Spiritual Sunday: I Know that My Savior Loves Me

Our ward had our Primary Program today – I am a Primary teacher so I had the opportunity to sit on the stands and sing with these cute primary children and watch them as they shook and panicked on their way to deliver their parts, then happily skipped back to their seats after their talks were given, full of relief. If you read my previous post about the boy in my class I was worried about – he did great! There were only minimal, watered-down inappropriate dance moves and he delivered his part very…cleanly. Woot! The kids all rocked it.

Best part is now its done.

During the program and our last couple practices I have been touched each time we sang a certain song. I love all the primary songs. They’re so simple and still pack a powerful message, but this one in particular has just been music to my ears (pun intended).

The song is called, I Know That My Savior Loves Me. It goes:

“A long time ago in a beautiful place, children were gathered ’round Jesus. He blessed and taught as they felt of His love, each saw the tears on His face. The love that He felt for His little ones, I know He feels for me. I did not touch Him or sit on His knee, yet Jesus is real to me. (chorus) I know He lives! I will follow faithfully. My heart I give to Him. I know that my Savior loves me. (end chorus) Now I am here in a beautiful place learning the teachings of Jesus. Parents and teachers will help guide the way, lighting my path every day. Wrapped in the arms of my Savior’s love, I feel His gentle touch. Living each day, I will follow His way, home to my Father above. (chorus) I know He lives! I will follow faithfully. My heart I give to Him.  I know that my Savior loves me. I know that my Savior loves me.” 

The more we sang this song (& believe me, we sang it a lot), the more I started directing it in my mind. The main thing I hear each time this song is sung is, “I know that my Savior loves me.” I am so happy that I do know this! I feel my Savior’s love, daily and I see His hand in my life all the time. There is no doubt in my mind of the love He has for me. I know it because He has given me my family, my husband, our baby boy, our families, our house, our abilities and talents, our friends, the gospel, etc. It also made me think of this quote I saw the other day on Twitter that Elder Russell M. Nelson gave..
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The next thing that really stuck out to me in this song was the line that reads, “the love that He felt for His little ones, I know He feels for me..” We learn in the church that Jesus loves the children. They are so clean and pure and He even asks us to become as children – so obviously they are special to Him. This is a Primary song and as such, is sung mainly by Primary-aged children, but even as a teacher in her twenties, I was able to be reminded that He loves me just like He loves the children! He loves all of us that way!

The third and final thing that really stuck out to me is kind of a parenting thing. Its funny how when you’re super close to becoming a mommy to someone, how you find parenting advice, guidance and council all over the place. The line in the second verse that reads, “parents and teachers will help guide the way, lighting my path every day…” was one of those I really thought about and felt the responsibility of parenthood. As a parent it is my job (along with Wild Man’s) to rear our children in the right direction. We are our kids most valuable teachers and the examples they’ll look up to most. I need to make sure I’m always mindful of the impressions I have the ability to leave on my kids. They watch closer than we think they do and they will do as we do. I have the power to help guide them and light their path for them! Its a big job, but also, an amazing job! I hope I can be a good momma to this Baby Boy and that he will know I love the gospel and he’ll want to do the same.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

“Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely.” -President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Spiritual Sunday: Judgement

Thanks to my job I have been in monthly contact with someone who is completely different than me. This person and I have incredibly different standards, we have different morals, we have different ideas of right and wrong, we have different views of the world and what is appropriate and inappropriate. The two of us could not be any more opposite. When I first met this person, it was a blind meeting. I’d never met this person or heard of this person, before. I’ve learned in these situations to never have expectations – it typically just goes better that way. So just like everyone else, I held no expectation. After the initial awkward ‘hello’s’ and ‘how are you’s’ we got a little more personal with each other since we’d be spending a few hours with each other every few weeks. We began asking about each others day-to-day life and I harmlessly asked the person what their job was, and when they responded, I was floored. I am almost certain my jaw literally dropped to the floor and my eyes bugged out of my head and I blushed so badly my entire body went red. My mind went blank and all I could think to say was, “oh,” in response to the job. (I’m so mature)

The next few days I found myself thinking a lot about this person. I couldn’t wrap my brain around living a life like this person did and somehow feeling ok in their skin. The more I talked to this person on that day, as well as all the other days we’d talked, the more I found myself judging this person and everything they did. I didn’t approve of or agree with their life. None of it. The stories of their weekend, their work life, their love life, their friendships, their thoughts and ideas, etc all make me feel so proud of myself for being “better” than this person. I knew it was bad to think in this mindset, but I did, nonetheless. This individual was not living the commandments. This person was certainly not following Christ’s example. This person feared man more than God. To me, this person was just…bad and in result, left me feeling prideful, more ‘perfect’ and big-headed. After a month+ or so of these thoughts and judgements, I realized I was not feeling the spirit very well. Especially when I thought of this new acquaintance. At first I decided it was because this person had flooded my mind with negativity, but it didn’t take me very long to realize this was the wrong answer. It wasn’t this persons fault I wasn’t feeling the spirit. It was mine. I knew I wasn’t feeling the Savior’s love as strong because I was doing the exact opposite of what the Savior would want me to do. I was judging someone and I was judging them hard.

