Why Barefoot??

Because being barefoot to me is being raw. Feeling every sharp rock, lush clover, spiky thistle, cushioned blade of grass, slimy covered stones, fragrant feathered flowers, cereal of sand, bead of water, element of litter, and the mash of mud.

Being Barefoot is the promise of prancing in the moonlight, leaping in the waves, running through a meadow, dancing on the porch, and doing all this while enduring a long journey to the end.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Opposition in ALL things......

“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:20).

I also love what Elder Neil A. Anderson says about pressing forward.

“Press forward” implies something more than simply going forward. Press implies something is preventing your advancement, and you must push through it. To go forward in this life, you must press temptations aside, press through obstacles, press the doubt and the fear under your feet, and embrace the divine qualities of faith, hope, and love.
 Another word for something preventing our advancement could be opposition!

I understand what Lehi says to his son Jacob in 2 Nephi 2:11

 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one;

We truly would never fill joy or even know what joy is unless there was sadness.

When talking about opposition the first person that always comes to my mind is  
I loved Elder Maxwell as a youth and young adult. I will always remember the talk “From Whom All Blessings Flow” in April 1997 General Conference, when he appeared bald because of the chemo therapy treatments he had undergone to put his Leukemia in remission. I remember feeling and thinking “whoa when this apostle speaks about tribulation/opposition he is speaking with authority.”  From that time on I became a student of Elder Maxwell and still am.  

Some of you might know that as an 18 year old youth, Elder Maxwell served in WWII. He was present at the Battle of Okinawa, this battle, which has been referred to as the typhoon of steel, because of the intensity of the fighting that happened there.

Elder Bruce C Haven, who wrote Elder Maxwell’s biography, told this story. 
“While researching for the biography he learned about the conditions at this battle. Heavy rains had turned it into such a mud puddle that even tanks disappeared into the ooze. Disease and dysentery plague the soldiers, what little sleep they got was often while standing up in the mud. Supply trucks couldn’t provide consistent food and ammunition. So the troops were always hungry, and especially they were always thirsty. The water was often to foul and oily to drink. One historian said the only thing that saved the solders was coffee which having been boiled was at least drinkable

 In reading the hurriedly written letters home from Elder Maxwell one such letter said, “had a dream the other night, you folks were holding up Carol (his sister) in the window and I was say boo. Boy did that make me blue, it’s rough here, it will be wonderful to bathe again still not smoking, drinking tea, or coffee. Nothing great, but the coffee is tempting sometimes.”

It was at this place that Elder Maxwell had a life-changing experience. Neal’s mortar position was under fire. Three shells in a row had exploded, each closer to his foxhole than the previous one. He realized the enemy had determined his position. The next shell would land on top of him. He prayed “one of those selfish, honest prayers,” 3 asking for protection from the next bomb.

AND here we find this years theme of ASK found in the scripture James 1:5-6
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

Can you imagine it? Can you picture it? An 18 year boy in a mud bog all alone praying to his God to change his life?

Can you imagine or picture a 14 year old boy in a grove of trees all alone praying to his God to change his life?

Both of the lacking wisdom but understanding the if they ASK OF GOD that it will be given to them.

Both asking in FAITH nothing wavering. I hope that we can ponder on that and listen to the spirit when we need to ask of God.

Now back to Elder Maxwell….
In his pocket he carried a copy of his patriarchal blessing that said his life would not be shortened and that he would not be deprived of fulfilling every assignment that was given to him in the pre-mortal existence.
The shelling stopped. He later wrote: “I am sure the Lord answered my prayers. … The following night they began to pour shells in, but almost all of them were duds—either the ammunition had gotten wet or they were not exploding in the very thick, oozing mud. … I felt preserved, and unworthily so, but have tried to be somewhat faithful to that promise that was given at the time.” 4

He always kept a picture with him of Flat Top Hill where the battle had taken place.
When the leukemia came he often compared this experience to Okinawa both in it’s terror and in it’s spiritual impact on him.

