Thursday, May 25, 2017

Stone by Stone

It's been said that most of the time, you won't recognize the Lord's hand in your life until you look back. How very true that is.

When I got home from my mission it felt like my life was falling apart, when it was falling into place. In the moment I was confused as to why everything was happening, I didn't understand what He was doing. I felt like all of the things that I had planned on and prepared for were good (key phrase, 'I had planned'), but He had something else in mind for me that was so much greater than what I could personally envision. Something I would never trade, change, or give up now. He had been placing the path out before me for years, stone by stone. With each decision I made, trying to follow the promptings I received and trusting that He knew what was best for me, I was guided to where I needed to be. I was unaware of the small miracles that were taking place around me almost daily until one day it finally dawned on me what He had actually done. The fog lifted and I was able to see what He had been creating all along.

So, if you feel that nothing is working, that your world is crumbling around you, that you are surrounded by darkness, hold on. There is a reason behind the pain. He loves you and won't have you go through any amount of pain unless there is good that can come from it, and He had His Son feel the exact same pain that you may be enduring so you wouldn't have to go through it alone.

 He has a divine plan for your life and He is in the details. Take time every day to sit for a moment and recognize the tender mercies that have taken place, no matter how small they may appear to be. If you are willing to open up your eyes, and ask for help to see it, the Lord's hand will appear all around you. I can promise and testify of that, because He does it for me daily.

Remember that heaven is cheering you on.

You've got this, because He's got this. 


Monday, February 27, 2017

A Moment In Time

Two years ago today I sat in my history class at Utah State begging the clock to move faster. Every second seemed like an eternity and I didn't know if the class was ever going to end. Then that sweet moment came when the professor dismissed us and I ran for my dorm. I paced the room until one of my best friends arrived and I jumped into her car and headed toward Saratoga Springs. I asked mom on the way down if the mail had come yet...praying that a certain letter was there...and she let me know that she wasn't going to check it, that she was going to let me do it once I was there. When I opened up the mail box I couldn't help but scream when I saw a large envelope taking up most of the space inside. My call had come. I carried that letter around with me until 7:oo pm that night when many of the ones I loved gathered at the church building close to my home to be there when I opened it up. I still remember how badly I was shaking as I tore it open and fumbled to pull the paper out. As I said the words, 'the Washington Vancouver Mission', something inside me stirred..something woke up...I remembered something that still wasn't clear... This was the place I had promised to tend for the Lord long before I came to this earth. I already knew it was home. The days leading up to my mission took forever as well. I was so excited and so anxious to get there! But I entered the MTC exactly when I was supposed to. As I entered a room of strangers and watched while more came in, I wondered what was ahead of me. Little did I know then, that within 12 days those strangers would be some of my very best friends. Getting onto that plane with them by my side brought so much comfort that I am unable to put into words. I had my family with me. As I went through my mission I would get to serve around them from time to time and one of the sisters literally became my sister as she served by my side. Those months with her are priceless to me. Every transfer occurred when and how it needed to. It was so hard to say goodbye, but I was blessed with many more hellos. My entire mission taught me that God is truly in the details of our lives. He is so much more involved than we realize and He is doing everything He can, everything we allow Him to do, to help us succeed in this life. He guided me to a mission, it was still my choice, but He prepared me for it in ways that I was completely oblivious to and He gave me the strength to not only make it through, but to love every single day.
I sit here today, with my little sister asleep beside me, amazed and in complete awe of what God just did with me and my life in such a short amount of time. All I can say is that He lives, God lives today and He loves you and He loves me. I'm grateful to know Him and have no doubt that He is there and that His Son is by His side; together they carry me, aid me, comfort me, and walk beside me. I am never alone and I can accomplish anything and everything they call me to do. I am Their servant, Their hand maid, Their disciple. I can't wait to see what They have in store for me in the next two years...

