It is all about the journey….

Posts tagged ‘journey’

Arrival

ArrivalToday begins the end of an incredible journey.

Five years ago I stepped onto a karate map, changing the course of my life forever. It was then I joined my family in our journey to earn our black belts. I can remember the feelings of trepidation that coursed through my heart, yet my soul felt electrified.

As I have reflected upon the path we have walked down, I have found myself feeling overwhelmed by the fact that we have done what we set out to do….as a family.

Individually each one of us has become so much more, grown in ways that we could never describe and learned very deeply that we are strong. As a family we have become cemented in the team that we are. There is a lot of peace knowing that each one of us would take or give a hit to save each other.

There have been moments of victory, defeat, learning, excitement, and contemplations of quitting…all things that create a path of worth.

We have been blessed through this journey by a loving Heavenly Father. I cannot look back and not see His hand guiding, helping and encouraging us on our way. I see how things that are important to us are important to Him. I see how He has changed the world for us.

The mat we stepped onto for the first time is not that mat we will arrive on, however we were given the basic love and knowledge of karate from those who trained with us on our first mat. We were shown the direction we needed to travel. A guide at the beginning of a journey is priceless. Thank you Leah for giving us a strong start.

As with any wonderful journey, ours took an unexpected, but marvelous turn. We left our beginnings and found ourselves welcomed into a karate family that means more to us than words can describe. Our Kona family is beautiful.

Along our path we found ourselves in one of the most difficult trials we had ever experienced. Karate became our safe-haven, our home, a refuge and somewhere we could express ourselves. As we would walk through the doors, the weights we were carrying were lifted and for a few moments we were free. Truly another gift from God. Karate has saved our lives on many levels.

As we enter the testing period tonight, I know that we have many around us who are pulling for us. I am humbled by their love and support for our little team. I cannot begin to express how this will lift us and give us strength beyond what we feel we have. I love that we can be that for our karate family too…it is all about lifting each other.

Thank you Te, Jade, Victor and Tyler for lifting us, inspiring us, believing in us and showing us the way.

We have arrived at the end of one journey….only to begin another.

 

Stronger Not Easier

For the past month our family has been doing our final training to earn our black belts. It has been challenging both physically and mentally. I would not have expected anything less or different, because to earn a black belt one must be able to rise above these types of challenges.Stronger Not Easier

The beauty of martial arts is the individual nature of the journey. My test will not be like anyone else’s, because I have my strengths and weaknesses. Recently I have seen each of them as if through a microscope.

It does not take a microscope to see that push-ups and pull-ups are two things that challenge me. As they are both required for our test, I have needed to place extra emphasis on my ability to do them.

I have been looking forward to the time when they would get easier. I have envisioned myself pounding out my reps with ease and actually loving it.

No matter how many times I have done them, daily, I have not found that blessed place of ease.

As I sat outside this morning thinking about all of this, I was given some realizations. There is a lot of clarity that comes when I have a quiet moment, outside, in the sun, listening to the beautiful song of nature.

These tasks are never going to become ‘easy’ for me, however as I have worked at them, I have become stronger. As I thought about this, my heart filled with gratitude for this principle in my life. For if these things became easy for me, I would not work so hard to develop the strength I need to perform them.

This is something I have been thinking about for a long time. We have been on a personal journey that has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done. There have been times when each day was a struggle to get through with enough faith to wake up the next morning. The daily fight has been grueling at times.

Yet, I would not trade it for anything.

We have become stronger. We have overcome. We have seen what we can do. We have seen prayers answered. We have seen the hand of God touch our lives daily. We have felt the power of our Savior pick us up. We have been given a gift of clarity.

Before all of this, our journey and the black belt experience, I feared things that made me stretch, grow and hurt. I would, at times, pray that life would get easier or that the challenges would be taken.

Now I see that this is all necessary for me to become stronger.

 

My Path

provisionalTomorrow is the beginning of the end. It is the final sprint before the goal is reached.

For years we have worked, as a family, to reach a common goal. We have spent many hours on and off the mat learning, refining, doubting, overcoming, falling and rising.

And here we are….

For the next 4 weeks we will train with a greater intensity to earn that which has transformed us. It has been one incredible journey.

My heart is full of anticipation for this. As I look back at who we all have become, and the path that has brought us to where we are, I see that even though our finish line looks the same…our paths have been completely different.

That is the beauty of this journey….it is different for each one of us.

The path I have traveled has shown me strengths and weaknesses, both physically and spiritually. There have been moments that, through discouragement and failure, I have wanted to walk away. These are not moments I am proud of, yet they are moments that defined my heart. As the tears threatened to roll down my face many times, I was given a choice in my heart…walk away or get up.

I got up.

There have been so many moments that I truly surprised myself by what I could do. When I would finally let go, trust myself and allow the knowledge that I had worked so hard to obtain come out…I would do things that were beyond me. The victories may have seemed small to anyone else, yet in my heart they were incredible.

