Sunday, April 23, 2017

Songs and service.

So, today was the day I performed in sacrament meeting! Unfortunately I have not been feeling well the past few days/weeks, and I woke up this morning with a sore throat and a stuffy nose. I was terrified!! I needed to be able to sing today before everyone goes away for the summer! So I drank a LOT of water, took some medicine, took a little nap, and prayed that I would be able to sing well–even if I got worse afterwards. And it went better than I thought it would! So grateful!! Of course, after that I did spiral downwards in health. I am now super tired and extremely sick. It's fine. I will live. I'm just going to go to bed super early tonight.

So, as I was sitting in sacrament meeting, thinking about the Savior, and my upcoming solo, and being nervous (the STAKE PRESIDENT was at sacrament meeting today), my roommate–sensing my nervousness–leaned over, patted my arm, and said, "You're gonna do great." A few moments later, one of my friends in the ward texted me and said the same thing. TENDER MERCIES!! So grateful for their words and love.

Also grateful for the messages in sacrament meeting:
-If you're doing what you're supposed to be doing, you'll be blessed.
-We need to look for and be those positive examples of obedience.

In gospel doctrine, we talked about spiritual gifts, and there were some wonderful things that were said about them, and about how we can gain them, and I wanted to share some:
-We should be acting in accordance with how God sees us, and how we wish to be.
-God doesn't want us to be down on ourselves.
-You have to put in the effort for the spiritual gifts, to be better and them and to better yourself.
-God needs us to bless other people.

In Relief Society we talked about Elder Bednar's talk from the October 2016 conference entitled "If Ye Had Known Me", and we talked about four things he said can help us come to know Christ.
1) Exercising Faith in Him
Nicole shared a scripture that I loved and wanted to share. It's 2 Chron. 14:11, and my favorite line was "It is nothing with Thee to help". I loved that. Whatever we're going through, as long as we have faith, and as long as we have God to help, it is nothing.
2) Following Him
We need to do the work, put in effort. We need to do our part. We can't just leave it all up to Him.
Sometimes we have to put aside our will to follow Him.
Heavenly Father keeps us where we are because He loves us and knows what is best for us, and what we need.
3) Serving Him
Okay, I learned something new today, and this was way cool. So, Elder Bednar said in his talk, "We grow to love those whom we serve." Mosiah 2:17 tells us that when we are in the service of others, we are in the service of God. Ergo, as we come to love those whom we serve, we come to love God. Well, serving others is my favorite way to serve God and love others, so I'm on the right track! :)
4) Believing Him
Believing Him invites perspective and peace into our lives.
This gospel is an eternal gospel. It will last through the eternities.
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will always respect the agency of others.
He knows you. He knows your strengths, weaknesses, desires, hopes, dreams, wishes. He knows what you need to feel loved.  He knows that when you're SUPER sick, you're basically a useless worm.
HE KNOWS. He knows it all. And He still loves you.
I am so grateful for my Savior, who stands by me. I am so grateful for my Father in Heaven, who sends me messages of love and comfort through friends. I'm so grateful for the Holy Ghost, who comforts and calms me when I'm nervous or scared. I'm grateful for the love of my Heavenly Parents, my Savior, and the Comforter. I am grateful for their hands in my life. I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to sing in church today. It was so great to share the message of the song "Beautiful Savior" with my ward and my friends (Fun fact: that song is President Acerson's favorite song). I'm grateful for my family, friends, and roommates. It's been a crazy year, of which I will share a little bit next week, so stay tuned. ;)

I love you all! I wish you a blessed Sunday and a happy week!

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, April 16, 2017

He is risen!

Happy Easter! Jesus Christ is risen!

