This has been a week of seeking first to understand then to be understood. As I focused more on where people are at--not where I thought they were or where I thought they should be--I was able to know what their individual needs were and how to help them. Yesterday, we were with a grandmother who wants to help her daughter but knows she can only help as far as her daughter will allow. As I sought to listen and understand her I was simultaneously able to better hear and discern what the Spirit was saying to me. Jackie, the grandmother, picked up on this and pointed out to us how we were different and able to understand her. This made her more open and committed to the invitations we extended to her. This applies to every person we interact with. So I invite each of us to take the time to understand those we interact with and as we do so I promise you will discern what the Spirit would have you know and how you can help those individuals, whether through a kind word or an act of service, a ride to the store, or a plate of cookies.
I am grateful for the Atonement--for the ability to change and the chance to be forgiven of past mistakes and follies. One of the lessons I'm really learning is how much control we have over our lives. Our attitude determines so much. Who we are. Where we are. Where we are going. The people we spend our time with. Whether we build up or tare down those people. How we spend our time. I'm glad to be using this gift of time to serve my brothers and sisters. I desire everyone to be able to take a part in this "great and marvelous work." I feel as Father Lehi who "partook of the fruit thereof [that] filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my [ward] family and [family abroad] should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit. And...I cast my eyes round about, that perhaps I might discover my family also" that they may taste of the joy that I am now experiencing. This joy is not free but it is given freely to all who will come forth and "thrust in the sickle with his might." I love how you can liken the white of the fruit of the Tree of Life to the white of the field that is "already to harvest" in Doctrine and Covenants 4.
Thank you for your love and I can't wait to hear from y'all whether by snail mail or by email, Spartan Sister McNeece