Thursday, August 26, 2010

how denise does it...

i've known denise my entire life. all 28 years of it. mostly because she's my aunt. ok, entirely because she's my aunt. i know you're not supposed to have favorites when it comes to family, but, well...denise is in the running. and i get to see her today! she has 5 of the most beautiful daughters you have ever seen in your entire life. ever. i'm not kidding. i have a semi-front-row seat to their life, so i know they're not perfect, but i so love how they lift and support one another and try to be the best versions of themselves they can be. denise doesn't mention any specific trials in what she has to say today, but i can assure you she has endured trials you can hope to never ever encounter.

here's how denise does it...

I am not sure than anyone really “overcomes” trials and tribulations. Rather we can learn to endure them and endure them well. There are times in my life when I have just existed, and from experience, enduring is a lot more productive and fun and stems from an internalized, anchored testimony of the reality of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Without the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the power of God unto salvation, I would be in a fetal position in some forest. As I come to understand the Plan of Salvation, I take strength in knowing that all I endure is part of the Plan and that God is over all. In my youth I foolishly thought I had control over every aspect of my life. I learned that, although there are many things my choices affect, ultimately God is over all and I am nothing without Him. My power and control is dependent upon my submission to His Will.

After a lifetime of “practice” I cling to some basics:

{1} I take strength in the Holy Scriptures. More often than not they are written just for me. The Doctrine and Covenants and challenges the early saints faced speak to my heart especially, like D & C 98:14, and D &C 122:5-8. My testimony of Joseph Smith is founded on an admiration of his solid trust in the Lord amid trials indescribable.

{2} I find church music – instrumental, hymns, modern – fill my soul and replace my negativity and doubt with hope. I struggle with destructive thoughts and by replacing them with words and chords that permeate my soul, I get through those times. There is no going “around” them. My latest favorite is “Just Let Me Cry” by Hilary weeks. It is nice when someone can articulate what I am feeling. Makes me feel “normal.”

{3} When I have tried to do my best, done all that I can do, pondered, analyzed, and dissected situations as much as I have time and energy to do, I think of Proverbs 3:4-5. Funny how there are some scriptures that play through my mind repeatedly. It is about believing Christ and the power of His atonement and not just believing IN it. Trite but true. The atonement is all encompassing.

I have a favorite quote:

“…We need to understand how the Atonement works in our behalf, not only for our sins but also for the suffering that comes in so many other ways….The Atonement was also wrought on behalf of the illnesses, sicknesses, and afflictions of the world…when we understand the eternal purpose of pain, trials, testings and unjust criticism, our souls begin to expand. We develop glorious, tender traits of kindness, thoughtfulness, and understanding. We more easily empathize with others who suffer as we have done. We realize how fragile life can be. We learn to understand the delicate balance that weighs sometimes for, sometimes against us. The Lord gave his children resiliency….”

--Vaughn J. Featherstone, The Incomparable Christ Our Master and Model

When I insist on “suffering” after the Lord has suffered all, what does that say to Him?

{4} D & C 101:16, Psalms 46:10..."Be still and know that I am God." Patience is truly a virtue…a spiritual gift I long to develop. It is when I allow my will to be swallowed up in His that I feel a peace I long for. He loves my children even more than I do. He is watching over me and my family. He wants us to succeed. He has not left one thing undone for our eternal welfare.

Why should I mourn and think my lot is hard? Tis not so….All is well!


ed and kelli said...

denise is in the running for everyone's favorite aunt:) She's ed's for sure:)

Jenny said...

You make it sounds so simple...and really, isn't it? I mean, sure it's not. I know that. We all know that. But when it comes down to it, to enduring, if we can rely on a few basics to keep us in focus, then our lives are so much fuller. Thank you for reminding me of that. I'm pretty sure you'd be my favorite:)

Rebecca Parker said...

Was so hoping you'd include my momma since I look to her as example in just about everything! I still don't know how she does it & I've known her for almost 34 yrs:) She, together with our daddy, is the glue that holds our family together and I will be forever grateful that I chose her as a mother esp since I still turn to her almost daily even as an part is she is my friend too!! If/when i grow up, I want to be just like her:)