July 3, 2011

Tender Mercies

My heart is very full today, and I don't know quite why or how I'm going to convey all the thoughts and feelings floating around in my head, but its been such an amazing day that I can't miss the opportunity to jot it all down as best I can.  So bear with me as I ramble through what I'm trying to say.

I suppose it started when I got to church, and it just felt good to be there.  I looked up on the stand to see my amazing husband playing the prelude music on the organ, my dad seated on the stand as a member of the bishopric and three of my brothers seated and ready to bless and pass the sacrament.  The priesthood really is a huge blessing in my life, and I don't know what I'd do with out it.  Then the Bishop of our ward got to bless his new little son, Nathan.  It was a very moving experience.  Maybe it was that Bishop Miller was a little emotionally overwhelmed and I was touched by that.  But I kept thinking about this little baby inside of me, and realizing that in a few short months 'it' {I sure hate saying that now that I know what 'it' is} will get to be blessed by a loving father who holds the priesthood and I'm really excited for that day.  Although I couldn't hold back the tears today so I know I'm just going to be a basket-case when Jeremy blesses our little one. 

Another of my constant thoughts is of course this baby.  Knowing 'what' or rather who this baby is going to be makes the baby seem so much more real to me.  {its really hard not to use he/she or him/her just fyi}.  It especially seems real when every little bit I'm reminded that there really is someone in there when I feel a little flutter or flip.  It makes me think of Luke 1:41 when Elisabeth says she 'felt the babe leap in her womb'.  I know what that feels like now!  I've been thinking a lot about the Proclamation to the World
"All human beings-male and female- are created in the image of God.  Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of Heavenly Parents and as such each has a divine nature and destiny.  Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."
I love this sacred proclamation and every day it makes more and more sense to me and rings more true to my heart.  I'm so grateful that Jeremy and I were sealed in the temple, so that no matter what this baby will be sealed to us for eternity.  Its hard to believe that this baby is already a unique human being with it's own characteristics and personality.  I can't wait to meet baby and watch as they grow and develop and learn and become who their Heavenly Father wants them to be.  I know that Heavenly Father loves this baby so much and that He's making sure that it's taken care of because it truly is a child of God.  

Last semester in school in my human development class we studied about the importance of love in a growing human being, and how if a child isn't given enough genuine love and nurture in the very early stages of life especially, there can be severe physical and mental consequences that can last a lifetime.  We particularly focused on the orphans in Romania.  I don't remember all the details and names and dates, but there was a leader(dictator) in Romania who made all forms of birth control illegal in order to raise the population.  A majority of the country was too poor to afford children and because they couldn't stop having children many infants were sent to orphanages because their parents couldn't take care of them.  The orphanages were poorly maintained and while they did have some sort of maid service to keep the sheets and floors clean they didn't have anybody to take care of the children.  Nobody loved them or played with them.  As we watched a video of hundreds and hundreds of children with all manner of sicknesses it broke my heart.  How could anybody let such a thing happen.  These were all children of Heavenly Father and yet they were treated worse than animals.  I'll never forget the look on those faces. They didn't know who they were or what it is to roll in the grass on a sunny day.  I'm so grateful that I know where this baby is coming from and that it will be taught the principles of the gospel.  I know we aren't going to be perfect parents, but with the Lord on our side we can't go too wrong - right?

That brings me to my last train of thought.  I am so grateful for this country.  Today was fast Sunday so obviously there were many testimonies born.  It seems like usually testimony meetings end up driving me crazy because people ramble on, but today I was so in tune with the spirit I cried more times than I care to admit.  I hadn't realized it until the last brother got up to bear his testimony, but nobody had said a word about our country.  I was kind of shocked, but then he bore the sweetest, most humble testimony.  He told of how he was grateful for our country, and the many lives that had been laid down so that we could be here today.  And how the hand of God had been there every step of the way to ensure the Restoration could take place.  I was touched.  As we sang the closing hymn, The Star Spangled Banner, tears flooded my eyes, and I literally couldn't sing.  I was so overwhelmed hearing Francis Scott Key's account of the fighting and how the flag really was a symbol of the country and the sacrifices made. 

 1. Oh say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thru the night that our flag was still there.
Oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

2. On the shore, dimly seen thru the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream;
’Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh, long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

3. Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

I'm so overwhelmed by all that Heavenly Father has done in helping to form this great Nation.  I know its not perfect and neither are its leaders, but as we trust God as a nation, He will help to make the Constitution stand.  The gospel is so true, and I am so grateful to God for creating a land when I can live and worship as I please.  I hope we all remember the true meaning of this holiday.  

Sorry for all my ramblings but I wanted to share these many thoughts and feelings that I felt like were tender mercies from above today.  Maybe its just that I'm a little more emotional than usual, but it definitely made a great impact on me today.  

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