Saturday, June 30, 2012

new ward=speaking assignment

So we managed to dodge the speaking assignment that was inevitable for a few months. They caught jack though. So we spoke in our ward and I thought I'd post my talk. enjoy.

We are grateful for this opportunity to speak about two topics dear to our hearts.  Bishop Brown was inspired to assign us two very specific conference talks. Mine is from the October 2010 General Conference entitled “Trust in God, Then Go and Do” By Henry B Eyring.

This was, and has been, one of my favorite talks ever given. It struck a chord in my heart and soul as I sat listening to those words in 2010. Many of you have seen, or more likely heard, our three kids. After having our two boys we contemplated the idea of being done building our little family. In April 2010 we visited the temple to bring our decision to the Lord. We knew then without a shadow of a doubt that we were not to be done building our family. We were not to be a two child family with only boys. I felt prompted that I was made a mother on purpose and that I could indeed handle another child and that child was ready now. As a little bit of side information- I don’t do pregnant well. And that is an understatement. I honestly didn’t know how I could handle having a third child if I were expected to carry this baby. However, we leaned on that inspiration and did continue towards that third child we knew we were supposed to have. It was in October of 2010 that I was 6 months pregnant and struggling with remembering how clearly I felt the Lord leading us down this path. Around that time my hips dislocate and make it hard to perform regular mommy duties, let alone continue doing people’s hair for fun. This conference talk is one that helped me to remember clearly that day in the temple, and even in painful times realize that we were trusting in God’s plan for us, and we were doing what we were supposed to be doing.

President Eyring “prayed and pondered to learn about our personal needs and what message the Lord wanted [him] to give.” And he said: “I found in Alma’s reflection the direction for which I had been praying: “For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true.” 2

As I read that message from a servant of God, my errand for today became clear. God sends messages and authorized messengers to His children. I am to build trust in God and His servants enough that we will go out and obey His counsel. He wants that because He loves us and wants our happiness. And He knows how a lack of trust in Him brings sadness.

That lack of trust has brought sorrow to Heavenly Father’s children from before the world was created.

Those who lost the blessing of coming into mortality lacked sufficient trust in God to avoid eternal misery.

The sad pattern of lack of trust in God has persisted since the Creation.”

President Eyring then gives a few examples of those in the scriptures that did indeed lack faith enough to trust him. “Naaman could not trust the direction of the Lord’s prophet to bathe in a river to allow the Lord to heal his leprosy, feeling the task was beneath his dignity.” 

Neil A. Maxwell stated: “most forms of holding back are rooted in pride or are prompted by the mistaken notion that somehow we are diminished by submission to God. Actually, the greater the submission, the greater the expansion!”

I love this quote because I’m a big believer in delegating tasks. Anyone involved in any task with me knows it. I love delegating because it’s an assignment to each person involved to be accountable. It gives everyone purpose, it creates order, and organization. It takes a large project and changes it into several small tasks. You don’t have to keep remembering what all the different steps are in your project, you only have to remember your specific part. I most enjoy delegating my stress to the Lord. When I realize I’m worrying about something I can take it to the Lord in humble prayer. I can ask for peace, and comfort. I can ask for inspiration on what needs to be done next. Quite often I have noticed that I am gaining peace before I ask for help because the Lord knows our hearts and our minds. If we are troubled the Lord knows it all we need to do is ask for help. I love testing that promise from Nephi- almost like saying: “Okay, I understand what you’ve asked me to do and I’ll do it, but I’ll need your help every step of the way.”

President Eyring reminds us of what Nephi’s promise is: The young Nephi in the Book of Mormon stirs in us a desire to develop trust in the Lord to obey His commandments, however hard they appear to us. Nephi faced danger and possible death when he said these words of trust that we can and must feel steadily in our hearts: “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” 5

That trust comes from knowing God. More than any other people on earth, we have, through the glorious events of the Restoration of the gospel, felt the peace that the Lord offered His people with the words “Be still, and know that I am God.” 6 My heart is filled with gratitude for what God has revealed about Himself that we might trust Him.

That bit of scripture has always given me great strength. This is a prophet of the Lord reminding us of the Lord’s promise to EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US. He will NEVER give us more than we can handle. I love promises. I love testing them. I think I gained this love because as a child I would request permission to have sleepovers with friends all the time during the summer. My dad’s answer was always the same- “we’ll see.”  And I’d get frustrated and I’d beg and plead “why can’t you just say yes???” and he’d reply, “I don’t want to promise something if I’m not sure.” This taught me that a promise is an important thing. It is an unbreakable thing- especially coming from the Lord- who cannot sin. He cannot promise us something and then say oops…that’s not going to happen sorry.

Why not lean on the Lord’s promise? I have a picture of Jesus Christ on my desk where I pay bills, I added a caption in large bold letters that says three little words: Lean on me. Every time I sit down to pay bills, search the internet, email, or anything at this desk I’m reminded that the Lord is always there both figuratively and literally on my desk- waiting for me to rely on his strength and promises. To Trust in Him.

