Friday, July 31, 2015

You Decide & The Master Will Guide

I was thinking about my life today and the plain white canvas that laid before me. The plain nothingness of the canvas brought me feelings of fear and panic, yet I knew it beheld some incredible potential. But what? Why couldn't I see it? Touch it? Or feel with a perfect knowledge that it would turn out amazing? And even if I knew what it would look like in the end, what would I need to do this moment to create that beautiful picture it had the capability of possessing?

Remember those paint by the number kits as a child? I loved them. I loved painting as long I was told how to paint and what colors to use. Only then did I feel confident and comfortable in my art. But what this kit didn't do for me is teach me the principle of decision making.

As I seem to go through this process again and again, I have learned something about Heavenly Father. Everything that He teaches us and tests us with is something He is already an expert in. We already know He is perfect in all things, but have you really ever just stood there and pondered the qualities and attributes that He possesses? In my prayers I ask A LOT of questions. He doesn't mind, He rather me have lots to talk about with Him, then ask all these questions to all my friends and family and never Him. I'm learning that while I know without a doubt He holds all the answers, He doesn't give me all the answers. Why? Well, I believe the main reason is He wants me to become an excellent decision maker. One of the skills Heavenly Father possesses is being superb at making decisions. Sometimes He doesn't tell us everything we long to know because we have come to a point in our lives where He trusts us and He knows we are capable of making righteous choices for ourselves.

Sometimes you will find yourself on a path with two different trails to go down (or hundreds) and they could all be good, right choices for your path and I've learned that sometimes He want YOU to decide. While every single decision in our life matters, if our hearts are pointed towards Christ, we won't go too far off the path God has prepared for us. He will lead us and guide us.

You have a white canvas before your eyes. 
Start painting but hold the paintbrush 
loosely so the master can guide your lines. 

Even if you're lost in confusion with a bunch of unknowns, don't stop trusting God! You don't know what is right around the corner so just keep your eyes focused on Him as you make the very best decisions you can for your life and then He will guide. 

As long as we love God and we are living our lives to 
show Him this love, nothing will stop His plans for us. 
// Isaiah 14:27

Monday, July 27, 2015

Christ: It's Him I Choose to Serve

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
 - Matthew 6:24

This is one of the first scripture mastery verses I memorized in seminary. I remember my basic interpretation of it, to stay on God's side of the line and all would be well.

As I Young Single Adult, this scripture would periodically come back into my mind and remind me who I wanted to be serving, which would give me an opportunity to evaluate my choices in the overall big picture of things. 

Lately, I've been pondering on this scripture more and more. Satan speaks to me, like A LOT... and the thing is, I would be PERFECTLY okay without any attention from him. He's not one I would put on my list of guys I would like to impress. He distracts me a lot, reminding me of all my faults while the Savior so kindly whispers to me all of my strengths and all the hope that I should be hanging onto. The thing is, I can't hear both voices at the same time and I think I know what's in my way... I spend more time listening to satan about all that I'm not, all that I haven't accomplished yet, all the weaknesses that are limiting me... you know, all of the negative stuff that we each have.

And here's the thing, I've accomplished a lot in the eyes of my Savior, I do have a lot to offer, and I am enough because my worth is found in the Savior. 

Every time I listen to the negative... the voices of the adversary, I become a little bit weaker....

I become weaker in spirit.
Weaker in motivation to do more.
I become more selfish and a little more inwardly focused.
I become a little distracted and a lot worn out.

Listening to the adversary isn't helping me in ANY way. Listening is not making me any more humble. It's not giving me the hope or happiness that I search for. So why listen?

It's a fact, a STRONG fact that NO man can serve two masters. What ever voice the adversary is sending you, the voice to live as the world lives, the voice that you're not enough, or the voice that you can live today and repent tomorrow... it's not drawing you closer to Christ which means it's stealing away your happiness and your peace.

In every single moment of our lives, we have a choice. A choice to decide which voice we will listen to. It's not about the HUGE decisions like chastity and the word of wisdom, because if we are tuning our hearts to the voice of the Spirit moment by moment, those HUGE decisions won't even be the issue. We won't even be found in situations where those temptations would have power to weigh us down, if we are giving all that we can to the Savior EVERY SINGLE MOMENT OF OUR LIVES! Does that sound like hard work? YES! DEFINITELY 100%!!! But worth it? MORE THAN WE CAN PROBABLY COMPREHEND!

