Monday, February 22, 2016

Have you made Tear Soup lately?

Today I got the opportunity to teach on the topic of Adversity! Not real shocking, since I have been teaching on this very subject for over 35 years...still I believe that I have so much to learn from this topic! It really is one of my favorite subjects because I know that it effects us all!
I wanted to use the theme of this lesson after a book that I recieved when I got Cancer for the first time. I can't even remember who gave it to me, but it is one of my favorites! And I have bought it and given it away to someone in need...more times than I can remember. 

So here is my lesson from today!
You can read the whole lesson HERE:
This book Tear Soup was written by a Mother and son, then illustrated by her nephew. What a talented family. The Mother's name is Pat Schwiebert, she is a registered nurse and she has worked in the area of Bereavement for over 30 years. She said that her teachers...have been the ordinary people that she has worked with. She and her husband have a Hospice Ministry.
She says about her book Tear Soup that " Some cooking requires that you measure ingredients exactly. But making soup is different. Soup making is an art, and you are the artist. Improvising as you go, your only goal is that the blended creation with both safisfy your hunger and soothe what hurts you!"
You probably noticed that I set up my room today as a kitchen, I even brought my dinner Chicken Soup and put it in a crockpot so that it even smelled like a kitchen. 
When you first smelled the soup, what feelings did you have? Home, healing, soothing, comforting, warm, good!
Well, I believe that what I hope you feel when we talk about the ingredients that are important for us to put in our own Tear Soup, that everyone will make some time in their lives.
You probably noticed that on my pots of Tear Soup, I have labels...just  as the story goes in this book about Grandy, she realized when she had a loss or struggle in her life, she needed to make her own Tear Soup. The pot size would depend on how big her adversity is. She also realizes that she might have to make more than on pot of Tear Soup at a time. Some might just need to simmer for awhile, in smaller pots...but she still has to watch and attend them. Plus like me, she knows to always wear an apron...because Adversity just like cooking...could get messy!
How grateful I am for this lesson which is full of great ingredients for all of us when we have to make our own Tear Soup. 
Let's discuss these 5 ingredients in the lesson today.
I love this very first quote...
“When [the difficulties of mortality] humble us and refine us and teach us and bless us, they can be powerful instruments in the hands of God to make us better people.”
First ingredient is...Knowledge
We need to remember that Knowledge is Power
Adversity is part of God's plan for our eternal progress.
President Spencer W. Kimball, who knew a good deal about suffering, dissappointment, and circumstances beyond his control once wrote:
“Being human, we would expel from our lives physical pain and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continual ease and comfort, but if we were to close the doors upon sorrow and distress, we might be excluding our greatest friends and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery” [Faith Precedes the Miracle (1972), 98]
“This does not mean that we crave suffering. We avoid all we can. However, we now know, and we all knew when we elected to come into mortality, that we would here be proved in the crucible of adversity and affliction. …

“[Furthermore,] the Father’s plan for proving [and refining] his children did not exempt the Savior himself. The suffering he undertook to endure, and which he did endure, equaled the combined suffering of all men [and women everywhere.

We came to mortal life to encounter resistance. It was part of the plan for our eternal progress. Without temptation, sickness, pain, and sorrow, there could be no goodness, virtue, appreciation for well-being, or joy. … We must remember that the same forces of resistance which prevent our progress afford us also opportunities to overcome.

2nd Ingredient is ...Experience
Our mortal tribulations are for our growth and experience.

When [the difficulties of mortality] humble us and refine us and teach us and bless us, they can be powerful instruments in the hands of God to make us better people, to make us more grateful, more loving, and more considerate of other people in their own times of difficulty.
The great Book of Mormon patriarch, Lehi, spoke encouragingly to his son Jacob, a son born in the wilderness in a time of travail and opposition. Jacob’s life was not as he might have expected it to be and not as the ideal course of experience might have outlined. He had suffered afflictions and setbacks, but Lehi promised that such afflictions would be consecrated for his son’s gain (see 2 Nephi 2:2).

Then Lehi added these words that have become classic:

“For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, … righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad” (2 Nephi 2:11).

When you first came into the room today, you were given a piece of paper where I asked you to write down on one side, Your Greatest Challenge and on the other side, to write down the most Valuable Lesson you learned from that Challenge. 
No one was to put their name on them and so I shared those challenges and lessons as part of my lesson. Hoping that the Sisters would realize that they are not the only one with that exact challenge, and hopefully that they would have more compassion on others who too shared the same challenges as they had.
3rd Ingredient is... OPTIMISMIn the dictionary the word Optimism is... a feeling or belief that good things will happen in the future.
There have always been some difficulties in mortal life, and there always will be. But knowing what we know, and living as we are supposed to live, there really is no place, no excuse, for pessimism and despair.
So I hope you won’t believe all the world’s difficulties have been wedged into your decade, or that things have never been worse than they are for you personally, or that they will never get better. I reassure you that things have been worse and they will always get better. They always do—especially when we live and love the gospel of Jesus Christ and give it a chance to flourish in our lives. …

Contrary to what some might say, you have every reason in this world to be happy and to be optimistic and to be confident. Every generation since time began has had some things to overcome and some problems to work out.

