Creating harmony in your home and with your spouse in a crazy world.

12 11 2008

A unified country… Is it possible? …is it even possible to have a unified home?!  

        My wife and I are consciously striving for the latter, a unified home and it is difficult.  Am I insinuating that we are at odds ends and don’t love each other anymore, no, not at all!  I love Tara more now than I ever knew I could love anyone.  But what we are trying to work on is becoming more unified in purpose and having a greater peace in our home.  Specifically we are to eliminate precisely what the Lord said of a Christian people who initially failed in creating a spirit of unity amongst them; He said, “Behold, I say unto you, there were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them; therefore by these things they polluted their inheritances (blessings)” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:6).

        When Paul learned of the contentions of the members of the church in Corinth, he declared “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10).

        Jesus Christ and His Father exemplify the type of unity we should strive for in our marital relationships as well as all other associations we may have.  In the sacred prayer uttered by the lips of Jesus towards the end of His ministry, He prayed not only for us to become unified with each other, but that we might become unified with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

        21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

        22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

        23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:21-23)

          We learn from these verses that by exemplifying the unity that exists between Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ in our marriages and becoming unified in purpose with the Father and Jesus others will come to believe in Christ through our examples.

          The perfect example of the unity I am discussing here occurred in the form of another prayer uttered by our Savior before he took upon himself the unimaginable pain associated with taking the sins of all the world upon him in the darkness of the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus prayed, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).   As we become more unified with our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ, our prayers will become similar to this one; we will set our own will aside and accept God’s will as our own.

unity-triangle          Excuse the amateur artwork; I don’t include it for its quality, but to teach a principle.  When we enter into a marriage relationship, we each have our own likes and dislikes, opinions, desires, wants, and beliefs of how things should work around the house.  These differences are O.K. (that is usually why you married each other), but are often allowed to be a source of contention when pride and stubbornness is involved.  These differences are symbolized in the picture by the distance between the Husband and wife while at the base of the triangle.  When we get married, we not only commit ourselves to our spouses to serve, love, and strengthen them throughout all of life’s trials, but there is also an implicit commitment to strive to become the best that we can be.  We accomplish this by individually striving to become more like our Savior and drawing nearer to Him.  Notice that when each spouse depicted climbs towards the Savior at the apex of the triangle, the distance between the couple decreases symbolizing a greater spirit of unity between them as their differences melt away and they become more one in purpose.

          I know that through striving to become more like our Savior we can become more unified with our spouses.  I have witnessed this in my own marriage; we are far from the top, but we are closer together than when we started.  I often feel my wonderful wife is much higher than myself and that just pushes me harder.  I love my wife Tara, and am grateful for the wonderful woman that she is.

          I want to discuss further how to rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His infinite grace to progress towards a more unified home. I invite you to check back in the coming week to follow up with this discussion of unity.  For now, I will end with a sentiment that Paul concluded his second letter to the Corinthians with:

         11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect (strive to be like your Savior), be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. (2 Cor. 13:11)






Faith… Do you have it in you?

27 10 2008

Simply put Faith is a belief accompanied by action.  In terms of the Gospel, it is not faith to only say that you believe in Christ, but ye must be doers of the word as well.

Recently I have been impressed with a tremendous act of faith that my little sister, Kelsey, is making.  She has always been more naturally faithful than I have.  In my youth, I often choose to learn things the hard way; despite my belief in Jesus Christ, I struggled to accompany that belief with actions, thus failing to have faith.  I later developed a true faith in our Savior through making changes in my life and repenting of my sins.  My sister on the other hand, has always accompanied her belief in Christ with an appropriate life style.

Recently she has been preparing herself to serve a voluntary mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon Church.  This process involves several personal interviews with church officials who stand as witnesses of her character and personal worthiness as well as numerous health examinations to determine if she is healthy.  Following these, she fills out an application and submits it to the leaders of the church, the Prophet and Twelve Apostles.  No where on this paper work is she able to indicate a preference of where she will serve as a missionary for a year and a half of her life.  After the application is submitted, she anxiously waits to learn when and where she will live to complete her missionary service.

On Friday, October 24, 2008 my sister received a large white envelop in the mail which contained all of the details of her coming life as a missionary.  Try to relate to this situation as you watch her open her call to serve.

Kelsey is literally turning her life over to Christ.  For 18 months she will do nothing, but serve.  As a missionary the first few hours of every morning will be spent studying the scriptures, following which she will be on her feet teaching people about Jesus Christ and serving. 

Not only will Kelsey be going to a foreign land with an unfamiliar culture, but she will also be learning and speaking in a language she has had no exposure to.  She will study the language for two months before she flies out to the Philippians and is thrown in the deep end.  She will have to depend on the Grace of Jesus Christ to be able to acquire a language so rapidly.

I served a mission a few years ago in the greater Chicago area.  It was the greatest experience of my life.  My Faith in my Savior grew exponentially.  I am so excited for my sister and proud of her.

Could you do this? Is your belief in Jesus Christ strong enough to dedicate a year and a half of your life to nothing else except for building the Kingdom of God? Please comment.