Monday, January 30, 2017

Gratitude for spiritual progression

I was cleaning out a closet last week and came across some of my old "spiritual journals." Spiritual journals is what I call a journal containing notes from scripture reading or Conference talks (I keep all such things on the computer now-- paper is so last century ;)). It was an enlightening experience for me...

 as I read through my old thoughts and feelings. My spiritual journals, while they were simply a place where I kept notes and occasionally connected them to my current life experiences, what they ultimately contained were the deepest yearnings of my heart, written in between the lines.

My one broken-record spiritual goal

For years upon years (and for all my years to come), my journals contained my one goal: to be better. Those who know me well know that my deepest hope is to be better, I am always hoping to become a better person.

Through my spiritual journals I could see that prayer often uttered, to be better, written in not so many words, over and over again. I would read it in 2008. Then I would flip to 2011 and see it again. Then again in 2014. While that hope to be better was ever-present, I can now see in 2017 what my 2011 self couldn't see: I have grown better. Less focused on myself, more familiar with Jesus Christ. I was changing. 2016, again, I could see how God had answered that prayer, to be better. I was changing. I was growing.

I looked over the papers and I sobbed. Big tears of deep gratitude.

Your Heavenly Father cares for you, personally

It became apparent to me that my Heavenly Father cares for me in an incredibly personal way. Here was evidence, in my very own handwriting, that God cared for me deeply, personally. He heard my prayers, every single one of them. He saw my small acts of faith. All those times I knelt down when I was too tired, all those times I cried out when motherhood was more than I could bear-- He heard me! While there were plenty of times I didn't choose to act in faith (and those are the times of weakness I get so consumed with), He has been able to change me with the effort and faith I have put in, small daily acts, over many years.

The Lord really does makes weak things strong. He can take your tired, broken efforts and make more of them than you ever imagined when you put your trust in Him. It's line upon line, day upon day, imperceptible to us unless we look back and reflect. His power is so much more potent than any effort we can conjure up by ourselves, and He gives us a little slice of that power every time we give a little slice of ourselves to Him (although I'm pretty sure His slices are much, much bigger than the ones we give Him ;)).

Your spiritual progression is guided by a Mighty Hand

If you are having trouble feeling as if your efforts are making any difference try looking backward and see if you can't see a mighty hand guiding your progression. And if you haven't already started, begin a spiritual journal to help you realize where you are, and where you want to be. I think you'd be surprised what you might find, and the things you can learn in your very own handwriting ;).