It is all about the journey….

Posts tagged ‘Atonement’

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.

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The Triumphal Entry

Sunday was such a beautiful day. Palm Sunday. The day of the Savior’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. A day of hope.

He Lives....lds.orgAs I sat listening to a powerful testimony borne of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I reflected on who He is to me and what He does for me every day.

It wasn’t 20 minutes earlier during my walk to church that I was fighting a battle within my heart. I was so ready to be done with everything that has been challenging our little family and I simply wanted some repose. I had feelings of frustration, anger, sadness and impatience boiling in my soul (not really the peaceful, spirit-inviting attitude…but it was what I had). I prayed with each step I took towards the church that I would be stronger than these feelings, that I would be able to find my Savior that day, that I would be at peace with everything.

As I fought for these answers to my prayers, I found myself hoping that He would hear me. I found myself fighting for the submissiveness that invites Him into our hearts. I found myself wanting Him to know that I needed Him to carry those burdens that had become too heavy.

I fought silently.

And then it came….

Peace. Hope. A Triumphal Entry.

The miracle of Palm Sunday became so real in my heart. All of the turmoil left. It was gone. He heard me and fought my battle with me….we won.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:  not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” ~John 14:27

His peace is a miracle, it is powerful and all encompassing. He has promised that if we need, He will carry our burdens, fight our battles and lift us. His promises are always fulfilled. He is real. I know He lives.

 

He Knows

He KnowsLife is such right now that I have been pondering the role of Jesus Christ in my life. As I have thought on Him, I have had a song playing in my mind….’He Knows’ by Jeremy Camp.

How I love my Savior!

There are so many small evidences of His love, so many times I know He knows my name and my heart. It is in these moments that I have a small glimpse of what He did for me. My heart feels that deep, enduring love.

For quite some time we have been carrying a load that has felt like more than we can hold up. We have had moments when the load is lightened, and more moments when we have been given even more. It has felt like our knees would buckle under the pressure. In our hearts and in our minds there have been many moments we could not make sense of anything, let alone add one more puzzle to figure out.

At times I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy, weakness, anger and frustration. These feelings have done nothing to bring me the strength and peace my soul craves.

Each time I have arrived at our breaking point, I have felt of His love and the enabling power offered through the Atonement. Healing has come into my heart and taken all of the feelings that keep me from moving forward.

Grace is beautiful!

I am confident in saying that this time in our lives is, and will always be sacred, because we have seen Him reach down and lift us time and time again. I have spent days in prayer asking for guidance, because I don’t know what to do, how to do it, and what to say. Every time I have spoken these pleas out loud or in my heart, I have known deep down that Heavenly Father hears and through Him my answers come.

The peace I have felt in my heart today has been quiet, but real. It can only come from One who knows.

Uncharted Waters

In the Book of Mormon there is a story that involves a nation relocating to a promised land. These people were spared the cursing that came to those who built the tower of Babel. Through the faith of their prophet and his brother, they were blessed to keep their language and families intact.

Uncharted WatersAs the Jaredites wandered, gathered and learned in a wilderness, they were prepared to build a new nation. Their leaders were given the instructions they needed to move forward a little bit at a time. Eventually they reached a beautiful beach that symbolized rest and abundance for them. After a time, they were commanded to move on. It was required of them to construct boats that would carry them across waters that had never been charted.

Following the directions given them from  on high, they build these boats that were air-tight, water-tight and very light. They must have been quite curious as to why and what purpose this type of construction would serve them, inspite of this they did all that they were commanded to do.

As the boats were completed, they prepared themselves, their animals and food for a journey that they had no idea how long would last or how comfortable would be. In faith, they moved forward. The verses in Ether chapter 6 say it beautifully:

And it came to pass that when they had prepared all manner of food, that thereby they might subsist upon the water, and also food for their flocks and herds, and whatsoever beast or animal or fowl that they should carry with them—and it came to pass that when they had done all these things they got aboard of their vessels or barges, and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God.

And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters,towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.

And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.

And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.

WavesAnd it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind.

And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord.

10 And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water.

This story has taken on a new meaning in my life. We spent two amazing years in an area that was like this beach to me. We were surrounded by beauty, love. learning and hope. Yet, somehow we knew it was not the end of our journey. We were asked to build ‘boats’ that we didn’t understand, gather strength for a journey we didn’t know how long or where it would take us and learn how to stand strong against storms that swirled around us.

As we cast our boats into the seas, we did as this Jaredite nation did…we commended ourselves unto the Lord our God. There is more comfort that words can express in knowing we have done everything He has asked us to do, even when we didn’t understand why and it didn’t make sense to our mortal minds. We have found that there is greater strength and guidance in the enabling power of the Atonement. This act by our Savior has kept our boat above water and safe from the monsters that would destroy us.

We know as we are tossed on the waves of these waters, we will always rise. We know that as we are buffeted by the storms that come, we will always stand strong. We know that there are no depths that can swallow us, because we have the power of Him to bring us up. We know that no matter what, our family is in this boat together and here we will stay.

I am grateful for uncharted waters. I am grateful that He trusts us enough to teach us how to build our boats. I am grateful to know deep in my heart that everything we do to obey and become who He needs us to be pushes us closer to that promised land. I am grateful for a Savior who has reached down so many times and lifted me through His grace.

