Be Still and Know

Stillness

 

Life has a way of knocking us in the head sometimes. We think that we know where we are going and what we are doing, and then something happens that leaves us stunned. We wonder who we really are and what our purpose is in this life.

We stop for a moment and think about the people, things, and activities with which we have filled our lives and ask some important questions. Am I truly happy? Is there meaning and purpose in the choices I have made? Am I doing those things that God would have me do?

In her book The Fear Cure, Lissa Rankin, MD, speaks of the space between thoughts, and how our ability to capture and capitalize upon this space allows us to experience peace and happiness in our daily lives, as well as overcome the negative emotions that threaten to consume us.

During a restless night prior to a recent musical performance, I remembered this principle. Slowing down my thoughts just enough to find this empty space, I suddenly found myself basking in the warmth of God’s unconditional love. It was as if the clouds had parted and warm sunshine was streaming into my consciousness. My anxious heart calmed and I was able to rest peacefully.

Now, in the wake of a family tragedy, I seek that same reassurance that I am loved, and that there is meaning and purpose in my life. I remember the scripture in Psalms 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” For a brief moment, I once again enter that blessed space that has become my salvation, that stillness of mind and heart that allows me to experience God’s unconditional love.

This is the love that is home. We knew it before we came here. We are God’s children and lived with him before this life. It is the love that carries us through the storms and tempests that threaten to destroy us. It is the love that when we leave here, will rise with us into the great beyond as we return home once again to his arms, fresh and new from the rebirth that we call death.

There, time will cease to carry its poignant reminders of our insignificance and nothingness. Our petty worries and the aches and pains of this life will be no more, and what we glimpse in those quiet moments of stillness will be ours, to have and hold, forever!

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today, for your emotional health!

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The Price of Peaches

What we do together

1978 was a good year! We were married in August and shortly afterward moved into a small one-bedroom apartment with no front door. Our entrance was the stairway above the garage of a home. There were three doors at the top of that stairway: one for the bedroom, one for the kitchen, and one for the bathroom!

We were determined to make it work. While my husband went to school, I took in sewing, provided babysitting services, and kept house. One day, I happened to be at the right place at the right time, and stumbled upon a bushel basket of ripe peaches!

Excited that we could begin our food storage, I paid the nominal fee and went home with my treasure. Knowing that they wouldn’t last long, I was determined to preserve them that very day. My husband came home from school, weary from studying all day, only to find me hard at work washing jars and preparing the syrup for canning.

With the patience of Job, he put his arms around me and gave me a big hug, then rolled up his sleeves. Together we blanched and pealed the peaches, carefully placing them in the jars. We covered them with the hot syrup and lowered them into the water bath.

We laughed and played like children as one by one, we added the jars of peaches to our little kitchen table. Steam filled the room, but joy filled our hearts that night. Together, we had followed the words of the prophets and laid aside for our future needs.

Those peaches seemed to last forever! Each time we brought one up from the storage room, we relived the blessed experience of putting our hands and hearts together in a project that not only solidified our union, but gave us sweet experiences for many years to come. All for the price of a bushel of peaches!

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today, for your emotional health!

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Its Only Time

Eternity

 

 

I hate weeds! They get in the way. They grow in places where I don’t want them to be. They are obnoxious, stubborn, and irresponsible!

Weeds mean work. I have to put on my grubby clothes, worn out shoes, and those uncomfortable work gloves, and then I have to get down on my hands and knees in the dirt. How humiliating!

Every time I pull weeds, my muscles burn. The sweat pours from my face, and my nose runs. My glasses get soaked, and when I go to clean them, I have to rise slowly or the blood rushes to my feet and I feel dizzy in the head. I just can’t seem to win!

it is then that I stop and rest a moment. I look around me, surveying the landscape. I breathe a sigh and start to relax. Rather than seeing weeds, I see the grass. I don’t remember it being this green before. The flowers, they are beautiful, and the trees, so tall and regal.

Remembering the reason I am here, I bend down once again, only now the weeds are easier to pull. The rhythmic motion allows my mind to wander. I think of God, the Creator of all things, and the life that he has given me.

I think of Father Adam and Mother Eve and how they must have felt when they left the Garden of Eden. They had nothing. There was no comfortable home to shelter them, no running water for bathing, and no grocery store where they could buy food.

What would it be like if I didn’t have these things? What am I doing with my own life, anyway? Where am I going, and why do I feel the way I do? I pray for forgiveness, insight, and inspiration.

For a brief moment, time stands still. I see my own destiny and what I can do to bring it to pass, and I feel and know the immense love of Heavenly Father for me.

Before I know it, I am done. The weeds are gone. I feel a sense of peace settle over me.  I know what I need to do and am ready to move forward. When I came out to pull weeds, I thought, its only time. Now, I know better. It is eternity!

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today, for your emotional health!

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Don’t Cry for Me

Death is Not the End

 

 

As I watched men shovel the sacred ground back into its Mother Earth after the lowering of a Native American friend’s casket, the following poem came to mind:

Don’t cry for me, I’m dead and gone. I’ve sung life’s last and mournful song. I’ve cried the bitter tears and wept. I’ve passed the torch, the vigil kept.

