Queen Esther

Queen Esther
And who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? ~ Esther 4:14

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Promises of Righteous Living

We all face our own individual trials and adversities, and each time we call upon God in our trials and
turn to Him, the Savior helps us through by carrying the weight of our burdens and comforting us. However, as I have said many times before, we are about to enter some of the most trying times this world has ever known, which means turning our lives over to God and looking to Him and the Savior in all things has never been more vital. Yes, terrible things are happening now, but this is nothing compared to what we will yet face.
The Lord has promised us that He will be with the obedient, and righteous living will bring great blessings, both in this world and in the world to come.

Though the coming times will bring sorrow and adversity, they will also bring great joy and miracles to the people of God, as well as spiritual protection, hope, and an increase of faith in the Lord.
So, we have a choice: Will we take the easy way and embrace effortless spiritual darkness or exert the energy of our heart and soul for spiritual growth and eternal salvation?
The time to choose is now.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

This is something we all need to remember.
This year, my goal is a spiritual one, and it is to put the Lord first in all things, in every aspect of my life. I know I will likely fail more times than I succeed, but I also know that as long as I'm doing my best, the Lord will work it out. Thinking of it this way, the failures - when I allow them to - will become stepping stones to greater learning experiences. I don't know about you, but I am ready for this next semester.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Let Us Begin Anew

“God will help you become something greater than you ever thought possible.” ~Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Satan is the master of despair, discouragement, hopelessness, doubt of self-worth, and ingratitude. He can be crafty enough to blind our spiritual eyes and keep us from recognizing the
blessings in our lives that have come from our trials– or more specifically, because of them. Whenever this happens, it stalls our progression temporarily. And the more we allow the adversary to dictate our life’s course, the farther we drift from the path to God and the plan He has set for each of us.

This is a time of new beginnings, and just like we renew our baptismal covenants with the Lord each week as we partake of the holy sacrament, so we should renew our commitment and faith in the Father and the Son, and commit to be our best selves – to live even better this coming year than we did this past year, completely focusing on the Lord, remembering how far He has brought us, and anticipating how far He will yet take us if we will but keep our hearts fixed on Him.

Truly, there is no more worthy goal, because He is ever before us, and as long as we look forward to Him instead of backward, we will never be led astray.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

"Wise men still seek Him."
May we all be counted among the wise.
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

A Merciful Christmas Memory

Over the past while, my mind has wandered to various Christmases and holidays through the years,
but for some reason, this morning I have been remembering the Christmas season of my eighth year. That year, my third-grade class put on a Christmas play about the birth of the Savior (something you would never see now.) We weren't dressed in costumes, but it was more a play of remembrance. The teacher assigned me a small part in which I would carry the frankincense and place it on the floor next to the gold in front of the manger. Since the teacher was narrating, I wasn't even required to speak, just carry the frankincense.

I was a very shy little girl, with good reason, and the teacher was trying to help me with this simple little part. I could never really look anyone in the eye and I constantly stared at the ground. The teacher demonstrated how I should carry the frankincense - that I should hold the small, gold sparkly canister out in front of me, moving it from side to side, walk slowly, look at the classmates in front of me on the stage, and smile. She also told me I would need to wear a pretty dress. I suddenly did not want to be in the play, but the teacher wouldn't let me back out. The woman knew nothing about my home life or the abuse I dealt with on a regular basis, but I think she glimpsed pain in me, which is why she tried so hard to help me.

She sent a note home with all the students to give to our parents about the play and what we would need. And somehow, my mother managed to find a beautiful dress for me to wear for the play. It was long and yellow, with white tulle and polka dots, and a satin ribbon around the waist that my mother tied into a big bow. She did my hair in the usual braids and tied a yellow bow around the braid at the crown. For the first time ever, I felt like an angel. When I got to the school, the teacher told me how lovely I looked. I wasn't used to compliments, and happiness and discomfort warred within me. Mama watched the play, and though I still didn't smile and barely raised my eyes as I walked, she said I did well. (She was Mama, so of course, she would say that.)

In the past, whenever I have thought back on that Christmas, as well as the ones after that, all that would come to mind was the sexual abuse that I never seem to be free of, even during this season of Christ, but by the grace of God, this year, my mind did not go there. Instead, my memories are of that Christmas play and the dress that made me feel like an angel as I walked up to place the canister of frankincense before the manger where the Christ child lay.

