Sunday, December 8, 2019

God’s love shines through the darkness

Grateful for the chances I have to share my love of music and the Savior! Next week I’m playing in sacrament meeting (my violin!) and I am so excited! We practiced today and it sounded so beautiful! I can’t wait for my ward to hear it.

I’m also grateful for the chances that I have to serve and bless those around me! Yesterday I had the opportunity to watch my friend’s kids while she and her husband went to the Salt Lake Temple. It was so much fun! Her kids are just so, so darling and I love them to pieces and I was so glad I got to watch them while she went out with her husband. I know how important it is for parents to have date night, and I am always down to play with the kids. We had such a wonderful time, it was so sweet. 💜

Today, my family watched the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional, which was so good!! Afterwards, we watched the new Christmas movie, Christmas Jars, which was so cute! Right now, I’m watching the Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert from a few years ago, featuring  Sutton Foster and Hugh Bonneville, with my parents. It’s such an amazing concert! I highly recommend it! It’s full of Christmas love and feelings. “God’s love does shine in the darkness.” 💜💜💜

I’m so grateful and excited for Christmas. I’m grateful for my Savior, whose life led the way for us to be able to learn, grow, and be able to become like (and someday live with again) my Heavenly Parents. I’m grateful for His mother, Mary, and for her love for God, and her sacrifices.

For those who do not celebrate Christmas, I wish you the happiest of holidays! May you have peace, love, and happiness this holiday season.

May you have a wonderful week! This week, my family and I are going to see A Christmas Carol at the Hale Center Theater in Orem and I’m very excited! I love the story and am grateful for the messages it shares.

I’m grateful for the blessings in my life, and for the people in my life. I’m grateful for a loving Savior, a loving Father in Heaven, and a loving Mother in Heaven. I’m grateful for the power of love, and for the chances I have to love and serve those around me—whether or not I know them personally. It’s such an amazing experience to serve people who I’ve just barely met, and it’s even better to serve my loved ones. 💜💜💜

Again, have a blessed and wonderful week!! Love you!

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, December 1, 2019

God never promised life without heartache.

Happy December! Wow! Can you believe it is the last month of the year 2019 already?? I swear the year just started! This year has had a whole lot of ups and downs, and I have been through so much already! Here's just a small sample:

  • This year, I started my last semester of college! And then I also graduated college!
  • I went through the temple for the first time and then upped my temple attendance throughout the rest of the year! I've learned so much from the temple and my testimony of the power of the temple and of my Heavenly Father and my Savior has grown so much over the course of this year! 💜
  • I turned 22, bought my second car, entered two posters in BYU's Fulton Conference and had one of them win FIRST PLACE!
  • I had to get an appendectomy! That was a rough couple of days. 
  • My family and I went to Vernal, Utah for our family vacation! It was amAAAAzing!!
  • In July, I went on a trip to New York with my friend! 
  • I started my first full-time job post-college and have been living the dream ever since!
  • I saw Wicked TWO TIMES this year–once was in New York and it was absolutely phenomenal because we had front row seats!!
  • "Even when it has been dark for days, the Son always comes." (Me, 07.23.2019)
  • With my family and extended family on my mom's side, we went to the Dinosaur Park in Ogden, Utah for our family reunion! It was a blast!
  • In September, my coworkers picked me for teacher of the month! It was such a blessing!!
  • I got into a relationship with my current boyfriend, who is the sweetest, kindest, most respectful and thoughtful guy ever! I am sure grateful for him in my life!
  • I celebrated the one year anniversary of getting my first car (#KingRupertMayHeRestInPeace).
  • I made a Facebook page for my blog! (Yes, this blog!)
  • Went to Salt Lake City for the October conference Saturday morning session.
  • Went to my first BYU Spectacular as an Alumni! Ben Rector and Hilary Weeks were AMAZING!!
  • I got to meet KRISTIN CHENOWETH AT A BOOK SIGNING!!! This was definitely one of the highlights of my year!
  • I got to go to the temple with my younger brother for our sister's wedding. It was a very special day. The First Three, all in the temple together for a sealing. 
  • I got to see Frozen II twice in November! I have always loved Frozen and Frozen II is BETTER! I loved it so much and can't wait to buy it when it comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray!
  • Thanksgiving was amazing! Yummy turkeys and pies!
  • I have been working on trying to figure out/remember MY JOB. The one that God gave ME. No one else. Me. He has given me everything I need to do it. I just need to get up and do it (once, of course, I know what it is. I have some ideas but nothing certain yet. Gotta keep praying).
  • I learned that LOVE is the answer to all things. Love was the common theme this year. And my self-love increased much this year.
  • This year, my mental health journey has had some cRaAaAZzyy times! I have had some pretty amazing breakthroughs and beautiful thoughts, though, and I am very proud of the progress that I have made!
  • I learned a lot about God's blessings for me, and about His plans, timing, and how everything has its time and season.
  • Now it is December! Time for #LightTheWorld, the Christmas story, Christ's birth, finding Christmas presents for my loved ones (without breaking the bank/going overboard), and remembering the reason for the season.
There is so much to be thankful for! I have had such an amazing year! There have been so many ups!!! But there have also been many downs. Because one cannot know joy without knowing sorrow. One cannot know up without knowing down. And God never promised us a life without heartache. There has been (and will always be) some heartache in my life this year. And that will never change. There will always be heartache. But that's okay. I just need to remember to pray for peace and love, and to hope for a better tomorrow. And to keep my chin up, because there are far more happy days than sad days. I just need to remember to focus on the happy days and not let the sad days ruin the rest of the days. 

