Friday, August 29, 2014

Day 19: "He Keeps His Promises"

Today I had the most incredible thing happen! Something I have been praying about for a very long time actually happened.  The Lord told me it would, and for the longest time I have just been waiting. Today it started to happen! Every one of those pennies I have found that told me to expect miracles, they are promises from the Lord. I am seeing that He does in fact keep His promises.

I also realized that His timing is perfect.  I just need to keep trusting in Him.  Everything will work out the way He has told me it would.  It isn't my job to plan the details and figure out how.  It is my job to trust my Heavenly Father and to keep moving forward.  I know that as I am focused on doing His will, that He can direct me in the way I should be going.

I am so grateful for this journey I have started.  I am so grateful for all that I have been learning.  The miracles I have seen have been huge! I have been in awe at how much the Lord knows me and the things I desire.  He knows what makes me happy and He knows how to send me answers so that I will recognize them.

I KNOW this is Christ's Gospel.  I know that what He has asked us will bring us happiness.  I know that it is simple.  Faith, repentance, baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  Those things are what will bring us happiness. Those will bring us back to the Lord. I know that through our obedience, we are blessed! I know without a doubt that the Savior lives! He lives and He is with us each day! I know that as we try our best that He will make up the difference.  His grace will carry us through.  I love my Savior and my Heavenly Father SOO much! 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Day 18: "Expressing Gratitude Brings Us Closer to Him"

There is something liberating that takes place in your life when you can set aside your pride and express gratitude for all that you have been blessed with.  Gratitude puts our minds in a higher state of being. It's almost as if it allows our eyes to be opened wider and we can see more than what we could before. Gratitude puts our focus on all that is good.  It lets us see everything that is right in the world.  It shows us just how much the Savior has done for us. 
I read a conference talk by President Monson today called "The Divine Gift of Gratitude." The following are some of my favorite parts from the talk: 
"We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. Someone has said that “gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” 
He taught us how to pray. He taught us how to live. He taught us how to die. His life is a legacy of love. The sick He healed; the downtrodden He lifted; the sinner He saved.
Ultimately, He stood alone. Some Apostles doubted; one betrayed Him. The Roman soldiers pierced His side. The angry mob took His life. There yet rings from Golgotha’s hill His compassionate words: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” 
Who was this “man of sorrows, … acquainted with grief”? “Who is this King of glory,” this Lord of lords? He is our Master. He is our Savior. He is the Son of God. He is the Author of Our Salvation. He beckons, “Follow me.” He instructs, “Go, and do thou likewise.” He pleads, “Keep my commandments.” 
Let us follow Him. Let us emulate His example. Let us obey His words. By so doing, we give to Him the divine gift of gratitude."
Anyone that knows me super well, knows that I am a huge believer in the power of positive thinking. When I am focused on all that I have been blessed with, the more blessings I continue to receive. I believe we attract things to us based on our thoughts; whether they be good things or bad things.  If we focus our thoughts on things we are grateful for, then we will continue to see more and more things to be grateful for. 
I know that being grateful brings us closer to the Savior.  It allows us to recognize what He did for us.  We turn to Him, we increase our faith, and we try to be like Him.  Our actions show Him that we are grateful for what He has done for us.  
I love my Savior! I know He is with me.  I know that He wants me to be happy.  He answers my prayers.  He guides me on the path that will lead me back to Him.  He is full of love and mercy, forgiveness and understanding.  He is my comforter and my Redeemer.  He is my inspiration and my motivation.  He is everything to me!! For all of that and so much more, I am SOO grateful! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Day 17: "Believe The Lord Has Great Things Ahead For You"

Today I woke up, got ready, and was out the door for school.  I didn't have time to sit down and really study my scriptures before the day began.  I got in my car and I had the scriptures read to me as I drove.  It wasn't the best way to really study, however it was better than nothing.  It read where I had left off in Doctrine and Covenants 6.  This is one of my favorite sections in the scriptures.  I find that I read this section every time doubts start to come to me about answers I have received from God.

14 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time.
 15 Behold, thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth;
 16 Yea, I tell thee, that thou mayest know that there is none else save God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart.
21 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the same that came unto mine own, and mine own received me not. I am thelight which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
 22 Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things.
 23 Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?
 24 And now, behold, you have received a witness; for if I have told you things which no man knoweth have you not received a witness?
This is a reminder to me that I have received answers.  I have been guided to where I am at.  I know I would not be who I am today were it not for my experiences.  I would not have had my experiences had the Spirit not prompted me to be in certain places at certain times.  I know I have been molded into the person I am by the Lord.  I know that He knows who I can become and He is helping me to become that person.  
I am a big believer in personal revelation.  I know that the Lord will give us personal direction for our lives.  He loves us and He wants us to come back to Him.  I know that God will give us answers in a way that He knows we will recognize them.  One of the ways He answers me is through pennies.  They let me know that He is with me and that He hears my prayers.  Each penny represents a miracle that is going to happen in my life. On the penny it says "Trust in God." It's a reminder to me to put the things I cannot control in God's hands.  A reminder to have faith in Him, because He is in charge.  He knows all and He has a plan for me.  
Today I was running a couple errands for work.  I had to drive out to a home and pick something up.  I missed the turn and ended up driving in the back way.  It caused me to park on the wrong side of the street.  I normally don't do that.  When I got out of my car I thought to myself "I would love to find another penny to remind me that there is going to be a miracle." I walked up to the house, picked up what I needed to, and walked back to my car.  I walked to the passenger side to put it in my car.  As I was walking around to the driver's side, I looked down and saw something circular in a crack on the road.  I bent down and sure enough it was an extremely old, rusty penny.  I am not sure how long it has been there.  I felt an overwhelming amount of gratitude.  

