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What does it mean to live a life of love? Our capacity to give and receive love is a hallmark of discipleship, and evidence of our deepest desires and our understanding of God's plan for us.
Love helps us see ourselves as God sees us. Love enables us to bless others as we reach past our own concerns. Love provides opportunities to heal, to hope, and to have faith - even when dreams have to wait and the challenges of life weigh us down.
When we are filled with love, we can make a profound difference in our own lives, in our homes and circles of influence, and in the world in which we live. Love makes it possible for us to do what we came to do.
About the Author
Ardeth Greene Kapp, author and lecturer, served as general president of the Church’s Young Women organization from 1984 to 1992. She served with her husband, Heber B. Kapp, as he presided over the Canada Vancouver Mission from 1992 to 1995, and later they were president and matron of the Cardston Alberta Temple. Ardeth holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah and a master’s in curriculum development from Brigham Young University. She has been a member of the Church Curriculum Planning Committee, as well as a board member of the Church Educational System, Deseret Book Company, the Deseret News Publishing Company, and the board of trustees for Southern Virginia University. A native of Glenwood, Alberta, Canada, Ardeth is the author of numerous books, including Better Than You Think You Are.
The Light Within
A few years ago I met a remarkable young woman who radiates the light of Christ with a glow that illuminates her circle of influence in an inspiring way. Her name is Annae Jensen Jones. She and her husband came to the Cardston Alberta Temple when my husband and I were serving there. Annae was blessed with eyes to see and ears to hear and thoughts to ponder and earnest desires to pursue and a heart to love. Annae had developed a remarkable gift of love, both to receive it and to give it. She had many blessings, but not all. She was born without arms. Because prosthetic limbs do not work for her, she uses her feet for everything she does—and she does everything.
I have a video showing Annae as a child learning to ride a bicycle, using her shoulders on the extended handlebars, falling down and getting up, falling down and getting up. With the power of love, her wise parents permitted and even encouraged the difficult process until she mastered it. Later she learned to drive a car with her feet on the steering wheel. She blow dries her hair and applies makeup, does the cooking, and on and on with incredible determination and skill.
Can you picture this young mother cradling her precious new baby—not in her arms but with her legs and feet, sitting down? “Happiness is an attitude,” Annae says with a winning smile. “I can be happy and deal with it or I can be unhappy about it and end up not reaching my potential.” Following a women’s conference in Calgary, Alberta, I was able to hold her precious baby in my arms, and I marveled at the radiant spirit of this young mother filled with light and love. I wished there could be some arrangement whereby I could literally give her my arms to hold her baby for a little while, and then she could let me be the mother and hold her baby in my arms.
Annae has two children. She explained that when her little two-year-old wants to be picked up, the child has to hold on. Is that not a message for each of us? If we want to be lifted up, we must “hold on.”
Annae’s example shows us that when we magnify the abilities we do have, we are able to compensate for what we don’t have at this time. We focus our attention on our potential rather than our limitations. We see things from a different perspective.
The great Christian writer C. S. Lewis gives us this thought: “The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind. We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us. It is the difference between paint, which is merely laid on the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks right through. . . . When He said, ‘Be perfect,’ He meant it. He meant that we must go in for the full treatment” (Mere Christianity,198).
I believe Annae and her husband, Gareth, are in for the full treatment—not just a “paint,” but a “stain which soaks right through.”
What was it that fueled the fire of commitment, determination, endurance, and unwavering faith in those early pioneers who came before us? How were they able to carry on through such adversity and persecution? Those pioneers were driven by a cause greater than themselves. They had an eternal perspective and an understanding that others were counting on them.
The tender, revealing words of Vilate Chamberlain Raile, one of those early pioneers, offers a glimpse of that perspective:
They cut desire into short lengths
And fed it to the hungry fire of courage.
Long after—when the flames died—
Molten gold gleamed in the ashes.
They gathered it into bruised palms
And handed it to their children
And their children’s children.
(As quoted in Selected Writings of Gerald N. Lund, 402–3)
I ponder the words of my great-great-grandmother Sarah Sturdevant Leavitt, another early pioneer, whose husband died before they reached the valley. She traveled on with her young family to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. In her journal we read these words, which tell something of what she felt in her heart:
“To write my love of God above it would drain the ocean, though the sea was ink, and the earth paper and every stick a pen and every man a scribe. When I try to praise Him in beauty, to honor and magnify the name of God, I find I have no language at my command that will do justice to the case, but when I lay aside this weak, frail body I expect to praise Him in the beauty of holiness.”
Our Father gives us a vision of His glorious work, His love for us, and our grand possibilities, even in the face of trials and adversity. “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).
by Mary - reviewed on January 23, 2013
This book has become my new favorite re-read. I keep it close by for moments of needed uplifting and fabulous quotes. Ardeth teaches with such a beautiful simplicity that this book easily finds its way into your heart, providing warm inspiration.
by April - reviewed on March 06, 2012
I purchased this book while feeling down and needing a boost. I enjoyed each story Ardeth told and how she finds learning and loving experiences in everyday life. At the end of each section are statements to Ponder, Ask yourself and statements to Act upon, to help the reader incorporate the teaching principles into their lives. By loving others, we learn to love ourselves.
by Melinda - reviewed on March 05, 2012
I love this book! It is written so beautifully and it is fun to read. It really gives one a boost up! The "Ponder, Ask, Act" after each chapter encourages you to be pro-active not just let the ideas sink in... but then to act upon them. Thank you for lighting a fire in me.