It is hard to find the words to tell you what a tender mercy this is.

Thinking back on it now, I can almost picture my Savior standing near me on stage saying, "I accept your offering. And though the days will soon come when all this hurt will leave you stumbling and cause you to lose your way, don't worry and don't lose hope, for it will only be for a little season, and you will find Me again. For you will never be lost to Me."

Even now, I am teary as I write this because I feel His love so strongly, surrounding me, and His arms enfolding me. And all I can think is, "Thank you, Lord. Thank you for finding that lost little girl. Thank you for showing her how truly amazing this life is. Thank you for showing her every day what You have done for her, and what You continue to do for her. Thank you for replacing all that pain with pure joy - joy in knowing that I have never been forgotten, and I never will be."

This is the joy Jesus Christ offers us. This is the gift His life and sacrifice have made possible for each and every one of us. We are His, and He is ours. He has sealed this promise with His blood - the promise of pure joy in Him.
May we all accept His gift, cling to it, and never let it go.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Compassionate Heart

Sometimes the pain that can accompany adversity can be pretty brutal, and for empathetic people who feel things deeply for others - whether it be family or friends - it can be particularly brutal.
When I am witnessing the painful adversity of a child, a brother, a relative, or a close friend, my heart literally aches and my entire being grieves for them. Whether the trial is something that just happens or is one of their own making, my spirit still grieves for them. Sometimes the pain in their behalf is so intense, I find myself sorrowing in my heart more than I do in my own times of adversity. I could ask myself why, but I already know, and I'm good with the answer, and I know the Lord approves. There is a reason for that.

Though it isn't possible to fully understand the depth of the Savior's suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane when the sins and pains of the world were laid upon His shoulders, each time we open our hearts to the pain and suffering of others and love them with pure hearts, we are sharing our Savior's love with them, and in turn, having our own vision of what Christ did for each of us in the Garden and on the cross illuminated a tiny bit at a time.

Christ did not come to the earth just for himself, and neither did we. Christ's heart was always full of compassion, His bowels always full of mercy for others. We should possess those same attributes. They should shine from within us.

I don't like experiencing the pain of adversity in behalf of loved ones because it is too painful . . . but I will take it and love them for it.
Because the Savior did no less for me.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Value of Righteous Women

In my daily prayers, I frequently plead with Heavenly Father to help me to be as wise as Mother Eve, to have the courage of Esther, and to possess the virtue and obedience of Mary, mother of the Savior. I frequently ponder these and other righteous women of the Bible, as well as women mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

When thinking about the latter, I feel a deep admiration for the Mothers of the 2000 Stripling Warriors. Because the people of Ammon had made a covenant to never again to take up their weapons and shed blood, and Helaman’s plea for them not to break their covenant when the threat of danger was upon them again, their sons–all of whom were not under that covenant–“entered into a covenant to fight for the liberty of the Nephites, yea, to protect the land unto the laying down of their lives.” (Alma 53: 16-17)

Their sons were young, yet when these brave youths fought for the freedom of their people under the command of Helaman, they were obedient and fearless. They fought valiantly, and as a result, all their lives were spared. Not one of them was lost. These young men had great faith and had been taught by their mothers to believe in God and not doubt. None of them had ever fought before, “yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.” (Alma 56: 47-48)

What strength, virtue, and faith these mothers must have possessed! Imagine the love of God and obedience that must have been rooted firmly in them to have made such a monumental impact on their sons with their teachings! It is amazing to me and leaves me speechless at times just thinking about it!

This is the strength, faith, courage, virtue, humility, meekness, righteousness, and holiness I desire with burning intensity. These are the attributes we should all be striving to possess. Eve, Ruth, Naomi, Esther, Mary, Abish, the Mothers of the Stripling Warriors, and so many other righteous women of the scriptures–these are the amazing souls we need to emulate in word and deed with all our hearts, because they were so like Christ, which is who we are commanded to be like.

I will never cease praying for this, not only for myself, but for all of us. Because just think of the righteous youth we will raise if we–like these women–forsake Babylon and cling to the things of God!