Tuesday, April 26, 2016

See & Believe

What do you see?
A great mountainous glacier setting itself free
Nothing holds it back from being what it wants to be
Neither frost nor liquid nor man can compete
Leaving behind no sense of defeat
What do you see?
A stone so small winds could take it away
But happy it sits wherever it lay
Pondering what the next move it will make
All the while cheerful though without no mistake
What do you see?
A wrinkle, a smile, eyes that shine as the light
Glorious will that can always take flight
No wrestle of heart can outtake the delight
Onward, press onward can be the next fight
What do you see?
For always the triumph seems too far to see
But take and believe what you know you can be
Always, forever, we’ll stand and we’ll live
To fight for our souls and to serve and forgive
What do you see?
I see a strong spirit who knows what to do
Who knows how to fight and to hum the right tune
Someone who’ll take a bad blow as it comes
And turn and press onward no matter the sums
What do you see?
Believe in yourself and your power within
To strike at the foe with your goodness and grin
You know what is right and you know how to play
Life isn’t the game but no need for delay
What do you see?
A past that might hurt and a future unsure
Unstable you think yourself, scared with no cure
Questions with answers that cannot be heard
Ensnaring the soul, allowing the lure
What do you see?
Hope can rise up if you let it be seen
No need to hide or think low your esteem
Greatness exists inside you and in me
Just let it go and let yourself free
What do you see?

[September 19, 2008 (3am)]

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Church so long and so often

Why do we sit through 3 meetings totaling 3 hours every Sunday for church?  And wrestle with our children almost the whole time?  Do we expect to hear something so new it's mind-blowing or earth shattering?  Isn't it just the same stuff every week?

Well for me, I appreciate and know that I need the constant replenishing of spirit in a way that is special to gathering and talking together about basic Gospel doctrines.  Yes I pray daily and yes I study my scriptures regularly but getting together with others in faith in Christ brings a special strength to me as I begin a new week.  Next to partaking of the Sacrament ordinance, getting out of my house and meeting together with purpose is actually a great refresher for body, mind and spirit.
"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."  -- Matthew 18:20
When I pay attention, I can feel the Lord by His Spirit in those meetings I attend each Sunday.  When I pay attention to the Spirit instead of let myself get distracted by rowdy kids or weird things people say or other things that cross my mind, I am so much more spiritually rejuvenated and elevated.  I feel more of God's love for me and others and feel lifted up as I think of ways I can try to be better.  Sometimes it's stressful trying to keep our kids quiet and happy and then also teach a handful of rambunctious young children, but boy do they need this constant refresher of spirit each week!  I do too.  We all do.  I don't just go to church for me, but I also go for my children and my family as a unit.  It brings us closer together because we feel the Spirit and God's love for us.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Your book of remembrance

When I heard it, this sentence from Elder Gerrit W. Gong's past conference talk "Always Remember Him" struck me deeply:
"Have you ever thought of yourself as your own living book of remembrance—reflecting what and how you choose to remember?"
I don't think I had previously thought of the things I remember as a choice.  To think that I could choose what I remember about past times felt monumental to me.  I don't really like to talk about many things in my past because I remember lots of negative feelings and things I wish I would have done differently.  I know I've had good things in my life, but I seem to have this problem where I mostly only remember the bad things.  Even in recent years.  I tend to dwell on the negative a little bit.  But this phrase from Elder Gong seriously hit a chord in me.  It made me realize two important things:
  1. You can look on your past in a positive light
  2. Remembering the good things in your life can be so much easier by keeping a record of them as they happen
I know there has been a lot of good in my life.  I feel extremely blessed for so many reasons.  I love where I am now and I know that it's because the Gospel of Jesus Christ has brought me real peace and lasting happiness attainable only through Him.