I cannot wait to see where the rest of this year takes me, and to see what's in store for me in 2020! I have a feeling next year is going to be my best year yet! 

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Into the unknown.

This last week has been a little crazy! My sister had her wedding reception Thursday and then got married Friday, and so we spent all week finalizing preparations. The reception and wedding were both very beautiful. My sister made a beautiful bride and I am very happy for her and proud of her. 

This week is Thanksgiving, and I am very grateful for all of the blessings in my life. I am grateful for my Savior, and my Heavenly Parents. I am grateful for the love that I feel from Them, and for the blessings that They give me in my life. I am grateful for the opportunities that I had to attend college and increase my education. I am grateful for my job, and for the happiness that it brings me to work with my kiddos. I am grateful for my parents, and my siblings–new brother-in-law included. I am grateful for my friends, and for all of their love and support during my trials in the last several years. And I am grateful for my boyfriend, who is the sweetest and most thoughtful guy, and who is the best blessing in my life right now. 💜

My life hasn't always gone the way that I had hoped that it would, but I know that this is something that everyone struggles with. Life doesn't always go as planned. God has a bigger plan for us. And His timing is always perfect–even when it doesn't seem like it is. We don't always know why things happen when they do–or don't happen–but not knowing why can often help us increase our faith and trust in the Lord. As of right now, I don't know why God's timing is perfect for me right now.  Sometimes it's really hard to trust the Lord, especially when it doesn't feel like He is listening. But as we are praying in a way that means God can actually answer our prayers, we can come to better understand His plans for us. Sometimes His timing doesn't feel perfect, and sometimes it doesn't seem like I can hear Him answering me, but I know that eventually–whether in this life or the next–things will all make sense. 

As we step forward into the unknown (phrase courtesy of Frozen II and its soundtrack, which I conveniently saw yesterday evening and I HIGHLY recommend everyone sees! I recommend seeing it blindly but you can do what you want), we are facing our fears. We are trusting God and trusting ourselves, and standing tall and taking a step into the dark. The future is unknown, but as we strive to follow God's plan for us, we can come to take things one moment at a time and even though it might not always make sense, it will always be a lesson or a blessing–something to learn from, or something to grow from. 

A bit of a shorter post today, but if you're interested, on Friday I posted on my Facebook page about my sister's wedding and some tips on relationships from President and Sister Nelson. 

Hope everyone has a wonderful week preparing for Thanksgiving this week! Remember to count your blessings and be thankful. I know that I am going to be focusing on gratitude and my blessings this week, and for the rest of the holiday season this year. 

Xoxo
Mattie

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

He'll provide a way.

This was quite the weekend. I woke up sick Saturday morning around 5am and ended up staying in bed all day resting my body. It was glorious. Even though I was still not feeling well by the end of the day, I was feeling 5-10% better that night. And yesterday I was feeling about 25-75% better.

Something I've learned this week while I was studying the scriptures was that humbleness can be trusting God even when you can't hear Him.

My family watched the Youth Face to Face event yesterday afternoon, which was explaining more about the changes to the youth programs, and David Archuleta introduced and sang the new song for next year's theme ("I Will Go and Do"), and one of my favorite lines was, "He'll provide a way." I loved this! This has been a major theme in the last couple of weeks as I have been reminded many times by close friends about God's timing, and His love and grace.

I first off want to say how grateful I am for artists like David Archuleta, Calee Reed, Hilary Weeks, Gentri, Cherie Call, and many, many others who share their faith through music and song. I am grateful for their messages of love, hope, and for their testimonies that shine through their music.

Second, I want to say how grateful I am for all of the blessings in my life, and for the blessings that I get because of the things that I am doing every day to improve and increase my testimony. I've been struggling with a lot of things these last couple of months, but in the last couple of weeks, I have been reminded of my blessings. I have been reminded of the Lord's plan for me, and of the opportunities I have to find joy in my life.

