My apologies for not posting for a bit.  I’ve been back at school and it’s been pretty interesting balancing the demands of work/school/church or just plain life in general.  But I’ve been working on some posting that I’ll be sharing in the near future so stay tuned.

I do want to share one thing… If any of you have had a faith crisis, you’ve most likely run across Bill Reel’s website.  He’s interviewed many, many people (including me) and sharing how one can navigate through the morass of conflicting feelings, theology and church history.  If you’ve not had a chance, please visits his website.

The reason I’m bringing this up is that he is in the mist of revamping his website and needs a bit of help to do so.  So if you’ve been helped by him, please go to his kickstarter page and donate a dollar or so.  If you’ve missed the campaign, then go to his website and donate from there.

Mormon Discussion Podcast Kickstarter Page

Mormon Discussion: Leading with Faith Website


Frustrations of Learning Friendship

For the last many months, I’ve been searching for some definition of what my faith is, and searching-businessmanrwhat it’s all about.  But for some reason, I’m not able to plug anything into it.  It seems to be so transient and difficult to latch something onto it.  It seems to be so nebulous as to defy definition.  I’m not sure if it’s because it’s time for me to stretch, but it’s most likely because I’ve allowed my rebelliousness to get the best of me.  But then as I drilled further down, I had to ask; where is this rebelliousness coming from?  Well, I found the source: frustration.

Let me tell you where I first realized that I something was wrong, and it was bad.  Without going into confidential details, I snapped at one of the participants in my Addiction Recovery Program (ARP) meeting.  Afterwards, I was strongly prompted to apologize to both the group and the individual but it left me shaking and wondering; what was wrong with me?  Why did I have this feeling to be so hard on this person?  What possessed me to call this person to repentance when it was nowhere near the realm of my place to do so?  Something with me wasn’t right.

It was during this analysis that I was able to peel back the layers until I got to the source of what triggered me.  Without going into all the gory details, first, I was publicly dressed down and humiliated by someone I considered a good friend.  Then, just a few weeks later, I was told by a close friend that our boundaries were going to shift to less of a confidant role but to a more friend-like role.

Tough_Cookie_1-rNow I think that I’m a tough enough guy and can handle this type of stuff.  However, when things go wrong, I may look confident, but I get aggressive both physically and emotionally; both a reflection of the turmoil that is boiling inside me.  If it’s a relationship issue, then hey, it’s easy, I cut people out.  You dis’ me, I no longer know you.  It what has been an emotional defense mechanism left over from my younger days.  You see, before I began my journey, friends were people that I know and share experiences with and will always be there.  If they left, they were out.  Besides, to me, nobody stuck around and even fewer, if anyone, could be trusted.  So you can imagine how I treated people who would try to cry on my shoulder (it wasn’t pretty).  Thus, because I didn’t like people, by default, everyone was an acquaintance.  It was black and white; you were a person I tolerated or I didn’t like you at all.

There is only one time that a close friend (my first close friend) had left me and I didn’t cut them out.  Granted, I wasn’t always nice to him but he appreciated my brazen forthrightness and accepted who I was.  The only two reasons I can come up with for not cutting him out is that his wife told me that he was just as sad about leaving as I was and he hadn’t done anything that had me question our trust for each other.  When we reconnected 10 years later, we pick up where we left off, albeit a lot older and wiser.  But we are still close friends.

But as part of my rehabilitation, I had to force myself out of isolation and interact with other people.  This forced me, in my linear thinking way, to define relationships and place people into categories:


  1. People who don’t like me.
  2. People who treat me trite-fully or with contempt.
  3. People who are disingenuous.
  4. People who want me to join in their bad behavior.


  1. Funny people – those who “tolerate” me.  I tend to mess with them.  Unchristian, I know.
  2. Cliquish people – People I have to deal with but who are in their own little clique and have deemed that I am not worthy to join in (mainly, the way I feel with some in my ward and stake).
  3. Colleagues
  4. People I know whom I’m not close to.


  1. Friend – A person with whom we have shared personal experiences.
  2. Good Friend – A friend I feel I can trust with a little bit of myself.
  3. Close Friend – A good friend whom I have implicit trust in and am loyal to.  A confidant.  These people I can count on one hand.

