Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Finding Happiness in Times of Despair

If you believe in God, you probably believe in an adversary being. This being goes by many names, but for the purposes of this post, I will simply refer to him as the adversary.

As we study the scriptures, one of the many things we can learn is the methods by which this adversary would strive to make up captive in his kingdom. One of his names is The Father of Lies, and that he is. But his lies aren't obviously, glaring untruths. He strives to subtly confuse us by telling half-truths, and white lies to gradually grasp us into his chains one small step at a time.

In my experience, these lies and subtle temptations always start off with the thoughts in our minds. No action was ever committed unless it was pondered and mulled over first. Therefore, this is where our preemptive strike needs to take place in order to fight this adversary.

Now to get personal. Because of a series of unfortunate recent events, I have been struggling with feelings only the adversary would place in my mind...feelings such as anger, self-pity and self-loathing, envy and jealousy. The culmination of these feelings developed yesterday morning as I awoke and I felt as if I was about to sink into the spiral of despair and depression which can often plague us without warning.

Over the years, I've come to understand that this is one of the adversary's most powerful tools, to bring us down into the depths of depression, thus making us ineffective servants of God, ineffective wives, and useless mothers. When we are consumed with these feelings, it is almost impossible to focus on the needs of others. Thus, we are unable to perform one of the fundamental tasks Heavenly Father has sent us to do...to love and serve our fellow man.

On the morning that I awoke with these feelings, I immediately recognized from whence they came, and I became determined to shut them out of my mind. I wasn't sure how I would go about doing it, but I was not going to give fertile ground to these evil thoughts that would bring me down to ineffectiveness in my home.

After the 5 older children went to school, I did what I normally do. I went to youtube to turn on some music to listen to as I cleaned the kitchen. Usually I listen to something upbeat, hip, and modern, but this day, something compelled me to search out the sacred music of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I listened to some of my favorite hymns, and searched out new pieces, and before long, I felt my spirits being lifted to a degree I would never have imagined could occur on that day.

I felt that the inspiration to seek out this music was a gift from God, an answer to beseeching prayers and pleas of help, and I am so grateful for this gift. I'm tearing up just thinking about it right now. And not only were my spirits lifted, I noticed that the twins seemed to enjoy it as much as I did...



Can't you just see the wonder on Twin B's face? It was so beautiful...



I'd like to share some of the hymns, in particular, which caused me to feel of God's love for me on that day.

The following hymn is a traditional Christian hymn, and one of my all-time favorites, especially this version...



The next is a hymn I was privileged to hear in person as I attended the semi-annual worldwide conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints a couple of years ago. I remember moving closer and closer to the edge of my seat, almost wanting to stand up and shout my appreciation for this most beautiful arrangement of How Firm a Foundation....

(Embedding has been disabled by request on this video, but you can view it by clicking HERE.)

And the last hymn I'd like to share with you with is the true gift God gave me that day. It is a hymn I heard, again, in person in the conference center in Salt Lake for the first time in 2005, and I was completely swept off my feet. This hymn, called The Iron Rod, is put to the tune of "Jupiter", from Holst's "The Planets", and I had been searching for a copy of this version for the last 4 years. I didn't even know the name of the hymn, but as I input the information I did have in youtube's search box, I was ecstatic to find, on the first click, that this was the hymn I had been searching for for so long! I hope you enjoy it as much as I have...

(Embedding has also been disabled by request on this video, but you can view it by clicking HERE.)

Thank you so much for being here. If you'd like to chat about anything at all having to do with the Mormon religion, please know that I will be here at my computer today from 10:00 to 11:45 AM MST to answer any questions at all about Mormon beliefs, lifestyle and doctrine. Or, if the personal experience I shared with you today prompts feelings or questions you'd like to share, please feel free.

To participate, just click the "COMMENTS (SHARE YOURS!) link below and leave a comment in the box. Thank you so much for being here and sharing in my life and I hope you have a wonderful day!

27 comments:

Kelli said...

Thank you Jen, I love you!

Stefany said...

Honestly I had never thought of listening to music from YOUTUBE. I am off to check it out now. Thanks for the gentle inspiration this morning.

Cheryl B. said...

I have often stated that I wish the devil WOULD go around looking horrible and ugly like some movies portray him, or at the very least, wear the red suit with the tail and horns, while carriying his pitchfork, like cartoons and such portray him. THEN, we would be far more likely to fight off his advances / schemes.

But he doesn't. Ever. He comes on slowely, enticingly, wearing us down bit by bit, until he can totally smash us. {or at the least, hoping he can}

Like you mentioned, his main objective is to keep us from being effective for the Lord. Once we have admitted we are sinners, asked God for forgiveness, acknowledgeed Christ's death on the cross as payment for our sins, and accepted His free gift of Salvation; Satan then knows he has lost us. Permanetly. There is absolutely no way he can undo that. Ever.

He knows that God is far stronger than he is.

So Satan then changes his tactics. If he can't have us as his own, then he is bound and determined that he is going to keep us from being effective for God! And being the 'low life' that he is, he will do absolutely any and every thing to achieve that goal!!!

If only we were half as persistant as the devil is!!!

Persistant in fighting him.

Persistant in being a witness FOR Christ.

But the reason Satan is so persistant, is because he knows / acknowledges just how powerful God really is. The last thing he wants, is for us to be effectivly being used by God.

But it is through the power of God that we CAN beat the devil - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!"

We MUST keep up the fight! We must be persistant like our enemy is!!!

Thankfully, the Lord has blessed us with many resources to help us in that fight. The Bible. Prayer. Friends. Spouces. Music. Literature. ... And even sunshine.

Keep up the good fight my friend!!! o/~ Our God IS an awesome God!o/~ o/~ How GREAT Thou Art (God is)o/~

Remember Psalms 119 - You are wonderfuly made - in His image!