Sorry that this post is so late but yesterday was a little crazy, what with me still being sick and not entirely feeling up to doing a lot of things.

Hope everyone has a great week! My sister is getting married this week so our week is going to be crazy busy, but hopefully it will be a wonderful week with family! :)

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Consistent and resilient trust in the Lord.

There is nothing like the holidays or the end of the year that have you thinking about where you are in life and where you want to be. 💜

I was pondering during the sacrament today about the sacrament prayers. I made a list of the promises and covenants that I made at baptism, and that God made, and there's not as many as I thought there were! I promised to:

  1. Be willing to take the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, upon me.
  2. Always remember Him.
  3. Keep His commandments.
And if I do these, then God promises that:
  1. I can always have the Spirit to be with me.
This is such a great promise. I love that as I do those three things, I have the ability to have the Spirit with me–always.

Today was my ward's fast and testimony meeting (since last week was our Stake Conference), and someone said something today that really rang true with me. They said that, just like type 2 diabetes (in which your body still produces insulin but is unable to use it effectively), sometimes when we don't receive or hear guidance from the Spirit, it's a receptor problem. The Spirit is still speaking to us, we are just unable to hear it. 

This really made me think, because I've been struggling within the last couple of years to consistently hear and feel the Spirit, and I always thought something was wrong with me. I've been doing everything right. I've gone to the temple, I've prayed, I've studied my scriptures, I've gone to church...everything you can do, I did. But a friend reminded me that I have depression and anxiety, and this can make it difficult for me to hear or feel the Spirit. This comment that was made in sacrament meeting reminded me of this, and reminded me that sometimes I don't have any control over it, but that there are things that I can do to help increase my reception of the Spirit.

In Relief Society, we talked about the talk "Consistent and Resilient Trust" by Elder L. Todd Budge from the October 2019 conference. We talked about how we can still be happy and find happiness, even when there is sorrow and life is rough. We also talked about how our sorrow and pain can change to joy/gladness because of our Savior. 

"Afflictions and sorrow prepare us to experience joy IF we will trust in the Lord and His plan for us." Sorrow can help lead to growth, learning, and happiness if we trust in the Lord's plan for us. 

We can still have consistent trust in the Lord, no matter the circumstances. And we can still have moments of happiness, even when we are in times of sorrow. Because happiness is PEACE and JOY that comes from surrendering ourselves to God and putting our trust in Him in all things. So as we trust Him, we can be happy and have happiness. :)

I hope everyone has a great week! I have an orchestra concert tomorrow that I am super excited for! And it's just going to be a great week overall! I'm going to make it so that it is a phenomenal week! 

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Keep walking towards the Light–even when you can't see it.

I can't believe that it's November already! October just flew by! I am excited for the holidays! Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of my favorite holidays and they are next! And Frozen II comes out this month!!

This week, I've really been focusing on reading the Book of Mormon every day, and on working on my patience and my temper. Even though I wasn't perfect at it every day, I did make some progress, and I am grateful for the blessings that I saw in my life this week through my study of the Book of Mormon. I hope that I can be a bit better about my study this week, and that I can see some more improvement and blessings this week because of it.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to the temple, and I stayed longer than I normally do, but it was a blessing. I didn't really get a prompting or anything. Sitting there in the temple I just felt such peace. That wasn't the answer that I was looking for, really, but my friend said, "Maybe that is your answer", and I think she's right. I'll keep studying, pondering, and praying, but I will also move forward with faith. And if I need a little correction here and there, I know that God will direct me.

Today was Stake Conference for my stake. I really, really loved it!!

President Wilson talked about The Book of Mormon!! Which I thought was so cool since I've started rereading The Book of Mormon lately. He talked about how our testimony and relationship with Heavenly Father are tender. They are personal, and sweet, and between our Father in Heaven and us. He also talked about how we need to turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart and serve Him.

Sister Christofferson talked about how the Lord loves us so much! And she talked about how those who are called to minister (us) are part of the most important work. She talked about a meeting with some of the leaders of the Church, and she said that Sister Bonnie H. Cordon said that, "When you minister, don't try to impress them. Bless them." I loved that! Sometimes it's hard to just be there for someone, and to bless their lives. Sometimes you just want to give a big gesture to show how much you care for them. But you don't need to do it. You just need to bless them. Sister Christofferson said that sometimes it takes courage and love to minister others.

Bishop Shepherd talked about how we need to keep walking towards the Light–walking towards our Savior. Even when we can't see the Light. And even when we can't see our Savior.

