The other day I got an email from my sister. In the email she included an email that I had sent to her in 2006. She was struggling with some things at the time and emailed me a few questions, my response was the email she just sent back to me.
My sister had printed the email and keeps it in her journal. She said that she has highlighted parts and written notes in all over the paper.
I read the email I sent to her. While I was reading I kept feeling like it was something I wanted to post here. However, to be honest, I don't quite know how to do it without feeling like I am taking credit for the words in the email.
I remember writing this email to her. I remember praying A LOT for days. I remember discussing it with Ryan and I remember studying my scriptures. She had reached out to me and I wanted so badly for her to feel and know what I knew. She is one seriously amazing girl. I knew it then and I still do. I hoped that she would realize it for herself. She had quite a tendency to worry about things. I think that one runs in the family.
I remember as I wrote this email that the words just flowed right out of me. It was a moment when I realized that I was totally an instrument. It was a blessing to both of us!
As I re-read this email I reflected a bit on that time of my life. Likely the twins were just home from the hospital for the first time. I was still at the beginning, and I am sure I thought I was at the end, of a huge trial in my life. The best experience I have ever had. Something that completely changed the definition of who I am .
So, I am going to share this with you. I still passionately believe that these things are true, even more so. It is an important message. One I was grateful to learn as I typed this out for her. It is long, but I really appreciated being reminded of all of this! Here you go.......
It is just fine to be afraid of Satan, in fact you should be in some ways. Today in Sunday School we talked for a little bit about the "tools" that Satan uses:deceive, snare, flatter, lie, trap, and much more.
Let me just say this first. Satan does not have power, but what we give him. If you know who he is and what he is trying to do, and you strive continually to avoid his pitfalls you do not give him any power. The Lord did not give him power, but He gave us power over him, "And I will put enmity (deep seeded hatred) between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed; and he shall bruise they head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Moses 4:21)
This means that as a protection the Lord placed hatred between us and him, so that we would naturally be enemies, and not try to find common ground. Then he adds the whole bruising part. If WE give Satan any power, meaning we fall into his traps, or not follow the Lord, then WE have given him the power to merely "bruise our heel", which is not literal. of course, but we need to remember that at all times we have more power than he does, "he shall bruise thy head". It is just if we are going to try to use it or not. Will we surrender all of our power over to him or will we use the power that we have been GIVEN to overcome him?
Now, knowing that you have to remember that Satan is not allowed to take from us that which is not given. He cannot take any of our family or anything from you. TRIALS DO NOT COME FROM HIM!
In this life we will go through and experience much hardship and pain. Look at the Prophet Joseph. Didn't he give all, even eventually his life for the cause of the gospel and the restoration? He suffered SOOOOOO much. But was he a down trodden man? NO, he struggled, but he had no fear. Do me a favor right now and read ALL of these scriptures that I give you. Ryan wants me to include some scriptures because revelation comes through personal scripture study, and you will receive your own as you read these things. You can open another browser so this one is still open, then go to www.lds.org and search them on the computer or you can get your own scriptures and follow along. You choose. Just make sure that you either ponder or are able answer each question before moving on (if there is one). Here you go: (if you have a printer, print this out and you can take it somewhere quiet)
*What was Satan's Plan? What did he want as his reward?
*What was Christs Plan? What did He want as His reward?
* Think about this: In the pre existence we all had our free agency. All of our spirits were literally born to our Father and Mother in Heaven (GOD Bible Dict.) They really are our parents. Your relationship changes with the Lord once you understand that relationship. Jesus Christ was the first born of all of the children. Somewhere near the first was Lucifer. We were taught and again able to use our free agency. Some advanced more than the rest. Some led a rebellion, looking to overturn our Fathers' Plan and take his Glory.
When the Lord presented the plan, why do you think of all of the billions and millions of spirits would only 2 step forward?
ATONE BD (bible dictionary) Look for the word for-ordination
*If Jesus Christ was for ordained (God knew that Jesus Christ must be the one and would be the only one who could perform the atonement) why didn't the Lord just say, "so this is the plan, and Jesus Christ is the one to go". Do you think it has anything to do with free agency? Do you think that we knew that He was the One? How do you think you felt when Satan, who had previously among us showed his open rebellion against our Father and Jesus, stepped forward trying to overturn God's plan? How did you feel when Jesus Christ in all humility, loving each one of us, His brothers and sisters more than we could comprehend stepped forward, and offered himself wanting nothing in return?
*Here is a thought that I have. Lucifer had showed rebellion for a long time. He had been trying hard to convince as many of us as he could that his way was the best way, and he was waiting for the right time to present his plan to more of us. Unfortunately, his words were flattering, he was cunning, and deceitful. Many of our brothers and sisters, using their free agency then followed him, when we fought to make him leave.
*Do you think that Satan, when cast out of heaven thought, "oh well, I failed, He wins, I will just spend my days pestering everyone here on earth". Or do you think that his wrath was kindled. He is angry and wants to do everything he can to deceive and trap each one of us, showing God that he was a force to be reckoned with and deserved to be the one with all of the Glory. He also hates us. We are the ones that stood for our brother, Jesus Christ, and helped cast him out of heaven with his followers.
*I want you to know that I know that Satan is real! I know that! I have had experiences where I have learned much about his reality. It is scary, it is not pleasant. Joseph Smith when feeling the presence of Satan in the Sacred Grove said,
"Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction".
But then he called up the Lord for help and was immediately rescued. Satan is real, but he has no power until we turn ours over to him. If we continue to strive to live the way the Lord would have us do, trying everyday, little by little, line upon line, to be better we will be protected.
Let's talk about fear & trials a little bit:
*Read D&C 30
*What does it mean that you don't need to fear if you are prepared?