President Eyring told a story that amazed me then and continues to amaze me every time I read it: That trust has blessed my life and the lives of my family. Years ago I heard President Ezra Taft Benson speak in a conference like this. He counseled us to do all we could to get out of debt and stay out. He mentioned mortgages on houses. He said that it might not be possible, but it would be best if we could pay off all our mortgage debt. 9

I turned to my wife after the meeting and asked, “Do you think there is any way we could do that?” At first we couldn’t. And then by evening I thought of a property we had acquired in another state. For years we had tried to sell it without success.

But because we trusted God and a few words from the midst of His servant’s message, we placed a phone call Monday morning to the man in San Francisco who had our property listed to sell. I had called him a few weeks before, and he had said then, “We haven’t had anyone show interest in your property for years.”

But on the Monday after conference, I heard an answer that to this day strengthens my trust in God and His servants.

The man on the phone said, “I am surprised by your call. A man came in today inquiring whether he could buy your property.” In amazement I asked, “How much did he offer to pay?” It was a few dollars more than the amount of our mortgage.

A person might say that was only a coincidence. But our mortgage was paid off. And our family still listens for any word in a prophet’s message that might be sent to tell what we should do to find the security and peace God wants for us.

This story led us on our crazy hard path to getting out of debt. We’re still working on it, and each time we look at bills due, and realize tithing needs to be paid as well- we pay the lord, and the rest falls into place somehow. Usually in the form of a new hair client, or an extra shift opens up for Jack.

I’d like to share a quote I found in a book I’ve been reading called “I am a Mother” by Jane Clayson Johnson. She quotes a Time Magazine article where a reporter asks Mother Teresa to describe herself: “I am like a little pencil in [God’s] hand. That is all. He does the thinking. He does the writing. The pencil has nothing to do with it. The pencil only has to be allowed to be used”

That rings true in my lazy ears. I delegate so I don’t have to do the whole project. I ask the Lord to bear my burdens, and now I just want him to do the thinking for me. But in reality it’s not actually thinking, it’s just plain knowledge! He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows that through adversity and trials we can become the truer form of who we really are when we are unafraid to Trust in God first, Then go and do what needs to be done.

President Eyring goes on to tell about a small town in New Jersey, “Our branch of the Church had fewer than 20 members who regularly attended.

Among them was a woman—an older, very humble convert to the Church. She was an immigrant who spoke with a heavy Norwegian accent. She was the only member of the Church in her family and the only member of the Church in the city in which she lived.

Through my father, who was the branch president, the Lord called her as the president of the branch Relief Society. She had no handbook to tell her what to do. No other member of the Church lived near her. She only knew that the Lord cared for those in need and the few words in the motto of the Relief Society: “Charity never faileth.”

It was in the depths of what we now call the Great Depression. Thousands were out of work and homeless. So, feeling she had her errand from the Lord, she asked her neighbors for old clothes. She washed the clothes, pressed them, and put them in cardboard boxes on her back porch. When men without money needed clothes and asked her neighbors for help, they would say, “Go to the house down the street. There is a Mormon lady living there who will give you what you need.”

The Lord did not run the city, but He changed a part of it for the better. He called one tiny woman—alone—who trusted Him enough to find out what He wanted her to do and then did it. Because of her trust in the Lord, she was able to help in that city hundreds of Heavenly Father’s children in need.”

President Eyring also tells of a group of men sitting in the front row of a meeting held in a large sports arena. He asked the General Authority of the Church near him who the men were. He whispered that it was the mayor of the city and his staff.

“As I walked to my car after the meeting, I was surprised to see the mayor waiting to greet me, flanked by his staff. He stepped forward, extended his hand to me, and said, “I thank you for coming to our city and to our country. We are grateful for what you do to build up your people. With such people and such families, we could create the harmony and the prosperity we want for our people.”

I saw in that moment that he was one of the honest in heart placed by God in power among His children. We are a tiny minority among the citizens of that great city and nation. The mayor knew little of our doctrine and few of our people. Yet God had sent him the message that Latter-day Saints, under covenant to trust God and His authorized servants, would become a light to his people.”

President Eyring reminds: “I know the servants of God who will speak to you during this conference. They are called of God to give messages to His children. The Lord has said of them: “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” 12

You show your trust in Him when you listen with the intent to learn and repent and then you go and do whatever He asks. If you trust God enough to listen for His message in every sermon, song, and prayer in this conference, you will find it. And if you then go and do what He would have you do, your power to trust Him will grow, and in time you will be overwhelmed with gratitude to find that He has come to trust you.”

I know that trusting in the Lord may seem difficult at times but I assure you it is always the right thing to do- In the long run it’s easier than trying to go it alone. I testify that I know these things are true. I know that the Lord speaks to us through his prophets and our local leaders. I know that we can all lean on Christ for strength no matter how small you think your trial is or how monumental. He is there, he is waiting for us to say, “I’m trusting you, I’ll go and do that which is asked of me.”

I challenge each of us to look back on our conference talks and see what the Lord has asked of us through his prophets and apostles and renew our vigor to succeed in these goals. Pray and ask for guidance on how these goals can be achieved. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

The Larsens