Once again the Lord answered my prayers in the exact moment I asked.  He knew I would ask that before I even woke up this morning.  He knew I would miss the turn and come in the back way.  He knew I would park where I did and I would see that penny there.  He knew it would represent more to me than just a penny.  He knew it would represent hope and encouragement.  He knew what that penny would mean to me.  It is a reminder that the Lord has great things ahead for me. Sometimes it's hard for us to see the good things that lie ahead.  I know that if I am looking for His hand in my life then I will see it.  I just need to trust Him, keep believing, and continue to move forward.  I am a huge believer that things always work out.  I believe that everything happens for a reason and that if we are looking, we will see miracles in our lives.  I am SOO grateful for a Savior who takes the time to answer my prayers and give me the strength I am needing.  I know without a doubt that He lives! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Day 16: "Music Can Dull Our Spiritual Sensitivity"

I was listening to music this morning as I was getting ready.  A song came on that was loud and fast and had somewhat risqué lyrics.  I started to dance to it and then I realized that once the song came on I had started to numb my spiritual side.  I tuned the Lord out as I focused on the beat and the way it made me feel.  I became aware of how significant music is in our lives.  It can either bring us closer to the Lord or further away.

President Boyd K. Packer gave a talk called "Inspiring Music- Worthy Thoughts."  I read it and I really liked it.  Some of the things that stuck out to me were:

Recently the First Presidency restated this counsel: “Through music, man’s ability to express himself extends beyond the limits of the spoken language in both subtlety and power. Music can be used to exalt and inspire or to carry messages of degradation and destruction. It is therefore important that as Latter-day Saints we at all times apply the principles of the gospel and seek the guidance of the Spirit in selecting the music with which we surround ourselves.” (Priesthood Bulletin, August, 1973.)
If you can control your thoughts, you can overcome habits, even degrading personal habits. If you can learn to master them you will have a happy life.
As the music begins and as the words form in your thoughts, the unworthy ones will slip shamefully away. It will change the whole mood on the stage of your mind. Because it is uplifting and clean, the baser thoughts will disappear. For while virtue, by choice, will not associate with filth, evil cannot tolerate the presence of light.
In due time you will find yourself, on occasion, humming the musicinwardly. As you retrace your thoughts, you discover some influence from the world about you encouraged an unworthy thought to move on stage in your mind, and the music almost automatically began.
Music,” said Gladstone, “is one of the most forceful instruments for governing the mind and spirit of man.”
I loved this talk! I feel like everything he said is true.  Music directly affects my mood.  It either uplifts me or it doesn't.  It either brings me closer to my Savior or further away.  I want to fill my life with uplifting things; things that bring me closer to the Lord.  I don't want to have to numb my feelings in order for me to feel comfortable in a given situation.  I want to be fully present, fully awake in the moment.  I don't ever want to do things that push my Savior and the Spirit away.  I love music! I love that it causes me to think and to feel.  Music can speak to our souls in a way that words cannot.  I want to be more aware of what I choose to listen to.

Today's miracle: I walked out of my psychology class and directly in my path was a shiny penny.  I picked it up, smiled, and said a silent prayer of gratitude.  I know it is Heavenly Father helping me to know that a miracle is about to happen in my life.  I know that as I am searching for His hand in my life that I see it.  I see it multiple times each day.  I see it so clearly, and I know without a doubt that He is with me.  We are not alone.  He walks with us each day.  He is our greatest source of strength! I am SOO grateful for my Savior in my life.  I am grateful that He understands me.  He knows the intent of my heart and He answers my prayers.  He loves me! I know that because of Him, I am enough.  Realizing that I am enough has made a huge difference in my life, even in just the past week.  It allowed me to let go of unwanted pressure to be something I am not.  It allowed me to free myself of an impossible burden to carry.  It allowed me to see myself through different eyes.  

I am not perfect and that doesn't matter.  I am enough! :) What an incredible blessing and reassuring knowledge that He has given me.  I am worthy of love just the way I am! 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Day 15: "Our Covenants Keep Us Safe"'

I didn't mention yesterday all of the details about what happened at the lake.  When I got to the lake there was a man sitting on a bench by himself.  I drove further down from where he was and I passed a middle aged man leaning against a metal post all by himself.  He was staring at me.  I didn't think to much of it, except that I knew I didn't want to park my car close to him.  Something about him didn't feel right.  So I chose to go in between the man on the bench and the man against the pole.  I wasn't quite sure what they were doing.  They were just there. Staring at me.  I pretended not to notice and I walked past.  I pulled out my phone and I started taking pictures of the lake.  A minute later the man from the bench was right behind me.  He asked if I wanted him to take my picture.  I smiled and said "No that's ok.  Thank you though." He just stood there and watched me.  I waited a couple seconds, so as not to appear rude, and then I walked further away from him.  A minute later I saw the man from the post walking towards me.  I got the feeling I needed to leave.  So I started walking to my car.  I only stopped long enough to pick up that shiny penny that I knew was from God.  I could feel the other man behind me.  I walked faster and got in my car.  I immediately turned it on and put it in drive.  The next thing I saw was the man from the post saying something to the man from the bench.  The man from the post got in his car and was right behind me.  He went the same way as me for awhile until I lost him when I turned left on a yellow light and he got stuck as it went red.  Something about him made me really uncomfortable.  I prayed I would be ok and that he would not be able to follow me.  I didn't think much more of it after I saw that he was stuck at the red light.

I went to work today and was talking to my coworker.  She started telling me about her daughters friend who had something awful happen to her.  She said this girl was driving and she felt something hit her car. She thought she blew her tire and so she stopped to check it out.  As soon as she got out, this man attacked her.  He dragged her to the bushes and beat her up.  He broke both the bones under her eyes.  My coworker said in the middle of beating her up he all of a sudden stood up and ran away.  He took some things from her car, but he was in a hurry to get out of there.  My coworker told me that the place the girl was driving was the exact place I was at yesterday.  She had to be in the hospital for several days and they are still trying to fix her face. 

