Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Look Forward to Promised Blessings!

I gave this as a talk in church this last Sunday and wanted to share.

Consider promised blessings that you have been given. These may be from your Patriarchal blessing, promises in the scriptures, promises given in the Temple, or perhaps a promise given in a Priesthood blessing. Reflect on your promises as you read these thoughts today.

I have a love for the scriptures. These are the words that help me to believe Christ. As I read these words the spirit testifies to my heart of their truth and as I live them I've come to know their truth by experience. With that in mind I want to share some words that have had a deep impact on my heart and mind.

In Alma 34: 8-9 and 14-15 we read words spoken by Amulek as he is testifying of truths that Alma and prophets before have testified. Look for the promise that Amulek testifies of.

And now, behold, I will testify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

And the purpose of the sacrifice:

For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.

Then we are taught the purpose of the law of Moses:

And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, (speaking of the law of Moses) every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal. 

We recognize here that the promise they are given that Christ will save them has not occurred yet. Amulek then teaches us how we receive the promise:

And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.

Christ sacrifice makes repentance a possibility, otherwise we would be totally lost and perish.

Jacob also teaches us of the hope of Christ's glory and I love how he introduces his words in Jacob 4. He shares that he wanted these words preserved so he takes the extra effort to have them put into plates and states: "receive them with thankful hearts, and look upon them that they may learn with joy and not with sorrow"

Testifying of Christ Jacob says:
For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets which were before us.

They lived in hope of Christs glory many years before the promise of his coming to save them even occurred. Jacob continues with what they did to keep hope and trust in the promise of Christ:

Behold, they believed in Christ and worshiped the Father in his name, and also we worship the Father in his name. And for this intent we keep the law of Moses, it pointing our souls to him; and for this cause it is sanctified unto us for righteousness, even as it was accounted unto Abraham in the wilderness to be obedient unto the commands of God in offering up his son Isaac, which is a similitude of God and his Only Begotten Son.

1: Believed Christ and worshiped God. 2. Kept the law that had been given them by God that pointed their souls to Him. We will come back to Abraham later. 

Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.

3. Searched the scriptures. 4. Received revelation. Through these witnesses they obtained a hope and power through their faith. 

Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works.
Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son, and ye may obtain a resurrection, according to the power of the resurrection which is in Christ, and be presented as the first-fruits of Christ unto God, having faith, and obtained a good hope of glory in him before he manifesteth himself in the flesh.

 5. Take counsel from the Lord. 6. Be reconciled to God through Christ. And through these things the promise is obtained even before Christ has come to the earth to perform the Atonement. 

One more scripture from the Book of Mormon where Jarom is teaching us what helped the Nephites to wax strong. He teaches that they observed to keep the law of Moses, kept the sabbath day holy, and the commandments. Jarom 1:11

Wherefore, the prophets, and the priests, and the teachers, did labor diligently, exhorting with all long-suffering the people to diligence; teaching the law of Moses, and the intent for which it was given; persuading them to look forward unto the Messiah, and believe in him to come as though he already was. And after this manner did they teach them. 

Jarom reiterates that they were to look forward to the promised blessing of the Messiah as though he already was. 

Now back to Abraham. About 10 years ago as I was saying one of my many prayers regarding a promised blessing I desired, I received a revelation that I was to learn from Abraham. This was not the answer I wanted to receive. But eventually the peace came and I began to ponder and study Abraham more. Turning to Hebrews 11 Paul is writing to the Hebrews about faith and he shares about Abraham's faith. 

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

From these verses speaking of Abraham I have learned and sought to apply in my life to answer the call that the Lord gives to us and do it in obedience. That the most important mission on this earth I can have is to be a disciple of Christ and to act on the revelations I receive and all promised blessings will flow unto me by focusing on that. To recognize that God's promises are of an eternal nature not a mortal nature. And to trust God and act according to the directions that God gives even if it seems to contradict the way we expect to receive the blessing.

Paul in writing to the Romans chapter 4 also spoke of Abraham's faith: 

For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

The scripture referred to here is from Genesis 15 and a Joseph Smith Translation provides a little more information where we learn that God was teaching Abraham about the eternal nature of the promises that He gives. And Abraham believes him. 

