He came to heal us from sin.
There are several instances in the Bible where the Savior is asked to help someone--to perform a miracle--and the Savior obliges, but along with the miracle He makes sure to let the people know that His ability to heal us spiritually is more important than His ability to heal us physically.
Matthew 9:13 "But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
While we certainly should never discount the beautiful miracles that the Savior creates in our lives, we should always recognize that the opportunity to utilize the Savior's Atonement in our lives to create change within our souls is more important than any miracle of physical healing that the Savior blesses us with.
He came to save that which was lost.
We all have those "wandering sheep" moments in our lives where we stray from the Savior and the protection that comes from honoring covenants we have made with Him. Fortunately, we have a Good Shepherd who loves us, who knows where we are at all times, and who lovingly calls to us. It's up to us to study His life and His teachings because that study will help us to recognize the voice of that Good Shepherd who is calling to us and wanting to lead us back to His fold.
John 10:11, 14, 16, 27-28 "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep...I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine...And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd...My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish..."
But I promise you, if you will say to the Savior, "Okay, Lord, I don't understand why it has to be this way, but I am putting my faith and trust in you" and then GO and DO as the Savior instructs, you will be blessed with peace and you may even be blessed with an opportunity to see things through an eternal lens and perspective.
In my New Testament class this week, I studied about some of the Savior's miracles that He performed and also some of the parables He taught during His ministry on earth.
There is no way that I could possibly share everything I learned this week. That blog post would be WAY too long and boring...even for my 5 biggest fans who still read my ramblings on this blog. :)
I'm going to try and narrow this down to three main points...my three biggest takeaways from this week.
#1- It is important to have friends who help you come unto Christ.
In Matthew 9:2-8, Mark 2:1-12, and Luke 5:18-26, we find the story of the paralytic man who was brought to the Savior to be healed of his infirmity. There was a huge crowd around the Savior, and the man's friends, who were carrying him on a stretcher of sorts, were having a difficult time getting him close to the Savior. Because of their faith, they knew that if they could get their friend to the Savior, He would be able to heal Him.
Did these friends tell the man, "I'm so sorry. I know we have brought you all this way, but we cannot get close to the Savior, this man who can heal you. We will have to try another time."
These friends exhausted all their resources, finally resorting to removing the roof of the house that the Savior was in so they could lower their friend down to the Savior. They did not give up on their friend and they did not give up on their faith.
I would give anything...even my life...for my family and friends to be able to come to know how much the Savior of the world loves them, how much He has done for them, and how He is the one to turn to in order to receive peace and joy in this life and beyond. Maybe that sounds a bit dramatic and unbelievable, but it is 100% true. The Savior is everything, my friends. Everything.
#2- Part of the Savior's divine mission is to call the sinners to repentance.
"They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." -Mark 2:17
We are all sinners because we are all imperfect. Sin comes in many forms and even though it sounds like a harsh word, a sin is something as simple as losing your patience with someone. We are all in need of the power that comes through the Savior's Atonement and because He is the one that offered that great atoning sacrifice, He is the one that sets the terms for what we need to do, and how we should live in order to fully partake of all the blessings He has in store for us.
"Because of what He accomplished by His atoning sacrifice, Jesus Christ has the power to prescribe the conditions we must fulfill to qualify for the blessings of His Atonement.
#3- The Savior's compassion and power to heal are extended to all people, everywhere.
In Mark 5:25-34 we find the story of the woman who had an "issue of blood" for twelve years. Because of this illness, she was considered an outcast from society and despite her best efforts of seeking medical help, she was not able to be cured from her ailment.
"When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes,
Immediately, Jesus sensed that "virtue had gone out of him", or in other words, He knew that His power had been used to heal someone. His disciples thought He was crazy. "There are so many people here", they said. "How can you say, 'Who touched me?'"
But the Savior knew because He knows all of us. He knows our hearts, our fears, our weaknesses, our strengths, our desires...everything. He knew that this woman had come to Him to be healed and through her faith in Him, this healing took place.
The Savior didn't care that this woman was an outcast in society or that she had something "wrong" with her. He saw beyond all that and extended His healing hand through her faithfulness.
And He does the same for us, for you and me, for all men and women everywhere. As we turn to Him, as we trust in Him, as we do the things He asks of us, as we exhibit faith in Him, He heals us.