I had the opportunity to go home this weekend and it was such a blessing. The primary children sang "Gethsemane" in sacrament meeting and it was so cute and really brought the Spirit. My sister was sick and couldn't teach in Nursery, so I subbed for her today. Be still my heart! Those kids!! So cute and so sweet!! 😍😍❤️❤️ 

Here are some Easter videos from the Church, and here are some music videos. This year's theme was #PrinceOfPeace. Here is one of my favorites. ❤️

I am so grateful for my Savior, and for His sacrifice. I read an interesting article–well, it was a video–the other day that really changed my view of His Atonement. You can see it here. I really recommend it. It was such a great video. I'm so thankful for Jesus Christ, and His willingness to suffer and die for me. He didn't have to, and He asked if there was another way (Mark 14: 36), much like all of us. But He did it anyway. He knew what He needed to do, and He loved us enough to do it. Every day, I'm grateful. He lived, He died, and He lives again. Oh how sweet is that sentence! He lives. With Him on my side, I can conquer anything and everything. Because of Him, I can be at peace. For He is the Prince of Peace.


Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, April 9, 2017

With Him we can. :)

Today is Palm Sunday, the day Jesus entered Jerusalem before His great sacrifice for us. Easter is next Sunday! I'm so excited! I'm going home (again. Wow, I have gone home so much this semester) and am hoping that I will be done with most of my homework by that time so I can rest and relax. We'll see how this week goes. :)

Sacrament meeting was AMAZING and I definitely needed it today! Before I get into that, though, here are my thoughts from during the sacrament.
Some day, life will make sense. I am counting on that day. Right now, however, nothing makes sense, and I struggle all the time, as we all do. Lately, it's been really hard to be positive and optimistic and happy. Mainly because it's the end of the semester and I have a LOT of things to do, but there are other suspicious factors, too. Anyway, it's just been really hard to look on the bright side of things, and I want to wallow all the time, but I don't have time for that right now. I am really grateful for my Savior. I don't deserve all of the second (and third) chances that I get, yet He give them still. If that's not love, what is? I am grateful for my Heavenly Father, who sent His Only Begotten to die for us. I've been struggling with some things a little bit lately, but how can I fail with my Heavenly Father and Savior's love and help? 
Speaking of struggling, guess what the topic in sacrament meeting today was? If you couldn't guess (you probably couldn't), it was about attitude, adversity, and trials, and how to get through/overcome them. It was a blessing! I really needed it today. :)

So, some of my favorite things that were said were:

  • When we face adversity, we forget about all the great things going on in our life.
  • Don't try to change the things that you can't control.
  • We are free to choose joy.
  • We need to realize that we have EVERYTHING that we need to be happy in that moment.
  • Adversity has a purpose–to help us grow and change.
  • God will be with us. We should not be afraid. We are not alone.
  • The only thing we can control is ourself, and our actions. 
  • We need to trust that God sees the whole picture.
  • He shows us our weaknesses so that we can work on them.
  • We need to have a good attitude. Yes, sometimes it's hard. But we need to "Hold on to the hope that there are good things in the world," and realize that "Even darkness must pass."
In Relief Society, we talked about visiting teaching, and one of my favorite things that was said was that Heavenly Father uses other people to remind us that He loves us. My last favorite thing was that we're all trying to go to the same place; we need to lift each other up.

Don't forget that God is with you. With Him, you can do anything. That reminds me of two things: one is this scripture that we talked about in Sunday School. It's the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 19:26, and it says, "But Jesus beheld their thoughts, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but if they will forsake all things for my sake, with God whatsoever things I speak are possible." The bolded parts are the parts that are changed/clarified from the Joseph Smith Translation. I loved this verse when we read it in class. And this reminded me of the song, "With Him We Can", which you can find here. It's a beautiful song that talks about how with God, we can do things that we never thought possible.

I'm so grateful for my ward! I love the people I've met, and I cherish the friendships I've made. God knew exactly what He was doing when He put these people in my life. I love them all so much and I wouldn't change anything! I'm grateful for my family, and for my friends. I'm grateful that I have so many people to depend on and turn to. I'm grateful for my Savior, and for all He's done for me, and I'm grateful for my Heavenly Father, who knows exactly what I need to grow and be better. I'm still working on it, and He's right there with me. I hope you have a peaceful Sabbath and a wonderful week!

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Perfect love casteth out fear.

