Thursday, March 31, 2016

Live by faith and not fear

"Come on you guys!  I am NOT going to be late!", I insisted to the kids.  We were pulled over a couple blocks east of Temple Square on a residential road where we were each taking turns pulling on skirts, taking off pants, the boys trading out their shorts for long pants and the girls into their heels.  You can just picture it right?  We've all been there before.  Or have we?  haha  We were headed to a concert of a lifetime as far as I was concerned, and I knew the kids would fall in love with the idea and thank me all the way back home.  We were to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform Handel's Messiah.

 I had been introduced to the Messiah when I was in eighth grade and I played in the orchestra for the first time with my grandma.  I fell in love with it.  I looked forward to playing in it every December.  When I moved away, I found a university I could play with and performed it in a cathedral in downtown Louisville.  A few years ago, I was able to return to my hometown and perform it once again with all the people I had performed it with so many years earlier.  My heart was full.  When I heard that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir would be performing it, I wrote it on the calendar, I had each kid help get tickets on different computers, laptops and the iPad the second they became available.  It was a stressful two minutes.  But once we got our tickets, I practically danced on the floor, screamed, hugged the kids and couldn't wait for Thursday March 24th to come.  

And then, there we were all finally dressed up and heading to the tabernacle on Temple Square.  The boys went one direction and the girlies and I went another with my mom and dad.  We found seats and just waited for it to begin.  And then the first note of the Overture began.  I found myself with my eyes closed just listening and waiting to hear every beloved song.  Each song was familiar and just as perfect as it should be.  Tears streamed down my face from time to time, with so much gratitude for so many things.  The music was beautiful, I almost felt like Mr. Kruger conducting the choir while day dreaming, but I was playing my violin.  The words were beautiful and I knew in my heart that they were true.  My children were witnessing the best musical score ever written as far as I was concerned. I thought back to the last few weeks.  I was doing and feeling so well, my children and I were all reading our Book of Mormons for March Madness without any incentives, J had possibly found an Eagle Project we are passionate about, it would be Easter in just three days, I was approaching the 20 year mark of the day my life changed in Louisville and would be returning there in three weeks for the first time in 18 years, my son had gotten a job, everything seemed to be so perfect in my life at the moment.  And then I got scared....

For a moment my mind left the tabernacle and my favorite music to a scary place that I go to quite often.  With everything going so well and perfect, surely something awful must be around the corner.  What catastrophic thing will hit me or my family?  Things just seemed too good to be true and falling into place too easily.  But then....

I thought about my Book of Mormon reading and how I read over and over how if we live like we should, we will prosper in the land.  So I immediately felt as though we were being blessed by immersing ourselves in the Book of Mormon this month.  But then I quickly remembered that I wasn't living any more righteously than I had been in February.  So then what?  

That's when I felt the Spirit come over me and I returned back to my beloved Messiah.  The Spirit comforted me and taught me that "prosper in the land" doesn't only refer to money or having more.  It could definitely be blessings, things happening, and in my case, learning to live by faith and not fear.  That I was supposed to enjoy that concert, the time with my children, finding an Eagle Project, watching my children read so many pages a day in March, celebrating Easter and that my Savior Lives, the fact that I get to return to Louisville where I witnessed so many miracles, etc.  I can be happy and live in each moment and continue to express so much gratitude for all that I have and have become.  

I loved seeing my girls jump up on their feet when they heard the beginning chords of the Hallelujah Chorus.  And then there was the final song, "Worthy is the Lamb".  It was unlike any other time I had ever heard it.  It was spectacular and in the last minute of the song, it was as though Handel himself was conducting the choir and orchestra as a testimony of his finest work.  It seemed miraculous.  

That night as I knelt down for family prayer with my children around our hotel beds, I insisted that I say the prayer.  I expressed so much gratitude for what we had just experienced.  I poured out my heart so that my children could hear and learn that I too could learn from the Spirit, and that it had been a direct blessing of immersing myself in the Book of Mormon.  It was the perfect day.

In the last week since then, I've thought more about my reading and what I got from it.  I actually finished it yesterday before the kids got home from school.  I read and read and couldn't put it down waiting for today to finish it.  I loved how it teaches us that there would be a Savior from the very beginning.  That we are not lost.  I love the faith of those that lived before Jesus Christ came to earth, and how they believed He would come and redeem them from their sins.  What faith!  I wonder if I have that kind of faith or would I have, not having heard about His life on earth, the miracles he performed, the sacrifices that he made, or pictures of him throughout my entire home.  I would hope so. I am so grateful for Him.

I found myself underlining so much of Ether and the last chapter in Moroni.  They are beautiful.  When I finished the book I sat there for a moment and then fell to my knees.  I cried as I uttered the words that The Book of Mormon had become my best friend in March and that I would miss it.  I loved the fact that it was always on my mind, that I always spent time with it, and that it always had a positive influence on me.  I kind of mourned a little and then thought, I can always have it as my best friend.  The relationship is what I make of it.  And then I was content and knew I could turn to it any time.  Then rather than asking to have the Spirit witness to me again that the book was indeed true, I almost raced and quickly told Heavenly Father that I didn't need that.  That I already knew with a surety that it was, and this time I just wanted to express my gratitude.  I was so grateful for the Spirit comforting me and teaching me to live with faith and not fear.  I was grateful for those prophets that were obedient and kept records.  I was grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and His purpose for coming to the earth.  I was grateful for the confidence I had gained and the desire to share my knowledge and testimony more.  Thankful that I have the gospel.  Thankful for a living prophet.  Thankful for my family.  And the list goes on and on.

I had so many friends and family join me this year.  I promised them that they would have a good experience if they would commit to reading the entire Book of Mormon in March.  It's not always comprehending everything that you read.  It's whatever the Lord knows you need and what you have faith to see, recognize and receive.  

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