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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Where I Find Inspiration

JesusandtheSamaritanWoman

Lately it seems, the Lord is all around me.  I keep getting messages from Him.  It is like He is speaking to me through my family, my friends, and people I meet and places I go  - even on the internet.  I've never really spoken of my faith here, openly, and I believe it is time.  Let's just say I've been inspired.

CMAChurch I grew up in the Methodist church.  Well, mostly.  When I was a small child, my neighbor, MeeMee and her granddaughter, Karen, (whom I am still dear friends with) would take me to church with them on Sunday.  My family did not attend church, and although they were believers of Jesus Christ and we were a Christian family, the early learning I received was from those Sundays I would join MeeMee and Karen.  I was only 5 years old when I started going to church with them.  I'd get all dressed up in my best dress with my mother's help and I'd run next door feeling oh so pretty.  I'd ring the doorbell and Karen would come running.  She loved visiting her grandmother on the weekends and over the summer because that meant we could play and spend time together.  Karen was the best friend ever!

MeeMee and Karen attended the Christian Missionary Alliance Church in Washington, DC.  We'd drive up and I can remember always getting this pit of fear in my stomach that I'd get lost, but once I was inside with Karen and we were in our Sunday School class, everything was fine.

I learned a lot about the Lord in those early years from 1964 - 1971.  In 1971, however, we moved farther away.  I asked my parents to take me to church and my father took me from time to time to the United Methodist Church near our home and I enjoyed that very much.  Still, I felt like I was missing my church family.  My mother never wanted to attend church since she was 11 years old and her mother died.  She has told me that church makes her sad.

  OEUMC

As I got older I attended different churches with friends and then in my late 20s I found my church home at the Oakdale Emory United Methodist Church in Olney, Maryland.  There, I was married in 1993.  I had my children, Sarah and Matthew, christened there.  I even made a quilt for my church family and it still hangs proudly in the sanctuary after all these years.  Kathleen was christened at the Christian Missionary Alliance Church soon after she was born, and Kimberly was christened at Walter Reed Hospital where she was spending most of her time in those first months of her life.

It has always been important to me that my children know the Lord and grow with Him.  However, I have always known that I could do more.  I have fallen into a spiritual slump you might say.  We don't attend church every Sunday.  Oh, you'll find us there on holidays, but we sleep in on Sunday and I feel bad about that.  Something inside me always tells me to pull myself together, help the children find what they need to get dressed, and we should go.  Even the children want to go to church.  Maybe it is part a little bit of depression waning me to stay home, but prayer and surrounding myself with my Christian family I know would surely help.  I always feel better after I have started my week with church.

  KimandZak2007

Well, my daughter Kimberly, and I, have been talking about her faith.  Since she married Zak in 2007, so much of her life is about her relationship with the Lord, and her walk with the Lord.  In the year and a half that she dated Zak, she knew he was Mormon, but she never felt any pressure from him about it.  He let her take her time to get to know the church, the church family, and his faith.

After much research and attending church with Zak on occasion, Kimberly became a member of the Mormon church.  She was baptized - by Zak - and the tears flowed plentiful that day.  I had not asked Kim about her faith until this past week, and the floodgates opened.  I wonder if Kim has any idea how her faith is helping me right now? 

She shared with me the talk she wrote for Sacrament meeting to her new church family on August 10, 2008.  This is just a bit of what Kim wrote: 

"Testimony.  It’s just one word, but it’s one word that has deep meaning...A testimony is something I didn’t have in my life a few years ago. ...this was the first Church that I had ever attended where I actually felt comfortable."

"Not only had all Church members been welcoming and friendly (no matter where the Church was located), but I also loved how I felt when I went to Church.  I loved listening to personal testimonies of Church members.  I loved how I felt when I began learning about the gospel, even during those times when I might have gotten confused and maybe even frustrated. ...nothing helped more than actually reading the scriptures.  I learned to love studying the scriptures with Zak.  We both learned from each other.  He was wonderful at explaining things that might be confusing to me, and for that, I’m very, very thankful."

"...I loved knowing that there was a living prophet who will never lead us astray.  I loved knowing that gospel principles do not change.  It’s so comforting to know that whatever happens in this crazy world of ours, we know we can always turn to the gospel, the Church, and Heavenly Father to know what is right and what is true."

"I loved that every aspect of the Church fits together like a completed puzzle.  It made sense, and I loved that.  I didn’t realize it then, but I now know that I was slowly building a testimony by studying the scriptures, meeting with the missionaries, and praying in “specifics" ."

On December 1, 2007, my daughter, Kimberly, was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - a decision that has changed her life and the quality of her life for the better.  I am so proud of her for opening her heart and mind to the Lord and committing to His word. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about my own walk with the Lord.  I have a very personal relationship with Him.  I pray daily.  I talk to Him daily and sometimes multiple times a day.  I know He walks with me and beside me and carries me when I need the grace of His arms and spirit surrounding me.  It is this personal walk with the Lord that has kept me grounded for many years and carries me through these difficult times that our family now faces with Bob being out of work.  I have faith. 

It is my faith that strengthens me.  It is my faith that reminds me that it is my choice how I wake up in the morning - weary, worried, or happy and grateful!  I prefer the latter.  It isn't always easy, but I do try to put my best self forward each day.  I thank the Lord daily for my blessings.  I have so many. Still, I know there is more that I can do.

Well, Kimberly sent me a video and said that it was one that she wanted to share - one that made her cry.  It was important to her.  A split second after I clicked "play" my heart sank.  I knew that voice.  I knew that story.  I knew the young woman in the video - Stephanie Nielson of NieNie Dialogues.  She is a blogging friend and someone that I admire greatly.

Stephanie's story is a sad one.  She and her husband, Christian, live in Utah, and are the parents of 4 active little ones.  One summer day in August, 2008, they were involved in a plane crash.  The blogsphere went nuts and we all came together to help this couple that so many of us had come to love over the years through Stephanie's blog.  We sent cards and letters and during that time, Stephanie's sisters and husband, who had also been injured, but not as seriously as Steph, kept her blog going.  They wrote posts that let us know how she was doing and how the recovery was going.

It was a long time before Stephanie came back online, but when she did, there was a celebration of sorts from everyone.  You see, Steph has a voice, but it isn't just any voice, she has a heart of gold and a tender, loving, thoughtful voice that resonates in every one of her posts.  She is a special soul and I am proud to call her my blogging friend.

Kimberly sent me this video, not knowing that I already knew of Stephanie and her plight ... miracles happen every day ...





I do believe the Lord is speaking to me somehow, through my daughter, my friends, my family, and I'm listening.  It is the message that is the most important.  We need to listen to those messages when they come our way.  We need to pray about them and reflect on them. 

No matter what happens in this life, I have faith that it will all turn out well.  I hope you do too.

Love,

 

SusansButterflySignature 


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