We're livin' it up on the U.P. - that's Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Punkie is 6 and LOVED Kindergarten! Isaboo is 2 and she's a smiley whirl wind. We also call her Busy-Isi. This year we welcomed little Lorenzo to our family.

Life is great!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Petoskey Rocks and Faith....not related

This past weekend we traveled down to Traverse City for our area of the church's District Conference. 
Saturday Nathan had BP training and I went to the BP wife's meeting. 

Marley went and played with other kids in the Primary room. 

Isi stayed with me in my meeting.
Only baby/child there. 

I asked the Grandmas in the Primary room if I could leave Isi. I told them I wasn't sure because she is not nursery age yet. They said, they didn't know what the District President's wife had in mind (she is the one that had set up the childcare and was running my meeting). 
One said she couldn't pick her up and the other said she wasn't sure if the toys were all safe for her. 

When I got to my meeting with her, the District Pres wife said I could leave her in there. 
I told her that the ladies in there seemed hesitant to keep her.
Sister Conely was fine with me keeping her.

Marley is so good with her though, I wish I had left her. 
She was pretty distracting. 

Despite Isi's distractions, my meeting was wonderful and so uplifting. 

While Nathan attended the Priesthood session that afternoon, we drove around, got lost, finally found our motel, rested for a bit and through dumb luck found the church again. 

Nathan and I were asked to speak in the adult session. 
Marley and Isi played in the Primary room with other kids.
(This time our former BP's daughters ages 12 and 14 were in there...so there were no worries.) 

The next morning we attended the General session which was actually a Regional Conference, broadcast from Salt Lake. 
Elder Gay, Sister Wixom, Elder Hale and Elder Utchdorf spoke to us. 

It was glorious!

After, Marley and I got into cozy clothes.

We headed home. 

We stopped on the shore of Lake Michigan, near Petoskey to look for Petoskey Rocks.
 
I've heard they are illusive but, I really thought that it would be more like the picture below.
 It wasn't.
We didn't find any.
Maybe it depends on what beach you stop to look?

Probably. 

We had a nice little picnic lunch there and then got back on the road.

Here are some pictures. 















 We always drive through Petoskey on US 31. Lake Michigan is on one side and these beautiful Victorian-esque homes are on the other side. 
 Several are boarded up. 
I guess they must be summer homes. 
They seem well kept just boarded up most of the year.
 Most of them have grand porches. 
 Most have a sturdy soft plastic covering the porch.
I picture the people of Petoskey practically living on their porches.
They are huge and covered.
 Though, the 3 or 4 times we have driven through, nobody has been on their porch.


Well, anyway, it was a great trip.

Here is a nice picture of Isi whaling...as in crying. 
Doesn't she look mad?

******
Kind of unrelated.

There is so much gunk online.
I read something that totally irked and kind of disturbed me yesterday...it was online. 

So, here is my freaking amazing and uplifting talk I gave at the adult session of our District Conference. 

I am not implying that I am perfect or this talk is perfect by sharing this online...
just trying to share that Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is good and awesome!


Elder Kevin W. Pearson gave a talk in General Conference entitled, “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” This is the same topic I have been given.  I believe he gave that talk in the same General Conference that he was sustained to be a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

One of the first things he said was,

I acknowledge my own need and desire for greater faith as a disciple and witness of Christ. There has never been a greater need for faith in my own life than now.”

His talk was excellent and gave great instruction. He spoke of the forces that erode our faith. If you feel that your faith is lacking and that it maybe from your own personal tendencies, attitudes and habits please look up this talk, it is really helpful!

After reading and listening to his talk a couple of times I kept getting drawn to one phrase:

“There has never been a greater need for faith in my own life than now.”

I think I am drawn to this phrase because I feel the same!!!

As I searched the scriptures and prayed, I kept thinking of the personal experiences I have had in my own life and there are SEVERAL times I feel that I would have said that same phrase

“There has never been a greater need for faith in my own life than now.”

Please let me share a few experiences….

