To Free Me

How powerful music can be in our lives! I have always related well to lyrics of songs and have even used them to express how I feel. This song by Mindy Gledhill says it beautifully when she asks, “Why would the King of heaven and earth bow down to free me?” As I watch videos of my Savior’s final earthly days, of the torture He endured, the weight He carried, I always find myself wondering, what have I done to deserve such an act of love? Why would He do that for me, as insignificant and human as I am?  Understanding the love of the Lord is beyond comprehension but we are reminded often of His love when we read the scriptures that tell of His infinite task, of His willingness on our behalf. Isaiah 53:3-5 is a very humbling scripture reference:

3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

That Christ would suffer the very private and personal emotions I have experienced so far in my life puzzles me. But I do not doubt that He did and that He loves me. Gratitude for such an act of mercy becomes my solution in how I live my life because of His sacrifice. Jesus is the Christ! He is my Redeemer! Why would the King of heaven and earth bow down to free me? I do not know but I’m eternally grateful He did. I too ‘will answer to that voice that ever calls from those Garden Walls.’

The lights within Jerusalem are gone.

But there is one who will not sleep at all.

He will call upon the powers of heaven, deep within a gardens walls.

A voice breaks through the silence in the night.

Branches shake to hear a grown man cry.

Oh he cries and feels the sting of death inside but he wont ask why.

Through the years and cross the deep blue sea, comes this mystery.

Why would the King of Heaven and Earth bow down to free me?

Footsteps in the sand are drawing nigh.

Raging voices echo in the sky.

Angry eyes cant see that the man they sent to die, offers life.

Through the years and cross the deep blue see, comes this mystery.

Why would the King of Heaven and Earth bow down to free me?

Two thousand years and cross the deep blue see, wondrous mystery.

The King of all creation came to free me.

The lights within the city now are gone.

But there is one that cannot sleep at all.

I will answer to the voice that ever calls from those Garden Walls.

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Tell Him and Love Him…

Driving to Missoula for dristrict meeting each week provides over 60 minutes of story time! One told the struggles of a loved one and how we can’t make choices for others; all we can do is tell them we love them and love them. At first, I thought she had repeated herself but then realized the slight but significant difference. It reminds me of a statement I heard much earlier than this event. “God wants commitment, not just conversation.”

One can say they love God and Christ all they want, but until they prove that love through their actions, the profession is void. Christ demanded action from us when He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Can we say we truly love Him, when we choose recreational activities over church attendance? We might be able to say it and feel it without SHOWING it; however, does He really know of our love? A phrase often heard when pointing out one’s lack of commitment through action is  “God knows my heart.” Yeah He does, but do you know His? Think of someone you know loves you…how do you know they love you? Is it because they would profess it from the mountain tops? Or is it because of how they treat you, listen to you, talk to you, and the things they do for you?

An example comes to mind. Two children of the same mother. One tells his mom of his love for her, then goes to play. The other child expresses his love to his mother and spends his time doing the chores she required of him. No doubt they both love their mother and are eager to express it. Actions that are in agreement with the words, add so much more meaning behind the simple words I LOVE YOU. May we prove our love for God through our daily efforts to live the lives He would have us live!

Cease to be God

Reading in Alma one morning proved to be thought provoking. The 42 chapter tells of Alma’s admonition to his son Corianton. Both serving as missionaries, Corianton has struggled to preach the gospel which in turn affects Alma’s ability to gain followers. One of Corianton’s issues is found starting in verse 1:

“And now, my son, I perceive there is somewhat more which doth worry your mind, which ye cannot understand—which is concerning the justice of God in the punishment of the sinner; for ye do try to suppose that it is injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery.”

Not an unusual concern to have. Each person at some point will quesition the justice of God found in the scriptures. I think we question it more when it concerns our salvation, our suffering, the one vice we find difficult to let go. Sometimes we ask, “Will He really keep me out of heaven for gossipping or because I chose to express myself with piercings and tattoos?” To answer yes seems unreasonable and extreme. But Alma continues to explain that because we are human, we are fallen. We will all make mistakes and have weaknesses that do keep us from returning to our Heavenly Father. There are laws that must be kept and when they are not kept, a price must be paid. God is just. He cannot change universal laws, no matter how small they seem. But He can provide a way for us to escape that punishment, which allows Him to apply mercy. This is the role of our Savior’s atonement.

