31 January 2014

"The best and most beautiful things in the world... must be felt with the heart." -Helen Keller

Apathy: lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. 

You know those dark times in life? So dark it no longer looks dark? So dark it looks like nothing? You know those moments of sadness when you simply want to feel nothing at all? Then when you actually feel nothing at all... it's even worse than feeling? 

The past two weeks have been a roller-coaster. Lots of emotion, lots of thinking, and unfortunately, some very real moments of not-caring. I've worked my way out of the no-caring part, but let me tell you it's not a friendly place to be in.

I needed to make a decision. I needed to make a decision that I never should have needed to make in the first place. I needed to make a decision entirely dependent on someone else's actions, and I would be lying if I said I wasn't frustrated. 

I knew the answer to the decision that needed to be made; I knew it all along. But the natural man (girl) in me, out of pure immaturity wanted Heavenly Father to know exactly how yucky I thought this situation was, and oh boy! Did I tell Him.

How I got so blessed to have a perfect and merciful Father in heaven I don't know. How He loves me despite all my quirks and instabilities I don't know. How He reaches out to me in love constantly, always, forever, and unconditionally? I don't know. But I do know I am undeserving, and I do know I am utterly blessed.

No worries guys, my heart is back to feeling. I cried when I watched this video. My moments of apathy have passed. But only because I have a Father in heaven who reminded me I'm okay. He nudged my heart. He knocked on my soul. He showed me in His simplistic and perfect ways just how loved I am, and I cannot possibly express enough gratitude, for having such a patient and omniscient Father in heaven, Who for whatever reason, not only loves me despite my fragility, but because of it. How blessed I am.

29 January 2014

If I got a letter from heaven, I hope it might say something like this.

24 January 2014

“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.” -Kahlil Gibran

"You have the power to change, 
and re-define what beauty is. 
The power is in your hands... 
we can take selfies."

Kudos to Dove for speaking up about beauty.
More women need to empower women.
Beauty is not defined in magazines.
It is not defined in the opinions of others.
It is not found in photoshop,
or filters,
or angles.
It is authentic.
We define it.
We don't superficially create it.
It is within us.
It is simply who we are.

18 January 2014

Families can be together forever, through Heavenly Father's plan.

Today I had the blessing and opportunity to go to a sealing - and may I add that it was the first sealing I was willing to go to since my divorce! *pat on the back* I pulled myself together and braced myself for lots of tears, some flashbacks of unwanted memories, and yes - I even prepared myself for a little bit of anger. Little did I know this preparation was a colossal waste of time. 

Today, as I sat in the sealing room I watched two beautiful, wonderful human beings promise forever to each other. I watched a precious, darling baby girl get sealed to two parents, who so evidently love that child more than they thought humanly possible. All I was capable of feeling in that moment was love - a total overload of God's good love.

Good marriages exist. Not as often as they should but they do. Love - when it is godly and pure - is miraculous. It changes lives and people and conditions and situations. Families are meant to last forever - they are designed to be eternal. God wouldn't have us settle for any less.

Sure, we don't all get there the same way. In my case divorce came before the family, but life happens and people make choices and God allows us to grow. Regardless of how we get there, that blessing is ours. It has been promised to the faithful and worthy, and nothing and nobody except yourself can take that away. Chances are it won't come when we would like. It may not even come in this life - but it will come.

So hooray for beautiful love! Hooray for these two beautiful people! (Plus little Charli) And hooray and halle-freaking-lujah for this gospel! God's way of life is good. It is oh so very good.

15 January 2014

And in looking back, I found that I had arrived.

I don't go out of my way to make trips to Salt Lake City, particularly the temple part of Salt Lake City, but with one of my dearest Kiwi friends visiting Utah before embarking on an 18 month mission, there was no way I wasn't going to show her around Temple Square and church headquarters. 

At one point during our tour of Salt Lake City, we went into the beloved visitors center and looked at the beautiful Christus. As I sat on the bench, holding hands with one of my dearest friends, and looking intently into the eyes of this real-life-like statue of Christ, there was one thought that swept over me, and that thought was Him. Only Him.

As I turned my back I caught a glimpse of the Salt Lake City temple, that stood so majestically behind me... and for a moment that temple was not only very much physically behind me, but figuratively behind me. There was a day that took place in that beautiful temple that was simply just that: behind me.

I turned back around and looked at my Savior. My heart kind of jumped in my throat. My eyes welled up with tears. 

He is my focus. 
He is my direction. 

Whatever lies behind me doesn't change the fact that He lies ahead of me - always and forever. And in this one beautiful moment of clarity it all felt so perfect. Whatever lies behind me - it's okay. My direction hasn't shifted, my pathway is still clear. 

He is the purpose.
He guides my path.
And somehow,
in the Lord's mysterious, wondrous ways,
Christ showed me that as I was looking back -
I discovered that I had arrived.