My second year of college I had the opportunity to take an internship at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL.  It was not the most glamorous position, I would be working in Food and Beverage, but I would be taking business and leadership courses at Disney University.  

I had never lived very far away from family. This would take me ALL the way across the country. I knew nobody else doing the internship. I knew nobody in Florida. I was going to be on my own.

But not really, because I had faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. When I prayed about this opportunity to further my schooling, gain great experience, work really hard but have a LOT of Fun. I felt excited. I felt assurance. And I felt peace and confidence. I had also asked my dad for a blessing.  The blessing said, “be assured that this will be a great opportunity, you will gain great experience and though it will be difficult, it will help you grow spiritually.”

It wasn’t easy. There were obstacles before I even left. My dad was going to drive me out there with me so I could have my car; however, just two weeks before we were to leave he found that because of unforeseen issues at work, he was not going to be able to make the trip with me.

I would have to fly. I did not have the money to fly and I did not have any idea how I was going to get around once I was living there.

I began to hear from others that the living conditions were not what I was used to. I was a BYU student, who had signed an honor code of clean and righteous living. There were stories of wild parties with alcohol and drugs. I wished that I had one friend that would be going with me so I could have someone!!! I am sure I felt at the time:

“There has never been a greater need for faith in my own life than now.”

I held onto the assurance and peace and confidence I had felt when I initially got the answer through prayer and a father’s blessings.  The Spirit reminded me that I would NOT be alone.

I will finish this story, but first I want to reference Elder Jeffery R. Holland’s talk from this last General Conference. It is entitled, “Lord, I Believe.” (I LOVE THIS WHOLE TALK!!!)

He told of a  father with an afflicted child, the father had approached Jesus’s disciples for a blessing for his son, but they were not able to provide it. With the boy still gnashing his teeth, foaming from the mouth, and thrashing on the ground in front of them, the father appealed to Jesus with what must have been last-resort desperation in his voice:
“If thou canst do any thing,” he said, “have compassion on us, and help us.
“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
“And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”1

Later in his talk Elder Holland said,

With this tender scriptural record as a backdrop, I wish to speak directly to the young people of the Church—young in years of age or young in years of membership or young in years of faith. One way or another, that should include just about all of us.
Observation number one regarding this account is that when facing the challenge of faith, the father asserts his strength first and only then acknowledges his limitation. His initial declaration is affirmative and without hesitation: “Lord, I believe.” I would say to all who wish for more faith, remember this man! In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited. In the growth we all have to experience in mortality, the spiritual equivalent of this boy’s affliction or this parent’s desperation is going to come to all of us. When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes. It was of this very incident, this specific miracle, that Jesus said, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”6The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue—it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know. (close quote)

That is exactly what I did. I held onto the faith and assurances I already had received.

Logistics quickly began to fall into place, which I immediately saw as the Lord “opening the windows of heaven and pouring out a blessing.”  In a casual conversation with my Aunt Nancy, she saw my need and generously offered me airline vouchers so I could easily get to Florida and return.  When I got there I found that Disney’s college program had several bus systems some just for the college interns and some for all Disney employees. 

When I got there, my job had changed. I no longer was working in food and beverage but was recruited to a new intern position called Conventions and Special events. It was an awesome opportunity!

I also found, once I got there, that there was brand new apartment complex for the college interns and they were calling it the “Clean Living Complex.” You did not have to pay more rent but you did have to sign an extra contract that committed you to living clean. Within the college program the students from the older complex started to mockingly call it the “Christian Living Complex.” Most of us found that to be a huge compliment!  I ended up with 4 LDS roommates and my room roommate was Christian too!

Though we ALL had rigorous work schedules and spent little time together, I was so grateful to know that when I came home from a long day of work, my apartment was not going to be flooded with drunk college students. I never feared that strange people had access to my personal space. I felt peace and comfort.

I made lots of friends.  I learned A LOT from my business and especially my leadership courses.  But, the knowledge I value the most is the spiritual strength and understanding I gained.


