Sunday, July 22, 2012

Like no Other

Today, I experienced a sacrament meeting like no other.  It was 30 minutes long, but every second was filled with the Spirit.

I was a few minutes early, so I just went straight to the back row and watched everyone else file in.  Some people were dressed in their Sunday best, others (like myself) were not.  Lots of kids were wearing their hospital gowns, or p.j.'s.

A family of 6 (4 children) came in and sat next to me.  The 3 year old little girl was hooked up to an oxygen tank and was too weak to walk, so her daddy carried her while her older sister (about 8 or 9) wheeled the oxygen tank close behind them.  During the talk, the baby sister didn't play with rattles or books or eat Cheerios.  Instead, she played with the tubing connected to her sister.

During the passing of the sacrament, it was silent, except for the 4 or 5 feeding pumps hanging on IV poles next to the patients they were hooked in to.  The middle isle was reserved for those with wheelchairs.  It was a full house.  Not an empty seat could be found.

Doctors, nurses, cafeteria workers, and custodians were included in this special congregation.  Before the meeting started, I opened my Hymn book to a Hymn that I've sung several times before in sacrament meetings I've attended throughout my life, but never has it impacted me as it did today as I read the words:

Hymns, Be Still, My Soul, no. 124

1. Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev’ry change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2. Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

3. Be still, my soul: The hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Text: Katharina von Schlegel, b. 1697; trans. by Jane Borthwick, 1813–1897

Tears were shed by many as the sacrament was blessed and the spirit touched my heart as I had a renewed focus on what the Savior has done for me.

The musical number was a solo, "I'm Trying to be Like Jesus", sung by a grown man trying to contain his emotion as he looked into the eyes of those sick children and their parents.  I teared up just thinking about what he must be seeing from where he was standing in front.  

The speaker shared an analogy about building bunkbeds for his two girls.  He talked about how he found this great plan online with detailed instructions.  He started building, making exact measurements,  sanding the wood, and putting it all together with great excitement and anticipation.  He was so disappointed when he realized the ladder was about 6 inches too short, and as he was painting the wood, he noticed that it had many imperfections and it was warped in a couple of spots.  He compared that to our lives.  We have a plan (God's plan for us), and we have the tools (the scriptures, prayer, the Holy Ghost etc.) and we have our supplies (our bodies, our family, etc.).  We go to work on the plan (our daily lives) but come up short in some ways (sickness, or sin).  It can be so disappointing, but that doesn't mean the plan is bad and that we throw it, we have a Savior who has taken care of the imperfections and weakness for us.  He can make up for what we might lack.  The plan is still perfect.  We just have to trust enough that when we go through the trials, someone will be there support us, and catch us if we fall.  

I could not even begin to sing the closing song, because my heart was so full, my emotions were in my throat.  But I mouthed every word--

Families Can Be Together Forever, no. 300

1. I have a fam’ly here on earth.
They are so good to me.
I want to share my life with them through all eternity.
Fam’lies can be together forever
Through Heav’nly Father’s plan.
I always want to be with my own family,
And the Lord has shown me how I can.
The Lord has shown me how I can.

2. While I am in my early years,
I’ll prepare most carefully,
So I can marry in God’s temple for eternity.

Text: Ruth M. Gardner, 1927–1999. © 1980 IRI

And that is what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is all about.  

It is experiences like the 30 minute Sacrament Meeting today that have lifted me up, given me hope, and have carried me through these few hard months of life in the hospital.  I could not have survived day 1 without my family or without my Savior.


Samantha said...

As always, your words are so inspiring. You are one amazing woman! I think about you all the time and you and your sweet family are in our prayers daily. Lots of love!

The Story of Life said...

Good grief that makes me want to bawl. What a neat experience going to a sacrament meeting like that, and such a great way to really put life into perspective.

Janalyn and Jacob Owens said...

I wasn't going to comment because I feel like I already have too many times. I don't want you to think that I am blog stalking you. But thank you so much for sharing these experiences. My testimony has stregthened because of this last post. You didn't need to write much, the power of that experience really touches me. I am in awe of the power of God and His ability to reach us. : )

Little Family Fun said...

Rachelle, that is just so beautiful. I have been thinking about you guys lately and am wondering if I can get your address? My kids want to send some cards to you guys. :) If you have a chance, can you email, or fb message, or whatever is easiest?

You have the most beautiful family and are so incredible. I'm simply in awe.