"Oh remember, remember . . . I urge you to find ways to recognize and remember God's kindness."

President Henry B. Eyring

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Darla Isackson

Almost a year ago I read an article in Meridian Magazine by Darla Isackson, in which she mentioned that she had lost her son to suicide. I have often read articles by Darla and I am always moved buy her depth of love for the Lord, her desire to improve her life, and her deep desire to share her knowledge with the rest of us. This article moved me to email her and thank her.

She graciously wrote back, and we began an extensive correspondence that blossomed into a great friendship. Darla expressed her promptings to write a book about her experiences since the death of her son, and she began sending chapters for my input and impressions. Her words of wisdom and comfort have touched and helped me more than I can say during my own ongoing process of grief since my son's death eleven years ago.

Darla has also been so kind about my blog. She continues to tell me it's beautiful and that I am a good writer. (She even ordered my out of print book, "Joy Outweighs The Sorrow" from Amazon and told me how much she enjoyed it.) I haven't even been able to think of myself as a writer for the last decade. It stunned me in fact when Darla said, "you are a writer, and writer's need to write." I didn't write anything, except emails to my children, for eight years after Robert's death.

I must say that in the beginning of our correspondence I was at first intimidated, then amazed, and then gratified by her encouragement, since "Darla has been on the Continuing Education speaker's circuit for BYU. . . In 1988 she pioneered the book division for Covenant Communications and was their Managing Editor for four years. She later served as Managing Editor for Aspen Books. Darla has edited well over two hundred uplifting books in her interesting career--shepherding them successfully from manuscript to bookstore shelves. She has presented at writer’s workshops in three states. Since 1998 she has free-lanced at home, editing and ghost-writing many books and caring for her elderly mother until she passed away. She has written a bi-monthly column for Meridian Magazine online since 2002." (Quoted from her website)

Two weeks ago Darla invited myself and three other women, who also helped with feedback on her book, to her home for lunch where she presented us each with a copy of her book. She included comments from each of us on the back cover of her book, and quoted us in various places in the book. (What an honor!) I found her to be just as warm and loving as she is while expressing her testimony in all of her writings. She has become a "bosom friend" to quote Anne of Green Gables!

Please check out Darla's website, where you may order this wonderful book if you know of someone that could use the wisdom and comfort she gives to those who are faced with this terrible tragedy in their life.

Monday, August 2, 2010

He Does Pour Out His Spirit if We Have Eyes to See!

Last week something came up that had me thinking about Debbie Garcia. I served with her in the Primary Presidency way back when I only had two tiny babies and we were living in San Diego, California in the 70's. It was my first church service in a presidency. She was amazing. When the Bishop called me he said that she was a very spiritual person, and that he trusted her completely. He said he would give her ANYONE she ever asked him for, to serve in the primary, because he knew she would know the Lords will in the matter first. He said that if she asked for the Stake Relief Society President to be Sunbeam Teacher he would request it from the Stake.

While we only lived in that ward for about a year, as a presidency, we had the opportunity to call several new teachers. The Bishop told me I would have an extraordinary experience working with her and he was right! We would go over the list of ward members and come up with a few names, then she sent us home to pray about them. If we didn't ALL have the same name, she would send us home again to pray. Not until we ALL felt right about it would we ask for that person, and the Bishop would always approve it because of his confidence in Sister Garcia. When Debbie prayed I would often peek, just to see if I could see the Lord standing in the room. The next time I served in a Presidency was such a letdown, I thought this was just standard operating procedure for every organization in the church. Don't get me wrong, I loved the women I served with, but I could never help them understand what it had been like with Sister Garcia. It's sad that through the years, I have never had quite the same united, sacred experience while working with others in a calling.

The children adored her. It was back in the days (you know when we walked ten miles to school in terrible blizzards :) and when we had primary during the week. I have never experienced reverence like she generated, before or since. You could hear a pin drop in our opening exercises. She taught the children that Jesus would be with them if He could feel their love by their reverence. He was! That chapel had a holy feeling that I've only experienced since in the temple! The children loved her so much they wanted to be near her or just touch her. In the foyer she would greet them and I can still see her cup their little faces in her hands, and see the love shining in her eyes and in theirs, because she truly had "His image" in her countenance! When I remember this I always think it had to be very much like it was when the Lord greeted each child of the Nephites!

Later when I read of how the twelve apostles conduct their business, I was amazed because I truly had experienced the same thing in an ordinary ward primary! It reminds me of this scripture:

Numbers 11:29 "And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!"

And, we are living in a day when we are witnessing this prophecy:

Joel 2:28, 29 "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit!"

In other words even the lowly, those who do not hold high position, can receive the spirit in greater abundance than we ask for and expect to receive! As I remembered my experiences with Debbie Garcia, I thought about my own current calling. I'm one of three gospel doctrine teachers for the adults in our ward, and I do pray about my calling, but this week, because of Sister Garcia's example I prayed more earnestly. I had intended to have a class member review the story of Elijah passing his mantle on to Elisha to be the next prophet. I tried to think of people who haven't had as much opportunity to participate, but didn't feel right about any of them when suddenly our new Bishop's name popped into my head. Of course, he has just received the new mantle of Bishop. I felt the spirit of confirmation wash over me so completely. (I must admit to feeling surprised that it could come so strongly over something so simple.) So I immediately called him on the phone and got his answering machine. I left the message but didn't hear back from him. I tried his number several more times with the same result. Then I became worried that he was still out of town, so I asked my sweet husband to review the material and be prepared to give it. I worried about the experience I'd just had, I questioned my ability to receive inspiration, but hoped for the best.

Then on Sunday the Bishop was there and willingly accepted my invitation and shared the story, his testimony and feelings, and then his testimony and witness of watching President Hinckley (who is his uncle) personally as a man, and then with the mantle of prophet! It was so powerful! It was wonderful! It was a witness to little ole' obscure me, that God does hear and care about even the smallest details of our lives and of our callings. I knew this before, but what a wonderful reminder! And, what a wonderful reminder that we all really do need to reach higher, and ask for and expect greater direction and power in every aspect of our lives and callings!

2 Kings 6:16-17 "And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And and the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw; and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."

Lord let me have eyes to see, ears to hear, and use my mouth and heart more earnestly to ASK!