March 7, 2017

adventures in bible reading: my kindness shall not depart

Last week's action item: Give up a bad habit and start a good habit.

To make this action item a little more specific, I decided that I would give up the habit of scrolling through Facebook when I was bored and that I would take on the habit of praying on my knees every morning and night. I want to be honest: I wasn't perfect at keeping this goal. These two parts of my life have been struggles for a long time; I should have expected that they would be a little harder to maintain.

But, when I did accomplish my goal this past week, something amazing happened. I felt energized. I felt a renewed sense of focus, despite every natural urge to go into a mid-term coma. It was incredible to be a part of.

I think I like this action item idea.

For other reasons, this week was quite the adventure. I had some highlights (like starting the process of volunteering in the temple) and some low lights. One of those low lights was that on Saturday morning, I discovered that someone tried to break into my car (no damage, nothing taken). I also found out some disheartening news later that morning (I'll keep that news vague to give you  the entertainment of guessing). As I drove home from work, I was a little miffed to say the least.

I cried out to Heavenly Father ... which is silly because basically everything in my life has been moving forward without a hitch. But in that moment, I felt like several bad things had hit me at once that Heavenly Father could have prevented in a heart beat ... if He had wanted to. After pouring out my heart to God, I felt a hush. I felt that all these things were meant to give me experience. In a matter of seconds, He calmed the calamitous storm that was my heart and I was able to make sense of the world again.

Things always get better with God.

I have loved reading the later chapters in Isaiah, probably because they carry that same message. The first half of Isaiah's book focuses heavily on doom and gloom ... on God's judgement. But the second half speaks of His infinite mercy and kindness.

I love the words from Isaiah 54:7-10. These verses speak of God's "great mercies" and "everlasting kindness." How is it that the SAME GOD that allows destruction and fire and brimstone can be a God of mercy and kindness? (This might be the gospel according to Laney ... so bear with me) I think that He is willing and able to take any situation that we encounter, negative or positive, and turn it to be for our good. He might allow the trials to happen so that we can learn from them and grow, but He will also be more than happy to support and guide us through those trials if we rely on Him.

Later in that chapter (vs. 11), the Lord promises that he will "lay [our] stones with fair colors." This isn't to say that God is helping us to win a game of Candyland; rather, God is working arduously so that the path we are on will become precious for us, no matter the changes and challenges. 

I am positive that He is working on my path now. I felt that as I cried in my smoke-smelling truck on the way home from work. I felt that as I cleaned out said truck and found some precious items I had been missing for months. I felt that as I took the sacrament and promised to remember Christ always throughout the week. 

Heavenly Father is love. He is kindness. I am so grateful for Him!

Action Item for next week: This next week, I am going to testify to one person a day about God's love for them.

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