In verse 14-15, we read: “And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence. And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.”

Without laws, God would cease to be God. The Savior overcame the conflicting issue of justice verses mercy. It may appear cruel that punishment follows small broken commandments but justice must prevail. As we live on this earth, we decide what degree of glory we’ll receive by how obedient we are to the commandments of God. I know that no habit or wordly pleasure is worth risking our eternal happiness. When in doubt, do without! Heavenly Father blesses the faithful but it’s always in equal proportion to their obedience. He will not give you what you do not deserve, and you do not deserve that which you did not live for. Doctrine & Covenants 88:22 states that, “For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.” Christ surrendered completely to Heavenly Father’s will and He is our example. His call has been and forever will be, “Come follow me.”

the life you’ve been waiting for

Encouraged at a young age to make goals, have dreams of what you’d like to accomplish and who you’d like to become in the future, “what do you want to be when you grow up” is a typical question heard during our school years. Something that we fail to do is involve our Heavenly Father in our goal setting and decision making. He is the one who knows what will be best for us in the end. I’ve had many chances to develop a wonderful trust with my Father in Heaven. Ever since high school, I’ve had a plan set for my life. Several changes came about before ending up on my mission but looking back on those U-turns, round-a-bouts, and merging lanes, I can see how the Lord was right there guiding to what I really wanted.

Very accustomed to the feeling of watching my plans fall apart, Iwould then put my trust in my God. I knew of His love, of His desire for my happiness, and of His merciful hand that would guide me in a time of need. I have found this quote by Marilyn Monroe to be very true. “When God takes something from your grasp; He’s not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better.” Every time one plan didn’t work out, I was directed to another that was far better and one that I never would have gotten to had I continued with my original plan. I’m a firm believer that “sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together” (author unknown).


At times, we’re desperately clutching the outline of our lives, what we think will be best for us. We’re so insistent on holding to the very thing He is trying to take from us. Heavenly Father is simply striving to give us what He KNOWS will be best. Perfectly spoken by Sister Elaine S. Dalton, former president of the General Young Women organization: “You must be willing to give up the life you have planned in order to receive the life you are waiting for!” ULTIMATE TRUST, FAITH, HOPE in God’s plan for your life. He knows where you really want to be, and He perfectly knows how to get you there with the greatest benefit to you.

I’m waiting for my life when I have been married in the temple, have grown children who are strong in the gospel, have remained firm in the faith myself, have passed on to receive the eternal life with my forever family. I trust that He will help me get the life that I’m waiting for. I know that all suffering and struggling to this point is worth it, if I end up with what I’ve been waiting for. I trust Heavenly Father and His plan for me; therefore I hope for better things to come.

One day to be weak.

Haley seems to have it all together from the outside. Friendly and talkative to those she firsts meets as well as those she’s been long acquainted with. Many praise her for the accomplishments of what appears to be hard work and dedication. Generally a happy, easy-going brunette, Haley continues day to day with the same facade and typical results. All is well in the life of Haley Stevenson. Of course, she isn’t as confident in her abilities as she leads on. A constant battle seems to occupy the mind and Haley quickly becomes tired of the rollercoaster ride from brave and courageous to doubtful and paralyzed. One day, unable to overcome her fears, she gives in. “Let me have this one day to be weak,” is the plea that escapes her and makes its way heavenward. What could be so harmful in not pushing forward for one day?

Reflecting upon this question later, the realization and answer comes. Consistency is everything. It only takes one small moment for the adversary to sneak in and begin his deceitful attacks at righteous desires. An example can be found in the Book of Mormon with Alma and the sons of Mosiah. Their actions lead many people away because they provided that opportunity for Satan to enter the hearts of the righteous, “…giving a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over them” (Mosiah 27:9). Diligence is required of the followers and disciples of Jesus Christ.

In the scriptures, continual exhortation is given as a requirement to act in all diligence. The blessings as well are mentioned of faithful, continual obedience. Moroni 9:6 reads, “…let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.” As always, Christ is the perfect example of not having one day to be weak. He was tempted, tried, persecuted, and confronted by many yet He never gave in. Even when suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, He pleaded as well with the Father to let the cup pass from Him; nevertheless, He did the Father’s will and drank that bitter cup. President Henry B. Eyring in his general conference talk referred to the example of Christ. He says “When I find myself drawn away from my priesthood duties by other interests and when my body begs for rest, I give to myself this rallying cry: “Remember Him.” The Lord is our perfect example of diligence…”

Doctrine and Coventants 6:13 states the blessings of consistency: “If thou wilt do good, yea, and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God; for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation.”

