October 2, 2011

Inspired Analogy of the Forget Me Not Flower--my thoughts, my take

I just love this time of year.  The crisp weather, the yummy "comfort" food (bring on the baked goods), and the opportunity to listen to the Lords word.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we believe that the heavens are still open, that God continues to speak to his children (through personal revelation and His chosen servants), that God has a  modern day Prophet ( President Thomas S. Monson) and Apostles on this earth to lead and guide His children (whether you believe this or not is your choice...just hear me out), and it is our privilege twice a year (the first weekend of every April and October) to hear from said Prophet and Apostles.

We call it General Conference.

This weekend marked the 181st Semi-Annual Session of it.  It is held in a HUGE conference center in Utah and broadcast all over the WORLD via television, radio, satellite, cable and the internet.  We, as in my family and I, watch it live, in the comforts of our own home, through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints website.  These messages/addresses/talks as we call them are not just meant for the ears of the member of our church but for ANYONE with a yearning to be edified, uplifted and encouraged by the word of God. 

I remember, as a kid, dreading conference...thinking it was so boring and lasted FOREVER!!!! (now I hear these words from MY kids).  There are four, two hour sessions, two on Saturday and two on Sunday, meant for members of all ages/genders, a 1.5 hour meeting specifically geared towards women, the weekend prior, and a two hour meeting specifically geared towards men on Saturday evening. (Yes, that is 12 hours all together.)

Now that I am older and wiser, gone are the feelings of dread.  I look forward to it and take time beforehand praying and prepare myself that I might be in tune with the spirit of the Lord enough to pick up on  the messages, from him, FOR ME personally (although, admittedly, yesterday I was quite distracted by other matters). 

I yearn to hear messages of  HOPE and be filled with blessings of LOVE.  These have been my lifeline these last several years.  Without them...I would be destitute...I need recharging...I can't do this alone. 

Last weekend I attended the General Relief Society Meeting (the one for the women) with my grandma, mom, sister, and sister-in law (all of whom were in town visiting me...it was awesome).  I was prepared to be hear words of encouragement, HOPE, happiness, acceptance, support and love...and I was not disappointed.

While there were MANY beautiful words spoken, I was completely drawn to the words of Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf and his analogy of the Forget Me Not  flower.  It was awesome!  I couldn't write notes fast enough.  My hand was completely cramped after only a few minutes (which is why I am SO grateful they republish it so you can watch, listen, read, print, and share it from the website)

Oh man...was this talk meant for my hearing, of that I am sure, and I felt compelled to share it with you, my readers.  I know many of you are struggling, unhappy and unsure.  I hope his words fill you with the same amount of HOPE and faith and love that they did for me. 

I've jotted down here (okay...actually cut and pasted) some of my favorite passages and added a few of my own thought, feeling, and/or emphisis's in either (parenthesis) or bold.  Really, the little tidbits I chose do not do the entire address justice...be sure and read it.

He says, talking about the Forget-Me-Not flower: 
"It does not attract immediate attention; it is easy to overlook among larger and more vibrant flowers; yet it is just as beautiful, with its rich color that mirrors that of the bluest skies (he's a pilot and always finds a way to make some mention of it in his addresses)...Tonight I would like to use this little flower as a metaphor. The five petals of the little forget-me-not flower prompt me to consider five things we would be wise never to forget."
 #1 Forget not to be patient with yourself
"I want to tell you something that I hope you will take in the right way: God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect...Everyone has strengths and weaknesses...God wants to help us to eventually turn all of our weaknesses into strengths, but He knows that this is a long-term goal. He wants us to become perfect, and if we stay on the path of discipleship, one day we will. It’s OK that you’re not quite there yet. Keep working on it, but stop punishing yourself."
 #2 Forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice.  
 "An acceptable sacrifice is when we give up something good for something of far greater worth...Every person and situation is different, and a good sacrifice in one instance might be a foolish sacrifice in another...How can we tell the difference for our own situation? We can ask ourselves, “Am I committing my time and energies to the things that matter most?” There are so many good things to do, but we can’t do all of them. Our Heavenly Father is most pleased when we sacrifice something good for something far greater with an eternal perspective."
(This one hit home...I spend how many countless hours doing what I deem to be "good" things (like writing this blog to offer help to others) to the extent, sometimes, that I neglect my children and abandon my duties as a wife, mother, maid, cook, etc....hmmmmm....made me think.)
#3 Forget not to be happy NOW!
"In this classic children’s story (speaking previously of Charlie and the Chocolate factory), people all over the world desperately yearn to find a golden ticket. Some feel that their entire future happiness depends on whether or not a golden ticket falls into their hands. In their anxiousness, people begin to forget the simple joy they used to find in a candy bar. The candy bar itself becomes an utter disappointment if it does not contain a golden ticket....So many people today are waiting for their own golden ticket—the ticket that they believe holds the key to the happiness they have always dreamed about. For some, the golden ticket may be a perfect marriage; for others, a magazine-cover home or perhaps freedom from stress or worry (speaking to someone like me with anxiety...now that would be MY golden ticket)...