Conference weekend has happened once again! Loved the messages this weekend! Grateful that I had the opportunity to come home and hang out with my family (however rambunctious the boys became during the last session). Here are a bunch of my favorite quotes from this wonderful conference weekend!

"In a darkening world, the light of the gosepl will shine brighter and brighter until the perfect day." ~Elder Bragg

"Faith is a practical principle that inspires diligence." ~Elder Soares

"We embody Christ in not only what we say and do, but in who we are." ~Elder Hales

"Diversity is not cacophony."
"The loss of even one voice diminishes every other singer in this great mortal choir."
"Remember it is by divine design that not all of the voices in God's choir are the same. Don't disparage uniqueness."
"There is room in this choir for all who wish to be here." ~Elder Holland

"In order to be all in, we need to stand up inside."
"We may need to let go of the world so we can hang on to eternity." ~Elder Sabin

"Children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate." ~Sister Jones

"Things work out when we stand firm in the trial of our faith." ~Elder Clayton

Fear doesn't change hearts.
"In the face of fear, let us find courage, muster our faith.."
The pure love of Christ is the antidote to fear. ~President Uchtdorf

"Sometimes those who raise a warning voice are dismissed as judgmental."
To warn is to care.
"Then Jesus, beholding him, loved him."
"Because of this love, and with this love, Jesus asked even more of him." ~Elder Palmer

"We should not be surprised by what may seem like 'small things' because of their simple and repetitive nature."
"Conversion to the gospel does not mean all our problems will be solved." ~Elder Cook

Hope you had a great weekend and that you have a great week!! I'm struggling with the last couple weeks of the semester and I am frightened for finals but hopefully I'll be able to get through them! I'm looking forward to reading the talks again in the upcoming months (at lds.org. Join me in reading them again!). I'm grateful for the prophets and leaders and for their inspiring thoughts and messages this weekend. A few of the overall messages that I heard/noticed were that we need to love everyone, perfect love casteth out fear, and faith is an essential principle of power. I'm grateful for my Heavenly Father and for the messages that touched me this weekend. I hope that I will be able to apply the lessons and become a better person.

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, March 26, 2017

God loves me anyway.

Had a wonderful time at church today! ❤️ I heard a lot of great messages–and got a lot of compliments on my dress today, so that was fun. :)

I had a lot of thoughts during the sacrament today, so bear with me as I talk about some stuff:
I've been working really hard on my scripture study and prayer these past two or three weeks, and it's been an amazing experience to see the difference in my life in the days where I did both, one or the other, or neither. I've made a lot of progress in some personal goals and I am so proud of myself! So grateful for my Savior, who has stood by me and lifted me when I was down. There is nothing more comforting than to know that He is there and He hears me. So grateful for the opportunity I had to watch the women's session of conference last night with some friends. I desperately needed that time, and the messages that were shared. I am grateful for moments of struggle–without them, I wouldn't know joy and peace; and without them (either the struggle or joy and peace), I couldn't find answers. I'm grateful to be able to feel God's love, and that He answers my prayers through people and experiences. I'm grateful that I am able to set aside my stresses and doubts to serve the people in my life. I'm excited for General Conference this upcoming weekend and can't wait! ❤️
Today was fast and testimony meeting, and there were a lot of things that were said that I loved, and I wanted to share a few of them with you:
-Heavenly Father has a better plan for us. We can be SO much more than we are.
-God produces good out of evilness. You have to have faith that He'll make it beautiful. He can make awful, awful evil things beautiful. 
-The one thing that never changes is that your Father in Heaven loves you very much.

One thing I got from the lesson in Relief Society today was based off of something that someone said. I wrote, "Remember that those [amazing and wonderful] things you see in others can also be seen in you.  ❤️"

I loved today! I loved the lessons, and I loved the bits and pieces of the Gospel that stood out to me today. I was fasting and praying for some specific things today, and I didn't get all the answers, but I did get the ones I needed the most. I am soo grateful for so many things today! For my ward. For my friends. For my family. For my Father in Heaven, and for my Savior. I wouldn't be where I am today without what I've been through, who I've met, and who I've been surrounded by. I've grown, I've changed, I'm growing, and I'm changing. I've made some mistakes and sinned, as we all have, but God loves me anyway. 

