Thursday, December 24, 2009

Lessons from the past

I went to a singles dance in Memphis this month. My favorite part was getting to visit with Elder Bird. He is a young missionary that used to work in my area. However, it was the drive up that taught me a lesson. I met a new friend who told me about her ancestry. Her family converted to Mormonism back in the days of Brigham Young. They lived in Wales and her great, great, great....grandmother would sell milk and eggs to try to earn money. She was saving up to move to the United States so she could meet up with the saints going out west.
This dear sister was nine months pregnant with her 8th child when she found out that President Young was sending a relief ship for the converts in her area. She told her husband they were going to be on that ship. Out of love for her, he wanted to wait. Such a journey would be hard for anyone, but someone 9 months pregnant with seven other children already to care for, it just seemed too much.
She was determined though, and nothing her husband said could disuade her. Finally, he relented. They were going to be on that ship. Some missionaries came to their home and gave them a blessing. During the blessing, one missionary boldly stated that if they kept the commandments, not one family member would be lost on the journey. Now for a personality like mine, that blessing would be terrifying. I would feel the safety of my family depended on me not sinning in any way- no unkind thoughts, no selfish! so much pressure. My new friend explained to me that there is more grace involved than that. Good thing.
Off her relatives went. Her ancestor gave birth on the ship, and when they arrived in America she now had a precious new child that they took turns carrying on a pillow. Unfortunately there were 400 more people that had arrived than even President Young knew about so there were not enough hand carts for the pilgrims about to embark on the trek across the country. They had to build their own handcarts out of green wood. The journey was hard. There was snow on the ground almost the entire way, often in blizzard conditions. Their 7 year old had to be tied to the cart so he wouldn't get lost in the storm. But, just as God promised, their family arrived with not one member losing a life. Our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This is the same faithful Father, who tells me everyday, "Dispute not because you see not." when I am faced with fear of His promises to me going unfullfilled.

I learned two things from this dear sister's experience:

1. Trust and Faith. You see my Heavenly Father promised me something too. Something private, so don't ask. However, current circumstances have often caused me to doubt His promise. I don't see how it is possible. But, then I am reminded of the words of the angel to Mary. "For with God, nothing shall be impossible." I, like Mary, am a bondservant of the Lord and need to remember and trust that "It shall be done to me according to His word." Trust is hard for me, so maybe that is what my Father is trying to help me learn.

2. Perserverance. Things in my life are difficult and at times exceedingly painful. There are days I wish the Lord would not require me to continue. I remind myself now, that this woman also had a difficult storm to whether (both literally and figuratively), but because she was faithful all of her family arrived safely to their destination. I will be faithful too. Then I too will see the word of God fulfilled.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I'm Back

When I left off blogging, I was investigating the Mormon church. It started because I met a Mormon that meant a lot to me. I was always taught that Mormons were good people who were deceived, but in a cult destined for hell. I couldn't very well say I cared about someone and just let them go to hell, so I decided to try and convert him. As I spent time studying to discuss his theology with him, I realized I didn't truly understand the Latter Day Saint religion. The more I learned about it, the more I began wondering if I was the one who needed converting. I couldn't talk to anyone about it because it would have caused me no end of problems-and I just wasn't sure it was true yet.
I stopped blogging because it felt too duplicitous to write about things and not discuss what was really on my mind and heart. As a result, the posts were always shallow, which annoyed me. Eventually however, I was discovered and turned in, so I had, well, just what I end of problems: excommunication, loss of friends, loss of jobs, the list goes on.
However the Lord never asks us to do something that he doesn't provide a means for us to do it, so I've been well taken care of by Him and His servants. (I Nephi 3:7) Recently I've been asked to write a book about my conversion. I didn't find that a very good idea. Who wanted to hear about my conversion? I told him what I'd really like to write is a book to help Latter Day Saints understand where evangelicals are coming from theologically in order to aid in sharing the gospel with them. His reply? "Fine, just do it in the context of your conversion."
That I can do. So now I'm back blogging. I am free to discuss anything I want. Seriously, what else can they do to me? It will be the thrill of my heart to talk about life again- but this time in the context of Scripture and how we can apply the things the Lord has taught us. I welcome your thoughts as well. I mean that sincerly. I'm not stupid. I expect unkind comments as well. But, I've finally learned how to deal with those. Instead of deleting them (which I used to do on Facebook), I now look at them as an opportunity to share my faith that I didn't have before.