Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tender Mercies

I am currently taking an Institute class in Logan right now on The Book of Mormon. I have really learned a lot in such a short amount of time yet one thing I have noticed lately is how often my teacher talks about tender mercies of the Lord. How often do we focus on the negative in life when we have so much more to be grateful for. The simple "coincidences" that bring us peace and happiness, that are really no coincidence at all. I think Elder Bednar says it best in the Ensign from his April 2005 conference talk.

"But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance" (1 Nephi 1:20)...My mind was drawn immediately to Nephi's phrase "the tender mercies of the Lord," and I knew in that very moment I was experiencing such a tender mercy. A loving Savior was sending me a most personal and timely message of comfort and reassurance through a hymn selected weeks previously. Some may count this experience as simply a nice coincidence, but I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are real and that they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Often, the Lord's timing of His tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them...Since last October I have reflected repeatedly upon the phrase "the tender mercies of the Lord." Through personal study, observation, pondering, and prayer, I believe I have come to better understand that the Lord's tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly, the Lord suits "his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men" (D&C 46:15).

Wow I absolutely love that talk! Today I was talking to one of my close friends about her summer and all the exciting things that have been going on and I have to admit that I began to feel a little sad and lonely about how things have been for me lately. And I started thinking that I didn't feel anything was bringing me joy. Yet as I was driving home from a Relief Society activity I noticed the sky as the sun was beginning to set. I think the third picture really captures the best how beautiful the sky looked. It was like a huge burst of light was shooting through the middle of the clouds and was so incredible! I really felt like this was a huge tender mercy to me. I have always had an appreciation for nature and God's creations and I will often just sit on my front porch watching the sun set and as I saw the sky tonight I felt happy for such a small, and seemingly insignificant moment.

My other two both happened today as well. My high school choir teacher put a status update on facebook that said, "We choose how we react. So although I feel hurt and sad right now, I CHOOSE to be happy." She could not be more right. It seems like such a simple concept yet often we let others choices determine our attitude. Yet the truth still remains that you determine your own happiness. Lastly, I came across the video on youtube of two sisters singing "The Climb." I think this video speaks for itself, but as I was watching it I couldn't help but start bauling. I guess I am a true Bentley. : ) It is when we face our challenges and work to overcome them that we truly succeed, even if we fall down a couple times in the process. My favorite part is at the end of their song when they hug and the oldest girl starts crying knowing what they have accomplished and to see the parents and audience reaction is beautiful. Incredible!

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