Sunday, March 24, 2013

On a Snowed in Sabbath

Sure, I'm disappointed that the earth is covered in the wet, cold, white of snow right -it being the end of March and SUPPOSED to be spring.

But in all honestly, the thing that was the worst for me was that the snow today took away something that I really needed: going to church, partaking of the sacrament, renewing my covenants, and recharging my spiritual battery.  I awoke to the snow with thoughts of forlorn disappointment.

(Totally not me, by the way.  I ADORE the snow, but REALLY, Missouri?  It's almost April.  This is not cool.).

Normally I would have immediately said my morning prayers, but I was awoken by text messages seeing what my status was with the snow and trying to confirm if church was happening or not.  I spent the first hour of my morning making sure everyone was contacted and told that church was in fact canceled. With each new text I felt more and more depressed about it.  How dare winter come along with one final massive blow and take away the thing I needed most at the end of this rather turbulent week?

Once everyone had been contacted, I took some time to pray.

The second I got on my knees, I felt I was being wrapped in the arms of the comforter.  My heart was filled, and a sure knowledge entered my heart that just because the elements prevent me attending church does not mean I could not have a meaningful and spirit filled Sabbath day.  I felt the warmth of the love of my Father in Heaven, assuring me and letting me know he knew my disappointment and of the worries and insecurities of my heart of late.  I knew that if I did all I could to try and keep this Sabbath day and make the most of it, I would be blessed.

I started it with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and my scriptures.  Then I read an article in the Ensign.  Then with my parents (whose house I'm invading to avoid being blocked into my home like I was the last snow storm) and Kailey, who was our guest, we watched "To This End Was I Born" and then listened to the Jeffrey R. Holland talk "The First Great Commandment"  from last October's conference.  We finished with going though the discussion questions of this weeks Sunday School lesson.

I didn't get to partake of the sacrament.  I didn't get to hear the testimonies of my friends and peers and be uplifted by them.  No singing of hymns with the congregation.  And I didn't get to share MY testimony, which is something I've been bursting to do since last Fast and Testimony meeting.

But the spirit was present, as strongly if not more strong than I would have felt at church today.

My testimony was strengthened.

And I felt at peace.

In my scriptures this morning I found my bookmark at the following verses (with good reason).

Romans 2: 2, 9-16

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good.
 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Be of the same mind one to another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits."

Those bolded phrases really hit me.

I was reminded, as I often need to be, that I can be IN the world but do not need to be OF the world.  It reminded me of a scripture in D&C to Emma Smith to seek not worldly things but to "seek for the things of a better".  It was brought home to me that worldly doesn't necessarily mean material.  There are attitudes of the world, social norms and expectations that don't necessarily need to be sought or followed.  We don't need to let the expectations of the world wear us to nothing.  We need not be ashamed by those in the great and spacious building who watch mockingly from their lofty places.

Dissimulation: the act of deceiving.  "Let love be without dissimulation."  I don't think anything else needs to be said here.

Maybe it means something else to others, but "Be of the same mind one to another" means to be united in progression and purpose.  I also think it means being honest and communicate with one another.  Communication is one of those things I need to work on in my life.

The one that is most important to me lately though is this : to be patient in tribulation or trial.

Today my dad found this while looking though files in the house.  I've head versions of this before, but I would like to share this one with you.

It's called "Laws of Nature"
"I remembered one morning when I discovered a cocoon in the bark of a tree, just as the butterfly was making a hole in its case and preparing to come out.  I waited a while, but it was too long appearing and I was impatient.  I bent over it and breathed on it to warm it.  I warmed it as quickly as I could and the miracle started slowly crawling out and I shall never forget my horror when I was saw how its wings were folded back and crumpled; the wretched butterfly tried with its whole trembling body to unfold them. Bending over it, I tried to help it with my breath. In vain.  It needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding wings should be a gradual process in the sun.  Now it was too late.  My breath had forced the butterfly to appear, all crumpled, before its time. It struggled desperately, and, a few seconds later, died in the palm of my hand.

That little body, is I believe, the greatest weight on my conscience. For I realize today, that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of natureWe should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the eternal rhythm."

-Nikos Kazantazakis

This analogy touches me.  Deeply.  Not only on a literary level (I love nature analogies) but on a spiritual level.

I've been a long time coming out of my cocoon.  I have only myself to blame for that.  But now that I am ready to come out, I find myself impatiently trying to force something that has to happen in its own time with its own natural rhythm.  I am being refined and prepared.  I am proceeding forward as steadily as I can.  I know I am doing what is needed, taking the steps that are essential to me spiritual and social development.

I just need to have patience.

I've been promised some important blessings.  Ones that I know I will receive as long as I am worthy.

But the waiting is the hardest part.  I know this.  Because I am imperfect I know I will faces those stretches of impatience.  Of doubt.  Of frustration.

The important thing is remembering these times-times when I know with a surety that I can become all that I'm meant to be as far as I hold steady to this path.

I was going to bare my testimony today in church but since the snow has prevented that from happening, I think it appropriate to share a portion of it now.

I have a testimony of the pure love of Christ, which is Charity.  When I need it most, I feel the deep abiding love my Father in Heaven and my Savior have for me.  It fills me.  It pierces me. There are times when I recognize that love as something that is felt for every single person on this earth.  In those moments, the veil of this mortal existence is pulled back and I see in others their glorious potential.  Suddenly I am filled with that pure love of Christ and it is directed through me to others.  My regret at these times is that my simple mind is insufficient to express this love to others in such a way that they can appreciate it for what it is.

I have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I know that as I follow His example my life will be blessed and enriched.

I know that as we seek to better ourselves through the refining nature of repentance we can constantly become better versions of ourselves and progress towards that eternal goal of celestial perfection.

I have a testimony of the divine nature of every one of us.  Within us we all hold a tremendous potential.  For some it takes longer to realize this and seek to achieve it.  I know we all have the ability to be the version of ourselves we wish to be as long as we hold fast to the rod and never lose sight of our eternal goals.

I have a testimony that every single challenge and trial that we face refines and defines us.  We are fashioning and molding ourselves into who we will be for all eternity.  That takes time.  And it's not easy.  As long as our faith never wavers and we do our best to endure we will come out the other side better and stronger than we were.

Maybe this snow storm happened because I needed today.  I needed a day like this.  A day to discover how enriching every moment can be as long as we are willing to make the most of it.

I hope all of you reading this know how much I love and appreciate you.  I only wish you could understand just how much.  But alas, even in my way I cannot express it in words.

If my love is this great, only imagine how much greater the love of your Father in Heaven is.


Chase Cheney said...

Thank you Sarah for sharing your thoughts, that was wonderful.

Jeanne, the mom and grandmom said...

:)from a happy mom

Ellaniemae said...

Ironic... I had a thought just after our movie ended tonight that before I went home we should all bear our testimonies to each other.

Thank you for sharing yours! I hope you have a less chaotic week this week.

Julina said...

Thank you for your support this week and I'm glad your Sunday wasn't a bust after all. Looking forward to talking "in person" soon :)

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