I started to reflect more on the situation I was in yesterday.  I didn't feel too unsafe.  All I could think of was that I know the Savior was with me.  That knowledge makes me feel safe.  I know that He warns me and protects me all the time.  I know that the covenants I have made with Him protect me.  I normally would have stayed a lot longer than 15-20 minutes. However, I had that feeling that I needed to leave and so I did.  I thought it was weird that the two men pretended not to know each other.  That as one approached me and I walked away from him, that the other man started to come towards me.  

I know that as we live the Gospel, as we follow the Savior, and as we keep our covenants, that we will be protected.  I am able to see that over and over again.  I know the Savior keeps me safe. I am so grateful for Him and for all He does for me.  I know that as I have been putting Him first these past couple weeks, that I have been SO blessed.  Miracles have taken place in my life.  I am receiving answers to my prayers daily.  I feel the love of my Heavenly Father and Savior in my life.  I know that I am never alone. I know without a doubt that my Savior lives.  That He knows what we are going through.  He is there to help.  We have to choose to open the door and let Him in. 

 I look forward to the day when I can understand fully Christ's Atonement.  I am amazed each day as i continue to learn more about Him and I am able to see what exactly He has done for me.  I am SOO grateful for Him for making it possible for me to live with Him forever… to live with my family forever. I have this theory that we won't fully understand what our Savior did for us until the day we are living in heaven with our families and we experience that infinite joy.  I think it will be in that moment when it hits me and Ill realize… I would never be able to have this were it not for my Savior.  I know in that moment I will sob out of gratitude for all He did on my behalf to bring me the ultimate happiness.  He has given me the one thing I desire the most. I love my Savior!!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Day 14: "Trust in the Answers the Lord Gives You"

I get answers through my dreams a lot.  I started to pray for that while I was on my mission.  Another girl who was serving a mission with me received a lot of answers through her dreams.  I started to have faith that if the Lord would do that for her, then He would do it for me too.  I now keep a journal just for my dreams.  I write the dreams down that I have (the ones I can remember) and I am able to see the answers the Lord is giving to me.  The hardest part for me was trusting in those answers.  I knew they were from God, but sometimes I have a tendency to doubt.  I also receive many answers from finding pennies.  Every time I find a penny it is a reminder to me to trust in God and to expect miracles.

I had a dream last week where I was given the answer that I needed to spend time by the water.  I live in a place that is no where near the ocean, so I figured it meant the lake.  I made a mental note to spend some time walking by the lake and then I put the thought aside.  Today I was at church and I started to think about something in my life that the Lord told me will happen and I haven't seen it happen yet.  I felt sad and I was trying to tell myself to keep having faith… to keep trusting Him.  I had brought my dream journal to church and I was reading over the dreams that I had.  I read the one about spending time by the water.  I decided I needed to go on a drive to the lake.

So I got in my car and I drove to the lake, I pulled my car over to the side of the road, and I got out.  I started taking pictures, and I just found myself talking to God.  I stayed for about 20 minutes and then I felt like it was time to leave.  As I was walking back to my car, I looked down and saw a shiny penny right in front of me.  There were no other coins.  It was just one shiny penny.  Immediately I felt God's love for me.  I knew how aware he was of me.  He knew that penny would help give me the extra bit of faith that I was lacking in that moment.  He answered my prayer at the exact time I needed it.

I would not have gone to the lake had it not been for that dream.  I had no intention of going to the lake today, but the Lord knew that if He told me to go there then I would.  He knew I would see that penny and feel peace.  It reminded me again that the Lord is in charge.  He is in the details of our lives. He cares about me and about my concerns.  He knows my worries and my fears.  He loves me so much and He is always with me.  It made me so grateful that I am living in a way where I can receive answers from Him daily.  I know what it is like to push God away and I know the feelings that come along with that. I know the heavy pressure of feeling like I need to control every detail of my life.  I know how it feels to be alone. I know the confusion and the fear that comes as I make choices that push God away.  I know that never makes me happy.

For the past two weeks I have been happy.  I have felt lighter.  I have felt closer to Christ than I have in a really long time.  I know it has been that way because I've made Him a priority in my life.  Not only have I been accomplishing my goal of feeling closer to my Savior, but I have also seen how much He is blessing me for it.  I see miracles everyday.  I am consciously aware of Him in my life.  I am blessed beyond words.  I feel peace and comfort.  I feel strength beyond my own.  I feel the Lord's love for me personally.  I know that I am enough.  I know that He is proud of how I am living my life, and that is my greatest desire.  I want the Lord to approve of how I am choosing to live my life.  I want Him to see my actions and know that I love Him. I want there to be no doubt about whether or not I follow the Lord.

Today showed me once again that I can always trust in the answers the Lord gives me.  I can trust that He will lead me where I need to be, things will happen the way He said they would, and as I continue to obey Him, I will be blessed! I am so grateful for Him and for all He does for me each day.  My Savior is my best friend! 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Day 13: "Show Your Love for Others"

I listened to a talk by President Monson this morning called "Love-the Essence of the Gospel".  He spoke about the importance of loving those around us.  He said that if we truly love God then we will show Him by loving all we associate with. Christ loved everyone. In the talk President Monson said:
"Every day of our lives we are given opportunities to show love and kindness to those around us. Said President Spencer W. Kimball: “We must remember that those mortals we meet in parking lots, offices, elevators, and elsewhere are that portion of mankind God has given us to love and to serve. It will do us little good to speak of the general brotherhood of mankind if we cannot regard those who are all around us as our brothers and sisters.”6

Often our opportunities to show our love come unexpectedly."
I've found this week that service isn't convenient.  It doesn't present itself to us when we have nothing else going on.  Sometimes we are asked to do things when we are tired or busy.  It would be easy to say no, and yet it is in these moments that the biggest opportunities to serve are found.  
When we serve others we are given the opportunity to experience a small portion of what the Savior did everyday.  We are able to come to know Him more, because we are spending our time doing what He would be doing. We are able to step outside of ourselves and find ways to make others burdens lighter.  
I just keep being amazed each day as I learn about my Savior and all that He did for me.  I think of His selfless love and I want to be more like Him.  I want to put God first always.  When we do that we are blessed beyond comprehension.  I've been in awe as I see how much my Heavenly Father and Savior care about me.  I know they care about the details of my life.  They know my worries and my fears.  They know what makes me happy.  They know the concerns I have.  They know how to comfort me and they do it. They are always there for me.  Always! I am so grateful that each day I get the opportunity to pray and communicate with my Father in Heaven. I know that it does not matter what time it is, He will be there and He will listen.  What an incredible blessing that is!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Day 12: "As I Have Loved You…"

I've noticed today that the more I feel the love of the Savior in my life, the more I want to share it with others.  His love is my biggest motivation.  I can't help but want to share His love with all those around me.  It is sweet and all consuming.  It literally changes the way I think and view the world.  It is something that is hard to explain, but once you have felt it you know what it is. His love is incomprehensible. We simply cannot understand the extent to which we are loved by our Savior and our Heavenly Father.