Now these may not work for you or are totally wrong, but in my logical and linear thinking, it works.  With these categories, I learned to deal with the ambiguity of people’s behavior and relationships up to “Friend.”   Good and close friend are less ambiguous because there are a basic set of assumptions and rules that I can count on and trust.  But I get lost when I have a good or close friend do or say something that challenges the notions that they even want to be that close to me.  In other words, they do something outside my nice and tidy definitions and force me to re-define what relational category they are in.  So when two people I considered good and close friends did something that force me to wonder if they even want to be friends with me, it threw me off, made me question my judgment and put me on the defensive with all the aggressiveness and walls that come with it.

But it goes further.

While on a defensive posture, I am slow to answer all emails and texts, I avoid answering the phone, I isolate myself, I doubt myself, I question my judgment, I loathe myself.  Character weakness?  You bet!  It reminds me of the scene from The Hunt for Red October.  When the sonar couldn’t identify the sound of the new submarine, it ran back to its original programming – seismic anomaly.  So as I become confused and hurt, I run back to my original programming – ostracize and hate (both them and me).

But I ran into a conundrum that left me even more confused; these are friendships that I Cute_Baby_girl_looking_frustrated1rdidn’t want to lose.  For the first time, I began to feel that the best course of action was not to dismiss these people but to forgive, work with them and keep them as good and close friends.  So I was internally fighting the autopilot reaction to shove these people out, but I didn’t know where to put them.  It became an emotional and intellectual fight that overwhelmed me to the point that it leaked to how I began treating other people around me.  The more frustrated I got, the more aggressive I became until I lashed out in that ARP meeting that night.

So now where am I?

In short, still confused and still questioning and watching as this confusion is now spilling out into the very faith in Christ that I hold so dear.  It’s so easy to say that Christ is my Elder Brother and my Best Friend, but our relationship with our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ is colored by our relationship with other people.  Thus, the scripture “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34).  Additionally, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” (1 John 4:7)  We cannot say “I don’t need friends” while at the same time espousing “I love God.”  It doesn’t work that way.

Or how about a mental exercise: Is your relationship with your Father in Heaven the same as your Father on Earth?  When you do something wrong, are you afraid to pray about it because your Heavenly Father will be, if He is not already, mad at you?  Think about how you approach your Father in Heaven in prayer; is it similar as you would approach your father on earth?  Then why would it not be different with friendship?  How can we say that Christ is our friend if we are dismissive of our earthly friend who offends us?  Or more personally, how can I dismiss the friendship of my good and close friends but on the same breath call Christ my friend?  I believe that it is because I gained a closer relationship with my Father in Heaven and Christ that I now pull back from cutting people out.   While I am currently going through a period of turmoil about people and my relationship with them, it is tempered by my new-found relationship with God and my Savior.  In other words, I don’t see people like I used to see them, I don’t treat people like I used to treat them.

So for now, I have this personal struggle because I’m 30 years behind schedule in understanding the basic tenants of friendship.  As a result, my natural reaction is to be harsh.  But my new-found, all-be-it not natural reaction is to be easy to be entreated.  My attitude is to try to do the right thing by listening to how God wants me to act.  Reading the previously cited scriptures, there is no ambiguity left.  As for my rebelliousness, that still needs to be excised out of me.  But it is that rebellion that puts me in the position to stretch and grow.  It’s the questioning that opens me up to self-analyze, search and receive answers.  But it’s not getting all the answers at once that both frustrates and keeps me focused.  However, it’s the questioning of my faith that terrifies me, but on the other hand, comforts me because to not question is to be stagnating, rotting away and falling.  To be questioning is to be in constant movement, progressing and traveling further down the path of rehabilitation and life.

JesusWalkingOnTheWater_rQuite frankly, I’m not able to see the future or have a certainty that life will get better.  The here and now is not very bright but full of difficulty and consequences, but I have a firm faith that my Father in Heaven is very much aware of me and my struggles.  I also have a firm belief that this struggle I’m having now is for a reason known to Him; that these lessons are preparing me for something better.  So while I question why He would be so interested in me, a lowly sinner who brought on me the weight of the consequences of my actions, I am very much aware of His mercy, patience and love for me.  It is that love and acceptance that I’ll try to use that as an example of how I need to be with my friends.

Holiday Blahs

I dislike the holidays something fierce!