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

"In Spite of Everything"

Attending school has been an adjustment for me. I know how to work and I know how to work hard. I have always loved school and enjoyed the challenge...but it has become even more so since returning home. While on my mission everything I did had eternal significance...and now I'm working on an assignment that the professor will look at for a few brief moments, put a grade on it, and move on. My God, being so good to me as always, has been teaching me that I have been looking at this with the wrong perspective and He has slowly been opening my eyes to what is really taking place.
Everything has eternal significance. Yes, everything! Even washing the dishes, shoveling snow, doing laundry, and every other task that takes up our time. How so? They teach us how to work. They teach us to pay attention to detail. They teach us to give all that we have until the task is completely done. They teach us to have order in every thing. They teach us to be clean every whit. Then, when all is said and done, they bring peace into our lives. Think about it. When the task is done, at least for today, your body and your spirit seem to sigh with relief. As you give yourself to these tasks, you're refining who you are. When you care for the small things, just like following what seem to be 'small promptings' the Lord trusts you with more. It may even be these little things that give you the sanity you need when facing difficult trials and opposition. They may be your anchor in the storm.
A quote that I read while doing an assignment this past week really hit me...
"...history rests on the shoulders of those who accepted the challenges of difficulties and drove through to victory in spite of everything." -President Hugh B. Brown
This quote does not say that these individuals did everything perfectly. It does not say that they came out on top with their hair still styled, manicured hands, neat clothes, and a well rested body. My guess is they came out with some broken bones, a bruise here and there, a major head ache, a body craving and begging for sleep and a new appreciation for and reliance on God and the Savior. If you're like me, you've been beating yourself up because you haven't gotten everything done that you needed to, maybe you've even failed a couple of times when you tried really hard. THAT IS OKAY. God doesn't expect us to be perfect...not even close! He just expects us to try. To give all that we have today, and then turn it over to Him. He will meet us where we are, no matter where that is, and He will carry us if we only let Him.
I am so extremely grateful for the Atonement. I am grateful for my Best Friend Jesus Christ who understands how I'm feeling and what I'm going through when I don't even really know. He lifts me up, He magnifies my efforts, and He makes more of me every day than I could make of myself.
Turn to Him. Let Him in. Don't resist His love or think you are unworthy of it.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Beginning Again

Coming home. Every missionary knows it's coming someday...but that day comes much faster than you expect it to. Looking back my mission feels like a wonderful blur and almost a dream. There were days that seemed like an eternity, weeks that felt like a day, and eight teen months that passed by me in a few brief seconds. Those moments changed my eternity. It's hard to believe that I've been home for a month...I blinked the past four weeks my entire life has been flipped upside-down. The beautiful plan I had carefully created fell apart into something that could only be created by the Master's hand.

Before leaving on my mission I did everything possible to finish the application process for the Elementary Education Program at Utah State University. Believe me, it wasn't easy. I had to put in a lot of time and effort to be prepared for the five hour exam in the middle of my final exams for the semester, along with two other tests and a group interview. As always, my God was so good to me and helped me to get it done. Within my first six weeks in the mission field I had received my acceptance letter and I put all of that to the side with peace in my heart knowing that it was all taken care of for when I got home. My wonderful mother enrolled me in all of my classes, got an apartment for me with my best friend and former companion, and paid all of my fees and tuition... so when I got off that plane I didn't have to worry about a thing. For those first three weeks we were going to play and have fun until I moved up to Utah State University. Then...the uneasy feeling came...the same one that guided me to serving a mission when I was starting to take my own path rather than God's. I spent a lot of time talking with my God about it and came to the conclusion that I wasn't supposed to go into the Elementary Education program that I had worked so hard to get into. It hurt my heart but I felt good about it and decided to look into Interior Design. A couple of miracles and "God doesn't do random" moments later I'm job shadowing a designer in my area and loving every second of it. Then...the feeling came Utah State University as a whole didn't feel right. In that moment I had to blindly trust. I was enveloped in darkness... I couldn't see anything before me but knew that He could. In my mind every moment when I trusted, when I walked in faith and gave my heart to God, played out before me and I knew that He was preparing a way. So I acted. I dropped all of my classes and left Utah State University with only hope, faith, and trust in a loving God. Days later...after the trial of my faith...I found the LDS Business College. This school has an INCREDIBLE Interior Design program and it has become my home. I love the feeling here. I love the people I have met. I'm exactly where I need to be. I don't know all of the reasons why I need to be here yet...and I may never find out all of the reasons why...but I know God has guided me here and He will continue to help me as I follow Him and trust in the promptings He gives me.

So my friends...when your life may feel like its falling apart around you...when you feel that nothing is working out...when you feel that you are alone and left in the dark... trust in Him who knoweth all things. Who loved you more than enough to send His Son. He sees what you cannot and He will guide you down that path that will bring you the most joy possible in this life and in the life to come.
Your God is oh so very good to you.