Sunday, November 26, 2017

He is patiently waiting.

I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to go home for Thanksgiving Break. It was much needed!! And even though I'm 100% not ready for the next 3 and a half weeks of school (and I'm super nervous about finals), I am 100% well-rested for the next 3 and a half weeks of school. So! That should carry me through the rest of this week. ;) But honestly it's been a fantastic weekend and it has been so relaxing to spend time with my family, and to not worry about school every minute of every day. :)

Life is tough. And decisions are hard. Mistakes are made ALL the time. And sometimes it feels like there is no turning back. But there is. God is there, patiently waiting (and I mean honestly, 100% patiently. No inward groans of "Why is she taking so long?" or "Who let him make that mistake again?" He honestly is just patiently waiting) for you to admit you made a mistake, or come to terms with your mistake and move on through the stages of repentance with His help.

Some of the ways that we can make less mistakes/sin less were talked about in a couple of meetings today, and I wanted to discuss a few of them. Also I had some answered prayers in Sunday School and Relief Society today, so that was absolutely wonderful!!

First thing we can do to help us make less mistakes to serve others. There are so many opportunities to serve all around us. We just need to pray for eyes to see, and opportunities to be there, and then we need to look and watch. They will be there. As we serve others, we won't be worried or focused on ourselves, and thus we won't make as many mistakes or sin as much.

Second thing we can do is to follow the prophet, and listen to our Heavenly Father, and obey His commandments as much as we can.

Third thing we can do is to read the scriptures. Specifically the Book of Mormon. Every day. Yep. I said every day. Or try to read it as many days in a week as you can. It's okay if you accidentally miss a few days. God understands. You should just be patient with yourself. You can't always have a perfect scripture studying record because you're human and you make mistakes. You forget things. It's okay. We've all been there. By reading the Book of Mormon daily (or mostly daily) you will be blessed with the ability to make better decisions. You will be immunized against the evils of today, and against harmful addictions like pornography. You will receive answers to your prayers. And you will receive hope. All these blessings were found in President Nelson's October 2017 Saturday Afternoon Session of General Conference talk entitled "The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It?" It's an amazing talk and I need to go over it again because it is such a great talk! I'm so glad we talked about it in Relief Society today!

Fourth thing we can do (and the last one I am going to talk about today) is we can put on the whole armor of God. To do that, we need to:
1) Have our loins girt about with TRUTH. God's truth. By knowing His truths, we'll be able to run/go further in the gospel.
2) Have on the breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS. One way to do that is to keep your covenants. This helps keep us on the right path to God. Truth and righteousness give us a solid base and keeps us where we need to be. Remember that sometimes, though, we will lose battles, but also remember that we haven't lost the war yet!
3) Have our feet shod with the Preparation of the GOSPEL OF PEACE. The gospel of peace is like the spirit/attitude of being a peacemaker. We need to prepare for all different kinds of trials and hard times that we might go through. Spiritually and physically.
4) Take up the shield of FAITH which helps us quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Faith helps protect us from our doubts. Unlike a real shield in war, the shield of faith gets STRONGER the more you use it! So, use it often! The focus of our faith should be centered in Christ.
5) Put on the helmet of SALVATION. Salvation is an individual matter, and the Plan of Salvation is focused in Christ. He can help keep us safe.
6) Take up the sword of the SPIRIT. And the Word of God. The best way that we can fight Satan, and the darkness, is with the Spirit and the Word of God.

I am so thankful for the Book of Mormon! I've been having to read it for my religion class and it has blessed my life! I've seen amazing miracles happen in my life and I know it's because I've been studying the Book of Mormon. I know that God patiently waits for us to take steps in the right direction, and He will always wait for us to come back. I love this cartoon because I think it shows us who Jesus is. He really does love us and is ready and waiting for us as soon as we turn back to Him.

I had a really wonderful Sunday and am so grateful for the time I spent with my family. I am ready to finish this semester (hopefully!) and I am ready to go out with a bang!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you have a wonderful week this week!


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Focus and remember.

