Sunday, June 8, 2014

MY PEACE GIVE I UNTO YOU By Ronda Hinrichsen

When I was a child, Christmas Eve was a magical night of lying in bed and rapidly kicking my legs and feet between my sheets because I couldn’t contain my excitement; morning held the promise of long awaited dreams coming true. One particular year, I imagined the large box under the tree, addressed only to me, would be something expensive and wondrous, something like an elaborate dollhouse.
But as sometimes happens on Christmas morning, when I opened the box, instead of a dollhouse, I found a children’s novel buried under wadded newspaper. Although disappointed, I accepted the gift and read the book. It wasn’t until years later that I, with older and somewhat wiser eyes, realized the book was actually the better gift. As a child, had I played with dolls? Not much. Did I read books? Yes. The novel, though not what I’d thought I’d wanted, turned out to be the better gift.
Now, Christmas means so much more to me than temporal gifts. Besides being a time of giving, it’s also a time of gratitude for answered prayers and a time of rejoicing in God’s never-ending love and involvement in our lives. Actually, Christmas is becoming more like Thanksgiving to me, in that I enjoy the traditions that go along with the holiday, but like giving thanks for blessings, the deep and lasting, Eternal impressions that fill my heart and lift my sights closer to heaven are gifts that are always with me. I believe cherishing these spiritual witnesses is the real secret to keeping Christmas in my heart all year long.
However, just as that long ago holiday brought me disappointment, Heavenly Father’s gift of life to us also brings tribulations and heartache. Years ago, my husband and I faced an enemy—a hardship—from which we couldn’t walk away nor eliminate. We dealt with it as best we could, relying on the Lord for help, but we still couldn’t find relief. Eventually, I felt very bitter against “the enemy,” and though I knew I had to forgive, I couldn’t seem to find a way out of that bitterness. Finally, one day as I was folding laundry and feeling overwhelmed by my emotions, I prayed, “Please help me, Heavenly Father. I can’t do this on my own.” Instantly, my burden was gone. Literally. I knew the bitterness and the associated problems were still there somewhere, but I couldn’t feel them, and I knew then as I do now that the Lord had taken my burden for me and carried it as I struggled through the situation. This experience happened to me during the summer, but my joy and amazement felt like Christmas.
That is why this Christmas I’ve chosen to share with you a few gifts of comfort that only Christ can give during some of this life’s greatest trials. I don’t know whether or not I’ve chosen the right quotes that will lift you in your circumstances, but if I haven’t, please know the answers—the peace—you seek is out there and can be found through the mouths of our prophets and the whisperings of His Spirit to your soul. I know this to be true. Merry Christmas.
“I feel that judgment for sin is not always as cut-and-dried as some of us seem to think. The Lord said, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ Does that mean that every person who kills will be condemned, no matter the circumstances? I feel the Lord recognized differences in intent and circumstances: Was the person who took his life mentally ill? Was he or she so deeply depressed as to be unbalanced or otherwise emotionally disturbed? Was the suicide a tragic, pitiful call for help that went unheeded too long or progressed faster than the victim intended? Did he or she somehow not understand the seriousness of the act? Was he or she suffering from a chemical imbalance in their system that led to despair and a loss of self-control?
“Obviously, we do not know the full circumstances surrounding every suicide. Only the Lord knows all the details, and he it is who will judge our actions here on earth.” (Russell M. Ballard ) 
And . . .
“we have our ‘second estate,’ which is the mortality we are now experiencing and our sojourn in the spirit world following death (italics added,Pres. Marion G. Romney ) 

Victims of Abuse:
If you struggle with abuse, you may want to read this article in its entirety.  Here’s a snippet:
“Satan uses your abuse to undermine your self-confidence, destroy trust in authority, create fear, and generate feelings of despair. Abuse can damage your ability to form healthy human relationships. You must have faith that all of these negative consequences can be resolved; otherwise they will keep you from full recovery. While these outcomes have powerful influence in your life, they do not define the real you.” (Richard G. Scott)
To Those With Heavy Burdens:
You who may be momentarily disheartened, remember, life is not meant to be easy. Trials must be borne and grief endured along the way. As you remember that “with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37), know that He is your Father. You are a son or daughter created in His image, entitled through your worthiness to receive revelation to help with your righteous endeavors. You may take upon you the holy name of the Lord. You can qualify to speak in the sacred name of God (see D&C 1:20). It matters not that giants of tribulation torment you. Your prayerful access to help is just as real as when David battled his Goliath (see 1 Sam. 17). . . “For with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27)-- Russell M. Nelson 

“These are the reasons for the continual trials with which we are all faced. We need these experiences so that we might draw closer to the Lord and learn to depend on him for everything.” –
Bishop H. Burke Peterson   

“The fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ brings great comfort in stressing times of mortality. It brings light where there is darkness and a calming influence where there is turmoil. It gives eternal hope where there is mortal despair. It is more than just beautiful doctrine. It is a reality in our lives that if we can be obedient and obtain the eternal rewards that God grants us, if we will draw nigh unto Him and embrace the eternal doctrine, we will be blessed.” Robert D. Hales  

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