I know this. With every ounce of everything that is in me, I know this to be true. So turn to the One who can truly save you and He will make you whole.
Come, Follow Me
The class I am writing this post for is my New Testament class. I have already been trying to focus on the New Testament and the life of our Savior with the "Come Follow Me" curriculum that we are studying this year as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's been a game changer, folks. For me and for my family. Now, before you get the image in your head of the Ogden clan gathering around our scriptures every night of the week having a picture perfect discussion about what we have already read and prepared, let me help you picture the REAL deal...
Since January, we have not had a discussion every night of the week. Most weeks we get in 2-3 nights of great discussion. Some weeks, such as last week, we got in 0 days of great discussion.
So, there you have it. A glimpse into the lives of a family who is doing their best to follow the Savior and heed the counsel of His living prophet, President Russell M. Nelson. Do we have room for improvement? 100%. We will always have room for improvement. Do I sometimes feel stressed and anxious because "we are not doing it well enough"? 100%. But that's where I have to remember to say...
Get Thee Hence, Satan.
And that brings me to what I want to share today about my studies this past week. In Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13, we read about an experience the Savior had when he "was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be with God" (Matthew 4:1 Joseph Smith Translation). He chose to fast for forty days and forty nights as he communed with God. "He was afterwards an hungered, and was left to be tempted of the devil" (Matthew 4:2 Joseph Smith Translation).
Then Satan, being his incredibly "awesome" self (note, I use the word awesome sarcastically there), came to the Savior and tempted Him three different times. In two of the instances he tempted the Savior, he began with the words, "If thou be the Son of God". I find this interesting that Satan would try and get the Savior to doubt His divinity. What I find equally as interesting is that Satan does the exact same thing with us. We may not hear those exact words, "If thou be the Son or Daughter of God", but he gets us to doubt our divinity all the time.
Is God really there?
These are just a few of the questions that we ask ourselves that allow doubt of our divinity to creep into our minds.
But there is hope for us, my friends. The Savior, being His incredibly AWESOME self (note, I use the word awesome with NO sarcasm this time), set a beautifully perfect example for how we can respond to Satan when he comes to tempt us.
"Get thee hence, Satan."
"Get out of here." "Be gone." "Buh-bye, now." Or, as Moses so eloquently put it, "Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not; for God said unto me: Thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten" (Moses 1:16).
BOOM! Mic drop.
That's right, Satan. I am a daughter of God. I am created after His image. I have God and the Savior on my side which gives me power to "bruise thy head" (Genesis 3:15). I'm not going to listen to your garbage because I know who I am and I know who I have chosen to follow for the rest of my life and throughout all eternity, and it's not you.
And that's my "mic drop" moment with Satan and man, does it feel good.
I have great news!
Remember a couple of weeks ago when I posted a new Songs for the Sabbath post (my first in a very long time) and I mentioned that I was taking a break from my 12 page researched argument paper?
Well, my friends, thanks to hard work, perseverance, and divine intervention, I received an "A" on that paper, and I literally jumped for joy.
Now I have a week-long break in between semesters and I am looking forward to catching up on some badly needed chores around the house. (You know you're a mom when you are "looking forward" to catching up on house chores, lol.)
Once again, I just felt like blogging, so I sat down at the computer with a heart open to the Lord's will to see what song I could share today that might help someone. I turned to one of my favorite Christian artists...Casting Crowns. I love their music so much, especially their Christmas album. (Guys. If you have not heard their Christmas album, add it to your list for this year! I'm telling you! It's AMAZING!)
I found a beautiful song and video that they published over two years ago. I hope that it helps bring you what you need on this holy Sabbath day.
Casting Crowns- Oh My Soul
When you don't feel strong enough, please remember, you don't have to face the hard times alone. The Savior is there, watching and waiting. Reach out to Him and He will help you find the strength you need to make it through anything.
This feels amazing.
It's been way too long since I have written on this blog. I have been taking a higher level English class this semester and after spending most of the day on the computer completing the writing assignments for that class, plus the assignments for my other classes, I just don't have it in me to keep up the blog with regular posts.
But, I miss it and I'm thankful to take a break from my 12 page argument research paper assignment to share a beautiful song on this Sabbath day.
