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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

When Trust and Doubt Collide

When Heavenly Father answers your prayers there is a very crucial thing you must do.  TRUST.  You just received an answer from your Father in Heaven, and Satan knows just what to plant into your mind to cause you to doubt, fear and believe his lies.  He knows how to make you question whether or not you actually received an answer to your prayer.  The process of prayer and the sweet communication you have with your Father in Heaven is most precious.  It's fragile, delicate, calm, quiet, powerful and oh so sweet.  If you humbly go to Him...if your heart is 100% in it and you are open to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost He will answer you.  Once you have that answer...TRUST.  

Unfortunately sometimes it's not that easy.  Sometimes we are quick to begin to doubt again.  Sometimes we think our way is better.  Sometimes we allow Satan to interfere.  Really, as harsh as it may sound, sometimes we realize we aren't fully putting our trust in Him.  If we were, well then we wouldn't be doubting.  You want to know the marvelous thing about this though?  Heavenly Father forgives.  He understands.  He is patient.  He never leaves you even when you continuously go back to Him with the same thing.  You're showing faith.  You're showing Him that you do trust Him.  If you didn't, well then, you wouldn't be going to Him, now would you?  

“Blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time. 

“Behold, thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth” (D&C 6:14–15)

Oh how He loves you.  Once you know that...oh once you know how much He loves you...my it's a beautiful thing.  Don't feel unworthy to go to Him again.  We are all imperfect sons and daughters to a perfect Father in Heaven.  We all go to Him.  We all fall short.  You are not alone.  Don't be afraid to continuously turn to Him.  Just because you fell short and let yourself begin to believe Satans lies and doubted that sweet answer your Father in Heaven revealed to you doesn't mean all hope is lost.  It doesn't mean He thinks any less of you or that He will turn you away because you doubted.  Just as our children often need to be reminded of certain things, we too, need to be reminded of those sweet answers to our prayers.  

“If you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things.

“Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?”(D&C 6:22–23)

Sometimes through the process of faith and doubt and recognizing the answers to our prayers He is teaching us something beautiful.  He is teaching us what it means to trust in Him.  And I don't mean kinda sorta trust in Him.  I mean, regardless if you received the answer you wanted or not, regardless of the outcome of a situation, saying, "ok this may not have been what I wanted or what I thought I needed, but I will trust in Thee no matter how this plays out.  Because I know your way is the only way, and I know that no matter what, ultimately by following Thee I will be happy."

He is helping us recognize His voice.  It's true what they say, the more in tune we are with spiritual matters, the more focused we stay, the more we immerse ourselves in the language and feelings of the Holy Ghost-the better we are able to understand and recognize promptings, impressions and His love.  

Please don't give up.  Please don't ever give up.  Don't lose faith.  I have personally come to a point recently where I wanted to give up.  I felt like I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing and yet I was struggling.  I was broken.  I thought to myself, "man, this was a whole lot easier when I wasn't reading my scriptures, praying consistently and going to the temple.  I didn't seem to struggle as much."  But I couldn't give up all the good that has come from doing all these things.  I couldn't deny my testimony.  I couldn't go back to how I was, because that's not who I am.  The peace and love I have felt far outweigh the small struggle I was facing.  

You can't receive the protection and guidance you need to make it through this life on top by giving in to Satans deception that the worlds way is the better way.  Storms will arise in life regardless whose side you're on.  And I don't know about you, but when those storms arise I know who I want standing by my side.  I feel proud to be on the side where my Savior leads the way.  I will stand with Him and for Him no matter what.  And I know that when we choose Him we are choosing right.  



Monday, April 10, 2017

Behold, your little ones.

"The greatest forces in the world are not the earthquakes and the thunderbolts. The greatest forces in the world are babies."

 

Ive always always loved children.  I love their sweet smiles and how they always seem to be so happy.  Even when they get their feelings hurt, feel sad or upset, if somebody treats them less than what they deserve- they are so quick to bounce back, forgive and focus on the good in life.   I've spent many years around children.  I've worked in childcare, been a nanny, have had several callings in the church with children, and of course being an aunt and older cousin.  I've enjoyed it all.  I thought for sure I'd love being a mom.  However, being a mother has proven to be a much more challenging role for me.  

