Monthly Archives: January 2014

There is No Darkness in the Presence of the Lord

Image of someone walking toward a light coming down from above through intense darkness.I have often heard people compare life to a roller coaster, with ups and downs.  There is some value in that metaphor, but it seems to me that it might be more helpful to compare our lives to the earth as it travels its course.  As it revolves, it goes from day to night and back to day.  Yet, even as this rhythm is beating like a drum, it passes through seasons that encompass the days and the nights.

During the day, we can usually see the path before us clearly, although there are seasons when it is obscured even in the daytime, when covered with snow, or our vision is limited by fog or storms.  During the night, even though we know there is a path before us, it can be very hard to see it, as our human eyes require a high level of light to see things and recognize them with confidence.

The Lord is our light source at all times.  During the day, he provides the sunlight, and we see so easily and well that we may take it for granted.  However, during the night, without sunlight we can become discouraged, we can lose our way, stray from the path.  Sometimes, because we fear, we stop our forward progress during the night completely.  We refuse to take a step without being able to see the horizon, and we wait for the morning, for the dawn.  This seems like the safest choice. But even when we cannot see clearly, the Lord can be our beacon.  Even in the darkest times, he shines the light so that we may see the path, if we will look and trust him.  If we let go of our fear, open our eyes and take one step at a time we are safe when we stay in the light of his love.  Even when all that we can see is where to put one foot next, if we trust him not to lead us astray we can continue our journey.  And the night will eventually give birth to the day.

I am reminded of the words of a wonderful hymn (#97), “Lead, Kindly Light,” written by John Newman in 1833.

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I
Have loved long since, and lost awhile!

He is always there, shining the light.  He never changes.  However, there are times when we turn away, perhaps in fear, and do not want to look where the light is pointing.  We have eyes but do not see the way before us because we choose to look in the wrong direction, or shut our eyes and refuse to look at all, because we are afraid.

Trust the Lord.  Allow Him to illuminate your path.  He teaches us the truth and gives us his unconditional love. If you are experiencing darkness, bask in the warmth of his love, trust in his light, and take one step at a time until the morning comes.  Let go of fear.  Let go of discouragement.  Let go of disappointment.  Live in the present.  Life is a gift.  Receive it.  Enjoy it.  Experience it.  Grow with it.  There is no darkness in the presence of the Lord.

  • Can you think of a time when you experienced darkness?
  • Is there an area of your life in which you are experiencing darkness now?
  • Have you looked for divine light – even just a glimmer showing you your next step?
  • If so, are you willing to take the step that has been shown to you? If not, are you willing to look to the Lord for light and guidance?
  • What will you do today to find and follow the light?

Please share your thoughts about this post by commenting below.

Related Posts: Progress – Climbing through the cloudsHelp: Encircled about in the Arms of His Love

ARP Meetings – Where Two or Three Are Gathered…

I recently read D&C 6, and verses 32-37 absolutely jumped off the page at me as pertaining to the Church’s ARP meetings. I “captured” the impressions I received below.

32 Verily, verily, I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of them—even so am I in the midst of you.

We gather as 2 or 3 or 12 or 20 in His name at every Addiction Recovery Program meeting, as touching one thing: recovery from addiction through the Atonement. And He is always in our midst. The Spirit we feel in our meetings is similar to what I feel in the Temple.

33 Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.

As we each take whatever tiny steps we can toward recovery, we are sowing good, and have hope in Christ of reaping good: recovery!

34 Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.

We need not fear Satan nor those who are listening to his voice. We are built upon the rock of Christ and His Atonement. Satan will not win.

35 Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.

He accepts us where we are. He holds no grudge. He is willing to wipe our slate clean if we repent and go forward with abstinence and sobriety, walking the path He has laid before us.

36 Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.

Keeping our focus on the Savior we have no need for doubt or fear. Like Peter walking on the water, we will be safe if we focus on the Savior in each moment.

37 Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Amen.

