It is all about the journey….

Standing Still

The story of Moses has always fascinated me. I am in awe of his faith, strength, courage and determination to follow the path the Lord laid out for him…in spite of all of the Egyptians and children of Israel fighting him.

peaceRecently I read the passage in Exodus that teaches about the Red Sea.

I can only imagine the feelings of terror and uncertainty they all felt. They had to fight to get out of Egypt. They were leaving their lives, not knowing where they were going. They knew that they were being followed by the armies of Pharoah. And…they come to the Red Sea.

It is interesting what Moses is inspired to say as they are complaining out of fear, frustration and uncertainty…

And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew unto you to day; for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 

The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Fear ye not. Stand still.

I don’t know about you, but when I am in a situation that is uncertain, terrifying or scary, the last thing I want to do is stand still. Between my mind racing, my heart pumping and the nervous energy that takes over my body and soul, standing still is virtually impossible…or so I thought.

A few weeks ago our family was brought to our own Red Sea. The only way we could go was forward, however we could not see a way. Our petitions to Heavenly Father were heard, because we felt that peace that comes from Him hearing our prayers, however the answers were not given. Each step we took was done out of pure faith in His path, timing and ways. We simply had to trust Him.

I remember uttering pleading prayers with the answers I had come up with. I remember holding my breath constantly, waiting. I remember telling myself over and over again to stand still.

I have a quote hanging on my wall that says, “God did not remove the Red Sea, He opened it. He will help us find a way through our problems as well.” ~Brad Wilcox

I have often hoped that God would remove the Red Sea that we find ourselves returning to time and time again. I have often wondered how many times do we need to return to the same place. I have often prayed to be done.

However…

That is not how He would have it in our lives.

And I am grateful.

As we have been on the shores of our Red Sea, I have learned more about the love Heavenly Father has for us. I have learned to stand still, even when every fiber of my soul wants to move. I have gained a greater understanding of how important I am to Him. I have seen Him fight for me and my little family. I have experienced peace in the storm. And, most importantly….

I have seen the Salvation of the Lord.

It is truly beautiful.

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Seek Me

For the past month there has been a theme repeating in my mind, quietly doing its best to teach my heart something important. Each time I have heard it, I have taken note and continued about my way…not really changing much in my day to day life.

This morning the birds awoke me with their songs and chatter. It brought a smile to my face as I thanked Heavenly Father for these sweet creatures. I noticed today was a bit overcast and cooler. I felt a pull to be outside, waking up with the day.

Seek HimThe contrast of gray with the emerald greens on the mountains took my breath away as I stepped out onto the deck. The smell of coming rain cleansed my heart and mind, allowing me to feel content and full of gratitude for all that Heavenly Father has created.

Quietly it came again…the message He has been doing His best to teach me….

“I am here. Seek me.”

All at once each moment He has spoken this to my heart came back to me. It was the times when I sat with my scriptures open rather than looking online. It was the times I spent in the temple rather than being tied to my computer. It was the time I went out with my family and played rather than ‘doing my homework’. It was all of the times I stepped away from a screen that so easily occupies my time.

This morning was a beautiful realization that life is to be lived, not watched on a computer screen. Funny how I am writing about this lesson on a computer screen.

As I continued to allow Him to teach me, I realized how much time I lose with those I love when I am tied to a screen (computer, Kindle, phone). It seems as though there is an invisible barrier created when I am screened. I am not as aware of them, the world and those I could be serving. My ability to create takes a backseat and my mind becomes a bit stagnant. Screen time for me is the easy, less-fulfilling path.

There are conversations to be had, books to be read, walks to be taken, fresh air to be taken in, ideas to nurture, people to serve, and inspiration to be received.

It is time to step away.

It is time to live again.

How grateful I am that He takes time to teach me simple lessons that are so important to growth and staying close to Him. I realized that as much as I desire to be near to Him and be His friend, He desires the same at a deeper level. I am grateful that He teaches me in moments that will last, if I choose to let them.

This morning was a beautiful, sacred time of teaching. I will seek Him.

 

I Have To Believe

This morning as I thought about the future, it felt tremendously big. I began to look at where I am and the huge gap that separates me from where I have felt I need to be. For a brief moment, the gap started to overtake me.

And then, it was as if a whisper came into my heart, I heard, “You have to believe.” I have to believe

With these four words came a rush of the many things in my life right now that are so uncertain. The things that will define me one way or another, depending on how I respond.

Again, “You have to believe.”

A healing, strengthening power washed over my heart and spirit.

As I took a moment to look back in my life I saw the many times I gave myself an ‘exit’ by holding back part of my belief, wondering if the assured promises would indeed come. It is difficult to let go of these self-limiting thoughts and ideas, because of the perceived safety net they provide.

How is it that we doubt the One who will never, nor cannot lie to us? How is it we think we know more or have a better way? How is it that we shrink in the face of the very opposition designed to make us stronger?

Where I feel I need to be, and those things that I need to accomplish is far greater than where and who I am today. As much as I have desired to move towards this place, I find that I have not been able to as quickly as I would like. It becomes discouraging, and easy to allow the doubts to creep in. I need to remember it is a process.

