• Tiffany Miller

The Come Follow Me manual this week says, “Reading Isaiah opens our eyes to what the Lord has already done, what He is doing, and what He will yet do for His people.” It reveals the wonderfulness of God’s Plan and how we need to follow the Lord and keep His commandments. We knew of this Plan before we came here. We welcomed it, and were happy for the chance to work hard to learn and grow. Sometimes we don't feel that way now. Hard work isn't fun and society today would teach us that the ideal life is the one Adam and Eve left behind in the garden of Eden – one of ease and luxury, devoid of hard work to survive.

The Lord has provided a way for us to accomplish this goal. He created a path of covenants for us to make and keep. When we fall short, and He knew we would, He provides a Savior for us to repent and get back on the path when we stray. Not only does the Savior allow us to return to the path, but He helps us along the way. He provides the help we need when we fall short, and there are soooo many ways that we fall short.

By His grace, we receive holy help specific for each one of us on our path home.

This principle is illustrated beautifully by a true story of Charles Blondin. This story and its illustration of grace was introduced to me by the podcast Don’t Miss This. Charles Blondin was a tightrope walker in the 1800s. He walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope with no safety supports because he saw them as a hindrance. He only used his balancing pole which was 30 feet long and weighed 40 pounds. He liked to hype up his stunts before he did them, so many people were there watching. He walked this stretch of tightrope many times and in many different ways: backwards, blindfolded, on stilts, on a bicycle, carrying a stove and stopping in the middle to make and eat an omelet. One time he wanted to do it carrying someone on his back. No one really volunteered and he had his manager, Harry Colcord, do it. For added stability, they had guylines set up every 20 feet to hold the rope tighter, but in the middle was 50 feet where they couldn’t attach any lines anywhere. As he set out with his manager on his back Charles told Harry, “Look up Harry, you are no longer Colcord, you are Blondin. Be a part of me mind, body, and soul. If I sway, sway with me. Do not attempt to do any balancing yourself. If you do, we will both go to our death.” Harry had to have practiced with Charles beforehand, they had to spend time practicing and moving together. Harry had seen Charles do this tightrope walk many times before, so he had faith that Charles could do it. He did it again, this time with a person on his back! Only a few of the guylines snapped. Who did the work on the crossing? Who was in charge of keeping Harry safe? Charles took Harry to a place that Harry couldn’t get himself; he was incapable of doing it himself. Harry’s job was to believe in Charles and to cling to him with all his might, mind, and strength.

This is like the grace of Christ. To receive the grace of Christ, all we have to do is believe in Him, have faith in Him. We've seen miracles He's performed in our lives and the lives of others. Our job is to cling to Him with our might, mind, and strength. We come to accept His help and cling to Him. When we struggle, He carries us.

Elder Uchtdorf teaches us, “The Savior invites us, each day, to set aside our comforts and securities and join Him on the journey of discipleship.” How do we begin? Elder Uchtdorf continues, “First, you need to choose to incline your heart to God. Strive each day to find Him. Learn to love Him. And then let that love inspire you to learn, understand, and follow His teachings and learn to keep God's commandments.”

How do we incline our hearts to God? We need to soften our hearts. We do this by living the commandments and can enhance the power of obedience by utilizing the languages of the heart (uplifting music, fine art, poetry, and stories) to help our hearts be soft.

How do I strive each day to find Him? Search the scriptures, pray, go to church and partake of the sacrament. [Somewhat random side note: I learned some symbolism of the sacrament by reading the book Beloved Bridegroom. When a young man came to negotiate a marriage contract with a bride and her parents, at one point of the meeting, he would offer her a cup from which to drink and she would show her acceptance of him and his suit by taking the cup and drinking from it.]

How do I learn to love Him? How do we learn to love anyone? We spend time with Him – in service, searching the scriptures, praying. Our children learn to love us and trust us because we serve them, spending quality time with them is a factor as well. If you don't recognize the service and help the Lord is giving you, this is totally normal. My kids don't recognize the service and help I give them most of the time either (cleaning up their messes, finding cups and putting them where they can find them easily, noticing where they left their shoes so when they ask me, I can tell them) – but they know I help and that leads them to have a stronger bond with me. A stronger attachment/bond with me leads them to want to obey me. As we mature and develop, we recognize the help and service our parents gave us. As we spiritually mature and develop, we recognize the help and service our Heavenly Parents give us. Just because you don't recognize His aide, doesn't mean it's not there. Heavenly Father is a perfect parent. Isaiah 49:15-16 says “For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; they walls are continually before me”

As we grow in love for Him that will inspire us to learn, understand, and follow His teachings and learn to keep God's commandments. To be like our Heavenly Father, we have A LOT to learn! He's made baby steps for us. He teaches us line upon line precept upon precept. Only giving us what we're ready for, when we're ready for it.

Teachings of Joseph Smith manual says, “We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker, and is caught up to dwell with him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man has ever arrived in a moment.”

Elder Uchtdorf says, “discipleship is not about doing things perfectly; it's about doing things intentionally. It is your choices that show what you truly are, far more than your abilities.[...] Like a loving parent, He merely wants you to keep intentionally trying. [...] All God asks is that you consciously keep striving.” The Lord is there with us every step of the way and He doesn’t expect us to reach perfection in this life. His grace is there to make up for our lack of perfection.

Elder Uchtdorf continues, “There is something interesting, almost paradoxical about this path you've chosen: the only way for you to progress in your gospel adventure is to help others progress as well. To help others is the path of discipleship. Faith, hope, love, compassion, and service refine us as disciples.[...] Through your efforts to help the poor, and the needy, to reach out to those in distress, your own character is purified and forged, your spirit is enlarged, and you walk a little taller.”

