Friday, May 23, 2014

Living Water

I currently live in southeast Texas with my parents while I'm preparing for the next stage of my life. Southeast Texas is infamously flat. There's a saying 'round here that if you stand on one tuna can you can see halfway around the world. If you stand on two tuna cans you can see the back of your head.

Living in hurricane country and living on such flat land leads to issues of flooding. To prevent neighborhoods from being swallowed up by water, bayous are constructed throughout communities to allow water to drain to the ocean. The bayous become a beautiful and safe habitat for the many animals that call them home including birds, turtles, and even alligators.

A couple weeks ago my mother came home from walking our dogs and she asked me to come help her. A turtle had lost its way and wondered away from the bayou. It was on the sidewalk and not sure where to go.

I put trash bags over my hands to use as gloves and followed my mother out the door.

By the time we reached the turtle, he had pressed onward and was even further in the wrong direction away from the bayou. As I approached him, he fled into his shell and started urinating everywhere because he was so scared.

I picked him up in my hands and carried him down the street, down the embankment of the bayou, and then set him in the water.

The next day my mother saw the turtle swimming around happily in the water - back to where he was supposed to be.

Just as that turtle needed to live in water in order to survive, we must partake of Christ's living water in order to survive.

Often we like the turtle wonder away from what we know and become lost. We continue to push forward thinking we are going in the right direction towards where we think we need to be, while in actuality we are removing ourselves even further from our source of living water.

As imperfect and mortal beings we think we know what we need to do and we will do it. We have our lives planned out exactly how we want and that's how it's going to be.

What we don't realize is the Master sees from beginning to end. He knows that we are lost even if we don't. He knows about the end of the sidewalk and dangers of crossing the street and getting run over by a car. He knows where the living water is and knows that we need it in order to live. He knows that we need to be picked up. He knows that it is scary and it will be hard, but it is necessary.

“Do you wish to partake of this living water [spoken of in John 4:14] and experience that divine well springing up within you to everlasting life?

“Then be not afraid. Believe with all your hearts. Develop an unshakable faith in the Son of God. Let your hearts reach out in earnest prayer. Fill your minds with knowledge of Him. Forsake your weaknesses. Walk in holiness and harmony with the commandments.

“Drink deeply of the living waters of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917–2008) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Abundant Life,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2006, 100.

Motivational speaker Meg Johnson shares her experience with being led by Heavenly Father to where she needed to be:

"Before I was paralyzed and before lots of stuff happened... I've been married for three years, it will be three years in February. Before I got married and before I was paralyzed and before I graduated college, I was an intern at Walt Disney World in Florida. I was a Space Ranger. I saluted children and I let them on rides... it was a very glorified Lagoon job. And I got college credit. It is the most ingenuis business practice ever. That's how Disney World keeps all their happy employees happy, cause nobody makes it out of Disney World making any money. You just have all these college credits and things under your belt and Disney World is like 'hehe sucker.' But it is so exciting!

"Most people down there are on an internship, they're on the college program is what they call it. And that's what I was doing. And it was exciting! And while I was there I had a really wonderful romantic and magical romance with a roller-blading custodian. And he was so cute and awesome and he wanted to date me! He wanted to marry me and I wanted to marry him oh my gosh! But Heavenly Father was saying no. I mean this kid had proposed in front of the temple! He was good! And cute! But Heavenly Father was saying "No Meg, don't marry him, this is not for you." But I couldn't see any reason for that at all! I mean at all! 

"So I just kept the ring and we stayed engaged and I was like 'Oh my gosh! Why is Heavenly Father saying no? Doesn't he know? Heavenly Father do you see I wanna marry him! Him! Are you seeing him? Do you see how cute he is? How awesome? He's a roller-blading custodian!'

"But Heavenly Father was saying no and so my internship was ending and so was his. I was gonna go back home to Utah and he was gonna go back home to Massachusetts, but I didn't want to break up with him and so I changed my prayer from 'Should I marry him?' to 'Should I move to Massachusetts when my internship is over?' See I'm tricky, I'm going to trick Heavenly Father. I was hoping that I could move there and get and apartment and get a job, go to school, he and I could still continue to date and then get married later. That was my plan, we would get married later.