My attitude towards myself, towards others, and towards life is general has changed in these past 12 days.  I feel more optimistic, more hopeful, more compassionate, and more loving.  I have a desire to understand where others are coming from rather than jump to conclusions.  I find myself assuming all good things about others.  I am starting to see people in a different light. A more Christlike light. I am seeing people for who they really are.  I am seeing them more of the way that God sees them.  I know this is because I have been more focused on my Savior.

There is something incredible that happens in your life when you put the Savior first.  You find that things just start to work out.  Miracles happen.  Blessings are poured over you.  Your problems don't seem so big anymore.  You feel stronger. You know that you can accomplish anything because you have the Lord with you.  It is such a remarkable feeling.  It is a remarkable state of being.  I think if more people understood how much better their quality of life could be, then more people would actually make an effort to put the Savior first.

I believe there is a space in all our hearts that only the Savior can fill.  I think a lot of us look to other sources to fill that hole… shopping, boys/girls, food, entertainment, etc.  However, all of those things will leave us feeling just as empty as before because they cannot fill the hole.  When we put the Savior first, we find that that hole has been filled.  We can experience true joy.  We no longer are searching for something to fill the void.  We now are looking for ways to obtain more of it.  We experience true joy as we love others the way the Lord loves us.  We experience joy as we put the Lord first. Therein lies happiness.

"As I have loved you, love one another.."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Day 11: "Forever Changed"

I had two mission presidents when I was serving in New York City.  I love them both so much! My second mission president came up with the mission motto of "Forever changed."  He wanted us to learn the gospel, to live the gospel, and to teach the gospel.  He wanted us to allow it to change who we were… not just for our 18 months or two years… but forever.

I decided the difference between those who live the gospel and those who don't is a choice.  A single choice.  We choose if we are going to obey Christ.  We choose if we are going to let Him in.  We choose if we are going to live His gospel and allow it to change our very nature.  We choose.  It is that simple.  The difference is a choice.

Having been home for almost two years now, I can tell you that I have to make that choice over and over again each day.  It isn't always a choice you make once and never think about again.  I have found that every morning I wake up and I get to re-choose if I am going to follow the Savior.  Some days seem to be easier than others, but it still comes down to my choice.  There is a comfort that comes as we choose to follow the Savior.  It is an inner peace that strengthens us through whatever difficult task we may be facing.  There is a reassurance that follows our choice.  We are accompanied by the Savior.

If we want to remain forever changed then we need to continue to do the things that changed us.  For me it was studying the scriptures, having meaningful prayer, finding ways to serve others, attending the temple regularly, learning self control, avoiding danger, and focusing on the things that matter most. I find that as I continue to make these things a part of my life, then I am able to stay in the place that I was at spiritually on my mission.  I want to do whatever it takes for me to feel close to the Savior.  There is no greater reward than feeling the presence of the Savior in your life.  It is an incredible feeling!

Do whatever is required of you to remain "Forever Changed."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Day 10: "I Am Enough"

I feel like my eyes have been closed and I finally opened them.  I feel like I can see so much more about life, about my Savior, and about myself. I wonder why I haven't spent more time focused on coming closer to Christ.  It has made me so much happier.  Ive become more aware of those around me and their needs.  I have been able to get outside of my head and find ways to help ease others burdens.  In the process, I've found myself feeling lighter.

Tonight I was reading a book called "Feelings Buried Alive Never Die…" by Karol K. Truman.  I find the things she writes to be very insightful and it helps me to work through anything I may be holding on to.  I read something in her book tonight that really hit home to me.  It said:

"There is no reason to feel that you or someone else must change before you can be happy.  YOU are the only one you can change… and it's necessary to accept yourself despite your shortcomings, before you can change.  YOU are the only one who can make YOU happy!  When we accept ourselves the way we are, we increase our ability to change… and when we start to change, those around us do likewise."

I LOVED this! I spent time reading it and re-reading it.  It hit me that I AM enough! I am enough just the way I am.  It's ok to not be perfect.  Its ok that I've made big mistakes in my life.  Its ok that sometimes I don't know all the answers.  Its ok because I have a Savior who makes up the difference.  I AM enough because He says I am enough.  I am enough because His grace is sufficient for me.  I don't need to beat myself up every time I make a mistake.  Instead I can accept myself for the person I am in this moment.  I can choose to see myself the way my Savior does. He loved me enough to atone for me.  He believed that I was worth it. Silly old imperfect me.  He believed I am enough.  He wants me to believe I am enough as well.  

I am SOOO grateful to my Savior for His belief in me and who I can become.  I am SOOO grateful for His grace and His mercy towards me.  I am SOO grateful for His unconditional love.  His love for me allowed Him to descend below all things so that I would have a way back to live with my Heavenly Father again.  He loves me just the way I am.  He accepts me.  He doesn't say… "Madelaine, I'll love you when you change…"  Instead it is His infinite love for who I am right now that inspires me to want to change.  It is His acceptance of who I am while I am not perfect, that motivates me to want to become more like Him.  He inspires change! 

