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"Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed." (3 Nephi 18:21)

When asked about my Mormon Faith, my initial response is always the same. I passionately embrace the concept of an Eternal Family. Many of our beliefs are taken on faith. That is, I do not have a perfect knowledge of their validity, but I strongly believe them to be so. While I may not have a “perfect knowledge” of a family that lives on eternally, I do have such a knowledge of the temporal impact in my life.

The Book of Mormon teaches and reminds me to be a more loving, supportive and understanding spouse and parent. Love for my family is not just something in which I “believe,” but rather a tangible emotion I can grasp with certainty and conviction. Love for family drives my hope and bridles my selfishness. Family brings love, faith, joy and fulfillment into every aspect of my daily life.

While I may not have a perfect knowledge of Heaven, I am blessed to have a perfect knowledge of Family here on Earth. For me, it is everything.

"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety, hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God. And it came to pass that Ether did prophesy great and marvelous things unto the people, which they did not believe, because they saw them not. And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." (Ether 12:4-6)

As a young mother, I watched some of my children express doubt because their prayers were not always answered immediately or in the way they wanted. I, myself, felt that God’s love for me was manifest in the blessings I received at His hand. So when trials came along, and lasted a long time as they often do, I had the feeling that I had displeased my Heavenly Father in some way and was not worthy of the blessing I badly needed. Then I read, again, the counsel from these two great prophets and I realized that my children and I both needed to learn that hope and faith always precede the miracle. Answers to prayer, and especially miracles, do not happen in order to prove our faith is justified. I told my children that asking for blessings to prove there is a God makes faith unnecessary, and that is not the way God operates.
I know God is there and hears my prayers and loves me, weak as I am. I have learned that “no” is an acceptable answer to a requested blessing. Thanks to Ether and Moroni, I continue to have faith that Heavenly Father’s wisdom is greater than my own, and that is what I now share with my grandchildren.

"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God." (Ether 12:41)

Reading this scripture comforts me. It reminds me of the power of God. It tells me that with belief, hope, and faith I can anchor my soul, be steadfast, and make a difference with good works. When I am discouraged, it reminds me that by trusting in God we can all with surety hope for a better world.
I love the Book of Mormon. The stories tell me how to live and love. They bring me hope beyond the moment. The stories testify of Christ, his redeeming power, and his great love for each individual. The teachings of the prophet remind me not to judge. They convince me that it is never too late for me or others to turn to righteousness, and therein find light and happiness. No matter what circumstance we find ourselves in, our Heavenly Father loves each of us and desires our happiness.

"I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7)

This verse of scripture has always helped me find the courage to do the right thing. Sometimes it’s scary trying to make the right choice when you’re faced with a hard decision and don’t know exactly how things are going to play out. It’s hard to stand up for what’s right when others don’t agree with you. It’s hard to go outside your comfort zone to talk to someone who needs a friend. It’s hard to make good life plans and move forward not knowing if everything will work out the way you hope. But just like this verse of scripture promises, every time I’ve tried to do the right thing and follow the example of Jesus, a path has appeared, I’ve found the right words to say, and things in my life have eventually worked out for the best. I know the Lord will take care of the things I can’t control when I’m trying to do the the things he’d have me do.

"My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever. And may the grace of God the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power, until all things shall become subject unto him, be, and abide with you forever. Amen." (Moroni 9:25-26)

I cannot even imagine my life without the Book of Mormon. I love it so much! It has taught me about Jesus Christ and has brought me closer to Him. It has made me want to be like Him, and I have made the majority of my goals and choices because of this desire. There so many amazing verses that it is difficult to say which ones are my favorites. But the above verses have really meant a lot to me.

Most of us will have struggles and trials in this life. Few, if any, get through it unscathed. And I believe everyone will be tempted and will sin. No one is perfect. At a particularly difficult time in my life, these verses brought me peace and gave me the hope I needed to endure. As I read “but may Christ lift thee up”, I felt an extra support and knew that as I learn to listen and depend on my Savior, Jesus Christ, I can do all things. I felt these words to be true just at that moment when I needed to hear them the most. I have often felt Christ “lift” me up and support me through my trials, and I know that I would never be able to get through them without Him to ease the burden. Because Christ suffered for us, because He is so merciful, because of His grace, we can repent and return to live with Him and our Father in Heaven again.

"And if ye have no hope ye must needs be in despair; and despair cometh because of iniquity." (Moroni 10:22)

“Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.” (Moroni 7:42)

Despair. No one is immune. Some may be less susceptible to it, and others more likely to have it. Some have it all the time and can never get away from it. Sadly it sometimes leads to drastic ends. I have felt it from time to time. It seems to grow steadily as the rising tide, consuming the shoreline, relentless, crushing, and inevitable. Despair dissolves the hope of a brighter future.

I remember a time in high school when I felt particularly down. I don’t recall particularly why, but I do remember feeling a loss of hope, that things wouldn’t get better, that they would only get worse, and there was nothing I, or anyone, could do to change that. In my moment of despair I read, “If ye have no hope ye must needs be in despair; and despair cometh because of iniquity.” Why was I in despair? Was it some form of iniquity, some sin I was guilty of? As I considered this, I understood that the ‘iniquity’, or my error, was not some awful deed I had done. Rather, it was something more fundamental and simple.

My problem was a lack of faith in Jesus Christ. With faith in Him, there is hope of a brighter future. Without Him comes despair. With faith in Him comes knowledge that it does not matter what my past has been, only what my future can be. Faith in Christ is confidence in a Father in Heaven who loves me, without condition, and regardless of mistakes and slip-ups and imperfections. Faith brings a hope for a new start, a brighter future, a chance to try again and again, a chance to be clean of past errors. Faith and hope go together, inseparable. I believe in God. I believe Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind. When I feel despair, I stop and remember to have a little more faith. I have faith that God can make me whole and clean and pure. I have hope that tomorrow is a new day and that I can be better than I was yesterday. Hope is my antidote to despair.