*How can you prepare for trials to come? Are you prepared?
*Why are you afraid? What are you afraid of?
*I know how it feels to be terrified of a trial, or losing something that I love. I want you to think about two things. First of all, can you stop things from happening? If it is the Lord's plan (like my babies experience) do you think that any amount of fear in the world could stop something from happening? How about worry?
Ryan taught me that worrying is such a waste of energy. If I am afraid that something will or will not happen, if I am worried or stressed about the outcome of something, does that mean that it won't happen? No, it just means that you have wasted a lot of heartache. Let's say that I have a cancer scare, but I am waiting for the results and don't know for sure. So for 3 days I sit and worry and I can't eat, I can't think, I can't function I am so worried. Did that change the results of my test? The tests come back negative, didn't I just waste a lot of time and heartache? What if they come back positive. Didn't I just waste a lot of time and heartache. The fact is that you can't control what will and will not happen in your life. I didn't plan on having the experience that I had with the babies this last year, but the most important part of this is that I wouldn't trade it for ANYTHING!
The book that I will have everyone read for the book group and I highly recommend that you just read it, is Fire of the Covenant by Gerald Lund. I learned so much from that. We will all experience a trial of some sort in our lives. There is no avoiding it, because if we don't walk through the fire, learning to trust in and completely depend on the Lord we are not prepared for what we will be blessed with in the Eternity. The handcart pioneers suffered more than almost anyone else ever did. Suffering that is impossible to imagine, the Saints being chased from state to state, having loved ones die along the way and suffering beyond what we can imagine wouldn't trade their experiences for anything, and I would not either. Through such experiences we learn who our Father in Heaven is. We experience His Fatherly love. We learn about the other side of the Atonement. Christ not only suffered for our sins, but He also felt our grief, temptation, pain, sorrow, etc. in Gethsemane. He had to descend below all things so that the price could be paid for all of us, and so that He would know how we feel in order to provide comfort.
*Through my experience over this last year, I felt fear beyond what I ever had. I feared that I couldn't do it. I feared that I would let go and not be able to stay true. I feared that the Lord would take a child from me, not because He didn't love me, but because that was just in the plan for me and my babies. I feared that permanent damage would be done and I would do this for the rest of my life, and that I wouldn't be adequate for the job of caring for a handi capped child. I feared that I would be drained spiritually and I would just run out of faith. I feared the unknown.
There was one day that I suddenly go it. All this fear didn't mean anything. I needed to TRUST the Lord and know that whatever was coming I would depend on Him to hold me up and then I would just do the best I could. I prayed constantly for help to make it through this. I now have a deeper appreciation of the "Footsteps" poem. There were dark moments when I thought that one more thing or day would break me and that I wouldn't be able to live through the pain. I finally got to a point where I realized and remembered that the Lord was teaching me something. He was preparing me for something. I just needed to trust and rely on Him. Trials come, they just will, it is not a punishment. I would'nt trade a moment of my experience over this last year for anything. Through this process my heart has truly become sealed to my Father in Heaven. Life is easier for me now, it is easier to choose the right, and stand firmly for what I believe in.
* Read Malachi 3:3 (side note: Sons of Levi= Aaronic Priesthood Offering to the Lord = at the last day we will present a final sacrifice to the Lord. That sacrifice or part of it is the record of the temple work done in the temples.)
* I think I shared with you the story of the women that were studying this scripture. One of the women wanted to see what the process of refining silver was. She went to a Silversmith, without telling him what she was doing, and asked if she could watch. As she watched, she noticed that when he placed the silver in the fire he would sit right by the fire and watch the silver. He told her that he has to watch it very carfully. If he doesn't the fire could get to hot and the metal would then be wasted and useless. The reason why they refine silver is because they stick it in the fire to remove all impurities from the metal. The woman asked how the Silversmith knows when the silver is done. The silver smith replied, "That is easy, when I see my image in it."
Heavenly Father loves us. He has so much to bless those that keep His commandments, with. He does purify and refine us. Sometimes it hurts, but you ALWAYS come out better on the other side. And He would NEVER NEVER leave us alone.
You could spend your whole life never getting close enough to anything, or never enjoying anything for fear that if you do the Lord will take it away, but you will deny yourself so much. A few scriptures about that:
*Read Deuteronomy 31:6, 8
*And Isaiah 41:10: Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness
*Choose to accept God's plan for you. Choose to prove faithful. Remember that no matter what happens, if you prove faithful, the blessings you will receive in Heaven will far outway and hurt or sorrow you may ever have to face here. Remember that your Father is there ALL THE TIME!
Now just a couple more scriptures:
*1 Ne 13:37
*What do you feel? Do you believe the Lord? Do you TRUST Him?
If you can trust the Lord, you will be able to put fear behind you and fully rely on Him. You will be able to move forward knowing that YOU have power over the adversary. YOU have the ability to feel and experience complete peace and joy. TRUST the Lord. He knows what He is doing, and He will never require you to walk through anything without Him right by your side. He loves you! He is proud of you! I know that!
Continue to do your best, but take the stress out of it. Life is easy when you make your choice than trust the Lord.
*Read D&C 42:61
You have such a tool with the internet in your home. Go to www.lds.org, click on "search" in the upper right hand corner and search the scriptures or any of the church stuff. If you type in a topic in the middle box and search you can pull up any talk or article that has been written or given on any topic. If you have questions study it out. Continue to ask questions and I will always find a way to find the answers and help you find them also.
I hope this helps. It is long I know, but I hope that it really helps and sets your mind at ease a little more.
I just want you to know that I love you soooo much! You are amazing and you make me want to be better. You are a huge example to all of us. Thanks for never compromising your standards!!
I love you!