My Savior means EVERYTHING to me! He is why I am the way I am. He is the reason I wake up in the morning.  He is the reason for the hope in my life.  He is the reason I can see the light and feel the warmth.  He is the reason there is peace in my life.  He is the reason I can think of who I used to be and not feel the sting of regret. He is the source of my joy.  My Savior is my best friend.  He is always there for me.  He listens and He understands.  He welcomes me with open arms.  He provides all the comfort I could ever need and more.  He shows me the way to return to live with Him again.  He provides me with all the answers.  He blesses me.  He fills my soul with a deep inner peace that cannot be imitated or recreated. 

In these past ten days I have already noticed an abundance of love and peace in my life that has come from the Savior. I have strengthened my relationship with Him.  I have come to know Him more and, in the process, I have come to know myself more.  He keeps blessing me.  The closer I get to Him, the more He continues to bless me. This 30 day journey has been an answer to my prayers.  I love my Savior more than words can ever express.  I know He loves you and He is there for you too.  Look for Him and you WILL find Him.  You'll be surprised to find that He has been there all along. Allow His love to fill your soul and I promise you will never be the same again! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Day 9: "Our Safety Lies In The Virtue Of Our Lives"

Today there have been several miracles for me.  I am amazed at the blessings the Lord is giving to me.  I feel like the more effort I put into getting closer to Him, the more I am being blessed. The more love I feel from Him and the greater desire I have to do what's right.  I woke up today with this incredible excitement to do the Lord's will.  I was eager to see where the day would lead me and how I would be able to share the Gospel with those around me.

I was reading in a book written by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland called "Broken Things to Mend." I read a quote that really hit me.  It said:

"In short, apostasy and destruction of one kind or another were the ultimate fate of every general dispensation we have ever had down through time.  But here's my theory.  My theory is that those great men and women, the leaders in those ages past, were able to keep going, to keep testifying, to keep trying to do their best, not because they knew that they would succeed but because they knew that you would.  I believe they took courage and hope not so much from their own circumstances as from yours… a magnificent collection of young adults like you gathered by the hundreds of thousands around the world in a determined effort to see the gospel prevail and triumph."

I loved this quote.  It inspired me.  To think that the people who lived on earth before us were motivated to do their best because they knew one day we would be here and that we would succeed in this work.  They knew that we would have the strength, the faith, the hope, and the love needed to share the gospel with others from all over the world. That knowledge and hope got them through their difficult times.  The thought inspires me to do my best.  I got excited just thinking about all the ways that I too can share the love of Christ with those around me.  

I was reminded today of the bigger picture as to why I am here on earth at this time.  I want to be an example of my Savior always.  I want to help others know how much they are loved.  I want to be more obedient and kind.  I want to find ways to serve more and to always uplift those around me.  I want to fill my life with experiences that motivate others to turn to the Lord.  I want to be someone the Lord trusts and can use to share His gospel.  

I know how much happiness the gospel brings to those who keep the commandments.  I know that joy that comes through obedience to God's laws.  I know that there is hope because of the Atonement of Christ.  There is inspiration that comes as we are striving to do the Lord's will.  There is peace of mind as we keep our lives pure.  There is clarity that comes as we place our trust in God and spend more time focused on Him and less time focused on our problems. The gospel enhances our optimism.  It enlarges our capacity to love.  It opens our mind to truth and gives our lives meaning and purpose.  

The closer we get to the Lord the clearer things become.  We start to remember why we are here and what really matters.  We live each day with a desire to follow Him.  We are able to witness miracles because of Christ's Atonement.  There is an inner peace that comes as we live our lives in righteousness. 

"Our safety lies in the virtue of our lives." President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Monday, August 18, 2014

Day 8: "Cast Thy Burden Upon The Lord"

I feel SOO good! I know this 30 day journey was inspired by the Lord.  It has been exactly what i've needed. I am so much happier. My days have been brighter. I simply am a better person when my main purpose everyday is to come closer to Christ.

Today on my way to work I had an idea pop into my mind.  I thought it would be cool to write down things that weigh me down, put them in balloons, and then let them go.  It would be symbolic of giving things to the Lord.  I decided to do it with my family.  So we all put our burdens in the balloons and then we drove up the mountain, where we released them.  It hit me to think that because of the Atonement we are able to give our burdens to the Lord. Literally we can let them go so that they don't weigh us down and keep us from reaching our potential.

"Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." Ps 55:22

Whatever weight we carry, whatever burdens are holding us down, we can give them to the Lord.  We can let them go.  He will make our burdens light.  He will give us the rest, the peace, and the comfort we all seek.  He is full of grace, love, and mercy.  He is waiting, and longing for us to come unto Him.  Our Savior knows what we go through.  He knows every thought and doubt we may have.  He knows what we are going through because He has been there himself.  He understands us completely and He knows how desperately we wish to rid ourselves of our burdens.  He tells us to give them to Him.  He wants to take them from us.  He wants us to feel light, to feel hope, to feel joy.  We can feel that through Him.  He has provided us the way.  He is the way.

Our Savior lives. He is with us.  He loves us. He knows our names. He knows our dreams.  He knows our worries and concerns.  He knows how to comfort us.  He has a plan for us.  He waits for us to come to Him. He wants the best for us.  He knows the way back to live with God again.  He has walked that path and He walks it again with us. I know we are not alone.  The moment we decide to give our burdens to Him, we will feel lighter.  We will know it is because of Him that we are able to let go of the things we can't control. He stands with His arms outstretched.  He is waiting for us to give it to Him. 

I am so grateful for my Savior's unconditional love! I know that He will always be there for me.  I know that as I look for Him, that I will ALWAYS find Him.  Figure out what is holding you down and give it to the Lord.  I promise as you do that, you will feel lighter.  You will feel an increase of hope, and you will know that you are not alone!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Day 7: "Doubt Not. Fear Not."