Who against hope believed in hopethat he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb:
He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

I am amazed at the power of his faith and trust in the promise that he had been given. I don't know about you but I have had moments where I have staggered in my faith. In a recent Come Follow Me Lesson I was reflecting on the question: What helps me to not stagger in my belief or turn from doubt towards belief? These are the thoughts I wrote down. When I:

  • Treasure up the words of Christ
  • Seek to see God in the details of my life
  • Find things to be grateful for even during trials
  • Create a mindset like the little train that could - I think I can
  • Spend time in the Temple
  • Commune with God
  • Follow the pattern for growing in Faith described in Alma 32
  • Start with what I know and practice to exercise my faith in small and simple ways. 

Abraham spent time with with the Lord and he was obedient to the things he received by revelation. 

President Monson taught: “My brothers and sisters, the great test of this life is obedience. ‘We will prove them herewith,’ said the Lord, ‘to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.' Declared the Savior, ‘For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world.' No greater example of obedience exists than that of our Savior. Of Him, Paul observed: 'Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.'”

We are taught that we need to abide the law to receive the blessings. We learned from the scriptures in the Book of Mormon that the intent of the law of Moses was to point them to Christ - to look forward to the Messiah. 

What are the laws or sacrifices that we live that point us towards Christ to remember his Sacrifice that he has now given and help us to look forward to our promised blessings that have yet to be fulfilled?

The law of Moses was fulfilled through Christ. After the law of Moses was fulfilled the Savior taught "ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit." 

In the Temple we learn of laws that point us towards Christ and our promised blessings. 
Law of Obedience
Law of Sacrifice
Law of the Gospel
Law of Chastity
Law of Consecration
I encourage you to study more on these laws by pondering on the teachings from this website: https://www.lds.org/temples/prophetic-teachings-on-temples

It is in living these things and repenting daily which is possible because of the grace of Jesus Christ that we receive the promised blessing you have been reflecting on. All of these things are to point us to Christ in remembrance of Him and help us live as though they already are, having hope. They are to help us believe Christ as Abraham did. 

Ever feel like you are limited by your weakness? Jacob provides some great encouragement regarding weaknesses. In Jacob 4: 7 it says:

Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things.

We have power to live and do these things through Christ. We just need to believe him. 
Elder Uchtdorf said in his most recent conference talk: "Walking the path of discipleship takes practice—each day, little by little, 'grace for grace,' 'line upon line.' Sometimes two steps forward and one step back. The important thing is that you don’t give up; keep trying to get it right. You will eventually become better, happier, and more authentic."

Sorrow and grief will be a part of our journey even as we are exercising faith in Christ. Throughout the scriptures we can see examples of those who experienced sorrow but had a hope in Christ. Mormon was one of those prophets who grew up being surrounded by wars and wickedness and yet he maintained hope. Christ suffered for our salvation and as was highlighted by Paul in President Monson's quote learned from it. 

This caused me to reflect on what I have learned from my experience with sorrow.

  • I have had deeper reflections on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and seek to apply it
  • Considered and pondered the relationship of opposition and joy
  • Allowed me to experience the peace of the spirit in moments when my world felt like it was falling apart
  • Has built my trust and faith in God and that he loves me
  • Helped me to recognize I am not alone as I see His tender mercies
  • See the difference that occurs when I turn towards Christ for peace and comfort verses seeking after worldly things for it
  • Deeper understanding of what it means to consecrate my wants for the Lord's purposes
  • The importance of service
  • It has been a proving ground to grow in Christlike attributes
  • Changed my heart and shown me my heart
  • Teaches me that deliverance comes through Christ and His word
  • Given me a broader vision of the eternal

Spending time in the Temple or having Temple experiences is where I have felt the spirit expanding my my vision of the eternal and setting it in my heart. I have felt my hope in the Lord's promises increase and have recognized that even if I currently do not have the promise in its fulfillment, those promises are mine, they are ours. 

Years ago sitting in the sealing room of a Temple I was feeling sorrow for what I wanted but did not have. I looked at the card for my family member that I was there to perform the sealing ordinance for and as I looked at her birth date I felt my perspective change. I recognized that she had been waiting far longer than I had for the promised blessing of being sealed. My waiting was mini compared to hers. I found myself filled with joy to be able to provide her the fulfillment of the promised blessing because I understood in a small way what it was like to wait for something I wanted. I also like to think as I perform the ordinance work for my deceased ancestors that I am adding an army of faith to mine that promises are fulfilled. 

