Image from SugardoodleI'm not sure what this blog is anymore...I think it's more of a mish-mash of my thoughts than anything else. Maybe that is what it has always been, but it seems even more mish-mashy now than it used to be. Sometimes I need to write about my kids, or my struggles, or the goofy things that happen when you live in a small town, sometimes what I write relates to things I feel, to spiritual things. This will be one of those posts...it will be about things that I feel and things that are spiritual. It is something that I want to write down.
This morning I have a rare opportunity. Alfredo started preschool this week and so for two days a week I will have some time to actually be alone. He started on Tuesday, but Jewel was not in school on Tuesday so today is the first time I get to experience this heavenly alone time. (Not that I don't love my kiddos and I really love having them around, but hopefully this statement will make sense in a minute.) I came home from dropping Alfredo off at preschool - and I just have to say, it is so SO cute to watch him walk into preschool with his Spiderman backpack and smiling and feeling so proud and excited to be such a big boy - I looked around at all the things I need to get done around the house that would be much easier to do without my little helper and I decided not to do any of them. I decided, instead, to spend some time studying the scriptures. It has turned out to have been a wonderful decision. I was able to be awake, alert and focused and yet receptive to the Spirit.
I'll share just a tad bit something I loved thinking about this morning:
The Book of Mormon is special scripture to Mormons, most people know this and assume that we are less interested in the Bible. If by some chance you are reading this blog and have believed this to be true, let me just tell you, Mormons love the Bible just as we love the Book of Mormon, they go together in our minds and are pretty much inseparable. For us, they are two halves of a whole. We are studying the Old Testament in our worship services this year. I have been grateful to have been studying the early chapters of Genesis these last few weeks in Church. It has been further evidence to me of the love God has for his children to have been discussing the miracle of Creation and now the preparation of Moses for his calling to lead the Children of Israel.
I read this morning some of the account of the vision of the Book of Mormon prophet, Lehi had of what we refer to as the Tree of Life. In this vision Lehi sees a beautiful tree which bears fruit that, when eaten, brings happiness to the souls of everyone who partakes. Lehi sees a vast wilderness surrounding the tree and a rod of iron leading to the tree. He notices many who are holding to the rod to get to the tree so they can eat the fruit. A few chapters later in the Book of Mormon, Nephi (Lehi's son) is praying to know the interpretation of the vision and is visited by an angel and shown the interpretation of the dream. The entirety of this vision is much too long to discuss here (but if you want to read the whole thing...follow this link and this one), but I wanted to focus on a small part.
Nephi learns that the tree and the fruit represent the love of God (which he learns as the angel shows him Jesus Christ). So those that partake of the fruit are filled with that love. The rod of iron that leads to the tree through the vast wilderness is "the word of God". So the purpose of the rod is to help people find the tree so that they can feel of God's love.
I coupled my reading of the text of the scriptures with reading a chapter from the book entitled, 101 Powerful Promises from the Book of Mormon by Wayne E. Brickey. In the chapter entitled, "Sure as Iron," he discusses that in Nephi and Lehi's day the thought of building a iron rod in the middle of the desert would seem ridiculous - it would be too costly and thoroughly extravagant. Then he makes this powerful point:
"If a desert separated you from God, he would go to the expense to install such a thing. He built the desert, you might say, to see whether you really wanted to go home [to him]. He built a handrail straight across the land to get you there." (p. 21)Now...blending the things I have been studying in the Bible with the things I have been studying from the Book of Mormon...It is overwhelming to me to think of the careful planning and preparation God undertook to prepare a place for us to live, learn, love, experience and develop and then to know that he wants us to come back to him so much that he had literally placed before us the way to return to be with Him again.
Bro. Brickey continues,
"The strong rod steadies even the shakiest travelers, so that their strides are safe and certain...The scriptures give power to any effort to rise above weakness. God has put a wonderful iron power in his words...All that straightness and strength, and putting the rail within our reach, has been quite an expense. But to him whose words are presented there, it was worth the trouble."Powerful, miraculous, beautiful...I'm so glad to know and feel so powerfully that I am worth the effort to God.