Today I sat in church and felt an abundance of the spirit.  I could feel more of God's love for me, and it's not because God loves me more this week then He did last week.  I believe it is because I have cleared out the distractions from my life that keep me from feeling that love.  I felt an overwhelming hope for the future… for what lies ahead for me.  I felt peace.  It was an inner peace.  A peace that lets you know that everything is going to work out perfectly.  A peace that sweeps over your whole body, as if the Savior was right there with His arms wrapped around you.  It was one of those moments where I may have been in a room full of people, but I was having my own experience and I didn't notice anyone else around me. I was content to just let my soul feel that peace that consumed me.  I was incredibly grateful for this 30 day challenge I have undergone because already I have noticed a night and day difference.

I notice a deeper self confidence. I am discovering more about myself and my relationship to my Savior and to my Heavenly Father.  Its like that feeling when you've become reacquainted with an old friend.  You feel joy.  You want to know all about them and what they've done.  You just want to catch up and spend time with them.  I have found myself talking to God throughout each day.  Sometimes my prayer turns into more of a conversation that becomes less formal as I find myself having small talk with God.  Sometimes I even find myself laughing about things that happen and I know that He hears me. It's almost like I can feel Him smiling down on me.  I know I'm not alone.  That has got to be one of the best feelings there is.  I am never alone.  I have a Heavenly Father and a loving Savior who are with me always.  They know everything about me and they still see me for who I can become.  I feel an abundance of love throughout each day.  I feel lighter and happier and more grateful.

There have been times in my life when I made mistakes and I felt alone.  I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders.  It seemed that God was millions of miles away.  I know that my choices put that barrier there.  God didn't go away.  I did. I pulled away from God.  I closed that door.  He never went anywhere. Today I felt like He was sitting right next to me.  It made me so grateful for the Atonement.  It allows me to become reconciled to Christ. I don't want to feel alone. Opening the door to the Savior takes effort on our part.  We have to choose to open that door and let Him in.  He hasn't gone anywhere. If we ever feel alone, then we need to consider what we have done to feel that way.  Seek for ways to open that door again.  Sometimes its as small as changing our attitude on life and our circumstances… or it could mean getting rid of distractions that keep us from getting close to Him.  No worldly amount of entertainment or social media can make up for a relationship with our Savior.  I have learned that this week.  Nothing will fill our souls with warmth the way the Savior does. It simply is not possible.  Sometimes we look to the world to fill a hole that only the Savior can fill. It leaves us feeling empty.

I read a talk this week that said "God knows what we don't know and sees what we can't see." I loved that! This inspires trust in the Lord.  Of course He knows what we don't know and sees what we can't see! Knowing that about Him, why is it so hard to place our trust in Him.  I think doubt creeps in.  Another quote I love says "Doubt separates.  Trust unites."  I believe that as we place our trust in the Lord, that we will become closer to Him.  As we rely on Him we will see our lives unfold in more miraculous ways than we ever could have imagined.  Heavenly Father has loved us forever.  He has a plan for us.  He wants us to succeed.  As we do what He has asked, He will guide us to accomplish that plan.  He will put us in the right places at the right times to do His will.  We will have joy.  Trusting the Lord brings us joy.  It allows for that deep inner peace to fill our souls.  We can give to Him those things that we cannot control.  We can know that He hears us. He knows us.  He loves us. He is with us.  We are never alone!

I love the scripture that says "...Be still and know that I am God." (Doctrine and Covenants 101:16) If we remember that God is God. That He is all knowing.  That He loves us and will guide us, then we do not need to fear.

"Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." (Doctrine and Covenants 6:36)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Day 6: "Through His Grace We Can Overcome All Things"

Today I spent time pondering about grace.  I can distinctly remember times in my life where I know I wasn't able to do it on my own. I think my mission was one of those times. There were days my body was so exhausted that I didn't think I would be able to move another step.  I prayed for help from the Lord and I was given enough strength to keep going.  The grace of the Lord can help us in so many different ways.  I have noticed the grace of the Lord carrying me throughout my life.  

There were several things I read while I was studying grace today that helped me to understand it better. Here are a couple of them: 

"In the Strength of the Lord" by David A. Bednar:

"Can we sense the grace and strengthening power of Christ in the testimony of Ammon? “Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever” (Alma 26:12). Truly, brothers and sisters, in the strength of the Lord we can do and endure and overcome all things."

"My Maturing Views of Grace" by Richard Packham:

"As I have studied the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, the doctrine ofgrace has become even clearer to me. He withstood every temptation and buffeting Satan and his legions could throw at Him. He showed His love for the Father and for us by living the perfect life, thus enabling Him to be the source of all divine assistance.
The definition and explanation of grace in our Bible Dictionary has been a great help to me: “The main idea of the word is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ. … Divine grace is needed by every soul in consequence of the Fall of Adam and also because of man’s weaknesses and shortcomings. However, gracecannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient. Hence the explanation, ‘It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do’ (2 Ne. 25:23). It is truly the grace of Jesus Christ that makes salvation possible” (p. 697). And what is “all we can do” referred to in 2 Nephi? We can have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure faithfully to the end (see 3 Ne. 27:19–21)."
We know that it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do.  I love how it is clearly specified what we must do.  We must live the Gospel.  It is simple.  We develop faith, repent of our sins, we are baptized and receive the Holy Ghost, and then we endure to the end.  We can wake up every day and put God first.  We can show Him how grateful we are by trying to be like Him.  
It is so reassuring to me to know that I have a Savior.  A perfect Savior who loved me enough to come down to earth and to atone for me.  He loves me and He is always there to bless me with His grace.  He gives me strength each day.  I know it is because of Him that I can live with my Heavenly Father again.  It is because of Him that I can live with my family forever.  It is because of Him that I have hope.  He is the source of my happiness and my blessings.  I am so grateful to know that I can trust Him completely and I can rely on Him to show me the way.  
I know that through His grace we can overcome all things! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Day 5: "Forgiving Others Brings Us Closer to Christ"

Today I chose to study forgiveness. I listened to a talk by James E. Faust called "The Healing Power of Forgiveness."  He gave great insight into why we should forgive.  If you have never listened to it before, I highly recommend it. Some of my favorite highlights of the talk are:

"If we can find forgiveness in our hearts for those who have caused us hurt and injury, we will rise to a higher level of self-esteem and well-being. Some recent studies show that people who are taught to forgive become “less angry, more hopeful, less depressed, less anxious and less stressed,” which leads to greater physical well-being. 9 Another of these studies concludes “that forgiveness … is a liberating gift [that] people can give to themselves.” 10

We need to recognize and acknowledge angry feelings. It will take humility to do this, but if we will get on our knees and ask Heavenly Father for a feeling of forgiveness, He will help us. The Lord requires us “to forgive all men” 15for our own good because “hatred retards spiritual growth.”