Focus on Christ, remembering the Atonement He has made for us.  Deliverance from sin may be ours as we receive the cleansing and other blessings of the Atonement through repentance. We will one day surely return to live with Him in joy.

Come to an ARP meeting and see how truly this applies. If you are trying to overcome a challenge in your life, come gather with us and let the Lord give you the strength that comes from learning to apply the Atonement in your life.

Turn Away from Temptation

From My Journal“Good morning, sweet daughter. I love thee so much. I am always with thee. My light surrounds thee. My love encompasses thee. My arms envelope thee. I hold thee close. I comfort and console thee. I take thy hand and lead thee. I will strengthen, support and sustain thee that thou wilt make the best possible choices. If thou art tempted, turn to me; look at my face and thou wilt receive the strength and the love that thou needest to turn away from temptation and walk toward the light. Thou art a valiant and faithful servant. Fear nothing. All is well. There is more than enough and to spare. Be generous. Be kind. Be loving. Be grateful. Be fearless. Go in peace. Amen.”


Keeping the Sponge Moist

“And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.” Alma 12:10-11

Imge of old dry sponge that cannot absorb water.Consider a dry sponge. It has the potential to soak up and absorb water, but it is not prepared to do so. Pour a drop of water on it and it will just sit upon the surface. Try to wipe up a spill with it and it will just push the water around on the counter. However, plunge it into a bucket of water or hold it under a faucet and squeeze out the excess and the sponge is prepared to soak up any water it touches. Allowed to dry out completely again, it returns to its unprepared state: dry, hard and even brittle; containing little or no water and unable to absorb any.

My heart is like the sponge. If I allow my heart to dry out completely – squeezing out the last drop of living water and not replenishing it – then, when a drop comes my way, I cannot even absorb it. I just push it around dully, not able to drink it in and be nurtured by it. I receive “the lesser portion of the word until [I] know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then [I can be] taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction.”  How does this happen?  It happens when I give until I have no more to give, trying to please everyone, and fail to take care of myself by taking time to do the things that keep me close to the Lord. It also happens when I refuse to allow others to nurture me. When I allow self-will and self-sufficiency (thinking I can do it all, by myself) to replace love and humility in my heart, it can become dry, hard, and brittle.

When I find myself in this state I must find a bucket of living water or a faucet and plunge myself in – immerse myself in the love of God and the gospel. Where can I find this bucket, this faucet of living water?  At Church, in the temple, in 12-Step  meetings, in program literature, in the love of my family, in the scriptures, in prayer and meditation, in General Conference – anywhere the Spirit dwells. Then, I need to “squeeze out the excess” by sharing what I have learned with others.

I never want to become totally dry again. Where do I get the daily “misting” that will keep me prepared to receive; that will keep my heart soft and humble?  By daily use of the tools of the program; especially literature and music (including scriptures), meetings, prayer and meditation, sponsoring, telephone calls, writing and yes, even service.

  • Are there spiritual areas of your life in which you have potential but are not prepared?
  • What could you do to become prepared so that you can receive a “greater portion?”
  • What will you do today to start down that path?

Please share your thoughts about this post by commenting below.

Related posts: Change: The AADWAR ProcessTuning In


Learning to Let Go

Step 3

Step 3 of A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing talks about trusting in God.  It is easy to talk about that theoretically – how important it is to do it, why we should, how silly it is to doubt Him, etc. Actually learning to do it is another matter. Letting go of the things we want so desperately to control and turning them over to God can be hard!  Here are a few tools and techniques that have helped me learn to “Let Go and Let God”. I hope you find them useful on your own journey.


Writing uses a different part of your brain than just thinking or speaking.  When I write out my thoughts and the feelings of my heart, my mind slows down and I am able to discover thoughts and feelings and ideas that might have been too fleeting to capture any other way.  If I write about my desire to let go of something and my reluctance to trust that the Lord will take care of it to my satisfaction, I can often find the willingness to let it go.


