Monday, 13 March 2017
Many things have come about in our lives over the past few years...and especially in the past few weeks that have been particularly difficult! I was assigned to speak in church on Gratitude at the end of January. I was nervous (which I'm usually not...public speaking is okay with me...if I know what I'm talking about...lol) because the last time I was up at the pulpit, it was for Mac's memorial and funeral. The moment I stood up, it immediately made me think I was back there on that day, to speak about that event, and what I believe. I soon realized that I was not put in a time machine and sent back to that day to...but that I was going to speak about what I believe and this is how it went.
Gratitude - a feeling of the heart.
The words “Thank you” in old English language derives from the word ‘think’. It used to mean: “I will remember what you did for me.” This meaning has been lost in a literal sense in the world today. We use the words as a polite gesture. But when we think of our Saviour, it still applies!
We are taught how to give thanks in the scriptures. In D&C 59-5,7-8 it reads:
“I give unto them a commandment, saying thus: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him…
“Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things.
“Thou shalt offer a sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in righteousness, even that of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.”
Throughout the scriptures, faithful followers of Christ offered sacrifices and burnt offerings to express thanks to God. Today we can show gratitude to our Heavenly Father through prayer.
Elder Ballard has said: “Prayer should be yearning and filled with gratitude.”
Robert D. Hales said that “through expression of prayerful gratitude and thanksgiving, we show our dependence upon a higher source of wisdom and knowledge—God the Father and His Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”
I have pondered times when it’s easy to be grateful, vs. times when it’s hard to find a reason to be grateful. Even if we know we have many blessings…we’ve all had experiences in our lives where we have felt much gratitude and thankfulness—we even have specific times or holidays in the year to help us remember what we are thankful for. For me personally, I have come to learn, through my experiences, that gratitude truly is a “feeling of the heart” as Pres. Eyring states (October 2016 Conference)—and not only that, but I believe this feeling is a root or twin to the feeling of love.
When our eldest son, Mackenzie passed away 3 years ago now, at the age of 22, I did not think that I would ever be able to feel anything ever again, except for pain, sorrow, grief and sadness…let alone gratitude!!! My heart was broken in a way that I believed could never be fixed. Our minds don’t work well when we suffer trauma such as this, and my mind was the thing that was “thinking” all was lost. But a miraculous thing happened within hours. My heart took over my mind—my heart couldn’t help but fill up with gratitude—for the outpouring of love, support and service in so many ways. By our family, friends, ward and community. I didn’t know it then, but the gratitude WAS love and that is what began the healing of my heart.
Dallin H. Oaks explains that a sense of gratitude enables us to see our hardships in the context of our purpose here on earth. I don’t think I could understood how this trial of my child’s death, would help me gain a sense of my purpose here on earth. But then the service offered with love, helped me feel love and consequently, gratitude. I thought of an analogy with this explanation. We can think of gratitude as a cloth. When life ‘fogs’ up our view of our life, we can take that cloth and wipe the fog away to see a little more clearly, our path. The fog may return, but that same ‘cloth of gratitude’ can be used over and over to clear the way so we can ‘see’ just where we are going, and ensure we stay the course.
“Humility and submissiveness to the Lord, coupled with a grateful heart, are our strength and our hope.” Bishop Richard C. Edgely I had no choice—no one could heal my heart except the Lord. Gratitude did lead to hope. I began to add more gratitude to my prayers. I even experimented by just saying prayers of thanksgiving, without asking for anything in return. It was a challenge, as we are programmed as children even, to ask for things in our prayers.
We are even warned in D&C 59:21
“And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all tings, and obey not his commandments.”
Gratitude is a powerful healing tool. A catalyst to healing. It is an emotion that is felt inside, but shows on the outside. If we let gratitude enter our hearts, we will feel the love of our Father and Saviour more abundantly and we will be blessed, and our actions will be filled with genuine love in return.
“Ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you;
“And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.
“And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, year, more.”
When I was in shock and despair, I knelt down and sobbed to my Heavenly Father. I didn’t even know what to say. I felt impressed to open my scriptures. I just blindly followed this prompting, not even really being aware of what I was doing or what might come of it. The Book of Mormon opened to Mosiah 24:14.
“And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.”
This scriptures has been my peace, reassurance and faith-builder. It’s important to note that Alma and his people (who this blessing was directed to in Mosiah) were not freed from bondage when they received this assurance. That took time, but His promise was sure. We have to have faith that in time, things will make sense and we will feel better.
Gratitude equals remember. Remember what our Saviour did for us. Remember we are loved. Remember He has a plan for each of us. Being grateful, shows Him, that we remember these things and all the other promises He has given to us. In the midst of a hard, hard trial…this can seem impossible. But I am grateful that I have learned this personally, as I know He loves us and wants us to turn to Him, have faith in Him and endure well.
Currently, I am grateful my mom is healing from her stroke and is a strong woman, and that my dad is taking good care of her, because I'm not there to do it.
I am grateful my daughter made it through a tough surgery and is healing well.
I am grateful my husband's blood clot did not reach his lungs or brain, and is being cared for by doctors who know what to do.
I know more trials will come, but I want to be able to 'remember' that I can make it through hard things with His help. I may have to reference this talk many times to come. I'd better bookmark it! ;)