"My life is goooood, reeeally goooood" -Jack Black-
This week was awesome. It is getting hot out here in Oklahoma and we are in the middle of tornado season. The sun is shining and people are happy when the sun is shining. There is so much to be enjoyed in this life. We are here to have joy and our Heavenly Father is expanding the capacity of our souls to experience joy through trials. I am so much more able to have joy now, then I was when I first left on my mission. An infant is joyful, but think about how that capacity to have joy grows as the infant grows older and older and experiences different challenges in life. That's the beauty of the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve could only experience so much joy, but when they "fell", their abilities and possibilities to experience a greater measure of joy came alive. Its a good day to be joyful today even though we may be unhappy!! :)
We have a lot going on these next couple of weeks. We have baptisms scheduled every weekend for the next 4 weeks. It is such a breath of fresh air to be able to work with powerful youth out here that understand their purpose and what the Gospel of Jesus Christ can mean for them. I am so impressed with so many of them because I know how much grief I caused to my parents and leaders growing up. These kids in the Midwest City ward are on fire. They know the potential they have and they're not afraid to rise above the standards of the world. If there was anything I could re-do from my teenage years, I would have stayed more focused on what is most important. I was so distracted with my phone, soccer, Facebook, girls etc. All those things are good, but I never prioritized. I wish I had.
In honor of mothers day and my mother, I wanted to share my personal testimony and witness of the powerful influence a righteous, covenant keeping mother can have on her children. I can give you my witness because I have had real, personal experiences where I have gained this knowledge for myself. Growing up, I was rebellious, disobedient, disrespectful and full of myself. I never treated my mother the way that I should have and I never gave her the respect that she deserves. It would have been so easy for my mom to give up, because I really gave her hell. It would have been easier for her to walk out and never come back. She could have stopped trying. It would have been easier for her to do the things that she wanted. She could have had more friends. She could have had more "girls night outs". She could have focused on a career and had more time to herself with my dad on weekends. She could have done all those things, but instead my mom chose to "magnify her calling" and keep her covenants. She never gave up. She never stopped trying. She sacrificed what she wanted and instead did what was right. We were her friends. She never had "girls night out" because she was always supporting me on the weekends at my soccer tournaments. She didn't have an "honorable career" in the worlds eyes, but in God's eyes, she has excelled in a "divine career". I don't know for sure but I can believe that most of her time with my dad was spent talking about us kids and on their knees praying for us. Even after all this, I still rebelled, I still was disobedient, I was still disrespectful, and I was still full of myself. She could never change me. She could never take away my ability to choose. She couldn't force me to be good or to do anything because I still had choice. However when the time was right and when God saw fit, I was sufficiently humbled because of my own choices and disobedience. During that time, I felt God's power become so real in my life. I attribute it to the powerful example and prayers of a righteous, covenant keeping mom.There was real, influencing power behind her prayers because she always strived to be faithful to her covenants. She made real personal sacrifices for me constantly and even though it did not have an immediate effect on me, it influenced me when I was ready and when the timing was right. I will forever be grateful for the sacrifices that righteous, covenant-keeping mothers are making everyday, because before there was ever a great person, there was the influence of a mother.