Don’t worry, this posting will get better but I’m going to admit to a character weakness BahHumbugCatwhich is to always look at the glass as half empty.  It’s my nature and its one that I believe is beginning to change.  But before I get ahead of myself, an explanation; I dislike the holiday season because, with very few exceptions, since 2004 I’ve spent them alone.  There were two Thanksgivings a few years back where I was able to be with my kids but because of cost and circumstances, I will not be able to spend any holidays with them for the foreseeable future, and that really stinks.

Now, before you tell me that I should find a family to be with, let me mention that a person in my situation will always feel like the fifth-wheel.  It’s not my family; they’re not my kids so it doesn’t ring with me except to feel I’m being pitied.  And to hang out with other single adults only invites the feeling of not having anything in common with them except I have nowhere else to go.

So the bottom line is that I hate being alone during the holiday season, but I’d rather be by myself.

searchingHowever, this past Thanksgiving I was searching, but for what I didn’t know.  I drove a couple of hours to one temple to try to capture some peace.  I stood there and looked at the beautiful structure but I still felt the need to keep searching, still not knowing what I was looking for.  The next day I drove another couple of hours to a different temple and had the same experience as before.   So on my way home I stopped by a third temple (the one that is actually closest to me).   I sat there wondering why I felt this drive to search for something, wanting to know what that something was.  After a couple of hours I just gave up and drove home confused with what I was experiencing.

It wasn’t a moment after I walked into my apartment that I had an intense feeling I needed to go back to the temple.  Really?  I was just there and I’m burning a lot of fuel driving around, besides, what for?  Well, no answer except that I needed to go back to the temple.  So I changed into warmer clothing and drove back.

This time it was evening so the Christmas lights were on, giving color to the otherwise darkness.  I walked around the building, looking at the lights, the fountains and the other families enjoying the ambiance but I still didn’t know why I was there.   I was no closer to finding out even after a couple of hours of walking, sitting and pondering.  Eventually, I ended up sitting in front of the visitor center, watching all the people going in and out, all the kids running around and all the parents chasing after them.

But I still felt that I needed to continue to search for that elusive something and that I shouldn’t leave the temple grounds until I found it.  It was a super strange feeling because it wasn’t like other times where I knew what I was searching for and where to look, for example forgiveness or an answer to a specific question.  This time, it was a combination of wanting and being guided while at the same time being blind as to what I would find let alone knowing what I was lacking.

It was at this time that I went into the visitor center where, when I entered and looked to the right, I saw was a room full of crèches and was hit with the spirit so sudden that it startled me.  It startled me to the point that I physically felt my body jolt from the sudden and unexpected experience.

I went ahead and looked at the crèches, watch a little video of the birth of Christ and then LA-Visitor-Center-Open-House-christus-021snuck into the back of the room that had the Christus statue standing there while a Sister Missionary was addressing a group of people.  She spoke to them about Christ and invited them to think about Him as the audio presentation was played.  After the presentation, where a number of scriptures were recited, she asked them what they were thinking and how they felt.  Well, that was all well and good, and there were some simple but heartfelt comments.  That is until she stood front of me and asked “how about you?”

Me: “What about me?”  Yea, Mr. Obnoxious strikes again.

Her: “How do you feel about Jesus Christ?”

Me, after a long pause: “Christ sees me and treats me as an individual that matters.  He saved me, He saved my life.  He pulled me out of addictions.  So my feelings of Christ are very personal and run very deep.”

She just stood there and stared at me.  Now, I felt the strong presence of the spirit but I couldn’t help but wonder if I said something wrong.  Then she said “Thank you, I needed to hear that.”  She then turned to the others and remarked to them “We all needed to hear that.”


She took them to another room to watch a movie about the 10 commandments but I felt it was time to go so I just sat there until they all filed out, a couple of them shaking my hand and thanking me, then speedily departed the building.  It wasn’t until I sat in my car thinking about what had just happened that what I was looking for was given to me.  And this is what it was:

“Christmas is not about what you do not have, it is about what you have.”