Sometimes I just stand in the middle of an empty room and imagine putting whatever I am trying to let go of in a bubble resting in my open palms.  Then I lift my arms and visualize myself giving the bubble a little push up to send it on its way toward the Lord’s outstretched hands.  I see him receive my bubble and embrace it and I know that it is safely under His control. I know it sounds hokey, but try it. It really works for me! This works particularly well when what I need to turn over to Him is another person, usually someone who is making choices that concern me.

God Box

I have a box that I call my God Box.  (Some people have a can instead, because, after all, God “CAN”.) When I find myself obsessing about a situation or a person and I know I have done everything I can do to resolve it, I write it down on a piece of paper, date it, fold it up and put it in my God Box as a physical representation of having turned the matter over to God.  The next time I find myself obsessing about it, I have two choices.  I can either take it out of the box and tell God that I decided to take it back, or I can remind myself that I turned it over to Him and let it go. One amazing side benefit of using the God Box is that when I put something new in it I get to go back and reread all the old papers. Doing this reminds me of what a great job He did with all those other things.  In fact, He did such a fabulous job with some of those things that I don’t even remember what they were!

By the way, a “virtual” God Box does not work.  There is something about physically writing it down on a piece of paper and putting it in the box that is just different and more effective than doing it in your mind.


It is not that unusual, in the Church, for people to fast and pray for something they are concerned about. However, many times we use this tool as a way of “counseling the Lord”.  In other words, we know what outcome we want for the situation and we try to control it by telling the Lord what we want Him to do. We may even add the obligatory “if it is thy will” or “nevertheless, thy will be done” to the end of our prayer as we begin our fast, but I wonder how often we really mean that.

I am going to suggest a slightly different way of using the tool of fasting. When I have a situation that I know I cannot control and that I have done everything I can or should do about it, I will fast and pray to understand and accept the Lord’s will in the matter.  In this way, I invoke His help in letting it go, and turning it over to Him.

  • In which areas of your life do you need to do a better job of “letting go and letting God?”
  • Of the tools listed here, which you not tried before, feels the most comfortable to you?
  • What will you do today to try a new way of learning to let go?

Please share your thoughts about this post by commenting below.

Related posts: Problem Solving FlowchartForgiveness – the Essence of Step 8Becoming Entirely ReadyJealousy: Only You Can Prevent Forest FiresForgiveness – the Essence of Step 8Change: The AADWAR ProcessTrust: Do Not Put Other Gods Before Him

On Being a Perfect Rosebud

Consider a rosebud. It is one of the most wondrous of God’s creations. Its color can be rich and deep or soft and delicate. Its scent is fragrant and a gentle touch reveals the softness and smoothness of its petals. It holds such promise and has the potential to bloom and burst forth in glorious beauty. We nurture it, feed and water it, protect it from extremes of wind and temperature. We wait and watch, anticipating its unfolding and the fulfillment of its mission: to bring joy and awe to all who gaze upon it.

Are we not like rosebuds? We are not finished yet. We have not fully bloomed. We have not yet attained the glory and immortality that the Lord came to earth to bring to pass. We have shortcomings.

Do we fault or criticize the rosebud for not being a fully bloomed rose? Do we discard it and abandon it and fail to care for or nurture it because it isn’t complete? Do we deliberately pollute its water or subject it to conditions that will most likely kill it? Do we withhold sunlight and water from it?

Let us nurture our own emerging selves with the light of Christ and the living water of the gospel. Let us see ourselves through the eyes of the Gardener. Let us marvel at our unfolding beauty. Let us appreciate the good qualities we have developed thus far and nurture the gifts and talents He has given us. Let us abstain from polluting ourselves with substances, thoughts, or attitudes that would harm us.

May we wait patiently for the gentle unfolding of our full potential and appreciate the journey and the process. We may not yet be perfect roses, but we are perfect rosebuds, and God loves us exactly as we are.