I’ve traveled life’s tempestuous road and carried many a heavy load. I’ve helped when others had no more to give; I’ve kept on going when I had no will to live.

I’ve gone to the ends of the earth and back, I never from my duties did slack. I’ve fed the hungry and clothed the bare; I’ve scraped for money when there was none to share.

I’ve given all to my Lord, my God, and always his narrow pathway trod. I dried the tears and hid the shame, and made sure everyone had a better name.

So don’t you cry, I am at peace; my shoulders from burdens have been released. I’m here at last where I belong, no more to sigh when the day is long.

Look up and see a better world. Always keep righteous flags unfurled. Share the faith, walk the path and you will gain all that the Father hath.

Live your life as I would have done. Pray to God, worship his Son. Live for Him and live for me, and one day, soon, together we’ll be!

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe todayfor your emotional health!

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Waiting

Waiting

 

Waiting is a waste of time. Certainly, better things could be done, like painting the laundry room closet, dusting the cobwebs in the corners of the windows, or washing the kitchen and dining room walls, but no, just waiting…waiting….

Waiting for the phone call that says Dad is okay and that they are bringing him home. But each time the phone rings, there are more problems, more complications, and more things that need to be done. Maybe he isn’t coming home.

Waiting for the phone call that says it is time, he has gone the way of all the earth. It is time to come and cry, time to gather with my family and remember, time to see what should have been, or could have been, if things were different.

Waiting for nature to take its course, for the timeworn body to submit to its mother earth, for the bell to ring that says the round is over and the victory won, for the snow to fall and signal that winter has arrived, for the door of life to close.

Why Lord? Why is death so hard? How can we endure to the end when we don’t know when, where, and how that end will be? Why must we continue to plow forward when the ground is caked with mud, the weeds are thick with roots and shoots, and the plow is dull with chips and dents?

“But they that wait up on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

Waiting for the door of eternity to open; waiting for the spirit to rise anew; waiting for the angels to sing praises that one of their own has returned; waiting for a new life to begin, for time to fade away, for sadness to be replaced with joy.

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe todayfor your emotional health!

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Worry

Worry

 

 

 

What am I supposed to be doing right now? I just can’t seem to figure it out. The last time I remember going through this process, I made a plan that was workable; one that would enable me to fulfill the destiny that I thought was mine. Now, for some reason, I feel lost!

There are so many things going on right now that my head is spinning in several directions at once! One minute I am coming, the next I am going, and in between times, I see things that just don’t make any sense at all! Am I going through a transition? Is it grief? What is happening? Maybe if I just sit down and relax, things will begin to make sense.

Stop…. Breathe…. Inhale…. Exhale…. Close your eyes…. Lean back and rest…. There…. It will be okay…. Everything will be fine…. You will get through this…. It will not last forever!

Now, let’s take a look at what is happening right now: 1) aging parents, 2) husband starting a new position at work, 3) children needing love and support, 4) house needing repairs, 5) misunderstanding at work, 6) new volunteer position at church, and 7) time available.

Problem – Fear of the Unknown – I don’t know when my parents will die. I don’t know how things will go with my husband’s knew position. I don’t know what will happen in the lives of my children. I don’t know how much it will cost for the home repairs and when they will be done. I don’t know how the misunderstanding happened at work, and I don’t know how my new position at church will go.

I have so much time on my hands that I am wringing them to a frazzle! The confusion I am experiencing is just worry about all of these things jumbled up into one big mess! I am on the downhill slide of life, and I see the end of the road in so many instances that I am beginning to wonder when my time will be!

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

“…Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24)! My life is in Thy hands. Thou hast given me time. Allow me to use it to glorify Thee. Give me the insight to see those who may be struggling, to help those who may be hurting, and light the way for those who may be lost. Forgive my weakness and imperfections this day Lord, and help me to trust in Thee! 

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe todayfor your emotional health!

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Finding Peace

Peace

 

What is peace? Is it happiness and contentment, or something altogether different? When we feel it, we know it, but can we create it? Or is peace something that happens because we are in the right place at the right time?

Sometimes, we think of peace as the opposite of war. When we are at war, we are fighting against someone or something. Being at peace in this case is the absence of fighting. It is a resolution of our differences to the point that we can live side by side without fearing for our lives.

We may think of peace as quietness, like walking along a beach in the cool of the evening, listening to the sound of the waves as they break upon the shore. It may mean enjoying the stillness of the morning when there is no wind and we hear the chirping sounds of the birds as they welcome the sun to a brand new day.

In the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, stress is high, funds are low, and we frequently feel harried and frustrated. In these moments, peace may be the absence of things to do, a moment of relaxation after a busy day, or a hug from someone we love that calms our jangled nerves.

Peace can simply be stillness within the soul, a sense of calm that comes from knowing that all will be well, no matter what happens. This kind of peace comes only from a witness that we are not alone in this world, and that there is a power and influence beyond our own at work in our behalf.

Christ tells us that the only way to have peace is in and through him. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, KJV).

In order for us to have peace, we, too, have to look beyond this world. As we fill our minds and hearts with the words of our Savior, and seek for his Spirit to be with us, it does not matter what happens around us, we will be at peace.

