First, I am so grateful to the Lord for answering all of the prayers that have been offered on Cindy's family's behalf! As of this point, their home and their lives are safe from the fires and they are able to return somewhat to a normal life. Check out Cindy's blog for more info and some great pictures.
Second, we have THE BEST Sunday School teacher. Each week, she amazes me with what she gets out of the lesson and how she is able to convey those teachings to us. She always apologizes for crying during her lesson, but seriously, those tears come from her strong testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel and from the Spirit.
This week, we were studying Ephesians and she pointed out how Paul taught we could become a better person. Now, I certainly didn't get that out of Chapter 4, but maybe that was because I was actually listening to Ephesians on the LDS.com website while I was busy making the poster for HFPE early Sunday morning before church. It's kind of hard to concentrate on both. Anyhow, here is the counsel given to help us become better people:
- Listen to the Prophets
- Come together in unity of faith
- Have a knowledge of Christ and His perfection
- Be humble, not vain
- Be active in church
- Don't be greedy
- Be not past feeling
- Be honest
- Love your neighbor
- Don't be angry
- Don't gossip
- Quench not the Spirit
- Be kindhearted
These really gave me a lot to think about. I am sometimes quick to anger - even at the smallest things. It may not be a true anger, but rather a reaction in the negative, but still, my heart can be stirred in a manner that makes the gravy clump. I need to be more kindhearted and forgive others more easily.
For 18 months now, I've held something of hurt and anger in my heart regarding a situation that occured and it continuously tears at my soul. I often think that I have forgiven those who hurt us, but then I realize that I continue to let the situation that happened dig at my soul and it continues to make me bitter and hardhearted. I don't think that those who hurt us realize that they did, so I don't plan on talking to them about it - it's just something that I have to forgive them for. Ephesians 4:31-32 says "Let all bitterness and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." How can I be forgiven of my own sins when I can't forgive those who hurt us? I CAN'T! However, after this long, is it possible to just say I forgive them and go on with my life? Or, do I really need to talk the situation over with them and risk deepening the wound I already have? I don't know. This thought was shared with us though and was so powerful that I had to write it down: "Put away your bitterness and keep serving them and your heart will be filled with tenderness and kindness." I hope it will.
The next part we talked about was Ephesians 5, specifically verses 22-26. These verses teach of our accountability to the Lord either through our husbands, if we are the wife, or directly to the Lord, if we are the husband. This was a special part of the lesson for me. It brought back many, many feelings of things that had happened in times past.
About 4 years ago, I had a dear friend who lived across the street. She invited me to go with her to a women's bible study class on becoming a more godly wife. Although I thought this was a worthy topic, I was unsure of going to a bible study led by someone other than a leader in my own church. I prayed about it and was inspired that it would be okay, but to realize that these women only had a partial knowledge of the fullness of the Gospel and that I would have to follow the Spirit in what I was studying. One particular night, we were studying these verses and I wrote in the margin in my scriptures the following: "Rex is accountable to God for his leadership of our home and I am accountable to God through his leadership."
These passages really hit home that night. Emily and I talked until 2 am about them and about my marriage. I was so troubled that I wasn't feeling the leadership of the Priesthood in my home. I prayed and prayed that I would know what to say to Rex about this. It didn't take long for the opportunity to arise and when it did, I knew that Heavenly Father had a plan in store for me that was ready to take place.
Most of you know what happened shortly thereafter and my life changed dramatically in almost the blink of any eye. However, it was the best change ever in my life; one for which I am ETERNALLY grateful. It wasn't but 3 months after our divorce that a sweet man started "flirting" with me via the internet. We met in person 2 weeks after first meeting online and amazingly got engaged just 16 days after that. Our first date was probably the most terrifying experience I've had in the sense that I thought he was going to propose right then and there, but there was something special about this man and the Spirit was telling me so. He told me all of the things he had to offer me - an eternal marriage, a strong testimony, a worthy Priesthood holder, active in the Church, dedicated to the principles of tithing and fast offerings, and a good, hardworking, righteous man. The material things he had to offer were few and unimportant, but without him evening knowing, those things he offered were what were on my "list" of things I would not do without this time. On our second date, he took my hand and it felt so natural. I KNEW that night we would get married (although not so soon!). I will never forget the prayer he offered before he called my dad to ask him for my hand in marriage. I had NEVER heard such a beautiful prayer spoken in my home before. I felt the Spirit so strongly and again KNEW this was the right decision. I look back now at those verses and know that I have that leadership in my home and I put all my trust, reliance, and faith in Clint that he will lead us back to our Father in Heaven. It was wonderful reading those scriptures again this past Sunday...and thinking of how much my life is better now. It was so great to be able to put Clint's name there now in my margin...I know it was meant to be there.
Our teacher made one last comment that I want to close with. I probably didn't get all of her comment written down, but I did write this and I think you can see from my experiences above, that it holds true. She said that the power of marriage comes from the Spirit being the center of your marriage. Love that. It's definitely true.