When Elder Maxwell first learned of his Leukemia and what the odds against were about any remission at all he was inclined to just accept the inevitable. After discussing with his wife Colleen she said something like this that got his attention. “Neal I don’t think you have paid attention to the first part of the scriptural account of the savior’s time in gethsemane it’s true that he said nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt, but before that he said if it be possible let this cup pass from me. He is our model in all things don’t you think it would be ok if it were possible let this pass from you.”  

Here we have another perfect example of ASKING. An example of our older brother asking our Heavenly Father for wisdom, and strength,

Mathew 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

I would also like to share with you a poem from one of my favorite poets(my Dad) called Gethsemane


Our Saviour sweat great drops of blood

There in Gethsemane.

He humbly asked His Father

“Please pass this cup from me.”

“Nevertheless not my will

But only thine be done.

You are my Father in Heaven,

I am just your humble Son.”

“I will do what I must do,

I understand the Plan.

I know that I must suffer much

As I Atone for Man.”

Our Saviour sweat great drops of blood

There in Gethsemane.

Sometimes I pause and wonder,

How many drops for me?

Elder Maxwell did the treatments and his cancer went into remission for a time.
I believe that all of us will as some point will have our own gethsemane experience that we will all kneel and pray to our Father in Heaven asking with every emotion in our body O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me:

I feel impressed upon, to tell you one such experience I had over 14 yrs. ago.  First some back ground well pregnant with our 2nd child it was found in one last ultrasound before delivery that our baby had a tumor in her right kidney. After a trip to Calgary and more ultrasounds we were told the seriousness of the condition and what steps would have to be taken to try to ensure the best help possible for our daughter. Delivery came and we drove her up to the Children’s Hospital in Calgary where she had her first ultra sound now being less than 24 hours old. It was then confirmed that the tumor had taken over the right kidney and it needed to be removed. The tumor was big enough that when you held her you could feel and see the lump, a newborn’s kidney is about the size of the finger tip of the your pinky. This tumor was 5 cm in diameter.  We were blessed to be assigned a room that had accessibility to a small green patch of grass. It there at 2am in the morning before I handed my baby girl over to the surgeons that I had one of my gethsemane moments. You see through the whole ordeal I had been praying “O Father if it be possible, let this cup pass from me:” but it was not until that night that my prayer had changed. It was on the green patch of grass that I was finally able to utter the words that brought me a special kind of peace. Father she is your daughter if you need her back I understand, or in other words, “nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt”.  Hours later as Jesse and I handed our 3 day old daughter over to the surgeons we were overcome with a feeling of being held in the hands of our maker knowing that He was well aware of us and of our daughter.

I have been a witness of others in our ward who I am sure have had Gethsemane moments. They have accepted the will of God although they would have much preferred that the cup would be passed from them.  I watch in awe as they continually, faithfully, ASK of God in faith with nothing wavering but they ask for wisdom and healing.

Elder Richard G. Scott said: “To exercise faith is to trust that the Lord knows what He is doing with you and that He can accomplish it for your eternal good even though you cannot understand how He can possibly do it. We are like infants in our understanding of eternal matters and their impact on us here in mortality. Yet at times we act as if we knew it all. When you pass through trials for His purposes, as you trust Him, exercise faith in Him, He will help you. That support will generally come step by step, a portion at a time. While you are passing through each phase, the pain and difficulty that come from being enlarged will continue. If all matters were immediately resolved at your first petition, you could not grow. Your Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son love you perfectly. They would not require you to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for your personal benefit or for that of those you love” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 19; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 17).

Yes I am sure that each one of us will go through our own "Gethsemanes" in our lives. I am equally sure that as we continue to Ask of God and Press Forward through the opposition that comes personally, and to the church in coming years that we will be upheld, taught, and especially loved by our Savior Jesus Christ. Who I believe will meet with each one of us in Gethsemane, and will take those sins we are willing to let go and repent of. Not only took them but in so doing enable us with the power to overcome them. If we will only use it! The true key to the power of opposition in our lives is the way that it draws us to our Savior if we let it.


  1. I love this message! What's the occasion for blogging again after all these years??

    1. Time....healing....trying to remember what makes me happy!

  2. This helped me breathe today. Thanks.