We can live just as the people of Nephi were taught before Christ came. They were taught "to look forward unto the Messiah (your promises), and believe in Him to come as though he already was" because He was promised to them. 

We have been told that in the last days men's hearts will fail them. My prayer is that we may be given the power for our hearts to endure and trust in the great promises of the Lord, that the Lord may set the eternal in our hearts. It is my testimony that it is worth it and that the power to have a strong heart comes through our Savior, Jesus Christ, and our love for Him which we show by keeping his commandments. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Choosing Courage in spite of Fear

Over the past several years I have experienced living with sorrow in my heart but also happiness and joy. I have striven to choose to have hope for the future and faith in the Lords promises. 

Sorrow is a part of our life on Earth and we each experience it for different reasons. Sometimes when I feel pain, anxiety, disappointment it leads to the desire within me to retreat to keep me safe and not get hurt. For instance, I see a guy I am interested in, I turn away because of the potential for pain and sorrow. I let my trust for a moment wane in Christ who heals us from our pain and act on fear instead of with courage. I take safer risks so the pain will only be felt in private instead of in public. I am trying to be mindful of being more open, kind, and loving no matter the reception and turning to the Lord when the outcome brings about pain. This is in dating but also in other situations in my life where I recognize I want to retreat because of anxiety or fear. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I still retreat, but continuing to practice. 

I have learned through experience it is important to turn to Christ in our pain, anxiety and disappointment to allow healing. Learning of him helps me to turn towards him. As part of that process I have found service and loving others to be healing. Being able to nurture others through the guidance of the spirit helps me to be filled with the love of God and provides healing to my heart. Through that healing my desire to retreat because of fear dissipates and I am moved with a desire towards more faithful brave action. 

“Fear not, little flock. … Look [to Christ] in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:34, 36).
“Ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath … prepared for you. … Be of good cheer. … The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours” (D&C 78:17–18).

Despite not yet receiving the desires I have hoped for and prayed for a good many years I do not regret where I am today. I have been a happy participant in the Lords purposes of my life. I have been a part of miracles in my life and in the lives of others. I love the story of Joseph who was sold into Egypt by his brothers. He went through some hard times but always was a faithful servant of God. When his brothers feared his wrath for the way they had treated him, he simply forgave them and expressed his Faith in a God who he served and delighted in God’s purposes. He recognized that God used his life for good and ultimately Joesph was always blessed throughout his service. I feel that same way about my life, that I have been able to be about my God’s purposes and I have been blessed through it. I can follow the example of Joseph and forgive myself of my own weaknesses and not show myself wrath for being imperfect, because even in my imperfections I have been engaged in the purposes of God. I can trust that God is making me into something eternally beautiful. 

I listened to this devotional by Elder Holland today and felt inspired in my faith, courage, and hope for the future. 

“We must go forward. God expects you to have enough faith, determination, and trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. He expects you not simply to face the future; He expects you to embrace and shape the future—to love it, rejoice in it, and delight in your opportunities.
God is eagerly waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can’t if you don’t pray, and He can’t if you don’t dream. In short, He can’t if you don’t believe.” - Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Faith through Hard Times

I found myself reflecting this week on lessons learned about enduring faith through my personal struggles. I write this for myself as a reminder. Instead of just keeping it as a journal entry I decided to also share with the thought that perhaps someone else may find benefit.

It is through acting in faith and experiencing sorrow that I feel these lessons have been impressed upon my heart.

My Hope is in Christ!

Many years ago I felt inspired by the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.1 These men, when threatened to be thrown into a fiery furnace and having their faith questioned, firmly responded that they trusted the Lord could deliver them from the flames, but if not, they would still hold true to their faith in God. I have needed to learn to apply that kind of faith in my prayers as I pray for specific miracles in my life.

"They knew that they could trust God—even if things didn’t turn out the way they hoped." 2

I believe in miracles and that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. I have had countless prayers answered immediately with the miracle or need I was seeking. I have also experienced fervently praying and shedding many tears for years for a desired miracle. As I have acted in faith and followed the guidance I have received I have been learning to not put hope in the outcome of the prayer but instead in the recognition that my hope is in Christ and no matter the outcome I can trust in God. I can trust that my righteous desires will be brought about with the Lord's help and my continued action in faith according to his timing.

"Faith is, quite simply, a confidence in the Lord." 3

How can I put my hope in Christ? I start with what I know.