Knowing that I can do things that were at first beyond my abilities has given me a greater appreciation for who I truly am. Understanding that there is more strength and knowledge within me than I realize has brought a new peace and power in my heart. I have seen it change my world.

My path has not been one of solitude, yet the lessons I have learned are my own. I am forever grateful for those who have taught me, seen within me greater things than what I could see, and pushed me to become more. They have changed me through their ability to guide, encourage and not give up. Black-belt

The beauty of this path is that it doesn’t end when I reach my goal, it continues as long as I will keep my feet on it.

 

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.

His Path

His PathTwo years ago our little family moved into a wonderful home, incredible neighborhood and beautiful area. It has been a little utopia for us on so many levels. It was a drastic change for us, as now our children were safe to play outside at will, be out after dark and feel a freedom they had not been familiar with. Here we have found peace and healing at many levels.

At the same time, this has been a place of sacred testing and growth. We have passed through some of the most exquisite trials, pulling at the depths of our souls. We have seen scarcity and great blessings all at the same time. We have been shown what it is like to live by faith day in and day out. We have seen the tender mercies of our Heavenly Father manifested through family, friends and strangers time and time again.

A few months ago the nomadic spirit inside of me woke up. I truthfully didn’t like it, because I love so many things about where we are. Yet, there it was….desiring change.

I am pretty sure that Heavenly Father knew that I would need a lot of time to adjust to a change of this nature, because I felt content where we are. I am pretty sure that He needed me to prepare myself at that time, so that I would be in a peaceful place to help my family go through the same process. I am pretty sure He understands my heart so deeply that He does these things for me.

The final decision was made only a few weeks ago, and once again it was done out of pure faith in how we feel. We have taken steps, most of which we have no idea why, only that we felt like it was what needed to be done at that time. There are many steps yet to be taken, however we feel like the end is hurtling towards us in the darkness.

It is times like this that I have to rely on the promises that have been made specifically to me and my family. I have to remember the quiet whisperings I have been given that assure me all is well and He is in control. I have to remember that when I feel all of the opposition in my heart we must be on the right path. I have to remember that He is gently teaching me along the way how to trust Him and be His friend. I have to stay strong, yet allow my heart to feel everything that will come its way.

I am pretty sure it would all feel a lot better if we knew our ‘where’, yet that is part of the path that has not been opened up to us yet. I have a new found respect for those in the scriptures who were driven from their homes to find a new place for them, for the pioneers who traveled thousands of miles in the wilderness not knowing where they would be until their prophet saw it with his eyes.

I hope I can be strong like they were.

Forward

ForwardLately I have been in awe of the timelessness the words given to us from Heavenly Father are. I have found a great deal of strength, comfort, knowledge and peace as I have studied His words. It stands to me as one of the greatest miracles we have before us.

One of the stories from the Bible that has always intrigued me is the Exodus of the children of Israel. I marvel at the strength and faith that Moses had in Jehovah as he led thousands of people from captivity. The path was not laid out for him. It was required of him time and time again to take a few ‘steps’ and ask for the way to be shown.

I can only imagine the desire to understand what the will of God was when they arrived on the beaches of the Red Sea. I am sure there was a moment of confusion and the question of, “How am I supposed to do this?” Yet, there they were….on the beach, no time to build boats adequate enough to carry everyone across, complaining abounding, and their enemies were upon them.

Moses turned to the Lord in prayer.

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

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

15. And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

16. But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. (Exodus 14:13-16)

I have found there are times in my life when I am on the beach of a proverbial Red Sea. The way forward feels impossible and there is not an option to turn back. I have found myself wondering the same thing, “How am I supposed to do this?” It is in these moments that I do my best to understand what the will of God is for me.

I find comfort in Moses’ words….the Lord shall fight for you.

It takes a great deal of prayer and trust in these situations. I have learned through this journey that we are one that He goes before us and prepares the way. I have learned that those things that I think are impossible to overcome are only limitations that I place upon His power. If it is His will, then the path will be made clear before me.

The Red Sea did not part as soon as they reached the beach. It took a moment of faith, seeking and action for the path to be shown to them. It was also a path that no one had anticipated, but Him. I have to wonder, would the children of Israel have followed Moses if they knew their where their path would lead them?

Would I have followed if I would have known where my path was going? if I would have known there would be moments that I cannot see the way forward?

I am so thankful to know that Heavenly Father is in control. I am so thankful to know that He has confidence in me to take me down a path that will require faith and trust. I am so thankful to know that He has always been there (even when He stepped aside for a while). I am so thankful to know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ has not only given me forgiveness when I have fallen, but it has enabled me through its power to do things I never thought I could.

Like Moses, I will do my best to step to the edge of the Red Sea, trust and lift up my rod….

Forward.

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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