That night I prayed and asked Heavenly Father if he could help me love this person. Just because this person wasn’t like me didn’t mean I had to judge them, compare myself to them and have negative feelings towards them. I could still be a friend, or even just a nice acquaintance — and maybe a good example, someday. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I continued to pray that somehow I could be as kind to this person in my thoughts as I was to this person in real life. I was suddenly aware that when I thought of this person and thought about how I was ‘better’ than them and compared myself to them I saw that I was falling deeper down into the trap that the temptation of judgement sets. Heavenly Father doesn’t judge us by comparing us to one another, He compares us to ourselves and our capabilities and how we are doing on our own personal journey.

I found myself still slipping into negative thoughts bout them. So one day I decided to seek some council from a man who’s opinion I greatly value. I told this man the whole, detailed story. I told him about this persons job, lifestyle, choices, etc and then told him how I’d be feeling about this person. I followed up by asking, “should I just cut all ties or continue to see ______, regularly?” The answer to my question from this inspired man really helped me out. He said, “I feel like you’re really hung up on (this persons) career choice and (this persons) relationship choices. If they had a different job and a more traditional love life, would you like _____?” I knew the answer very quickly was yes. Had I not known this persons career and such, I would have adored this person. I’m typically very easy to get along with and I really don’t judge people, often, but this situation was different and I think it was because I’d never actually met someone with this particular career choice. The answer to this question I’d asked helped me see I was judging this individually purely based on a few aspects of their life. Only a few details I knew about them. Grant it, that didn’t mean I agreed with anything this person did, but it also helped me remember there is more to a person than their beliefs, hobbies, opinions and life choices.

Since then, I have tried so hard to judge this person more on their character than their choices, more on who they are than what they are. I read an article about this subject that said, “If your favorite color is green and your peers favorite color is red, does that mean that because you’ve chosen different colors to favor and have different opinions on why your color is superior to the other color, that you should hate, judge or scorn them?” Halloo, revelation! Its like that quote was written just for me. …and I love it. I have it typed into my phones notes so if I ever slip back into the awful temptation that is judgement and comparison, hopefully it can pull me out of that gross slump.

As always, I have so much room for improvement, but I am trying to get better. I am trying hard not to judge this person in a negative way, anymore, along with everyone else I see and come in contact with. I wouldn’t want them to judge me – and aren’t we taught to treat others how we would want to be treated? Judgement is more certainly a temptation of mine, but I am determined to get over it.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

“None of us is perfect. I know no one who would profess to be so.” -Thomas S. Monson

Spiritual Sunday: Start Where You Are

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints. I believe and know this gospel to be true and I am so very grateful for it in my life. When I started this blog, I knew I wanted to be able to incorporate something so special into it and I decided the best way to do that would be to have ‘Spiritual Sunday’ posts.

And I knew exactly what I’d post about for my first Spiritual Sunday.

Last weekend was General Conference. For those of you who don’t know what that is, its essentially two days (8 hours total, with an extra two hours for the men – the girls extra two hours happen a couple weeks earlier) of being able to hear the Prophet, Apostles and other church leaders speak to us, giving us counsel, guidance, inspiration and things to work on and set goals towards. I absolutely love Conference and I look eagerly forward to it every six months. If you’re interested in reading the Conference talks, here is a link to the churches website where all the talks are posted: General Conference Talks.

I enjoy listening for themes in General Conference and last week I actually felt like there were several themes for me, but today I chose to quickly focus on one in particular.

Starting where you are.

We are all trying to be the best we can be and to make it back to our Heavenly Father with our eternal families. Sometimes this journey (for me, at least) can become a little frustrating because its so easy for me to compare myself to others on their own journeys. Then I feel like I am falling short, I am not as spiritual as they are, maybe my testimony isn’t as strong as theirs when it comes to certain topics, etc. If I let it, it can totally become a setback then I become stagnant. I don’t move forward because I already feel behind. Its discouraging. This is not how I always feel – but of course, there are those times where its just easier to be down on yourself, and when those moments are happening in my life, its especially easy for me to feel this way.

There were two specific things I heard in General Conference that really stood out to me regarding this subject. First, God does not judge us and based on others and where they are on their spiritual journeys, nor does He compare others to us and where we are. He never compares us. His judgements towards us are only based upon us, the past and present versions of ourselves. We are all different people and we all have different lives so it isn’t fair to clump us all together and compare us to one another. (phew!) The second thing that stood out to be was that if we are not moving forward, then we are moving backward – there is no real ‘standing still’ when it comes to progressing (or falling behind) in the gospel. This was a huge wake up call. If I am not working to move forward then I am falling backwards! The exact opposite of what I want to do. This helped me really set goals for myself to make sure, even on the days when I’m just feeling lazy and woe-is-me, to at least pray, at least read a verse or two in the Book of Mormon, at least still have Family Home Evening, etc. I don’t want to fall behind and never realized that when I’m not working to move up the path of righteousness, I am moving the wrong way down it. Yikes. I’m so glad this was brought to my attention so I can work HARD on it.

Lastly, and the thing I want to stress the most, is that it was repeated multiple times in General Conference that we are never too far gone and God will take us just as we are. We can start right where we are and work on moving forward, using the atonement and striving to have the Holy Ghost as our constant companion and that will be good enough for Him. It doesn’t matter where anyone else is in their journey. We can start right now, right here where we currently are. If we put forth a sincere effort and put our faith in the Lord, we will be blessed and we will be able to move forward. I know this. I have a testimony of this. As long as we work to move forward and live worthily for the Holy Ghost to be with us and take advantage of the atonement, we are doing good and Heavenly Father will be proud of us.

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xoxo

ceecee

“The perfect place to begin is exactly where you are right now.” -Dieter F. Uchtdorf