Sunday, April 17, 2011

Laura Inspired Me to Feel "Present Joy for Future Blessings"

Finals are coming! And I can’t wait to be done with this semester. This week will be my last week of classes and finals are the week after (except for my microbiology lab final that is this Tuesday). I’m not sure if I’ll have much time to blog and read blogs during my summer classes, but I hope I will have a little more time than this last semester.

This past week I had a new visitor to my blog. Laura at Living a Big Story  was so nice to read some of my archives and even leave comments on several posts. So I took a few minutes to pop by her blog and find out a little about her. The title to one of her posts really got me thinking…all week long. Feeling Present Joy for Future Blessings  Isn’t that an A-W-E-S-O-M-E title???

I have been working at being more grateful for all my many blessings and focusing on seeing the hand of the Lord in my life instead of focusing on what I have lost and what is missing. I know that many of our blessings are “stored up in heaven” for us for later, but besides giving thanks for being sealed to my children, parents and brothers and sisters and being part of that eternal family, I haven’t presently given thanks for things that will happen in the future. As a matter of fact, I haven’t often felt joy for them either. It is difficult to feel joy is even possible in the future when in the middle of intense present pain.

But since reading Laura’s post, I have been thinking about my future blessings and I have been including thanks to my Heavenly Father for them in my prayers every time I pray. I think that just saying that aloud helps to give me hope. I need to live in the present and be grateful for now, but also believe in a better future and be grateful for that. So what future blessings could we receive?

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

I do believe that there is no way for us to comprehend the things that our Father has prepared for us if we just love him. And how do we love him? If we keep his commandments and follow his leaders who are here to guide us to happiness in this life and back to him in the next. There are a few specific future blessings that I have thought about this past week.

Having the opportunity to go to school right now is a current blessing, even though I wish I didn’t HAVE to push and hurry up to finish and not have as much time and energy for my children, but being a single mother, I must. I am working diligently now so that I can enjoy a future blessing of a good job, stability and financial peace of mind. I have been thankful in my prayers for school, but also for my job that I will someday have.

Another future blessing I have been giving thanks for is my future home. Because I know I will someday have a good job, I can believe that I will someday have the blessing of having a home that I love, definitely with a kitchen large enough to hold all of my cooking and baking stuff. I love touring homes in the Parade of Homes every year and dreaming of what my home will look like. But the mansion that is most is important is the one I will inhabit eternally if I am worthy of it.

John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
Isaiah 54: 11 O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.
12 And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.

What good would a house here on earth or in heaven be if I am alone? My children will be growing up and moving on so quickly. So of course, one of my future blessings that I have been giving thanks for is my future husband. Before I read Laura’s post, I had occasionally during this past year asked Heavenly Father in prayer to protect this yet-unknown man, strengthen him against temptations and for us to find each other sooner rather than later. Hehe But it wasn’t until I read Laura’s blog that I thanked Heavenly Father for this righteous man, for his future love for me and his willingness to walk with me in all things.

I do realize that this man might not come to me until the next life, but I hope I do not have to wait that long. We have been promised that if we live righteously in this life, with a desire to be married in the temple, and do not get the opportunity to be married here, we will have the opportunity to be married in the next life. I used to have this imagery of this as if I were a chess piece on a board and Heavenly Father’s omnipotent hand would pick up one of the righteous unmarried men and place him on the board next to me, as my eternal companion.

Several months ago, I had the blessing of having a conversation with someone who reminded me of the importance of agency in our Heavenly Father’s plan. He said that he believes that instead of the chess piece placement scenario, we will get to fall in love and choose our companion. What a beautiful thought. (Still hope I don’t have to wait for that though. Have I whined about that enough yet??)

