Thursday, September 4, 2008

Standing in Holy Places

I've been wanting to go to the temple for a few weeks now. Jason and I try (not hard enough) to go as a couple, but it's gotten harder with each child. Finally we decided that, if necessary, we would just go separately. One would stay behind with the kids, while the other went. At least this way, we were going. Well, Jason went once. And I still haven't been for quite some time. Honest reason: I haven't put in enough effort.

I'm now realizing that I've taken for granted that I live near so many temples. In just a couple short months I will be three hours from a temple. Each visit will need to be carefully planned. A babysitter will be necessary most of the day. We will even need to budget gas money!! :)

Today I finally made it. I put Jack down for a nap and got Payson entertained so that my mom would have minimal work to do. Payson would keep herself occupied (hopefully) and Jack would stay asleep until I returned (hopefully).

I left at about a quarter after eleven. I assumed the temple wouldn't be too busy. It's the middle of a work day. I generally do evening sessions with Jason. Very busy. And we usually have to hurry back to relieve the sitter and get kids to sleep. I was really looking forward to a few peaceful hours for just myself.

As I turned onto the road the temple sits on, I could see the spire in the distance, the Angel Moroni. I can't explain the feelings I had, the warmth I immediately felt, just seeing the temple.

As soon as I pulled up, I noticed a very full parking lot. I worried for a minute and then saw a BEAUTIFUL bride and groom outside. Yes, the temple was busy. But everyone was attending sealings. Sessions would be small, giving me more time to reflect.

I had realized on the way that I forgot everything but my purse. Oh well. At least I had some cash and my recommend. I rented my clothing, changed quickly, then entered the chapel, sitting on the front row.

Quiet. Peace. Calm. Warmth. It had been far too long. This was so very needed.

I pulled the scriptures from under the pew and picked up where I left off in my personal scripture study. Charity. Attributes of the Savior.

But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

Moroni 7: 47-48

I've been reading this chapter in Preach My Gospel about the Attributes of Jesus Christ. I've loved reading about becoming more like Him. The way is so simply outlined. But does not always seem simple. How do I find charity in myself?

The promise at the end of verse 48 made me stop. That we may be purified even as he is pure. Pure. How must that feel? Clean. Some words found in a thesaurus are absolute, complete, fresh, guiltless, innocent, refined, ...and simple.

Having charity is simple. Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love. Simple. Ask. Okay. I can do that. Simple.

After the endowment session, I walked, alone, into the Celestial Room. Quiet. Peace. Calm. Warmth. It had been far too long. This was so very needed.

I sat, alone, praying to my Heavenly Father. Wanting so much to stay here. Wanting to feel this close to Him always. Wanting to feel this pure forever.

We unavoidably stand in so many unholy places and are subjected to so much that is vulgar, profane, and destructive of the Spirit of the Lord that I encourage our Saints all over the world, wherever possible, to strive to stand more often in holy places. Our most holy places are our sacred temples. Within them is a feeling of sacred comfort. We should seek to be worthy to take our families to the temple to be sealed together for eternity...We must strive for holiness by being “an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity"...In this way we can maintain and strengthen our own individual relationship with our God...Holiness is the strength of the soul. (James E. Faust, “Standing in Holy Places,” Ensign, May 2005, 62)

My soul was strengthened this afternoon. I feel it inside me. I want to be able to share this feeling with everyone I love. And just with everyone. I want to seek for this feeling more often. Even on days when I can't stand in that Holy place. I want to make my home a holy place. I want to feel that charity, that pure love of Christ, always.

I am so grateful for temples and the eternal blessings my family has because of them. I testify that these beautiful buildings are so much more! They are sanctuaries, havens from the vulgar, profane, and destruction. They strengthen me when I stand even near their walls. I feel so much closer to my Heavenly Father when I am there. They are truly Holy Places.


The McKell Family said...

Good for you guys!! Josh and I want to be better on attending the temple more!

Lindsay said...

Oh heavens you are so wonderful and such an inspiration to me. You are always thinking of the Spirit and, in the hectic life it is hard to remember that we need him all day everyday and even better, He is there eveytime. Thank you for posting your spiritual thoughts and testimony so often. It really help me build mine and latley I have needed those type of spiritual stiuations in my life. So thank you.

PS where are you going in just a
few short months, are you moving and for what reason and where, sorry I feel kind of nosey, but I like to know where all my friends are!

Kristin said...

Good! I went this week with my little brother for the first time in like a year or more! sad huh! Anyways good goal, lets make Jared watch all the kids and we can go if you want. Thanks for sharing your feelings.

The Deegans said...

That is so great. I love those feelings when we go to the temple too!

Kyle & Jill Revell said...

It is hard when you have kids to make it to the Temple together. It is a good idea to take turns. Thanks for your sharing your testimony on Temples.

Sara said...

Okay, that's it. I'm going to the temple before next week is up. Thanks for the incentive!

Burgon Fam said...

Seriously I am so glad we found one another again...Your post have been so sweet and so kind. I am not completely done reading all of stephanis post but its all i could think of all day and all night...There are SOOOOO many things i need to change and what an inspiration you and her have been for me! So thank you!

Burgon Fam said...

You just spoke my thoughts exactly...I feel (here comes my cheesy) Such a special closeness to you now...even though we didnt know one another all that well before. I am so grateful you contacted me. Seriously If it were not for you I would not have found that same desire to change as you have found in her words...This has been the coolest life changing experience i have ever had with the internet. If she only knew how many lives she has touched... and like you said It totally makes it easier to be good when you see so many who are trying just as hard to be clean. I have never felt so united. Thanks Again McKenna! We seriously need to get our families together for dinner...what do you think?

The Larson Family said...

Hi! I just found your blog, so I hope you don't mind me commenting. You guys are so good to go to the temple. I tried to go often when I lived near one, but I definitely could have done better. Now it's a 3 hour drive to the temple, and I miss being so close. Good for you guys for taking advantage of it, even if you have to go alone.

The Tarin Family said...

Thanks for posting about your temple experience and testimony. I understand how it is not to live close to a temple (ours is about 3 hours away, give or take, and it’s in German!) I wish I would have taken advantage more of living close to a temple, and one that does pretty much every session in English. I guess we don’t know what we have until it’s gone. But thanks for posting this!
PS: Yes! The staircase is bright green! The rest of the house is neutral colors, but for some odd reason the landlord wanted a bright green railing. It’s a German thing. I’ll never understand.