what is a squiggle?

According to fifth-grade teacher Mrs. Hill, a squiggle is a beginning point, a small, wiggly line on a page with the potential to become something more--a brilliantly drawn fifth-grade picture!

A beginning point. A silly phrase from my preschooler, my teenager rolling his eyes, or my kindergartner deleting my entire 3rd chapter...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Scripture Squiggle: Ephesians 3:19

"And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God."

Driving back from family temple day last week, we approached a vehicle that seemed unable to remain in its own lane. My husband told me to use caution as I passed the car, since we couldn't be sure where it would swerve next. We glanced out the window as we moved alongside, expecting to see the driver texting or talking on his phone. What we saw instead was an older man, tears streaming down his cheeks, flowers piled on the seat beside him.

In that instant, I felt my heart drawn out to this man, and found myself praying to the Lord to help him in his obvious time of need. As I did so, it occurred to me, that while I didn't know this man's name, or what event had caused the tears to spill from his eyes, the Lord knew. Immediately after I finished my quick prayer, a song came on the radio. I was familiar with the song, Rascal Flatt's "I Won't Let Go"--about standing by someone during their time of need.

Not only did the Lord let me know that he knew the man, his name and his troubles, but He let me know that He knows me. Being who I am, I would have continued feeling bad for this man, worrying about the cause of his tears, the fact that he was alone. But through the song, the Lord put my fears to rest.

He will stand by us in our darkest hours. And He won't let go.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Doctrine and Covenants 122:7

"And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good."

I've heard often that different scriptures have different meanings depending on your circumstances and frame of mind when you read them. Eight months ago, this passage brought me comfort. Today it forces me to examine my life. The Lord promises Joseph that the trials he experiences will help him grow and allow him to become more worthy of exaltation.

Having gone through trials, just like everybody else, I understand their role in our spiritual and emotional growth. So what's the problem? I find myself afraid of growth because of my fears of what trial the Lord might send me next. I don't want to see the jaws of hell gaping at me.

Thinking about it, I believe it comes down to really believing that the Lord has our best interests in mind. Eliminating my fears means trusting the Lord. In order to continue my climb toward eternal life, I must stop looking down, fearing the fall, stop looking forward, fearing the unknown, and take the proffered hand of help the Savior reaches out to me. I must cling to that hand and keep going.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Scripture Squiggle: Helaman 6:4-5

"And it came to pass that many of the Lamanites did come down into the land of Zarahemla, and did declare unto the people of the Nephites the manner of their conversion, and did exhort them to faith and repentance.
"Yea, and many did preach with exceedingly great power and authority, unto the bringing down many of them into the depths of humility, to be the humble followers of God and the Lamb."

New converts to the Church always seem to have an inner fire when it comes to sharing the Gospel with others. I've seen that same drive in primary children and youth. So what happens to those of us born into the Church? Where is our urge to share our precious knowledge with others? Did we have it as children, and then lose it as we grew up? What is it that changes within us?

I think the answer is charity. As children, we hadn't yet learned that people can be cruel. We trusted everyone, played with anyone. But as we grew, we learned that some people weren't worthy of our trust. We began to approach everyone with distrust. So we lost our desire to be in the celestial kingdom with everyone, and really only wanted to be there with the ones we love and care about.

However, when we begin to feel Christ-like love for those around us, we overcome those feelings of distrust, and feel again a desire to share the gospel. We can pray for missionary experiences and opportunities all we want, but until we truly care about the people we meet or associate with, we give the Lord very little to work with.

The converted Lamanites mentioned in Helaman loved their brethren the Nephites with the love of Christ. It brought them from the land of Nephi to the land of Zarahemla, a long journey, to share their conversion stories and preach the gospel. They could have said, "The'll never change. They've become too wicked." But they didn't judge; they only loved. And in doing so, brought many Nephites back to the fold.