28 June 2016

Listening to Answers

What does it mean to have a Testimony of Jesus Christ?
My own relationship with that word, not necessarily the feeling, began shortly after I knelt to pray and asked how to become closer to Jesus Christ on March 6, 2013.
I was immediately impressed that I needed to be Baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which I had never attended (except once as a guest while a small child).IMG_20140428_140001_226.jpg
When I called my granddaughter’s other grandma to ask her how to get the Missionaries to come to your house (so that I could ask them about this impression I received); she responded, “WOW, what a Testimony!!!”
To which I answered, “What’s a Testimony?”
Since that moment, The Holy Spirit has been teaching me what a Testimony is.
I have a Testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I KNOW this Church is TRUE.
I KNOW that Jesus Christ LIVES.
I KNOW my Heavenly Father, Christ’s Father, Lives.
I KNOW that His Spirit is The Holy Ghost which He has given me to guide me in using the other gift, my agency.
What is the result, the constant gift of having a Testimony? I believe it increases your Faith. If you KNOW The Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father live, and guide you each and every day, it is harder to worry as much. It is easier to know that whatever may come, it is for a higher reason and there is a blessing to be had.
DSCN2828This last winter was a hard one. Constant illnesses combined with my disabilities served to make me feel like there was no way I would survive the season. So, I prayed. Then I listened.
The Holy Spirit witnessed to me that my physical and emotional trials may have been difficult, but they would not be the end of me. It also witnessed that my experiences weren’t only for me, but there were others who would benefit from my trials. I don’t know why, but when He says that, I always feel better. Why would I go through the depths of hell for others, but not for my own progression? Something for me to think about.DSCN2741
As we progressed through the spring, I got physically stronger and with that, my emotional stability increased as well. Finally, I began to feel like myself again. However, I was left with the memories of the prayers in desperation. “God, am I going to live through this?” Isn’t a conversation easily started with one’s Heavenly Father.
In order to start that conversation, I had to have a Testimony. I had to KNOW that He lives. I also had to TRUST His answers. But, I wouldn’t have His answers if I hadn’t listened.
_20160605_164244The Gospel Library App for Android (& iPhone) put out by The Church contains not only the written, but also the audio and the video for most of the General Conferences that have been held since 1971. On The Church’s website, you can also download any of these General Conference talks as well as are many of the devotionalsface-to-face events and other talks from our General Authorities and Auxiliary
Hall of Presidents
I have found that if I take an assortment of talks and save them to a playlist on my phone, then I put that playlist on “random” and ask in prayer for the Holy Spirit to help me listen to what I need to learn in that moment, I am richly rewarded.
The answers that I crave in prayer, are delivered in talks given by our Prophet, Apostles & Auxiliary Leaders.
Heavenly Father has guided the wonderful programmers that have _20160605_164309built this site and those apps, to make our modern scriptures available to us in many ways. Most of us carry our “smart” phone with us wherever we go. These devices can be used to study and share His Gospel. They can also be used to increase our Testimony.

