It is all about the journey….

Archive for December, 2014

Receiving

Receiving30 days ago I had fear in my heart….fear and dread. It was not the best prelude to the season when we emulate the life and teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ. I remember pouring out my heart to my Heavenly Father, wondering how it would all happen for us.

I received a beautiful feeling of peace….that everything had been taken care of. I just needed to let it all unfold.

What unfolded was one of the greatest lessons I have ever learned. I have come to realize that Heavenly Father rarely blesses us without teaching us deep lessons in the process. For that I am truly grateful, because therein I see that He loves me enough to help me grow.

There is a famous quote that states, “It is better to give then receive.”

In a lot of ways I truly agree with this. My heart loves to give. It is something incredible when we are able to offer a portion of ourselves, our time, our means and our love to someone who truly needs it. On many occasions the opportunity to give has blessed my life with a much needed portion of joy.

Yet, what about receiving what has been offered? Does this make us less than when we are given something we truly need?

No.

I know now that receiving what is offered can bring the same amount of fulfillment, joy and peace as we would feel when we give. The key is allowing our hearts to be receptive to the gift that is offered.

In the beginning of this journey we have been on, I did not want to receive any help. I felt that I should be able to do it all, take care of everything and fix what I thought was broken. I wanted to be ‘self-sufficient’. When that didn’t happen, time and time again, my heart broke. I began to think that I had done something wrong, that I had made a mistake that rendered me unworthy of the blessings I sought for. I felt alone and abandoned, because I didn’t get what I wanted.

What truly was happening was Heavenly Father patiently teaching me that He is the one that gives me everything I have and everything I need. He is the one that brings the miracles right on time. He is the one that fixes the broken things. He is the one that delivers us from our storms. He gives us everything…and sometimes He uses those around us to deliver the gifts.

As I took a step back to see His hand in our lives, I saw all of the ways that we have been blessed to receive of His goodness through the kindness and generosity of those who love us, those who may not even know us and those who genuinely want to help us on our way. They have been family members who listened when the Spirit spoke to their hearts, they have been friends who felt a need to reach out, they have been strangers who understood the look in our eyes without even saying a word….they have been angels.

Receiving has been a miracle in my life. I have learned that my heart determines how the gift enters into my life. Through countless prayers and time spent studying His word, the Savior has blessed my heart to soften. There is no room for receiving when there is hardness surrounding our hearts.

I truly believe now that in order to give with the right heart, we need to be able to receive with that same heart. That is my Christmas miracle.

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He Is

As I sat down to journal some of the things that have happened and are continuing to unfold in our lives right now, I found it difficult to express all that I feel. It is sometimes next to impossible to put into words the intricate ways that Heavenly Father is molding and changing me.

This process has not been painless by any means, yet I have learned how much He is there in my life. My eyes are starting to ‘see’ things that I never would have looked for…evidences of His hand in my life.

He IsI have learned….

He is there.

He is patient as He allows me to struggle with letting go and trusting Him.

He is quiet as He guides my heart, showing it the way to tenderly love, serve and receive.

He is in the details. I am in awe of the way His hand weaves the answers to my prayers through acts of service, thoughts and the words of prophets.

He is strong when I am weak. He knows how strong I am, even if I don’t yet see it.

He knows the depth of my heart and has shown me places therein that I never would have seen without wandering in the darkness for a time.

He is constant. His love is always there.

He is always listening to my prayers, spoken or not. He hears my heart.

There have been times I have felt like He has withdrawn. I have come to understand that there are times when we need to stand on our own and know for ourselves if we will always choose Him.

He has offered me a chance to become something far greater than what I ever could have imagined on my own. He has allowed the struggle to define this in my soul. He has given me the moments, experiences and time to grow.

And so it is…I am learning more about who He is and in the process I am learning about who I am.

He is my Heavenly Father and I am His daughter.

I’ve Got This

I've Got ThisThis past week has brought with it some incredible learning experiences. I wish I could say that they were all warm and fuzzy, but I can’t. I realize that often times learning comes with a certain level of discomfort.

Monday morning I woke up with the heaviness of life as we know it right now sitting on my heart and soul. As soon as I uttered a word of prayer, the darkness was there, surrounding me. I could not shake it, no matter how hard I tried. For two days it plagued me and it seemed like the harder I fought, the stronger it became.

