The Gift of a Grateful Heart
...finding gratitude even when God seems far away
My Dearest Friends,
I'm extremely thankful to have a close and trusting relationship with my Heavenly Father; it comforts me when everything looks bleak. Even when struggling, I know he is still there though sometimes I may feel far away from him at the time. I am sure the reason for this is to choose a grateful heart no matter what, just like I choose to love—no matter what the day brings, love and gratitude are always what I hope to choose and attempt to live up to.No matter our human frailties or weaknesses may loom at the time, we can always choose to be grateful and we can always choose to love!
It may sound redundant and we all remember as children being told, "When you grow up, you'll understand…" Even so, the truth is this: When we leave this earth—we will have grown our own spirit; and we will understand the eternal value of our mortal struggles—all of them! And this is what I think about while I "grit my teeth" and go through whatever is troubling me. Hold on to your faith—especially when struggling!
Since my return from my NDE, I miss the wonders of heaven and the incomparable joy of being in the Savior's presence. I have seen great struggles and have spent many days literally walking through my house, usually while cleaning in an attempt to be useful, yet with all my heart seeking comfort and strength by thinking of things to be grateful for and whispering, "Thank you Lord for my health, for my physical strength and ability, thank you Lord for my family, I'm so grateful for all you give." Darkness is kept at bay while I think of things to be thankful for and soon my heart begins to swell with the magnificence of God's hand in my life.
“I also understood the importance of thanking God for the things we receive. Gratitude is an eternal virtue. In humility we must ask, and in gratitude we should receive. The more we thank God for the blessings we receive, the more we open the way for further blessings. His desire to bless us is full to overflowing. If we will open our hearts and minds to receive his blessings, we too will be filled to overflowing. We will know that he lives.” —Embraced By The Light - page 107
We must develop, nurture and expand our personal relationship with God. Leaning on the arm of flesh, whether it be a trusted friend, teacher or organized religion, if done without seeking a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father, is setting one's self up to fall because no matter the spiritual level of others, they are mortal and subject to human frailties and misinformation. We can use others temporarily to shore up our faith or lean on to help us through a difficult time, God wants us to help each other! However, in the end, it is God in whom we must rely on, lean on and trust as our ultimate source. Some of the difficult times we experience may be specifically designed to teach us and help us learn to hang on to our Father!
God has my personal blueprint for my life here on earth, he has yours too, and you can be sure his design is flawless, it is perfect! And just like you, I don't have a perfect knowledge of his plan for me and must go forward in faith from day to day. But that's okay, God knows my purpose so I don't have to, I just have to desire his will and hope to fulfill his purposes and hope to experience the joy that comes from serving him well. Hope floats! From one desire to another. To hope is to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen—which brings in our imagination and imagination is the key to reality. Hope can float us through the darkness in our lives till we perceive and experience the warmth of God's light and love in our life once again...which we always will when we hold on to him! Hope and imagination help us create our reality.
Hang on to your connection with God. Strengthen it through study and prayer, nurture it through pondering his blessings and thanking him for his gifts frequently. Gratitude is part of the Universal Law of giving and receiving. Part of growing in our spiritual understanding and ability to love is by sharing what we have been given with others. This can be done by example as we gather our loved ones and talk about God's hand in our lives as well as express our thankfulness for his gifts. As we do, we invite further blessings and create ripples of love that will bless us, our families and all around us.
This election time has been a particularly difficult one and many have asked me for guidance. And perhaps this is a time for us to practice making difficult decisions. Weigh and measure everything—then follow your heart! Of course one cannot truly follow their heart without making God a part of their decision making process since he created our spirit and resides deep within each of our hearts. As a society, we are suffering the consequences of choices made over decades of focus on the world rather than on the things of God. Even so, it is never too late to turn to God! We, as a society, can and must turn to God to receive help from above . . . and each of us can do our part by following our heart, expressing our faith and trust in God and helping our loved ones do the same, creating loving ripples that will go out to all. It's never too late to turn to love and our Heavenly Father is always waiting to pour his blessings upon us as we turn to him and seek his guidance and will.
Bless each of us to feel your guidance and your Spirit in our hearts that we might strengthen our lives. We know that you lovingly watch over us always. Help us lean on you and trust your omniscient perspective and know that your will is always for our greatest good. Guide us in your everlasting, unconditional and purest love! During this time of the elections here in America, Father, bless us as citizens to understand our choices and have the ability to accept the consequences that our choices bring. Guide us through our awakening to your ways and to be able to help others do the same, that we might walk through this difficult time while leaning on you. Bless us to overcome our transgressions and replace self-centeredness with righteousness and bless our leadership, Heavenly Father, to exercise their influence in a way that will lift and foster your blessings and your will. I pray for each of us to recognize your hand in our lives, and remember to thank you for your gifts and blessings that lead us back home to you.
I pray these things in the precious name of your son, Jesus Christ, amen.
All my love, Betty