Monday, January 27, 2014

"Because I Have Been Given Much"

On moving day, a sweet friend showed up at my in-laws' house to help me pack up my things.  I hadn’t asked anyone for help, but she just decided to come and see what could be done.  Another dear friend showed up at dinnertime with several boxes of pizza to serve our entire family.  There are so many truly thoughtful people in the world, and I have felt richly blessed to be the recipient of so many gifts of love.

This friend who came over to help me pack brought me a housewarming gift for my new home.  It was a tile with this beautiful message:

She said she had two ideas that came to mind of what to imprint on the tile.  Her 8-year old daughter helped her decide which one she should make for us.

What a WONDERFUL gift!

I felt so much warmth and emotion in my heart!  I LOVE the hymn which inspired this quote, and I quietly wondered when the last time was that I had sang it in church… I couldn’t even remember a time!

Because I have been given much… my friend and I talked about how pertinent that message was at a time I was feeling so blessed to have a home once again.

All week, I have been anxious to find the perfect spot to display the tile in my home, but I've had to put pots and pans and clothes away first. :-)

Abe left for a 10-day show on Thursday, so I’ve been holding down the fort working until 4-5am every morning organizing and decorating.

After another very late night unpacking, I woke up early to get all the kids ready for church.  All of a sudden I realized that I would be meeting a lot of new people for the first time.  I wanted to make a good impression and not look as exhausted as I felt.  I had a mountain of clothes and shoes to sort through in my room before I found a matching skirt, top, and shoes. 

With butterflies in my stomach, I began to wonder if I would make new friends again… or how long it would take before I felt “connected” to someone in my new congregation.  I wondered what the Lord had in store for me…

Just as I was going out the door to go to church with all the children, I received a text message from the same dear friend who had given me the plaque. 

Her text message said:

“Just wanted to wish you good luck on your first Sunday in your new ward!  The members there are blessed to have such a wonderful family.  We love you guys.”

Wow!  What a thoughtful thing to do!!  She herself had much to do to get ready for church, yet she stepped outside of herself and thought about what I might be feeling that first Sunday morning in a new ward.  I felt strengthened by her reassurance of love.

When we arrived to church, all the doors were locked, and there were only 2 cars in the parking lot.  “What do we do now?” I grumbled under my breath- it was a half hour drive to go back home.  “If church starts any later, my kids will be starving by the time church ends!”

After a while a few cars began trickling into the parking lot.  I soon found out that this would be a special video broadcast transported in from Orlando.  Church would start at 10am and would only be 2 hours long instead of the normal 3 hours.

While we waited in our van, I had a talk with all the children about making an effort to talk to people even if nobody talks to them.  They all felt revved up and ready to make some friends. 

Everyone gathered into the church ready for the broadcast, but for some reason the transmission wasn’t functioning properly.  One of the leaders stood and announced that we would be singing 2 hymns while we waited. 

Guess what we sang!!

Because I Have Been Given Much!!!

What a tender mercy to sing the very song from the tile I had just received and loved so much.  What a tender mercy to sing the same song an hour after receiving a message of love and encouragement from the one who gave it to me!

I felt confidence rise up within me again that God was a part of this big move we were making.   The people were amazing at church!  My kids were already invited to a birthday party, and I couldn’t even pull them away from happily chatting with the other children.  Tyson excitedly said, “I think we met everybody in the whole ward!”  Jackson is already going to an awesome Young Men's activity… WWF wrestling match in Orlando- crazy huh! :-)

My heart felt excited to learn more about the wonderful people in the ward.  My heart also told me there was more God wanted me to learn from the hymn, Because I Have Been Given Much.

I decided to try to open my mind and heart…

This is what happened:

Last night, I took the kids on a walk to the beach.  It was dark, so we experienced the beach a little differently this time. I watched the children run down the beach with flashlights in hand.  They looked like little bouncing lights of happiness.  I slowly walked and pondered on the hymn that had been a reoccurring message over the past several days.  Feeling an abundance of peace within my soul, I began to sing the words to the hymn.

I sang with all my heart.  As I sang, gratitude overwhelmed me.   I knew the Lord had given me and Abe so much.  I knew the Lord had given my children much.  I knew I had more to give to others.

After I finished singing, I sat down on the beach and watched the waves as I pondered some more.

Tyson knows how much I LOVE shells.  I always go home with a bag full of them.  He had been bringing me these beautiful, unique shells.
He asked me if I wanted a flashlight so I could find shells too.  I told him I didn’t need the light because I was fine where I was. 

Right then he shined his light down where I had been sitting.  Wow!!  All that time I had been sitting on a mountain of shells- I thought the beach was just a little rocky- I had no idea of the beauty right under me. 

The thought came to me… how many beautiful “shells of life” are we missing out on because we turn down the “extra light” or the added knowledge, revelation, and light from God?  How many talents, gifts, and opportunities are given to us- right under us- and all we need to do is to turn on the light of inspiration and accept the revelation God is waiting to provide so that we too may give to others.

I made several promises to God as I sat upon the mountain of shells and pondered all that I had been given. 

I asked the children to come sit with me, and we quietly listened to the roaring of the waves together.  We looked deeper into the starry sky, and then we gathered in even closer, knelt down, and held our family night prayer. 

As we walked home I heard Tyson singing:

Because I have been given much, I too must give.
Because of thy great bounty, Lord each day I live.
I shall divide my gifts from thee with every brother that I see,
who has the need of help from me.
Because I have been sheltered, fed by thy good care…
I cannot see another’s lack and I not share-
my glowing fire, my loaf of bread-my roof’s safe shelter over head,
that he too may be comforted.
Because I have been blessed by thy great love dear Lord,
I’ll share thy love again according to thy word.
I shall give love to those in need. I’ll show that love by word and deed,
thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed.

I’m so grateful for the personal revelation which flowed into my heart and into my mind on how “I too must give.”  We’re all on different missions serving God!!  HE has great plans for each of us!!  HE speaks to our hearts when we’re willing to listen.  There are no coincidences… God is speaking to our hearts all day every day.