“A Saint who is one in deed and in truth, does not look for an immaterial heaven, but he expects a heaven with lands, houses, cities, vegetation, rivers, and animals; with thrones, temples, palaces, kings, princes, priests, and angels; with food, raiment, musical instruments, etc., all of which are material. Indeed, the Saints' heaven is a redeemed, glorified, celestial, material creation, inhabited by glorified material beings, male and female, organized into families, embracing all the relationships of husbands and wives, parents and children, where sorrow, crying, pain, and death will be known no more. Or to speak still more definitely, this earth, when glorified, is the Saints' eternal heaven. On it they expect to live, with body, parts, and holy passions; on it they expect to move and have their being; to eat, drink, converse, worship, sing, play on musical instruments, engaged in joyful, innocent, social amusements, visit neighboring towns and neighboring worlds.”
Orson Pratt, Millennial Star, November 17, 1866, 28:721-22
My children and I saw the movie Soul Surfer yesterday. It's a true story of a 13-year old girl whose arm was bitten off by a shark and she goes back to competing in surfing. It’s not as good of a movie as I thought it would be, but the real story is very inspiring. I especially loved the part at the end of the movie that showed the real Bethany Hamilton and different home videos of her after the accident. I did really like one part in the movie. After the accident, Bethany tried to get back on her surfboard and compete again. It was very difficult for her and she didn’t do as well as she wanted to. She gave up. In the movie she says to her father (more or less), “How can this be part of His plan for me? For me to lose everything?”

This part touched me because it was so close to my own thoughts before and close to a the words of a friend when she was recently sharing her thoughts about her divorce. But in the movie, Bethany travels to help tsunami victims, where she realizes that she has not lost everything. She still has many blessings for her own life and to help others. No matter what has been lost, we have many blessings, present and future.

The other day in algebra, my professor used an analogy when introducing the topic of mathematical induction. The algebra topic doesn’t matter for my post, but the analogy caught my attention. “If you can reach the first rung of the ladder, and if for every rung you reach, you can reach the next rung, then you can reach every rung of the ladder, no matter how high the ladder.”

When he was saying this, I was thinking about life. It is so easy to get discouraged and feel like that next rung is just too high and there is no way to reach it. I’ll just have to hang here, wishing I could go upward. There is always a way to reach the next rung and I am the only one stopping me from stepping up. I may get knocked down the ladder by someone or slip sometimes because of mistakes, but I can always start back up. Of course, we don’t even have to climb the ladder alone. We are helped up every step of the way by our family and friends and always by our Savior.
(Ladder artwork by Sabrina)

"When, in situations of stress, we wonder if there is any more in us to give, we can be comforted to know that God, who knows our capacities perfectly, placed us here to succeed. No one was foreordained to fail or to be wicked. When we have been weighed and found wanting, let us remember that we were measured before and were found equal to our tasks; and therefore, let us continue but with a more determined discipleship."Elder Neal A. Maxwell, A More Determined Disciplship


  1. Beautiful thoughts as always. You are an inspiration of faith and obedience.

    I hope you get through finals OK and enjoy your summer semester. You are amazing and such an example to your kids and those you haven't even met.

  2. That is such a neat title for a post. I am going to have to visit her and read her post also. Beautiful thoughts and to tell you the truth I have never thought about it in quite this light - or maybe it hasn't been so much in the forefront of my mind but it is super important and does give hope!
    Good luck on your finals - You are a super woman!!!

  3. I love that last quote! Such a wonderful reminder of how we came here to succeed. All too often we feel so trampled by everything the world throws at us: finances, work, school, love, parenthood, callings, etc., it seems so overwhelming (speaking from experience!). Thanks for sharing that we DID come here to succeed, it's what I needed to hear ;)

  4. That last quote by Neal A. Maxwell is one of my favorites! I always try to remember it when I'm feeling stretched too thin. Thanks for the thoughts!

  5. Thanks for taking the time to post this. It is a great way to think.... I have never thought to thank Heavenly father for my future blessings. i will try to implement it. Love, love, love the last quote.

  6. Thank you so much for your kind words -- as I read this post ... I can't put into words my thoughts because I'm just so overwhelmed that my ideas helped you. You are an amazing lady, and I'm so glad I found your blog.

  7. Thanks again, you have a gift with words and I enjoy every one.

  8. Beutiful thoughts, Valerie! That last quote is great!

    You're going to ace your finals!


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