No, this is not one of the signs...
Today was another touch lesson. There is so much that can be covered and so little time to do it in. When I was about 10, I remember watching The Omen with my mom. It made me wonder what everything was about, (and I still don't quite know why all the end-of-the-world stuff is always being battled out by Catholics and Priests and Nuns, but what ever), and I went to my room and pulled out the Bible, and turned right to the book of Revelations. Lets just say that I was in no way prepared for that I found written in there, and was scared to death! Was I really going to have to be baptized by fire? Would there really be a giant beast who comes with several heads? I had no idea that the words within were metaphors for what was actually to come.
It was with this in mind, that I tried to teach this lesson today. We covered the scarier of the signs first, as it's listed in the book, and I made sure to try to stress the point that we may not personally be affected by these happenings but we'll surely see them and it still can be frightening, but if we're trying our best to be physically and spiritually ready, we have nothing to fear.
We did spend the majority of the time covering the more joyous signs of Jesus' coming, like the restoration of the Gospel and the teaching of the Gospel to all peoples in their native language. However, it strikes me how little some members know or seem to understand. How is it that some who are raised in the church and have always had these teachings in their lives, could understand so little? It seems impossible that a person who has been married in the temple, would not grasp the concept of what it means to be prepared. But maybe that's partly due to the very general nature of some of out study materials. Perhaps its that the lessons cover the very basic points, and it's left to the rest of us to study, and ponder the lessons before we go in to teach them, hoping that the Spirit will guide us in the direction that will best help our students to learn. And perhaps that's not always the way things are done. What ever the reason, it seems to me that it shouldn't be this way. And maybe that's my own ignorance, thinking that years in the church translate to a perfect knowledge and understanding of it's principals. I guess that shows that all of us, no matter how we look to the outside world, have our struggles and trials of faith, and that if we keep these close to our hearts all the time, instead of sharing them, it leads us all to feel alone. Like we're the only ones in the ward who are struggling with something and that there's something wrong with us. I think we're afraid to show the darker side in fear that we will be judged by everyone who we see as so much more perfect than we are. But I've always respected those who have shared their own failings, because it humanizes them, and makes me feel like I, too, can get to where they are.
On that page, I am not fully prepared. I don't have our 72 hour kits together. I don't have our food storage. I am struggling just to keep food in the house and lights on at this time. It's not easy on my income and my husband's money goes to his education, which is our top priority for now. I have been doing my best just to pay my tithing every pay period, and have yet to pay a fast offering. I just never have it to give after paying what I can on the bills, putting gas in the car, and buying groceries. I still can't seem to work in family prayer, and family scripture reading into my daily routine, and I haven't fit in the solitary scripture study either. The most I've been able to work in is daily personal prayer, usually in the morning, in the car on the way home, and right before my head hits the pillow at night. I still miss coffee in the fall, and sometimes I miss having a little Irish Cream in my hot chocolate. I have thoughts that are less than Christian almost every day. Why am I putting all this out there? Because I want to let everyone know that they're not the only one, even if they think they are. I was a member of the church for 7 years before I was ready in any way to enter the temple. I have made some big mistakes in my life, both before and after my baptism, and I've straightened myself out for the most part. And I know that Heavenly Father loves me and is just as proud of me as if I'd never made a mistake, ever. And the point of this? To say that I may not be as prepared physically, but I'd like to think that I'm doing my part to make sure that I'm ready spiritually for the Savior's return.
It's not about having done everything that the scriptures tell us to do. It's about making our best effort to do what we're capable of doing, in our time and moving constantly forward. If you are a new member, and haven't gotten to the Temple yet and Jesus was to show up tomorrow, I don't think he would hold it against you. I think that we are responsible for doing what we know we should, as we learn what those things are, and are able to do so. Just strive to move forward, and (this is just my opinion) I believe that Heavenly Father will be satisfied with that. I don't expect Baby Boy to read yet, but I do expect him to be able to do so in the next 4-5 years. As long as he progresses toward that goal, I will be just fine with it. I don't expect The Boy to be able to do Algebra, but in the next few years, he should be able to and I expect him to do so. I do expect him to be able to handle the work that is put before him that is age appropriate and I think that our Heavenly Father thinks of things the same with us. So do that which you are capable of doing, and strive to be able to do more, and if Jesus comes and catches you doing it, I think you'll be just fine.