Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday November 26

Life is so fleeting.  We never know from one day to the next what will come our way.  The passing of my dear aunt drove that reality into my soul.  But one thing I do know, Heavenly Father gives us challenges for a reason.  When we are called upon to lose one we love so suddenly and unexpectedly, we are blessed to get through it.  I felt the strength of the Larsen family as we attended both Judy's viewing and funeral.  What a great turnout they had for the viewing!  The line was clear down the hall!  It took us almost 45 minutes to even get to the room where the casket was!  What a tribute to her amazing life!  Her school children, that she had to leave behind, make a crayon wreath for her.  They also wrote notes, which Tara and Kristy put into a book, about the things they loved about their dear teacher.  It was truly touching to see the outpouring of love from her dear kindergarten children.  They are struggling with her loss too.  But at such a tender age, such sadness is to be expected.

The funeral was nothing short of amazing!  The spirit permeated the room. As we all gathered for family prayer, my heart just burned within me.  I knew my aunt was happy.  I knew she was with my grandpa, my uncle, my step-grandpa, and my sweet daughter.  I knew her family would be strengthened through each awful day.  We don't always know why things happen the way they do.  I know I questioned so many times last week why Judy was taken now, so quickly after Grandpa Morgan.  But truly through this whole experience, the Lord gave the family many tender mercies.  Because of Grandpa Morgan's funeral, we all saw Judy one last time.  The family also did not have to turn off the life support machines.  She went quietly on her own.  At Judy's funeral, many family members and extended family members were in attendance.  I felt their strength and I wasn't even an immediate family member!  There is such strength in family!  I can't believe how much it meant to me to see my dear great aunts, uncles, and cousins surround the Larsen family!  They needed that outpouring of love and it was there in abundance!  The talks during the services were eloquent.  The music was beautiful and touching.  I wished I could bottle up the feelings I felt and lock them away forever!

I know our family will get through this time of loss.  I am so grateful to belong to such a wonderful family.  I have amazing aunts, uncles, and cousins who are stalwart examples of what a Christ-like person should be.  If anything, their examples make me want to be a better person each day so I can be with them in the Celestial Kingdom someday.  Maybe, just maybe, if I try as hard as I can, I can reach their level of excellence.  I am so grateful for this experience, for the testimony builder it has been.  I am thankful for the reminders that Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ, walk with us each and every day.  They bind up the broken heart and help the wounded soul to heal.  They fill our hearts with peace.  I am also equally grateful for the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  I know the comforter was with us all during the past week.  He will continue to be with us over the coming months.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Angels Will Attend Us

I haven't written for some time now, at least not in this blog, but this morning I was overcome with gratitude for so many things.  But before I begin discussing my gratitude, I want to explain what has spawned my thinking as of late.  Only a few short days ago, my wonderful aunt passed away unexpectedly.  Her death hit our family very hard.  She was young, in the prime of life, with so much of her life left to live.  We are all grieving her loss in a deep and agonizing way.  Today we will travel down to Sandy for her viewing and funeral.  Her passing got me to thinking:  what helped me to survive the passing of my beautiful angel and how has my heart come to heal from the sting of death?  In my search for an answer, I was led to a beautiful talk by Merrill J. Bateman, entitled "The Power to Heal from Within."  As I listened and read the conference address, my heart filled with peace.  I knew exactly why I was able to let my sweet daughter go and what helped me to keep moving forward after her departure.

First of all, Heavenly Father always gives us what we need to get through any trial that may come our way.  After Ashley died, I had many angels that surrounded me and helped me get through each day.  The first was Summer Nelson.  She invited me to attend the temple with her every week, which I did.  In the Holy Temple, I felt so much peace!  It invigorated my soul and reminded me my girl was always near.  I would not have gone to the temple every week without Summer.  Heavenly Father inspired her to ask me to come with her because he knew attending the temple would help me to heal.  And it did!  It helped me more than any other survival tactic I implemented.  (0:

Then there was the move to Logan.  I was a hopeless mess when we came here.  My anxiety was through the roof.  I was struggling with dizziness and depression, spawned by all the changes in our life at the time.  I felt so nervous and unconfident.  I was enrolled in school, but doubted my ability to be successful.  In fact, at that time, I didn't think I had anything to offer the world as far as skills go.  I had been a stay at home mom for the past 12 years.  I knew how to care for my daughter and care for my sweet boys, but that was about all.  I was nervous about traveling to campus and sitting in classrooms with students years younger than myself.  However, I continued to pray and have faith I would find the right path for me.  I did indeed find the path I was seeking.  I was blessed to get hired at Woodruff where I discovered I did have skills other than my mom skills.  I was surrounded by wonderful women who were loving and supportive.  The social interaction I had there truly kept me going through that first year, when I was endlessly trapped in the clutches of darkness and depression.  My school courses were also a heaven sent distraction.  I discovered I was not only able to study, but excel in my courses.  I grew to love the things I was learning and the chance to work toward a worthwhile goal.  Heavenly Father knew I needed that job at Woodruff.  He knew I needed school.  He gave me those blessings to help me survive.  I will be forever grateful for his guiding hand through each and every day!

The blessings have continued to fill my life.  Last year, when I needed a psychology apprenticeship, I was blessed to find the right research groups to join.  Every piece fell perfectly in place and I was able to finish my psychology degree without any hitches. I was blessed with the financial aid I needed so I could attend school in the summer.  In fact, the financial aid came through only two days before the tuition deadline hit.  Not only that, but as I have continued to pursue graduate school, the pieces have once again fallen into place.  I know I am supposed to continue on and that Heavenly Father will bless me in my desires to gain the education I need.  My patriarchal blessing specifically states this goal is of the utmost importance and I would be blessed with the means to finish my education.  I have literally seen the fulfillment of this promise.

On top of my education, I was given the calling of primary chorister.  This call was truly inspired!  I never dreamed I would be able to stand in front of children and teach them music every week.  But I can and I have been blessed every step of the way.  Week after week, I have been blessed to find fun activities that make learning songs enjoyable.  And I have to say, I am good at it!  This calling has given me a level of confidence I didn't think was possible.  I look forward to every Sunday.  Heavenly Father knew this calling would help me to grow and believe in myself and it has!!

I know the Lord watches over us.  He heals our broken hearts.  He sends us angels to bare us up.  The trials we have in this life help us to grow in ways we never thought possible.  I know every trial I have had in my life has given me strength and taught me more than I could ever imagine.  I feel the blessings and lessons I received during Ashley's passing have given me what I need to be a strength to my cousins at this time of terrible loss.  I know in time, they too will feel that healing peace in their hearts.  It will come.  They will be given what they need to survive.  They will have angels attend them.  How much I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  I know it is true!  It brings peace to our souls and healing to our hearts.  Of this I testify!