“Forgiveness is a source of power. But it does not relieve us of consequences.” 18 When tragedy strikes, we should not respond by seeking personal revenge but rather let justice take its course and then let go. It is not easy to let go and empty our hearts of festering resentment. The Savior has offered to all of us a precious peace through His Atonement, but this can come only as we are willing to cast out negative feelings of anger, spite, or revenge. For all of us who forgive “those who trespass against us,” 19 even those who have committed serious crimes, the Atonement brings a measure of peace and comfort.

I found myself crying as I listened to what he was saying.  Of course we need to forgive others.  It made me even more grateful for my Savior and His Atonement.  Anger and hatred will destroy your soul.  Sometimes I find myself trying to push hurt or angry feelings to the back of my mind.  However, that doesn't deal with them.  Instead, I find myself becoming bitter and the effects of that can be seen on the people that I feel close to. 

Forgiveness cleanses us.  It frees up a space within us that can in turn be filled with the love of God.  Our Savior's Atonement covers so much more than just forgiveness of our sins.  It brings peace and comfort to those who are weak, downhearted, and distressed.  Because of our Savior we can be healed physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.  All we have to do is turn to Him.  Give it to Him.  He is waiting to comfort us. 

Forgiving others brings us closer to Christ! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Day 4: "To Take His Name Upon Us"

This morning I woke up and read a talk called "What Have You Done With My Name" by Mervyn Arnold.

He says "Our Savior invites us on a daily basis to cleanse our names and return to His presence. His encouragement is full of love and tenderness.  Envision with me the Savior's embrace as I read His words: 'Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?'" 

I spent the day pondering this.  When we are baptized we covenant with God to take the Lord's name upon us.  I remember on my mission, I wore a black name tag that had the Savior's name on it.  I literally put His name on me.  I no longer wear that badge, however, I still need to take His name upon me. I promised to represent my Savior always… not just when it's convenient or easy.  This means we don't get to be one way at church and an entirely different way at work. We have to be an example of Christ at all times.  People don't see a badge on our chests that has His name on it.  They see the way we talk, the way we act, and the way we live our lives.  They see how we are under pressure.  They see how we treat the homeless man on the street, they see the way we respond to people in peak traffic. Being a representative of Jesus Christ, we should have integrity.  We live what we believe.

I heard a quote once that said "We should always bear witness of Jesus Christ, and if necessary… use words."

I loved that! Ive never forgotten it. The more I come to know my Savior, the more I try to comprehend all He did for me, and the more I try to be like Him.  The more I try to be like Him, the more light I have to share with others.  Living the Gospel makes me happy. When I am happy, I want others to have what I have so that they can be happy too.  I find ways to share the Gospel because I know that is what will bring people true, long lasting joy.  Following Christ is joyful.  It fills our souls with light.  Our world appears brighter.  We feel more capable for the tasks presented to us.  We know that with Him, we can conquer anything.  When we place our faith in Him, we see that everything works out for our good.

We have chosen to take His name upon us, so now the question is… what will we do with His name?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Day 3: "Faith is Increased by Obedience"

I remember learning on my mission that faith is action.  Faith is also the first principle of the Gospel.  It all starts with our own personal faith. Why? It is our faith that determines the way we live our lives. Faith is the basis for why we do what we do.

Our Savior came down to earth, lived a perfect life, established His Gospel, atoned for our sins, sickness, sorrow, and was resurrected.  He taught us how to pray.  How to to do the will of Heavenly Father.  He taught us how to deal with our trials.  He showed us how to love. He lived a perfect life, and still He understands us completely.

We can and should put our faith in Him.  He wants us to return to Him.  He laid down His life for us.  He knows what is best for us and for our future.  If we put our faith in Him and we trust Him, He will lead us home.  We will be happy.

One thing I have noticed about faith is that unless you are consciously trying to strengthen it, it won't happen.  Each day our faith is either getting stronger or weaker.  There is no in-between.  So what can we do to increase our faith in Christ? We obey Him.  We keep His commandments.  We try to become like Him.  It is through that process that we develop greater faith in Him.

I used to hate the word obedience.  I thought it meant restrictions, and rules.  I thought it took away my freedom.  I later learned that it is obedience to God that gives me freedom.  I am not weighed down by sin.  I am not put in a state of confusion.  I am happier.  In turn, it increases my faith in my Savior.  I started to realize that obedience is a blessing.  Something I enjoy doing.  My whole attitude changed.  It changed the way I viewed my life and the Gospel.  I no longer found myself pushing against what He said, but rather found myself looking for ways to become more obedient.  I noticed numerous blessings and miracles in my life as I was focused on obeying God.

I realized that all those times when I wasn't being obedient, that I was actually hurting myself.  I had consequences to my actions that did not bring me happiness.  I realized that my Heavenly Father and Savior love me SO much and they want me to be happy.  They want me to enjoy my life and to have freedom.  That is why they gave us commandments.  They know the pain and sorrow and grief that is always accompanied by sin.  They can see down the road and they know what will bring us home again.

So for anyone that may be trying to find ways to increase their faith in Christ, I would say try to be more obedient.  Do the things that He did… and in the process expect to experience greater happiness and peace in your life.

My miracle today:  There were 3 pennies on the counter at the UPS store. I asked the man if I could take a picture of them.  He asked why I wanted a picture. I smiled and said, it's a way that God answers my prayers.