Rest- Nik Day
I love the music that is specifically written to go with the Youth theme every year. This year's theme for youth in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is from the scripture found in John 14:15...
I love it! Such a great scripture to focus on this year and any year.
Another thing that I encourage you to focus on is the Savior's ability to help you find peace and rest in this sometimes unruly and wicked world. There are some scary things out there, enough to create massive amounts of anxiety and fear in anyone. How fortunate we are to have the Master Healer, Protector, and Prince of Peace on our side to help us overcome our fears and anxiety.
You Say- Lauren Daigle
Stop beating yourself up.
You are a child of God and He loves you.
You have an older brother, Jesus Christ, who suffered for YOU. He died for YOU. Believe in that kind of love in your life, because it's real.
Ready for another chapter? Me too. :)
Chapter 7: The Roller Coaster Ride
While I waited for the gene test results, I found myself stuck on a roller coaster ride of emotions. The fear and anxiety of all the unknowns sent me rushing downhill at an alarming speed. Then out of nowhere I would receive a tender mercy that would thrust me upwards to the crest of the next hill. That would allow me enough time to smile and catch my breath before careening down to the bottom again.
The emotional ride left me with a constant, throbbing ache in my head. I spent half of my time as a sobbing, blubbering mess. When I wasn't crying, I was trying to keep myself busy so that I wouldn't linger too long on all the possible outcomes that were roaming through my mind.
At times, I wondered if I had just been having a bad nightmare. I kept hoping that I would suddenly wake up and resume my normal life. After all, I didn't look sick. People who have cancer look sick, right? I didn't feel sick either. Other than some fatigue, I felt like I could run a marathon, or maybe a 5K. Yes, let's stick with a 5K. (I detest running.)
I did my best to try and NOT think about cancer, but found it impossible when every conversation I had with people started with, "Do you have any news?"
"Nope, no news yet," I would have to report time and time again.
(excerpt from my journal) Day Nine: "I... am... exhausted. Emotionally, physically, spiritually--you name it. I am tapped out. I just keep trying to stay busy and keep a smile on my face, but today was hard. I snapped at my kids a lot...then I got angry with myself. Our lives could turn completely upside down in a few days. I should be making every moment count. But I couldn't today. I just couldn't put on the happy face anymore and unfortunately my family took the brunt of it. I'm sorry, guys. Tomorrow is another day. I will try to do better...I just want to cry all the time--cry because I'm scared, cry because I'm angry, [and] cry because I just want this nightmare to be over."
I became extremely impatient with the whole waiting process. I needed answers! Because I was a planner by nature, this cancer thing was really cramping my style. I couldn't move forward with any plans in my life, particularly the plans for my upcoming preschool year. (I taught preschool in my home.) My life was on hold and I did not like the music that was playing in the background.
As the days crept by and the turmoil in my heart grew, I started down a dangerous path of self-pity and despair. "I don't want to do this!" my mind screamed. "What if I am not strong enough?"
However, it seemed like every time I started down that dark path of self-pity, fear, and doubt, my faith in Jesus Christ steered me back in the right direction. I found myself craving more spirituality. I devoured my scriptures, prayed every single minute of the day, and scoured the Internet for words of comfort.
It was in those times of reflection that I received some of the most tender mercies. I was led to verses of scripture such as "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
Other tender mercies came in the form of earthly angels. My family and friends surrounded me in a bubble of love. Everywhere I turned I found someone giving me words of encouragement, sending me flowers, or bringing me food--lots and lots of food. That's one thing that we humans do when someone is suffering. We think of our favorite comfort foods and we share them. It's awesome. Especially when it involves chocolate.
My favorite earthly angel was my husband. When he came home from his business trip I felt like I could breathe again. It was so good to have him by my side. He was (and continues to be) the calm to my crazy and my reminder to take things one day at a time. Chemotherapy? Surgery? Radiation? Don't worry about it. We'll cross that bridge if and when we come to it.
He was right of course. Worrying would not change anything. The only thing that the worry was doing was causing me to lose precious hours of sleep, which, in turn, turned me into "grumpy mom." That was when I decided that I needed to find a place of peace and harmony within myself and ditch the roller coaster ride for good.
