Sunday, August 26, 2012

This is Why I Go To Church

I had many moments of spiritual and personal clarity today at church. I want to write them all down before I forget, before they fade into the daily mundane.

In Sacrament Meeting, a boy (whom I will always remember as a 9 year old Cub Scout) spoke about his two year mission in Italy (I guess that means he's a man, not a boy?). It was an exciting and beautiful talk --he spoke about testimony and how it is planted into our hearts. Highlights that touched me profoundly:

1. Just as we don't gain muscles overnight ("I remember that time I woke up and I had all these muscles!"), we strengthen our testimonies over time. We might remember, however, feeling sore and realize "I'm growing!" This part touched me so deeply, because I think I'm in a constant state of "soreness" --I'm very aware of my difficulties, weaknesses, and trials. But each time I turn to the Lord and add these experiences to my testimony, I can feel my spiritual "muscles" growing.

2. Once the testimony is planted in our hearts and begins to grow, changes will happen. We'll find that our desires will change. I loved this because I think desire is a huge part of how we begin to change. We can have experiences left and right with the Spirit, but if our desire is to reject it, then we'll never be able to change (obviously?).

In Sunday School, I taught the Gospel Doctrine lesson on Helaman 1-5. If you remember, dear reader, Chapter 5 is full of awesomeness. Profound awesomeness! Nephi and Lehi talk about how their father, Helaman, taught them to always remember who they were named for and to remember the words of the Prophets. Remember that it is "upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation!" Things I loved about teaching this lesson (and that we talked about):

1. In Chapter 3, we learn that "whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God" will be able to withstand evil and be protected.
2. Helaman 5:12 teaches us the profound truth: That if we build upon Christ (the Rock) and use Him as our foundation, then we will be able to withstand the devil when he sends "his mighty winds, yea his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his might storm shall beat upon (us), it shall have no power over (us) to drag (us) down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which (we) are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fail."

Christ cannot fail! He WILL NOT fail. If we build upon Him, we will withstand all the stuff outside that has no meaning, and yet can significantly hurt us. And so why would we build our lives, our dreams, and our futures upon the things that will not last?

3. Anything worth having in life takes hard work, including a consistent testimony of the Gospel. However, no matter how much we work/try, it will NEVER be enough. We need Christ. He is the only way!

4. We learn something significant when Nephi and Lehi are taken prisoner while they preach the Gospel to the Lamanites. It's something that we learn in 1 Kings about Elijah's experience with the Spirit -- Chapter 5, verse 30:
"And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul --"

The Holy Ghost will speak to us with mildness. Truth is not all the worldly, societal noise, yelling and screaming for our attention. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ communicate with us through the Spirit (Holy Ghost), and the voice is peaceful.

In Relief Society, we talked about Elder Scott's General Conference talk (April 2012) called "How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life." It was an amazing, overwhelming meeting, full of testimony and counsel. I found myself listening to the Spirit as much as I could, trying to ascertain truth in my heart. A prayer that had recently been answered was again confirmed to my heart (deeply). I shared an experience I had where I received personal revelation about having more children (you can read about that at the end of this post here). But what I remember the most was how everything we were sharing tied into what we had talked about at the end of my Sunday School lesson --Confusion is not truth, it can't be the answer. The answer equals Peace. What we are looking for is peace.

And that's what all of this equals: We plant the seed of testimony in our hearts. We trust the Word of God (Christ) and read the word of God (scriptures, prophets' words). We pray, we seek revelation for our lives. We follow the commandments of Jesus Christ. We do the "Sunday School answers" (which I told my class they could use, I mean, we were in Sunday School, eh? Plus, they're all true!) and we seek our connections with the Divine. Even with all this effort, we have trials and struggles --but we need these struggles, we need these opportunities to strengthen those spiritual "muscles" in order to grow. And after all of this, after all we do, after seeking and striving, we have peace.

All those noises, all the outside influences, all the mortal signs of success are simply distractions. It's noise. It's not truth, and it's not peace.

I'm grateful I experienced these witnesses today. I needed it so badly, and I feel like it was a tender mercy --that the Lord knew I needed to be reminded (Remember, Remember!!) that if I'm doing my best, if I'm following those Sunday School answers (faith, scriptures, prayer, church, FHE, Temple, service), and if I listen closely, I will have peace. I will have guidance. I will be able to make the best choices for my growth, because He loves me, He knows me, and He's helping me. He wants me to make it!

One last awesome experience: After this incredible day, I watched the following video. I saw it on my friend's Facebook page, and she said the song had been her theme song for the week. I'm so grateful she shared it, because I believe it's been my theme song today. I played it over and over and my girls just loved it, too:

(I can't seem to imbed the video here on my iPad, so just click here. I promise, it's great!)

*This is why I go to Church, dear reader. To learn this stuff more clearly, to worship, to renew my covenants, and to remember. I HEART Church.

1 comment:

Becca said...

You are awesome. As usual ;)

Thanks for sharing the bits from the missionary's talk - I LOVE the muscle analogy! As someone who LOVES working out, I totally understand - sometimes I don't think I'm getting any stronger, and then I go work out and I find out that I can lift more weight :) It's pretty awesome. And then sometimes (like after 4 weeks of puking my guts out) I go work out and I realize I can't lift as much weight as I used to be able to. I love this analogy. Love love love it. Thanks!