Thursday, December 15, 2011
The joys of Christmas cannot compare with any other day of the year. The lights, the decorated trees, the shopping for gifts for the ones you love, sharing kindness and love with those around you, caring for others who you might not know, but can find love for all the same. Charity does not fair, if it is done with the right spirit. But what is it that we have forgotten? What is it that gets lost in the glaze and excitement of the season’s commercial flare? On this most wonderful night, this Christmas day, we need to remember this… the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.
He was born in humble circumstances to teach us how to grow. He did not come in glory and gold; instead he was delivered to us in a stable, among animals, in the straw, and lovingly placed in a manger (animal trough) because it was the cleanest place in the stable. He grew up as the son of simple, hardworking carpenter, not as the son of an entrepreneur or king, and yet there is a lesson in that. With work that is hard and requires a skill one can grow in some marvelously humbling ways.
He began to teach and to spread our Heavenly Father’s words, with a grateful and loving heart, at a tender age. He searched out the meek, the homeless, the sick, and He looked for those opportunities to serve. He endured persecution, and doubt in his word. He was ridiculed, mocked, and chased away, and still he felt nothing but love.
His heart was pure. His love was unconditional. His capacity and ability to forgive knew no bounds. He took upon himself the sins of the world, and bled from every pour. He learned what it is to suffer with those pains, sicknesses and sorrow that we go through every day, but have you ever considered why?
He will be our judge and our advocate, our companion, our teacher, and our strength. Could He do that without understanding, without, compassion, or empathy?
His love for us was so full that he was willing to allow every moment of his life and death to be an example to us. When I think of that precious child, who came to this earth a pure and innocent as any ever could, I think of how the purpose of our lives can overcome any circumstance that we are born into. I am overcome with emotion when I come to a deeper understanding of the purpose and example f our Savior’s life.
I am sorrowed deep into my core when I rediscover, in lessons and the scriptures), the suffering, persecution, pain, and torture He went through. I am blown away to think that all this was done to offer us the best opportunity to grow, life, love, and overcome that He could give us. The most beautiful thing of all is that he did it out of love, duty, and faith in our Heavenly Father’s plan.
He did all of this for us!
When we remember, during this holiday season, that small, innocent, precious baby, born to parents who were young, poor of wealth, faithful, frightened and humble, we need to remember His love for us. It was no trick or chance, His humble birth. It was not an unnecessary trial. It was done for a purpose, with real intent to offer us a lesson in love. There will be trials, bad days, and sorrow that feel as if it will have no end, but what we must try to always know is that this journey has already been lived by another.
When we struggle, he understands. When we hurt he remembers how it felt. When we lose our hope, weaken under strains of circumstance, or suffer the depths of sorrow. He has felt what you feel now. When the burden of sin; addiction, and choice, remember that He knows what that is. When the world seems to have left you behind, and no one knows or cares any more, try to remember that there is one who knows our pain intimately, and stands by, waiting to come to your aid. He loves you more than you can comprehend, and knows our potential for growth. The purpose of his humble birth was to teach us to rise above.
At this holiday season try to bask in the warmth of his love, look to the star on top of the tree and let it guide you to where you can be.
Sing the carols with joy, as the angels above, and let the music take you away to the humble manger, on the night of our Savior’s birth, and celebrate the gift of his life.
As you snack on the candy, shaped like a cane, remember the shepherds who heard the news of the glorious Savior’s birth, and remember our shepherd, our lamb, our savior, or keeper.
As the gifts are exchanged, think of the celebration of the birth of our Lord. When wise men, the kings of distant lands, who gave freely of those most precious gifts. Remember the parents who loved Him so much that they devoted their lives to his growth. And remember the tree, ever green, and full, and think of the love that He feels for us, because it is the same love that he feels for us, eternally.
No one has ever, could ever, or will ever desire for our joy as He will.
I hope that at this time of year, you will be mindful of the sacrifices He made for us. Remember what He was willing to do and go through for us and know that when the world fails us, or leaves us behind, there is always someone watching over us, walking with us, supporting us, encouraging us, and holding us, no matter what happens. Even when He cannot be near (because of the choices we make) He is never far.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE! I hope that it is a time filled with love and joy. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays (whatever you celebrate), and I offer you fondest wishes for a very Happy New Year!
Love your grateful friend, Gail
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Tonight I had some wonderful people invite me to (the women's organization in our church) the Relief Society Progressive Dinner. It was so special. I am not a social butterfly, in fact it causes me a bit of anxiety, but this was very special. The heartfelt sentiments, and talks that were shared, the wonderful food, rich and beautifully decorated homes, the sharing of talents with beautiful singing, and seeing so many lovely women with the same light of Christ in their countenance's, made me feel so filled up, and I needed it. Obviously from my last post, I have been struggling. Bitter sweet holiday emotions. However, tonight went a long way toward making me feel so much better. It is amazing how letting Heavenly Father touch your heart can make all your troubles feel lighter. It can make your sorrows feel less heavy, and it can make you (me) feel like I have a new lease on the day.
