The Carrot, the Egg, and the Coffee Bean

Monday, June 9, 2014

Once again I have a billion things buzzing through my head, so hopefully this conglomeration of thoughts don't confuse you! But it's going to be good, I promise. Just forgive me if it's a little unorganized.

I am mostly going to talk about Sunday because that has pretty much been my highlight for this week :) But it ties in with spiritual thoughts. You ready for this?

Sacrament Meeting was all about Trials (woo! one of my favourite topics!) Sis Majeske, our Relief Society President, shared a story that one of her counselors has shared in RS the week before. I want to share it with you before I make my comments:

A young woman went to her mother and told her how things were so hard for her in life. She did not know how she was going to make it and was tired of fighting and struggling.

It seemed that as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out, the eggs out, coffee beans out, and placed them in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?" "Carrots, eggs, and coffee," the young woman replied. The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "what does it mane, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity--boiling water--but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg has been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water. "Which are you" the mother asker her daughter. "When things are difficult, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?" 

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water--the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you to come out of trouble. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level in life?

Awesome right? So ask yourselves, what are you? Are you the carrot, the egg, or the coffee bean? I have to agree with Sis Majeske on this one and say that it depends. We all want to be the coffee bean, but lets face it, sometimes we get thrown into a situation and we aren't as positive or optimistic about a trial as we know we could/should be. I would LOVE to say that with all trials I have been the coffee bean from start to finish. But I haven't. There have been some difficulties that have definitely made my heart hard. There have also been some difficulties that have left me feeling weaker than I have ever been before. BUT even though that may be so, I can testify with all my heart that even after those times of being hardened or weakened, we can still change. We can BE the coffee bean--to change the hot water and release fragrance and flavour! We just need to let go and let God! 

I feel like most of the time, I go from carrot, to egg, to coffee bean, with each trial. Its a process. I start out strong and know that it's going to do some kind of good. I'm optimistic, I'm happy. But as things get harder and rougher, I start to get overwhelmed and get weak. And that weakness can sometimes lead to a hardened and stiff heart. I don't mean hard by haughtiness or pride, but of broken self worth, a loss of who I am, and a desperate wanting to block any and every thing that can make me anymore vulnerable than I already feel. And it's in those time of vulnerability and lowliness when the Lord always lifts me higher. When we turn to the Lord, we no longer have to lift the burden by ourselves. That is why His grace is sufficient. He doesn't rush in to help us after all we can do, but He is there every single step of the way, SO ready to help us; if we would just leave it in His hands and learn to let go.

​The definition of a trial? ​It's a "a test of the performance, qualities, or suitability of someone or something". That is why we are given trials. Heavenly Father wants to test our ability. We have spiritual gifts, some that we don't even know about! But Heavenly Father knows them. He also knows what needs to happen for us to develop them. This ties into the other things I learned at church on Sunday. 

Gospel Principles was about the Holy Ghost (mmyeeus another one of my favourite topics!) We discussed what we can do to get better at using/recognizing the gift of the Holy Ghost. When we get promptings, are they ever convenient? Haha, hardly! Take me for example--I'm almost always having debates with the Spirit. But I've learned to just shut up and do it. Why do they sometimes seem inconvenient? Because it's a test to see where our priorities are at. Are we ready to go and do as the Lord calls and prompts us to? Or do we have other priorities that we put before the Lord? Oh-hooo. That's the hard-hitter question right there. So when we are living our lives, trial or no trial, do we heed to the promptings of the Spirit? Are we paying attention to the still small voice? Learning to act on spiritual promptings IS a spiritual gift! And we only learn to recognize the spirit better when we act. Sometimes we don't know it's the Spirit prompting at first, but after we see the results, we know without a doubt that it was inspired. The process of doing this helps us learn and become who Heavenly Father wants us to become. Why? Because we're acting in faith when we follow spiritual promptings. In relation to trials, we can only change the boiling water of our situation when we start trusting in the Lord, and following the Spirit for our "what do I do next?"s. Trials are able to release our fragrance or flavor--or allow us to unfold spiritual gifts and abilities, even stronger testimonies--when we choose to turn to the Lord for His help. If we turn to Him we need not worry because He does the molding. And He's perfect, so His molding doesn't have any mistakes. He doesn't make any mistakes with us. We just have to be willing to do and be what He would have us do and be.