Be Strong

Our family is a karate family. We started this journey together 3 1/2 years ago. It all began as our children started classes, followed by my husband and then I jumped in. It has been a strengthening force individually and collectively.Karategirl

As we have progressed through our journey, we have all experienced moments when we needed to dig deep and find that inner source of courage and strength to pull us through. There are unique challenges that come with a new kata, weapon or technique. Some come easy and others are more difficult to learn. Fortunately we have all done this together and where one is weak there are 3 of us who are strong.

Our sweet daughter is one belt behind my husband, son and I. We decided that we would all earn our black belts together, so she is going through the process to earn her provisional black belt on her own. It is a challenging process. It takes 5 weeks to go through the boot camps and the test. Each week is physically and mentally demanding.

I remember as she came off the mat after the first week. I asked her how she was feeling and her response spoke of the strength she has found in us. She said, “Mom, I feel so alone out there without you guys. I know you are watching me, but you are not there with me. It is hard, but I am going to do this one on my own.”

It kills me to be on the sidelines, watching. There is nothing I want more than to be out there with her, even if we aren’t training ‘together’. The mat is our home, our place of bonding, our place of release and our place of strength. Watching is hard. Yet, I know deep down she needs to do this on her own. She needs to know that she is strong enough to stand and be herself.

Last week they were going through their squats. The requirement is to perform 75 squats. It was the end of training and she was tired. I could see it in the way she was doing her best, but she was spent. I whispered, more to myself than anything, “Be strong girl.” It was as if someone had taken that message and carried it to her heart, because instantly she was stronger. Her form was better and the energy around her was rejuvenated.

I have thought a lot about that moment.

I think our Heavenly Father feels the same way about us as He watches us go through our ‘boot camp’ of life. It is designed to be physically, spiritually and mentally demanding. I wonder if it is difficult for Him to sit back and watch as we do our best to learn, practice and become, knowing it is the best thing for us.

bestrongI wonder how many times He whispers, “Be strong.” to our hearts so that we can make it one more step. I know there have been times He has done this for me, because I have felt a strength that can only come from Him enter into my heart and give me just what I need to keep moving.

There is one thing that I have been learning over and over through the past few years of our journey…true strength comes when we are ready to quit, when we are crushed under the pressures that life gives us, when we just don’t know how to go on. It comes from Him and the Atonement of His Son. This strength is just enough. The key is to watch for it and listen for the quiet assurance that He is near.

“Be strong.”

I Am His

I Am HisI read a scripture a few days ago that has penetrated my heart and brought a deeper knowledge of the love Jesus Christ has for me…

“Yea, blessed is this people who are willing to bear my name; for in my name shall they be called; and they are mine.” (Mosiah 26:18)

…they are mine….

As I read that verse, I thought about the husband and children I have been blessed with. They are mine and I love them with such a profound love that grows daily.

I thought about how that translates into the love my Savior has for me. He blesses my life daily through the power of His life, gospel and Atonement.

As I have struggled with growth for the past couple of years, it is evident how much He has been involved in feeding me the daily bread I have required. There have been days that He has had to lift my chin and feed me by hand. There have been days that He has left a little bit here and a little bit there for me to find and replenish my heart. There have been days that He has allowed me to share what I have to feed another.

I am astounded often times that I am that important to Him, and yet it makes sense. He bought me for a price…and He knows I am worth everything He gave for me. It is up to me to remember this, because as He said,

“I have engraven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” (Isaiah 49:16)

I have always loved this scripture. I has shown me that I am His…He is there to lift me, strengthen me, guide me and comfort me when I am faced with the challenges that this life throws at me. Every time I have been faced with something that felt too heavy to bear, He has lifted me….I just needed to look for Him.

On days that seem eternal, heavy and overwhelming, I will remember….

I am His.

Then I will overcome.

Who He Needs

MoldingIt is interesting how life teaches us. When we put our lives in Heavenly Father’s hands, we are opening ourselves up to a teacher that gives us more than we can handle.

Some years ago, my husband and I decided we needed to do just that….allow Him to guide our lives so that He can do with us what He needs. Thinking back over the time that has passed since that decision, He has been molding us with many great and challenging experiences.

Molding is not a gentle craft….there is the stripping away of unnecessary behaviors and thoughts, there is carving of new places to hold greater emotions, there is kneading to soften the hard places within us, and let us not forget that there is constant pressure applied so that we are shaped to become who He needs us to be.

Experiencing each one of these processes has not been comfortable. There have been many moments that I have wanted to buckle under the constant pressure placed on our backs. Many days I have been driven to my knees begging for deliverance, because I didn’t think we could handle any more.

In His wisdom, He sent the power of the Atonement to bear us up. This power came in ways that I didn’t understand (mostly because I was looking for something else). I was given brief moments of clarity, days that the burden was taken completely, people who truly love me and hope when I could not see any.

Mostly I was given more to carry.

There have been decisions placed before us this past week that have required us to look deeper into this choice we have made. Looking back a few weeks ago, I would not have had an open heart to consider what He may ask us to do. Yet, through quiet whisperings, feelings and times of pondering, my heart has opened.

Underneath this load, He has taught me who is in charge.

Thankfully it is Him. Thankfully He sees me for who I truly am. Thankfully He is patient with me. Thankfully He did not answer my pleading for deliverance. Thankfully He trusts me to listen and make the decisions that are necessary.

I would not be who He needs me to be without the constant molding and the Atonement of Jesus Christ to strengthen me.

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