You Are a Child of God

Remember who you are. Don’t comprimise for anyone, for any reason. You are a child of the Almighty God. Live That Truth. Lysa TerkeurstWhen I was a young boy, we had a man in our ward whose face had been disfigured by a terrible disease. The man’s appearance frightened me and other children in the ward. Then, one day when I was five or six years old, he stood up in fast and testimony meeting and bore his testimony. I don’t remember what he said, but into my young heart came a powerful feeling of warmth and love.

After that experience, my fear of the man left. I didn’t realize it then, but the Spirit had touched my heart and helped me to see more than the man’s physical appearance. Through those feelings, I learned that he was a beloved child of Heavenly Father and that I didn’t need to be afraid of him.

Later, I had an experience that helped me understand that I too am a child of God. When I was in Primary, disturbing things were happening in the world. I remember being frightened sometimes when I listened to the news. I wondered what the future would be like.

One Sunday in Junior Sunday School, our leaders announced that we were going to learn a new hymn called “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go” (Hymns,no. 270). The music director taught us the words to the hymn using pictures of mountains, stormy seas, and other scenes mentioned in the words: “I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord, over mountain or plain or sea; I’ll say what you want me to say, dear Lord; I’ll be what you want me to be.”

As the words of the hymn ran through my mind, the feeling of warmth and love that I had felt before came into my heart again. I knew for the first time that Heavenly Father knew who I was and that I was important to Him. I knew that my life had a purpose and that everything would be all right.

I am one of 11 children. As I grew up, my parents taught us the principles of the gospel in our home. We worked hard milking cows, feeding chickens, moving sprinkler pipe, and taking care of animals. Summers were spent planting, weeding, harvesting, and preserving fruits and vegetables. We were active in church, school, and sports. There was never enough time to get everything done. But our parents always insisted on us waking up early each morning for family scripture study and prayers before we went our separate ways. Through the years, I felt that feeling of warmth and love reminding me who I was and that everything would be all right.

I testify that each of us is a beloved child of Heavenly Father. He loves us with all of His heart. Take time to read about Him, pray to Him, and attend church to worship Him. I know that He will give you that feeling of warmth and love in your heart. Then you can know that you are a child of God, your life has a purpose, and everything will be all right.

Today’s story is shared from an interview with Paul B. Pieper. It is shared from the following website: https://www.lds.org/friend/2008/01/you-are-a-child-of-god?lang=eng

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God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

Their primary source of income is from agriculture.  Yet it is a difficult proposition as due to perennial shortage of water, they can grow mainly a single kharif crop like paddy or some arahar dal or ragi.  Therefore part of their livelihood is also met by wages doing daily labour.

Water, which we in the towns and cities use indiscriminately, is a major source of worry.  They are dependant on a small river nearby for their daily consumption and household needs.  Unfortunately this source dries up in summer and can be of help only for a few months in a year. Who is affected the most by this fact?  The villagers go through severe health problems which affect not only their livelihood but also the quality of their lives.  In such a scenario, the women bear the brunt of the suffering.  Fetching water becomes an important task for which they often have to get up at 4 am. After a full day’s work in the fields, they again have to trudge to the river to bring water.

In such a bleak scenario, enteredthe Harsha Trust, a not-for-profit organization that works with the tribal and the poor in remote locations of Orissa, aiming to bring in human development in challenging conditions. Professionals from Harsha Trust visited the village in October 2014 and at once identified this problem and met frequently with the community to deliberate on the possible solutions.  Now this was not the first time a meeting such as this was being held in the village.  Similar meetings had been conducted earlier by various government departments: they came, they spoke, they promised…nothing concrete happened.  The hopes of the villagers were crushed. Therefore you can well imagine the reception the Harsha Trust got!

Luckily, one of the village elders, Mr Srima Praska, showed interest and managed to persuade his fellow villagers to give them a chance. So Harsha Trust arranged for a field trip to Kumbharapada village in May 2015.  This village had installed a drinking water model with facilities for  irrigation with the help of a solar pump from a deep borewell.  Impressed by what they saw, the village Self Help Group (SHG) members held a meeting to dwell on the details and to see if this could be replicated in their own village.

After a few rounds of discussions, the community was motivated and then started the finetuning of the project.  A corpus fund of Rs 1000/- was collected from each household. This total of 29,000/- was earmarked for the work which began in June 2015.  A borewell was dug.  Just by digging 245 feet, about 2 inch of water got discharged.  Happy at this outcome, the villagers decided to construct an overhead drinking water tank in the plot of Mr Ghasiram Praska.