It's about the little things... And there is a good, better, and best answer to each of them!

Music, media, where our time is spent, the moment to moment thoughts we are faced with, the service we choose to give, the character we act upon...and so many more little decisions we are faced with constantly.

I personally have found my testimony has an extremely strong need to be nurtured, I have to use the best option in each scenario and moment that comes my way or my heart already starts to point towards the voice of the adversary. I may have to guard my testimony more than the next person, but that's okay, it's worth it! It's so very worth it for my heart to hear the voice of the Savior. 

It's Him I choose to serve! 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hope in the Healing Process

There's an 'old wives tale' that says broken bones grow back stronger, while this isn't exactly pure truth, the process in which bones grow back is truly fascinating. At the site of the fracture, a callus forms where calcium is deposited to assist in the eventual rebuilding of the bone. A cast is placed on the limb to protect the site, allowing it to heal unimpeded. Due to no pressure being placed on the limb in the healing process, the bone becomes weaker, all except for the site where the callus is being formed and the site of the fracture becomes stronger than the bone surrounding the area. Gradually, as the bone becomes used once again, the entire bone becomes equal in strength.

I find this process of bone healing to be both beautiful and incredible. Broken bones are pretty common, but can you imagine if they couldn't be healed? Can you imagine if you broke a bone and you were then stuck in a cast for the rest of your life? Now I've never broken a bone, I don't know the pain that accompanies such an experience. I don't know the inconvenience that results from wearing a cast, but I imagine it must be miserable; not being able to wash the area, that itch that can never be scratched, the inability to use the limb, the uncomfortable positions to sleep in, and so the list begins.

While I don't know what a broken bone feels like, I know what it feels like to feel "broken";  to feel as if parts of your life have fallen apart, to feel weakness and vulnerability, to feel the pain before the healing can begin. When this broken feeling happens, at first sight I start to panic, and then all the "What if?" and "Why?" questions come to mind.

The questions could potentially include:

- What if I had done just one thing differently, then would this have happened?
- Why is this happening to me?
- Why now?
- Why do I have to walk down this road?
- What if I could have prevented this?
- What if I can never recover?
- What if I'm not as strong as I believed I was?
- Why would weakness come after such great strength?

These questions come from the adversary, while it's good to glance back to learn from the past, it's even better to look forward, or best of all, to look to the Savior. That's the beauty of the gospel, all broken things have the hope to be mended and the gospel is a constant reminder of that. Christ is the 'Callus of the bone' in this analogy. Christ is the one who makes weak things strong again. The grace of Jesus Christ is there to help us mend, to become strong, and to become renewed. 

I know when I have been at my weakest points, He has given me strength beyond my own to heal my heart or even to heal my life. He gives me hope, He brings me happiness, and He gives me peace through the process. Having experienced mounds of grace before in my life, I've seen that healing is real. Sometimes the process is longer than others, but it's REAL. And once I have been healed, it doesn't mean that I am so strong I will never break again. I'm constantly susceptible to breaking again, one day later or potentially years down the road, perhaps in the exact same spot. There are beautiful ways to prevent the break, but if the break does come, Christ is there and He will not fail me, He will not fail you!

While I sometimes have to rebuild my life and start again, I know that healing is real. I know that I am nothing without my Savior, and I know He is the reason for all my hope! 

So while it can be discouraging that this 'old wives tale' isn't true, it doesn't have to be. If we remember there is hope in the healing and grace in the process of change and becoming, that we can be made whole and new again all because of what our Savior so willingly and humbly did for us, we can press forward in happiness because broken bones and broken hearts don't stay broken forever. If healing doesn't come in this life, it will come in the next and we can experience peace in the process. 

Because He lives, I can too!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

God is Good!

God is Good! I just strongly feel the need to write about this today from answered prayers I have seen in my life the past little bit.

I feel like I have been on the longest journey. I'm not quite sure when this journey started and I haven't yet reached the end. Sometimes the journey feels really long and daunting, and sometimes I receive an incredible answer to a prayer that gives me the assistance to focus less on the journey, and a little bit more on becoming like my Heavenly Father. The closer I draw to my Savior and my Father in Heaven, the more I see of His goodness.

