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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

FHE Thanksgiving

HiddenTreasures of Gratitude

by Marie Scott

In our Family Home Evening offering this month we focus on:

"Finding things to be grateful for amidst the confusion and chaos of difficult times."

Being able to find the good, during times of difficulty, requires effort in pulling away from the pain of a moment, to search for deeper meaning hidden in the trial. It isn’t always easy to do, but if you can make the “Pollyanna effort,” it will bring you immediate peace and comfort through the spirit of the Lord, and open your eyes to less obvious blessings.

Look for the stars that shine in the darkest nights, and you will surely find them.

2 Corinthians: 8-9
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed,
but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.
2 Corintians: 6
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined
in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the
face of Jesus Christ.

Why are we not destroyed? Because our faith in God can sustain us in times of trial. His light may be found in the darkest pit by those who love and seek Him. From Joseph Smith’s dark prison came some of the most comforting scripture we have in times of trial. (Sections 121 and 122 of the Doctrine and Covenants)

Here is what the Lord said to Joseph in his adversity:

D&C 121: 7
My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.

Some lessons can be gleaned from the counsel found in the scriptures given to Brother Joseph during those hard times.

1.      Friends Can Lighten Our Burdens

First, it is pointed out to Joseph that he still has friends who stand by him. (D&C 121: 9)

Oftentimes in our shared trials, we draw closer to those with whom we share the trial, which can be a sacred and very tender mercy. Even in individual trials, we may be able to seek, find, and be comforted by our friends and family. Friends and family can be a great blessing.

2.      Recording Our Troubles Can Be Helpful

Second, Joseph Smith, during that time of bitter adversity, set the persecuted Saints busy collecting and recording the accounts of their sufferings to be published to all the world. (D&C 123) He gave the suffering something positive on which to concentrate regarding their sufferings.

From this we can either take stock of the importance of doing something to help ourselves during times of trial, or of the importance of keeping a journal of our lives that includes our sufferings.

In both the case of sharing our burdens with our friends, and in recording our trials, we are actually unloading some of our pain, and we are receiving feedback or insights as we strive to make sense of our difficulties. Recording life’s events is both therapeutic and enlightening.

Family Activity:  Treasure Hunt for Hidden Blessings

For Thanksgiving this year, rather than rattling off your obvious blessings, maybe your family members could choose a period of difficulty, or a time of trial, and write down the blessings or hidden treasures they have found buried in the experience.

This will not only help you count your blessings, but it will help you think about where less obvious blessings are found, and perhaps help start family members on a new habit of looking for the tender mercies in their trials.

(Use the turkey blessing list for this activity, given earlier this month.) 

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