A Temple Testimony

Twin Falls Idaho Temple
I LOVE to see the Temple.
The Twin Falls Temple in Idaho was the site of my “wrong turn” at the very start of the softening of my heart. Where I stopped and “felt” the building radiate out into the street.
April 20, 2013:  I went on my first proxy Baptism trip to the Seattle Temple just shy of a month after my own baptism. It was that day when I started my father’s work and my forgiveness of him.
Salt Lake City Temple
October 19, 2013:  I spent my first birthday after my baptism, performing proxy baptisms for my family in the Salt Lake City Temple. Afterwards, I enjoyed a wonderful lunch with the first and only Priesthood Holder who ever asked me out on a date. They served spaghetti at the Salt Lake Temple cafeteria. That's something you don't forget. Fortunately, since I was not yet endowed I was in my street clothes, not a white Temple dress. That was the last date Hyrum and I had, but we remain friends and he has since developed a friendship with my husband.
Female Proxy Ordinance Cards
May 13, 2014:  I received my Endowments at the Seattle Temple, with 3 friends from 2 different Wards. Later that year, I went through Mt. Timpanogos Temple with one of my Sister Missionaries for the proxy Endowments of both my grandmothers.
Since May of 2014, I have befriended many Temple workers in many Wards and Branches. I have even roomed with one while I was needing a place to stay in close proximity to my grandchildren for a holiday season. She helped bolster my Testimony on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. Marian helped me understand Personal Revelation. A Returned Missionary, she helped me trust God. That is a gift I don’t know how to ever repay.
Lacey Washington Stake Center
When I visit a Ward, I find myself looking around. The Temple Workers seem to “glow” with light. I went up to an older, beautiful lady one day in the Lacey, Washington Stake Center that I was visiting. I felt I HAD to know; “Did she work at the Temple?” Yes, in fact, she confirmed that she did. The “Glow” had been apparent across the room.
My Patriarchal Blessing explicitly states that I will bless my family on both sides of the veil with the work I perform in the Temple. In the past two years, I have been blessed to catch rides with Temple Workers on many occasions, giving me the opportunity to perform an entire shift’s worth of Proxy Ordinances while I was there.
Snowflake, Arizona Temple
Snowflake, Arizona Temple
I look at the Temple Ordinance workers with gratitude and amazement. Even though sometimes rather elderly, they seem almost spry. Their minds are clear and their memories amazingly retentive.
This spring, just short of my Temple Recommend needing renewed; I felt an overwhelming compulsion. My best friend (and Visiting Teacher), Anne, had been urging me to not only go to the Temple to perform Proxy Ordinances while she and my other friends worked; she wanted me to volunteer to work there too!
Anne works in the Laundry of the Snowflake Temple, she suggested that I volunteer to work there also. I hesitated, because doing my own laundry is difficult enough for me with a broken back and other chronic pain. But that didn’t deter her. She was convinced I should be working in the Temple with her and several of our friends in our Branch.
At Snoflake, Arizona Temple
In early March, as I was speaking to our Branch President about another matter, the compulsion felt overwhelming. I was attempting to open his office door to leave. The Holy Spirit whispered, “Turn around and ask him…” I knew what the Spirit was speaking to me about. The compulsion was incredibly strong; it was if I could not turn the doorknob I was attempting to reach. “Turn around and ask him,” the Spirit continued to whisper, but I hesitated. I didn’t want to appear too eager, feeling there must be some requirement I didn’t meet. There is no way I felt qualified to work at the Temple. But the Spirit would not cease, so I turned around.
Choose The Right
After asking my Branch President if there was some way I could help in the Temple, some place I could volunteer, and if my services would be adequate, I felt relieved of the compulsion for a few days. That Friday when I visited the Snowflake Temple during Anne’s shift, it returned in the Celestial Room.
“Go talk to the Matron,” the whispering Holy Spirit urged. “Why would I want to do that?!” In shock I answered in my thoughts.
“Tell her you want to work here, tell her your experience.” The Spirit would not let up.
I entered the dressing room to ready (and steady) myself. It was crowded, more crowded than I had ever seen. I sought refuge in the lavatory, but even that room seemed overwhelmingly crowded. I prayed for courage in the stall.
IMG_20150320_154902Sitting in the Matron’s office, I felt silly to have been so nervous. The Assistant Matron was on duty that night and was a genteel lady with a radiant countenance. She glowed. As I explained the Spirit’s (and Anne’s) urgings, and my experience as a retired computer programmer; she shared with me that there was a spot opening up in the Temple Office. A elderly couple that had been with the office since the opening of the Snowflake Temple in 2002 was retiring. Their shifts would not be easy to fill and they would be missed.
IMG_20140428_135909_095I felt a reassurance from my Heavenly Father. There was a service I felt confident I could perform. To be able to share my skills on computers and office work with the Snowflake Temple and help perform the work that needs to be done, felt like an incredible blessing. The Matron seemed happy to be placing my name on the lists to be approved by my Branch and Stake Presidents.
Over the next couple of weeks, during my Fridays at the Temple, I got to know the Temple Presidency through a couple of very informal interviews. By the time my volunteering in the office was approved by the Stake President, my Temple Recommend was up for renewal for the first time. I had to go in for my interviews again
Then it happened, I received a call asking me to come in for an interview at the beginning of my regular Friday visit. That is a day I will NEVER forget. As my friend Anne escorted me into the Temple President’s office, Elder Bradley Foster of the Seventy appeared to be looking for something on the President’s desk. He engaged me in a brief conversation before the Temple President entered. I wish I remembered that he was the one who gave the talk, “It’s Never Too Early and It’s Never Too Late,” in the October 2015 General Conference that spoke to my heart, but I was too overwhelmed by the situation. When the Temple President entered, I was surprised when I wasn’t to be interviewed, but quickly set apart as an Office Worker, and sent off to meet the rest of the office staff, Recorder and the Assistant Recorder.
Proxy Ordinance Cards
I made quick friends with the other new worker and briefly met the retiring couple. My life in the weeks since has been blessed as, among other things, I've been able to learn my tasks at the Temple Office very quickly and life at home seems easier too. I look forward to my Friday Evenings in the Temple every week.
My Testimony of Temple work is solid. I have a powerful Testimony of the Holy Spirit and I strongly agree with President Monson’s directive to “NEVER postpone a prompting.”DSCN2834
I leave this Testimony with you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

