Friday, May 3, 2013

PRIZE FIGHTER


TAKING UP OUR CROSS 
Matthew 10:38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of Me.
Matthew 16:24-25
24: Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Before my husband and I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS; (him re-activation and me baptized), we had been married for about eight years and we loved each other, and we thought we knew each other well. We weren't attending a church, but we believed in God, and in prayer and we felt in our hearts that God loved us. We made a decision to “expand our boundaries”, by looking for a church, buying a house, building up our family. We began experienced some over the top blessings that even now we still marvel and wonder how we ever qualified for them.
But then we also experienced some of the most earth shaking trials (at least to us), and core rattling experiences that we had ever known. My elderly mother came to live with us, and we really wanted her to live with us. But her health problems (mental and physical) deteriorated to a point that left my husband and me questioning our marriage bond, and loyalty’s. We had to make hard decisions concerning my mom. During that episode which was 10 long years, we had health issues that drained our finances, we almost lost our home, and we almost lost each other. We were at a point where we didn't ask “why me”, but instead  we prayed and asked for help.

We got help in the form of missionaries knocking at our door; and they recognizing that my husband had been a member of the Church, Invited him to come back. As for me, I was invited to consider baptism, which I did. After some euphoria and having experienced some of the best days of our life in a short space of time, the bad days were back. We quickly learned that those episodes were trials, and all of God’s children would experience them at some point in their lives. These trials again seemed to be directed at our marriage, and our health, even to the point of life and death.

My husband and I were so exhausted, I remember feeling that maybe we should just throw in the white towel and yell “uncle”. We really felt alone at that point. But, as much as I  would like to say that even in that pivotal moment of clarity the Lone Ranger came in on a white horse and scooped us up and we all lived happily ever after… 
He didn't, but what came to us and what still comes to us even now, is a renewed sense of survival and hope. We prayed a lot, and the answer to us was “Get up”, keep moving; stick and move just like a prize fighter.” I realize that like James, we should “count it all joy” when we are beset by trials” 
James 1:2-3
2 Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trails of any sort, or fall into various temptations.
3 Be assured and understand that the trail and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. 
For all of us who live the gospel the best we can, we are worthy to endure those trials, and those trials are tailor made for us, to shape us and mold us. We are worthy for all the Father has for us.
Philippians 3
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
13 Brethren I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.
re: Passion of the Christ
I remember watching a movie about Christ as he dragged that heavy cross to Calvary, and in a scene where the actor portraying him fell to the ground with the cross on top of him; "Jesus" held on to that cross tenderly and lovingly and even kissed it. I thought for a moment that the Savior may have done just that. He knew that we had to pick up our own cross and drag it around, and we would be tempted to “throw it off” for a seemingly lighter load. I take to heart that invitation to come unto me, all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Sometimes that rest doesn't come with a pillow, sometimes it comes with a hand up. 
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29: Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
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