Thursday, November 9, 2017

Life is a beautiful mess

The last month I’ve been thinking a lot about life’s purpose and how we can find happiness here as well as eternal happiness. Life has been so good but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. The last month there’s been lots of ups and downs that I’ve experienced as I’m sure you have as well.
On Monday, my dear aunt Melanie passed away after battling cancer for over 20 years. She will forever be one of my role models and who I hope to be like. She always had a smile on her face and was always seeking a way to make someone else happy. She never complained about what she was going through. I remember she would talk about her mission a lot and one day we talked all day about her mission which really inspired me to consider serving. Melanie was always one to love and serve and I, and so many others, will miss her so much.
This sparked my thinking about life and what I can do to make the most of my life while here. I want to cherish every moment I have and enjoy every relationship created while on earth. Last night, my boyfriend and I were watching the TV show This Is Us and one of the characters had a beautiful take on life. He said it so well, I’m going to just copy what he wrote here for you to read. He said,
I painted this because I felt like the play was about life, you know, and life is full of color and we each get to come along and we add our own color to the painting, you know? And even though it's not very big - - the painting - - you sort of have to figure that it goes on forever, you know, in each direction? So, like, to infinity, you know. 'Cause that's kinda like life. It's really crazy, if you think about it, that a hundred years ago some guy that I never met came to this country with a suitcase. He has a son, who has a son, who has me. So at first when I was painting I was thinking, you know, maybe that was that guy's part of the painting and then down here that's my part of the painting. And then I started to think... well... what if we're all in the painting... everywhere? And what if we're in the painting before we're born? What if we're in it after we die? And these colors that we keep adding, they just keep getting added on top of one another, 'til eventually we're not even different colors anymore. We're just... one thing. One painting. My dad, he's not with us anymore. He's not alive... but he's with us. He's with me every day. It all just sort of fits somehow, even if you don't understand how yet. People will die in our lives - - people that we love. In the future. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe years from now. I mean, it's kind of beautiful, right, if you think about it, the fact that just because someone dies, just because you can't see them or talk to them anymore, it doesn't mean they're not still in the painting. I think maybe that's the point of the whole thing. There's no dying. There's no 'You' or 'Me' or 'Them.' It's just 'Us.' And this sloppy, wild, colorful, magical thing that has no beginning, has no end, it's right here. I think it's us. 

*this is the painting he is referring to*

When I heard this character speak those words I thought to myself that was honestly one of the most beautiful things I’d ever heard. “Just because you can’t see them or talk to them anymore, it doesn’t mean they’re not still in the paining.” 
Our life is made up of so many individual brushstrokes created by interactions with others. And their presence and impact on us is eternal. We, too, make brushstrokes on others’ paintings and we have the possibility to be a part of someone else’s life forever. Life is this beautiful mess that we all help each other through and it ends up being a masterpiece. 
Life is a gift and I’m grateful for the chance I have to live it and to create my masterpiece. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Jesus Christ is REAL

It has been a very long time since I have blogged, but today I felt the immense need to share. Recently I have learned on a very personal and intimate level what Jesus Christ does for us. I've learned that He is a part of our daily lives, even when we don't realize it or don't feel worthy of it or even if we aren't even looking for it.
Jesus Christ performed the Atonement to know how we personally feel in our mortal experience. His Atonement has two effects- it cleanses us but it also enables us. What I've learned the last little bit is how the gift He gave to us lifts us and gives us strength to make it through life because He REALLY does know how we feel. He experienced it all Himself.
A quote that I first heard in young women's has stuck with me over the years and it says "I never said it would be easy, I only said it will be worth it". Life is HARD. Life isn't fair. And there are times I just want to pack up and go home and live with my parents for the rest of my life. No matter how hard life gets, though, I couldn't imagine how much harder life would be without Christ who knows what I feel and understands me perfectly.
Even though life is hard at times, life is wonderful. There are so many things to be grateful for. I'm grateful for a Savior who carries me through the hard times and rejoices with me during the good times.
He suffered so He could feel every heart ache, every sorrow, every doubt we would feel here on Earth. He put aside His will so He could help us out. I know He is there to help us because He has helped me in a way that only the Savior of the world could. He knows me and knows what I need just like He knows you and what you need. He will give you the perfect help you need.

