Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Talking in Church :/

So last week I got the dreaded phone call from a counselor in our bishopric who I adore. I really admire the man, but you know when they call you it means something you aren't looking forward to.

Zach...who is always trying to be the prankster, is the one who got the message on his phone for me to call him. BUT because Zach is always telling little white lies just to get reactions out of me and others...I wasn't sure if I believed him when he said the Brother Braegger called and is probably going to ask me to speak in church. That is totally something he would make up just to get a reaction out of me because he knows I would after about 10 minutes of me being like...whatever... I don't believe you, tell me the truth...he FINALLY played the message for me and I knew my fate.

For those of you who read this that are unfamiliar with the LDS faith...we don't have a pastor or one main person who gives sermons every week like some other churches.  Most of the talks in our sacrament meeting are done by members of the congregation.

So it took me several minutes to get the courage to call him back. Low and behold Zach was right. He gave me two scriptures to choose from to build my talk around. Little did he know how indecisive I am. As soon as I heard them I knew which one I would choose but I couldn't make a decision right there.  (I had to think about it for at least 10 minutes to know for sure! )

Now the question to all of you?! Do you ever get to the point where you are super comfortable and excited to speak in church?!  At any age or any period of life?!  Cuz I don't think I ever will!!!

All week as I thought about getting up in front of everyone I got nauseous. Every day that passed made me more and more anxious. Obviously, I don't mind sharing my thoughts (since I do it on here quite often), but it is a lot easier to sit behind a computer and do it than stand in front of a bunch of people. I have never been one who likes the spotlight and attention on me. Talking in front of a crowd is not my thing...but I do have to say I think it is good at times for everyone to do. It is good to get out of your comfort zone a bit AND the feeling you get when you finish and get to sit down is AMAZING!

Anyways, the scripture that I chose was Helamen 5:12.  
"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

Now that is a GREAT scripture and so it was so good to ponder all week. The best part about getting the opportunity to talk is that the person who gives the talk learns the most! My mind was going all week with this scripture in my head. I prayed that the Lord would guide me to share the messages that He would want relayed and that I could just be an instrument in His hand. I felt Him guiding my thoughts as I wrote ideas and thoughts all week as they came to me. When I sat down to finalize it all and make sense of it all, it came easily. I don't believe it had to do anything with me...I think the Lord inspired it all.

I did a lot of sharing of my personal experiences and that is always a little scary because when you open yourself up to others there is always a fear of what they might think. But I love the people in my ward and I knew they wouldn't judge me.

So for my own personal remembrance, I thought I would put my notes down on my blog:  (I'm hoping to print all my blog entries in a book sometime soon...anyone have a good sight they have used to do that?)

So here it is...I didn't read this word for word but had a lot written down in fear I would blank out when I got up in front and stared down at everyone!

Sacrament Meeting Talk by Tessie (Winterton) Friedli on January 20, 2013
Helaman 5: 12  "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

I chose this scripture...because unfortunately I know a thing or two about storms ;). It is through these storms that I have learned and gained a testimony about the importance of having and continuing to build a foundation on Jesus Christ...and like this scripture says it is a SURE foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

Now normally when you hear the word foundation you think of your least I do. The foundation of your home is the most important part of your home. It's what keeps it together and keeps it from crashing down on you. You definitely want a strong one!
But whenever you hear someone talk about things they are grateful for you always hear...I am grateful for the roof over my head...or the things within the running water, heat/ac, etc. I don't think I have ever heard anyone say...I am grateful for the strong foundation that allows me to have a roof over my head!

So it is with our own personal foundation. Often times it is neglected or overlooked because of all of the worldly distractions of life, BUT like our homes it is THE MOST important thing that keeps us together and keeps us from dragging down into the gulf of misery and endless woe as the scripture states.

This talk has given me a lot of time to reflect upon my personal foundation: how it has been built throughout my life and the role it has played in my life.

As a young child I didn't have a foundation of my own. I was blessed with amazing parents that did have a foundation and they let me stand on theirs as they tried to teach me how to build one of my own.

It wasn't until I was in high school when the storms of life started to get harder and beat at my door...that I realized if I don't start building a strong foundation of my own now, then I will never make it.

As I worked through the years building a foundation for myself as a young adult, I found myself looking forward to marrying a great guy in the temple. I felt as though once I could get to that point that the storms of life would quit pounding at me and that I would be safe.

Although I was able to marry a great guy in the temple and make saving ordinances with my Heavenly Father that added a great deal more to my foundation...I realized that the storms of life will never stop blowing... BUT that they just blow in a different direction.

One the biggest storms of life came to us when Dakota was born. Those of you might remember that he was born with a heart defect. Going in to have him we had no idea that there was anything wrong. We were naive 24 year old first time parents who go in, they pop out, and you go home, and life is wonderful!! Right?!  The thought that this wasn't how it was going to go didn't even cross my mind.
The first week as he stayed in the NICU and the doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong, it was very frightening.
It was the hardest storm I had ever been through in my life at that point. Now I look back 4 1/2 years later and it doesn't seem nearly so bad after what we have been through...BUT at that point it was REALLY hard and I realize now that it was preparing me for greater storms that lied ahead.