Closing with a quote from Elder Jeffery R. Holland, “Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. Face your doubts. Master your fears. “Cast not away therefore your confidence.” Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you.”

Living With Cancer

The words replayed again and again in my mind as we left the hospital. My eyes glanced from person to person, coming and going, as I wondered what news they had each been given and the new trials that lay ahead of them. For one, “Living with cancer,” printed on the front of a pamphlet said it all. Earlier that sunny morning, my companion and I received a call to visit a certain sister in the hospital. We were not given any details of why she was there. Our only tasks was to bring a Book of Mormon and other LDS reading materials for the resident of room number 4473. A short visit, a quick but earnest prayer and we were on our way back home.

According to Pub Med Health Website, cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cells are the building blocks of living things. Cancer grows out of normal cells in the body. Normal cells multiply when the body needs them, and die when the body doesn’t need them. Cancer appears to occur when the growth of cells in the body is out of control and cells divide too quickly. It can also occur when cells forget how to die. The website goes on to explain the possible causes, symptoms, signs, tests, treatment, expectations, complications, etc. The title of the pamphlet in the hands of her son explain the seriousness of the news. Cancer requires changing ones lifestyle to endure the battle ahead.

Living with cancer…it is possible to continue with life. Changes are required but one is not without hope as they face their new condition. Becoming more and more common among mankind, cancers affect is practically everywhere, bleeding into homes, families, altering emotional and physical conditions. Cancer leaves lasting scars upon each life it touches. Rarely is anyone untouched by cancer in some aspect, directly or indirectly. Many face the probability of dealing with cancer, but we are all living with a lethal type of spiritual cancer. Sin, mistakes, weaknesses. No person is without them. Spiritual cancer has symptoms, causes, expectations and complications  as well; however, treatment is more powerful, lasting, and guaranteed. Christ suffered for all of our smallest mistakes to our most serious sins. It is because of His sacrifice and suffering that we can conquer spiritual cancer. He is our Savior, Redeemer, and chemotherapy. We don’t need the pamphlet, “Living with Spiritual Cancer.”

With application of Christ’s atonement, we can be in remission the rest of our days if we are willing to make certain lifelong changes. How grateful I am because of the hope my Savior gives me to be free of the deadly spiritual cancer I’ve struggled with in my life. I know that with sincere repentance, we all can be forgiven of our pasts, no matter how severe the cancerous cells or how late it is caught. With God, there is no such thing as past the point of no return. His arms are forever stretched outward, waiting patiently for us to humble ourselves before him and take his scarred hands. Don’t try to live with spiritual cancer. Let Christ be your constant chemotherapy!

I Hid My Face From Thee

Somewhat of a disturbing image to use as a reminder. I saw this picture in the September 2010 ensign and thought of how it relates to our Heavenly Father and His role in our life. This beautiful baby girl cries out in pain, with questioning eyes that ask “Why would you do such a thing to me?” From her perspective, the person administering the shot is cruel, heartless, hurtful. She doesn’t understand the purpose this shot will have later on in life. Discomfort is short in the big picture of her life while the benefits continue much longer. So it is with our lives and eternity. God has given all men trials that seem cruel, heartless, hurtful. Often wondering “Why would you do such a thing to me?,” one can look to God with pleading, pondering eyes. Some don’t realize how the “small” moments of pain or struggle will affect them further down the rocky road of life. God can see the full picture, even into the eternities.
I love this song (written with a scripture from Isaiah and the revelation Joseph Smith received during Liberty Jail) because of how well it portrays God’s mercy, kindness and constant love.  For a little while, He might forsaken us or hide His face from us to let us learn, grow and stretch. But He will always gather us beneath His wings with the endless care that He has. I testify God really knows our every thought and every care. He is with us! Please know my brothers and sisters, His kindness truly shall not depart from thee. Because of Christ’s sacrifice for us, God can apply mercy,  welcome us into his presence and fulfill his eternal promises. So hold on thy way. Even if the very jaws of hell gape open after us, it shall be for our good. He will not leave us comfort-less. He will come to us, to our rescue! (John 14:18)