Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"I Just Needed You to Ask."

It’s amazing to me how everyday situations can remind me of my relationship with Heavenly Father.  This morning I asked Logan to bring me his agenda for school.  Each day they are to record their homework and any other notes from the teacher about upcoming activities or supplies needed etc….  Along with his homework for the day, Logan had written down “binders plees”.  I asked him if he needed binders for school.  He looked at the floor and whispered sadly and apologetically, “Yes.”   

I should insert here that the past few years our family has been recovering from a layoff that resulted from a company merger.  Because of this, our income was cut in half, and due to the current state of the economy, we haven’t been able to find employment that pays even close to the original wage.  So a good portion of Logan’s school life has been scrimping and saving and thrift stores and clearance sales.  Add to this the fact that we have had a wedding and a sent out a missionary this past year and Logan has seen me take on part time jobs and work all sorts of various odd jobs to help out.  Logan was worried to ask me about a binder for school because he didn’t want us to have to spend money on him that we may not have.  

I asked him what kind of binder he needed and he said, “Just a 3 ring binder with a place to put a picture on the front.”  I told him we had several and they were actually just a few feet from where he was standing.  He was so excited!  I let him know that I had prepared ahead of time for the things I thought he might need, and that I was just waiting for him to ask when he needed something.

Think about that …

Everything was prepared ahead of time in case he needed it, and all he had to do was come to me and ask.  He didn’t have to beg.  He didn’t have to earn it.  He didn’t have to do anything other than let me know what he needed and when he did, it was already available.  I was excited and happy to give him what he needed and I was grateful that something that I had sacrificed to provide was finally being used instead of sitting on a shelf gathering dust.

I told him, “I already have binders for you, I just needed you to ask.”  As I said these words I could imagine our Heavenly Father saying the same thing to me… “I already have everything you need for this trial, I just needed you to ask.”

Our Heavenly Father has already prepared the tools, the people, and the opportunities that we will need in this life.  Our Savior has already worked, struggled, and paid the price.  All that is left is for us to come to them and ask.
“I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, … my Spirit shall be in your [heart], and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”  Doctrine and Covenants 84:88

Sometimes I think we are like Logan and don’t want to bother our Heavenly Father.  We also don’t want to cause Him to sacrifice any more on our behalf.  Maybe we don’t think we are worth it.  Maybe we think Heavenly Father is too busy and doesn’t really have time for us.  Maybe we don’t really know what we need.

Our Heavenly Father is a God of love.  He has already prepared everything for us and rejoices when we take advantage of the things He has provided.  He wants us to use the Atonement that His Son, Jesus Christ has already paid for.  He wants us to come to Him and let Him know what blessings we need and how He can help us.  He wants us to know that He loves us and He wants us to keep breathing.

  "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God...."  
1 John 3:1

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."  John 3:16  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Kintsugi or Kinsukuroi: Broken Things

A friend shared with me today the lovely art/idea of Kintsugi (Kinsukuroi).  Kintsugi is the traditional Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with a strong adhesive and then sprinkling the adhesive with gold dust.  The result is that the broken pottery is now mended and in fact even stronger than the original.  Instead of trying to hide the flaws and cracks, they are accentuated and celebrated because they now have become the strongest part of the pottery.  

I love the idea that each of us can be mended and become even stronger than we originally were through Christ.  Often we view ourselves as not measuring up, not good enough, not perfect ... broken.  

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave a talk in 2006 entitled  Broken Things to Mend
In his talk, Elder Holland shares the following insights:

"The first words Jesus spoke in His majestic Sermon on the Mount were to the troubled, the discouraged and downhearted. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” He said, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Whether you are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or among the tens of thousands listening this morning who are not of our faith, I speak to those who are facing personal trials and family struggles, those who endure conflicts fought in the lonely foxholes of the heart, those trying to hold back floodwaters of despair that sometimes wash over us like a tsunami of the soul. I wish to speak particularly to you who feel your lives are broken, seemingly beyond repair....
If you are lonely, please know you can find comfort. If you are discouraged, please know you can find hope. If you are poor in spirit, please know you can be strengthened. If you feel you are broken, please know you can be mended."

What a beautiful concept, that Christ will take us as we are, broken and tattered, and he will mend us
and help us become even more than we could ever become on our own.  There is a song that I love that expresses this so beautifully, Broken, by Kenneth Cope.

As we turn to the Savior to be healed and to be perfected, we may just find ourselves more filled with gold than with pottery.  And through Him we will be able to be whole, to be good enough, to be perfect.  Perfection isn't a life without flaws, it's a life where those flaws are mended, our hearts are healed, and we remember to keep breathing.

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