Friday, October 6, 2017

Carter newborn pictures

We had some newborn pictures taken by the amazing Hailey Mabey when Carter was three and a half weeks old.  I am so grateful we have these pictures to remember this special time of our life.  Little did we know the next two weeks would be sooooo harrrrrrd (circumcision complications, fussy baby, establishing a better schedule, baby not pooping for eight days...oh and we had just survived a hurricane), but, we survived and things are a lot better now. :)  I am grateful for the ability to have children, and I'm so grateful for the joy they bring to us.  I love my little family!!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Divine Power of Grace

Recently I read the talk "The Divine Power of Grace."  Grace is something I have tried for a while to understand, and I think it will take my whole life to understand it completely.  But it's something I can feel now, and will be able to feel my entire life.  I think I have a hard time wrapping my brain around it because it's not something I can see.  I had often heard about grace when attending church, seminary, etc, but didn't really gain a testimony of it and come to understand it better until I started to study it.

I have gone through challenges in my life, and I've witnessed loved ones go through challenges.  Although totally and completely hard, I continue to stand amazed that there is something...a power...that can carry us through those challenges.  A power that helps us keep going.  A power that comforts us.  A power that washes away sins and makes it so we never think about them or feel guilt about them or have a desire to do them again.  A power that helps us do things we never thought we could do.  An invisible power.  But a power that is real and exists.

I especially love how it can carry us and help us do things we never thought we could do.  I remember someone in Stake Conference teaching that grace is like a propeller.

I love that visualization.  Grace thrusts us forward...keeps us going.  I may not know the mechanics behind a propeller moving a boat forward, and I don't know the mechanics behind how grace moves us forward, but I do know that it does.

Here are some of my favorite snippets from the talk.

Elder Hamula teaches us that faith is the first principle that welcomes grace.

"All this suggests that we must learn patience with ourselves and others in our current weaknesses and imperfections, and we must learn perseverance in the unavoidably gradual process of growth unto perfection.

Faith in Jesus Christ is the first principle that welcomes grace.

When Peter fixed his eyes on the Lord and acted in faith, he had power to do what he could not do on his own—walk on the water.
When Peter took his eyes off of the Lord and doubted, Peter severed himself from that power, was left to his own, and began to sink. Note well the response of the Lord to Peter’s cry for help. “Immediately” did the Lord extend His hand to save him. Such is the availability of the Lord’s grace in our time of need.

Repentance is the second principle that "enables grace to fill us."

Repentance is the second principle that enables grace to fill us. Mormon taught: “Blessed are they who will repent and hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; for these are they that shall be saved. And may God grant … that men might be brought unto repentance and good works, that they might be restored unto grace for grace, according to their works” (Helaman 12:23–24). From this scripture, it is clear that a repentant heart and good works are in harmony with grace.
... Alma the Younger’s conversion from the vilest of sinners to prophet of God is a dramatic example of the power of the Lord’s grace to both justify and sanctify every one of us. (I LOVE THIS STORY)

The third principles is humility.

The third principle is humility. The Lord taught Moroni, “My grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27). Making weak things become strong is the work of grace.
If humility is necessary, we might well ask what humility is. Briefly stated, humility is the submission of one’s own will to the will of God and giving Him the honor for what is accomplished. In this regard, Jesus Christ is our greatest example. 

The fourth principle is diligence.  
As Nephi taught his people, “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). Some may read this scripture to mean that God’s grace is withheld until we have given our best efforts. I do not read it this way. There are simply too many examples of God’s grace being extended to man without him doing anything. The power of the Resurrection, for example, is given to all by the grace of God, irrespective of individual effort. I understand Nephi’s “all we can do” language to mean that God’s grace is extended to us when we are diligent. As Elder Bruce C. Hafen, former member of the Seventy, has written, “The Savior’s gift of grace to us is not necessarily limited in time to ‘after’ all we can do. We may receive his grace before, during, and after the time when we expend our own efforts.”2
The fifth principle is obedience.  
“If you keep my commandments,” said the Lord, “you shall receive grace for grace” (D&C 93:20). Moroni puts it this way: “If ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ” (Moroni 10:32).  ...The Lord’s injunction to keep the commandments and Moroni’s injunction to deny ourselves of all ungodliness must be understood as doing these things the best we can. While our actions are important, more important are the intentions of our hearts.
The final principle is to receive the Holy Ghost and seek gifts of the Spirit.
Indeed, we are filled with the grace of God when we receive the Holy Ghost, for it is the Holy Ghost who distributes and delivers to us God’s sanctifying, enabling, and perfecting powers. ...In this regard, Elder Parley P. Pratt (1807–57) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught the following: “The gift of the Holy Ghost … quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands, and purifies all the natural passions and affections, and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates, and matures all the fine-toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings, and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness, and charity. It develops beauty of person, form, and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation, and social feeling. It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being.”3
The Lord’s grace is sufficient to lift you from death and sin and to endow you with eternal life. It is sufficient to change you, transform you, and perfect you. It is sufficient to enable you to fully realize your divine potential as a son or daughter of God."
I know this to be true!