I've got a lot I have to do in the next couple of days before Thanksgiving Break. My professors (at least two of them) decided to have everything due the day before break. And of course I work late both Monday and Tuesday since Tuesday is a Friday schedule, and I'm really worried I won't get my assignments done/turned, or my test taken. But I just need to be patient, take things one at a time and go slow. And, of course, ask my Heavenly Father for help. As long as I focus, and work hard, I think I will be fine. It's just a matter of finding my focus. Well, actually, I know my focus: it's my Savior. I just need to remember to focus on His help, and trust in Him, and do my part to work hard. He will bless me. I know He will. I just need to focus and remember.
Something that Sister DeVincent said in her talk in sacrament meeting today really stood out to me. She said, the Lord blesses those who want to improve.  I loved that! When you have a desire to improve, He'll help you.

Brother DeVincent said that as you keep the commandments, God will bless you as He says. It might take some time, but He will bless you.

In temple prep we talked about the blessings of the temple, and one thing that the Bushmans said was that going to the temple blesses us and brings us closer to the Spirit, and to our Heavenly Father. You'll never regret going to the temple.

In Relief Society, we talked about missionary work, and the main thing we talked about was loving them. Don't preach, don't tear down, or whatever. Just love them. Be yourself. Live the way you live, and answer questions they have. But don't force it on them. Just love them. When they're ready, they'll be able to move forward. We also talked about how we need to be living our lives in such a way that God can use us an instrument in His hands and to help move His work forward.

I am so happy for the things that I learned today! It was a relaxing day!

I'm so excited! The choir sang in sacrament meeting today and it was SO GOOD!! I am SO pleased with the way that the number turned out! We sang "For the Beauty of the Earth" and it was so pretty!! And now we get to focus on our Christmas music for the fireside in three weeks! Eee! Three weeks! That's so far away and yet, so close!! I'm super excited! The numbers are coming along nicely and I am just super ecstatic for the fireside! It's going to be really fun and spiritual! I can't wait!!

Hope you have a fun and safe week! Travel safely, for those traveling for Thanksgiving. Enjoy your time with family and friends. :)


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Respect, love, and kindness–be perfect in trying.

Tender mercies are amazing, beautiful little things that always seem to come when I'm feeling the most down. I'm thankful that my Heavenly Father knows my needs and fills them, and I'm grateful for the little reminders that I am not alone, forgotten, or unloved. I'm grateful for the opportunities I have to bless others with that same knowledge, and to fill them with feelings of happiness, peace, and love.
 Sacrament meeting was wonderful! I loved all the messages on gratitude that were given today. Two of my favorites were:
-Being grateful is a good way to be happy.
-Being grateful for the things Heavenly Father does for us can improve our relationship with Him.

One of the things I learned in temple prep today I already sort of knew, but the way that it was presented was amaaaazing and just really stood out to me!

Josh wrote on the board:
worthiness ≠ worth/value
worthiness = preparation

I loved that! It was so clear and easy to see what worthiness is and is not. Worthiness is your preparation. It's not your worth or your value. You are ALWAYS going to have worth and value. That is never going to change. Your worthiness, however, will depend on how prepared you.

Josh shared a quote by President Hinckley. He said, "We believe in chastity before marriage and total fidelity after marriage. That about sums it up. That is the way to happiness in living. That is the way to satisfaction. It brings peace to the heart and peace to the home."

We talked about how we all have things that hold us back, but because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can get through it. We can make it through. We also talked about how there are a lot of different Christian/nonChristian churches, with a lot of different beliefs, and you can pick and choose which one fits your standards. But Josh said, "This is the church that helps us fit God's standards" (emphasis added). I loved that! We are not meant to change the Lord's standards, but we are meant to try and live them.

We talked about how to help people who are struggling with maybe the Word of Wisdom, or the Law of Chastity, and we just said how important it is to listen, and to love them no matter what, and to be respectful and courteous when they're talking to you. It's sometimes hard to share the deepest parts of you with people, and if they make fun of you, or make light of the situation, it doesn't make you want to open up to anyone ever again.

