Thursday, December 29, 2011

Teaching from the Book of Mormon

This is a painting by Jerry Thompson, a depiction of the Tree of Life as found in the Book of Mormon.

In the account of Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life, the tree symbolizes the love of God. More specifically manifested through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

When I think of the Atonement I thing of its healing power in my life and its capaity to heal all mankind if we will come unto Christ and be made whole (be healed).

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Be still, and know that I am God..."

Sometimes in life we run faster than necessary and we forget that not only is life not a race, but that we are not supposed to journey it alone.

This Christmas season, even though I am on a mission and trying to do my best to serve the Lord, I found my self running at a similar pace as to that of the holiday rat race that we all acknowledge but participate in anyway.
It seemed everyone was busy these past few weeks and hardly anyone was about to make time to meet with us, so i found myself scampering and running faster and faster and stressing to find people to visit and share the Gospel with. My efforts seemed to no avail and my companion didn't know what to do with me I am sure.
One evening, feeling a bit defeated, we went over to a members house that has worked with the missionaries along time. My companion was starting to not feel well, and it was soon discovered by the member that my stressing and running around was antagonistic to her condition. Our friend looked at me and said, "Sister Bishop, You need to be still. Remember the scripture be still, and know that I am God."

I have realized at this special season the importance of not only remembering our Savior, but be will to slow down, to listen for His voice, feel His comfort and peace, and then filled with that love seek to serve Him.

Not only are we never alone, but we need to be willing to accept that and walk with Christ. It is in our walk with Him that we find the healing power of the atonement. As life has its challenges and can tear us down, if we will be still, we can be made whole.

"Be Still, and know that I am God.."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Why I Love the Temple

The other day Sister DeBoer and I were talking and Walt Disney was brought into the conversation. I thought he was an exceptional person for all the good that he accomplished etc.
Sister DeBoer then stated, "Well of course he is wonderful, he created the happiest place on earth besides the temple!"

What a statement!

And as I thought about it I would have to agree. I am sure there are many, particularly those who have not yet had the opportunity to go to the temple that would be inclined to doubt that statement.
I will refrain from elaborating more on the popular belief that a Disney park is the happiest place on earth, but I would like to focus on presenting further light to Sister De Boer's thought. These parks, as fun and happy as they are, still fall below the joy and happiness that awaits those that go to the Temple.
I love the Temple because of what it represents: The House of the Lord. It is a Holy place, a place of purity and peace.

I know that Temples and the ordinances therein provide lasting and eternal happiness, that strengthen and build up the human soul and empower us to face the challenges of the world as we leave with a firmer sense of true identity. That we are literally sons and daughters of God.

I know my reasons are simple, but they are also everything to me. But to find out more about temples and what they are, go to the link!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Road to Becoming, Part 2

Lesson2: Determination- Just don't give upThis subject speaks for itself in the sense that we all know the numerous quotes of:

"If at first you don't succeed, try try again."

“There is no chance, no
destiny, no fate, that can circumvent or hinder or
control the firm resolve
of a determined soul.”- Ella Wheller

The motivating list goes on. And yep I'm just echoing that they are all true and still apply

Yet it can be easy to get discouraged by various obstacles that get in our path whether they be real or imaginary, seen or unseen.

And though I do not claim to hold all the answers, but would rather share insight of personal experience and what I have come to learn for myself.
First of all, I have discovered that no one ever said our persistent efforts had to be graceful or perfect! (and if there is a quote out there, I haven't looked for it)
It is at this point that i would like to illustrate my second example, which is more of a culinary escapade.
If there was a certain "tact" or "common sense" to be had about the kitchen, unfortunately at the expense of much of my mother's cookware, I was not one to posses it.
About the age of 14 I had successfully destroyed and caused the elimination of 3 of my mother's pots and pans. For this reason I was in a sense, banned from the kitchen. I say "in a sense" because for some reason, a short while later I found myself in the kitchen cooking a can of tomato soup. When I returned I found my soup and the pot in a similar condition as this photo:

I was terrified as I began to realize the potential consequences of this disaster. Not knowing what to do and in desperation to hide the incriminating efforts before anyone got home, I ran outside and threw the pot into the woods as far as I could throw.

It was at this point that I succumbed to the label, as anyone would in my situation, that "I could not cook."

So I know this is a silly and simple example. But the point is this; So often we define success as beyond our reach. We build up a negative resume for why we are not qualified to become more than we are. But if we can turn our focus to our desires, rather than failed attempts and disasters. we can achieve and become.