Go forth and put on the full armour of God and F I G H T the devil!

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Thank you so much for your powerful comment, Cheryl. You are so, so right!

thedailydelights said...

Hi Jen :)

Thanks for this beautiful post. I've been thinking a lot about the adversary and how to fill our minds with beauty so that there is no room for him...i'm giving a talk sunday on pronography. Its been a good experience that at first I was not looking forward to. The main thing I've been thinking of is to build a library in our mind of the good, the beautiful, and the divine. This library can consist of literature, music, images, experiences, and more. I think this library can help with so much more than pronography...depression as you've addressed, abuse, and other tools Satan uses to destroy. I love the suggestion of the Motab on youtube! And thanks for always being so personal. It helps us all! hugs to you and yours, trina

ps, just to set my mind at ease...did your package arrive safely? :)

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Oh yes, Trina, it did! I can't believe I neglected to write you and let you know! I'm so sorry. My husband really appreciated it and wants to purchase a nice frame for it, so we haven't put it up yet, but we're looking forward to doing so! Thank you so much. It is beautiful and I LOVE it!

thedailydelights said...

Oh, I'm so glad, and ever so happy that he likes it! :)

Lynn said...

WOw. I so needed this post today. Thanks for the reminder. It's good to know that we are all basically here (Earth) for the same reasons and can learn from one another, as we try to hang onto that iron rod. Thanks Jen!

Angela said...

Oh girl, I so connected with the battle...hmmmm..your so right, it starts with the thoughts...

Today I put on my own play list, from my blog,lol...and went about my morning and just worshiped,just let the music soak into my spirit and yes,,,it is well with my soul....

Blessings.

Rudy Rukus said...

Great post Jen! I love that song so much. We sang it as a stake choir about a year ago and I listen to it often!!

singlemormonchick said...

thank you for your post. the adversary has been tap dancing all over me, my family, and those closest to me. its been a horrible 24 hours, but your post reminded me of what i already knew deep inside and gave me a little kick in the right direction. our Savior and our Heavenly Father love us and will never desert us. there is nothing too big for the atonement. i love "how firm a foundation". love, love, love it. silly me, crying now. :)

Anonymous said...

You're doing a great thing sweetie - keep it up!
Love you,
Your Hubby

thorney said...

God certainly sent me to the right blog today to find the words I needed to hear. I have been suffering from the worst depression as of late due to a lot of reasons and excuses. One of these Tuesdays I am going to get here early enough to chat with you and that is something I look forward to doing.

We had a summer home in Hungry Horse Montana, and we always tried to do something fun on our way back to Berkeley. Several times we drove home through Zion in Utah, and once we actually went to SLC and did the temple tour--the area they have organized tours and Q&A areas, and we had the honor of hearing the choir practice. We are major music people and not LDS, but that choir is the best, I cried it was so beautiful.

I honestly detest depression especially when it takes over my being. Thank you for addressing this sensitive issue and being so open about it.

Keeley said...

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing is one of my favourite hymns! Such a beautiful song that never fails to lift my spirits.

Christine:) said...

Jen, that is so well said, and so RIGHT ON. Thank God, I have never struggled with depression, but I do quite often get into periods of laziness around my home. The house doesn't get cleaned, laundry doesn't get done...you get the idea. I wait until it starts bothering me and then I flip out and spend the next two days cleaning until I exhaust myself. I'm not being the best mom or wife when I do this, and I have to practice moderation- even though I don't feel like doing something around the house, I really need to- and I can't overwhelm myself either with trying to make the house perfect.

Reading your incredible words that it is the "enemy" who is trying to make me be lazy hit home. I am going to try with all of my heart to avoid acting that way from now on! Thank you so much:)

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Thank you everyone, for your sweet comments. Sometimes I wonder if I should get so personal, but reading the things you have to say makes it worth it. Some of your comments have even brought tears to my eyes (including yours, dearest husband), which isn't hard as I only have 6.5 weeks until I deliver!

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Single Mormon Chic, I hope things get better with your family soon.

restrainedchaos said...

Thank you for your wonderful testimony and a timely reminder to be preemptive to protect our spirituality.

Tami said...

battling right now so this was a great post for me :)

restrainedchaos said...

Thanks for your wonderful testimony and timely reminder to be preemptive in protecting our spirituality. Hope you had a better day!

Fisher Fam said...

Thank you for your thoughtful words - isn't it amazing how you can feel as if you are the only one to have had a bad day (or couple of weeks), then read that someone else is feeling it too, and can even have the ability to uplift me! You are serving your fellow man - you just uplifted me :D

~Amy~ said...

Awesome! Thank you for sharing!

Emily@notionsonnesting.com said...

This is such a powerful post and one I needed to hear. Crazy thing that I've never thought of feeling down and Satan bringing me down. Thank you!

Christi Williams said...

I needed this post today myself, my thoughts have been getting away from me lately as we struggle through some things. But there is much to grateful for. And knowing where those discouraging thoughts come from is important.
Thank you :-)

Erin said...

Jen
Thank you so much for this post. I've been struggling for awhile with something that I thought I had conquered a long time ago. My husband is inactive and with our son its hard to make it to church 1 week out of 4 so I know I'm being worked on through my thoughts. The music this morning renewed my commitment and inspired me to get back on track. You are an inspiration!

Shmonae said...

You have a great blog! I am just starting to grasp the amazing tool the internet is to answer peoples questions about what Mormons really believe. I can't believe some of the myths out there :) Thanks for all of your work and devotion to help people by serving an online mission!

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Shmonae, thank you so much for your sweet compliment. Since I never got to serve a mission, this is the second-best thing for now!