Heavenly Father Loves Me

Scriptures, Prophets, Apostles, loving parents, and experience have taught me this is a truth I can hold on to. As I hold to this truth I know that the Lord would do all in His power to bless me and help me to return to live with him someday. He will help me to become something that lasts forever.4 

Christ Suffered for my Sins, Pains, and Sorrows

It is okay to grieve and have sorrow. A few years ago I was suffering with a deep heartache. I felt burdened and heavy by the sorrow. I even felt guilty for feeling sorrow. In comparison to some my grief could seem rather insignificant. Nothing was bringing me peace but I was praying for it. On that day I watched the below video and the first words from Christ were "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death."5 The guilt I was feeling washed away as I recognized that my Savior, who understands the joy of eternity, felt a sorrow so deep that he described it as "even unto death." He understood my sorrow and I was not alone.

 Enduring Faith Enlarges our View of Miracles

Miracles come in many different ways. I have found it can be easy to overlook the miracle if we have our mind set on what we think the outcome should be. As I remember that God loves me and desires for my joy and growth, I can turn to him to help me let go of the outcome and help me to open my eyes to what He would have me see, learn, and do. I would not describe this as an easy or one time endeavor. I would consider it more as a wrestle that uses emotional and spiritual efforts. Prophet Russell M Nelson described the effort of drawing the power of Christ into our lives "with the same intensity that a drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air"6 

Spiritual efforts can include a multitude of things:
Learning of God and Christ through scripture study, living prophets, and apostles
Standing in holy places and creating an environment in our home that is inspiring. 
Fervent prayers, opportunities to fellowship with others, service. 

The list could go on. Practicing gratitude has helped to open my eyes to the tender mercies our Lord gives to me. I can then see a grander view of the miracles that the Lord has given me. 

Michelle and any reader, 

Remember the Lord loves you! Remember Heavenly Father's plan makes up for all the injustices, heartbreaks, unfair things that you experience in life because His plan included Jesus Christ. Let Christ be your strength when you are weak and feeling broken. Remember it is Christ who makes us whole. Heavenly Father knows your tears and struggles. He will provide a way through it. You are not alone! Remember to fellowship and serve others. When negative or doubtful thoughts enter in remember to challenge those thoughts with positive and faithful statements. Trust in God! Put forth spiritual efforts to help you remember the things of eternity. Allow God to show you the miracles happening in your life and you will see him in the very details. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Coming Unto Christ

WEAKNESS - This is not something I always admit to easily.
I like to be STRONG!
I often probably portray myself strong and confident.
While I am strong and confident in many things, and I must say in great thanks to the Lord that I can be strong and confident in aspects of my life and faith, I have many weaknesses of which I am aware. At times I feel like these weaknesses cut me to the core with the thought:
"What if these weaknesses are the very things that are holding me back from progressing in the ways I desire to progress."
My weaknesses may incorporate the weaknesses and failings that I perceive, along with the perceptions and judgements of others towards weaknesses or failings that I may or may not be blind to.
In those core cutting moments I often find myself in conversation with my Heavenly Father sharing my weakness and my heartache associated with them. I find myself pleading with him for the Grace of his Son to bless my life despite my failings and to help me progress or show me in what ways to progress.
John 8:2–12, Jesus helps the woman accused of adultery
It is in the moments of my prayers that I find myself drawing strength from the Grace of Christ and confidence in my path forward. Those weaknesses are more often than not still a part of me, but I feel a power strengthening me to move forward and to trust that as I come unto Christ I am progressing in a manner that is pleasing to my Heavenly Father and therefore can be pleasing to me.
John 8:2–12, Jesus talks with the woman taken in adultery
It takes time and practice to change our weaknesses.
Sometimes those things that we perceive as weaknesses may in fact be our greatest blessings that help us to recognize our great need for Christ in our lives and his Grace.
I am grateful for the Savior's invitation to 'Come unto Him' for it is through him that I have found my strength and confidence despite my many weaknesses.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hallelujah! "Praise ye the Lord"

This Easter season I say HALLELUJAH for the promises of eternity

Most imprinted on my heart this week is that love is not just a mortal experience, it is an eternal experience. I have been blessed with peace in this truth and a gratitude that we do not miss out on eternal experiences if our mortal life does not bless us with those things. The promise of love and increase in a family will be mine and I say HALLELUJAH!

