There are several reasons I felt prompted to take on this challenge and encourage the girls to do the same. One of them is that the summer can be a difficult time to make spiritual things happen. We are off our routine, we sleep more and usually do less. Things of the Spirit can sometimes get sidelined by the things of summer. I want this summer to be different. I want these young women to feel the power of Christ more in their lives, and there is no better way to invite His power than by reading The Book of Mormon.
And I could use a healthy dose of the Spirit of God every day in my life as well. Who doesn't? I broke it down to a daily schedule and so far, so good. Sure, we started June 1 so it might not be that impressive to still be on track. But, let's not judge.
To encourage them, myself, and anyone else out there interested in reading this phenomenal life-changing book of scripture, I am going to post daily thoughts on what my reading for that day has taught me. On that front, I recognizae that I'm a tad behind. Moving on.
The first day we read 1 Nephi 1-3. Nephi is born of goodly parents and Lehi is commanded to leave Jerusalem. Sometimes I think it is easy to underestimate the challenge these prophets faced. Moses, throw down your rod and stand up to the Pharoah. Joshua, march and shout and bring down those walls. Lehi, pack up your family and some essentials and head out to the wilderness. God ain't afraid of tossing us out of that comfort zone. Way out. But Lehi went. And because he went we all learn some very powerful lessons. One of which is that God promises some mighty things to the obedient. And He delivers. Nephi's thoughts:
"But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender cmercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of ddeliverance." (1 Nephi 1: 20)
Some might say that asking a man and his family to leave the only home they've every known isn't really all that merciful. And an argument might be made that making them go back to that home and try to wrangle some records from a greedy kind doesn't seem to gracious either. Where are the tender mercies? Well, I can't speak for Nephi. But, I've had a few tender mercies of my own in the last year or so, that in the beginning didn't feel too tender either. But, when I look back at the last year, I see that though the experiences might not have been sweet and soft, the mercy was there, and so was the love. And because of the paths God directed us to take, we are mightier, stronger, and in a wonderful place. A place that I do not think we would be in had we wrestled the reins away from God when things didn't go our way. I am so grateful for where God has led our family. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon. I love the courage, optimism and hope of Nephi. He saw a challenge and he took it. Go back for the plates? No problem. Build a ship when I've never seen the ocean? Bring it on. Stand up to my brothers when they complain, beat me, and threaten me? Check. He trusted the Lord so implicitly that miracles came. I want to trust like that. And that trust takes work and a trust that the tenderest of mercies might hurt a little bit before they make us truly mighty.