Be Light

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

-Marianne Williamson


Do You?

"Do you want to feel the love of God more powerfully in your life? Do you want to feel more in tune with His Spirit? Do you want to have the heavens opened to you daily?"*

Um, yes. Absolutely yes.

"There is a way you can feel a daily renewal of God’s everlasting love and drink from “the fountain of living waters” (1 Nephi 11:25)... I speak of a morning devotional time spent in prayer, meditation, and scripture study. If you have a devotional every morning, even if only for a few minutes, you will be deeply blessed. I know this to be true."

I first read snatches of this article by Elder Kikuchi in the August 09 Ensign and I've been thinking of it over and over ever since. (Mostly when I'm so tired my eyes hurt and I can hardly summon the will to keep them open, let alone read a few verses. "Ah, if only I'd done it first thing this morning," I think. sigh)

But it's a powerful promise, no? I'm game to try to try (again). And see how he said that even only a few minutes would bring blessings? I believe it too - that just those few minutes will fill my cup.

*Yoshihiko Kikuchi, “Opening the Heavens,” Ensign, Aug 2009, 34–38


A Little Pencil

"I am like a pencil in [God's] hand. That is all. He does the thinking. The pencil has nothing to do with it. The pencil has only to be allowed to be used."

- Mother Theresa of Calcutta
* Time, December 4, 1989


Refined Submission

I've been thinking about the principle of submission - offering to the Lord what Elder Maxwell calls the only true possession we have to give - our will*. Of the Savior's visit to the Nephites, Elder Holland says:

"I cannot think it either accident or mere whimsy that the Good Shepherd in his newly exalted state, appearing to a most significant segment of his flock, chooses to speak first of his obedience, his deference, his loyalty, and loving submission to his Father. In an initial and profound moment of spellbinding wonder, when surely he has the attention of every man, woman, and child as far as the eye can see, his submission to his Father is the first and most important thing he wishes us to know about himself.

"Frankly, I am a bit haunted by the thought that this is the first and most important thing he may want to know about us when we meet him one day in similar fashion. Did we obey, even if it was painful? Did we submit, even if the cup was bitter indeed?"**

I find it so interesting that Elder Holland uses the word haunted and I wonder myself - what kind of report would/could I give? I think I can do a little better at submitting my will to the Lord's, at seeking His guidance and the influence of the Spirit, at obeying the promptings I receive (however small and seeminly inconsequential they seem at the time), at working on the basics of growing a testimony - sincere prayer, diligent study, conscientious service.

And I/we have the Lord's promise - "Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh, receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened." (3 Ne. 27:29) And "Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." (D&C 88:63)

The next big question then is - "what is the Lord's will for me?"

Sister Anne Pingree gave an excellent talk about just this thing and shared her own experience.*** These particular ideas (probably because I love lists) stand out to me: a)"I pulled out my patriarchal blessing and read it again and again, searching for deeper understanding" b) "I redoubled my efforts to attend the temple" c) "I pondered the meaning of my covenants in a way I had never done before" d) "In my constant prayers I continued to ask, 'Father, how can I do what Thou hast called me to do?'" and e) "I sought solace in a quiet place."

And she sums it all up in these words: "My first lesson in the process of becoming an instrument in God’s hand had been to search the scriptures, fast, pray, attend the temple, and live faithful to the covenants I had made in the house of the Lord. My second lesson was that in order to 'boldly go forward,' I needed to rely completely on the Lord and seek earnestly for personal revelation. In order to receive that revelation, I would have to live worthily to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost with me.

"My last lesson was precisely what Elder Maxwell explained. In even the smallest details of each day, I submitted my will to the Lord’s, for I so needed His help, His guidance, and His protection. As I did, gradually my relationship with my Father in Heaven changed—in profound ways—that continue to bless me and my family."

And there is it: despite "the mistaken notion that somehow we are diminished by submission to God... the greater the submission, the greater the expansion!"**** And, by learning to rely completely on the Lord and earnestly seek personal guidance, our relationship with Him is refined in ways that will eternally bless ourselves and our families.

* “The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we ‘give,’ … are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give!” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 24.
** On Earth As It Is in Heaven, 126
*** Knowing the Lord's Will For You, Ensign Nv 2005, 112.
**** Neal A. Maxwell, On Becoming a Disciple-Scholar, 22


My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Thee

Isaiah 54:10 "For the amountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee."

Elder Holland's words at the end of this clip have the most impact: "Hold. on. thy. way." Sometimes I forget it, but I know and have seen that even in the midst of my most trying days, if I look up and look for it, I see that the Lord's kindness has not departed, that He is and will be with me/us forever and forever.