Often when I pray, I expect the answer to be instant. For example if I'm going through heartache or grief, if I'm praying for peace, it's appropriate and a good desire to want that peace right then so I don't have to feel so miserable, right? Or another example, if I'm praying for stronger faith and courage so I can continue to move forward, wouldn't it be so wonderful to have that come instantly so my steps would be a straight and consistent movement towards goodness, so I not once had to fall? As much as these intentions of prayer are good or even great desires of my heart, they would take little to no faith on my part if all the answers came immediately every time I asked.

The more I pray, the more I learn that Heavenly Father desires to bless me and YOU! He loves the good desires of our hearts. And even in those times when I don't have good desires, He recognizes how hard I am trying. He recognizes the very nature of my heart. But here's the thing, even though He desires to bless me, He desires even more to help me become a little bit more Christ-like. He rather me go through some pain and discomfort so I can be refined.

So even though each time I pray, I keep hoping and praying that I will see the results and answers to that prayer soon, if not instantaneously, I am learning that every single prayer is ALWAYS answered. ALWAYS!! It has taken a lot of practice and diligence to prove this to be true. It has taken more faith than I ever knew was inside of me. It has taken more observance on my part to look for the answers hours, days, or even months, or years later down the road.

I see His goodness in my life as I look for it, and that brings me hope. Sometimes I lose patience and I end up praying, with tears streaming down my face "Do you even hear me? Do you even care?" and this is what I have learned - He ALWAYS does! It's okay to tell Him how you feel. It's okay to take your real and vulnerable questions to Him. It's okay when you doubt, as long as you take your doubts to the right source for them to be healed. And I testify, your doubts will subside as you strive to let light into your life - because God is GOOD! He loves you! He is forever in the details of your life.

He wants to pour blessings upon you. 
He wants to meet you where you are, to take you to where He sees you can be.
He wants you to be happy!
He wants to help you and hold you!
He will do ALL of these things, if you just ask!!!

Make it a goal to seek out His goodness, I have NO doubt you will find it!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

There is beauty in every weakness

I suspected something was wrong when I would have deep incredible conversations with others. Conversations I was eating up every word and feeling the spirit so strongly, then when I would get home I had forgot what it was we just discussed. It didn't make sense to me. I have always had a problem retaining new information. I knew I was capable of so much more. I knew I was putting in the work and doing everything I possibly could to retain information, study, get good grades, learn the piano, learn dance numbers for pageants - so why wasn't it sticking? Why I was having to work ten bazillion times harder than everyone else was and I was still so far behind from everyone?

At the age of 25, I was diagnosed with Inattentive ADHD (by the way, ADHD is something you are born with. So even though I was diagnosed in my adult years, I've had it my entire life). I was heartbroken and relived all at the same time. I was relieved that I could put a label on my problems and there was reason and science behind my weaknesses. Although I had feelings of relief, words can't even describe to you how heartbroken I was that I actually had ADHD. This isn't going to be a a whiny post, promise! But can I just say, ADHD SUCKS!!! It really does. Especially when you go your whole life knowing you are so different from every other person, but having the inability to have a reason why.

Inattentive ADHD is very different from Hyperactive ADHD. For me, it means information I hear and learn doesn't always stick and I can't retain as much as I would prefer. This makes school and pursuing my journalism career oh, so very hard! It means that it's so hard for me to keep attention on anything for too long and motivation of doing the daily tasks is a battle. My desires and ambitions don't show through my results. It's frustrating and I find myself discouraged over this problem often.

But the beauty of this weakness is the gifts that come with it. While I may not talk tons in conversation, I'm listening to you more than you will ever realize, I'm caring more than you can comprehend, and I'm internalizing your words in a way you have never thought of before. I can see the bright side of just about anything and my greatest ideas come at the very last minute. 

There is good in all things, and while I'm still trying to figure out how to treat this problem I know there is purpose and beauty in it. I know that Heavenly Father doesn't give us challenges without giving us mercy and the atonement to help us through the process. I know Christ has felt the discouragement I face and I have felt him lift me and comfort me in the times I need it most. I know our weaknesses can bring us closer to Christ if we allow them to. I know confidence is a gift that comes from the Holy Ghost as we take our problems to Heavenly Father. For the Holy Ghost has the answer to EVERYTHING!