There was nothing I could physically do as his mom to fix things, but stand and rely on the foundation that I had been building to get us through. I did everything I knew to do...pray, study, I watched as priesthood blessings were given, and I poured out faith to my Heavenly Father that he could fix it.
I remember going to the celestial room in the Bountiful temple with Zach and pouring out our hearts in prayer to our Heavenly Father. We both left there with peace in our hearts that all would be well...and after 2 long weeks it was. Dakota's heart condition was under control, he was healthy, and we got to take him home!

That storm of life added strengthening power to my foundation. I learned a lot about my Heavenly Father's love for me through that storm, because for the first time in my life I felt what a parent’s love is like. I also realized that I didn't have a lot of control over what happens in life...I learned that the Lord gives and takes away. I learned I had to trust in our Savior Jesus Christ more than ever before. My foundation was strengthened.

One year later a stronger storm came to us when Zach lost his sight. After three weeks of being in the hospital and Zach waking up each day seeing less and less I realized again...there was nothing as his wife that I could do to stop the storm or even that the doctors could do. So once again I stood on my foundation that I had built to get me through this storm that was so dark and scary.
I prayed, I fasted, I studied, we had priesthood blessings, I had faith to move mountains. Even though the doctors didn't tell us good news, I knew with complete faith that my Heavenly Father could fix this.  He could stop this storm and make everything better. He had helped us before. He would do it again.

This time the answer was NO!
I learned: it is easy to build upon your foundation when the answer is YES...But when it is NO, or not what we want, it tests the strength of your foundation. It is a true test of how well you have built your foundation.

This was hard. I felt my foundation beneath me crack, as I realized that this storm was not going to stop. This would be something that we could battle with every day.

Over the next year I worked hard to begin to mend the cracks that were in my foundation. It took a lot of work and effort but I was making progress...until Heavenly Father decided it was time for another even BIGGER and STRONGER storm. (I’m still questioning his judgment on the timing of that one!)

When Dakota's accident happened...once again...there was nothing that his mom, nor any doctor could do to fix it and put an abrupt stop to the storm as badly as I wanted it to. It came and it came hard!!!

I stood on my already weakened foundation and for a third time poured out my heart to my Heavenly Father.     I fasted, studied, watched as priesthood holders laid their hands on my fragile little boy that was clinging to life. I had faith and I trusted in my Heavenly Father that this time the answer would be yes. He couldn't possible give me another NO...right?!

Well this time the answer was yes...he can stay...but NO he won't get to make a full recovery and be the boy that he once was.

After TWO huge NO's, that meant the storms would never stop..that they would be something that I would battle every day for the rest of my foundation that I had been working to build began to crumble right from beneath me.

I began to feel as the Prophet Joseph Smith felt while he was praying in the grove and he felt Satan's power overcome fall into the depths of despair...

I began to question everything I had built my foundation on. How could this be? How could He give me another NO when I needed a YES SO BAD!!

BUT there was one tiny piece of my foundation left that I clung to with my fingers as Satan tried to pull me down...

And that was my knowledge and testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ. My knowledge that He came and atoned for me and my family, so that one day they would be made whole again. That although every day will be a challenge for our little family, won't last forever.
I reminded myself of the promise in D&C 121:7-8:  "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment. And then, if thou will endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes."

My knowledge is that my Savior loved me and cared about me enough to suffer beyond my comprehension, that He would be able to understand the pain that I was feeling and how to help me. Although I felt alone in all of this, I wasn't.

It was a great comfort I felt in trusting that He would not leave me to do this alone...but that He would help me carry this heavy load that I could in no way carry alone.
I clung to some of my most favorite scriptures that promise this help from our loving Savior:
D&C 84:88 "For I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you to bear you up."

I clung to this piece of my foundation, because it was literally all I had left. Nothing else made sense to me.  Nothing else mattered but this. As I focused on this little piece of knowledge that I knew for sure, I felt the loving arms of my Savior...slowly pull me back up until I was able to stand on top of that little piece of foundation that I had left.

Over the last two years...through a lot of work, a lot of tears, and a lot of effort...I have been able to pick up the pieces of my broken foundation and slowly piece them back together.

It is still a work in progress.  But I know there is NO WAY that I would have been able to do this if the center of my foundation was not built upon our Savior Jesus Christ.

There is NOT a lot that I do know, BUT what I DO know is that the storms of life will come to each and every one of us. (I wish they wouldn't, but they will) That is why we are be tried and tested. They may not be loud and big like ours have been...they may be more personal and quiet...but no matter what, they will come...and if we are not working EVERY day...even every hour to build upon that "sure foundation", Satan will have power to drag you down to be miserable like him.

There are several examples of both of these situations in the scriptures. Our scripture heroes have been through storms unimaginable, but through Christ have made it through to the very end.  There was Nephi, Moroni, even the prophet Joseph Smith. There are also examples of those who had not built their foundations strong enough...that when the storms came they were dragged down.