Sister Freestone (the new matron of the Provo Temple) talked about how we need to make and keep sacred covenants. She asked a question: Do you know how much the Lord loves you? She just talked about His love for us, and how He loves us in such a personal and unique way.

President Freestone (the new president of the Provo Temple) talked about how we have divine origins, and how our Father in Heaven loves us. He talked about ways that we can come to know that our Father in Heaven really loves us:
  1. Focus on the Savior, and make Him the central part of your life.
  2. Take the Holy Spirit as your guide. Seek for things that invite the Spirit and avoid things that drive the Spirit away. We need to desire the Holy Ghost so much that we are acting in such a way that He can reside in and with us. 
  3. Come to the temple often. The ordinances of the temple provide the greatest blessings in life.
Sister Wright talked about how we all have something in our lives that is broken, and needs to be mended and healed. She also talked about how we can fix whatever it is with Him.

Sister Christensen talked about the question, "How can I have the Atonement in my life daily?" There are a few things that she said we can do to have the Atonement in our lives daily:

  1. We need to understand who the Savior is, and who we are.
  2. We need to seek the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.
  3. We need to understand that we need a Savior–for help in all things.
Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Seventy said that he goes through the temple questions each week. I think that this is a great idea and I am going to try it this week. That was just a small part of what he talked about. He talked about the difference between testimony and conversion. A testimony is knowing what is true. Conversion is living true to what you know to be true. Conversion is a process. 

Christ's life was never about Him. He was always focused on others. His outward service is a great example to us of how we can live our lives.

I am grateful for the messages of Stake Conference and for the chance that I had to attend the temple yesterday. I am grateful for the full-time senior missionaries in my stake who contacted me this last week and met with me today. They were so sweet and had such a great message for me.

I hope everyone has a fantastic week! It's the month of gratitude! Find something you're grateful for every day! God loves you and I love you too!

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Improving my relationship with Heavenly Father.

Today in Sacrament Meeting, I was reading the conference talk "Unwavering Commitment to Jesus Christ" by Elder Dale G. Renlund. I really loved this talk! I wrote down a few things that I was thinking about while I read the talk, and afterwards when I was pondering on what I had read. I hope that some of them will be helpful for others.

One question that I was pondering was, "What symbolic action can I do to show my commitment to Jesus Christ?" And while I was thinking about this, I realized that there are a LOT of things that I can do to show my commitment to Jesus Christ that I am not doing. I think that one thing I struggle with is that sometimes I try to do all of the things at the same time. And I can't actually handle that. So I need to stop trying to do everything all at once. And I need to start with ONE thing at a time. God understands where I am, and He understands what I can do. And as long as I am giving Him my all, that is enough. 

Elder Renlund said that, "Being 'converted unto the Lord' means leaving one course of action, directed by an old belief system, and adopting a new one based on faith in Heavenly Father's plan and in Jesus Christ and His Atonement.  
This change is more than an intellectual acceptance of gospel teachings. It shapes our identity, transforms our understanding of life’s meaning, and leads to unchanging fidelity to God. Personal desires that are contrary to being anchored to the Savior and to following the covenant path fade away and are replaced by a determination to submit to the will of Heavenly Father. 
Being converted unto the Lord starts with an unwavering commitment to God, followed by making that commitment part of who we are. Internalizing such a commitment is a lifelong process that requires patience and ongoing repentance. Eventually, this commitment becomes part of who we are, embedded in our sense of self, and ever present in our lives. Just as we never forget our own name no matter what else we are thinking about, we never forget a commitment that is etched in our hearts."
Every emphasis in the previous quote was added by me. Those are the most important parts to me right now. Conversion to the Lord is MORE than knowledge. Conversion to the Lord is a CHANGE. I think it's not a coincidence that we call it "being converted to the Lord" when "conversion" means, "the process of changing or causing something to change from one form to another". When we are converted–or working on it–we are working on becoming like Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. We are working to change from our current form into a better one. One that is more like God. And this is something that we need to be continuously doing.



So, after pondering "being converted unto the Lord", I began to ponder a new question. "How can I improve my relationship with Heavenly Father?" And I came up with a lot of personal ways that I can improve my relationship with Heavenly Father. It's different for everyone. Some of the ways that I have been thinking about involve more personal study and prayer. They involve writing in my journal, updating my blog...things that mean a lot to me, and are ways that help me think and ponder about my life, and about the Lord.

I think that as I am doing all of these things to begin to improve my relationship with Heavenly Father, all of the things that I have been struggling with, and that have stressed me out recently, my problems won't go away, but I will have the Lord with me, and I will be able to overcome them. As I serve those around me, I will be blessed with the capacity to love more and be more patient. My attitude, personality, and temper will improve, and I will have better mental health.

Xoxo
Mattie