01 September 2015

Climbing Back up the Ladder

Climbing back into the attic isn't just about overcoming the fall...
For me, it was about remembering three little words my husband taught me. IMG_20140821_142146_cr
It was also about being more conscientious about listening to the Holy Spirit.
The fateful day when I fell, now fifteen months ago, the wrong spirit was in my home. 
My husband and I were arguing about essentially nothing... but the spirit of contention was present. That also meant that the Holy Spirit was not.
It was the Holy Spirit that I felt each time I was quietly reminded to grasp tighter to the ladder. 
The Holy Spirit wasn't there that day... and I had my hands full of stuff and a heart full of anger as I fell backwards 10 feet into the air... landing on a hard floor breaking my back.
The Holy Spirit arrived with the Missionaries that day. The young Priesthood holders who my husband called to bless me, when I screamed for them in pain. 
IMG_20140625_124321_crThey were his second call that day, the first being to 911. The Elders performed the blessing with me on a stretcher on my front lawn.
For the next four days, in a haze of intractable pain, I learned to walk again. 
I was in a steel brace for 6 weeks, then released for 6 more weeks of physical therapy. By the time September came, I was preparing to journey to Arizona with my husband to explore the land we dreamed of purchasing.
With Heavenly Father's assistance, I healed. 
When I returned to the house where the accident had occurred, it had been almost a year since the fall. I even surprised myself at the amount of PTSD that the ladder contained within it's every rung. But that very fact made me more determined to climb it.
The attic was my get-away. It was on that hard wooden floor of that attic where I prayed to God to know how to become IMG_20140112_161015_092_thumb.jpgcloser to Jesus Christ. It was in that attic where I received the answer I wasn't ready for. It was in that attic where I was told by my Heavenly Father to be Baptized and become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
It is in that attic, where I feel closer to God. Perhaps, because I spent months up there, alone. Perhaps because the wooden floor has absorbed more of my tears in prayer than any other place in the world. Perhaps. 
As I climbed the ladder.... a poem started to form. I have shared it here:
Three points of Contact
Three points of contact
the words ring in my head
three points of contact
next time could find you dead
Three points of contact
my shoulders loaded with bags
Three points of contact
Forgot to drop my shoes
this could be bad
Three points of contact
Do curled toes count as one?
Three points of contact
four to go, I'm almost done.
Three points of contact
On the way up the stairs
Three points of contact
into my attic lair
Three points of contact
Why do I want to climb?
Three points of contact
to get writing out of my MIND
Three points of conact
almost to the top
Three points of contact
it would be crazy now
to stop!
Three points of contact
my pulse racing in my ears
Three points of contact
amplifying false fears
Three poinst of contact
breath shallow, too fast
Three points of contact,
my feet on the attic floor
I made it at last.
Three points of contact,
the phrase my companion
taught me
Three points of contact
make them each time
you climb
and be free.
Three Points of Contact
Three Points of Contact

(My daily struggle with PTSD from my 10 foot fall off an attic ladder that broke my back, continues...)
I made it up the stairs, but trying to get back to writing when sitting is no longer acceptable to my body was another journey. I had wanted to write for months, but every time I tried to begin, I got frustrated with my pain level and stopped. 
Finally, it happened. I was able to not only put scriptures onto photos I had taken, but I was able to once again articulate in a written form.
So, here it begins. Again. 
Thanks for your patience
I hope everyone's week is full of the Love and Lighte of Jesus Christ.