I have to believe that He knows me better than I know myself.

I have to believe that He has a plan, that is more wonderful than I can imagine.

I have to believe that He sees a strength in me that I have never tapped into.

I have to believe that everything I have felt I need to accomplish, He has designed.

I have to believe that I will be defined by His love, not my imperfections.

I have to believe that I am His.

The Pit

Not really sure how it came to be tonight. An unsettling feeling has descended upon my heart and has decided to take up residence in the bottom of my stomach. I would love for it to be hunger pangs, then I could happily feed them and settle in. No such luck.The Pit

I honestly like to understand the meanings behind the emotions that I feel, then I can confront them and overcome. However when they are insidious, it is difficult to find the battle ground.

So tonight I seek the battle ground through writing…

Some days are just not the best. It doesn’t matter what you do or how hard you work, things don’t ever seem to fall into place. Then one mistake after another compounds on your heart and, soon enough, you are swimming in waves that continually push you under. It is also like a little virus that spreads throughout the family, pulling each one down in its path.

There you have it….

I have to wonder if it is not a little bit of opposition that seems to come up when life is beginning to shift? Tomorrow marks a day that we have been waiting for, a day that we have been prepared for. I haven’t really thought a lot about details in what will happen, which may explain this pit. I have learned when I push things down they always surface carrying with them a myriad of unpleasant emotions.

A few months ago I woke up to this song by Casting Crowns playing in my mind. I have learned that when I wake up and there is music in my mind I need to pay attention to the playlist. There is always purpose to the song. Sometimes there is something I will be dealing with during that day that will require the lyrics to pull me through. Sometimes it is the weight I carry in my heart when I lay down at night and the song is there to lift me. This morning was one such song…

Just Be Held.

There is a line in the song that played over and over in my mind throughout the day:

“Your world’s not falling apart…It’s falling into place.”

It was pretty powerful that day, because it felt like our world was falling apart. Nothing we were doing to climb out of the pit we felt we were in was working, in fact it all seemed to be blowing up before our eyes. It didn’t matter how many times we knelt in prayer, pleading for answers or relief…the answers we wanted were not there.

The answer He knew we needed was.

Our world needed to fall apart to fall into place.

As we began picking up the pieces, we found the ones that were truly beautiful, the ones that worked and kept them. We discarded the ones that did not hold any value in our lives.

With the pieces we kept, we have started to create something new, powerful and a little scary. There are moments in life that define you. Our choice is which definition we choose.

So tonight the pit represents letting go of the pieces that were simply wrong. It is a little frightening, because they were a part of me and it can be difficult to let go. The unknown is both scary and exhilarating at the same time.

I will simply let go and just be held by Him who is in control of it all….

Uncomfortable

I have begun to notice a pattern in my life and the life of my family. I am sure I should have articulated this sooner, however sometimes it takes some repeating to help feelings and thoughts come together coherently.

UncomfortableA few months prior to our most recent move, I began to be uncomfortable where I was. I certainly could not understand why I would feel the way I did, because I loved our home, the location and many other aspects of where we were. Yet, in the midst of all of that, my heart would not settle.

Then began the little things that nudged my heart to a place of restlessness. Looking back, I can see how Heavenly Father moved me. First He took my heart far away…to Texas. We felt like we were supposed to uproot our family and move away from Utah. Truly there seemed to be many attractive things waiting for us there.

However, the longer we looked at it, the more we felt like it wasn’t right. What we thought was there, was not. For a brief moment I was upset at Heavenly Father for taking my mind there, then I began to see what He was truly doing. Next, we fell in love with a place north of us. It is a place of beauty, nestled just beyond the mountains with incredible vistas and a safe place to raise our family. Again, I began to move there.

With a little bit of time, those familiar feelings of ‘not right’ seeped into my heart. I remember gathering the courage to leave it in His hands and asking if we were not supposed to go. Again, it wasn’t the right place for us.

Finally, after much prayer and searching, we found a wonderful place 15 minutes from where we lived. A completely different environment, just as beautiful and right.

My point is, what led up to this move was a deep feeling of being uncomfortable where we were. It was not a place that we would have become who Heavenly Father needs us to be. He knew He had to make it uncomfortable for us  so that we would embrace change.

Looking back and seeing the present, I see many times He has done this in our lives. Each time we have moved our little family, we have had this experience. Each time a change was needed, we become uncomfortable. When we are supposed to move on from an experience or person, it is just that…uncomfortable.

I have begun to look at this…uncomfortableness…as a great blessing in our lives. These are the moments we have been blessed to make the greatest, most significant changes, bringing us into alignment with His will for us. He knows that we are rarely willing to leave this little box we call comfortable, leaving us stagnant in our growth.

In His kindness He rips us out of these places. In His love He thrusts us into new opportunities. In His love He shows us we are so much more than we see in ourselves. In His love He gives us more than we ever could imagine.

I am truly grateful for this principle He continues to teach my heart. Understanding it is because of His great love allows me to see things as they truly are.