Fourth Ingredient is... Sharing
When we come to the Savior, He will ease our burdens and lighten our loads.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28–30.)
In our own great times of need we must not leave unrecognized this unfailing answer to the cares and worries of our world. Here is the promise of personal peace and protection. Here is the power to remit sin in all periods of time. We, too, must believe that Jesus Christ possesses the power to ease our burdens and lighten our loads. We, too, must come unto him and there receive rest from our labors.

Of course, obligations go with such promises. “Take my yoke upon you,” he pleads. In biblical times the yoke was a device of great assistance to those who tilled the field. It allowed the strength of a second animal to be linked and coupled with the effort of a single animal, sharing and reducing the heavy labor of the plow or wagon. A burden that was overwhelming or perhaps impossible for one to bear could be equitably and comfortably borne by two bound together with a common yoke. His yoke requires a great and earnest effort, but for those who truly are converted, the yoke is easy and the burden becomes light.

Why face life’s burdens alone, Christ asks, or why face them with temporal support that will quickly falter? To the heavy laden it is Christ’s yoke, it is the power and peace of standing side by side with a God that will provide the support, balance, and the strength to meet our challenges and endure our tasks here in the hardpan field of mortality.
We need not go through the adversities in our lives alone, unless we choose too! Our Savior has always been willing to help us, but we must let him. This principle is taught well in this cute story...
The Parable of the Milk

Once  there was a women who was deep in a tremendous trial; she had a small family to support and this burden was just to difficult to bear. She constantly called upon the Lord, begging him to remove this trial from her life, and couldn't understand why her prayers seemed to go unanswered. One day after she returned from the grocery store, she was carrying in the groceries when she spied her little three year old trying desperately trying to lift the gallon jug of milk. The little girl pulled and tugged but to no avail, she couldn't move the jug. The mother watched her struggle as the little girl tried so hard to help her mother with the load. Finally the woman picked up the jug, as she had the Lord to do for her so many times, taking the milk from the child. The little girl began to cry, "I want to do it...." she mumbled. The she lifted her head as her eyes lit up, "Mom, I know! I'll carry the milk and you carry me."
Sisters, the Savior has always been willing to carry us, as we strive to handle and learn from our own adversities.
5th Ingredients is... Faith and Hope
We need not fear the tribulations of the last days!

The scriptures … indicate that there will be seasons of time when the whole world will have some difficulty. We know that in our dispensation unrighteousness will, unfortunately, be quite evident, and it will bring its inevitable difficulties and pain and punishment. God will cut short that unrighteousness in his own due time, but our task is to live fully and faithfully and not worry ourselves sick about the woes of the world or when it will end. Our task is to have the gospel in our lives and to be a bright light, a city set on the hill, which reflects the beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the joy and happiness that will always come to every people in every age who keep the commandments.

Inevitably the natural result of some of these kinds of prophecies is fear, and that is not fear limited to a younger generation. It is fear shared by those of any age who don’t understand what we understand.

But I want to stress that these feelings are not necessary for faithful Latter-day Saints, and they do not come from God. To ancient Israel, the great Jehovah said:

“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. …

“And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.” (Deut. 31:6, 8.)
In light of such wonderful counsel, I think it is incumbent upon us to rejoice a little more and despair a little less, to give thanks for what we have and for the magnitude of God’s blessings to us, and to talk a little less about what we may not have or what anxiety may accompany difficult times in this or any generation.

A time of great hope and excitement
We need to have faith and hope, two of the great fundamental virtues of any discipleship of Christ. We must continue to exercise confidence in God, inasmuch as that is the first principle in our code of belief. We must believe that God has all power, that he loves us, and that his work will not be stopped or frustrated in our individual lives or in the world generally. …

I promise you in the name of the Lord whose servant I am that God will always protect and care for his people. We will have our difficulties the way every generation and people have had difficulties. But with the gospel of Jesus Christ, you have every hope and promise and reassurance.

… If our faith and hope are anchored in Christ, in his teachings, commandments, and promises, then we are able to count on something truly remarkable, genuinely miraculous, which can part the Red Sea and lead modern Israel to a place “where none shall come to hurt or make afraid.” (Hymns, 1985, no. 30.) Fear, which can come upon people in difficult days, is a principal weapon in the arsenal which Satan uses to make mankind unhappy. He who fears loses strength for the combat of life in the fight against evil. Therefore the power of the evil one always tries to generate fear in human hearts. In every age and in every era, mankind has faced fear.

As children of God and descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we must seek to dispel fear from among people. A timid, fearing people cannot do their work well, and they cannot do God’s work at all. The Latter-day Saints have a divinely assigned mission to fulfill which simply must not be dissipated in fear and anxiety.

It is vital that we have all these 5 ingredients when adversity comes our way, and we have to make our own Tear Soup!
I also loved another book that a dear friend gave me called The Uses of Adversity.
  It had great advice from those who had lived through unbelievable adversities and pain and how they found a way to profit it and not let it destroy them. One of the true stories that touched me the most, was of a mother who lost one of her children in a terrible accident. After really struggling and trying to make sense out of what happen and asking a million times the same question  "WHY" over and over again in her prayers. She finally bore a sweet and powerful testimony of her knowledge of God, here is what she said at her son's funeral.
I pray that I will have this type of knowledge and testimony that my Heavenly Father loves me and knows me. And that I will never have to go through my adversities alone, unless I choose too.
I am grateful for the many valuable lessons that the adversities in my life have given me.
Yes, I learn so very much when I teach, so I feel very grateful tonight.
So...good night dear friends!

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