Another interesting feature of this bottom-up experiment was the actual construction.  Members from each household contributed by working for the construction of the overhead tank and piping layout. Thus each family contributed 15 man days and also helped in the 14 trips (tractor load) needed to get the boulders to make the overhead tank.  They developed a mechanism by which daily 10-12 people worked on a rotational basis.  In case a family could not participate in the work due to some reason, that family was required to pay for the substitute worker hired for the work.

The tank was constructed with a capacity of around 10,000 litres of water. Around 2550 feet were dug to accommodate the delivery pipes.  The entire work was completed in January 2016.  A 2-HP solar pump lifts around 70 thousand litres of water per day.  Around 12,000 litres of water are required for the household consumption.  Miraculously, what was backbreaking work for the women is now done in just one and half hours. The excess water is used by 12 households to cultivate tomatoes, chillies and sunflower in 1.5 acres of land.

Fittingly enough, to ensure the sustainability of this project so dear to them, the women have formed a committee named “Maa Phulamati Solar Jala Sechana Prakalpa”.  The main aim of this group is to take responsibility for the performance and future maintenance of the solar water supply system.

The committee is running well since 5th November 2015.  Each household deposits  Rs 30/- per month for drinking water (Re 1/- per day). To avail water for irrigation, a farmer has to contribute an amount of Rs 20 to receive a coupon that allows him to use the pumped water in the field for an hour.

We find today, a village which had health issues, a village where its women spent a large part of their day ferrying water, a village which could not live only with its income from agriculture, now reaps multiple benefits from a simple yet much-needed device as a solar pump.  Water is readily available for the women.  As the surplus water is used for irrigation, agriculture flourishes.  Some households have also started kitchen gardens with their waste water.  Villagers are making a conscious effort for cleanliness and hygiene.

A sea change has come over the village so much so that before giving their daughters  in marriage, parents are enquiring about similar facilities in the grooms’ villages.

Today’s article was written by Sabyasachi Kar and is shared from the following website:https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/god-helps-those-who-help-themselves-story-villagers-empowered-kar

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The Blessing of Adoption

Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone, but still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute, you didn’t grow under my heart but in it Fleur Conkling Heyliger
It’s safe to say that one of the greatest feelings in the world comes from the warmth of being unconditionally loved. Whether that mean the love of your spouse or partner, or the connection you share with your mom or dad. Or even the loving bond between your siblings and friends.I’m extremely grateful for all the love that I’ve had in my young life. But the truth is, there are many parts of the world where unconditional love is lacking. With wars taking place each and every day, messy political battles, starvation, and greed; the world needs you more than ever.

Because even in the darkest of alleys, remains the fact that we as humans are meant to love.

I wrote this essay nearly 4 years ago during my sophomore year of high school, and to me, it captures the essence what unconditional love really is. Certainly, my birthparents weren’t the only ones to show me this mysterious force, but the story carries an invaluable lesson that you can probably relate with.

Unconditional love is the solution to all of the worlds’ ills.

While the details of this story may differ from yours, I ask you to go forth and share the light within you.

This is a tribute to my birth parents – because of their unconditional love I am able to share my passions with the world – I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The night before, I couldn’t sleep. I lay awake tossing and turning. What was I to expect? What was I to call them? Mom? Dad? I will never forget the day I hugged my birth parents for the first time in a mid-sized chain restaurant. I was 12 years old.

But why?” I often recall asking my mom, when the subject of being adopted came up. “Because they loved you honey,” she would patiently reply.

Ever since I can remember, my parents have been nothing but honest with me concerning adoption. For this reason, I have become comfortable openly talking about adoption.

I’ve always found it funny, how when a person I know discovers I am indeed adopted, they are always afraid to ask questions. Now, I know they are just trying to be respectful, but I have nothing to hide.

My parents’ honesty and candor regarding adoption has caused me to admire the both of them, greatly. I realize that not all children are as lucky as myself. I have heard stories of adoptee parents who have hid the fact from there children that they were adopted.

This saddens me deeply. Being adopted is nothing to be ashamed about. I am truly grateful for how my life has turned out thus far.

My birth mom at the time of her pregnancy was not married to my birth father, their relationship anything but stable. Receiving news that she was to have a boy, she began to think.

She couldn’t stand the thought of me not having a father; a father to play catch with me outside in the backyard; a father to take me camping on the weekends; a father to give me the always dreaded “birds and the bees” talk.

For this reason my birth parents agreed, for my own well-being that I was to be put up for adoption. For my birth parents to put up their only son for adoption, shows how much they loved me. To do what they did must have been one of the hardest things they had ever done; but when it came down to the future of their baby boy, they knew what they had to do. To this day I thank them.

My parents always wanted to have kids, and like many other families, adoption didn’t even register in their minds. They tried to have kids the “normal” way. Nothing. They tried again and again and again. Still nothing.