I was faced with more temptations than I had been faced with ALL through my life up to that point, mostly through work and co-works.  

I am happy to say that I stood valiant and I was able to Choose the Right. And, in the face of those temptations my faith was increased and I came to know that I kept the commandments, not just to show obedience to my young women leaders, to my Bishop, to my parents or even to Heavenly Father. I came to know that there is safety, peace and happiness in keeping the commandments of God. THAT is why we have commandments.

I do not have time to tell you ALL the ways I grew, especially spiritually, but know that because of that experience and exercising faith in the Lord Jesus Chirst, I came to know the Savior. I learned to listen and rely on the Holy Ghost. I came to the know that Heavenly Father is aware of me at ALL TIMES and in ALL PLACES and that if I am striving to live worthy, he will protect me in situations I cannot control.    

While in Florida I began to pray about serving a full time mission.  I felt like I was practically already serving one, being far away from home and sharing my testimony so much! I prayed and got a peaceful assurance that yes I would serve a fulltime mission! I told my parents and they were supportive and excited.

However, when I returned to Utah and got back into the swing of things, I did not feel so sure.  I wondered why? Was I lacking faith?  I fasted and prayed and still felt that I should not go.

I had received answers that I could not deny.  In Florida it was YES and in Utah it WAS no. I truly felt:

“There has never been a greater need for faith in my own life than now.”

I finally was able to ask my father for a blessing.  I was “assured that it was good and right to have the desire to serve a fulltime mission but NOT right now.”  I was SO bummed!  Then when?!?! I remember crying and praying that night and asking over and over “why would you say yes and then say no!?” 

As I prayed the answer to that was NOT given but by the time I got off of my knees I felt an overwhelming peace.

STILL, I questioned why? And continued to fast and pray about it. 

“There has never been a greater need for faith in my own life than now.”

Then one day I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants section 6 where the Lord is speaking to Oliver Cowdery but as I read that day the Lord spoke directly to me. Verse 20 (I am putting my name in the place of Oliver)

 20 Behold, thou art Becky,(He knows us by name!!!) and I have spoken unto thee because of thy desires; therefore atreasure up these words in thy heart. Be faithful and bdiligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my clove.
 21 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the aSon of God. I am the same that came unto mine bown, and mine own received me not. I am theclight which shineth in ddarkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
 22 Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might aknow concerning the truth of these things.
 23 Did I not speak apeace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater bwitness can you have than from God?

Finally, I let it go. I exercised faith and I focused on school and I was happy and I truly felt encircled in the arms of His love.

A very short time later, my father was laid off and had to find new employment. My parents had only shortly been reunited, after living and working in different states for over a year. My mother made the very hard decision to return to California to the law firm she had just left. They gladly took her back with the agreement that she would stay at least 6 months.

After some time and probably a lot of praying, my father decided to work for the Boy Scouts of America, but would have to go to Scout camp all summer. 

This situation, I believe is the reason I did not go on my mission when I wanted to go.

I was home so I could live with my 15 year old brother, Peter, for 6 months while my parents made sacrifices to continue to provide. It was a huge blessing to me and my family. One that we could not have foreseen.

In December of that year, my home teacher invited me to attend a fireside where Sister Sherry Dew was speaking. As she spoke I felt the distinct impression that it was time to fill out an application to be a fulltime missionary.

July 10, 2002 I entered the MTC in Provo, Utah and served in the Montana Billings Mission.  As a fulltime missionary I felt:

“There has never been a greater need for faith in my own life than now.”

I do not feel impressed to tell you about my mission today; however, I do feel impressed to tell you about another experience.

Dating:

“There has never been a greater need for faith in my own life than [while I searched for my eternal companion].”

Oh boy does dating take a lot of faith! Then committing to someone for time and all eternity takes even more faith! 

My husband and I first saw each other in the early Fall of 2005. I was an old maid and he was a menace to society. It was love at first sight (well, we like to joke that it was).