Take time this week to ponder what questions you most need answered in General Conference. I am going to, too. And then listen and watch. God will answer you. He will bless you. He will love you. As He does now. Have a great day! ❤️

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, March 19, 2017

He will.

I came home this weekend because Friday was my Spring Day (I go to BYU and we don't normally have a Spring Break but this year they gave us one day...I'll take it!) and I had some things I wanted to do at home. In addition to that, this weekend was SO needed!! 

A week or so ago I was reading about the hymn "I Stand All Amazed" and I remembered that, at the time the hymn was written, 'confused' meant 'in awe', or something like that. I can't find what I read, but I know that I read it! Anyway, as we were singing that hymn before the sacrament, I thought that its line "Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me" holds well with either definition. Or both together. I am indeed awed and confused at the grace that He offers. Awed that He loves me enough, even when I've sinned, and made mistakes, to offer it; and confused as to why He offers it again and again. Some days I think that I'm nothing special–that I'm not worth it. But "I tremble to know that for me he was crucified, That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died." For me. He was crucified for ME. He suffered for ME. I'm worth it. At least, to Him. I've made plenty of mistakes. I've sinned. But still, I am worth it to Him. He hasn't given up on me. So I shouldn't either. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13).

A couple of things that were said throughout sacrament meeting and Sunday School today stood out to me, so I just wanted to shared them:
Learning doesn't help until we gain some experience(s).
Our life here on earth is like an apprenticeship.
We don't know the good we do when we share the gospel.

Relief Society was PERFECT! The lesson was one my singles ward did a couple weeks ago, but I really needed it this week. It's the one called, "Daughters of God" and I needed it. Here are some of the things that we talked about/were mentioned:
  • Heavenly Father knows you and hears you.
  • One woman said that she's always had a hard time with the phrase/word 'meek and submissive' in the scriptures, but that she had recently learned of the meaning of 'meek' in Greek. I'm going to share what I got from what she said and then from what I got doing a simple Google search. She said meekness is a war horse before battle–ready, determined, strong, powerful. In the Google search, I found this, which is essentially the same thing but better: "In the Greek New Testament, 'meek' is from the Greek term praus. It does not suggest weakness; rather, it denotes strength brought under control. The ancient Greeks employed the term to describe a wild horse tamed to the bridle. In the biblical sense, therefore, being meek describes one who has channeled his strengths into the service of God."
I LOVED that! I had never thought before that being meek could have negative connotations, but I am grateful for the sister who brought this new definition of meekness to me.

Another thing we talked about was tender mercies, and how grateful we are for women who listen to the Spirit's promptings and are answers to our prayers. I had such an experience only yesterday. My friend called me out the blue and I was so happy and grateful! It was good to talk to her, seeing as how I don't get to see or talk with her all that often anymore, and I miss her. It was good to know that she was thinking of me. I've been struggling a little lately and the phone call from her was exactly what I needed. 

God knows us. He hears us. He knows what we need and who we need it from. He knows your struggles, and your insecurities, and your doubts, and your wants, wishes, needs. He knows it all. He knows YOU and He loves you so, so much. And He will help you become better. He will give you the strength and determination to do what you want/need to. He will give you peace. He will give you the time that you need. He will make it all work out. He will. 

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, March 12, 2017

His love heals.