Finally after a visit to the doctors they discovered that having biological kids were not part of God’s plan. For a couple whose only dream was to raise their own children, this discovery became -as my parents recall- “one of the lowest points of their life.

Biological kids may not have been in God’s plan, but the man up stairs had something else up his sleeve.

My parents – still distraught over their inability to have their own children – had nowhere else to go, they turned to prayer. It wasn’t long before their prayers were answered, in a form a of a phone call. A friend of my mom, who ran a daycare center, knew of a lady who’s sister was putting her baby son up for adoption.

My parents jumped on the bandwagon. With in a few weeks I was in their hands. Who said not being able to have biological kids was a bad thing?

It was finally the day! The day I was to finally meet the two people who brought me into this world. I picked out my favorite pair of jeans, a nice t-shirt, and a sweatshirt – in which an outline of snowboarder gracefully covered the front.

My dad, mom, little brother, cousin, and I were to meet my birth parents for lunch. I had been waiting for this moment all my life. Who was I going to look more alike? My mom? My dad? My mind was bombarded with questions on the drive (which seemed like forever) over to the restaurant. We got to the restaurant and parked.

With every passing moment, my heart began beating faster and faster, for reasons I can’t explain. At the last moment I became scared, so scared I almost couldn’t move. We opened the door to the restaurant and walked in. Off to the side, there was a couple with a table reserved. The couple – my birthparents.

The next few minutes are hard to recall, as it all happened so fast. All I remember is hugging both my birth mom and birth dad and feeling a sense of joy fill my body. I was the luckiest kid in the world. I had four parents who would give the world for me. I had seen pictures of my birth parents as a child but nothing beat a real life photograph of them.

We continued on to have lunch, which was filled with lots of questions – none concerning adoption, of course. What was my favorite color? (blue) and so forth. I can honestly say that was one of the best meals I ever had.

Every day, I thank God for how things have turned out in my life. It is amazing how our lives are a mere result of cause and effect. If one small piece of my past were altered, it would change the world today. I respect my birth parents for giving me up, for doing what they thought was right, at the time. This is a pure act of love.

To say they were successful in providing me with a good life would be an understatement. They provided me with the best life a kid could ask for.

I also thank God for not allowing my mom and dad to have biological children, for if that were to have happened, I would have not been adopted by some the most loving parents in the world. I wouldn’t be who I am today, without their guidance and knowledge. This is all part of God’s plan and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Today’s story was written by Bud Hennekes and is shared from the following website: http://thinksimplenow.com/family/unconditional-love-being-adopted/comment-page-1/

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The Power of a True Friend

There are small ships and big ships but the best ships are Friendships Irish Toast

Beautiful Friendship Flower

The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read
Beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree.
Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown,
For the world was intent on dragging me down.

And if that weren’t enough to ruin my day,
A young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play.
He stood right before me with his head tilted down
And said with great excitement, “Look what I found!”

In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight,
With its petals all worn – too little rain, too little light.
Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play,
I faked a small smile and then shifted away.

But instead of retreating he sat next to my side
And placed the flower to his nose and declared with surprise,
“It sure smells pretty and it’s beautiful, too.
That’s why I picked it; here – it’s for you.”

The weed before me was dying or dead,
Not vibrant of colors, orange, yellow or red.
But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave.
So I reached for the flower, and replied, “Just what I need.”

But instead of him placing the flower in my hand,
He held it midair without reason or plan.
It was then that I noticed for the very first time
That weed-toting boy could not see; he was blind.

I heard my voice quiver, tears shone like the sun
As I thanked him for picking the very best one.
“You’re welcome,” he smiled, and then ran off to play,
Unaware of the impact he’d had on my day.

I sat there and wondered how he managed to see
A self-pitying woman beneath an old willow tree.
How did he know of my self-indulged plight?
Perhaps from his heart, … blessed with true sight.

Through the eyes of a blind child, at last I could see
The problem was not with the world; the problem was me.
And for all of those times I myself had been blind,
I vowed to see the beauty in life, and appreciate every second that’s mine.

And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose
And breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose
And smiled as I watched that young boy, another weed in his hand
About to change the life of an unsuspecting old man.

Today’s poem was written by Cheryl L. Costello-Forshey and is shared from the following website: http://www.inspire21.com/stories/friendshipstories/BeautifulFriendshipFlower

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Make Room for You, for God and Rest

Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop Ovid

Everyone has a story.

All of us were once little boys and girls. We all have memories. 

Some happy. Some not.

Some we share. Yet, many more lay hidden in the secret pages of our heart.

So that we can be strong. So that we can be happy.  So that we can be free.

That’s what I thought, until one day, I stood at the cusp of a childhood dream about to come true.

I was going to write a book.

But as my pen hit the paper to capture those moments, they all came alive.

My memories were no longer stories I once told myself.