"Elder M. Russell Ballard has taught us the importance of the Savior’s admonition to “behold your little ones” when he said: “Notice that He didn’t say ‘glance at them’ or ‘casually observe them’ or ‘occasionally take a look in their general direction.’ He said to behold them. To me that means that we should embrace them with our eyes and with our hearts; we should see and appreciate them for who they really are: spirit children of our Heavenly Father, with divine attributes"

Lately I've been so full of so many emotions.  It's like every emotion is on overdrive.  Everything is heightened.   I've never been a person who is easily brought to tears.  Welp, that has changed.  As I was sitting in primary yesterday we were singing "Jesus has Risen" and as I looked towards a photo of our Savior I was brought to tears as I listened to those sweet sweet children singing such a simple yet profound song.  We gave a lesson on the hymns in our CTR 8 class, we only had two kids and I was struggling to feel the Spirit.  I felt like the kids weren't really listening and didn't really want to participate.  Then we took turns reading Doctrine and Covenants section 25.  As I read the last several verses aloud, again tears filled my eyes.  MY GOODNESS! 

The goodness and the piercing intensity the Spirit can bring into our lives is extraordinary and something I hope to always strive to hold onto. 

 

Oh these children. I wasn't meant to teach them.  They were sent to me so I could learn from them.  

I don't think I've ever once struggled with missing somebody as much as I have lately.  I'm grateful I'm only four hours or a phone call away from her, but we all know, nothing beats being in the physical presence of the ones you love most.  

I'm sure many can relate to what Tad R. Callister wrote when he was trying to create a feeling to relate to in his book The Infinite Atonement "our communication with a loved one to the telephone; the lines can be clear, the conversation frequent, but the happiness that comes from being in another's physical presence is missing."  

Though this has proven to be a very difficult thing for me it's also allowed me to empathasize with my boys.  They cry, they get in little quarrels, they aren't always obedient and sometimes they push or hit.  While its easy to lose my cool and become impatient I've begun to understand a little more of how they must be feeling.  To them every. single. emotion is heightened and intensified.  I do need to do my part and help teach them what is right and wrong, and how to maybe express what they're feeling a little differently, but I don't ever want them to think what they're feeling is wrong.  Though I may sometimes think, "it's really not that big of a deal...why all the drama" to them what they are feeling is very real.  We don't all feel or think the same way, but that's what makes us each unique, and when we can ultimately embrace who we are and how we feel we get little glimpses of who we can become.  

These little humans have been there lately when I literally just want to cry.  Our life is so so good.  We are so very blessed.  We are happy.  But my heart has hurt lately and I couldn't be more grateful to be surrounded by these little boys.  All children are literally still so close to Heaven.  Our Savior loves each and every one of us, but I know He has a special special place in His heart for little children.  He tells us to behold them.  He teaches us to become like them.  We should all strive to be more like our Savior, and oftentimes it's through others He shows us little ways to do so.  These children...they are our brothers and sisters.  THEY are children of that same Heavenly Father I know and love.  Though I don't feel even the slightest qualified to be the mother of these sweet and special spirits; I know with the help of the Holy Ghost, the example of my Savior and the ever so constant listening ear of our Father in Heaven I can do my best and be guided and directed in how to love and teach and be taught by my sweet children.  I hope one day they'll know how much they have truly helped me at this time in my life, and I am grateful to know we are sealed together forever.  

 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What it Means to be a True Disciple of Christ

 

I feel like in today's world we really can't afford to become lukewarm when it comes to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Simply believing isn't enough.  We have to have a sure knowledge of the truth to withstand the storms of this life.  We all start somewhere. 

 A warm campfire is never just immediately a huge blazing fire; it starts small and it continues to burn by adding more and more wood to it.  As we allow the fire to go out the warmth and light of the flames go out with it, and it no longer serves any purpose.  But as wood is continuously added the fire will continue to burn, provide warmth and light up the area where it has been built.  

We all have the light of Christ within us.  When we make the choice to be baptized we are given the gift of the Holy Ghost.  We have a fire within us that just needs to be ignited.  It is up to us to supply that fire with the necessary equipment it needs to burn.  We need to read, study and ponder the words in the scriptures.  We need to read the words of the Prophets and apostles.  We need to constantly speak with our Heavenly Father.  We need to spend quality and uninterrupted time in deep conversation with Him.  We need to understand we are His children.  When we do these things we are better able to continuously have that fire within us burn, and the more we fuel it the more warmth and light it will provide not only to us individually but to all those around us.  