"So I started to pray 'Heavenly Father, (you know how we talk sweetly when we want something?) when my internship ends in a couple of weeks should I move to Massachusetts? Yes yes yes! Wink wink. Or should I move back home to Utah?'

"And one day I was praying for the same thing at an outside picnic table and I had the scriptures laid open on the picnic table in front of me. I folded my arms and bowed my head and put on my Bambi eyes and my sweet voice 'Heavenly Father, when my internship ends should I move to Massachusetts? Or should I move back home to Utah?'

"And I'm not even kidding, while I was praying a big wind came and it fluttered my scripture pages. And I opened my eyes and I was like 'Ahhh!!! That was so a celestial breeze!' and I just knew that my answer was gonna be right there on those pages because my scriptures had opened in between two bookmarks. You know how its easy to open up to a bookmark? But less easy to open up inbetween  two bookmarks? Yeah! Oh yeah!

"And I looked down into my scriptures and it had opened to Isaiah. And I looked down and this is what I read: 'And every man turned to his own people and flee everyone into his own land.' 

"But that wasn't the answer I wanted! So like a foolish child I started to talk myself out of it. I was like 'Well it's not really a celestial breeze. More like a telestial breeze! And this is in Isaiah! Who even knows what Isaiah is talking about? Nobody! That's who!'

"And so I flipped my Book of Mormon open and I flipped my Bible closed. I flipped my BOOK OF MORMON, BOOK OF MORMON where REAL answers come from. And I go to my bookmark where I'm reading and this is what I read: 'And every man turned to his own people and flee everyone into his own land.'

"And so I went back home to Utah and I didn't marry that guy. And I am so glad. I am so glad that Heavenly Father knew that I didn't want to marry him even though I didn't know that at the time.

"When I was engaged to my husband almost three years ago, it was just a few days before we were married and ever since I've been paralyzed, I started marking up my scripture pages with a big fat giant lime green Crayola marker. And that's how I was marking up my scripture pages. And I was reading my scriptures on my bed and I flipped open my scriptures and I saw these big giant lime green markings on the scripture page and I immediately had a flashback to a dream I had while I was engaged in Florida.

"In this dream I had opened up my scriptures and I had seen these big lime green markings on my pages. And I had looked up above my scriptures and I saw two guys standing in the air. And one was the boy in Florida that I was engaged to and was going to marry and I was engaged to him at this time. But then I saw somebody right next to him and I didn't recognize him but I really wanted to marry him. But I was marrying him (the guy from Florida). And when I had the flashback to that dream just a few days before I was married, I opened up my scriptures and I saw those green markings and I looked up and saw those same two guys standing in the air. And one was my ex-fiance from Florida and the other was my husband.

"Heavenly Father knows what we want. And he knows what will make us the most happy. And so when he tells us no, it's not because he's trying to be mean or because he's always trying to test our faith. He's trying to help us get the most we can out of this life. So that we can accomplish our purposes in this life. And we need to be obedient when he says no. 

"Breaking off the first engagement that I had was probably the hardest thing that I've ever done in my life. Harder than being paralyzed, harder than relearning how to breathe, harder than relearning how to drive, harder than social situations in a wheelchair. It was the hardest thing because I could see no reason for it. I could see no reason why I should break up with him. All I knew is that Heavenly Father wanted me to and that was it. And it was an awkward hard long break up that I am so glad that I went through, and I would do it again to marry my husband. I love him so much."

Living water is a symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ and his teachings. As water is essential to sustain physical life, the Savior and his teachings (living water) are essential for eternal life.

Heavenly Father's ways are not our own. I can't even begin to tell you how hard life can be. I don't know why things we plan don't work out, or why everything seems to go wrong that can go wrong. 

But I do know there is purpose in all things. I know that Heavenly Father wants us all to be happy. We must go through hard things to get to the happiness.

"With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." (Isaiah 12:3)


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