06 January 2014

"When we think of the great sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ and the sufferings he endured for us, we would be ingrates if we did not appreciate it so far as our power made it possible." -Spencer W. Kimball

As we grow older and mature in the gospel of Jesus Christ, repentance takes on a new meaning. It's no longer just confessing and "saying you're sorry." It's no longer feelings of guilt just because "I have to go talk to the bishop." As we go through life and truly experience the Atonement for what it is, repentance truly comes to mean change. It means giving yourself to the Savior. It means allowing your Savior to help you, because He suffered what you are feeling and He is the only one equipped to relieve you of your suffering. 

I've been reading a book called Conquering Your Own Goliaths by Steven A. Cramer. In chapter six, Steven Cramer, in an obvious effort to help, recounts the Savior's suffering on Golgotha and in Gethsemane. Thinking, truly thinking, about what our Savior went through has to be the most heart-wrenching, humbling, and soul-crushing thing to think about. I cry because I'm so grateful. I cry because I love Him more than I can express. I cry because all I want to do is hug Him, because I can't bear thinking about the pain He endured. I cry because of His perfection. I cry because I'm now beginning to understand what the Atonement really is. I cry because I have come to know The One Who performed it.

..."The torture inflicted upon Jesus began late Thursday night after a mob of cutthroats, led by the traitor Judas... dragged Him from the Garden of Gethsemane like a common criminal. They beat upon him with their fists; they ripped the hair of his beard from his cheeks; they spit in his face....

The bloodthirsty soldiers gathered around to watch Jesus suffer... a deep gash was cut into the Savior's back, and the blood began to flow... His muscles were laid bare and his back, sides, and shoulders were literally shredded raw..."

Steven Cramer then goes on to say, that even worse than that day, was the night He endured in the garden of Gethsemane. He then quotes Bruce R. McConkie: 

"The agonies of Gethsemane have seen the blood of a God fall in oozing drops from every pore to hallow forever that sacred spot... His blood, the choicest blood on earth, the atoning blood of God's son is now dried on the rocks and mingled with the soil of the Garden where the greatest miracle of the ages has been wrought." -Bruce R. McConkie

All I can say is that the unimaginable things that our Savior experienced--for us--are simply far too dear, far too sacred, and far too precious to treat lightly, without the utmost reverence and humility. His suffering knew no bounds, and how misinformed and ungrateful we are to suggest we are not worthy enough of being saved. How confused we must be to think our neighbor isn't worthy enough to be saved. When Elder Holland says that it is impossible for us to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ's Atonement shines, he meant it! We don't determine whether or not we have sunk too low, and we definitely don't determine that for others. We don't determine just how bright the light of His Atonement shines, and we don't determine just how far-reaching that light is. 

HE decided we were worth it. 

HE atoned for my sins, 
and for her sins, 
and for his sins, 
and for their sins. 

HE told us we were worth it that night in Gethsemane, 
that day on Golgotha, and He tells us we are worth it every single day, now and forever. 

What our Savior Jesus Christ endured for us is evidence enough of His love. His Atonement is His loving reminder every single day of our lives that He hasn't given up on us and He never will. He knew what the Atonement would require of Him, and He definitely hasn't forgotten now. He saved us. He loves us. Both perfectly and infinitely. I cry because I now know that. I cry because He has shown me. I cry because I know it stands true for me, for her, for him, and for them. I am so grateful for what I know. I am forever grateful that I can call Him--with utmost reverence and awe--my Elder Brother, my Savior, and my Redeemer. I am grateful for His loyalty, His perfection, and His unyielding grace. And oh, how my heart adores Him.

01 January 2014

"Every man should be born again on the first day of January." -Henry Ward Beecher

Is it possible that New Years day can be my most favorite holiday? Because it is! I don't know what it is about the first day of a new year, but there is absolutely nothing more hopeful or happy or magical. New Years day is like Disneyland on steroids, and there is nothing I love more.

This year was definitely a year to remember. I had a lot of things to work through, and a lot of healing took place. There was anger I needed to let go of and forgiveness I needed to find, and miraculously, by the grace of God, by His goodness and His love, I found it. I was there... and now I'm here. And with complete and total confidence I can say that my divorce was the best thing that has ever happened to me, and how God plans those things I don't quite know. What I do know is my life didn't start until after someone left it, and there were things God had in store for me I never could have imagined. 

I was given a second chance at life; a good life. In God's goodness He allowed me to feel temporary grief and sorrow I never thought possible, to feel eternal happiness and peace and joy and relief I never knew existed.

So here is to 2014, a new year that looks unbelievably bright and full of promise. Another year of learning, and growing, and becoming. No doubt there will be hard times! There were will be new wounds and new challenges. Things I won't expect will happen. But hope and magic and goodness will find it's way to me, even if it is infrequently and perhaps not enough. But if there is one thing I know... I know that if I live worthily and with faith, if God remains my constant, as completely as my Savior remains my constant, I will no doubt feel what I need to feel, experience what I am meant to, and endure the refiner's fire in a way that is pleasing and acceptable to God. I have been blessed with a new year, a year that has more opportunities and blessings waiting for me, and it is absolutely impossible for me to feel anything other than immense gratitude for my Father in heaven and for my Savior, for Their protection and safety They so lovingly gave to me this past year.

So hey, bring on the unexpected!
Because who knows?

I've heard that sometimes the unexpected things in life,
are the very best things in life.