Two quotes I want to share that have helped me find comfort:
"The Savior gave his life so you can completely overcome the challenges you face." - Elder Richard G. Scott
"To any who may be struggling to see that light and find hope, I say: Hold on. Keep trying. God loves you. Things will improve." - Elder Jeffery R. Holland

A stake president from my mission said that faith is knowing that God has the power to do something and hope is knowing that God will use that power to do something for you. Hold on to hope. He is aware and He will run to you. Don't give up.
I love Jesus Christ and strive to be like him. I know He is our Savior and can and WILL help us when we need Him. He is always there. "I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands" (1 Nephi 21:16)
He lives. He is a living being with a body of flesh and bones. He is perfect and because He is perfect, He always shows us perfect love.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Tender Mercies

One of the biggest things I learned on my mission was how aware God is of us and how involved He is in our lives. In 1 Nephi 1:20 it says,
But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.

The term "tender mercy" was a major theme of my mission. Every experience I had was a tender mercy that showed me that He knows each of His children. Something I have learned since coming home though, was the truthfulness of the last phrase in this verse..."to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance". 
Heavenly Father gives us these tender mercies, these individual gifts, to remind us of How much he loves us. For me, these tender mercies draw me closer to Him in gratitude and love. And I feel Him near me. And because of that, I am able to escape the powers of the adversary as He tries to pull me down. 
Satan is seeking for us to be miserable because he is miserable. Thank goodness the Lord created a plan for us to find ultimate and eternal happiness. And He will never leave us alone. Like I've mentioned previously, I've felt alone a lot since coming home on my mission but I've seen so many tender mercies that have reminded me that I am loved and definitely not alone. 
The smallest things show me His love. Running into an old friend on campus, getting a sweet text from a family member, finding something in the scriptures that means a lot to us... The Lord shows His love in so many different ways. 
I've noticed as I look for His love, I always find it. It is always there. Tender mercies happen all the time. The Lord is constantly pouring down blessings upon us. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

You are not forgotten

This past Sunday, I was able to attend the homecoming of the visitors center directors from my mission. Elder and Sister Toronto are amazing people and have helped me so much to become the person I am. I am so grateful I was able to serve with them and learn from their example.
Previous to this, though, I had really been struggling. I have been having a hard time trying to adjust back and get in the swing of things with school and work and trying to balance everything. I felt like I was ready to quit and give up. I truly felt like I was forgotten.
It was a tradition to have all the sisters sing at the visitors center, so at the homecoming on Sunday, all the sister missionaries from the Missouri Independence mission were called up to sing a musical number. I had lost my voice due to a cold I had caught, so I stood in the back and lip sang and tried to make sure no one could see me.
In attendance at the sacrament meeting was Sister Elaine S. Dalton, previous general Relief Society president. After the meeting, she talked to all of us sisters and thanked us for our music and spirit we brought into the room. Again, I was standing on the outskirts, feeling like I wasn't important.
Then, Sister Dalton came up to me, grabbed my shoulders and said "YOU are a strong and special spirit. I knew where you were standing up there during that song because I felt you. Thank you."
I was overcome with emotion and gratitude and I couldn't keep the tears from swelling in my eyes. I knew that God had answered my many prayers. When Sister Dalton said this, in my heart, I felt the words "I know where you are because I feel you." I knew that was my loving Heavenly Father giving me the assurance that He knows me and that He hasn't forgotten me. He has never left my side and never will leave my side.
I know in each of our lives, there are times where we feel like we are hiding...where we feel like we are in the back for no one to see. But I know that no matter where we are, Heavenly Father sees us where we are now and sees our potential for who we can become. He is aware of us at each moment of every day. I am so grateful for His never failing love. We are His children and He has promised to us help and strength and I know He will give that to us. He always keeps His promises.
1 Nephi 21:16 "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me."

