Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Just a Visit

Before you read this, check your guilt, excuses and complex at the door.  This post is in no way a judgment or call to repentance.  Take a deep breath and wait for a second.

Now, are you ready?

Visiting Teaching.  

What kind of response did those two words create? Peace, frustration, guilt, satisfaction?  Did you roll your eyes and think to yourself, "Here we go again. Another lecture about visiting teaching."? Have you already tuned out?

Remember, check your guilt, excuses and complex at the door and just read with an open mind and heart.

Now, are you really ready?

Visiting Teaching.  Why do are we not all doing our visiting teaching? I know for me, sometimes it's hard to get together with my companion, or I am really busy, or sometimes (terrible admission here) I simply forget.  Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed with life that I just don't do it.

BUT- I have to check and re-check not only my priorities, but my principles.  Has God asked me to visit a handful of sisters? Yes. God has also asked me to be a good wife, mother, homemaker, family historian, temple attender, scripture study-er, healthy live-r and so on.  He has asked me to do a lot of things.

So, how do I balance everything?  How do I prioritize when everything seems so important and time-sensitive.

I could make a list.

I could alphabetize the list.

I could prioritize the list.

Then I would probably misplace my list.

God doesn't care so much about numbers.  He cares about His daughters.  We are not assigned a monthly quota.  We have been given stewardship over the welfare of one of our sisters. When I visit teach (and I am sooo not a perfect visiting teacher) I may not hit %100 every month.  But, there are two things that I think Heavenly Father does want me to do: 

1. Love them.

2. Give them an opportunity to feel the Spirit.

That's it.  

Do the ladies I visit teach know that I love them?  I hope they do.  Through getting to know them, visiting with them and praying for them, I have come to love each of them.  Because I love them, they come to my mind not just once a month as an appointment, but throughout the months as sisters I care about.  

Sometimes the sisters on our list aren't active in the church.  Our visits might be one of the few times they they feel the Spirit on their homes.  Don't be afraid to share the Visiting Teaching Message with your less-active sisters.  

I have become friends with the sisters I visit teach. But, they all have lots of friends.  Heavenly Father didn't create visiting teaching so we can all be better buddies.  He wants each sister to feel love and feel the Spirit on a regular basis.  It is love that softens people. It is the Spirit that teaches and converts. 

Visiting Teaching is also a vehicle that God uses to mold our characters to be more like our Savior.  We learn to love (and some are harder to love than others), serve, sacrifice, pray and teach sisters in the gospel.  We have an opportunity to work hand in hand with Him through personal revelation in doing good. As we strive to become great visiting teachers, we will find that it becomes less of a burden because we find that we are loving our sisters, and that we, ourselves are changing, too. 

This isn't coming from me because I am claiming to be an amazing visiting teacher.  Like you, I am always trying to do better, to be better.  Below are links to a number of great articles from our leaders about this very sacred calling of Visiting Teacher.  As I read them I feel humbled and repentant. 

You might already be an amazing visiting teacher.  That is wonderful!  But, for others like me, there is room for improvement. 

I hope as you read them you will feel the Spirit testify to you of the divinity of the calling of Visiting Teacher.  We may not see miracles each visit - but still,  let us go forward with glad hearts and willing hands.  We are His hands here on earth, and there is much work to be done.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Small Blade of Grass

There is a saying: Ignorance it bliss.  But is it?

We are the sum total of our experiences.  When we die, we do not take our possessions with us.  We take our knowledge, our character.  We will continue to gain knowledge and progress in the next life. 

President Lorenzo Snow said, "There is divinity within ourselves that is immortal and never dies.  Thousands and thousands of years hence we will be ourselves, and nobody else...We are as children growing and increasing in knowledge and wisdom."

I think a truer saying is: Knowledge is power. 

President Snow went on to say, "Some of the great prophets advanced themselves to the degree of knowledge, and developed their immortal possibilities to an extent that is perfectly astonishing. And you and I will have to advance in this line until we control those things that the world cannot possibly do."

The key to growth and advancement is knowledge.  But, knowledge of what? Science? Religion? Math?  Perhaps.  We do need to learn all things at some point. But, I think the prophet was referring to the things of an eternal nature: the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation and where we fit into that plan.  The gospel is not just a plan to teach religion on the earth.  It is a plan of redemption and happiness that was established before the world began.  There is so much to learn and understand!

I often times-most times- feel like a child standing in an endless green field holding a single blade of grass. The blade is small and easy to see.  But, the field is vast and overwhelming.  There is no way for us to comprehend the plan in it's entirety here. But, to know that we are on the path, that we can learn what has been given to us line upon line, precept upon precept- one blade of grass at a time- that we can follow the path of the prophets in learning and growth, until we can control those things that the world cannot gives me hope and joy.

Yes- there is so much to learn and understand: The Fall, the Abrahamic Covenant, the Gathering of Israel, The Atonement, The Apostasy, The Restoration, The Second Coming, The Millennium. Everyday I am studying and learning, trying to increase my knowledge and understanding of this great gospel.  The more we understand how it all fits together, the more we see how we fit it, and how what this life is really about.

But- there is so much to learn and understand! At times, when I begin to feel overwhelmed by the endless field of doctrine, I take a step back and look at my favorite little blade of grass and echo the words of Nephi: I do not know all things, but I know that God loves His children.  It is OK not to know it all.  We are not expected to, nor is it possible to.  We do not know all things, but we do know that God loves us and he has provided a way for us to learn.

All the resources we need to grow in knowledge has been given to us: Scriptures, modern-day revelation, books, manuals, videos, church websites and not least of all, personal revelation. They are all here for our learning and benefit.  It is the pursuit of knowledge that advances our paths. The more we learn in this life, that much farther along we will be in the next.

So, become a student of the gospel.  Ask questions, research answers, read the scriptures and words of the prophets and pray for understanding (especially when you tackle Isaiah!) and line upon line, one blade of grass at a time, we develop or own astounding immortal possibilities. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Daily Book of Mormon Reading

I've started another blog called 'And I Looked' to help me in my daily reading of the Book of Mormon.  I read a chapter a day, and jot down a few things that caught my eye.  Then, others read the same chapter and comment as well.  I just started last week, but have already learned some great things from others.

Please come and join us!

Search Gospel Simplicity