The lesson here is that if we spend our days waiting for fabulous roses, we could miss the beauty and wonder of the tiny forget-me-nots that are all around us.

This is not to say that we should abandon hope or temper our goals. Never stop striving for the best that is within you. Never stop hoping for all of the righteous desires of your heart. But don’t close your eyes and hearts to the simple and elegant beauties of each day’s ordinary moments that make up a rich, well-lived life.

The happiest people I know are not those who find their golden ticket; they are those who, while in pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments. They are the ones who, thread by daily thread, weave a tapestry of gratitude and wonder throughout their lives. These are they who are truly happy."
#4  Forget not the "why" of the gospel
"My dear sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is not an obligation; it is a pathway, marked by our loving Father in Heaven, leading to happiness and peace in this life and glory and inexpressible fulfillment in the life to come. The gospel is a light that penetrates mortality and illuminates the way before us.

While understanding the “what” and the “how” of the gospel is necessary, the eternal fire and majesty of the gospel springs from the “why.” When we understand why our Heavenly Father has given us this pattern for living, when we remember why we committed to making it a foundational part of our lives, the gospel ceases to become a burden and, instead, becomes a joy and a delight. It becomes precious and sweet."

The “what” and “how” of obedience mark the way and keep us on the right path. The “why” of obedience sanctifies our actions, transforming the mundane into the majestic. It magnifies our small acts of obedience into holy acts of consecration.
#5 Forget not that the Lord loves you (oh...this one is OH SO IMPORTANT!)
"As a child, when I would look at the little forget-me-nots, I sometimes felt a little like that flower—small and insignificant. I wondered if I would be forgotten by my family or by my Heavenly Father...

(this next statement gave me the chills...it was so powerful)

Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love.

My dear sisters, you are closer to heaven than you suppose. You are destined for more than you can possibly imagine. Continue to increase in faith and personal righteousness. Accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ as your way of life. Treasure the gift of service...Continue to strengthen homes and families. Continue to seek out and help others who need your and the Lord’s help." 

(and in his closing remarks)

"...there is something inspiring and sublime about the little forget-me-not flower. I hope it will be a symbol of the little things that make your lives joyful and sweet. Please never forget that you must be patient and compassionate with yourselves, that some sacrifices are better than others, that you need not wait for a golden ticket to be happy. Please never forget that the “why” of the gospel of Jesus Christ will inspire and uplift you. And never forget that your Heavenly Father knows, loves, and cherishes you."

These last several weeks have been really difficult...some of which has to do with coming off antidepressants and subsequently dealing with things I have not had to deal with for a long time (look for an update soon).

Elder Uchtdorfs words were a healing balm to my poor tattered spirit, mind, and body...a reminder of what is most important in this life...and a call to do better (and yet giving myself a break when I fall short) and to become more Christlike.

I know, without a shadow of a doubt, he is an Apostle of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and I know he was inspired to present those words to me, to you...FOR me, and for YOU.

I love you, my readers...I love you and I care about you.

I know it sounds crazy (and a little too personal since I don't even know most of you), but it is what it is...and I do.  I can't help it.  :) 

I pray for you often, asking the Lord what he would have me share with you.  I also ask Him to show me a fraction, just a fraction, of the love He has for you.  And He does.  And it overwhelms me.  It's SO amazing. 

He loves you SO dearly....more than can be expressed or even understood by our mere mortal minds.

Of this I know.  And I wanted YOU to know it too.



P.S. I love to hear from you!
Leave a comment or you can e-mail me at melaniesmethodicalmusings at gmail dot com

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Melanie said...

I've had a lot of people having trouble making comments.

So, I've changed things up.

Hopefully it's working now and y'all can leave your thoughts to your hearts content.

I really do love hearing from you. :)


The Larsen Gang said...

Hope this works! I have missed leaving comments....

The Larsen Gang said...

Wohoo! It worked!
Loved what you said about the forget me not talk! It was just what I needed when I heard it and I can't wait to start studying it more!
Thanks Melanie...you are fantastic!

Melanie said...

Carrie...I'm so glad it worked too. I have missed your comments as well.

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