Finding Peace

This post is by Dominoe Hammond.

There are many things in the world that can rob us of peace. The one that happens for me, most often, is the teasing, screaming, crying, fighting, hair-pulling, toy-taking ways my kids show love to each other. Which makes me want to shut myself in my room with a good book and a box of chocolates! But all too soon there’s pounding on the door and little fingers reaching under the door and I get a sugar-induced headache. Not the best way to find peace.

Fortunately, no matter what situation we find ourselves in, there is always a way to find peace. In John 16:33, Christ says, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

President Heber J. Grant described the Savior’s peace this way: “His peace will ease our suffering, bind up our broken hearts, blot out our hates, engender in our breasts a love of fellow men that will suffuse our souls with calm and happiness.”

I find it interesting that he doesn’t say, “His peace will keep us from suffering, protect our hearts from being broken.” He said “ease our suffering” and “bind up our broken hearts.” He is not going to save us from every trial and hardship--because he knows that’s where we become stronger, wiser, more humble and understanding. And it is how we learn that it is only through Him that we find true peace, the strength to endure, and have faith in better things to come.

Reverence is More...

This post is by Kiley Yerka.

Earlier this year, I helped in my son's kindergarten class for a party. The kids were energetic, and needing them to calm down, I started to say, ‘It’s time to be reverent.’ Luckily, in that secular setting, I stopped before I got to the end and phrased it another way, but I had a hard time thinking of a proper substitute for the word. So many know that reverence means to sit quietly with arms folded.

But, it’s not simply that. As a primary song says,

Rev’rence is more than just quietly sitting:
It’s thinking of Father above,
A feeling I get when I think of his blessings.
I’m rev’rent, for rev’rence is love.
When I’m rev’rent, it shows in my words and my deeds.
The pathway to follow is clear.
And when I am rev’rent, I know in my heart
Heav’nly Father and Jesus are near.

In that song, it uses several words to describe reverence: thinking, feeling, love, and heart. These words remind us that although reverence is shown in our (quote) ‘words and deeds,’ it must begin within.

Is it Normal for Members to Feel the Holy Ghost?

This post is by Megan Wyatt.

I was raised in a Mormon family. But that is not why I am a Mormon.

The reason I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is because when I pray to know if it is God’s church He confirms that it is.

When I was doing my undergrad I had a conversation with one of my professors about the church, she was not a member but had been living in Utah for about 11 years and thought she knew quite a bit about it. In our conversation we got onto the topic of the Holy Ghost. One of the questions she asked about it was whether it was normal for members of our church to experience feeling the Holy Ghost.

"Never Be Vanilla"

This post is by Erin.

I played soccer all throughout high school. I had an awesome coach in my freshman year who shared with us something that I will never forget. He once told us "Never be vanilla." Of all the flavors of ice cream to be why be vanilla when you could be so much more. It took years for me to realize that God, our Heavenly Father feels the same. To Him, we aren't vanilla. Why be common when you are rare and extraordinary. Why choose to be like just like everyone else when you are unique and special beyond description, special to Him!

I sat in an auditorium watching a forum describing a young 8 year old boy. He had started a fund raiser to cure some illness and had raised an unprecedented amount of money. At his young age he arranged and organized marches and runs. He motivated children, adults, and youth to fight for change. In short, he was a saint. I found myself, probably justifying my lack of such an accomplishment, saying to myself that I would not like to be like that way anyway. Furthermore I thought I did not like attention anyway and I just simply wanted to be ordinary and fit in. A feeling, or thought as clear as if it were a voice whispered to me saying: "E, why be ordinary when you were meant to be everything but." I felt as if hit by a sludge hammer. I was never designed to be vanilla, none of us were. Why settle for vanilla?

Our Heavenly Father sees the potential in us that we don't. He is cheering for us to be all that we are meant to be but more than just cheering He is actively fighting for us to have every happiness. In the coming weeks I will be traveling home to see my parents. I already know the reaction of my father when I step through security. He'll be waiting and watching for me and once I'm through I know he will throw his arms around me saying something like "Hi Dolly!" He'll tell me how happy he is that I'm home and how proud he is of who I've become. I can only imagine that my greeting from my Heavenly Father will be the similar. I know He knows me by name. I know He loves me. I know that through Him and His Son Jesus Christ I can be so much more than vanilla.

"You are something divine—more beautiful and glorious than you can possibly imagine. This knowledge changes everything. It changes your present. It can change your future. And it can change the world...You are sons and daughters of the greatest, most glorious being in the universe. He loves you with an infinite love. He wants the best for you...Our destiny is greater than we can imagine. If only we understood who we are and what is in store for us, our hearts would overflow with such gratitude and happiness that it would enlighten even the darkest sorrows with the light and love of God, our Heavenly Father."  - Dieter F Uchtdorf

My friends, NEVER settle for vanilla!

With God All Things are Possible

Did you have the same lesson in Priesthood or Relief Society that we did? Chapter 14 of the Teachings of Lorenzo Snow manual?