To be a true disciple of Christ means to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to Him.  In a world where most are following the ways of the world we must be brave enough, confident enough and strong enough to choose the Lord's way.  We must understand we are His children, and just as parents want their own children to obey them, we must obey and follow our Heavenly Father.  He is the source of love that everybody seeks but not everybody finds.  Not everybody knows that it is His love that conquers all. 

 As true disciples of Christ we need to be worthy to have His love with us at all times.  Not only will that protect us from the storms of this life, but it will equip us with the ability to be a light to those around us.  His love that burns within us will be able to be felt by those we choose to interact with.  Some will criticize and make fun, but some will feel His love through us, and there is no greater feeling.  They will want it for themselves.  It will be through us that they'll seek for a testimony themselves.  

As we go about our lives we must know for ourselves that we are His children.  We are children of God.  That is our identity.  That should be our foundation.  “I am a child of God.”  When we can fully comprehend the magnitude and power that entails our lives will be richly blessed.  Knowing for a certainty that we are children of God holds a certain power.  It answers the question most see as complex, very simply, “who am I?”  We are children of God.  That will never change.  His love for us will never change.  When we know for certain that's who we are we are given a strength to stand in His light.  We are better suited to walk His path.  We are then able to let others be spiritually uplifted simply by just being around us.  

I know, from personal experience, when we allow our hearts to be opened, when we truly seek and crave that knowledge, and we really want a more meaningful and happier life we will find it.  We will know what needs to be done to find it.  I know it is often through others that we can get our first taste to what His love truly feels like.  Once we feel that love and realize we have the capability and tools we need to draw upon that love every minute of every day our lives will be changed.  Others lives will be changed.  There is no greater feeling than feeling the love that our Heavenly Father has for us. 

To be a true disciple of Christ means to put Him first in all that we do.  It means to live your life in accordance to gospel principles.  It means to allow yourself to be a home where the spirit can dwell and shine.  Don't become of the world.  Don't become ok with walking aimlessly through life.  Walk in His light.  Walk His path.  Stay as close to Him as you can, and don't be ashamed or embarrassed to live differently from the world.  Be proud.  Stand tall.  Walk His path with a skip to your step and a smile on your face.  Let His love guide you and radiate from within you.  

I testify and know that the power of His love can change lives.  I know that His way is the way to true happiness in this life.  I know He is there and He wants to empower us and guide us.  He is showing us the way to have joy and to spread joy.  I know as we come to know Him we will come to know ourselves and we will surely know that it is because of Him that we can have true joy in this life.  


Friday, March 3, 2017

Sharing the Gospel Fearlessly

 

I don't share my spiritual thoughts and feelings to push my religion on anybody.  Most of us are involved in social media.  It's a thing of today's society that a lot of people enjoy.  Some choose to use it as a way to stay connected, some use it as an outlet to find funny, inspirational, motivational stories and photos.  I've seen a lot of good and a lot of bad and a lot of drama come from social media.  

Social media has a way of getting certain articles and writings of others to be spread worldwide in a matter of seconds.  I see it as what a great way to spread the gospel.  To maybe reach somebody who needs to hear it, and without social media maybe they never would have.  I have read many articles on motherhood that really helped me during certain times in my life through social media.  Had I not been involved in social media I may have never read those words that helped me during those times.  I'm grateful to those women who have opened their hearts to be vulerable in order to hopefully help somebody else.

The negativity on social media is junky, but there's also a lot of good.  As is life.  There is a lot of bad, but if we focus on the good we can be truly blessed.  

"God is preparing people to receive your testimony of restored truth.  He requires your faith and then your action to share fearlessly (emphasis added) what has become so precious to you and to those you love."
 -Henry B. Eyring 

We're so quick to share movies and books, tv shows and songs that we love and why we loved them why are we so hesitant to share the testimony we have?  Maybe you're like me and think we'll what if I share what I know and what helps me, and it doesn't work for someone else, and they come back and say hey this didn't work. Is everything you said a lie?  But I like to think that's where faith comes in.  If we have a testimony in the things we share with others then we have to have faith that if they, in a primary answer, search ponder and pray they too, will find the truth you know and share.  

