Emily Belle Freeman
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THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

That Which is Good

Psalm 80:3 - Psalm 90:6

“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever.”

(Psalm 89:1)

One of my favorite tender mercy stories happened almost eighteen months ago.

But the beginning of that tender mercy actually started in the year 2004.

In October of 2004 our Stake President invited each of the families in our Stake to purchase a picture of the Savior to hang in our homes.  He told us not to buy just any picture; instead we were to find a picture that strengthened our testimony of the Lord.  Perhaps the painting would portray the way we thought the Savior looked, or maybe the illustration represented one of our favorite stories of the Savior.  The importance was that every time we looked at it, our testimony would be strengthened.

Greg and I determined we wanted to do this for each of our children.

Josh chose a painting of the Second Coming. Meg chose a scene where the Lord was throwing a young girl into the air and catching her again.  Grace chose the pastel rendition of the Savior sitting surrounded by children.  Caleb knew exactly what picture he wanted, but we could not find it.  He wanted a painting of the story found in Matthew 14, when Peter walks on the water to Christ.  However, he didn’t want Peter to be walking on the water, he wanted the moment when Peter was drowning in the water, and the Savior reached out His hand to rescue him.

He was 13 at the time, so of course he wanted the most dramatic part of the story to be depicted.  He would not settle for anything else.

We couldn’t find a painting like that anywhere.  I searched and searched, browsing the Internet, combing through every art book I could find.  Then, finally, the week before Christmas, I stumbled upon a really expensive book of artwork that included the exact picture Caleb had described.  I bought the whole book so I could rip out the one picture to have it framed.  Just before we framed the pictures we had each of our children write in their own handwriting at the bottom of the picture, “I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Christmas 2004.”

Those pictures have hung in each of my children’s rooms for six years.

Last August Caleb left on a two-year mission to Croatia.  In the first letter he sent from the MTC he wrote, “I am the only missionary in the whole MTC learning Croatian.” Lucky for me I was not quick to put two and two together.  For ten blissful weeks it did not dawn on me that if you are the only missionary in the MTC learning Croatian, then you are probably the only missionary in the MTC going to Croatia.

When realization finally dawned, I panicked!  “They can’t send Caleb all the way to Croatia by himself,” I told Greg, “There’s no way they would send a missionary somewhere alone.”  Greg just smiled.  Caleb called from the airport to check in as he was leaving.  A nice couple from the MTC had dropped him off at the curb of the Salt Lake International Airport.  Sure enough he was traveling alone.  He thought it was hilarious that people kept asking where his companion was.  I did not find it nearly as amusing.

We hung up, and I started to pray.  I prayed that the Lord would be mindful of Caleb, that He would not lose track of him, that Caleb would be known and remembered of the Lord throughout his journey.  I must have said that prayer a hundred times.

I spent the entire first week of Caleb’s mission doing what every missionary mom does –-I prayed.  I pled with the Lord for his safety.  I asked that he would be assigned to a companion who would teach him well.  I knew the mission encompassed seven countries, with only 45 missionaries.  This meant Caleb and his companion might serve in a country separate from the mission President or any other elders, I prayed that he would never feel alone.  Constantly my heart uttered the prayer that I had prayed throughout Caleb’s journey ––that the Lord would be mindful of Caleb, that He would not lose track of him, that Caleb would be known and remembered of the Lord along the way.

A week after Caleb arrived in Croatia he finally wrote home.  “Last Wednesday was zone meeting.  It was super awesome!  I got to meet all the Croatian missionaries.  President Hill had me stand and bear my testimony.  Then after that President Hill talked a little about when I walked through the doors of the Slovenian Airport all by myself.  He likened me to Peter walking on water when he saw Christ.”

Now, the mission president did not know that was Caleb’s favorite scripture story ––but the Lord did.  He honored Caleb’s commitment to serve Him in a way that was personal to Caleb ––in a way that would inspire Caleb to know for certain that he was remembered of the Lord.

In the moments when we wonder if the Lord is mindful of us, the moments when we wonder if He is aware of us and our situation, we must watch for His hand in our life.  It is in those tender mercy moments that we come to realize an important truth ––we are known and remembered of the Lord on every step of this journey.

“Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good.”

(Psalm 85:12)

Emily Freeman