That cleared my mind up really fast as I pondered what I was just given.  I know to others it’s a “well, no duh!” kind of thing, but to me it was a remarkable, profound thought.  I was dwelling on what I don’t have which is my family, my children, companionship, financial resources or freedom just to name a few.  But what I do have is the companionship of the spirit, my church membership, the gospel, friends, men that I minister to and a life that while it is nowhere near ideal, it is a whole lot better than it was before.  But most of all, I have a changed heart.  I’m not that angry, hateful, vulgar person I was before.  I’m someone else.

half-fullThis experience is why I believe that the next step for me is to stop looking at life as a glass half empty, but half full.  But like every other struggle, it will be one that will take a long time to excise out of me.  Right now, I can’t imagine myself thinking with such a positive mindset.   But then again, 10 years ago I was in a group therapy session where the therapist went around the circle and had each one of us say one thing that is good about ourselves.  When it came to me, I actually had an anxiety attack; sharp breathing, tight chest and all.  The thought that there was anything good about me drove me into such a panic that I couldn’t say a thing, so loathsome and useless I thought of myself and so great was the hold Satan had on me.  It was a hard fought battle to get him to let go.

Today, the battle is to keep him from grabbing onto me again by changing my outlook to see all the good things I have, all the good things about me and all the good things I do.  I may not have my children living with me, but I have children who are bright, are progressing academically, socially and in the gospel.   Most important of all, they are my progeny and my responsibility.  I may not have companionship, but I have the companionship of the Holy Ghost, which is a powerful companion to have.  I may not have financial resources, but I have what I need and what I have has been provided to me by a loving Heavenly Father.  I may not be the smartest guy with a ton of education with the awesome career that will carry me comfortably into the future, but, again, I have a loving Father in Heaven who has a plan for me.  I may have done a lot of wrong but today I’m doing a lot of right under the tutelage and guidance of my loving Father in Heaven.

I may once again be alone this holiday season but I am not alone in spirit.  I need to get over myself, look at what I do have and seek after the spirit because as I do that, everything else will fall into place.  It was that way in the past, it’s that way now and it will be that way in the future.

To have a positive attitude and outlook; to see the glass half full; this is the next evolution of my character in my journey back to my Father in Heaven.  Hopefully, this time, it won’t take a decade.


I’ve come to understand that there is this dichotomy of experiences that I’ve been having and it’s been interesting, thought provoking and most of all, weird.  My thought process began after I read the book “Falling to Heaven” by James Ferrell.  In his book, he talks dichotomyabout how the gospel is filled with paradoxes and dichotomies which started with the fall of Adam and Eve where their fall was necessary for us all to progress to eternal life.  Additionally, there are a number of other dichotomies such as to feel joy we first have to feel pain, to feel the releasing joy from sin we first have to feel the binding guilt of sin, to learn to trust God we first had to learn what it was to not trust Him, To be able to live with our Father in Heaven we first had to forget we lived with him before and so on and so forth.  It set in my mind that the gospel is not all milk and cookies 24/7, it’s learning by failing and from the failing we progress even further from where we started.

The Car Experience

This idea further cemented itself into my being with a couple of experiences I had.  First one is about a car.  Now I live in a big city and in my area, public transportation is really scartoonparse so no vehicle means no groceries, work, church, etc.  So when my car blew its head gasket, I was blessed to have another one, in my price range, that was available within walking distance of me.  I purchased it and after three weeks it to blew a head gasket.  I was able to scrape together enough to get it fixed and it worked for a whole nine months before, while driving home from an ARP meeting, the timing chain failed and wrecked the engine.  I pretty much hit my limit because I was out of money and what I thought was the blessing of a nice, good, reliable vehicle turned out to not be.  So I became angry and I vented that anger to the Lord.

But there was something else that came into play that I believed was a lesson and blessing that serendipity just doesn’t begin to explain.  It just so happened that a friend of mine had a vehicle returned to him by his son.  His son wanted something more economical so he bought a new vehicle and the car his parents got him, he gave back.  The mom wanted that car out of the driveway so my friend was looking to sell it.  “Serendipity” steps in because this was a week before my car died.  My friend and his wife talked about it and they decided that they wanted me to have it so they sold it to me for an extremely generous price.  So now I own a very nice vehicle that I’ve used to not only get myself around, but also cart around the missionaries, give other rides and to take care of my callings.

The day I got my new car, I immediately thanked my Father in Heaven and repented for my outburst and not trusting him.  That’s when I felt the movement of the spirit let me know that my Father in Heaven knows what’s going on with me and that He has His plan for me.  I only need to strive to do my best and trust Him and that everything will unfold as He sees fit.  That this lesson he wanted me to learn by experiencing this episode with my car.