In Mormon 5: 16-18 we read about the Lamanites.   

16  “For behold, the Spirit of the Lord hath already ceased to strive with their fathers; and they are without Christ and God in the world; and they are driven about as chaff before the wind.
17  They were once a delightsome people, and they had Christ for their shepherd; yea, they were led even by God the Father.
18  But now, behold, they are led about by Satan, even as chaff is driven before the wind, or as a vessel is tossed about upon the waves without sail or anchor, or without anything wherewith to steer her; and even as she is, so are they.”

The Lamanites had built a foundation on Christ, but lost it.

So how DO we build a foundation on Christ that when the storms rage, it will protect us and help us through till the end??
It is the basic primary answers:
1. Do we say our daily prayers? Do we say them with sincerity and humility, or do we just go through the motions??
2. Do we study the scriptures and words of latter day prophets and apostles so that we can learn from those who have battled the storms of life and are helping us learn how to fight them?
3. Do we attend the temple often so that we can remember the covenants we have made and feel the peace of just being in that Heavenly home?
4. Do we serve and love those around us so can come to know and become more like our Savior?  He was our greatest example of love and service.
5. Do we go to church regularly with a humble heart and mind...with a desire to learn what our Heavenly Father would have us learn? Or do we come because we are just supposed to?
6. Have we built a loving relationship of trust with our Heavenly Father? This is one of the biggest ones that I had to learn to be able to put my foundation back together...We must trust that when the answer is NO... that there is purpose in His plan, that these experiences and storms that you are having are preparing you to return to live with Him again and that all things will work together for your good and benefit...even when you don't understand in the moment.
5. Lastly, I believe it is our daily life experiences that can help us to build on our foundation. Are we stopping to recognize what we are supposed to learn from them and taking time to feel the Lord's love for us in our daily lives through the beauties and blessings that He is giving to us and allowing us to have? Or do we take those things for granted and allow the business of life to distract us from them?

These things are easier said than done. I know this...but that is why it takes DAILY work and doesn't happen overnight. If it were easy then we wouldn't need storms to perfect us...we would already be perfect.

I truly believe our work to build a strong foundation is never finished. But it is one of the most important things that we can do for ourselves and for our families. It is necessary for us to be able to finish our journey here on earth so that we can one day hear our Heavenly Father tell us, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."  It is my hope and prayer that we will continue to work and build upon our own foundation that when the storms they will...we will be ready and that we will also be able to help our children, friends, and families to build upon their own foundation.

Although it is hard to say...I am thankful for the storms in my life, as hard as they have been and continue to be for me. They have made me stronger. They have taught me more than I ever could have imagined. They have helped me truly understand how important my foundation is and they have helped me build an even stronger foundation.

I just want to end by bearing my testimony of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that He lives, that He loves each one of us. I know that He suffered for each one of us that we can be forgiven of our many sins. I know that He stands ready and willing with open arms to help us through this crazy storm of life, if we just let Him in!! He can't always stop the storms, but He will help you through them. I know that He will carry you when you don't think you can take another step, because He has done it for me.


  1. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog I know to grab a tissue before reading almost every post just because I know that whatever your about to say is exactly what I need to hear and be reminded of!! You are simply AMAZING!!!!!! We just love you and your sweet family 2 pieces!!!!!


  2. Beautiful Post! You can get your blog published at

  3. Thanks so much for sharing that talk! You truly inspire me to focus on the most important things in life and not on the 'noise' that can and does distract me from my loved ones. You have such a unique perspective, and I am so grateful for sweet reminders of the importance of the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ. {{hugs}}

  4. Thank you for is post Tessie! I wish I could have been in the congregation to hear your talk, I'm sure it was amazing. Every time I read your posts I stop & appreciate the "simple" things in my life a bit more. Thank you for your courage & perseverance, you truly are inspiring!

  5. Most definatly inspired Tessie! Answered prayers over here! I am so lucky to know you, and your cute family. Keep on keepin on cause you guys are amazing!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing, I really think you wrote that for me. My son was one of the boys in the Perry fire and I know how you feel as you were watching your son fight for his life. It was the hardest thing as a mother to watch. I read your blog before my sons accident and I just want you to know you have helped me out so much. I thought of you and your sweet family often during our time in the hospital. Thank you again for sharing, you are one amazing person.

  7. You always bring peace to my heart.

  8. I just love you Tessie. I so wish that I had heard your talk, but am so glad that I got to read some of it. Your testimony helps me fill in some of my own cracks, so thank you.

  9. Tess I was called a few weeks ago to be a teacher in Reliefsociety. I read this post this morning and it, as your post always do, inspired me it touches on the lesson I am teaching today and strengthened my testimony. I am amazed at the strength that comes from others but always. You, Zach and sweet Dakota are always in our prayers but it doesn't seem like a fair trade for our learning and growth that we receive through you guys! We love you!