Gospel living

Big Things

For our Relief Society meeting this last week, we studied the conference address given by the then Elder Russel M. Nelson called, “A Plea to My Sisters.” What stood out to me as I studied it myself and then again as we discussed it as a group was this particular phrase, “[W]e need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith.”

In essence, I felt like the Lord was asking me to raise my sights of what I could do to make the world a better place and to help in the work of salvation. Now, I do feel like I do big things. I know raising my children is a big thing, especially soon to be 3 of them under 3, for example. “No success outside the home can compensate for failure within the home,” right? But maybe I needed to nurture my children better, or raise my expectations of me as a mother and wife, maybe I needed to magnify my calling even more, maybe I needed to greater extend myself within my community, all in all, to be a greater light to those around me. I felt like the Lord was inviting me to seek special wisdom as to what work He had for me that was already beyond what I was doing.

I often think of the stories of the scriptures and the promises therein. Many times, the Lord says that the major things accomplished at the hands of those heroic figures, such as Nephi and Lehi, Alma and the sons of Mosiah, the Apostles of the new and old worlds, etc., aren’t just special occurences meant for an exclusive club. He says it is because of their faith and righteousness that they were able to do the things they did.

“For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith. Behold, it was the faith of Alma and Amulek that caused the prison to tumble to the earth. Behold, it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost…Yea, and even all they who wrought miracles wrought them by faith, even those who were before Christ and also those who were after….And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God” (Ether 12:12-18).

“And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles…if there were miracles wrought then [during the times of Christ and His Apostles], why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles. And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust”(Mormon 9:15-20).

In other words, these iconic figures of the scriptures knew how to make important things happen because of their faith, particularly their faith in the Savior. Faith in Christ, in who He is, in what He’s done, in what He’s asking of us, in what He’s offering us, is the first and greatest key to accomplishing a great work or a small miracle, both of which are important.

Rosy, yesterday, taught me this another way.

I have a little plastic slide in my house right now as an attempt to entertain the babes while its still so cold and snowy outside. Rosy, still pretty little, doesn’t usually have much to do with it other than standing at the bottom and watching her sister playing on it. But this week, she took to the ladder.

She climbed up the first rung, and I instantly went to her side, encouraging her to keep going.

Back down to the ground she unclimbed, not daring to go any higher.

“Good job, Rosy,” I cheered. “Again?”

She climbed back up that first rung. “Good job!” and patting the next step higher, I said, “Feet here?”

And she did! She climbed to the second step. She only had to climb up onto the slide now. We were so close.

But as I patted the top of the slide encouragingly, she backed down one step, and then the next, and back on the floor she was.

I tried to tell her I was there, that I would help her if she tried, and I wouldn’t let her fall. But no matter how I tried to get her to attempt that final ascent, fear won every time.

Then, the Lord taught me. How many times is the Lord standing there, ready to aid and protect me as I try to accomplish something big, something scary, something that makes me doubt myself or feel uneasy? How capable am I of achieving something He’s encouraging me to try that I feel totally inadequate or unprepared for? And how many times do I let fear win, and I go back down the steps to where I’m safe and comfortable?

“[W]e need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith.” Elder Nelson said. And the Lord is there, ready to aid. I just gotta step up and try and trust Him.

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2 thoughts on “Big Things

  1. Hey Shayla, this is great! Here’s what I’ve been pondering on: How do I expect more of myself while simultaneously accepting myself? (One of those many paradoxes that contain so much wisdom and truth!) Or maybe, better stated, “how do I move forward with self-development from a place of deep self-respect and self-compassion?” Shame and inadequacy are not great starting points. What I am struggling with the most right now is the chasm between what I’d like to do and, well, reality. I’d like to be a more engaged parent, get back into my career, pursue other interests (especially writing), and *maybe* even have another baby in a year or two. The reality of what I actually see (I see myself struggling to make it through a day without yelling at my kids, binging on sugar, or the house exploding into messiness and chaos) is rather discouraging.

    But I feel like I have also been broadening my understanding of faith. Faith is making little decisions -often tiny decisions- that move me in the right direction. Faith is not actually seeing the woman I’d like to be (and, frankly, not knowing if I’ll EVER see her -in this life anyway), but moving toward her anyway. Faith is taking any action in the direction of my values and beliefs with no guarantee of the outcome. Faith is making choices full of imperfect trade-offs in an imperfect world. Faith is doing it because I have worth and potential as a child of God, in the absence of any “proof” of that worth. Faith, or the belief in what is possible, is the force that mobilizes life, that brings about any and all progress. No wonder it is the power by which miracles are wrought and by which God magnifies our lives. I’m starting to see faith/confidence in God and faith/confidence in self as two halves of one whole.

    The daily challenge then becomes, what actions exercise my faith, demonstrate a love of God, and a love of self? And that’s the really, really hard part. πŸ™‚ And most days I am floundering. But at least I know the right questions (if not the right answers). πŸ˜‰

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    1. Oh Laurie, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. I’ve noticed that you are a thinker, always chewing over idea or another, and I’m happy for a window into a bit of that.

      In response to some of your thoughts, I think you would be interested in reading some of my older posts (they are way better said then than what I would summarize here ha)

      Here are the links:
      realliferealtime.wordpress.com/2017/03/09/being-your-own-best-friend/

      realliferealtime.wordpress.com/2017/01/11/2976/

      And then a final (long) thought that came to mind while reading your comment is that I think when it comes to love of God and love of self, I’ve been thinking a lot about self-value lately. I was reading somewhere in the BOM where it talked about vanity, and I looked up the definition which mentioned that to be vain means that you find your self-worth in material things and in the praise of others. And it got me thinking about where do I look to for my self-worth. I wrote down the things that made me feel good about myself when successful and bad about myself when unsuccessful. And it was a really eye opening experience because I do find part of my self-worth in worldly things. But I do find part of myself worth in knowing I’m living as God would have live, that what I do and think are in harmony with Him. And as I was wondering how to redirect my perspective so that I find all my self-worth in God and spiritual pursuits, the teaching of Christ comes to mind where He says the FIRST and GREATEST commandment is to love God with ALL my heart, might, mind and strength. I just felt that there was a reason for why Christ put those two commandments into a sequential order. If we do the first one first, put God above all else, His will, His opinions, His commandments, His instructions above all else, the second one, a love for our neighbors and ourselves just falls into place. And so far, as I’ve tried to readjust to better follow that counsel, I’ve found that is true, but really true. My vision of just everything, of others and of myself, of what I should be doing, of what should matter most to me, becomes clearer and falls into the right places.

      Anyways, thanks for letting me add to your conversation πŸ™‚ and I’m excited to see the direction you get from Him to your questions.

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