And I began reliving them.

Unexpected. Painful memories.

Trauma.

Anxiety.

Just a Visit

I was seven years tall.

I didn’t want to be afraid. It was supposed to be simple. Just a visit.

On the weekends, my father would come see my sister and me.  After the divorce.

I was supposed to climb into the car with the cracking vinyl seats, into the car with the peeling rooftop — of my daddy’s olive green Nova.  It smelled like old, dirty ashtrays, as I slid in the back.  It smelled sad and lonely.  But, I didn’t say anything.

I kept quiet as my little sister with chubby wrists and cherub-rose cheeks toddled in to sit beside me. I felt small and awkward, my hands on my lap and shoulders hunched over as my daddy turned around and smiled a little too widely, his eyes begging for me to smile back.

But, I didn’t know what to do. Because my momma said nothing about this visit.  Other than I better not take anything from him.  I better not come home with anything, other than what I left with that morning.

Which was nothing.

As we rode across town, across the train tracks, up and over the metal buildings and smokestacks of the old Del Monte cannery in Sunnyvale, everything stood eerily silent.  It was Saturday morning and everyone and everything was still in bed.  The streets rolled by empty, as I looked out the window and wondered where we were heading.

I still remember how big the Kay Bee toy store looked as my father tried to hold my hand walking through the parking lot. The square letters spelling K-a-y-B-e-e were suspended kid-tousled happy on the signage way up high.

Even though my little sister couldn’t read, she didn’t need to.  She was getting excited, her little feet hurrying ahead.

But, I knew better. Nothing ever came simple for me.

That day at the toy store ended up just as I had feared.  Not simple.

Who I Could Be

The journey of rest has been the same.  Not simple.

How do you rest when life is less than perfect — with stress marring the daily journey?

I’ve tried to find rest by making a safe place for myself, by putting myself to the side.

By problem solving.

By being strong.

By doing.

I wrestle my anxieties into action plans and check lists to shield myself from vulnerability. I was thankful, sincerely trusting God in what I could do — but missing out on who I could be — by trusting Him to rest.

Here I was, all grown up, mom of two beautiful boys, married to a loving husband.  Yet, I somehow came to believe  incorrectly that if I had faith in God, stress, doubt and pain couldn’t touch me.

Awaken Your Heart

It’s so much easier to take care of everyone, to tend to problems and everything else. It’s easier to be strong and not need or feel.

This is how I’ve lived my life. Fine and functioning.

Surviving.

But, deep inside, where no one knew — where I seldom ventured myself — I was weary. I longed for rest.

Soul rest.

Sometimes the deeper journey of faith is found by following your heart to rest.

Putting our hearts first — letting Jesus love us — is a deep, intimate journey of resting with him.

Make room for you.

Feed your soul.

Slow down.

Breathe.

As much as I longed for all this, I didn’t know how. Until Jesus took me on a  journey of faith to awaken my heart. To be real. To be known. To rest.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the day at the toy store would be our last visit together. My daddy and I.

Something New

As I journeyed through stories long forgotten, God was using all my broken pieces to make something beautiful.

Something new.

God transformed my brokenness into a story of discovery.

A story of rest. To find the things I somehow lost along the way.

Quiet.

Stillness.

Intimacy with God.

In that secret place where I dream dreams. Where I can just be me.

In my search for answers, I made an important discovery:  we all need spiritual whitespace.

Spiritual Whitespace

White space is used in art and design. It’s the space on a page left unmarked.

It’s not blank – it breathes beauty. It gives the eye a place to rest.

Without it, clutter takes over the page.

Just as beautiful art needs white space, our souls need spiritiual whitespace.  We need rest.

God, after all, is an Artist and we are his work of art.

My story is really everyone’s story. Everyone long to find a place to breathe –

to dream dreams,

to slow down,

feed their soul,

and be free.

To feel more deeply connected to God. And others.

Make Room For Your Story

Learning to make room for yourself to rest requires risk. It’s vulnerable to say, I can’t do it all. I need rest.

I eventually went on to complete writing my book about my journey to find rest.

As I uncovered my story, I am finding kindreds on this journey of rest. I realize I’m not so alone anymore.  

I think of Jesus. How He made room for you and me.

By living a beautiful, broken story of love. He told this story. By living it.

Sometimes the hardest stories to tell are the most beautiful.

Our stories are the greatest, most beautiful gifts we can offer: ourselves.

Take the journey of spiritual whitespace.

Uncover the stories deep in our souls, to create space in our hearts and in our schedules.

For beauty. For rest. For God.

So we can live a better story.

Today.

Today’s post was written by Bonnie Gray and is shared from the following website : https://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/bonnie-gray/make-room-for-your-story-for-god-and-for-rest.html

 

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