Last week, I made a goal–to be better/consistent in my scripture study and prayers, and to be better about specific personal goals I have. And while I was studying my scriptures Sunday night, I had a couple of thoughts and felt like I needed to write a blog post about this topic–perfection in ourselves–and so, not being one to let a prompting go when I'm reading my scriptures, I decided to listen. And this is the result. DISCLAIMER: I am going to be really honest in this post, and I just want to let you know that no matter what you read, I am fine. :) A little stressed and tired (#thankyoucollege), but I am doing just fine. Love you! :) 

I honestly don't know why I'm writing this post. I never thought that I would need to write this. But last week, I felt like I needed to. So I started it. I've been working on it, on and off, every day this week. It's a little long, and a little scattered, but hopefully I will get my intended message across.

~~~~~~~~~

I think I realized at least an idea for part of an answer as to why I do some of the things I do. Why I bite my nails. Why I bite my lip. Why I stress about sending texts/emails only some of the time and have to type them into a separate document before I send them, and then I still feel insecure about what I sent 80% of the time–whether or not I stressed about sending it. Why I feel the need to constantly be there for everyone in my life all the time, even when I physically can't be in two-plus places at once. Why I feel the need to control so many aspects of my life, even when I know I physically and literally can't. Why I beat myself up over mistakes that I made, things I said but maybe shouldn't have, things that I regret. Etc., etc.

The answer? I feel like I need to be perfect.

I know it's not expected of me, and I don't expect it of others (we're all human), but I just expect it of myself. And I don't know why.

sometimes i will let myself not be perfect. and for that one moment, everything is perfect. and then that moment ends. And I go back–to overthinking, to anxiety. {Sorry about the Tangled quote, there...actually, no, I'm not}

For some bizarre reason, I hold myself to an impossibly high standard. And I know that it's a little bit ridiculous.

I'm sure that we've all felt like this at times. Some more than others, but I think almost everyone has felt this desire–this need to be perfect at/in everything all the time–at some point in their life.

For me, this desire brings about anxiety and stress. I honestly so try hard to not let it get to me. But sometimes it's hard. Especially this semester. This semester it has been really hard. I've struggled with several things–from consistent and personal scripture study/prayer, to accepting the fact that people act and react in different ways and just because they don't react the way that I expected/wanted them to doesn't mean that they don't like me/love me/accept me for who I am, to realizing there are some personal things about myself that I thought I had gotten past but really haven't yet.

Honestly I think the biggest reason why this has been so hard for me this semester is because I've struggled with accepting the fact that I don't know where my life is going, and I've struggled a bit with accepting that I am where I'm meant to be. I love where I am, but you know, I've got all these friends in my life who are out there, DOING something–they're on a mission, getting married, traveling across the country, etc.

Not that what I'm doing isn't important–getting an education is very important–I just feel like I don't get recognition for doing what I'm doing (College is HARD. Did you know that? It's SO difficult!). Not that I want it all the time, but just once it would be nice to hear, "You're doing great! I'm proud of you! Keep it up!" (Don't tell me that just because I told you I want to be told that). My top two love languages are words of affirmation and quality time, and, if I'm being honest,  I feel like I don't get enough of them. This is possibly another reason as to why I do some of the things I do–I guess I try to make up for it [not getting enough love through my love languages] by giving love to others others–by bringing love and light to the lives of the people who are most important to me, and trying to lift them up and bring them a little bit of happiness, which also explains the need to constantly be there for said people in my life–I don't want them to feel like I do. Plus, I feel a lot better when I am making sure that other people are loved and happy.

Okay, now that I've talked about a few of the things that I'm feeling, and that you have probably felt sometimes, too, I'm going to share some thoughts from a few prophets and leaders of the Lord that address several of the things that I've brought up.

President Russell M. Nelson, then Elder Nelson, said in 1995, "The perfection that the Savior envisions for us is much more than errorless performance. It is the eternal expectation as expressed by the Lord in his great intercessory prayer to his Father—that we might be made perfect and be able to dwell with them in the eternities ahead." And it is not meant to be achieved in this life! He goes on to say that, "That Jesus attained eternal perfection following his resurrection is confirmed in the Book of Mormon... Resurrection is requisite for eternal perfection." God's purpose is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. We are meant to grow and become perfect with His help, but it will take time. So, even though at this time in my life I apparently feel like I need to be perfect right now (when I know that I am not expected to be 100% perfect now), I need to remember it takes time–to forgive, to heal, to repent, and to become perfected.