We officially met each other weeks later in December. He ended up in my single adult ward and soon began attending the Institute class I was attending. We formed a great friendship through church activities and institute.

In spring of 2006 he FINALLY asked me out! July 24 (pioneer day) he finally asked me to marry him. November 18, 2006 we were finally married for time and all eternity in the Mt. Timpanogos Temple in American Fork, UT.

Since then our faith has been tried in ways that we never would have imagined.

Our families live in the west and we keep getting drawn away from them. First for grad school in Nebraska and now for career advancement in Sault Ste. Marie.

In some small ways, living in the Soo is like other places I have lived. In many ways, living in the Soo is like no other place I have lived before. 

I have struggled living so far away from family. Nebraska was far but this is farther and more remote and at times feels a little isolating. 

I do not feel that we are overly attached to our family but they are our family and we are sealed for all eternity, shouldn’t we WANT to be with them and share our lives with them?

In Nebraska I felt that we were drawn away so we could learn to rely on each other as a couple. To truly cleave to one another. I feel that we did learn that.

In the Soo I feel that we were drawn away to learn to rely on the Lord. To increase our relationship and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

“There has never been a greater need for faith in my own life than now.”

Nathan has been called to be the Branch President. Not only is this a difficult leadership position, but Nathan faces obstacles others may not. He is deaf. The Lord qualifies those whom he calls. I have been given a special Priesthood assignment to assist him as Branch President whenever he needs it, especially on the phone.  We are learning SO much, I don’t even have time to begin to tell you all that we are learning and the faith that we must exercise.

“There has never been a greater need for faith in our MARRIAGE than now.”

We are raising children in an every increasingly wicked world.

“There has never been a greater need for faith in our FAMILY than now.”

Hopefully we are always saying this, I believe it a declaration of enduring to the end.

“There has never been a greater need for faith in my OUR LIVES than now.”

If we continue to exercise faith and nurture it we can be assured that we are progressing and gaining the experiences we need to become like our Father in Heaven.

One of my favorite scriptures is Helamen 5:12 and though it doesn’t mention Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is implied when we make Christ our foundation”

12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon thearock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your bfoundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty cstorm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

I would like to close with Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

I testify that if we are striving to live worthy of the Spirit. If we are exercising, even just a particle faith. If we reflect on our lives and the experiences we have had we will see that our lives are full of the substance of things hoped for, and evidence of things not seen. 

“There has never been a greater need for faith in YOUR life than now.”

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.





8 comments:

eden said...

i love all your different examples of how greater faith is needed. which is basically all the time. (:

such a good reminder and a great thing to be aware of.

Julie J. said...

GREAT talk! What is up with those rocks? why do they have that pattern on them?

Kathy said...

Loved the talk. Thank you for sharing it. I loved reading your experiences.

Sandy said...

What a wonderful way to start the day

The Wells said...

I'm so glad I checked in today!!! I needed that!

The Yuan Fam said...

You're so insightful!! Those rocks are crazy cool looking. Too bad you didn't find one yourself. I love that when you post, it's normally before I wake up so that by the time I check blogs, I get to read something uplifting that you've written. Thanks!!!

Michelle said...

When I read that you spoke at your adult meeting I was like, OH MAN I WI I could have been there to hear your talk, then you made it possible for me to feel like I was there. I am so blessed to call you me friend. Helamen 5:12 is one os my favorite scriptures :)

Shauna said...

Becky, I don't know how I missed this? Sometimes I think my kids get looking at my blogs and then it registers as "read" and I don't see it. Anyhow, this was truly uplifting. I read your whole post and when your family told me your husband was called to this position, my heart skipped for you. It's going to be a great blessing but it's going to be hard as you said it already is proving to be.

Faith, thankgoodness for faith. I'm so greatful for all of this knowledge. Becky, I missed you so, when seeing your family. I know it's hard to be far away, yes, it's normal to miss them so much, they are part of you. I am so impressed and moved by how you and your husband follow the Lord. Thank you for sharing. Love you and miss you,

Shauna xoxoxoxxo