Just another thought on the Spirit. When I was in youth there were always some friends that would say that going clubbing wasn't "bad" as long as we weren't participating in the "bad" stuff; and that it was a great opportunity to be an example that we can be in that environment and fun but still not do what everybody else is doing. OOOOK. So before I used to think, "ok they have a point. But I just wouldn't be comfortable in that situation anyway." Lesson learned this Sunday: the Spirit helps us feel UNCOMFORTABLE. I never thought about that before! One of our members shared an experience of when she used to go with friends to a bar and they would dance. They weren't doing anything bad, but it was all just great fun. Then one day she walked into the bar and just felt so weird all of a sudden. She shared, "sometimes we walk into a place where the Spirit can't walk in with us". I thought that was so interesting. I mean, I know I'm only supposed to go to places were the Spirit can be with me, but I never thought about the Spirit just choosing not to step into a place with you. What I've learned: If I consider the Spirit my best friend, why would I want to be in a place where He can't go with me? I mean c'mon, we always want to do everything with our best friends. Take them everywhere with us, experience all fun with them. And when we do something without them, something is missing, right? And that's the same with the Spirit. When we choose to walk into a place where the Spirit can't be, He stays outside. And when your best friend isn't with you, sometimes you tend to make choices you wouldn't have if your best friend was with you. Is this making any sense? Because it was like epiphany bursts to me during class XD haha. Here's another thought. When we listen to music, a lot of the time we say "I'm just listening to the tune/beat, I'm not paying attention to the words." (Ok maybe we don't all say that, but I know I have said that for some songs). Anyway, even though I may just be listening to the tune, the Holy Ghost is listening to everything else. The Spirit then withdraws. And when the Spirit withdraws we are more subject to temptation and the sons of perdition.....AND WE DONT EVEN REALIZE IT! This is when 2 Nephi 26:22 plays in. Satan's flaxen chords all of a sudden turn into chains we can't escape from. That's how satan and sin work, no? We start doing things that aren't that bad, and all of a sudden it turns into something super serious. How do we get there? Sometimes we don't know. But it makes a whole lot more sense to me as to how easy it can happen when I realize how easily the Spirit can withdraw.

Just some other quotes and thoughts for you to ponder:

"No trial goes unwasted"

"Seek to know your privileges"

"What we say and how we present ourselves not only betray our inner person but also mold that person and those around us"

"Hell is the man you are meets the man you could have been"

^Oooooh man, that last one is my favourite!

Anyway, I just want to tell you how much I love my ward. I just love all the members in Farmington so, so much. Sunday was just so good, not only because of things I learned and things that happened, but because of the members I'm lucky enough to associate with who are a huge blessing to be around. 
They are my tender mercies! :

* Sis Thomas just moved into the ward, and she is just so amazing. I love gospel conversation with her :D

* Hearing Sis Gratton say, "remember who you are!" and then hearing her 12 yr old daughter say this with enthusiasm as she walks away, "daughter of God. Born to be a queen!"

* Sis Kerfoot was so willing to drive us clear out to Ste Genevieve (30-40 mins away) when the Zone Leaders miscommunicated our meeting spot to pick up supplies for our booth. It was a very nice drive on the way down though :) We don't get out to Ste Gen that often because of miles, so it was nice to have that opportunity.

* The Bassetts have been such a huge help with setting up for our booth. And they stopped by our booth multiple times during the event. That family just makes my heart smile so big.

* 3 yr old Khloe Bassett is my little firecracker. She makes me laugh so hard! My new district leader, Elder Austin, is her new "boy-friend". She is just sooo funny.

* When Bro Bohn, the 1st councilor in the Bishopric dips his chip in my ranch dressing and says, "What?! It's ok! We're like family, right?" Hahahaha.

* Buzzing around after church, trying to talk to all the people we needed to, but having all the little kids swarm your legs and hug you so you can't move. GAH, I just LOVE them.

* Oh my goodness, little 5 yr old Taylor Duvall is my little sunshine! Every time I see him he gives me this little smirk then gets all shy and starts giggling while he's looking down. Bahaha oh he is just so adorable.

* Having lunch with Sis Paige and the Duvall family. Those kids are so quiet at church, but they told me so much at lunch! Haha totally unexpected! They are all so smart! And then Quenten says, "man, I hate it when missionaries get transferred. Just when you get close with them, they leave". Oh, that just broke my heart. Cuz A) that was the first time I even talked to the kid, and B) holy shoot, it's going to be SO hard to leave this ward when the time comes.


Anyways, I'm done. My emails really need to get shorter cuz we get kicked off faster because of summer, darn it. I hope you got something out of all of this haha. Just so you know, the awesomeness of this Sunday all happened after I got a peaceful feeling about the date. On the way to church I realized I had hit 13 months. And my initial thought process was about to be, "ok Sis Limas what else do we need to work on?", but instead I just got this peaceful feeling that I have come a long way and I just need to smile as I continue. I found out having my body remember things a year ago can sometimes be a tender mercy! ;D

Hope you all have a fabulous week!
MUCHOOOOO LOVIN' to you all :)
Sister Limas

My first ever soft pretzel!!

Meet Lucy, Sis Paige's new sugar glider (flying squirrel). She tickles me when she climbs up my arm XD

THE best root beer around! St Louis' FITZZZZ!

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