I say HALLELUJAH for families as part of the plan of salvation and the opportunity I have to serve mine. The joy and happiness that comes from family life as well as the refinement in my weaknesses are a true blessing. 

I say HALLELUJAH for Temples on this earth where I can commune and covenant with God in a sacred and holy place. Where I can learn of him and provide service to others that have passed on. 

I say HALLELUJAH for one day being united and reunited with family members who have passed on, my grandma and grandpa Clements and Madson.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Child of God

My brother Benjamin was in pre-k when his teacher came up to him on the first day of school and asked him, "Who are you?" and his response was, "A Child of God." 

Hearing this story after it had happened I remember always being impressed that he at such a young age knew who he was.

Benjamin was born last into our family. From the start I felt a bond with him as his oldest sister. I loved to care for him and play with him. When he was born I nicknamed him baby - because he would be the baby of the family. All my siblings growing up had called me Shell when they were young because that is what they could say. When Benjamin heard me call him baby he added a Y to the end of Shell and from then on I became Shelly. 

Being 14 years older than him it was only a few short years later that I was off to college in a different city, hours away. I left when I was 17, having graduated a year early, so he had only just turned 3. It was important to me that we still had a relationship, despite being away from home. 

I am so glad that I had opportunities to be part of his life and to know him because he is brave, bold, and full of so much character. He has been there for me in times of heartache. Words cannot describe the love that I have for my brother. 

I am grateful for his choice and desire to serve a mission. While some have thought that he is choosing to serve  because it is what all my other siblings have done, the truth is this was what he wanted to do. He sought for his own testimony, he has done much good through service, he has made mistakes, he has repented, he has worked through trials, he has witnessed the love and power of God in his life and as such wants to help others find what he has found to be true.

My brother has grown into an incredible young man. I will miss our phone conversations but I am happy to share him with Brazil so they too can be blessed by his character and strength.

Serve the Lord well Benjamin! It will be a blessing to you forever!

I am aware of my brother's imperfections as only a sibling knows, but this post is about his strengths and how God will be able to use him to bless the lives of those in Brazil that he serves despite weaknesses. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Called to Serve

I feel very blessed to have the siblings I have. Each with different personalities and different perspectives but all with a desire to serve the Lord. I have learned from each of them as they have overcome different obstacles and moved forward in faith.

My sister Laura is a great example of an individual who is resilient in the face of difficulty and strong because she pulls through tough circumstances in grace. She is one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I know. She is always conscious of how words may effect those around her and tries to be sensitive to their needs. These are qualities that will serve her well as she begins to embark on her mission to Brazil.

In 2011 when my family lost their house and all their belongings in a wildfire my sister lost everything she owned. Her collection of snow globes and other precious material things lost in a moment. Previous to the fire she had been asked to give a talk for church. The Sunday she was asked to give a talk on was the Sunday directly following the Monday that the house burned down. It had been a whirlwind of a week with my family house-less and trying to figure out where they would live. My sisters topic for her talk that she had been given was on gratitude and she gave the most beautiful talk I have ever heard on gratitude especially in the midst of being in unexpected transition and loss. She knew and had an appreciation for what is most important and her faith sustained her. 

Then as she was preparing to leave for her mission and was excited to go in August, unexpectedly just shortly before it was time for her to leave she fell and broke her ankle. This was a devastating blow and heartbreaking for her. She was sad when her date to leave came and went. But she found things to be grateful for and she continued to study Portuguese. It allowed her to be around when our youngest brother got a call to Brazil as well and realized that they could now study Portuguese together. While I know she would have loved to go out when she was originally supposed to, she tried to keep the perspective that God knew her and all would be well.

She inspires me onward to be resilient in circumstances that I wish could be different. I am excited for her to be the 3rd and final sister from our family to go and serve. Laura has desired to serve a mission since she was a young girl. She is probably the first girl in our family who truly desired it before receiving revelation that it is what the Lord would have her do. The rest of us girls needed the Lord to say, "I want you to serve a mission." Then the desire came and we went out and served with all of our hearts and loved every minute of it. 

Laura set apart as a sister missionary for the LDS church to serve in the Sao Paulo North Brazil Mission

She flies out early tomorrow morning to attend the Missionary Training Center where she will study the Portuguese language and continue to grow in her teaching skills. Sister Clements I wish you the best! You have much to give and share and will be a blessing to many just as they will be a blessing to you!