Thanks for coming back to check out another chapter! If you want to read what's in between these chapters and the rest of the story, click here or here to purchase your own copy. :)
It feels like it was a lifetime ago when I received the first copy of my book in the mail. After over 2 years of agonizing early mornings and late nights, the story of my journey with breast cancer was out there for all of my family, friends, and the few other people who have stumbled across it, to read.
I'm so grateful for every ounce of love and support that people have given me. I wanted to throw in the towel so many times, but then the Lord would send a tender mercy in the form of the inspiration I needed to overcome writer's block, someone telling me that they couldn't wait to read my story because they needed help with a trial they were facing, or just the knowledge that I knew this was something I needed to do.
In February 2016, I was finally able to share my story in book form and had two amazing book signing events. The memory from those nights I will cherish forever. It was so much fun. (Click here and here to see the pictures from those fun nights.)
Why the walk down memory lane?
Why the walk down memory lane, you may be wondering? Well, I have gone radio silent about my book for a long time now. I just felt like the only people that were seeing any of my obnoxious posts about it already knew about it and were probably like, "Ya. We get it. You wrote a book. Move on with your life."
I was never able to break out of my own little realm in social media to really get my book out there, which is fine. It was disheartening and frustrating for a long time, but life goes on and I am over it. I have said from the start that writing this book was never about making money or becoming well-known or anything like that. My only desire has ever been to get this book into the hands of those who may need a boost of inspiration to help get them through a tough trial. It took me a while to get to the point where I could say, "Maybe everyone who has needed to read it has read it for now."
So life has gone on. I have gone back to school and started a part-time job which leaves me very little time to write blog posts...which I miss terribly. But lately I have been thinking that maybe I should start posting excerpts from my book on my blog. It would be very easy for me to copy and paste, and as long as I keep the rambling before the posts to a minimum (already failed there), it should be a fairly simple thing to do.
Why post excerpts from my book?
Chapter One: 8-19-11
August 19, 2011, started out beautifully. I watched with excitement, nervousness, and a little bit of sadness as my oldest child, Josh, got ready for his first day of junior high school. How did he get so big? I could remember him toddling around on chubby little legs learning how to walk. Now I had to drop him off at the junior high so he could learn to walk through the seemingly endless supply of hallways and staircases there.
We pulled up to the school and after kissing his mother on the cheek, he jumped out of the car. With confidence and excitement oozing from every ounce of his 7th grade body, he strode off without even so much as a glance back in my direction. I suppose I had no need to be nervous. He was ready for the challenge.
My girls still had a few days before their school would begin. We had plans that day to enjoy the last of our summer freedom. Those plans included a figure skating lesson for Emma, and after looking at our bare cupboards, a trip to Costco as well.
After Emma's lesson, we were piling into the van when my phone started to ring. I was expecting a phone call from the Women's Center at St. Mark's Hospital because I had gone in for a biopsy the day before. I knew that this would be the call to tell me that the tissue from the lump in my right breast had been tested and the results were exactly what we thought they would be; it was just a fibrous mass and nothing else.
"Hello?" I said as I was juggling my phone, my purse, and attempting to buckle Ellie into her car seat.
"Hello?" Is this Desirae?" asked a kind, yet businesslike voice.
"Yes, this is she."
"Hi, Desirae. This is Dr. O'Neill. We got the results back from your biopsy and I am very sorry to say that things do not look good. I hate to
tell you this over the phone, but there were some cancer cells that showed up. I'm very sorry." (There was silence on my end for what felt like an eternity as my brain tried to process this information.) "Really. Wow," is what I finally choked out.
Have you ever wondered what you might do or say if you are told you have cancer? I have thought about it on occasion, but it was nothing that I pondered too deeply about. Cancer was something that happened to other people, not to me. I didn't have time for cancer in my busy life. I had groceries to buy, kids to cart around, and a life to live. I simply could not add cancer to my plate, so I got in my car and started driving. Maybe I was hoping that I could drive away from this stunning turn of events.
While I was driving, Dr. O'Neill was still talking away in my ear. I was hearing words like "MRI", "Grade 2 Cancer", "Surgeon", and a million other things. Why didn't I pull over and start writing these things down? Because I was in shock and avoidance mode, that's why.
With Dr. O'Neill still talking in one ear and my girls asking me, "Mom, what's wrong?" in the other, I knew that I needed only one thing- my husband. I needed him to wrap his arms around me and hug me tight. I also needed to hear him say that everything was going to be all right. Suddenly my driving had a purpose and that was to get to his office as quickly as I could.