Not everybody who hears us and who reads what we share will come to know the Savior like we do.  Not everybody will accept the gospel.  Some will reject everything you know that is true.  The source that brings you so much joy and peace will not be the answer for some, and that'll sting a bit, but we are His instruments.  We can't be afraid of the ones who will judge and discriminate.  We can't let that hold us back in bringing forth the Gospel.  Have hope.  Be proud to stand as a witness.  Let others see that light in your eyes.  Let them feel what you feel.  

It only takes one person, one voice, one life to change another.  Be that voice to somebody else. It doesn't have to be through social media.  It doesn't have to be standing at the pulpit bearing your testimony.  Let it be in the way you treat those around you, the way you serve, how you treat those in your family and the way you show your love.  I have such a strong testimony in this Gospel.  It truly brings me so much joy and happiness and why the heck wouldn't I want to share happiness with others?!!  Now is the time to act.  Now is the time to build others up and serve those in need.  Be a disciple of Christ and let others feel His love and His light through you.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Why I am grateful our son was born at 27 weeks

 
(Our first family photo, weeks after he was born and could finally wear clothes)

Our first son was born three months early at 27 weeks old.  He weighed a whopping 2lbs 7oz.  There was one moment I was truly terrified I was going to give birth only to lose him.  I remember getting to the hospital after experiencing extreme pain for several hours. I was obviously clueless to the fact that these were labor pains.  Hello, I was only 27 weeks along, I wasn't expecting those to be happening.  I'm usually pretty tolerant to pain, but this was something else.  It was intense.  I knew something was wrong.  We got to the hospital, and the nurse all of a sudden started shouting orders to get me a room and call my doctor.  I was dialated to a 9.5 and 100% effaced.  Our baby was coming. The nurse left and I started bawling.  I hadn't felt him move all day.  When I heard that sweet heartbeat, well, there was no sweeter sound.  

Four hours after he was born I went to the nicu to see him.  He was later given a blessing by his dad with family circled around our baby boy in his little incubator.  I'll never forget that feeling, and I'll never forget the continuous comfort I felt during the following months he was in that nicu.  

 

During those three months I was constantly asked how I was doing.  I was constantly being told, "you're so strong.  I'd be a mess."  Which I know people were just trying to give support and show they cared, but oftentimes it made me feel like a bad mother, because in all honesty, I wasn't scared.  I wasn't a wreck.  Yes I was sad to leave him every night when we'd go back home without him.  Yes I so very much wanted to hold him 24/7, without cords.  I wanted to take him on walks in his stroller and see him laugh and just be his mom.  But I knew he'd be okay.  I knew I'd be ok.
John 14:27 reads,
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Im not one who usually just will, out of the blue, have a scripture pop into my head.  But the entire time our son was in the nicu that verse would quietly enter into my thoughts.  This verse calmed me.  Every hour of every day I was filled with comfort and knowledge that we would bring our baby boy home with us one day.  

I'm grateful Corbin came early because during that time in our life my testimony grew in a way it couldn't have otherwise.  I learned how sacred, how powerful and how sweet the Saviors love is.  I learned to trust.  To have hope.  I learned that even through our hardest times it is possible to experience hope and joy.  The Holy Ghost has power to comfort.  When you feel hopeless, alone or even ask the question, "why me," there is power in seeking for strength and comfort.  There is One who can help you; who wants to help you.  Keep Him always near you.  Trust in Him.   


This little boy who came into our life fighting for his own life is now six years old and the top in his kindergarten class.  He is a spectacular little man.  He is forgiving, loving, kind, compassionate, smart, an amazing big brother, a gift, blessing and joy in our life.

I know that whatever trial we may face we can overcome it.  He has suffered it all.  He knows our heartache and pain.  He has overcome it.  He is willing to help you overcome it and strengthen you at the same time.  Have faith, trust, and find in Him the comfort you need.   

Friday, February 24, 2017

Because I KNOW You're Loved

 

If I sat down with you, whether I've met you before or you're a complete stranger, I could tell you one thing is for certain.  

YOU ARE WORTHY OF BEING LOVED.

Not just that but,

YOU ARE LOVED, already.