The title of the lesson is "With God All Things are Possible." While that is a really powerful statement, it is not unfamiliar to the Latter-day Saint. There were some specific passages in this section that are quite mind-blowing to me. And I am in need of your insights and thoughts.

I'm very comfortable with the idea that we need to do all we can and then Heavenly Father will make up the rest. But is this a true statement? We understand that faith without works is dead, but what is the definition of works? What kind of works should we be doing?

Idea #1, we need divine help more than we realize: (Quote A)

In and of ourselves we cannot possibly comply with all the commandments that God has given unto us. Jesus himself could not without divine aid from His Father accomplish His work. He said on one occasion, “I can of mine own self do nothing, as I hear I judge and my judgment is just because I seek not my own will but the will of the Father who sent me.” [John 5:30.] And we, if it was necessary for Him, our Lord, to have divine assistance, will find it all the more important to receive His assistance. 

If Christ said, "I can of min own self do nothing..." why is it that I regularly rely on myself? What does it mean to receive His assistance? What are your thoughts?

What do you think of this loaded statement? (Quote B)

We should consider that of ourselves we can do nothing. We are the children of God. We are in darkness, [unless] God enlightens our understanding. We are powerless, [unless] God helps us. The work that we have to do here is of that nature that we cannot do it unless we have the assistance of the Almighty. … Here is the great trouble with men of the world, and too much so with the Elders of Israel; we forget that we are working for God; we forget that we are here in order to carry out certain purposes that we have promised the Lord that we would carry out. It is a glorious work that we are engaged in. It is the work of the Almighty; and He has selected the men and the women whom He knows from past experience will carry out His purposes. 

What other lines stand out to you from this lesson?

Feeling Peace While Cleaning the Church

Another wonderful post by Jake.

Recently I had my transplant re-evaluation, I've been on the list for 9 months average wait is 6-12 months. I found out that my antibodies were very high and my wait would be longer than expected about 10-12 months estimated wait still.

I was having a very hard time coping with the news and was praying for peace and trying to accept that Heavenly Father knows best.

On Saturday our ward had a chance to clean the church and I figured I should loose myself in service to try and take my mind off of things and possibly get some needed blessings. Having been praying for peace for the last week a few of us started to congregate in one of the rooms where my new roommate had sat down and started playing the piano.

The first hymn he started playing without knowing was All Creatures of our God and King, this being my favorite hymn I felt peace flood over me and felt Heavenly Fathers love and awareness.

I know that Heavenly Father loves us and knows us individually, he knows best and gives us trials and struggles to help us grow and learn. I'm thankful for trials and hope that my trials can also help others that may be going through similar situations. I love the gospel.

Seeing Miracles

This post is by Jeremy Wells.

One of the greatest blessings of my participation in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the companionship of the Holy Ghost. I feel honored and amazed whenever I am able to receive specific guidance and instruction from the Holy Ghost. Recently I have been reminded of the important role of the Holy Ghost in helping me understand what is happening all around me--miracles.

As a teacher at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) I have such a great chance to discuss the basic doctrines and truths of the gospel on a consistent basis. Just last week my missionaries and I were discussing the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion. As missionaries shared different experiences in which the Spirit has touched, instructed or influenced their conversion one sister made a comment that has helped me see the ways in which Heavenly Father has helped me become converted throughout my life.

This sister said that the Holy Ghost helps us to see miracles. In other words, without the Spirit testifying to our hearts it is unlikely that we will recognize a miracle for what it really is. Without the Spirit we may disregard the hand of God for mere coincidence or luck. She then shared a story when her precious kittens had gone missing. After much searching the kittens were nowhere to be found but after a simple heartfelt prayer to God a soft meow was heard from among the bushes and the kittens were found. She knew at the time that Heavenly Father answered her prayer so that she would have a greater testimony of His love for her. Had the spirit not been in her life the experience never would have strengthened her relationship with God.

You're Just Going to Have to Trust Me

This post is by the talented Katie Bastian.

Last night, I was peacefully enjoying a healthy snack when my little wiener dog, Zoe, jumped up on the couch and just STARED at me.  That face!  How can you say no that face?

Normally, after about 2 seconds of contemplation, I’d give in and give her a little piece of whatever I’m eating, but I knew that though grapes seem like a perfectly harmless treat, they are very bad for dogs.  So I kept eating.  She kept staring.  Finally, I began a very thorough, informative lecture to Zoe about how grapes can cause kidney disease and digestion problems and so on.  Yes, I talk to my dog like a person – she just GETS me.  Yet, she was not having it, and she continued to stare at me with those pitifully hopeful eyes.

Finally, I said, “Zoe, here’s the thing.  Sometimes, there are things in life that look delicious and fun and exciting on the outside, but what you don’t know is how dangerous they really are.  These grapes will taste good for a minute, but they’ll hurt you in the end.  You're gonna have to trust me on this one.”  With a deep sigh, she put her head down in defeat and gave up on her quest for grapes.