I can't wait for my mind to be perfected in the next life. I can't wait to learn more about Christ on this journey that seems so daunting and discouraging at times. While living with ADHD is SO difficult, a rare form of it that I have yet to meet people with my same struggles and people that can even slightly understand what I'm going though, I do know I have found SO much beauty in my weakness. I see grace in my trial daily and I am forever grateful for that. I refuse to be defined by this problem. I will take what I have been given, I will water the flowers and not the weeds and I will embrace it all. I will keep moving forward and see the beauty in what I have been blessed with (because weaknesses can very much be blessings). I have SO much faith that every single thing we go through and we're given can be for our good. {D+C 90:24}

I like this blog to be a happy and beautiful place, but here's my philosophy: Can I really help girls build their self esteem and embrace all that they are; weaknesses and strengths alike if I'm not real and honest? No! I don't believe I can. 

So dear girls that read this, What's your biggest weakness, the thing that weighs you down the most? Go write about it! Write about the sucky parts as well as the beautiful parts found within your weakness. Then share about it so you can inspire those in your circle of influence. After all, we are here to learn and grow from one another as we find the roses among our thorns.

Be real.
Be true. 
Be authentic. 
Be yourself!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Empowering girls to always be "Unstoppable" - the Lord's way

Empowering girls to have strong self esteem and confidence is my passion. It's what I thrive upon. I believe girls are so much more than the labels society chooses for them. 

Always just came out with another campaign to empower girls, it's titled "Unstoppable".

 I love the message that girls are powerful and we should inspire girls to do anything they want to do, teaching them they have the power within to be strong and capable of so much more than the road blocks society chooses to define them by. I love the word unstoppable!! Isn't that such a power word?

Unstoppable - Impossible to stop or prevent

The word reminded me of this quote I absolutely love by Sister Rosemary M. Wixom. She said, “As individuals, we are strong. Together with God, we are unstoppable." 

I think of all the times I was unstoppable, all of those times when I took Heavenly Father on my team, it was only through Him that things that should have been impossible were actually unstoppable. I am nothing without Heavenly Father. While I am still learning to remember this through the bad AND the good days, I do know it with my whole heart. I know that He knows everything I don't know. (Mosiah 4:9)

In Luke 1:37 we read, "For with God nothing shall be impossible." How empowering is that? While I am a HUGE fan of girl power and I believe girls should chase their dreams no matter what the world says, I don't think it's more girl power we are in need of. I think we are actually in more need of divine power from deity. While girls are pretty capable of...well basically anything, Heavenly Father is capable of EVERYTHING! He holds all power, all knowledge, and He is holding everything together. 

Let's teach girls that they are stronger than they think they are, that they have the power to do anything they set their mind to, but let's also teach them the importance of turning to Heavenly Father to reach the impossible.

Let's teach girls that Heavenly Father knows all things and it is through Him that dreams will be achieved. 

Let's teach girls to prove society wrong about all the labels, but let's also teach them to embrace the qualities Heavenly Father blessed them with BECAUSE they are a girl. 

Girls and guys are different for a reason and while I desire to empower girls, I want to teach girls to love all that they are because Heavenly Father hand crafted their unique attributes for divine purposes. These qualities are worth celebrating, not hiding!!

This quote is absolutely inspiring by President Ezra Taft Benson:

“You [women] were not created to be the same as men. Your natural attributes, affections, and personalities are entirely different from a man’s. They consist of faithfulness, benevolence, kindness, and charity. They give you the personality of a woman. They also balance the more aggressive and competitive nature of a man."
“The business world is competitive and sometimes ruthless. We do not doubt that women have both the brainpower and skills—and in some instances superior abilities—to compete with men. But by competing they must, of necessity, become aggressive and competitive. Thus their godly attributes are diminished and they acquire a quality of sameness with man” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 547–48).

Let's teach girls to welcome with open arms the labels they have of being faithful, benevolent, kind, and charitable.

Let's teach girls to complete each other rather than compete with each other, just as Sister Burton has taught us!

Let's teach girls that the power is within them to choose the will of Heavenly Father every single time and that will be the only empowerment they will need in order to win and become more unstoppable than they can comprehend.

Dear Girls, you will ALWAYS be 
unstoppable when you take
 Heavenly Father as your
best friend. 
He is ALWAYS on your side!

What's been unstoppable in your life because of Heavenly Father?