Relief Society was beautiful! We started off with a Dove beauty campaign video that shows/talks about how we view ourselves versus how we view others, and how others view us. We talked about how, as we visit teach our sisters, we help them see their potential. We help them see themselves how we see them. :)

We talked about fellowshipping with those not of our faith today, and there were just a few messages that I loved that I wanted to share:
-Focus on the positives about people.
-Just be a good example.
-Kindness is key.

President Hinckley's fourth point was one of my favorites. He said, "When we treat others with love, respect, and kindness, we show that we are true disciples of Jesus Christ." I love that so much. There is really no other way to show that we are true disciples of Christ. Treating others with respect, kindness, and love, no matter what the circumstances, is the epitome of being a disciple of Christ.

Personally, I try every day to treat others with love, respect, and kindness. It's important to me that everyone feels loved and respected. Sometimes, I make a mistake, but I try again and again. I might not be perfect at treating others with love and kindness, but I am perfect in trying, and I think that that is all God asks of us.

I'm so grateful for the lessons today. I'm grateful for my Savior, and for His hand in my life. I'm grateful for my Heavenly Father and for His love and support. I'm so thankful that the Christmas Musical Fireside I am in charge of is going well already!! I can't wait for it!! I'm so excited and grateful to be in charge of it! It's going to be so amazing and I am just super ecstatic about it!

Hope you have a great week! It's almost Thanksgiving! Hold on for about 11 more days!


Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Book of Mormon brings peace, clarity, and answers to my life.

I am so thankful for the sacrament. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to renew my covenants with God, and to start the week anew. Sometimes I make mistakes, and sometimes I make the same mistakes, but I am learning! I might make the same mistakes, but sometimes I quit while I'm ahead. I think to myself, "Mattie, you're better than this," or, "Mattie, you can overcome this. You're strong enough," and I choose to stop, or I choose to get up and change the situation, and go serve someone. Sometimes our trials and temptations seem like they are bigger than us, or have a hold on us so tight that they won't let go, but at some point, we can overcome. Not all the time, and not always right at the start, but a lot of the time, and early enough. One thing that honestly and truly helps me is reading the Book of Mormon. I have been reading every day for my Book of Mormon class, and it has helped me so much! Yeah, sometimes I slip in my trials/temptations, and I make a mistake again, and I fall backwards. But once every couple of weeks now versus sometimes every other day then is PROGRESS! And I welcome and am proud of that progress! 
We all have our own struggles, our own trials, our own temptations, and they're all different, and require different answers. But I know that the Book of Mormon helps us find those answers. It helps us find peace. It helps us find clarity. It helps us heal and become whole again as we turn to our Savior and trust in His Atonement.
Last night, my roommate and I were studying 3 Nephi 19, and I noticed that Jesus went away from His Nephite disciples three times to pray, much like when He was giving the prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Except this time, His disciples were still awake and praying when He comes back. One other thing I noticed is that in 3 Nephi, this is happening during the day, and there is a lot of mentioning how white and bright everything is. In the Garden, it's nighttime, and His disciples keep falling asleep. I don't think the similarity between these two events is a coincidence. I never made this connection between the two events before, and I thought it was just an amazing connection to make. (Another thing I just thought about is that three is such a powerful and repeated number in the scriptures. "Three is a magic number.")

I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting today and I honestly don't remember it at all! I was so terrified, my heart was pounding, and I was struggling to keep my body upright, but I knew I had to get up and say something because I had been thinking about the Book of Mormon during the sacrament and I knew that I had to express my gratitude for it, and how it has helped me through this semester, and through some of the trials I have been going through lately. (Of course, the moment I sat down after I was done bearing my testimony, my heartbeat was back to normal. Glad I can depend on it to keep me calm during moments of extreme terror ;) )

I'm grateful for the lessons I learned in church today. I didn't specifically take too many notes, I mostly listened today, which is all right. Sometimes you just need to listen. Today I just needed to listen, and feel, and take into my soul. I am grateful for my ward–I learn something new each and every day just from interacting with my friends, and they are all so wonderful and insightful and bring new insights to the gospel that I've never seen or thought of before. I'mg grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows just what I need and cares enough about me to send me what I need, and to bless me every day.