I have four things on my mind this morning, but words that go together and make sense just will not come out of my head. I don’t know why. Last night, as I was lying in bed, the thoughts were there and they flowed and were good. Do you have nights like that? I used to try to write them down, but I couldn’t write fast enough and then they would disappear. The four things? My bullet journal layout last night, Praying Upside Down, the General Conference talk, and the Book of Mormon studies I did this morning.
First, the bullet journal. I went a little nuts with it last night. We sat down to watch The Voice and discovered it was one of those stinking recap shows, so I decided to doodle. Well, it turned into a cats and sunflowers kind of spread. And a messy one at that. I want to add drawings to my journal, but I don’t want to create crazy pages like this one.
I like the challenge of doing one thing a bunch of times – like the cats. It’s amazing how much talent there is in this world. People can draw and paint and photograph is such a variety of ways. I’m constantly amazed by the stuff on Pinterest. I know that there’s a lot of complaining about how everyone tries so hard to make it look “perfect,” but (when I’m in my right mind) I think it’s inspirational.
I’ve also decided to do the next thirty days of wreaths. I am drawn to the variety and I have never spent much time on them. There are also some very pretty ones online that I’m going to try to copy and learn from. The one yesterday looked better than this one, but hey, I’m just learning, right? Plus, I couldn’t find another “30 Days of…” drawing challenge. I like those because I wind up stretching and drawing things I don’t normally think of, like monsters.
So, check, I’m done with number one. The second one? Praying Upside Down by Kelly O’Dell Stanley. I am in love with this book. I like how personal her stories are and how much they sound like how I feel. I don’t know if that’s entirely true, but I can relate. I cried my way through chapter six this morning, I was relating that much. There are times in our lives when our negative feelings are overwhelming and it seems they can go on and on, with no end in sight. When I hear of how others have suffered and, somehow, gotten through it, those are the good stories. The ones that bring hope. She has this one paragraph I want to share,
If we look closely, we may see more than what first met the eye. Often, though, we only see what we expect – when drawing, questioning, when praying. Our preconceived ideas get in the way, hindering accuracy, clarity, and spiritual growth – limiting how much of the truth we are able to see.
Yikes! Guilty. I find myself so often going into a prayer or hurdling through a stressful time only seeing what I expect to see – that it’s hard, that it hurts, that I don’t want to feel this way or that. I can see that it does limit me, especially my perspective. I’m so worked up in how I feel that I don’t pay much attention to what’s really going on. That’s a tough one to overcome and I’m pretty sure I can’t do it alone. God? Can you help me out with this one?
I shared yesterday my drawings on the title page of the Book of Mormon and a brief synopsis of the book, but I didn’t share one of the main points of the page and that is, why have it at all? After all, we already have the Bible, why do we need another book? That is a great question. Here’s the easy answer. Imagine you have an old beat up board with the word “Jesus” on it and you want to hang it up on a wall. So, you have one nail and you put it on one end. The problem? It will fall or swing around instead of hanging straight and secure. Think of that like the Bible. We can see how it has been used through the ages to bring about all kinds of ideas about Christ. If we have a second nail, the Book of Mormon, and we put it in the other end of the board, we can securely hang it and it can’t be swayed and moved around however we want. We can rely on the fact that Christ and His mission are exactly what He says it is in the two books together- “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established (2 Corinthians 13:1).
In addition to it being a second witness, there are some other pretty good reasons to have it. At the beginning, in the very first chapter, Nephi (the son of Lehi) is commanded to keep a record of his people and that this record was to be handed down and added to from generation to generation. Think of it as a journal, similar to the records in the Bible. However, he wasn’t told why. He was just told to do it. He finally gets his answer in the thirteenth chapter, which is up to eight years later (we don’t have specific times, just general ones). Eight years to do something without knowing why. Oh, goodness. That is a long time of obedience without understanding. Anyway, he did it and finally got the answer. Ready for a long passage of scripture? Be sure to watch for the other four reasons for why we have the Book of Mormon. I’ll underline them for you. Oh, at that first verse about the book that comes from the “mouth of the Jew?” That’s the Bible.
38 And it came to pass that I beheld the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the book of the Lamb of God, which had proceeded forth from the mouth of the Jew, that it came forth from the Gentiles unto the remnant of the seed of my brethren.
39 And after it had come forth unto them I beheld other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb, from the Gentiles unto them, unto the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true.
And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.
41 And they must come according to the words which shall be established by the mouth of the Lamb; and the words of the Lamb shall be made known in the records of thy seed, as well as in the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; wherefore they both shall be established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth.
42 And the time cometh that he shall manifest himself unto all nations, both unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles; and after he has manifested himself unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles, then he shall manifest himself unto the Gentiles and also unto the Jews, and the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.
So the key points?
- That the records are true.
- That Christ is who He says He is and that we must come to Him for salvation
- That the words of Christ must come to all of His people, everywhere
- and, lastly, that He will show Himself to all of His children, both Jew and Gentile
The title page does bring out a couple more reasons (to show the great things God has done for our forefathers, that the covenants He made with them are still intact, and that we are not cast off forever – see number 2 up there).
How wonderful it is that God and His Son thought of all of this? All of us, down through all of time can come to know personally that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He cares about all of us and that He continues to speak to us? It’s amazing! The General Conference talk I read today (by Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr.) talked about the Book of Mormon. He said,
The greatest power of the Book of Mormon is its impact in bringing us closer to Jesus Christ. It is a strong witness of Him and His redeeming mission. Through it we come to understand the majesty and power of His Atonement. It teaches His doctrine clearly. And because of the magnificent chapters describing the visit of the risen Christ to the Nephites, we see and experience Him loving, blessing, and teaching those people and come to understand that He will do the same for us.
Kelly and LeGrand both saying the same thing? Another two witnesses of the fact that He is there. He will come to us. He loves us, blesses, and teaches us as we turn to and trust Him. What a glorious thought! I’m so very grateful today for these two and for the boost to my heart they have given me. Now, me and my happy heart are going to get on with the rest of the day…
I cried this morning while reading chapter six. I think one of the reasons why I wasn’t ready to move on to another book is because I feel so much of how Kelly talks about feeling. I’m sure most of us have, it’s strangely comforting to see it in print and to hear of someone else’s deeply personal ways they came through the other side. She’s like a wise older sister. Actually, there’s a good chance she’s younger than me.