Tender Mercies

"I have come to better understand that the Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly, the Lord suits “his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men” (D&C 46:15). ~David A. Bednar

It's been an interesting few months. Probably about 6-8 weeks ago, I started having the very distinct and strong impression that my time in our ward Primary was coming to close and that I should take it in and enjoy everything in the time I had left. I dismissed that impression because it wasn't something I wanted to even consider. But the feeling would not be dismissed. Eventually I said something to Mark about it. We happened to be eating Chinese food in a neighborhood place and we both sat there with tears running down our faces as we discussed it.

It was the following Sunday that the Bishop called me into his office to let me know that I was being released, and told me that the stake had asked for me and told us the story of the inspiration the Stake Primary President had received. He said his first response was 'absolutely not!' but then decided he needed to honor her request by praying about it. The answer he received was that she was right and it was time for me to move on. So they began the process of replacing us and our presidency, and I was called as a counselor in the Stake Primary.

What's really wonderful is that when the Bishop asked if I had any recommendations for a replacement, only one name came to me and I passed that name on to him. My counselors and secretary all came up with the same name. And when the new presidency was sustained, the new president was the person whose name was so clear to me. It made it very easy to sustain and support the changes.

But I wanted that feeling about my new calling too, and I've been praying for inspiration about it. The feelings I have had are very specific and very clear: that I need to pay attention, listen, work hard, and learn all I can. Also, that I need to love the ward primary leaders, and do everything I can to help them love their Primary children and their callings.

Last night, I was set apart by the high councilor who supervises the Stake Primary and it was truly a tender mercy for me to hear the things he said as he set me apart. They were the very impressions and feelings I've had already. He reinforced those things, reminded me that I am loved by our Heavenly Father, and that I need to seek out the one, whether it's a child or a Primary leader. He also told me that I had a job to do that no one else could do - that it was something only I could carry out. And he ended by telling me that Heavenly Father had great confidence in me and loved me.

What a gift! And now I am ready to go. I'm so thankful for that specific tender mercy in my life.



Time does change things. Life has been moving right along, with lots going on here. So here's the updates:

  • We have sold our house. It was on the market for 5 days, with lots of traffic and then we had an offer, negotiated and accepted it. After that, we had the inspection which went quite well, but we have buyers who are first-timers and want everything fixed. Everything. Bear in mind that there was very little of consequence wrong with the house -- but that too has now been negotiated and we are coming up on completing the list.
  • We found a new house! It's not too far away but it's wonderful. Slightly bigger than this one [although that was never the purpose of a change] and a perfect layout for people like us who want to sink roots in and stay put. It has everything on the main floor except a huge playroom [for the kiddoes] upstairs. The back yard could be a little better, but it's much better than the one we have now and Mark admits that it's workable. And the inside is exactly what I wanted.
  • I was released as Primary president last Sunday. It was a sad, sad day for me -- those who know me know how much I loved the opportunity I've had for nearly 5 years now [1 of them as chorister and nearly 4 as president] to learn to know and love our Primary children and their teachers. They are all so dear to me and I will miss them more than they will realize. And my presidency? Oh, so loved and will be so missed.
  • But -- I was sustained in Stake Conference today as a counselor in the Stake Primary presidency. My specific areas of responsibility are the music [yay!], the nursery, the Activity Days for girls -- and probably other things. We haven't met together yet as I was just sustained and the president is out of town. But I know the other ladies I will serve with and am excited about a new challenge.
  • But again - I will miss my Primary children and our Primary people know that I want to be #1 [in big letters and on speed dial] on their sub list. I'm hoping I get to spend lots of time in there doing all kinds of different things.
  • We are going to meet Baby Girl Cottam soon. Her tentative name is Lucy -- and she is due to arrive in the next 3 - 4 weeks and we are excited to meet her. Babies are so wonderful.
  • The wildflowers here are spectacular this year. So much beauty, everywhere I look. What a gift!
So between houses, Primary, and babies, life is full and rich. Bittersweet, yes. But lovely in all ways. I am so grateful!


Bringing out the Best in Others

"To find someone who will love you for no reason, and to shower that person with reasons, that is the ultimate happiness."~Robert Brault

True? Oh, yes. I truly believe that when someone loves me and I know it, it brings out in me an intense desire to prove them right. And I believe that even more strongly about children. They will rise to the level you have set for them if they know you love them.

How wonderful, then, to give someone that opportunity -- to love them so strongly and so clearly that they have no doubt about the way you feel about them, and then to prove you right. Again and again and again.

And that adorable boy above? I know he loves me. And he makes me want to be the best Grandma in the world, for he and the rest of the precious grandkiddoes that are our privilege to love.


He is Risen!

"In a way that we may not fully understand, even when we are very old, Jesus set us free. It was as though He had the only key to the prison door and that only He had the strength to swing it open. In doing so, He saved our lives so our families can be kept together and so we can someday return to our heavenly home. But He paid a terrible price to do this for us, a price for which we must give Him honor and reverence by keeping His commandments. He suffered a horrible death on a cross. In that anguish of physical and spiritual pain Jesus, too, momentarily thought He was all alone and without help, and yet He did not turn away from helping us. I would especially like you to remember our Brother Jesus Christ to whom we owe everything, for He came to heal our wounds, calm our fears, and bring us safely home when we really, really needed Him." ~Jeffrey R. Holland [in the Friend, April 1980]

At this beautiful time of year, I love this clear reminder that we do owe Him everything. I am so grateful for His willingness to come as He did, healing, calming and making it possible for us to return with our families to Him.

I rejoice with the rest of the Christian world this Easter time - - He is risen!

[picture by Simon Dewey]