Monday, May 23, 2011
Coincidence or Providence?
I often hear individuals talk about running into a dear friend they have not seen for a long time. They renew their friendship and their lives are blessed. Is this just a coincidence; I think not! My husband and I moved back to Utah 5 years ago after many years of living in three other states. A short while after being here I found out that one of my dearest friends was moving back to Utah. We hadn't communicated very much through the years; usually just a Christmas card.We are now just a few miles away. We have renewed our friendship and our lives have been deeply blessed. She has been there for me and I have been there for her during some difficult challenges that we have both faced.
I have had moments when I know beyond doubt that my prayers were heard and a Tender Mercies Of the Lord was given.
We all receive these but sometimes we do not recognize them as such. Since thinking about tender mercies; I have become more aware of these moments in my life.
Here is a sweet story told by Gerald Lund in his book Divine Signatures - The Confirming Hand of God on pg. 195-97
"Ellen Breakell lived in Preston, England. She and her husband Alexander Neibaur, were some of the first converts in England when Heber C. Kimball came in 1837. As the call came for the Saints to immigrate to America, the Neibaurs responded and came with the first company, arriving in Nauvoo in 1841.
After they arrived in Nauvoo that fall, Brother Neibaur set up a dental practice. When the church was enduring a new wave of persecution in 1845 and Brigham Young called on the Saints to prepare to leave the following spring and head west, the Neibaurs responded again. They sold all they had to finance an outfit-wagon, livestock, food, and equipment - to go west. They went to Winter Quarters and stayed there for more than a year while the first pioneer companies went west. The next spring 1848, the Neibaurs once again sold everything they had in order to continue west. This left no money for trail-worthy boots or shoes, so Ellen crossed the plains with her feet wrapped in rags.
They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in the fall of 1848. conditions in the Valley were very difficult and for the next eight years there was still little money for anything other than necessities. Not until 1856 did Ellen save enough money to send off to a mail-order house for a pair of high button shoes .
and she knit herself a pair of stockings. One can only imagine what a joy it must have been for her - and women will probably appreciate that more than us men.
Though it is not specified exactly when the shoes arrived, it was not long before the October General Conference of that year. That proved to be a momentous conference. On Sunday, October 5, Brigham Young stood up and announced that they had just learned there were two more handcart companies out on the plains and that the Saints had to go rescue them. Brigham called for wagons, teams, food, blankets, and clothing, including shoes, from the Saints to be sent with the rescue wagons. In an inspiring example of covenant and sacrifice. Ellen gave her new pair of shoes and the stockings to the rescue effort.
After all of those years of going without, Ellen sent off her shoes with the rescuers. Here, in her granddaughter's words, is what followed:
"Customarily, the Saints in the Valley lined the streets to welcome the weary companies as they entered Salt Lake. You can imagine as Ellen stood on the street that day to greet the beleaguered handcart pioneers, was she watching faces, or was she watching feet to see whose footstep she had lightened? Much to her surprise, when she recognized her shoes, she also realized that the woman wearing those shoes was a dear friend of hers from England who had joined the Church after Ellen had left her native country. Through her sacrifice,she had unknowingly helped to rescue the life of her dear friend."
Through the years I have had many wonderful friends and treasure our friendships. Many of these friends I feel were my friends in the pre-existence. They are my sisters and our meeting and becoming friends was not a coincidence. They have all brought great blessings into my life.
I know this was not a coincidence but Providence.
Iam so grateful for the gift of friends and tender mercies from the Lord.