The natural process of coming to know and love the Lord, leads us to an increase in learning, all things, which then leads us to enlighten and expand our minds to see His hand in all things, which leads us to an increased measure of love for our neighbors, which leads us to the desire to serve them. And by serving them, we are purified and refined, becoming more like Christ.

He is there every step of the way to help and guide us. He won't force His help on us though. We have to allow it; He won't take away our agency. He offers grace to all whether we deserve it or not. Remember He just expects us to keep believing and keep trying and His grace will attend us and it is sufficient for us. He loves us and helps us more than we know, and is waiting to give us more guidance and knowledge if we let Him.

I'm Tiffany and I live in sunny Arizona (love me some sunshine!). I have 5 beautiful daughters. I know what you're thinking, that's A LOT of estrogen! and you'd be right, but we have some of the greatest times known to mankind through our adventures in learning (we homeschool), loving, playing, and growing together. In my spare time, I love to read (I own literally thousands of books) and hike in the beautiful mountains near my home.

2 views0 comments

Isaiah 58:6-11

These verses talk about why we fast and the blessings that come from willingly fasting.

Read the verses together and discuss what they mean. Talk about how we have been counseled to fast two meals and then donate a generous fast offering.

Read 3 Nephi 13:16 and talk about what that means for your family.

Have your child draw the meals they are giving up.

Talk about what our fast offerings are consecrated for (helping those in need in our area buy food, and pay for other needed expenses like housing). Have your child draw the blessings the family receive because of your willingness to fast and bless others.

Optional Activies:

This next Fast Sunday talk about what each of you are fasting for. Take turns praying for those things. Fill out a physical donation slip together and put cash into the envelope. Let your child give the fast offering to a member of the bishopric.

Read Isaiah 60:1-3 together and discuss ways you can help to share the light of the Savior with others. Read Matthew 5:16 and Matthew 6:3, and talk about how we should serve and that when we serve others we help others to feel God’s love for them.


Untitled-Artwork (15)
Download PDF • 597KB


Isaiah 53 (1)
Download PDF • 54KB

3 views0 comments

On this day in 2008 I lost my third pregnancy to miscarriage. It had been a hard year - my husband was in school full-time and working part-time, we were struggling financially and relationally, we were living 900 miles from our family and support system, we had just moved for the second time in a year that would ultimately include three moves - things were already heavy. This loss, after all the change and heartache I had already been through that year, was devastating.

For years, every September I would spend at least a couple of weeks in a fog of grief. The first few years it was unexpected, and it seemed to always take me at least a week to figure out why I was anxious and sad. After that, I came to expect and plan for it, and over time, the period of grief has lessened until it now only lasts a day or two. It hit me again today. I have learned not to fight the grief, but to allow it, to feel my sadness, to take some time to be quiet and remember the little one I lost. I believe he wants to be remembered. And I want to remember him. I want him to know he isn’t forgotten.

These verses in Isaiah have always been a comfort to me:

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:4-5

When Christ suffered in the garden of Gethsemane and on Calvary and everywhere in between, He felt the pain, grief, fear, and sorrow of all the world. He truly, miraculously, carried the weight of all of it - so much that the pressure caused Him to bleed from every pore. We each have our own portion of that mighty weight to experience. Grief and sorrow can and often do feel so heavy, like a physical weight on our shoulders and in our hearts. Knowing Christ has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows does not mean we will never feel pain or sorrow again. It just means He has felt it too, and He has already carried it for us so we don't have to be weighed down with more than we can bear.

There was a time in my life when I felt this in a physical way. I had, at that time, been engaged in a quest to learn about forgiveness. I had developed my own internal process for seeking the Lord’s help to forgive. Part of that process involved imagining myself gathering all the grief, hurt, anger - all the results of whatever action I needed to let go of - and passing all of it to the Lord, who would receive it so I didn’t have to carry it anymore. (My process was derived and adapted from this book, which is an excellent resource for learning about the process of forgiveness.) In the midst of this learning process, I was given some information that was absolutely devastating for me. I was completely overwhelmed and broken-hearted. I started to work through my forgiveness process and got stuck - I felt like I had been handed a hurt of such magnitude that I couldn’t even hold it, let alone pass it to the Savior. It was just too heavy. In the moment of greatest sorrow, I cried out to my Savior, telling Him everything about the pain that had just been handed to me, and asking Him to please just take it. I couldn’t give it to Him - I couldn’t even carry it - but I knew He could. And He did. He took that burden from me. I still had hurt to work through but the weight of it was gone, and I could move forward. That was several years ago, and I still feel the relief and awe that came to me in that moment, when He truly, literally, bore my grief and carried my sorrow.

To a lesser but very real degree, the past few weeks have been heavy for me. Everything from intense new responsibilities, to mental health struggles among those I love, to illness, to financial challenges - and all seeming to hit at once. It felt overwhelming, like I needed help just to comprehend it, let alone keep moving forward through it. But again, I remembered these words:

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

I remembered One who bore my griefs, and carried my sorrows; who took upon Himself the weight of all sorrow and pain so that I wouldn’t have to carry more than I could. I still don’t know how to carry all of this, but I am grateful to know I don’t have to - I can turn to Him for strength and He will give me enough to make it one more day. He has promised.

Matthew 11:28-30 reads:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Because Christ has already borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows, He is able to offer “rest unto our souls.” In Him, we can find healing and peace. I am so grateful that He was willing to go through all that He went through so that He could offer me His peace and rest.

12 views0 comments