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Lean not unto thine own understanding

Happy Sunday! Sundays are my favorite day because I get to go to church and partake of the sacrament and reflect on my week and how I can improve. I'm grateful for the Sabbath day because I can really ponder on what Heavenly Father is teaching me. It means a lot to me because the whole week is crazy full of school and work and trying to have a social life...but Sunday I get to take a time out and focus on me and the Lord.
Today, I have been taught a very important lesson that I wanted to share. Being a recently returned missionary and being thrown right into "normal" life hasn't been the easiest thing. It's been a struggle trying to figure out where I fit in and what I'm supposed to be doing.
One of my roommates gave a talk at church today (shoutout to Klarissa), and she talked about Proverbs 3:5 which says "lean not unto thine own understanding". Everything clicked and the spirit taught me a lot. I've been trying so hard to plan everything I'm supposed to become and do, instead of trusting in what the Lord has in store for me. He has a plan for me with experiences that will teach me what to do.
I realized I CAN'T lean on my own understanding because I don't understand the big picture. None of us do. But Heavenly Father sees it all and He knows how it will all work out. And I find great comfort in that. I'm grateful for His plan and love for us as His children, that He would care about us each individually to create a plan for our happiness.
I know we can all lean on His understanding because His understanding is perfect. He knows and if we trust Him, everything will all work out.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

God's timing

I just wanted to bear testimony that God's timing is perfect. He knows us better than we know ourselves and He knows what is best for us. Though it may change your entire life and flip everything upside down, He knows what is best. I know that He cares for and loves us and He will do everything possible to make sure we know that.
I know this because of the experiences He has sent me that has made me stronger and closer to Him. I put my faith in Him and listen to what He has to say and trust that what He asks me to do is best for me. I know He will never lead us astray. If we follow Him, we can only grow closer to Him.
It might be hard to completely trust Him and to follow His will, but I promise that it is what He has planned for us. He knows everything and will unveil His will for us piece by piece.
And He will answer your prayers. I promise, He always does....according to His time. It might be hard, and I know I have found myself impatient, but His time is always the best time.

Helaman 5:12 is a wonderful scripture and reading it again this morning, the end stood out to me. It says "a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall". I LOVE that. If we build our testimony on Jesus Christ then we CANNOT fall. It doesn't say we may not fall or we might not fall, but we cannot fall. That is a PROMISE. And what a wonderful promise that is. That if we build upon Christ, nothing can make us fall. We will be safe.
God is good.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

He is the answer

When going through hard times in our lives, the answer is so simple that it is often so overlooked.

The only place where we can find everlasting peace and joy is through Christ. He is the living water and can fill our souls with peace and love and comfort.
My first few months at college have been a roller coaster for me. I have made some of my greatest memories here, but I have experienced the lowest of times as well. It's part of life and it has made me spiritually stronger, though. These past couple weeks especially have been hard on me. The beginning of a new semester is always crazy, trying to figure out your new schedule, plus a new work schedule and a heavier class load. On my way returning to Provo, I made a trip to Pocatello with my family to see my great-grandma who was slowly passing away to say goodbye. Emotionally, I was drained, but grateful to see her. She is still here, but I constantly think of her throughout my day. I've also been having some cheer withdrawls, ending up with me crying to my roommate, re-living my cheer career. On top of that, I received the news this past Sunday that my great-grandpa had passed away. This news wasn't a surprise, because we knew it was coming, but to hear about it and not have family around me was hard. I wanted so badly to be home to be with my family at that time but I knew that wasn't possible so I had to figure out what to do on my own. I know it was a good thing because he was in so much pain here, and he is now reunited with my Grammy Faith, but it's still sad. And not being able to have my family's loving arms around me wasn't making it any easier. I knew I couldn't take any more and that the only way to get through this was turning to Christ. I knelt down to pray and poured out my heart to Him. I knew that these things wouldn't be taken away from me, but I would be given the strength to get through it. I am so grateful to always have that source of peace and comfort in my life and I know that He cares about us.
"When life gets too hard to stand, kneel." Turning to Christ in our times of trouble, not only shows our humility in accepting that we need His help, but it shows our love and devotion for Him. He is anxiously awaiting to help us and He always is, we just have to notice it and communicate with Him.
I understand that in some people's lives, they believe it is easier to turn away from Christ instead of turning to Him. I promise that is never easier. Christ is the answer. He is the way. I personally have experienced of His love and the miracles He can perform in our lives.