Sunday, July 23, 2017

From ashes to beauty.

I had a few questions that were answered in church today. The first was answered when we were singing the sacrament hymn, but I didn't fully realize it until afterwards when I was reflecting on the words of the hymn:
The sacrament hymn today was "Reverently and Meekly Now", which is one of my favorites. One line in particular stood out to me today as I've been sitting here pondering. "E'en forgiven now by me." This song is sung from the point of view of the Savior, and I desperately needed that message today from Him. It brought peace to my heart and I'm grateful that that specific hymn was chosen today, for I needed its message: "Oh forgive, as thou wouldst be E'en forgiven now by me." Forgiving yourself is really hard, harder than forgiving others, sometimes. But because Christ has forgiven me, I can forgive myself, and start over and try again.
One of the other questions was answered in Gospel Doctrine, and it was a reminder piece of advice that I love. We still get credit for trying. Another thing that was said in class today was that "There is value in doing things, even if you don't reach your goal." Piggybacking off of that a little, I had this thought: sometimes we are asked to (prepare to) go through things, and sometimes we don't end up doing those things because God wanted to see how far we were willing to go. And, sometimes we only needed to go down the path to it, and we didn't need to do it. It's a test of our faith, and our trust in Him.

In Relief Society, we talked about President Monson's talk from the October 2013 General Conference entitled, "I Will Not Faith Thee, nor Forsake Thee". We talked about the Provo Tabernacle fire, that happened in December of 2010, and how the Tabernacle was rebuilt into the Provo City Center Temple. We talked about how it was gutted, and everything inside was burned and gone, but then it was rebuilt to be the new beautiful City Center Temple. This was sort of used as an analogy for us–sometimes we go through fires and trials that burn us because they're meant to help us rebuild who we are, and change who we are to become someone better. We go from ashes to beauty. I've seen that in my life. I've gone through a whole bunch of trials that have burned me, and torn me down, and they hurt, but I've changed because of them, and I've grown. I'm stronger, and more confident. I loved this quote from President Monson's talk: "We know that there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we may be tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were–better than we were, more understanding than what we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had." We talked about how God will bless us in His own time, which is true, but do we believe that He will? Do we choose Him above all else? Do we thank Him for loving us enough to cut us down? For allowing us to change and grow? He knows what we need to do/be, and He knows how to get us there.

My home teachers came today, and they talked about enduring our trials well, and how one of the blessings of enduring our trials well is that other people will be more comfortable around us, because we'll be happier. And I said, basically, that even though I've kind of been having trouble feeling the Spirit lately, I have still been able to look back and see Heavenly Father's hand in my life. I've still been able to see the blessings He's sent me as I've been going through some trials. And I'm grateful for that. I'm grateful that I can still see His blessings. I'm grateful that I can still feel Him.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Heading in the right direction.

It's been quite a crazy week. I've been doing a lot of thinking, what with my new job, thoughts of changing my major (again), and other things that have been on my mind for the past couple of weeks. Some of the things that have been going on have sorted themselves out, or given me a temporary solution or plan to move forward. Others have not, however, and I was wondering why until Wednesday night, when I received a blessing. Tuesday I wasn't feeling all that great–I had a stomachache, and actually it's been bothering me on and off for a couple weeks–and slept most of the day before work. Wednesday wasn't much better either, so I asked my friend if he could give me a blessing. Something he said has stuck with me. All my stresses/worries–what I'm going through–are to help me progress and grow. Now, he wasn't necessarily talking about me being sick–I've got a lot more going on in my life than that–but it was a needed reminder. Even though I know that what I go through is to help me grow and learn, I thought that some of the things I am going through right now were brought on by me, and by things I did. It's good to know that–even if that is true–they're to help me be better, and become who I need to be, and who God needs me to be.

I'm not sure when I realized it, but recently I've been thinking that God has been telling me to be patient and trust Him. Just with all that is going on, and all of the uncertainty with decisions I've been trying to make, I feel like He's been telling me to let go and trust Him. It's been really hard sometimes, because I'm not the best at being patient, and I hate not knowing the answers, but it's been good for me. I've been able to find and feel a lot of peace, especially as I've asked for blessings and gone to the temple.

I've also noticed lately that I've been more quiet, more "sit-down-by-myself" or more "sit-with-someone-new", and more of a listener. Which isn't bad at all, but it has been interesting to see how that has changed how I interact with my friends. I've been trying to be more respectful, and I've been trying to interact with all of my friends, not just my normals. :)

I hope that I am a different person now than I was at the beginning of the summer. I'm still working on a whole bunch of things, and some of them are going better than others, but I still have a little bit of the summer to go as I try and become a better version of me. Some of the changes that have occurred have made me feel at ease with myself and in certain social situations. I have faith that I can do everything that I've been hoping to do this summer, and that I can become whom I want to and feel like I need to be.

