Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Mother, DeAnn

DeAnn Kempton Lee. This classy (yet sassy) lady just so happens to be my mother. I am proud of it! She is caring, loving, tender, funny, pretty, nurturing, helpful, and maybe even a little crazy! But that's why I love her so much. She is MY mother and she is there for ME. Time and time again through the best and worst of times my mother has been there for me. While influencing me to do what is right she trusts me with making my own decisions and allowing me to suffer the consequences, whatever they may be. She builds me up but is not afraid to correct me when I am making a mistake. She buoys me up when I am feeling low and cheers me on when I am finding success. My mother is the greatest.

What I love most about my mother is her wonderful example. She is a true mentor. Not only does she 'say' what to do but she 'shows' what to do. I had the wonderful privilege to be taught every week day by my mother in seminary (an early morning religious class) for three of my four years in high school. It was there that my mother led a classroom of teenagers by expounding the scriptures and bearing fierce testimony. However, this is not something that my mother was able to do on a whim! She would feed and prepare herself spiritually as she studied and prayed.

However, these words of mine would not be complete without making mention of someone else. My mother would not be the woman that she is today without the support and love of my father, Dave. He is the supreme example in my eyes of how to be a husband. It is obvious that my father loves my mother by the way he treats her; the way he holds her hand; the way he talks about her; when he buys her flowers; and even the way he looks at her. He is completely supportive, compassionate, and patient. Because of my father I know what kind of man and husband I need to be. My father epitomizes Elaine S. Dalton's teachings to "love [your children's] mother". What a good egg!

My childhood is full of loving memories of both my mother and my father. They are quite the pair (best parents ever). Our loving Heavenly Father provided us with families to help us in this crazy world. Families are the most important social unit in society and they are to be led, together, by both the father and the mother. I have sweet recollections of hearing my father read his scriptures out loud and looking into my parents room to see them kneeling together in prayer. Together they are whole. "Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).

I owe all that I am to my wonderful mother (and father). My love for them is eternally deep. I am forever indebted. This Mother's Day show your appreciation to your mothers. Give her a call. Write her a note. Give her a hug. Love her. She'll appreciate it!

Friday, May 11, 2012

An Eye of Faith

The phrase, eye of faith, comes up multiple times in the Book of Mormon (Alma 5:15, Alma 32:40, and Ether 12:19). It has become one of my favorite phrases because of its deep meaning. I had previously been very confused about the meaning of the phrase. To me, it seemed contradictory because I have always been taught that to have faith is to believe and trust without having to see. In my ignorance I believed that having an 'eye of faith' implies that we need to see in order to have faith.

I continued in my confusion until I met a man in one of my past areas that I was serving in as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This man explained this confusing phrase to me as he told me an experience of his past. He had previously been employed as an instructor at Ricks College in Rexburg, ID where many General Authorities visit and speak.

Ricks College (way back when)

Game winner!
A member of one of the Quorums of the Seventy was speaking at a devotional where he was recounting some events from his younger years. As a grade schooler he would play basketball every day because of his love for the game. He would practice again and again so that he would become a better player. He envisioned in his young mind that he was playing in the Final Four (one of the final phases of the NCAA basketball tournament). In this scenario his team was down by one point and he was trusted with the final shot with four seconds left in the game. He practiced shooting that final shot many times until he became comfortable and the shot became easier. He would make it with consistency. Many years later he found himself in that very scenario. This time, however, it was a reality - he was literally in the Final Four, his team was down by one point with four seconds left, and he was trusted with the last shot. He was comfortable in the situation because of his diligent practice. Taking that shot was now second nature. When he was trusted to take it and he had great confidence. He took it and made it.

All of this was possible because his visionary preparation in his younger years. Then, when given the opportunity, he made his dream come true. He had an eye of faith. He looked forward with a goal in mind and worked hard in preparation.

In the Book of Mormon we are taught that faith is like a seed. If we plant and nourish it then it will grow into a great tree. If we seek in faith and put in the necessary work, God will provide us with that which we need. Conversely, if we "will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life" (Alma 32:40). If we expect an answer to prayer about whether the Book of Mormon is true or not; which school we should attend; who we should marry, etc. but are not willing to put in the effort to receive then we will not be answered.

It is my prayer that we will all look to the future with an eye of faith. When we successfully apply this principle we will be blessed with answered questions, accomplished goals, and captured dreams.