The School Experience

So on to my second story; I seriously and sincerely hesitate to share this story because I don’t want to throw out there what may seem to be a criticism of the church I dearly love.  But this was to become a point where I truly had my commitment to the church tested and strengthened.  Keep in mind that, as I mentioned before and in my interview, I am a registered sex offender because it will come into play.

I applied to the BYU-Idaho Pathway program because I wanted to move forward and get my bachelor degree.  The first time I was denied because I collegewas not a member.  Ok, that part was fixed with rebaptism so I applied again.  I was denied again because I was a registered offender.  That really set me off, truly hurt me and really make me question how is it that a church that allowed me to be rebaptised into the fold, forgave me of my sins and indiscretions but yet still have one of its institutions deny me entry?  It seemed that this was double-talk and I couldn’t reconcile it with the gospel it espoused.

I pushed back pretty hard and really questioned it but at the same time, I love this church and if there’s one thing I learned is that the church is true but, at times, the members leave a lot to be desired.  So I thought the answer was that this was human failing.  But after pushing and prodding and hurting, I still couldn’t get an answer to my question to why I was being denied entry even though I repented, was rebaptised and could get an ecclesiastical endorsement (before members can get entry into a church school, they must pass muster with the Bishop and Stake Presidency and that’s called an ecclesiastical endorsement).

I sat down with my stake president and he told me that he couldn’t answer why other than there are consequences to my actions and that even though I repented, was rebaptised and was forgiven, I still have consequences for my misdeeds that cannot be escaped.  As he told me that, I felt a confirmation that what he was saying was correct and was my answer.

When I got home and thought about it, my memory took me back to the time I asked (demanded, actually) from the Lord an answer to why is it that because of what other people have done to me as a youth which became the catalyst for the horribly bad decisions that I made, that I have to suffer the consequences from it?  The answer: nothing.  I never received an answer to that question but what I did receive was the grace of God.  When I asked that question, I was in a lot of emotional pain and I was still struggling to move forward.  What the Lord did was to lift that pain from me which enabled me to take a huge, progressive leap forward.  This question about the church became the same thing; he lifted the deep hurt that I was feeling leaving the question not fully answered.

I’m going to go to school, but I’m going in a different direction than before.  After much prayer, meditation and looking, I found a schooling path that I feel comfortable the Lord wants me to pursue.  So after I worked through and learned that the Pathway Program is not an option for me, I’m able to concentrate more on where I need to be.

And thus this takes me right back to the dichotomy of the gospel.  I needed to go through the bad experience of the car to further learn to trust God.  I also needed to go through the experience of the Pathway Program to not only solidify my commitment to the church, but to learn to trust in the patLighted-Path-rh God has laid out for me.  Because, in that path, I can live the dichotomy of having to deal with the consequences of my past sins and the judgments I incurred and still progress in life, light and have joy and happiness.

Living with the consequences from past sins and still gain true, deep and abiding happiness – really, the thought is just weird but in practice, with the Lord, it’s the truth.

Grace: The Moment vs. The Eternities

For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. (2 Nephi, 25:23)

The preceding is a scripture that we, as Mormons, are quite familiar with.  It is usually the first salvo in any faith/works discussion and it is taken to mean that we have to do all we can to in this life to attain Eternal Life.  However, I have, as of late, come to an additional conclusion of what this scripture means.  And it all lies on the premise of the moment vs. the eternities.

To get what I mean, let’s start off with an example using the “be perfect” scriptures:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect. (3 Nephi 12:48)

These two scriptures are definitely not meant to be accomplished in this life since there is nothing we can ever do to make ourselves perfect.  Even with repentance, we will still make all kinds of mistakes which will make us ineligible for perfection.  However, after all is passed and we’re at the moment of resurrection, well, that’s when we will be made perfect but with one caveat; if we qualify.  So these scriptures are all about what out potential is and that ultimate goal that we are all expected to work towards.

But then what about the moment?  When I read the scriptures, I look to see if what I’m reading has a narrower meaning than at first reading.  To illustrate, let’s use the Atonement:


With the Atonement, all mankind will be resurrected.  But it also has a more personal level to it.  So when I read about this subject, I also look at how far down the funnel I can go; from the broad eternal perspective to the personal.  It is the same way when I look at commandments and blessings:


Blessings are for the eternities, for my life and right now, at this moment.  This is how I view the grace of God and his tender mercies; there is an eternal, a life and a right now level to it.

