A Better Land

Many instances in my life have proven, to me, that the Lord rather enjoys pulling a fast one on me. Take, for example, the fact that I am no longer in Columbia Falls, but Frenchtown, MT. I thought for sure I was going to stay in Columbia Falls for another transfer. But alas, I was bamboozled… and am now sitting here typing this in the Frenchtown High School library.

I’ll admit, I’m not one to readily accept change. When I feel like I need to be in a certain situation, I don’t take kindly to being brought out of that situation. This happens a lot with all of us. We’re traveling along on our life’s journey, comfortable with our speed, the conditions of our metaphorical road, and then all of sudden we hit a road block, or something causes us to swerve off the road, or the road ends up curving in a direction we didn’t intend to go. It happens a lot. There are definitely some things in our lives we have little or no control over.

In my case, I couldn’t decide where I wanted to serve next on my mission. My mission president told me I was going to Frenchtown, so it was either that or go home. So what do we control? And how can this be used advantageously?

Let’s look to the scriptures here for a second. I’ll take a verse out of the Book of Mormon. This is Jacob talking, he was a brother to the prophet Nephi.

And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea.(2 Nephi 10:20)

The Lord brought their family out of the land of Jerusalem. They struggled and endured tons of contention and other troubles, but, as Jacob says, they were led to a better land, the Americas. This better land can be many different things in our lives. It could very well be a better location, or a better situation, better friends, better job, etc. It could be almost anything.

So going back to the question… what do we control? We control our attitude and our perspective. We can have the attitude of thinking God is picking on us or ignoring us, that when change or trials arise, our lives have become screwed up. Or we can be like Jacob, as see the changes as being led to a better situation, one in which we can learn, grow, and have better opportunities.

I hated Columbia Falls when I first arrived there, and I wondered why in the world the Lord had sent me there. Over time, however, I saw the reasons, and when the time came to depart I absolutely did not want to leave. I don’t know if the same thing will come with me in Frenchtown, but I know the Lord guides us to where we need to be. He’s always aware of where we are, and wherever He leads us, it will always be to a better land.

We Had A Hard Time

I’m going to be a little lazy today and just post a video. 🙂 It’s a good one though. If you’re unfamiliar with these videos, I strongly encourage you to visit the MormonMessages channel on youtube and watch some of the videos. This is one of my favorites.

Just as Elder Cook says, this life isn’t always easy. More often than not, it’s pretty difficult. But it’s supposed to be. It’s a test after all, so why should it be a free ride? This is why we have the Savior Jesus Christ. In every situation, He suffered the greater burden. Our sins, sorrows, and pains have been placed on His shoulders. All He asks is that we do our best to carry what we can, and He’ll carry the rest.

I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. I’m grateful to know that through Him my burdens can be made light. I’m grateful to know that through every trial I face, there is One who understands the feeling completely.

I know that I can do a better job of putting the Savior first in my life. I invite you to do the same. Take His yoke upon you, learn of Him, and share His love with others. We will find peace. We will find comfort. We will find rest.

The Poetic Corner: Rain and Perspective

So… I like writing poetry. I don’t claim to really be any good, but I enjoy it nonetheless. I started writing poetry when I was about 17. It was mostly out of boredom. Plus, I like art and I like creative writing. Poetry is sort of like mixing the two together, and it fulfills my need for both of those things in an easy, convenient way.

I wrote this… let’s see… sometime in the beginning of my senior year of high school. I was sitting in class, paying more attention to the rain outside than to the teacher. Here’s what I wrote.

Rain

rain, rain
come to stay
i need you here another day
your ever-presence soothes my waking soul
i’ve never felt so worry-free
when you show up and comfort me
these tears of joy so make my person whole

rain, rain
touch my face
the sweetest voice, this rhythmic pace
our hands embraced in love i hope is true
and when this cloudy storm is gone
your touch forever lingers on
to fill my heart with memories of you

So, if you’ve read the “About Elder Wilkins” section on the home page, you’ll know that I grew up in Wisconsin, south-eastern Wisconsin, to be a little more specific. The weather there is rather mild and often cloudy and rainy. While it doesn’t quite match up to the rainfall you might find in the pacific north-west, it still rains quite a bit.

I grew up with rain. I love rain and cloudy, stormy weather. A lot people don’t. Stereotypically, clouds and rain are known as “bad” weather. To me, however, it’s wonderful. And it’s really nothing more than a matter of perspective. Someone may hate the rain because they don’t like getting wet, because it ruins their outdoor activities, or because they don’t like the dark clouds.

I don’t mind getting wet. I like looking at the dark clouds. I love the sound of rain and the way it looks when it falls from the sky.

Life is all about perspective. We must choose how to look at what it throws at us. We can see the rain and think that it has done nothing more than ruin the day, or we can choose to see how it may add to the day and make it more beautiful.

How do you see the rain?

Pieces

I’ve come undone
But You make sense of who I am
Like puzzle pieces in Your eye

Then I’ll see Your face
I know I’m finally Yours
I find everything I thought I lost before
You call my name
I come to You in pieces
So You can make me whole

This is a portion of the lyrics of a song called “Pieces” by one of my favorite bands, RED. The song is about how life often breaks us down and shatters us into pieces. We lose the sense of who we are. We become disorganized, lost, unsure of what to do and how to live our lives. Sometimes we try and put the pieces back together ourselves, but we can’t. We struggle, get frustrated, and sometimes make the problem worse. We need Christ in our lives. He is the One that can put back the pieces and restore us.

Jesus Christ’s atonement did more than just pay for our sins. When Christ suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane, He not only suffered for our mistakes but felt every type of pain, anguish, and sorrow we could ever possibly experience. He knows every heartache, every vent of frustration, every slump of depression, everything. He knows exactly how to comfort and heal us.

Matthew 11: 28-30

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

When we find ourselves with broken pieces, with no way of putting them back in place ourselves, the only thing we can do is turn to Christ and take His yoke upon us. Through Christ’s atonement we can not only be healed of our sins, but receive peace and comfort through the course of our struggles.

Whatever the trial, I testify that Jesus Christ knows exactly what each and every one of us goes through. When we understand this, we can come to Him and He will make our burdens light.

To all who may read this: I invite you to take Christ’s yoke upon you and allow Him to bear your burdens. If we use His atonement, He will give us strength, He will give us peace and comfort, and He will make our burdens light.