Back to church…finally. Three weeks feels like an eternity to be at home. But being back in that beautiful building and being welcomed by everyone I had missed was such a great feeling. There have been times when I would have happily stayed home from church in the past. In fact, I'm sure I've longed to sit on the couch on more than one Sunday. But these last three weeks, I've found it very difficult to stay home while my whole family goes to church without me.
Today, Emma gave a talk about preparing for the Second Coming…holy cow! What a huge topic for a 13 year old. She was SO nervous and then just as we were walking from the parking lot to the building, her little shoe broke…ugh…poor thing. She was nervous, frustrated, and now shoeless while she sat up on the stand waiting to give her talk. But she did a fantastic job. Somehow my children have been blessed with an amazing ability to express themselves and find relevant, personal experiences that illustrate whatever topic they've been asked to speak on. It was so sweet to watch her up there, nervous and a little weepy, but still very confident. She got so many compliments. I was so proud of her.
During the second hour, Craig and I taught our new-ish Sunday School class. We teach the 16-17 year olds, but until the 18 year olds graduate and go off to college or missions, they'll stay in our class, too. So along with the 5 additional Sophomores that we've acquired this year, we also have our original 15 Juniors and Seniors…phew! It's a good thing we have a huge room because 20 kids is A LOT! I absolutely LOVE them, though. Craig mostly taught and I mostly filled in the spaces with personal stories, but I can't tell you how happy I was to be back in that classroom surrounded by all those amazing kids. They have such great insight and they totally inspire me to think harder, and do better, and learn more.
In Relief Society, we had our first lesson from the new Joseph Fielding Smith manual. He was an amazing man. I so enjoyed hearing the history of his life and the graceful, faithful way he endured the many challenges he faced. The bulk of the lesson was about understanding the divine characteristics of Heavenly Father. Another weighty topic…but…right in the middle of the lesson, the teacher played this video excerpt of a Conference talk from 2011:
"Please understand that what you see and experience now is not what forever will be. You will not feel loneliness, sorrow, pain, or discouragement forever. We have the faithful promise of God that He will neither forget nor forsake those who incline their hearts to Him. Have hope and faith in that promise. Learn to love your Heavenly Father and become His disciple in word and in deed.
Be assured that if you but hold on, believe in Him, and remain faithful in keeping the commandments, one day you will experience for yourself the promises revealed to the Apostle Paul: "Eye hath not seen, not ear heard, neither have entered into the hearts of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)
Brothers and sisters, the most powerful Being in the universe is the Father of your spirit. He knows you. He loves you with a perfect love.
God sees you not only as a mortal being on a small planet who lives for a brief season - He sees you as His child. He sees you as the being you are capable and designed to become. He wants you to know that you matter to Him."
Here's what I heard…
There's amazing stuff coming. My life is abundant and wonderful right now, and I am aware of that everyday, but there are things that I am impatient for…grandchildren, missions, weddings, future callings, retirement, etc. I have a hard time being patient and waiting for the things that I know are coming in the future. But Heavenly Father knows me. He wants me to learn patience, to have faith in Him, and to be good so that all of those things that I have seen glimpses of, I will actually be prepared for and worthy to receive.
I am so grateful, not only to have been able to go to church today, but also to have been reminded once again that Heavenly Father has everything under control. I'm grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who has a uniquely divine plan for each of us.
Be Good. Be Patient. Don't Forget.