I know that I'm totally behind, not even starting this post until after I've already had you in class.
I wanted to thank you all for a good and fun start to the new year.
Most of class was spent getting to know you a little better (thanks for filling out the little surveys. I enjoyed reading through them!) and chatting a little ... but we did touch a bit on the lesson. ^_^
We read from Psalms 145:9 (Thank you all for bringing scriptures! That was awesome!)
"The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works."And also from Doctrine and Covenants 59:21:
"And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments."
To me those verses say that (1) God wants to bless us. He's constantly blessing us. Even when we haven't done anything to EARN those blessings and (2) He's really disappointed when we don't recognize what he's doing for us.
And, really, I totally understand that. When I'm working hard on things and nobody gives me ANY gratitude, well, it really gets under my skin a bit (and then I have to repent. And I have more than enough repenting to do all the time anyways).
All good things come from God. He wants to bless us. He does bless us. Constantly.
So, it's a good idea to work to notice at least some of those blessings ... and express our gratitude for them.
And, that bring to mind a talk that President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave ... in his talk, Living the Gospel Joyful, especially the statement:
"In reality, Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt, and sin that, like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us."If we work to look for and recognize the hand of God in our lives, our gratitude will help us to overcome our fear and doubts. We will be more motivated to repent and eschew (yes, I use big words. You can handle them. I believe in you.) sin ... which allows us to be able to receive even more blessings to help ourselves and others in our lives.
We also briefly talked about Elder Bednar's public recognition of a tender mercy of the Lord that occurred during his first General Conference talk as a newly-called apostle -- how the hymn directly preceding his talk, which had been chosen weeks in advance, was his favorite: "Redeemer of Israel," a hymn that he feels is especially "edifying and spiritually soothing."
That whole talk of his ("The Tender Mercies of the Lord") is a very good talk. I would highly recommend reading through it.
I shared a story from my own life.
A friend, I had considered her one of my besties, in fact, and I had ... fallen out.
It was strange and troubling for me. I still don't know what I'd done that would cause her to stop talking to me, to ignore emails or Facebook messages ... in fact, I was surprised that we weren't Facebook friends at all. (So I messaged her to ask about it. And apologize if there was anything that I'd unknowingly done) ...
But, yeah, I was sad. And confused.
My husband and mom both assured me that this wasn't my fault (which is sweet of them) ... but, well, they're family. They're predisposed to like me. (Even though I'm aware that if I was making poor decisions, they'd totally call me on it).
I was praying a lot about this. I hate being estranged from friends.
(In fact, I'm still bothered that I've lost touch with my first-grade bestie who moved away ... and I didn't have her address. Or the fact that I've still not managed to find my fifth-grade best friends from the one year I lived in Seattle. Yes, I'm weird like that.)
And, well, I got a new Visiting Teaching companion.
Who had also known my (ex-)friend.
And I was able to talk to her about things ... and felt better. And realized that I had a new friend.
Which was very comforting.
I mean, I still miss my past friend ... and I wish that I knew what I'd done (so I could NOT ever do that again) ... but Heavenly Father gave me what I needed.
It's really nice to KNOW that He's aware of me.
Just like I KNOW that He's aware of you, too. And I know that when we choose to recognize (at least SOME) of the many blessings that we've been given, we are happier.
And, well, I'd prefer that you all are able to be as happy as possible.
Now go and be awesome!