Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 is my Year to SPARKLE

2015 was a really hard year for me. Mental illness attacked me in a way I had never experienced before. I honestly felt betrayed by God for many months. It was hard, it hurt, and I wouldn't have made it without Christ. God gives us things we can't handle so we are forced to lean on Christ and that's exactly what happened. 

Even though this past year has been so hard on me, I have been blessed by so many beautiful experiences and tender mercies. My heart is so appreciative to those who brought a little sparkle into my life this year. 

This year I experienced loneliness in a deep piercing way I had never known before. And even though I wasn't alone, it doesn't change the way I felt or that that was my very own gethsemane up to this point in my life. Some days I would pray constantly because it was absolutely the only thing I could bring myself to do, other days I honestly didn't feel like praying at all. I started to feel like God couldn't hear my prayers or if He did, He was pouring blessings on everyone but me. But my message to you today isn't about misery, it's about hope. 

HOPE; that's what so many people brought into my life this year. That's the message I learned most this year, is that hope is ALWAYS there. It took missing hope, to find it and believe in it like never before.

On days when I felt so useless and like a grain of sand that was to soon be swept up by the tides of the ocean, a dear friend would bring me a plate of goodies when I least expected them, or a ward member would show up with some chocolate, or a servant of Christ would come to my home to listen to me open my heart, or a letter would show up in my mail box reminding me of the good qualities I have to offer, or an email would be found in my inbox of some of my spiritual qualities that I couldn't see, and even receiving phone calls and texts out of nowhere from those I hadn't heard from for a while. 

Each of these very tender and thoughtful acts of service and hope reminded me of just how much God is looking out for me, just how many of my burdens Christ was carrying for me, and how much one simple act of service can bring hope.

That is why my one word for 2016 is SPARKLE - I want to serve many this year. I want to deliver hope because of the sparkle that was brought into my life when I needed it most. 

Spencer W. Kimball once said in a BYU speech "But of course we ought to be happy here. We ought to sparkle and shine and radiate with brilliance. We have everything! When a prominent Eastern man who was visiting our offices asked me, “Why are you, the Mormon people such happy folks?” My answer was: “It is because we have everything—the gospel of Jesus Christ, the light, the priesthood, the power, the promises, the covenants, the temples, our families, the truth.” Latter-day Saints, especially Latter-day Saint youth, surely should have a brilliance of their own. You should have that sparkle here today."
Spencer W. Kimball wants us to sparkle, so that is my goal for the year, to sparkle. I want to be happy, and to radiate happiness. While everything that happens to us isn't always in our control, our response to it is always in our control. Happiness isn't an easy choice to make, but it is a choice we have power over, even if limited by our own chemicals and illnesses. Despite everything that stops me from being happy, I want to try harder to do better. I want to laugh more, smile more, compliment more, and people build more.
To help me on this path of making 2016 a year for me to sparkle, I will be featuring a weekly challenge with the #SparkleHope. Challenges will consist of either something that allows you to bring sparkle to others by serving someone, or by inviting more happiness into your own life. These challenges will be every single Monday, because as much as Monday's can be a really hard day, we are going to change that and start the week with SPARKLE and HOPE! 
You will have the entire week to complete the simple challenge and you can then take a picture of you doing your challenge and share it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or SnapChat with the #SparkleHope. It is my deepest desire to build a community of sparkle and hope, as we add sparkle to this new year and inspire one another.

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