I'm grateful for my Savior. He has been so constant, and so kind to me as I am working on my goals. I'm grateful for my Heavenly Father. He has sent me circumstances that I needed to go through and people that I needed to meet in order to help me change. It's comforting to know that He is watching out for me, and sees who I can become, and is helping me to become her. Sometimes I think she is so far away, but some days...some days, I think I can see her. And that brings me joy, because it means I'm going in the right direction.

I hope you've had a wonderful Sabbath Day and that you have a great week!


Sunday, July 9, 2017

One by one.

I was reading a few articles in the Ensign during the sacrament today, and there were a few things that really stood out to me, and I'd like to share a couple of them.

The first article I read was the First Presidency Message in the July 2017 Ensign. It was given by President Henry B. Eyring, and the title of his message was, "The Reward of Enduring Well", and I loved what he talked about! He said two things that really spoke to me.

The first thing was that, "We all have trials to face–at time, very difficult trials. We know that the Lord allows us to go through trials in order for us to be polished and perfected so we can be with Him forever." I loved this! I know that sometimes it's hard to remember in the midst of trials that we're going through them in order to change us, and help us grow, but I know that as we do, we'll be able to remember to turn to the Lord, and He'll be able to help us through our trials.

President Eyring then shared the scripture that the Lord gave to Joseph Smith while he was in Liberty Jail: "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes" (D&C 121: 7-8). I love this scripture–it's hard to remember, sometimes,  to have faith and be at peace, but I know that when I have remembered, my trials didn't go right away, but they were easier to deal with.

The second thing was that, "a loving God has not set such tests before us simply to see if we can endure difficulty but rather to see if we can endure them well and so become polished." We're here to be tested, and tried, and to see if we can endure our tests and trials well. To see if we turn to Him for help. To see if we take these trials and use them to become who the Lord knows we can become. President Eyring says, "Our trials and our difficulties give us the opportunity to learn and grow, and they may even change our very nature. If we can to turn the Savior in our extremity, our souls can be polished as we endure." (Which is basically what I said prior to that quote. We're on the same page, President Eyring and I)

The second article that I read was the Visiting Teaching Message for this month, but I really liked this one quote from Elder Christofferson, who reminds us that "as we endeavor day by day and week by week to follow the path of Christ, our spirit asserts its preeminence, the battle within subsides, and temptations cease to trouble." Sister Neill F. Marriott also shared a quote I loved from The Living Christ: "His way is the path that leads to happiness in the life and eternal life in the world to come." I loved these quotes. As we follow Christ, our goodness increases, as does our determination to do right, and our temptations decrease/cease to cause trouble. His way is the best path to happiness.

The messages that I received from reading these articles today were ones that I really needed to hear. I'm grateful that I felt impressed to read the Ensign during the sacrament today.

I am really looking forward to tonight. There is a fireside that our choir is singing at, and we are singing "One by One" which is an amazing song and I am so excited! It sounds so beautiful! (Also I am one of the soloists and that's exciting. I'm actually the last one, which is extremely exciting but also tremendously terrifying. I will live, however, and those two instances of alliteration will help) I can't wait to share the message of the song with those in attendance! I hope that we are able to share the message with at least one person who really needs it. After choir practice today, we were talking about the messages of the song, and one of my friends said something that I really loved. She said that, even though this church is an all-encompassing one, full of people, the gospel really is a personal gospel. It is different for each of us. I loved that. Jesus Christ suffered for us all, but He also suffered for us personally. He administers to us one by one. Each of our needs and circumstances are different, but He still helps, blesses, loves, and heals us one by one.

I am so grateful for the message of the song "One by One", and for the promptings I received during the sacrament today. I'm grateful for my Savior, and for all that He has done, and all that He does, for me.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

With Him, I can do it all.

Today was a great day at church. There were several messages that were received today but one of the main ones that I noticed was about trusting God. And my thoughts during the sacrament, I think, helped shape how I viewed the rest of the meetings.
My relationship with my Savior is wholly dependent upon me and my efforts. He will always be there for me, but I must do the work to create or keep our relationship up. Some days/weeks are better than others, but there is always room for improvement. It's been a crazy couple of weeks/months for me and one of my roommates said something the other day. She said maybe what I'm supposed to be learning from these experiences is to trust my Heavenly Father. Like, blindly trust. I trust Him, and I love Him, but these past few weeks have been really hard, and stressful, and maybe I just need to let go, and let Him. It's hard because I hate feeling helpless, and I hate not being able to do something, but that is the real question: do I trust Him enough to let go? I am trying to let go because I hope so. But there really isn't anything I can do about it right now, other than wait, so I'm hoping, and trying, and trusting in Him. 
Trusting someone is a lot harder than you'd think. Telling them things about yourself, thoughts you've had, that no one else hard.
Turning to God, and letting go of things you're struggling with–decisions you're still trying to understand, things you're trying to let go of–is hard.
Trusting is HARD. But it's worth it. It's worth not going through it alone. It's worth having an outside point of view. For so long, you've been doing it alone, and you've had only your view on it. Letting someone else in, and trusting someone else with a part of you, is worth it. It's hard, and can be stressful, and terrifying, but it's worth it.

Maybe another one of the things I'm supposed to be learning is that I need to get out of my head. I mean, I think I already knew that, but lately, since I've started seeing a therapist, and have been working on my anxiety and depression, I've noticed that I'm better only when I'm out of my head. Having the opportunity to be inside my head makes things worse. I think that these actually go hand-in-hand. I need to trust that the things I think people are thinking about me aren't actually happening. I need to trust that when people say they love me or like me as a person, they mean it. I need to trust that these people–who I'm 1000% sure were placed in my life because of my Heavenly Father–really do love me. They really do care about me. And they don't think about me in the way that I am worried that they do.

I know that Heavenly Father is guiding me. I know He is taking me to a place where I need to be, when I need to be there...but trying to get me to let go of these problems that I am going through is really hard. I am trying, and I'm making progress, but it's really hard. I'm grateful that He is merciful, and patient, and always willing to work with me, because I don't know what I'd do without Him. I can do hard things. I can work through these problems and experiences. I can trust Him. I can let go. It will take time, and it is taking time, but I can do it. I can do it with Him.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Ask and ye shall receive.

As always, here's some thoughts I had during the sacrament today: 
Some of my friends in the ward and I had the opportunity to go down to Manti yesterday for the Manti pageant. We also–before the pageant–went to the temple. I did some confirmations and then just sat in the chapel, thinking about some questions that I have had. I didn't really get any specific answers yet, but I felt like I needed to fast today, so I am fasting for a few things. I am hoping I will receive some answers in church today. I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to sit in the temple and think. I honestly received just a lot of peace and a few messages I needed to hear. I'm grateful for the chances that I have to draw closer to my Heavenly Father and my Savior. I'm grateful that He trusts me to do the right things, even when I have messed up.
Sacrament meeting was GREAT! Kiera, one of my roommates, spoke in church today, and she gave me some of the answers that I needed to hear. :) She talked about Agency and Freedom
 -We can never go wrong when we choose to follow the Savior
-No matter what is going on, we can turn and look to our Savior, who will help us start again.
-Men are that they might have joy (This was an answer that I was looking for! If it's right, and makes me happy, why shouldn't I do it?)
-We all have the choice to be happy. Just because something bad happens, that doesn't mean you can't (make the choice to) be happy.

Gospel Doctrine was awesome! Clarissa is such an amazing teacher! 25/10, would recommend. :) The lesson was on "Seek learning, even by study and also by faith".
-We talked about how we have to prepare for our church meetings.
-In order to change the world you have to stretch yourself; you have to learn.
-If you're not willing to put time into your education, nothing will happen.
-People need you to put forth your effort now so you can do so later when it's needed.

Relief Society was great! Here are some of my favorite messages:
-We need to get to the point where we believe He can. Where we believe Him (when He says we are forgiven, or loved, or that we can be forgiven, we can return, etc.)
-God will take care of you. Just put your trust in Him.
-He loves you and wants you to be happy.
-You need to learn how to see yourself through God's eyes.

I loved the lessons today. I received a lot of peace and answers to some of the questions that I had and wanted to focus on as I was fasting. I'm grateful for those in the ward who listen to the Spirit and I'm grateful to my Heavenly Father for blessing me with the messages and answers that I received today. I'm grateful for the chance I had to go to the temple yesterday, and to see the Manti pageant. I'm grateful for the chance I have to go to church, and for the chance I have to learn more about my Savior, and to help my friends learn more about Him.

I'm grateful for this fun weekend and hope that this week will also be quite fun. I hope that you have a great rest of the day and a wonderful week!


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Peace be with you.

Here's your friendly reminder that, no matter how much you love music/performing for people, sometimes it is still downright terrifying:
Thoughts during the sacrament: I'm singing in sacrament meeting today. Honestly I'm terrified. My heart can't stop racing. I wasn't terrified for this at all until last night/this morning. I'm praying for peace and hoping it will go well.  Everyone keeps saying it will be fine–and I'm sure it will be–but my body/brain isn't listening.
It's Father's Day today. I'm so thankful for my dad, all the fathers in my life, and especially my Heavenly Father. I don't know where I'd be without their love, guidance, and examples.
"Peace be with you", I just heard/thought. And my heart has slowed down. I'm still nervous, still a little jumpy, but I feel better. I know He will be with me. And I am not alone–it's a quartet. :)
The first speaker in sacrament today talked about PEACE! I was like, "I need that!" Megan said something that I loved and had never really thought about before: Sometimes the answers to our prayers is to reach out and help others. I never thought that me serving someone could be the answer to my prayers. I know that me serving someone helps someone else and can be the answer to their prayers, as well as make me feel good, but I didn't realize it could be an answer to my prayers. I thought that was really insightful. She also said that the Savior is the perfect example of peace and I really loved that.

Our musical number went great!! I had a solo at the beginning, and during the chorus the second time around I harmonized (because it was too low for me) and this resulted in a lot of compliments today. I'm so glad that it went well! I was really worried and nervous, but it went well. :)

The second speaker talked about how Heavenly Father sees us, and knows us, and can help us. He has the best plan for us, and He can help us overcome our weaknesses, if we ask Him.

Relief Society was great, as usual! Clarissa talked about some things that I needed to hear and I"m so grateful for that!

The topic was Peace and Contentment Through Temporal Self-Reliance. These are just a couple of my favorite lines that were said today:
-As long as we can be self-reliant, we can help others.
-Good things take effort. You are worth the effort.
-We need each other's help. It's okay to depend on others.
-How many times do we have to fall before we can stay up?
-The best things in life take work.
-Messing up doesn't mean we're not good at it and should stop.

"If ye are prepared ye shall not fear." (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30)

I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to perform in church today. I'm grateful for the messages that were shared–I needed to hear the messages of peace today, and the messages that it's okay to depend on others, and it's okay to mess up sometimes.

Happy Father's Day to all you fathers! I'm grateful for my father–I love my dad. He's the best. He's taught me so much and I can always turn to him. I'm grateful for all the father-figures in my life. They teach me so many things and are such great examples. I'm grateful for my Heavenly Father, and for all that He has done for me.

Hope you have had a peaceful Sabbath and that you have an amazing week!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Despite what happens to you, you are still loved.

Lots of things can happen in the blink of an eye. You never know where life is going to take you. Or who's going to cross paths with you. You never know what kinds of experiences you are going to go through. Some of them are going to be easy. Some of them will be a little harder, but you can still get through them. Some, however, will be unbearably difficult, and you will think that you won't have the strength or capacity to go through them. These experiences (all of them) can be mentally or physically challenging. Satan is going to try so hard to get you to feel like you can't do it. He's going to try to make you feel unworthy, unloved, forgotten by God, and alone. Sometimes, he might succeed. Fortunately, we have a Savior, who loves us, and will always be there for us. He died for us so that we didn't have to be alone. He will bless you, love you, lead you, and guide you, if you'll let Him. He will take the pain, the loneliness–all those dark feelings–and replace them with peace, love, light, and truth. And He will never leave you alone.

You are never alone.
You are always loved.
You are so blessed.
Life is going to change. That's life–that's the way that it works. Sometimes you're not going to want it to change. Sometimes you're going to be afraid. That's okay. It's okay to be afraid. But at some point you're going to have to move on. At some point, you're going to have to take a stand. At some point, you're going to have to look at yourself in the mirror and say, "(Name), you can do this! All of your worries and doubts and struggles and fears are all in your head! Life is so great and you can so do this! It's going to be just fine!" Sometimes you just have to pluck up the courage to do something about it. About feeling afraid. Feeling alone. Feeling lost. Sometimes it's all in your head, and sometimes you just have to get out of your head. I know, I know–easier said than done. But it's worth it.

Sometimes you are going to feel left out. Sometimes you are going to feel like you're interrupting, or annoying. Sometimes you are going to feel forgotten–by friends, family. I promise you that they're always thinking of you. You might forget that [they are thinking of you], but just know that they are. I know they love you. You have a Savior who loves you, too. And I know that He never forgets you. You are engraved upon His heart, and upon His palms, because He died for you. There is nothing you can do that will make Him forget you or stop loving you. You can always return to Him.

Life is...well, life is life. It can be crazy–and it is crazy. Things happen–circumstances and people change. But you are not alone. You don't have to go through it alone. There are people in your life who love you. I know that there are people in your life who love you SO much! I know this, because there are people in my life that I love SO MUCH I can't even...and I can't even imagine my life without them. They're a blessing to me, and I know that the Lord knew that I needed them...I hope, too, that they need me.

There are people in your life who need YOU. They need your influence, your love, your insight, your whole being. They need you. You might not know it now–or ever–but I promise that they need you. There is something that you have in your life/personality that they do not, and that they need from you.

You are worth so much. You are a son or daughter of God, and He loves you. He wants to bless you with what He knows you need and deserve. He knows your potential, and wants to help you see it.

You have a divine nature and are so loved. I promise you, you are loved by SO MANY.