I have a lot of forgiveness to release still, especially for myself.  Something I try to remember is that in any point of my life I did the best I could with what I had and knew at the time.  Elder Gong quoted Christian philosopher Soren Kierkegaard who said:
"Life must be understood backward.  But ... it must be lived forward."
I love that.  I'm working on feeling more gratitude for the past moments I've lived, to be happy about what I've had instead of wishing for something different.  Learning and growing is the point of us being here on the earth in the first place.  If we can learn from what we have done and implement those lessons in our current moments, our lives now and our future will feel bright and hopeful.  And it will be even more so if we can let go of life's many disappointments.  That's what I need to do, and I know that as I do, I can have an even more fulfilling life because nothing will be haunting me or holding me back!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

My Conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Both my parents were baptized and became members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in their adult years.  They were married and sealed in the Manti Utah temple.  My younger brother and sister and I were all baptized at age 8.  Despite this, our family didn’t attend church very regularly, nor did we spend time together in Gospel instruction that I remember with family scripture study, prayer, home evening, etc.  I attended girl’s camp and seminary, even EFY, and also stake dances, though I didn’t participate very much in the spiritual side of things.  As a result I was spiritually wayward, and felt like I was always grasping at straws trying to find real happiness.  I had blue coloring in my hair at the ends and a strip through my bangs at one time and hot pink highlights at another; I stayed out way too late and never had a curfew; didn't have the greatest influences as friends; I didn’t always dress modestly; I played in soccer tournament games on Sundays; I stayed up till morning and slept till the afternoon.  Searching for peace in all the wrong places, I didn’t know there was a better way of living.

The summer before my junior year of high school my 16th birthday fell on a Sunday.  For some unknown reason I decided I would spend my birthday going to church.  I have a few memories of Primary and Achievement Days, and one thing I do remember is getting a pencil for my birthday in Primary.  This small thought played a part in my going to church that day.  I didn’t know which class I was in or where they met, I hadn’t previously talked much to the other youth in my ward.  I don’t remember who I sat with or how I got there.  But I went and I was happy to be there!  I decided in the middle of Young Women’s that from that day forward I wouldn’t stop coming to church.

The same summer in the next month was girl’s camp, and my first year as a YCL (youth camp leader).  I almost didn’t go because I didn’t really feel like I knew anyone I would be there with.  But I ended up going and I’m really glad I did.  The Spirit pierced my heart that week.  During the Thursday night devotional and testimony meeting with my ward, I stood up to bear my testimony, something I never had previously done.  “I don’t know what I know; I just know that I know,” was the only way I could describe the feelings I had.  It gave me hope and a sense of purpose.  Girl’s camp and the events leading up to it sealed the deal for me, and I’ve never looked back!

It was tough though, to start over.  I was halfway through high school, established like everyone else, I had finally made friends I felt accepted with, and here I was, abandoning everything I previously “knew” for some glimmer of hope of the unknown future.  I tried to run with a different crowd where people were on the same page spiritually as me, though I never really completely felt like I belonged through the rest of high school.  It wasn’t an easy transition, but I was solid in my determination to stay true to what I knew.  Seminary was my rock through the rest of high school and a daily source of spiritual strength and rejuvenation.

Since then it’s gotten much easier and has become a joy to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  I’ve had a great time learning and growing through college, married life, and motherhood.  The Gospel is everything to me, and though part of me wishes I would have had a more spiritual childhood, I’m grateful for the experiences in my life because they have helped make me strong in my faith of Jesus Christ and brought me to where I am today.

My life is not free of challenges, nor is it free of mistakes.  I constantly have to be on guard and make sure I try my hardest to choose the higher ground and the better part.  I'm continually gaining testimony of the Gospel as I show my commitment to Him by living the eternal principles taught by prophets of old in the scriptures and modern prophets in our day.  My conversion is a process as I am converted to choosing daily to follow Christ.

We all face trials, and we all experience heartache.  I know what it’s like to be lost, and I also know what it’s like to be found.  Nothing else in this life can bring greater and truer and more lasting happiness and peace than following Jesus Christ and living His Gospel.  I am eternally grateful and feel hugely blessed to have the Gospel in my life!

Elder Bednar -- Converted unto the Lord

P.S. -- I feel like I need to mention that there have been countless good people throughout every part of my life so far who have had positive influences on me no matter how long or short our association has been.  It would be impossible for me to list the people or the instances but know that if you have come across my path, you have put a drop or two or many in my testimony & conversion lamp.  Even still today!  Keep being good people in the lives of others, I know you are blessing many with your goodness by simply being you!  THANK YOU from me and everyone else's life you have touched!