I haven’t had many moments where I considered giving up (whatever that would look like), but there was one or two this week. I simply did not know what to do to solve the situation, rise above the darkness or where to look for the light I needed to heal my soul.

A couple of weeks ago, I thought I had figured everything out. I had some pretty specific feelings and had started to act upon them. I began to dream again…something that I have not allowed myself to do for a very long time. It felt like the barriers that have been placed in our lives were beginning to fall away…it felt so good.

Yet, Monday my hope began to fade. As a result I began to doubt all of the feelings I have been receiving from my Heavenly Father. It was a dark place to wander.

As I began to pray, my heart was so scared to ask about the feelings that I had. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to receive the answer I didn’t want to hear. It took a little bit to summon the courage.

I asked if I needed to let go of the things that I had felt…the solution and new path.

My answer was not what I expected, either way.

In that brief moment I felt a peace come over my heart and soul…something that I had not felt in quite some time. The peace spoke to my heart as if to say, “I’ve got this.”

The moment was just that…a moment of peace. It came and went so quickly, but it was real.

Letting GoIt took me a few days to realize what truly happened and has been happening in my life. He has been doing His best to show me, tell me and allow me to see that He has this right now. There is nothing I can do to ‘solve’ this. We are completely in His hands.

It has taken a lot of prayer and pondering to allow myself to let go and trust Him. I am one that likes to solve the problem and move on. Yet, there are some things that take time and experiences to solve and learn from.

I have reflected on many things that have been happening and seeing the peace that I have felt each time I have cried out to Him.

“I’ve got this.”

I am so thankful for every ‘no’ I have received. There have been times when I thought that would be the only answer I ever receive to my prayers. There have been other times that I have thought that it wasn’t even an answer at all. Yet, each one is another evidence that He has a plan for us and that plan is something far greater than what I can see right now.

I just have to let go, breathe and do my best to find Him each day.

Toiling

The beginning of Luke Chapter 5, it tells of a night that Peter and his partners had fishing. They had spent the entire night toiling, working and possibly praying for their nets to fill…to no avail. When the morning came, their nets were empty. I imagine they were disheartened, wondering what they would tell their families. Toiling

On this particular morning Jesus Christ came to the shore where they were cleaning their nets. I am sure they were doing what needed to be done so that they could be done and move on. He asked Peter to take Him out from the shore, so he could teach those that were following Him that day. The sermon was not one that was recorded in Luke…the most important part of the story came after the Savior finished teaching the masses. He turned to this ‘one’ and told him to go out further so he could let down his nets one more time.

And Simon (Peter) answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. (vs 5)

The results were nothing short of a miracle. The nets were so full that the net broke and Peter had to call for his partners to come and help them. When they came, both ships were full, so full they began to sink.

After a night of seemingly empty toiling, Peter’s faith in the Master filled his ships.

This story struck my heart as I read it.

Toiling.

There are times in life when it feels like an endless night of empty toiling, when all of our efforts seem to produce nothing but an empty net. Prayers that are offered feel like they have gone unheard. Feelings we may have of where to search produce little, if nothing at all. We search for the sliver of dawn that will allow us to bring the ship to shore, so that we can at least find some sort of footing, ritual in cleaning our nets.

Yet, as in the case of Peter, this long night prepares us for when the Master comes.

If our nights are not so empty, watchful and difficult, our hearts will not be seeking Him. If we have given up and left our boats on the shore, nets unclean, we will not see Him come. If we have allowed our hearts to give up, we will not feel of His love.

The nights are long, but not meaningless.

There are miracles that can only come to pass with Him. There are miracles that we can only see when we have softened our hearts. There are miracles that need to follow the toiling. There are miracles that will save us.

DawnI pray that my toiling will be acceptable to Him….that I will be able to see Him. I miss Him sometimes and long for the time when He comes to the shore and turns His eyes and heart to me. I know He seeks after the ‘one’…I need to remember that I am a ‘one’ that He would seek after.

For now I need to continue taking care of my boat and nets…keeping them strong and clean. Toiling.

He will come…..I know He will.

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