30 April 2013

Sunshine and Rain

There are moments in life that quite frankly, you don't quite know how to react to. A bad haircut. Do you pretend you like it? Failed a test. Feel defeated or work harder? Hearing your once-husband is engaged? Still don't have that one quite figured out yet. 

There are moments in life that take your breath away, but not always in good ways, to say the least. There are beautiful moments that take your breath away, simply because the beauty is too much to take in. There are moments that knock the wind out of you, when physically and quite literally you can't breathe. Needless to say those moments aren't quite as good.

These moments that take your breath away, it's all just a part of the experience.

But my favorite part? 
The moments that physically, painfully knock the wind out of you;
make those dear, precious, "take my breath away" moments 
all that much sweeter.

25 April 2013

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven... -Ecclesiastes 3:1

Before I left for New Zealand, I wrote myself a letter that I hid under my bed. It said this:

Next time you read this 
you will be so much stronger, 
you will be so much better, 
and you will be so grateful for 
what you have gone through. 

I remember the night I wrote that letter, I sat in tears on my floor and thought, 'I really will not live to see the day that I read this! I will not make it!' I did not think those words cowardly, and I did not say them out of self pity, I genuinely believed my heart would be beyond repair, and I would - dare say - really die from a broken heart.

Weeks ago, when I arrived home from New Zealand, I set my suitcase on my floor, and immediately reached under my bed to find this little letter. Tears filled my eyes and my soul almost burst. There are days I look back and I can't believe I've made it. There are days I look back and I can't believe I did it!

Today, for me, is one of those days. Ten months ago my "forever eternal companion" sent me a text and told me he was leaving and he no longer wanted to be married. Ten months ago I thought my world was shattering; my life crumbling. Ten months ago I knelt on my knees and asked Heavenly Father to make an exception and let me come home to Him, because this mortality nonsense was just too hard. Ten months ago a new chapter began. I had no idea how insanely difficult this chapter would be! I also was completely unaware of the beauty and blessings it would bring.

The last ten months have been jam-packed of heartache, betrayal, and pain that I truly did not know existed to the extent I experienced it. The last ten months have been filled with health problems by the dozen, (did you know 80% of all medical conditions are connected to stress?) The last ten months have been brutal, but I would do it all over again.

In the last ten months I have read 60+ church books that I otherwise would not have read. In the last ten months I have developed such a close friendship with the Book of Mormon; which I can attest is one of the most powerful friendships one can have. I have received letters from two apostles; and incredible promises were made to me that I think about and hold onto every second of every day. I have been given blessings by my Stake President, Bishop, my Father, my Grandfather; blessings that are too precious to write here. New Zealand became my home, and the experiences I had there I will cherish for forever. The temple has become my other home, and I am convinced my marriage in the temple - regardless of the outcome - has blessed my life in countless ways; because I otherwise would not be able to go through the temple; and I can't tell you how many extraordinary ways the temple has blessed my life. In the last ten months I learned the ultimate significance of temple covenants, what it means to be invested in your temple covenants, what it means to keep them, and what it feels like when loved ones so easily break them. In the last ten months I have come to a wonderful understanding of my worth in the Lords eyes. Remember how Joseph Smith was once totally slandered for the truth he spoke? I have come very accustom to that feeling. My testimony has been questioned and my character mocked, (by people who matter so very little) and after ten months I can say truthfully that it no longer affects me. The Lord knows everything. The Lord knows my situation perfectly. The Lord is just, and I admit, knowing that justice will be served, has gotten me through a lot of hard days.

In the last ten months I began attending BYU. In the last ten months I have gotten the most wonderful jobs, met the most wonderful people, and made the most wonderful friends. In the last ten months I have become a different person, and I have to tell you, I'm a whole lot better.

The things that I have had to learn are most definitely things I never in a million years would have wanted to learn, but I truly look back with gratitude and wonder.

My life, my friendship with my Father in Heaven and His Son, my testimony, my experiences, have made every single last second of sadness worth it.

Every tear
Every doubt
Every sleepless night
Every question
Every hopeless moment
Every false accusation
Every cruel word spoken
Every dark hour

The things that I have gained these last ten months significantly exceeds the things that I have lost. I am grateful for my Father in Heaven and my Savior. I am grateful for Their complete and utter faith in me. I am grateful to Them, for Their grace, for the strength They so lovingly give me, and the peace that They so mercifully allow me to feel.

They never said the hardest days of our lives would be the best days of our lives; but amazingly enough it is perfectly and completely undeniably true. 

20 April 2013

President Boyd K. Packers Unfinished Composition - General Conference April 2013

If I could now turn back the years,
If that were mine to choose, 
I would not barter age for youth
I'd have too much to lose...

I'm quite content to move ahead,
To yield my youth; however grand,
The thing I'd lose if I went back
Is what I understand...

I would agree I've learned some things
I did not want to know, 
But age has brought these precious truths
That make the Spirit grow.

I now can say with all certainty
That I know and love The Lord, 
I can testify with them of old
As I preach His holy word. 

I know what He felt in Gethsemane 
Is too much to comprehend, 
I know He did it all for us -
We have no greater Friend.

I know that He will come anew
With power and glory,
I know I will see Him again
At the end of my life's story.

I'll kneel before His wounded feet,
I'll feel His Spirit glow,
My whispering, quivering voice will say,
"Oh Lord, My God, I know."

10 April 2013

Hope on. Journey on. -Elder Holland

It's always sad when my favorite weekend of the year comes to an end. After the second session of General Conference on Sunday, I knew I should have felt totally spiritually fed - and I definitely did - but I felt like I was just getting started! If there was some way to have General Conference 1,203,985 times a year I'd be down. 

I'm hesitant to favorite just one talk from conference, but surprise surprise Elder Holland owned it. I was telling my Dad that Elder Holland could give the worst talk in the history of ever, and it would still be my favorite.

Faith is one of the most fundamental parts of our gospel. It is what every other part of the gospel is built on. It's such a simple concept, and yet so complicated to understand, and seemingly impossible at times to master. Elder Holland says, "In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited... When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes." 

I admit, I have some very weak moments. When the world hurts you, when loved ones wound you, when your circumstances confuse you, and when Satan discourages you, it is hard not to doubt, and it can be hard to hold onto your faith. 

There are days I question my future. There are days I question my past. There are days I question past decisions. There are days I question the wickedness of our world. I question how people willfully and knowingly inflict so much pain perfectly aware of their doing so and perfectly unaffected. There are days - I admit - I question the goodness of humanity. There are days I question why honesty is no longer an important attribute. There are days I question why kindness is no longer a particularly admirable quality. Yes I have a million questions, and they are questions that do me no good. 

The majority of lifes questions we will not receive the answers to. The answers to these questions are only known to a perfect Father in heaven and His perfect Son. What lies ahead of me? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why are our burdens so heavy? To all of these questions and to all of the rest, lay them at Gods feet.

Live righteously. 
Live honestly. 
Live with integrity. 
Live with character. 
Live with an eternal perspective, 
and above all,
live with faith.

The Lord knows our questions, 
but most importantly He knows the answers. 
He knows us. He knows the truth. 
He knows our hearts. Hold onto Him.
 Let him guide you. Let Him protect you. 
Let His love keep you going.

"...First and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe." -Elder Holland