In the Bible, Jesus tells us of a parable of the Talents. This parable has taught me that God gives all of us gifts. And it is up to us to use them to seek more to learn and grow and become. But ultimately it takes courage to try and to even pick ourselves back up and not quit when we fail.

I love this talk given by President Uchtdorf from the General Relief Society Broadcast in October 2008 entitled, "Happiness, Your Heritage."

He addresses how we as women can undermind our capacity to become, and can choose to focus too much on what is lacking and become discouraged.

I know that God wants us to be happy. I know that as we seek to look for the good that is within us, anything is possible. Just NEVER GIVE UP! I think President Uchtdorf says it best:

"What you create doesn't have to be perfect. So what if the eggs are
greasy and the toast is burnt? Don't let the fear of failure discourage you. Don't let the voice of critics paralyze you- Whether that voice comes from the outside or
the inside."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Road to Becoming, Part 1

My whole life has been a process of becoming. Many people are "born" with gifts and talents, or are "natural" athletes or "gifted" students.

But for many, and I myself included, my gifts and talents have come painfully and slowly, but when they come I own them in the sense that they have in some small way, made me something more.

My first example, however meaningful or silly, would be to express that I am NOT a natural athlete and never was. However I was able to eventually play high school varsity soccer and one year of college as well.

My first experiences dabbling in the sport of soccer were just that, a dabble. The family recorder would show that as the other aggressive seven to eight year old children would fight for the ball I would fascinate myself with the quality of the field and peruse the dandelion patch seeing clearly that there wasn't room for my efforts surrounding the crowded ball.

However as time goes on, like many children I had the desire to "fit in" in junior high, wanted to try again.

The result of my first game was that after 5 minutes of game time I was nailed in the head with the ball by my own teammate and applauded off the field...

As I look back on the "road to becoming" even, becoming a soccer player, I realize even though everything showed and told me that I was not cut out for the darn sport, it was the people in my life that pushed me forward.

lesson 1 on the road to becoming: You are not your own.

It was the teammates that loved having me around and always pointing out when I did something right that kept me wanting to become better. It was my mom and dad, willing to claim their awkward daughter from the sidelines. In short, it was the love of others that made me believe I could become.

And even when support seems scarce, there is a Loving Heavenly Father that cheers us onward and we can receive His support in various ways. For me, it often was through other people, for others and at sometimes for myself, it is a quiet assurance that "I can do this."

So to say that "we are not our own" in becoming something more. I have discovered that what makes who we are, in part is the Love of God whatever form that Love comes you will find it and be humbled to realize that the reason you are where you are on your journey, is not through your sole efforts, but because you have been loved.

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness... for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

Ether 12:27, The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

An invitation to strengthen your faith

So many people have heard of the "Mormon Missionaries," or more correctly stated, The Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And yes, I would be one of "those."

First off, I would like to explain and invite you to consider that these missionaries, though unique, are just like you. It is just as awkward for them to knock on your door and invite you to listen to their message or ask you to read the Book of Mormon, as it is for you to receive them. Why then do they put themselves in such an uncomfortable position?

Believe it or not, I frequently ask myself the same question, and this is the best answer I can give you. My Reason is simple:

I KNOW that the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ found in its fullness, when applied, brings happiness and peace to the human soul and strength and joy to the family.

People might respond with, "you can't really 'know' Sister Bishop."

I would like to explain HOW I have come to know, but more importantly how anyone CAN "know" and WHY they would want to.

When anyone finds something that brings them an incredible amount of joy and happiness, their reaction is to share it with everyone they can. Grandparents share pictures of their grand kids to everyone that will look. Parents, when their child says something funny, usually make it their status of Facebook. The list continues with a favorite song or movie, great haircut, new shoes, favorite book, and so on. Many of these things bring me joy and excitement like everyone else, but of the things that matter most, (knowing that families can be together forever, knowing how to draw closer to my Heavenly Father, and partaking of the Atonement of Jesus Christ) has brought me the greatest joy and happiness I believe man can ever know.

I have come to learn for myself that the things that matter most are a personal relationship with God the Eternal Father, strength and unity in family, knowing how to repent, and consistently feeling God working in our lives as we strive to be something greater than we are.
I profess to you, that this is the essence of the message shared by missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Everything else they share of prophets in these days or The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, are only appendages to those truths of which I testify, and are wonderful means by which those blessing are available. They are evidence of Jesus Christ's work and organization today. Of these things I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ.