Sunday, January 21, 2018

Learning to trust God in spite of our weaknesses and trials.

My friend and I were talking the other day about a lot of things but one of the last things that we talked about really stood out to me and I've been thinking about it since then. We were talking about weaknesses and strengths, and she named a whole bunch of things I consider weaknesses and she also named how they got turned into strengths. And it was a really special, kind of spiritual experience that I had with her. I have been thinking about how the way I view my weaknesses affects me. If I think of them as just weaknesses, it breaks me, and tears me down. But if I think of them as ways to be stronger, or things that led me to be strong, it builds me up. I see what I've overcome, and I know that I am strong and capable. But when I doubt myself, and let my weaknesses take over me, I feel weak, incapable, depressed, and uncertain of my worthiness and capabilities to be loved or looked up to. It's hard to remember to look at your strengths in a world that is so focused on weaknesses and imperfections in such a negative way, but focusing on your strengths, and how your weaknesses lead you to strengths, is beautiful and empowering, especially when you have God on your side.
I shared this on Facebook yesterday, after thinking about what my friend and I talked about earlier:

"I am my strengths...and I am my weaknesses. Together, they make me who I am. I have my strengths because of my weaknesses. 
My weaknesses do not define me. 
My weaknesses do not make me any less than I am.
My weaknesses make me human.
My strengths do not define me. My strengths do not make me more than I am. My strengths make me human. 


But one cannot have strengths without weaknesses. One cannot have weaknesses without strengths. You must have one to have the other. Together, they make you unstoppable. Indestructible. Powerful. 

God can turn any weakness into a strength. I've seen that in my own life, and a friend recently brought to my attention just how many weaknesses I have that He's helped me turn into strengths. I'm not perfect at them, but I'm trying my best. And that's all we can do."

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Forget not and trust Him.

First week of the new semester is over! And I have all the classes that I want/need now! What a crazy week it was. But this weekend has been a wonderful weekend–I had the opportunity to babysit and it was so fun! A great way to end the stressful week.
I am grateful for the opportunities I had to learn this week–both intellectually and spiritually/personally. Hopefully this will be a fun semester! Maybe a little challenging, but I think I'm ready for it.
I am so excited! I am planning on making a trip to the temple grounds this week, just to sit and think, and I am so grateful that I live so close to temples.
God has really been blessing me lately with things I need, and reminders of other things, including His love, and others'. I am where I am for a reason. Even when I want to give up. I am here to learn and grow. 
Sometimes I question why I am even at college. I question what I am even going to do with my major (I still have no idea). I wonder if it would just be better for me to quit. But then I remember I am so close–three more semesters including this one (crossing our fingers)–and I just need to hold tight. It's been really hard this school year, but I've had the support of my friends and family, which has kept me afloat. And I remember that what I am learning really will help me in my life, considering that I want to be a mom and raise kids some day. Even if that doesn't happen in this life, I will always be in contact with humans, so it's really important to be able to understand our development, and how that works. Plus I find it fascinating, so it's nice to study something I'm interested in and find intriguing and love learning about.

Church was amazing today!
"Being one with Christ means applying the Atonement in every aspect of our lives."
Some ways to follow Christ: Trust, Learn, Do
1) Prov. 3:5-6. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." 
--Feast upon His words
--Pray
--Serve others
As we do these things, we will come to love and trust Him more.
2) Learn of Him
--As we study His life we will be able to learn of Him, and better comprehend who He is. This will also help us better understand who we are.
3) Do as I do
--Submitting to the will of the Father
--Through the Atonement we can repent and be made clean again
--We must be active in using what Christ has given us to become like Him

-There's a balance between giving and receiving service.
-We have to be willing to be humble enough to accept service.
-Oftentimes we pray for help but our (spiritual) earls aren't tuned to hear what we need to hear.
-When we serve, we gain–we don't lose.
-There are people that care about us.
-"When ye (accept) the service of your fellow beings, ye accept (the service) of your God."
~>I loved this! Accepting the service from those around us is like accepting service from God. I don't think we ever think about it like that. We always think about it like we're serving God, and we are His hands, but we never think about it in this way.
-God watches us through each other.
-Both sides of service are important. We're all in this together.

In Gospel Principles today we talked about repentance. And I loved a few of the things we talked about:
-Be honest with the Lord and yourself.
-We are not going to repent perfectly. That's okay.
-Repentance is supposed to be joyful.
-Treat yourself with Christlike love.
-God wants to forgive us.
-Repentance isn't an event. It's a cycle. Something we do over and over again.
-Repentance is change. Thinking about how we can do better with Him.
-Don't listen to people who don't like you. (Satan)

In Relief Society we talked about President (Elder? I don't know anymore haha the transitional period of leadership titles is confusing for me) Uchtdorf's "Forget Me Not" talk in October 2011 to the Relief Society. There are five points that he makes, and I love each one of them because they are applicable to everyone at any and every point in their life.
1) Forget not to be patient with yourself.
-Everyone has strengths and weaknesses
-Keep working on your path to perfection and stop punishing yourself
-As long as you are doing your best, God will help you
2) Forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice.
-"Am I committing my time and energy to the things that matter most?"
3) Forget not to be happy now.
-Don't wait for your 'golden ticket' to be happy
-Remember to notice the blessings you do have
-"Find joy in the journey."
-Accept the beauty of life now.
4) Forget not the 'why' of the gospel.
-Remembering the 'why' makes the gospel a joy and delight
-"Whatever you do, work with purpose."
5) Forget not that the Lord loves you.
-You are not forgotten. He loves you with an infinite love.
-If you ever forget or have trouble feeling it, pray and ask Him for confirmation. He will tell you.
-His love is always there, no matter the circumstances.

I had an amazing experience earlier this week when I was writing in my journals goal. Actually I had two in the past couple weeks. The first was that, "I realized that you can't change the past. You can't change what you've done. You can only move forward, make better choices, and try to fix it. Most of the time it will take time to fix it, so you have to be patient." And the second one was that, "I have to believe in myself. I have to believe that I can overcome and be strong. If I tell myself I'm just going to do it again, or that I'm going to fail, I won't progress in the direction that I want. I have to believe in myself." I have to be confident. Luckily that is one of my goals this year. I think I am going to make it my main goal this year. I need to be more confident. I have changed a lot these past few years in college, but I still have room for improvement.

We need to forget not that we have a Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother who want what is best for us. They love us so much, They wanted us to become just like Them, so here we are! We were sent down to earth to further our learning and experiences. And even though we passed through the veil and have forgotten the pre-mortal life, we need not forget! God is everywhere around us, blessing us, sending us tender mercies, reminding us, "I am here for you, and I will always be here. I love you."

He LOVES US.

I know that can be hard to understand and remember–I struggle with it at times–but then I remember the people in my life. My parents. My siblings. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends. I remember all of them and remember how blessed I am to have such a loving family and support system. And I remember all of the times that I needed to hear something, and they said just what I needed. Or they sent me a text or a note with exactly what I needed to hear. Or just spending time with them was enough. Whatever it was, I remember. I remember the days where I prayed and prayed for God to send me someone–anyone–because I was having a rough day and needed someone, and they came a few days later. Or a few hours later. In the moment of my rough day, I felt like God didn't hear me when I didn't immediately receive an answer. But He did. He always does. And when they came to me was when I actually needed them the most. We think that we know better than God sometimes, but in all honesty, we don't. He knows us better than we do, and He knows what we can handle and what we can't. And He knows what we need to experience to grow. We just need to trust Him.

I hope you have a wonderful week! Life is good!

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Look forward with faith.

Well first off, I'm happy to be back in Provo! I loved being home but am grateful to be going back to school and work, and having a set schedule. I almost didn't make it back though haha we had some car troubles yesterday trying to run an errand but I made it!
It's been almost a week since the new year began and I am really proud of myself because I have been writing in my journal and reading the scriptures every day so far! I have felt the influence in my life. I am grateful for the new year, and for the new week, giving me a chance to start over and try again. Try to be stronger, kinder, more loving and compassionate. I am grateful for the example of my Savior, and of Nephi, who was strong and had faith and still believed, even when his brothers bound him up.
Life comes with all sorts of challenges we don't expect or want, but God is with us always, so we don't have to go through them alone. 
In our program today, there was a quote by President Thomas S. Monson, who recently passed away, and I loved the quote and so I wanted to share it here. It is, "Although it is imperative that we choose wisely, there are times when we will make foolish choices. The gift of repentance, provided by our Savior, enables us to correct our course settings, that we might return to the path which will lead us to that celestial glory we seek." I loved this!! Even though we make mistakes–sometimes drastic ones that have terrible consequences–WE CAN REPENT AND RETURN. We can start again. We can try again. We can change again.

There were a few things people said in their testimonies in sacrament meeting today that I loved and wanted to share:
-God is mindful of you.
-Do your best and God will take care of the rest.
-No matter what happens, everything will be okay.
-Joy is available to us through the grace of Jesus Christ.

I loved these because these are exactly what I needed to hear today. Life is hard, and challenging, and difficult, and for the longest time I thought I could handle it by myself. But I found out that I can't. I really do need my Savior. And I forget that God is mindful of me sometimes. Sometimes I feel alone, and lost, and forgotten, especially when I pray for God to send someone to me when I am feeling low, and no one comes. But in those moments, I found strength. In those moments, I thought I needed someone, and maybe there were times when I really did, but because I didn't have anyone, I found that someone in myself.

Gospel Principles was amazing, as always! Here are some of my favorite snippets:
-Your faith is enough. Whatever you have is enough.
-Faith is imperfect, but His grace is NOT.
-You are enough. Your faith is enough, your belief is enough. As long as it moves you forward, it is enough.
-Faith pushes you to progress, not feel inadequate.
-Sometimes God just trusts us to make a decision. He gave us our agency, and sometimes we are just picking between two good things and we can choose. He trusts us. So make a decision and go to Him with your decision.

Relief Society was wonderful and I loved this part of a scripture that was shared. It's Genesis 19:17, and the part that we focused on was, "Look not behind thee." The past should not be our focus. "The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it." ~Rafiki. We need to learn from the past, but keep moving forward.

Carrie shared part of a quote that I first heard a long time ago, but always loved. She said, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." We are afraid that we actually CAN do all these things and it holds us back. But we shouldn't let it. We need to look forward with faith.

I am so grateful for the lessons today. Wonderful, wonderful messages were shared, and I learned a lot. I wanted to share something about my scripture study last night. I was reading in 1 Nephi 6, and noticed as Nephi was talking to Laman and Lemuel that he said, "How is it that ye have forgotten" three times! I made a note in my notes about it. I said, "There is a reason the Lord tells us to remember all the time. When we forget, we become as Laman and Lemuel–bitter and resentful, and inconsiderate and not compassionate." We need to remember all that the Lord has done for us, and hold on to those memories when we are low. We need to have faith that there will be new blessings, new tender mercies, and new spiritual experiences. When we are down, we need to remember what the Lord has done for us, and we need to remember who we are, and have faith that things will look up. Your faith doesn't have to be something big, either. It could be accepting the fact that you have doubts. It could be accepting that you don't know everything. Whatever your faith is, it is enough.

Remember that YOU ARE ENOUGH. God takes you as you are and He helps you become better, stronger, kinder, wiser, more compassionate, more loving. He blesses you and uses you to bless others. You have a part in His plan, and He has a plan for you. He loves you very much and is always waiting with open arms for you to turn to Him again.

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Take the New Year and make yourself into someone better than you've ever been.

Happy New Year's Eve! Can you believe it's the end of the year?! What a crazy year it has been! It's been a really stressful year that has stretched me in ways I couldn't even imagine being stretched in. But it's been a good year for me. I've grown and learned a lot. I've learned a lot about me and things that I want, and things that I need, and I have grown closer to my Savior in so many wonderful and beautiful ways. I am looking forward to continue to grow closer to Him, and to hopefully grow stronger and become more confident in several additional aspects of my life. I am hoping to change a lot of things this year, with the help of my Savior. I am not going to be able to do all the things I am planning to do without Him, so it is a good thing I can turn to Him. I am excited for this New Year and can't wait to see where it takes me!

This year has been really full of a lot of changes, and distressing times, and a lot of decisions that I needed to make, but I realized that:
1) I need to finish school. Whatever happens, I need to get a degree. Last semester was the worst one yet, and I really wanted to quit, but I need to finish. I am literally so close.
2) I am going to be okay by myself.
3) I am who I am, and that is okay. But sometimes I need to take a breather and slow down, and calm down.
4) Sometimes I will not know what I am doing. Sometimes I will not know where I am going. Sometimes I will just not know. And that is completely fine.

Because of the things I've learned this year, I have several ideas for my New Year's Resolutions:
-To be confident and patient/to have confidence and patience (in myself, in friendships, in dating, etc.)
-To be stronger (in my testimony, in my determination to do what's right)
-To be less me (focus more on others)
-To be more studious (in school, in scripture study. I also want to study The Living Christ this year)
-To be more grateful (I want to focus more on what I have)
-To go to the temple more (I want to make a goal to go to the temple for baptisms/confirmations at least once a month, but to go to the temple grounds at least two times a month)

When making New Year's Resolutions, here are some things to keep in mind:
-Start now
-Keep an eternal perspective
-Find what works for YOU
-Accept that you will fail (maybe not all the time, but you will fail)
-Remember that no matter how many times you fail, Heavenly Father is proud of you for trying and will always love you!

Last year, one of my New Year's Resolutions was to focus on my Savior every week. I am not going to lie, I don't think I 100% followed that resolution. But I think it was because I was looking at it the wrong way. I think that because of what I've learned in the last year, and the resolutions I have this year, that I will be able to focus more on my Savior this year.
I think what I should have done last year was what I did this year: make more mini-goals to add up to my big goal(s). Another thing that I should have done was keep a special journal to track my progress in my goals. I also just saw an idea that I loved that I want to adapt and try: the idea was to, at the end of the week, write something good that happened that week and put it in a mason jar. I want to try and write at the end of the day something good that happened that day. And if I can't think of something, I'll write something about the day that I'm grateful for. I think that this will help me be more positive, and be able to focus on things, and ground myself when I'm having tough or dark days. If I can just find one bright thing about my day, even when it's been horrible, I know that I will be able to get through it.

It's been a good year! Long, and full of many adventures, misadventures, and learning, but it was a good year. I hope that I can take this New Year and make not only it and my life into something good, but I hope that I can take it and make me into someone better than I've ever been before. I hope that you can work on your resolutions throughout the whole year. Don't be discouraged if you fail a time or two--if you never fail, you never succeed.

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Everything He did, He did for us.

I love going home. I am so thankful for the Christmas season. I love my Savior and am so grateful for His birth, life, and sacrifice. I would no be where I am today without Him. I have been given so much help and strength from Him, and He has sent me people I've needed–they've either been friends I've needed, lessons I needed to learn, or they've been a source of love, help, and strength. Sometimes they've been all three. I am so grateful for them though. No matter what I learned or gained, they were what I needed at the time. I wish I could understand...I wish we could all understand why we all have to go through hard and painful things, because sometimes it feels like they will never end and that there aren't lessons to learn from them, but I know that there is a lesson. Someday, you will know the answer. I know that you are learning things from each and every experience you got through. And you are becoming a better, stronger person for it.

Merry Christmas Eve! I hope you are able to remember the reason for the season. Christmas is a time to remember the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for His sacrifice and His willingness to come to Earth to be born to save us all. He was born to save us, He lived to save us, and He died to save us. Everything He did, He did it for us. I am so thankful for Him. I do not know where I would be without Him, and I do not want to find out.

I am grateful for His mother, and for her willingness to give birth to Him, and to teach Him how to be kind, and considerate, and compassionate, and loving. I am so thankful for Joseph, and for his willingness to teach Him hard work, and diligence, and strength. Because through these lessons to Him, I have learned how to be this way.

I hope you have a safe and warm and happy Christmas! God bless you!

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The answers will come in time.

Finals week is finally here and I could not do it without my Savior. This week has been really difficult mentally and I am so grateful I am not alone. I got my first two finals DONE! And although I am nervous for the remaining three, I feel like I will be able to focus and study more this week.
I am so thankful for friends willing to talk and listen. It has been so helpful this week. Finals week is always hard, but for some reason this semester's finals have seemed to be so impossible. I think it might be because of a lot of things, but I am slowly working through it with the help of my Savior. He has made this insanely difficult semester bearable, and He has blessed me with amazing roommates and friends that I can talk to. I can never thank Him–or them–enough for being willing to be there, and for being there for me on my darkest, most lonely, most depressing, most unmotivated days. There are some things, I've come to realize, I have to live with, and some of those things I can't deal with alone. So I am beyond blessed to have a loving Heavenly Father who sent His Son to die for me so that I don't have to go through it alone. I can always turn to Him and He will always be there for me. 
I had a wonderful day today, and I did a lot of thinking. I've done a lot of thinking these past few weeks.

College is so difficult.

Dating is so difficult.

Life is hard. You have to deal with lots and lots of people with many different personalities. You have to figure out how to deal with their emotions, and how to treat them properly. You have to go to work, and go to school.

It's hard to maintain an eternal perspective in life sometimes.  But God will bless you with people. He will bless you with experiences. He will bless you with exactly what you need to remind you of your divine potential. He will bless with you with exactly what you need to keep an eternal perspective.

You have to keep your head up.

You might be going through some crazy tough times, and it might have been happening for a long time, or for a short period of time. You might not understand WHY these things are happening to you. You might not be able to see HOW these trials will help you in the future.

But I promise you...the answers WILL come in time. God will not leave you alone, without answers or peace. He will bless you. He loves you and wants what is best for you.

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Christmas Musical Fireside!!

Oh my goodness gracious, guys, the Fireside was SO AMAZING!!!!! AH!!! I really could feel the Spirit so strong and all of the musical numbers were wonderful and amazing! I am so thankful that this month-long project of mine turned out really well!! It has been such a blessing in my life to work on, and even though it has been very stressful, all of the hard work that everyone has put into it paid off!! There was so much passion, and humbleness, and spiritualness in each and every piece–it was beautiful, and magical, and I am so, so, so, thankful!!!  💜💜💜💜💜💜