And no matter what you do, what you say or how you feel you will always be loved.  Unfortunately I also know me saying these things to you might not fix you're feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness, insecurities.  I know I can not fix your broken heart.  I can't be the one who drys those tears at the end of a long day of motherhood.  When you finally get those sweet babies to bed and you feel like you completely failed them on every level that day.  I can't be the one who tells you that you actually did better than you feel.  I mean, I can tell you those things.  I can tell you I know you're doing the best you can, but I know it won't fully fix your heart.  

In a talk given by Dieter F. Uchtdorf titled, "You Matter To Him" he says,
Another way Satan deceives is through discouragement. He attempts to focus our sight on our own insignificance until we begin to doubt that we have much worth. He tells us that we are too small for anyone to take notice, that we are forgotten—especially by God.
God sees you not only as a mortal being on a small planet who lives for a brief season—He sees you as His child. He sees you as the being you are capable and designed to become. He wants you to know that you matter to Him.
I don't see your imperfections or flaws, shortcomings or failures.  Heaven knows I'm not perfect.  I don't judge you from what I see on the outside.  When I look at you I see somebody who is trying.  Somebody who wants to be their best. 

You apologize that you didn't have time to put on make up beforehand.  To me, you look beautiful and I hadn't even given that a thought.  You look down and realize you have baby spit up on your shirt and, oh yup, some in your hair too.  You feel embarrassed and apologize again.  I see a mother who has had one of those mornings and yet still is smiling.  During our conversation you explain to me all the things you feel you're lacking in as a mother, wife, student, daughter, friend, employee.  So I ask you, "Do the people you love know you love them?  Do you show them your love?  Can strangers you meet or pass by feel a sense of happiness and love of our Savior through you?  Most importantly, do you know how much your Heavenly Father loves you?"

I know He does.  I know that He will remind you of that love every time you need reminding.  I know that He doesn't enjoy seeing you suffering, but I also know often times it takes suffering for some of us to go to Him.  I know His love is real.  I know His love can heal.  I know as we encircle ourselves in His love we are able to handle life a whole lot better.  We are able to have hope and joy in those hard times.  His love is so pure, so sweet and so perfect.  Being able to feel that and share that is something beautiful.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Faith in Knowing

 I sometimes wonder if anybody reads these ha ha. I guess even if nobody does it's a great resource for myself.  It's kind of a nerve racking thing to open up, to think about how others might be judging me or how their opinion about me might be.  But I get a tiny bit of excitement in knowing maybe, just maybe, my thoughts I share might have a positive affect on another person.  

 

I've found a lot of peace, comfort and knowledge in this simple yet profound sentence which happens to come from one of my favorite hymns.  Not just in the words alone, but in practicing exactly what it's saying-to be still.  We have never really done the "family motto" each year thing,  but this has quickly become something I've implemented into our home, and I love having it displayed where we see it constantly.  

 

As we nourish our faith, and as we continue to put our faith into action our faith becomes knowledge and our knowledge becomes our strength.  There are things I don't know and don't understand pertaining to the gospel, but there are plenty things I DO know, and I cling to those and have faith that more knowledge will come to me as I stay true to what I know.  But that's the thing when it comes to faith and wanting to know.  We can want to know something, and want to have that testimony, but it will be in the Lords timing that we will know.  Sometimes having faith in what we've been taught is true, studying it, praying about it, regardless of if we receive knowledge of its truthfulness for ourselves or not, is what He needs us to do.  We don't have all the answers, but He does, and we need to have faith in Him.  He doesn't sit there not answering our prayers.  He doesn't refuse to speak to us when we so desperately want to hear an answer.  He speaks, but we need to be able to hear Him, to be still, and align our will with His.  

 

 The gospel of Jesus Christ is so sweet.  The love our Savior has for each of us is so breathtakingly beautiful and humbling.  We live in a "natural mans" world, but we are ALL spirit children of a HEAVENLY Father.  We worry about being different.  We fear being different will bring us down and make us unpopular among our peers.  When in reality being different and standing out is exactly what makes us unique, special and others see that and they deep down admire it and look up to it.  When I look back on my high school days I don't remember the popular crowds.  I remember those individual people who radiated what it meant to be a disciple of Christ.  It's true; we sometimes don't know the impact we're having on other individuals.  But when we strive to live differently, seek higher ground and be more than what our natural man wants us to be we will find truths and comfort in all things.