Emily Belle Freeman
IMG_0901ed.jpg

THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

The Special Days

Deuteronomy 4:6 - Deuteronomy 7:10

Remember how on Friday I explained to you how much I love Deuteronomy?

Well, I had a super hard time choosing what to write about today.  There were so many things I loved from the chapters that I wanted to write about...

On tender mercies…Deuteronomy 4:30-35 & 39

On having such an heart…Deuteronomy 5:29

On what we need to do so that “it might be well with us”

But there is a phrase in chapter four that I absolutely can’t pass up…it teaches on remembering the special days.

As the people of Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land Moses took time to give them great counsel. “Take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; specially the day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb, when the Lord said unto me, Gather me the people together. . . . And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven. . . . And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire. . . . Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him” (Deuteronomy 4:9–10, 11, 12, 35; emphasis added).

Moses knew that the burning-mountain moment had been a life-changing experience for those who recognized what it was. He wanted them always to remember what their eyes had seen, never to forget that moment in their hearts. I love how Moses reminded them to remember “specially the day.”

What are the special days in your life?

Elder Ronald A. Rasband encourages us to “think of the special experiences you have been blessed with in your life that have given you conviction and joy in your heart. Remember when you first knew that Joseph Smith was God’s prophet of the Restoration? Remember when you accepted Moroni’s challenge and knew that the Book of Mormon was indeed another testament of Jesus Christ? Remember when you received an answer to fervent prayer and realized that your Heavenly Father knows and loves you personally? As you contemplate such special experiences, don’t they give you a sense of gratitude and resolve to go forward with renewed faith and determination? In these days of worldly intrusions into our lives, when trials and difficulties may seem to engulf us, let us remember our own special spiritual experiences” (“Special Experiences,” 11, 12).

I will never forget the day almost two years ago, when my oldest son, Caleb, received the packet containing his mission call. Caleb wanted to invite some of his friends to watch him open the call that evening at eight o’clock. I thought it was a great idea.

He wanted to serve hot dogs.

Late in the afternoon I was making a list of who would be coming to make sure I had purchased enough hot dogs. Between grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins we were expecting just over forty people from our extended family. I called him up to ask how many more he anticipated. “I don’t know, Mom,” he replied. “I invited all of the Young Men and my leaders, my home teaching companion and the families we teach, the entire lacrosse team, and some friends from school.”

I knew immediately I hadn’t bought enough hot dogs.

Not only that, I wasn’t sure if we could fit that many people into our house. At eight o’clock that night people started arriving, quickly filling the family room, kitchen, and front hall of our home. Once the doorbell finally stopped ringing, I ran upstairs to get my camera so I could record the minute when Caleb opened his call.

As I walked out of the library, I looked down the stairs at the rooms below—there were so many people you could no longer see the carpet, the tile, or even any of the furniture that fills up those three areas of our home. The house was completely bursting with people who had come to see Caleb open his call. As I turned to walk down the stairs I had an impression—take a picture of this—and so I did. Then I ran down the stairs so Caleb could open his call.

I don’t think a mother ever anticipates correctly where her son will serve, so it won’t surprise you to learn that I was completely shocked when Caleb announced he would be spending the next two years in Croatia. I didn’t even know where Croatia was. After the hot dogs had been served and the well-wishers had returned to their own homes and everyone had gone to bed, I found my thoughts racing over the events of the day.

On this day Caleb had carried that call in his hands for most of the afternoon, practically bursting with anticipation because he knew that the Lord’s prophet had extended the call contained inside. On this day he had been surrounded by people who supported him, who would cheer him through every missionary experience he encountered in the next two years. On this day he had shared his testimony before he opened his call, the light shining in his eyes as he testified that more than anything in the world he wanted to serve the Lord. On this day he could barely wait to put on a suit and get to Croatia. On this day he knew where he was going and why. There wasn’t a doubt in his mind. He was a confident and willing servant. Oh, how I wished that somehow, when he was miles and months away from here, he would be able to remember this day.

And then I remembered the picture.

Immediately my heart filled with gratitude for a loving Father in Heaven who knew in advance the thoughts of a mother’s heart. I had been inspired to take a picture of that exact moment, of this special day.

The next morning I had the picture printed in a size that I could glue into the back of Caleb’s scriptures. I knew there would be moments of discouragement when he got on his mission, times when he would wonder what he was doing and why he had come so far from home. When that happened, he could look back at that picture pasted in his scriptures and say, on this day, specially this day, I knew where I was going and why.

There is great strength in remembering our special days. Especially the days when we come to know that the Lord, He is God.

Perhaps today you could take some time to remember your own special days.

…specially the days when you recognized the hand of the Lord.

You might want to write them down, lest they depart from your heart.

So you won't ever forget.

 

 

 

Emily Freeman