Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas Tears and Christmas Joys!

None of us are naive enough that we think there aren't hardships and trials this time of year.  In fact, my car broke down yesterday and it was one of those 'last straw' type things.  We had to borrow grandpa's car a few times yesterday to get us where we needed to go as well as this morning to take Ashley to her Institute classes.

I was just on my knees a few minutes ago (who among us does not feel despair from time to time) and the tears were flowing.  Just in the midst of it all I heard a unique and rare sound on my phone (yes, I still don't know how all the noises on my phone work).  I looked at it to see who was 'writing'.  It was a personal message to me (and to all of you) from the First Presidency.  Wow!  I read it and ...yes, the tears flowed even more freely (their messages will go to all who have their emails listed on their ward account page.)

Both tears and joy are part of this mortal experience.  We're always grateful for people that lift us when we're having a hard time and...we're also happy when we can be the ones to lift.  I've experienced both, many times.  I don't like to feel in despair and sadness - but...those have often been companions throughout my years of low-income single-parenting; the hardest thing I've ever done.

Yet, the blessings of peace and love have also come.  Sometimes through an email or text, sometimes a pat on the back, sometimes from a financial boost from someone who truly knows our circumstances.  For all those I've been grateful.  We've been the recipient of others' kindnesses - which was foreign to me in the beginning but which I needed to learn from.  It's helped me be much more compassionate and understanding and aware of the needs of others.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons for suffering and struggles, so we'll get past all the outward things and focus on the heart.

Anyway, the First Presidency has just announced that they'll be sending out regular messages in an effort to connect with a global church membership.  What a incredible thing that is!  We're able to feel of their love on a personal level amongst millions of us worldwide.

Our Savior, Redeemer and Friend
Their efforts touched me deeply.  It wasn't by-chance that this happened. I felt it a tender mercy for me from the Lord this day.  I hope that many of you will feel the same!

My desire of all I have done online for the past 10 years (which has been MUCH) has been to bless and uplift others'.  Often that has been done by sharing messages of light and truth that have uplifted me personally. I haven't made much money on most of what I've done.  It's been an act of love and a desire to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the world.

My sadness at this time of year is that we're doing without.  My daughter just returned from missionary service and my son is in the MTC headed for his mission next week.  We moved in with my parents in order to make this all work.  We've tried to help them a lot over the years, and they've helped us, but...this time around it's particularly hard and...has taken a toll on my in several ways.  Yet, we press on and we're grateful for a roof over our heads. We know that many in the world are worse-off than us so we try to retain that perspective and be grateful IN our circumstances.

Over the years we've sacrificed much to be able to be an at-home family.  I've tried to be creative in ways to provide for my children while still doing what I felt was the most important thing I could ever do; and that was to be a mother to my children.  No one could take my place and I deeply felt it was my God-given calling and most important responsibility (and JOY) in life.  So, we've done it and...done without many of the worlds goods and opportunities -  though we've been greatly blessed in other ways.  (Really, I AM grateful.  It's just a struggle at present.)

This season we're lower income than ever before.  I've tried not to worry.  I work hard and I do all I can to follow the guidance of the Spirit in my life but things are tough and we don't have enough income to pay for all the basic things that are needful. I've tried to find a 'sponsor' for my site but that's been hard to do.  Most of them need to make an income by selling something and, the departments in the church have to make sure that everything they share is doctrinal.  I don't have anything to 'sell' but the good news of the gospel.  So, I'm trying to figure out my next step. 

I've helped a lot of people over the years and have tried to connect them for the greater good.  Many of them are making an income for themselves and many are not (those who do this for service - as I've done).

I've come to know that some online ads 'cheapen' the site and take away from the message I felt to share.  And, also, it's been shown that people are 'ad blind'.  They look past the ads to find real content.  So, for that reason, I removed the few ads I had and...have just continued to offer this as a service.  And, I've loved doing it. 

We reach a large audience and have tried to do only the things that the Lord would have us do.  (Personal revelation is real and is a treasured gift.)

I guess I share this today because I know that this time of year can be hard for many.  When we focus on struggles they seem to take over.  But, thanks to the #FirstPresidency today, they got me back to my focus on Christ, instead of lingering in despair.  Their beautiful words " order to share timely and valuable messages that can strengthen our love for Jesus Christ, for our families, and for those around us" struck a chord within me.  I was still on my knees and so my prayer became one of gratitude for The First Presidency reminding me about the life of Christ, His teachings, and His encouragement when we think all is lost.  He is my dear friend and I love Him.

I'm still not sure how we're going to make it this month or in going forward.  I continually work hard and pray for guidance in that regard.  But, I am determined to not let the discouragement and tears overtake the joy of the season and of the Lord, whom I love and serve.  He is my hope, He is my joy, and He is my comfort.  That is the truth.

We're here on 'trial' to see if we'll follow Him no matter what comes.  I hope to be true and faithful in all things as do all those who truly love Him and want to follow His example.

I guess that is my current test.  Will I keep Him in my thoughts and heart at all times?  Will I let Him comfort and guide me?  Or will I choose misery and pain that comes from doing the opposite?

Courage, Me, and 'on to the victory'!  :)  "There's a bright crown in-store" (a message from a favorite hymn.)

I thank all you readers out there most of whom never leave any comments.

We have a large viewership and hope that all we've done online (several blogs, FB groups, twitter accounts, G+ pages) has made a difference to someone.  It's a drop by drop thing.  Most of us don't post things that are immediately shared - such as jokes or funny or strange events.  Most of us, Mormon Moms, share things that are of eternal value and perhaps they don't get the big attention but...if one soul is blessed - then, we're gratified.


Our Family - Nov. 2014