First, a warning-- tragically, some spammers have gotten a hold of this blog. Fortunately, they have only sent comments to past posts, so I have been able to reject them and prevent them from ever showing up here.
I would like to keep the comments open for the current post, so hopefully it will stay that way. But I just wanted to post a warning that if you see any comment that looks weird, please don't click on it. So far, all of their comments have had numerous links for anything from pharmaceuticals to Russian sites. I haven't clicked on them, so I can't vouch for what you'd find. My advice is, stay away, and let me know if you see it so I can remove it promptly.
Okay, now for today's post.
I hope you all have people in your life who just seem to always be helping and making your life easier. I have a lot. Without them, I could not function. One of them is my sister-in-law Mel. She is the title of this blog. I can't tell you how many times Heavenly Father has answered my prayers through her. You should check out her Crazy Chorister Blog. It's designed for the chorister for the children at church, but it's full of fun ideas that can be applied to Family Home Evenings, or just good times with children.
Anyway, she does more than just come up with fun ideas to teach children music. Way more. One thing she does a lot is inspire me. She shared this experience with my family this summer and then posted it recently on her blog. And then she kindly allowed me to post it here with an added blurb about how it's increased the joy in her life.
And she saved me from having to think of an entire post today. The day after I returned home from a busy trip to HH's family. With very little sleep. And super sick kiddos. And a smelly smelly dog. And an empty fridge. And very low brain capacity.
So, for a million reasons--Thank you, Mel. I love you.
Before I let you read her super inspirational post, allow me to say a few words.
First of all, the book she mentions, "Preach My Gospel" is published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But I know that anyone from any faith would gain so much by reading it. It teaches great truths about who we are, our relationship to God and Jesus Christ, and how we can return to live with them again.
You can access the complete manual by clicking here or you can order a printed copy for $6 here.
When Mel shared her experience with me this summer, she unknowingly addressed an issue I've been praying about for over a year now. So, I began following in her footsteps, as I've found myself doing often since she joined my family, and I too have been greatly blessed for it. But she is fabulous with words and I love how she tells her story, so I'm going to leave it at that and let you get to know this wonderful person in my life.
Six months ago I came home from a long and frustrating day at church. I sat down in my favorite chair next to my bookshelf and pouted. I was very frustrated at my lack of the spirit. My eyes happen to wander to the bottom shelf, and there, smashed in between many other books was Preach My Gospel. I had received it from a Bishop a few years back, but never took the time to read it. I reached for it and thumbed through it. I even began reading the first chapter a bit. I came to a part where the missionaries daily schedule was laid out. I at once felt jealous. I knew there was no way I could get up early enough to beat my children out of bed to study and read the Scriptures without being so tired the rest of the day. My daily Scripture study was infrequent and could only take place after the kids were in bed. I wasn't getting what I wanted out of it because I was so tired myself. I tossed the book and went to bed that night discouraged....Then, a miracle happened.
I was awakened at 5:30am the next morning. Wide awake. I wondered why I was awake. I decided I need to go back to sleep. Then these words came into my head, "This is your time, get out of bed." I did. I grabbed my Scriptures and this book.....and my life hasn't been the same since.
Over the past 6 months, Heavenly Father has helped me arise early (this is a miracle, believe me). I have studied a spirit directed course of Preach My Gospel. I have replaced every word missionary with motherhood and every word investigator with children. It has been so helpful and wonderful in teaching me how I can better fulfill the mission I am serving right now. With each chapter I have been surprised how much I've been able to learn. I have coupled this with a daily chapter of the Book of Mormon and a Conference talk. I have filled three spiritual journals with insights and words of encouragement and love from my Heavenly Father. It has been a heart changing experience. And, my prayers to be able to share the Gospel with others have been answered many times. I have found that my inhibitions and lack of confidence in my abilities to share the Gospel have been replaced with faith and confidence.
I finished Preach My Gospel about a month ago. It was kind of emotional closing the book, it has been so exciting each morning to see what I can learn and improve on next. I've since began a study of the life of Jesus Christ using "Jesus The Christ" as my study guide. I feel closer to who I want to be. The amazing this is the more I read and study, the more I realize what I can change in my life, what I can give to the Lord, what I can repent of....and that is making me better.
I would like to challenge any one of you who read this blog to get a copy of Preach My Gospel. This is not simply for our Full-Time missionaries. This book was inspired in a way that can touch you, your spouse, and your family. I know for myself that your heart will be softened, your spiritual ears made sensitive, your ability to love and serve others increased, and your burdens made lighter. As you study this book and ponder the Scriptures, answers to prayers will come, and you'll find a joy that is sweet.
I would like to share my Testimony that I know that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon was written by prophets of God and Translated by the gift and power of God through Joseph Smith. I know that Jesus Christ is the only one who can provide the way for us to return to our Father in Heaven. I know his arms of mercy are extended to all of us if we repent and come unto him. I am so grateful for the power of prayer and the knowledge that we are never alone. He knows us. He loves us. He's waiting for us. He knew my desires, and he helped awaken me each morning. Is it a struggle to get up sometimes, of course. But I've come to know the joy and peace that comes with starting my day with my Heavenly Father's instructions.
Thanks again, Mel.