Well, ok, what is grace?  In the online Webster’s dictionary, grace is defined as “unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification.”    I looked around other Christian websites and I found the same definition.  Additionally, on one website I found it in acronym form:


I don’t know how I feel about that, but I’ll continue.  The LDS Bible Dictionary has a bit more:

“It is through the grace of the Lord Jesus, made possible by His atoning sacrifice, that mankind will be raised in immortality, every person receiving his body from the grave in a condition of everlasting life. It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.

Divine grace is needed by every soul in consequence of the Fall of Adam and also because of man’s weaknesses and shortcomings. However, grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient. Hence the explanation, ‘It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do’” (LDS Bible Dictionary: Grace, emphasis added)

So, we start at the top of the funnel and see that we need grace to be saved because we are unable to save ourselves.  But what we miss in these definitions and explanations and what I feel that we, as an LDS church culture, are guilty of is looking too far into the future, worrying and trying to gain blessings for the eternities, while we fail to realize that these blessings, such as the grace of God, are meant to bless us this very moment, if not this very second.  We get hung up on the “after all we can do” when it comes to the end of life and not “after all we can do” when it comes to right now.

I’ll give a couple of examples in my own life that I recently shared to illustrate.  When I was rebaptised, I experienced spiritual experiences that was, and still is, unequaled to any other spiritual experience I have ever experienced.  No, the heavens did not open and I did not see a choir of angels singing when I was pulled up out of the water.  But I felt the companionship of my Father in Heaven closer than I have ever felt in my whole life.  Nothing compared to what I felt that evening.  For nine years or so I did all I could do to be prepared and worthy for rebaptism and because I qualified and received that sacred ordinance, I was blessed for it in an immense way.

Conversely, a couple of weeks ago I had a horrible day.  I woke up, got ready for the day, said my prayer, read my scriptures and then it all went downhill from there.  By the time the day was over, I had my boss upset at me, clients that were demanding, my work confessioncomputer that was not cooperating, I learned about some bad news, and many, many other things from that day and that week that just kept piling up higher and higher.  Everything went wrong.  By the time my day was over, I was frustrated, I hated me, I hated everyone, I hated my situation and I just plain and simple hated my life.  So that evening, as I was ready to lie down, I said my evening prayer and I vented all my pain and frustrations to my Father in Heaven.  I didn’t feel any better when I was done but I went ahead and lied down in bed, albeit in tears, because it was just way too much for me to take at that moment.  After lying there for less than a minute, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and peace was spoken to my soul.  I went from pained and frustrated to relaxed and fell asleep.  I did all I could do at that moment and that was to exercise a little faith that my Father in Heaven would listen.  He did and I was blessed with his grace.

One of the best talks I’ve heard and read about Grace given by a General Authority is from the April 1993 General Conference talk: Receiving Divine Assistance through the Grace of the Lord” by Gene R. Cook.  In his talk, he says:

“Yes, works alone cannot bring that divine gift, but they are a key condition upon which the gift is received. (See 2 Ne. 10:23–25.) “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Ne. 25:23.)

Thus, unless one has done all in his own power, he cannot expect the grace of God to be manifest. What a glorious principle to understand: the Lord’s assistance to us—whether we have strong faith or weak faith; whether a man, a woman, or a child—is not based just on what we know, how strong we are, or who we are, but more upon our giving all that we can give and doing all that we can do in our present circumstance. Once one has given all he can, then the Lord, through His grace, may assist him. (See D&C 123:17.)”

Weak or strong faith, it doesn’t matter.  It’s about what we have at the moment.  At my mercy-and-grace-sign-500rebaptism I had a strong faith that what I was doing was necessary and I was blessed for it.  When I had that difficult day, my faith took a beating but I summoned just enough to say a prayer and I was blessed for it.  There are thousands of examples that are in between these two levels but I hope that you get the point of what I learned.  Sure, look to the eternities.  That type of perspective puts this life into its correct focus.  But don’t concentrate so much on look ahead that you miss the lessons and the blessings of the moment.  It is exercising what faith we can at these good and bad points in life that solidifies our testimony of a loving Heavenly Father who sacrificed his loving Son, Jesus Christ so that they can, through the loving power of the Holy Ghost, bless our lives and give us grace so that we can be empowered to not only get through life’s difficult times, but conquer them.