Everyday we can see miracles if we are looking for them.  I find that Heavenly Father communicates to me and reaches out to me all day long.  It is just up to me to notice it.  He cares about every little detail of our lives.  He knows us.  He knows our concerns.  He loves us.  If we are paying attention, we will notice His hand in our lives every day! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day 2: "Christ is Light"

It's only my second day, however I have already noticed a difference.  I am feeling enlightened and inspired.  I have felt an increase of the Spirit throughout my day.  This morning I woke up and studied about Christ.  I read:

John 3:19-21
"…light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil… For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved… but he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."

Doctrine and Covenants 6:21
"Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  I am the same that came unto my own, and mine own received me not.  I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not."

1 Nephi 17:13
"And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led."

Doctrine and Covenants 88:11-12
"And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings… Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space."

After pondering the things I read, I realized that light always comes from Christ. I thought about how light illuminates the way before us.  Light helps us to see things more clearly.  Light brings peace to our souls.  Light helps us to know where we are going.  Light lets us see things as they really are; it eliminates fogginess and confusion.  Light inspires and creates hope.  It uplifts us.

Then I thought about how Christ makes our burdens light.  Today I felt like I had puppet strings attached to me and someone was lifting them up.  I felt lighter.  I felt taller.  I felt like I could see the world more clearly.  I wasn't weighed down with emotion or baggage.  I didn't feel heavy due to sin.  I felt uplifted.  I felt like the world was a little bit brighter.

I reflected on times in my life when I haven't felt that way.  I thought about how the scripture said that men who are sinning hate the light.  It's because it makes us uncomfortable.  We can't hide in the light.  We can't fool others or even ourselves.  The light reveals truth.  It shows who we are and what we've allowed ourselves to become.  When we are sinning we don't want to be around Christ.  We feel unworthy and ashamed.  We want to be around others who feel the same way that we do.  We gravitate to the darkness.  We feel comfortable there.  Yet, in the darkness there is no safety.  In the darkness comes fear, deceit, lies, anxiety, a lack of hope.  We try to cover up what we've done or who we've become.  In order to cover that up, we must create more darkness around us.  We need to lie… not only to others, but to ourselves. We tell ourselves we are happy there. But are we? How can we be happy when we can't even let others see who we really are… how can we be happy when the only true source of happiness comes from our Savior.  Our Savior, who is in the light.  Our Savior… who IS the light.

There is true joy, long lasting and completely fulfilling joy, when we follow the Savior.  There is joy that comes when we keep His commandments and strive to be like Him.  No substitution can ever create that joy. True joy comes from living your life in the light.  It comes from allowing that light to fill your soul.  When you allow it to fill your soul, that light shines through you.  Others can see it in your eyes.  They can feel it in your voice.  They can come to know Christ, because they know you.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Day 1: "There is No Fear in Love.."

This morning I woke up and was excited to start the day.  I was pumped about implementing all my goals for my 30 day journey of coming closer to Christ. It started out by me documenting a dream I had last night.  On my mission I started praying that the Lord would give me answers to my prayers through my dreams.  Almost immediately, He did just that.  Now I write down every dream I remember and I am amazed at all the answers I receive through doing this. It is quite a miracle.

Then I started looking up scriptures on Christ.  I read in 1 John 3-4.

"And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."

"And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin."

"And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment."

"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God."

"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him… Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins… Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.  He that feareth is not made perfect in love… we love him, because he first loved us."

I spent a lot of time pondering this today.  "There is no fear in love."  When we love others the way Christ does, we don't think about what we get in return.  We don't withhold our love because of fear.  We don't make it about us.  It isn't about us.  We love people just the way they are.  We look for the good in them and we focus on that.  We uplift others. We serve them.  We share our love through our words AND our actions.  Love starts with the thoughts we allow into our minds.  Love says "you are enough." Fear prohibits love.  It is detrimental. Fear comes from a lack of trust in God.  Fear does not come from Christ.

Christ inspires. Christ brings hope.  Christ enlightens and uplifts.  Christ supports and comforts.  Christ brings joy.  Christ gives us inner peace.

Fear brings despair.  Fears brings confusion.  Fear brings isolation.  Fear brings anxiety.  Fear destroys our very souls.

Today I learned that when we truly love God, we look for ways to share that love with others.  If we don't find ourselves trying to share that love, then we need to focus on feeling God's love in our own lives.  If we look for Him, we will find Him.  If we want to become like Christ, we need to do the things He did.

 Christ's whole life was motivated by His unconditional love for each one of us.  The love of Christ should be our motivation each and every day. After all it is constant… His love for us in one thing that will never change. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

"Reflecting the Light Within: My 30 day Journey of Coming Closer to Christ"

I have spent some time pondering my life this past week.  I have realized that in some areas of my life I have become complacent. I want to make a conscious choice to change that.  I decided I am going to spend the next 30 days and focus on becoming closer to the Savior.  I have made a list of goals that I am going to do.  Each day I am going to document what I have learned about myself and what I have learned about my Savior.

These are the things I am going to be implementing:

  • Make each personal study about the Savior
  • Go to the temple each week
  • Only engage in uplifting conversation
  • No social media- Instead I use that time to learn how to do genealogy
  • Watch "The Secret" every week
  • Spend 10-20 minutes each day visualizing my future and what I would like to see happen
  • Send a kind message to someone everyday
  • Physical exercise 45 minutes five days a week
  • No sugar, wheat, or dairy
  • Document the miracles
I think physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of my life affect my relationship with my Savior.  So I have incorporated things to help with each of those areas. I am excited to focus all my energy on this and see the miracles that take place.  Every day we either grow closer to our Savior or further away.  There is no neutral ground.  I have noticed that unless I put in an effort to be close to Him, then usually I am sliding further away.  I know that it is through Him that I have happiness and hope.  It is through Him that I can have peace.  I want to strengthen my convictions.  I want to feel as close to Him as I did on my mission.  

And so it begins… My 30 day journey of coming closer to Christ.