Lately I have been praying to really see the good in people, to see them as God sees them. To not assume bad intentions or make hasty judgements. It's certainly something I'm going to have to continually work on, but today I felt like I genuinely saw the good in people and the ways they are trying their hardest. The choir sang in church today and all I can say is that I'm so glad they sang today instead of next week, when I'm speaking. I was a mess. There I was. Sitting on the bench. Unable to stop crying. Not because of the music, even though it was incredibly beautiful, but because I was able to get a glimpse of how I think God must look at His children. It started when I spotted two sisters. Two sisters who have taught me a great deal about what it means to be a disciple of Christ. They are pure. They are strong. And their testimonies are beautiful. Then I saw a young man. A young man who has seen hard things in his life and yet is doing his best to be a worthy Priesthood holder and a good example. Then I saw the choir director and how much of her life is devoted to serving in the Church and her family. I looked at every single choir member individually and saw how good they are. I felt a little bit of how much God must love them. In April, a church leader, Elder Holland, gave a talk that included the thought that, "imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it." We are all terribly imperfect, but we must learn to deal with that as we interact with other people, other beloved children of God.
Miss Fin turned 8 the end of June. 8 is a big deal in our church. 8 is when you are eligible to be baptized. We had kind of a crazy day, but it was pretty awesome. We all got ready and drove 45 minutes to a cousin's baptism. Afterwards, we went to their clubhouse to snack and chat with my dad's side of the family. We dropped some kiddos off at home and then went to find some white shoes for Finley to wear with her dress. We were unsuccessful. She wore the Tangled shoes she got for her birthday. She was more than pleased. Everyone got dressed up again and we went over to our church. Their were 5 other kiddos that got baptized with Finley. After she was baptized by my dad, we headed into another room where she was confirmed and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. Everyone is capable of being prompted by the Holy Ghost at times in their lives, but being confirmed gives you the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, as long as you are making the right choices. When a confirmation takes place, worthy priesthood holders are invited to participate. The circle of righteous priesthood holders that placed their hands on Finley's head was quite large. It was really special 1) because those men work hard to be worthy to carry out priesthood duties and 2) because so many family members and friends gave up so much of their time this week to support my family. We bought Finley's dress last year because my mom knew it was the perfect one for her. She looked so pretty in her dress with her hair braided.
After the baptism, we all went to a pizza buffet for dinner. I had visions of a dreamy backyard party filled with decorations, but we chose a simpler route because 1) we were afraid it would be too hot (actually it ended up pouring rain right after we started eating) and 2) we knew had a lot on our plate this weekend. We brought over a bunch of balloons (including a number 8 that was 3 feet tall) and it was great. We weren't stressed out and we had plenty of time to talk to everyone. We had the whole upstairs section to ourselves and everyone had a great time. Since we have another family event in the morning (a baby blessing), 2 of my cousins that are close to Ainsley and Finley's ages are sleeping over. They are spread all over the family room in sleeping bags. I was worried about them keeping my grandparents awake (they are staying at our house since they live 5 hours away) but my grandma said "they are so giggly you just want to giggle with them." I have spent more time with my extended family this week than I have all year and it has been so fun. Everyone has really sacrificed in order to be there and support each other.
Much to my parent's dismay, the radio in my car is always tuned into country music. In my opinion, it is the best driving music. Sometimes I have these really deep moments where a song I hear all the time teaches me a completely unrelated life lesson. This time it was Brad Paisley's "I thought I loved you then." At each milestone in a relationship, he can't imagine loving her more. When they first started dating, when he proposed, and when their first baby is born. At each milestone, he realizes his love just keeps expanding. Now stay with me here. This is where my mind made a connection that may be incomprehensible to anyone but me. I feel this way about my Heavenly Father's love for me. I will have a really great lesson on Sunday or be blessed in some way and think that I understand how much love my Heavenly Father has for me, but later experiences teach me that I really had no idea just how much. Lately I have had a lot of experiences that have shown me of my Heavenly Father's love, but I know that their will be more situations that continue to teach me just how much my Heavenly Father cares about my success. I think about times a couple of years ago and think "I thought I knew then how much my Heavenly Father loves me." I signed up for a marriage and family course as a joke, but it has turned out to be my favorite class. One day we were talking about how much we care about the success of our loved ones. We would do anything to help them reach their potential. Imagine how much more our Heavenly Father cares about our success than we have the capacity to! These are just some of the overwhelming thoughts I've had lately that have really helped put things in perspective and realize that somethings really won't matter in the long run.