As I re-read the record of my journey along the Road to Jericho, I jotted down notes about the lessons I learned as I struggled to follow in the Good Samaritan’s footsteps. What an amazing journey this year has been! Yellow sticky papers with scribbled notes do not adequately reflect the change in my heart that has happened one decision at a time in this journey.
Our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson counseled:
“I am confident there are within our sphere of influence those who are lonely, those who are ill, and those who feel discouraged. Ours is the opportunity to help them and to lift their spirits. The Savior brought hope to the hopeless and strength to the weak. … Throughout His ministry He reached out in charity to any in need. As we emulate His example, we will bless lives, including our own.”
I share my own personal witness that this is true. This last year has opened my eyes to opportunities to serve all around. There are not enough minutes in the day to do all the good that needs doing! There are so many hearts that are broken, lives that are shattered, and faith that needs strengthened. I have learned that the Lord does not need us to do great feats of uncommon miracles. Instead, He needs us to be the quiet miracle that answers someone’s prayer.
Be a friend.
Be someone who loves without reserve. Who someone is today isn’t who they truly are within.
Be someone who listens without judgment. Watch your thoughts during interactions: No judging, only loving!
Be someone who serves, no matter what and no matter where.
Be the answer to someone’s prayer.
“We become examples of the believers by living the gospel of Jesus Christ in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity. As we do so, our lights will shine for others to see. Each of us came to earth having been given the Light of Christ. As we follow the example of the Savior and live as He lived and as He taught, that light will burn within us and will light the way for others.”
I have seen and been a part of miracles. I have had the opportunity to answer prayers and to have my own prayers answered. These incredible experiences have come about because of a simple commitment: To live as the Good Samaritan for one year.
This life is a time for us to prepare to meet God. Not to pound our bodies into enviable shapes or to prove our worthiness through the size of our home or our bank account. It is a time for us to PREPARE to meet GOD. The Great Creator of All. Our Eternal Father. Too often, we are side-tracked by the crumbs of mortality and are too-easily satisfied with a full belly and warm home. Wake up and bestir yourself! You are a child of the Great GOD. Be more than an animal. Animals are content with a full belly and warm home.
Challenge yourself and ask God to stretch you beyond where you are and even beyond where you think you can become … I will share this, the journey will be much more difficult than you can imagine. Keep moving yourself forward. Trust in God. People, even those who lead in His Kingdom, will at times let you down. Put your trust in God as you move yourself to who He wants you to become. You are His beloved child and He has so much He wants to give. Every blessing is predicated on obedience and sacrifice. Are you willing to obey the Spirit’s promptings to serve? Even if it makes you uncomfortable and requires sacrifice? Every time I have done so, the blessings have been beyond my expectation.
The Lord knows how I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy most of my life. By focusing on giving everything and not worrying about whether it would be good enough, this burden of fear was removed. Empty your own mind of despair and self-doubt. Pray and focus on gratitude as you serve those around you. Prayer and gratitude are incredible tools in overcoming Satan’s attempts to have us limit ourselves!
The Lord knows how I want to do good, but there are times I fall short. Sometimes because I doubt. Sometimes because I simply dig my heels in and refuse to do what I ought to do. Thankfully, the Lord lets me repent and start afresh in my journey of discipleship.
I have learned to serve side-by-side with my children. Their efforts are not always perfect. Neither are mine! The laughter and love we share as we serve together is a gift beyond price. True, there are moments when my children don’t want to serve, like my teenage son’s understandable reluctance to shovel five feet of snow off a widow’s very, very long driveway. However, he now appreciates the lessons he learned during that experience. Experiences like that helped mold him into a man I am proud to call my son.
Home is where we seek sanctuary and peace from the buffetings of the world. Serve those you live with. Love them. The Savior knows each of us so intimately and blesses us in ways that perfectly fit our needs. Seek to be the answer to your family. Pray and ask for the Lord’s help to know how to show love to a family member—the answers have been surprising to me. A picnic lunch to help my husband break away from a too-stressful time at work; a late-night hot chocolate date with my teen daughter allowing us to re-connect as friends; serving with my younger daughters to prepare dinner for someone in need … these and countless other experiences over this year have brought a stronger peace and strength to our family.
Everyone wants to make a difference. Make a difference in someone else’s life.
Everyone wants their life to have meaning. Find meaning through service.
As I have learned this last year, service does not require any great skill set or talent. Service requires eyes willing to see and hands willing to do. There is service all around and every moment can be put to good use.
All of this I know because I lived it. It has not been an easy journey and the changes to my heart have sometimes been painful. I am so very, very grateful to have been given this life to prepare to meet God. I am grateful for the Spirit’s prompting to give myself this challenge to walk one step closer to Him.
Growing up all over the world gave Emlee Taylor an opportunity to see the incredible differences the Lord created in humanity; and even better, the passions we all share as members of the human race: love for family, faith, & a desire to make a difference. Emlee lives life with passion—focusing her time now on raising four children and teaching them to recognize truth and to live true to that truth, regardless of others’ expectations. Emlee is passionately in love with her bestest friend and husband of more than 20 years.