Now that I was headed in the right direction, I could concentrate a bit more on the conversation with Dr. O'Neill.
"I will call Dr. Mainwaring to discuss some things with her. I will also arrange for you to come in for an MRI tonight. I will get back to you soon," she said.
I tossed my phone on the passenger seat and tried to keep my wits about me. I did not want to start crying while I was driving. The tears stayed in check until I pulled up to Mark's work. That was when the dam broke and I couldn't hold them in any longer. I could sense my girls'
nervousness increase when they saw the tears rolling down my cheeks. I told them, "It's okay. Everything is okay. I just need to talk to Daddy for a minute."
I called Mark and told him that I was sitting in the parking lot and that I needed to see him right away. When I saw him through the glass doors of his office building, I flung my car door open and ran to meet him. I tried to form the right words to say while the tears rolled down my cheeks. "They found cancer. They found cancer," I kept saying over and over again. I was trying to remember everything that Dr. O'Neill had told me, but it was all a jumbled mess in my brain. I know that Mark must have felt overwhelmed with the scene before him. He had his sobbing wife clinging to him and shouting the word "cancer" over and over again. The faces of his three bewildered girls were pressed against the van windows; the looks of fear and confusion clearly present. They were trying to make sense of what was happening to their crazy mother.
I am sure that he was also trying to find the right words to say. With this scene laid out before him, he did exactly what I needed him to do. He hugged me and told me not to worry. He said that we would just take things one at a time and figure it all out. We hugged for a long time. His embrace was rejuvenating. I did not want to let him go because I felt safe in his hug and I knew that as soon as I let him go, I would have to face this new horror head on.
Eventually, we stopped hugging and I was able to gain some composure. I wiped the tears away and told him that I would let him know when I heard back from the doctor. Then I sent him back to work, holding this new information like one would hold a porcupine- not quite sure of how to handle it. Finally, I got back into the van and the girls and I were off to Costco because I didn't have time to deal with cancer and we needed groceries.
And just like that, Chapter One is over. Stay tuned for more excerpts soon!
On to the next part of "Parenting an Anxious Child". Hopefully you have been able to read and/or listen to my first post on this topic. I felt that offering some background on why I have an opinion on this topic would be helpful before spewing my "knowledge" all over this blog. I have been trying to decide the best way to approach this second post and I think I will just start at the beginning and share some things I learned during each phase of Abbie's life.
Now, I don't want to have you think that Abbie was a terrible baby/toddler. She wasn't. She had plenty of sweet moments, which is why I kept thinking, "Is my baby bi-polar?" It was worrisome at times, but I did not know what to do. So, I prayed a lot, and read a lot, trying to find some answers.
One answer that I kept getting was, "This girl needs her independent spirit to do some really hard and amazing things, so you need to be patient with her."
Okay. Much easier said than done. Especially for a mother who has (or had, I am much better now) a short fuse. Some days would go really well, I was able to stay patient, and deal with the independence in a healthy manner. Other days...not so much. Those were the really hard days; the days I would go to bed in tears because I knew I was the most terrible mother in the world. What mother loses her patience with a baby/toddler? (Well, actually, I think it's safe to say that all mothers have done that at one point or another. The adversary just wanted to make sure that I felt alone in my trials. He's good at that. I don't like that about him.) But, that's a story for another blog post. Let's get on with some suggestions.
Suggestions for Birth-Toddler Years
*Don't forget to breathe.
*Upcoming family vacations involving eating out, amusement parks, condos with balconies, plane rides, or car rides give you nightmares.
Suggestions for Preschool Years
(Some are the same as the baby/toddler suggestions...)
*Don't forget to breathe.
To be continued...
Next time I will finish up my ramblings on parenting an anxious child with the elementary school years and middle school years (which I am in the middle of right now, so any suggestions from parents with older kids will be appreciated. :)
Meghan Trainor- Better When I'm Dancin'
I'll bet you don't just smile. I'll bet that some serious toe-tappin' is going to be happening.
Let the music move you, baby.
I am loving my second chance at life.
What's Happening on
Copyright Desirae Ogden, www.desiraeogden.com, 2015.
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