It is also wonderful to drive around, share a laugh, and see the visible Christmas spirit, with the twinkle lights, decorations, wreaths, etc. I am finding that you can have a Merry Christmas without snow, and still have it be the best time of the year. I guess it is all in your attitude and how open you make yourself.
Our neighborhood is so different from where we came from, as far as we have a chapel on every corner and a member or more on every street in our neighborhood. Also we have 2 temples within 1/2 an hour of each other and another being built. How special is that?
I feel so blessed right now. This time in my life is so what I needed. I don't regret our move at all. I miss family, but life is about living and I went a long time without living at all. In fact I was bed ridden for a year before we came here. I went to a five week pain clinic to learn to try to live with all my ailments, but since we have been here I feel so much better. It does not mean I do not struggle, but life is feeling more worth living these day.
Tonight was just wonderful, and even though I don't know everyone in our ward yet, each person that I have met I like and the more I get to know them...well, the more I find to like about them.
We are also blessed to have such amazing leadership in out ward. Our bishop has such a good heart, and our relief society, young women's, young men's, and primary presidency work so hard to make us all feel special, loved, and help us to learn so much using such generous, loving, Christ-like spirits.
I just feel so blessed, and (as I often do) not worthy. I don't know what I did to deserve so much, but I'm glad that Heavenly Father believes that I am (worthy). I try not to question his wisdom too much.
I want to wish everyone that I am so grateful for this time of the year, for the knowledge, testimony, and love I have for the Savior and his gospel. I just hope that I can pass some of that on.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE! I hope that you will have moments like I did tonight.
Thank heaven's for the love of our Heavenly Father. I appreciate that he knows what and who we need in our lives. I bear my humble testimony that our Heavenly Father and his Jesus Christ lives and that they love us and want nothing more than our growth and happiness, and that makes everything feel better.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
I love the holidays for so many reasons, but I am finding myself struggling these days. My son would have been 19 years old on the 14th of December, and I miss him so much. I miss all of my "waiting" little ones.
I have my children who keep me active, living, moving, loving, and laughing, but it does not make everything go away. Some people try to smile through it, or do not feel like they have reason to grieve, because they have loved ones here on earth that need them, but this kind of pain cannot be erased. Neither should it. My pain makes me grateful, but it is also a part of me. I cannot shut it off, like a valve on a faucet. I adore all of my children, and that makes missing them, and longing for those stolen moments that much harder.
I have a very strong testimony of the gospel. I have a very strong faith in my Father in Heaven. I have a unshakable faith that my children are waiting for me and that we can be a family forever. That is not the problem.
My problem is simply this, I miss them.
My son was 11 days old on his first Christmas. My daughter never made it to her second. My other daughter, never took a breath, she never had a Christmas.
Is my life filled with the joys of my "living" children... of course, but what you have to understand though is that I love all of my children equally, and when even one of them is away (for the day, or a trip, or whatever) my heart aches for them. I love my family and would give my life for them, but a parent should never outlive a child. It is a heartache that is indescribable.
I am excited about Christmas. I love having the tree up and watching the lights twinkle. I love to look at the ornaments that represent each important moment in our lives, but my body remembers, my "Psyche" will not let me forget the pain.
Trauma, of whatever kind, stays with you. Our bodies are forever changed by what we experience. I believe, and have seen doctors who have researched it, have found that trauma does stay with us. It imprints on our bodies and minds.
You just have to do your best.
You can give yourself a day or two to feel like crap, and then do whatever you can to start to shake it off. Take a walk. Get some quiet time. See friends, or whatever works for you. Just hang in there and be gentle with yourself.
Remember though that there is no time limit on grief. NO ONE has the right to tell you to let it go, or get on with your life, and despite your faith, you can still struggle. Our Heavenly Father understands what we are going through. He allows us time to grieve, as long as we do not allow ourselves to be consumed by it. You can have your bad days, but you have to try again. I have been through all types of moments, some lingered too long, and some were just a moment or a bad day. I have to make a conscious effort during all of those moments. It is not impossible, but it is something that you have to work at. No one can change things for you, only you can do that.
13. So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him; for they saw that his grief was very great.
Others understand... I understand.
The holidays are a glorious time of year, my favorite time of year, but it sometimes comes with a bitter sweet bite. Allow yourself the moments, but do your best to see the joy. There is still so much fun to be had.
P.S. This is why I write. I was having a hard time, but feel so much better having gotten it out. Thanks for listening and I hope that you have a wonderful, memory filled, fun, memory making holiday.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
"You are very precious, each of you, regardless of your circumstances. You occupy a high and sacred place in the eternal plan of God, our Father in Heaven. You are His daughters, precious to Him, loved by Him, and very important to Him. His grand design cannot succeed without you."
from "One Bright Shining Hope- Messages for Women from Gordon B. Hinkley
from "One Bright Shining Hope- Messages for Women from Gordon B. Hinkley