The Blessing of Change

I have found there is nothing more constant in life than change. It is the essence of life that brings with it growth, sometimes pain, and most often renewal. I find that when I fear change, I push against the very power that would create within me who I am meant to be.

This week has brought a fair amount of change, and therefore growth. The Blessing of Change

I am in the final terms of my Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Wellness. It has been a very fulfilling journey for me. My schedule for my last terms has required me to take an extra class, bringing with it a little bit extra work. I have been so blessed with a very supportive family, who gives me the time I need to accomplish all that I need to get done. Starting a new term with more to do has brought a little bit more of a load.

A few weeks ago I felt that Heavenly Father needed more from me and I questioned what would He have me do? The answer came in a random conversation with my husband about creating a website to challenge him in developing his own website (he likes competition, because it pushes him). He jumped on the idea that this is something I should do, not for the competition, but for me. His encouragement gave me the push I needed and, so this part of my life is beginning. I am excited and very overwhelmed by this, even with the extra load it has brought.

–Sidenote–the sunset here is gorgeous tonight! I love the pictures Heavenly Father paints for us!

This week also has been filled with many faith based decisions. Daily, we have been required to do things that require hope for things to come, because immediate needs seemed to be unresolved. The weight was heavy, however nothing that was too burdensome. I truly felt help surrounding me, even though I could not see it. Each day prayers were offered, hope kindled and we moved forward as best as we could.

Then yesterday came….

All week the doubts and fears had been circling my heart and in my mind, however I was able to keep them at bay. Living purposefully allowed me to have the strength to keep them from overtaking me. And then I did something unintentionally that hurt someone I truly love and the beautiful armor I had been wearing began to fail. It was as though a dam had sprung a leak, which quickly turned into a raging flood. Those doubts and fears took notice of this chink in my armor and moved in for the kill.

I gave in.

I allowed them to tell me lies and take hold of my heart, overwhelming my spirit with their darkness. It was my choice and my choice alone. I am not proud of this choice by any means.

After spending some time in isolation, sitting in the darkness that had overtaken me, praying for help, I was found by my loving family. They reached down into my heart and pulled me from this desolate place. They are truly a gift from God to me.

This morning I made a choice.

I chose to move forward again. I chose to call upon the Atonement of my Savior to change my heart through forgiveness and the enabling power only it can bring. I chose to smile and remember that I am bigger than any problem or challenge I am faced with. I chose to embrace the day and everything it held for me.

The beauty of the Atonement is change. I learned this again today.

Because He came, I can change. Because He came I can repent and forgive myself. Because He came I can smile. Because He came I can live with my blessed family forever. Because He came I am renewed. Because He came I can have a deep relationship with my Heavenly Father and call upon Him when I fall. Because He came I don’t have to live in darkness (even when in weak moments I choose it). Because He came I know love.

That is the blessing of change I came to know.

Clarity

Have you ever had a moment, so random or minute in nature, that brought more clarity than you could have imagined? These moments are treasures indeed.

clarityLast night I was blessed to find one of these little nuggets of treasure.

I have a good friend, one that I have grown to respect and value in the short time I have known her. To me, she is a powerhouse of determination, strength, humility, all wrapped up in an incredible person. The times I have been able to spend with her, I have left feeling so good both physically and mentally.

As we were chatting about life, my returning to school came up. Last summer, I felt strongly that I should finish my Bachelor’s of Science degree. I couldn’t explain the whys, just the power of the push to get it done. After much pondering and prayer, I found a degree that I would enjoy working in, because to me if I am going to spend that much amount of time I had better love what I am studying. After a bit of ‘fun’ trial and error, I found a school that would work with me as a mom (which is a full-time job 🙂 ). I settled into my Health and Wellness degree.

It has been a wonderful, difficult, challenging journey. I have learned so much in regards to nutrition, holistic healing, wellness living and exercise design. These are topics that I have always naturally loved, so increasing my knowledge therein has been fantastic.

Back to the conversation with my friend…

With a cute little smile on her face, she asked me what I want to be when I ‘grow up’.

My response: A mom. That is it. A mom. To which she completely agreed (by the way she is an amazing mom).

In that brief response came the treasure of clarity….I want to be a mom. I want to be there for my kids when they walk in the door from school. I want to cook dinner, do laundry, clean, all of the wonderful things that show we live. Mostly I want to be the one they chat with, counsel with, cry with and laugh with. They are two of the most amazing human beings I have ever met, and I want to get the most out of my time with them.

This nugget has come after many years of wondering if I was doing the right thing by staying home for them. I had always planned on working, and when things are tight, I definitely want to help. However, each time I thought about going back to work, I truly felt like vomiting. I took that as a sign from Heavenly Father that I was not supposed to (He has to be quite strong and physical with me at times). So, in that moment, He blessed me with a deeper understanding of my purpose right now.

I am truly grateful for the ‘small and simple things’ that bring deep understanding and peace.

Life is to be lived with purpose, fighting that purpose brings frustration and sadness. Embracing our purpose brings clarity and peace. How beautiful the gift.

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