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe todayfor your emotional health!

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The Heavens Weep

Rain falling on parched ground

 

 

The heavens weep each time it rains, they weep for you and me. They weep for those who are dead and gone, and those who are yet to be.

The heavens weep for the orphaned, the lost, for those who do not see the light. They weep for the silent who cannot speak, and for those who cry out in the night.

The heavens weep for the wounded, the maimed, for those who are not feeling whole. They weep for the childless, for those who have tried, and may not have reached their goal.

The heavens weep for the abandoned, the hurt, for those who have suffered abuse. They weep for the little ones who do not feel loved, and for those who cannot choose.

The heavens weep for the lonely, the poor, for those who live out on the street. They weep for the proud who turn their backs on the destitute that they meet.

The heavens weep each time it rains, they weep for you and me. For each drop comes from the presence of God, with love, unconditionally.

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today for your emotional health!

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Abuse is Never Okay

Abuse

 

 

“You are less than the dust of the earth! You should never have been born! You can’t do anything right! You shouldn’t even be here! You are just a worthless piece of junk!”

We’ve all heard these words before, either from the mouth of someone we love, or from a supposed friend or colleague.  Abuse is all about power. The one in authority demeans, belittles, and intimidates, taking no consideration for the needs of the victim.

Just like a spider spinning a web around its next meal, perpetrators of abuse form a wall around their victims. They limit the person’s ability to access resources and connect with the outside world. Before long, the victim feels like a puppet, only able to act according to the perpetrator’s will and pleasure.

Abuse occurs in many forms: namely physical, emotional, intellectual, sexual, social, and financial. The most difficult form of abuse to identify and eradicate, however, is self-abuse. We hold ourselves hostage under the most cruel and inhumane treatment and end up feeling hopeless and worthless.

No matter the source, the traumatic effects of abuse wound our precious souls, leaving scars that may never heal. How can we tell if we are abusing ourselves or others? Is it possible to stop before it gets to the point of causing irreparable damage?

According to Hidden Hurt, Domestic Abuse Information, victims of abuse have low feelings of self-worth, tend to be emotionally or economically dependent upon others, experience depression, accept blame and guilt easily, are often socially isolated, tend to appear anxious or nervous, and have poor relationship skills.

When we recognize that we are experiencing these types of issues, we would do well to look at how we are treating ourselves. Are we self-critical, self-demeaning, and self-punishing? Do we make ourselves go through extreme measures when we make a mistake or say something we shouldn’t, even to the point of withholding forgiveness?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” we are at high risk of abusing ourselves and others. The expectations we have are so high that we beat ourselves up before we even start. Our relentlessness may spill over into our relationships with others as we hold them to unrealistically high standards rather than providing much needed encouragement for them to grow and blossom.

Our Savior said that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Matt. 19:19 KJV). When we accept our own personal weaknesses and imperfections and allow the Savior’s atoning sacrifice to be efficacious in our behalf, we feel his unconditional love for us and in turn, are able to love others.

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe todayfor your emotional health!

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Finding the Motivation

Motivation

 

“I don’t care. I just don’t want to do it, that’s all.” There, I said it, the forbidden words that I have been thinking. Now what? Does that mean that I don’t have to do it? Am I off the hook? Is that all there is to it, just saying “I don’t want to?”

There are many things in life that are difficult. Jim Rohn, success philosopher, tells us that one of the most important aspects of being human is the ability to “make ourselves” do what needs to be done. How does this happen? He says that when we find enough reasons, then our wants and desires change.

Motivation is all about finding the reasons. Dallin H. Oaks indicates that there are basically six reasons for us to act. He lists the following: 1) hope of earthly reward, 2) desire for good companionship, 3) fear of punishment, 4) sense of duty, 5) hope of eternal reward, and 6) love.

Although Oaks lists these as reasons for service, they have a lot to do with our lives in general. Reasons motivate action. If we have enough reasons, we will find a way to make happen what we want. If one of our family members is faced with certain death, we find a way to prolong their life because we want them to remain with us as long as possible!

How does this apply to our everyday actions? Our reasons come from our past experience. When we suffer the consequences of inaction, we are more highly motivated to action. In other words, “no pain, no gain!” We don’t decide to set an alarm and get up on time until the boss cuts our pay or fires us for being late to work!

Desiring change is usually the catalyst for increased motivation. If things are going well in life, we have little incentive to change. The Lord tells us in Alma 32:13-16* that being “compelled to be humble” is good, but it is even better to change willingly “without stubbornness of heart.”

Motivation is increased when we find out that there is a better way, and we want it for ourselves. There it is, that “want” word again! Our motivation changes when we say, “I want to” rather than “I need to,“ “I have to,” or “I should.” Changing because we are compelled to do so rarely brings lasting benefits; rather a lifetime of change comes when it is what we want for ourselves and our loved ones.

The highest motivation of the human heart is to act out of love. When we love God and our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31, KJV), we find plenty of reasons to be better people. We look anxiously forward to each day with newness of life, knowing that God will provide a way!

*Book of Mormon, published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today, for your emotional health!

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