolor went out the door.  Day 2: I did some glazing and blocked the hands.  I had an easier time with the wet today and the glazing is just like watercolor!  hurray!  I know what I'm doing.  Maybe I can figure this out.  Still need to block in the flower, do detail on the hair and eyes and do some more glazing.  This is just a practice piece before I try the one in my mind that I really want to do.  This is a picture I took of Rachel, my daughter, when she was 2 years old.

Day 3:

While talking on the phone the other night I finished the flower and started to work on the hair on the right hand side.  I quit because I need a smaller liner brush and something to thin the paint a bit.  Plus it's hard to paint above the wet flower.  I need to let it dry fro several days now.

Day 4:

More work on the hair and glazing on the face and chest. Softening the hands and dress.  It needs more dry time before I can finish the glazing.  This has been fun/ frustrating.  The perfectionist in me wants it to be perfect right now, but I know that I have lots and lots of future hours to put in so I can learn all of the things I need to.  Thanks so much to my awesome teacher!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Profound lessons today

Profound lessons today...

I love our morning scripture study!  I just had to say that.  We are having such wonderful teaching moments in the morning.  I don't even have to plan; I just read and the idea for application comes.  I stop reading and we talk about the application.  I no longer read to get a certain amount done; I read for the teaching moment.  Here is this morning's passage and what I learned from it.  Even if you are not of our faith, read on, because the lessons were important and profound today... ( the last part is my favorite)

A little background first...Nephi and his brothers have been charged by the Lord to return to Jerusalem to get the brass plates (a record containing the first part of the Bible).  The oldest brother Laman made a feeble attempt and then wanted to give up.  This was Nephi's response (the younger faithful brother)

1Nephi 3:15-27

15 But behold said unto them that: aAs the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have baccomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us.
 16 Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the commandments ofthe Lord; therefore let us go down to the land of our father’sainheritancefor behold he left gold and silver, and all manner of riches. And all this he hath done because of the bcommandments of the Lord.
 17 For he knew that Jerusalem must be adestroyedbecause ofthe wickedness of the people.
 18 For behold, they have arejected the words of the prophets.Wherefore, if my father should dwell in the land after he hath been bcommanded to flee out of the land, behold, he would also perish. Wherefore, it must needs be that he flee out of the land.
 19 And behold, it is wisdom in God that we should obtain thesearecordsthat we may preserve unto our children the language of our fathers;
 20 And also that we may apreserve unto them the words which have been spoken by the mouth of all the holy bprophetswhich have been delivered unto them by the Spirit and power of God, since the world began, even down unto this present time.
 21 And it came to pass that after this manner of language did Iapersuade my brethren, that they might be faithful in keeping the commandments of God.
I stopped and pointed out the difference is Nephi's "can do" attitude and Laman's "I tried once so now I can give up" attitude.  We talked about the need to be faithful and figure out how to accomplish the task at hand instead of giving up.
I also talked about Nephi's leadership example.  He could have criticized his bothers, but instead he tried to encourage them.  Leaders don't put us down, they try to elevate us to be better.  Nephi is great at doing this.  We continued to read about Nephi's new idea...
 22 And it came to pass that we went down to the land of our inheritance, and we did gather together our agoldand our silver, and our precious things.
 23 And after we had gathered these things together, we went up again unto the house of Laban.
 24 And it came to pass that we went in unto Laban, and desired him that he would give unto us the records which were engraven upon the aplates of brassfor which we would give unto him our gold, and our silver, and all our precious things.
 25 And it came to pass that when Laban saw our property, and that it was exceedingly great, he did alust after it, insomuch that he thrust us out, and sent his servants to slay us, that he might obtain our property.
 26 And ait came to pass that we did flee before the servants of Laban, and we were obliged to leave behind our property, and it fell into the hands of Laban.
 27 And it came to pass that we fled into the wilderness, and the servants of Laban did not overtake us, and we ahid ourselves inthe cavity of rock.
***At this point I stopped again.  I wanted to point out that Nephi was clearly listening to the spirit and was prompted to use that idea to get the plates, but it totally failed. How could God prompt us to do something that would not succeed?  Did Nephi do something wrong?  I have asked myself that question so many times.  Did I miss read something?  Did I not act correctly?  The answer is very clear and it is an absolute NO in this case.  Nephi did everything he was supposed to do, but the Lord had a different point for the prompting than the success of getting the plates.  That was to come later.  He needed to teach Nephi and his brothers some very important lessons.  After this Laman and Lemuel beat Nephi nearly to death for loosing their property.  An angel is sent to restrain them and to tell them that God would deliver the Laban and the plates into their hands.  This is a pivotal experience for Nephi. He had some really hard things ahead that he had to do and he needed that angelic witness.  The previous prompting set the stage for lessons he needed.  

As President Uchtdorf said in our last conference "DOUBTS YOUR DOUBTS BEFORE YOUR DOUBT YOUR FAITH." Just because a prompting doesn't pan out the way you expect doesn't mean that it was not correct.  The Lord just sees a bigger picture than we do right now.  With time if we remain faithful, we are often allowed to understand that picture.  We have to be patient and remain faithful while waiting on the Lord.  
Nephi's experience is such a parallel to my life.  I know that I was prompted to sell my house right after Scott died; however, despite my best efforts I was unable to sell it and move this summer like I had planned.  Why did I need to go to all that work if it was not going to sell?  Those questions led me to some pretty profound answers when I finally was able to humble myself, turn to the Lord, give up my plan, and accept His. I realized that so many of the things I had learned had come from that experience and the struggles it made me have.  I would not have been prepared then for the answers that I later received.  Experience needed to carve a place out in my heart for those answers.  Other blessings came to us that would not if people had not thought we were trying to move.   I realize now that the prompting was not incorrect, just the conclusions that I drew from it.  The purpose was not for us to sell it, but for us to learn from those experiences and to better prepare us for what was ahead.  
I shared this all with my children.  I think it is important to help them recognize God's hand in our lives and to understand that just because things don't pan out the way we expect doesn't mean that God is not directing our lives.