In 2002, President Monson said, "I have always felt that if we speak in generalities, we rarely have success; but if we speak in specifics, we will rarely have a failure. Therefore, I urge that you exemplify in your lives four tested, specific virtues. They are:
  1. 1. An attitude of gratitude,
  2. 2. A longing for learning,
  3. 3. A devotion to discipline, and
  4. 4. A willingness to work."
I absolutely LOVED this! Here is one thing he said for each of the different virtues:

"Be grateful for your mother, for your father, for your family, and for your friends...They love you; they pray for you; they serve you. You are precious in their sight and in the sight of your Heavenly Father. He hears your prayers. He extends to you His peace and His love. Stay close to Him and to His Son, and you will not walk alone."

"We can find truth in the scriptures, the teachings of the prophets, the instructions from our parents, and the inspiration that comes to us as we bend our knees and seek the help of God."

"The battle for self-discipline may leave you a bit bruised and battered but always a better person. Self-discipline is a rigorous process at best; too many of us want it to be effortless and painless. Should temporary setbacks afflict us, a very significant part of our struggle for self-discipline is the determination and the courage to try again."

"President J. Reuben Clark, many years ago a counselor in the First Presidency, said: 'I believe that we are here to work, and I believe there is no escape from it. I think that we cannot get that thought into our souls and into our beings too soon. Work we must, if we shall succeed or if we shall advance. There is no other way.'"

I loved his talk! Focusing on specific goals and things to work on helps me get outside of me and not be so...I don't want to say self-centered because that's not exactly it but that's the only way I can think to say it. Anyway, I've found that having specific goals helps me be more aware of my surroundings and more aware of my Savior.

In a talk by Sister Elaine S. Dalton in 2004, the three topics she addresses are, "Believe in yourselves. Believe that you are never alone. Believe that you will always be guided." 
  • "Before you came to this earth you were tutored at your Father’s knee. You have been reserved to come to the earth for a special purpose. There are things for each of you to do that no one else can do as well. You have a destiny to fulfill. Your righteous example as one of the believers will make a difference in the world, so “be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work” (D&C 64:33)."
  • "The Lord has promised: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:88)." 
  • "Everything in the scriptures is applicable to our lives. The scriptures answer our questions, they provide role models and heroes, and they help us understand how to handle challenges and trials. Many times the scriptures you read will be the answer to your prayers."
I loved her talk. :) It was a good one to read. Believe in yourself! Believe in what you can do, in who you are, and in what you are capable of. Believe that you are loved and wanted. I have trouble with this sometimes (just as a whole, not specifically that last sentence). But I am working on it. :)
As I've been working on this post all week, I've been thinking and learning a lot about myself and the Lord. I've been working on my scripture study and prayers this week, and I've been doing really good this week. And because of that, I've felt at peace a lot this week. There are still some things that I didn't get answers to this week, which is okay–I think that the Lord is working on answering them. Sometimes you just have to have faith, and I do. Life is good. I love my Heavenly Father, I love my Savior, I love my family and friends. I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to go to school here at BYU, and I'm grateful for the Bishopric and their wives. They are so amazing and wonderful and I love them. I'm also super grateful for my visiting teachers! They're super wonderful and always willing to help me and I'm so thankful for that. :) This has been a helpful week for me as I've been writing this post and finding/figuring some stuff out that I don't know to fix, but I know that Heavenly Father will help me fix them. In 1 John 4:18, it says, "18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." I know that the Lord loves us all perfectly and wants to help us become better. And I know that His love makes everything better, and gets rid of the fear–it gets rid of the anxiety. When I remember, and focus on it, His love heals. And for that I am grateful. ❤
One last thought...here are a few songs that I loved and thought they encompassed what I've been trying to work on, what I've been feeling, and what the Lord does for you:
He'll Carry You - Hilary Weeks ( LDS ) with Lyrics - YouTube
Colbie Caillat - Try - YouTube
Sometimes He Lets it Rain - YouTube

I love you and so does your Heavenly Father. Hope you have a lovely week! ❤

Xoxo
Mattie