I got to go to church today! Sure, maybe for you this is ordinary, but with all the sickness here lately, I have only been able to attend very sporadically since the middle of November, and my heart has missed it. I used to never think of going to church as particularly restful. Serving at church can honestly wear me out some days, but I have learned that it impacts me differently than some other ways of wearing myself out. My body might be worn out, but usually my spirit is fed in ways I might not realize.
The rest of my Sabbath has been spent working on this journaling project, disinfecting the house, and taking care of Mr. Hot Stuff, who is still very sick. The doctor has him on helpful medication, but even so, sick is sick. No fun.
We have some neighbors moving away soon. When neighbor friends move away, it leaves gaps I’m not sure anyone else can fill, and part of me doesn’t want those gaps to be filled. But another part of me hopes that there will be new friends who move in, and they will join us for our neighborhood party on the 4h of July, and they’ll help eat the leftovers when we plan too much food for a reception, and we can help them catch their dog when it runs off.
It’s hard to see these neighbors go. These friends have been influential in our lives and in the leadership of our church. I hope the best for them in their new homes, and that they will prosper in every way. But I will miss them. I will miss their examples of service, and I hope that I will give better service in the future because of the quiet service I’ve seen them give.
One of these dear friends has a terminal illness that requires his family to move to a new home where they can better accommodate his needs. It’s been hard to see this strong, kind, and generous man physically deteriorate. At the same time, I have seen him and his family gain a fierce spiritual strength that serves everyone who knows them by the example they set. Do they have days of struggle and heartbreak? Absolutely, but it seems like whenever I talk to them, they continually talk about how God’s grace is present in their lives.
Seeing families I know face hardship and death with confidence and love helps me to understand the things I read in the Book of Mormon this week. We all deal with trouble and loss in our own ways. Some of us turn to the Lord, knowing that He is the God we can trust. Some of us turn away from him in our pain and anger, even though we’ve had previous experience to see His helping hand in our lives. Some of us do a little of each. Either way, I’ve seen that God always his hand out, ready to share our burden when we turn our hearts to Him.
In the Come Follow Me reading this week, Nephi’s father dies and it seems like his life kind of blows up in his face. His two oldest brothers want to kill him (again), so he and those who support him have to suddenly pack up house and move far away from the brothers & Co. who hate him.
More and more, I realize that having a testimony of the truth of the gospel is not enough. What really matters when crunch time arrives is whether or not I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Do I really know and trust him to be a loving older brother? How much do I believe him when he says he understands my pain and trials? Do I trust that he and our Father have everything worked out for my best good, and they can see the win that comes in the future? Can I pray, and cry to God from my place of pain, and in the next breath turn my heart and thoughts to praise him? Do I love Jesus enough that I never want to leave him, that I would give everything I have just to know him better? Do I live after the manner of happiness?
Here are the rest of this week’s journal pages: