Sunday, September 14, 2014

Day 30: "Step By Step The Lord Will Guide Us"

I have learned so many significant things this past month about my Savior.  I was reminded once again that He lives! He is with me always! I was reminded of His love for me and for all those around me.  I was reminded that He knows who I am, my thoughts, and my desires.  He knows what I worry about and what I hope to see happen.  He knows my concerns and He constantly reassures me that He is aware of them too.  He lets me feel of His peace and to know that it will all work out.

Our Heavenly Father knows the beginning from the end.  He knows everything we will go through and He knows the outcome.  He knows what will help us grow closer to Him.  He knows what will help us to become better people.  He knows that it is through our difficult times that we gain wisdom and compassion and a deeper understanding of our Savior.  He knows that at some points in our lives we will struggle.  He also knows that once we get past those struggles, we will obtain a greater level of peace and happiness.

Our Savior guides us step by step because it allows us to rely on Him completely.  We don't know the beginning from the end, but we can trust that as we rely on Him, we will see the desired results.  We can feel of His love daily.  We are blessed to be able to communicate with our Heavenly Father every day through prayer.  He wants to hear from us.  He wants us to come unto Him.  He wants the best for us and He will do all in His power to help us.  All He asks is that we turn to Him, we believe in Him, we trust in Him.  As we are obedient and follow the Lord, we see blessings and miracles in our lives.

Our Savior fills us with hope.  He is hope! He is the reason we can feel joy in our lives.  He is the motivation for all good in this world.  I know that as we come unto Him we will be filled with love, joy, and peace! I am SOOOO grateful for Him!! I am so grateful He inspired me to do this 30 day challenge.  It has changed my life.  I recommend it to anyone who may be wanting to strengthen their relationship with the Savior.  I saw miracle after miracle as I placed Him first each day!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Day 29: "The Hard Times Refine Us"

Ive found that it is the hard times, the challenging moments, the uncertainty… that refine and molds us. It is usually in the dark that we are being prepared to enter into greater light.  We are being given more knowledge and understanding from the Lord through the things we experience.  When we feel we are in the dark, it usually means that a brighter light is around the corner.  We need to have the faith to get us through.  It isn't until we enter the light that we understand why we needed to be in the dark.

When we feel in the dark, that is when we need to cling to the Lord.  We need to remember that He has our best interest at heart, even if we do not understand why we are going through what we are going through.  We can know that the Lord knows and that is all that matters.  Faith and trust in God can get us through anything!

I believe for me that it is sometimes hard to have faith and trust because it means I am not the one in control.  I have found that that is hard for me to accept.  However, when I remind myself that the God is in control then it all seems ok.  I remind myself of how much He loves me.  Things have always worked out in the past and they will continue to work out in the future as I place my faith and trust in Him.

I am SOO grateful for my Savior.  I am grateful to know that He is in control.  I am grateful for his unconditional love.  I know that with Him, I can make it through anything! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Day 28: "Stillness Brings Clarity"

I can't believe my 30 day journey is almost over. I feel like I have grown so much through this past month. I have learned more about myself and who I want to become.  Ive learned my strengths and discovered some weaknesses.  The most incredible thing is that once you discover your weaknesses, you can make changes and turn them into your strengths.  Ive been working on that.  Ive seen a lot of improvements.

I've learned that we determine how free we are by the choices we allow ourselves to make. If I choose to do things that look fun but are addicting, I could get addicted and give away some of my freedom.  If I choose to get in situations where my standards are compromised, I may make mistakes and give up some of my freedom.  If I choose to eat a bunch of junk food and make myself sick, I may spend the next day feeling awful and give up some of my freedom.  On the other hand, If I choose to pray and ask for answers, the Lord may give them to me and I gain more freedom.  If I choose to go to school and gain an education, I may get better job opportunities and gain more freedom.  If I choose to keep the commandments, I keep myself from bad situations and gain more freedom.  I see how it works. My choices determine my freedom.

I find that in the moments where everything around me is still and calm, I have more clarity.  Things are able to process in my mind better and I understand more than I did.  When I put myself in places that are clean and quiet and still, I am able to feel the Spirit of the Lord.  That is when it is most clear to me that I am not alone; that I am being watched over.  When I step away from the hectic, crazy, busy life and just reflect I am able to get more direction and guidance.  Ive become so aware of it that sometimes in the car I will turn the music down instead of up.  I do that so that I can hear through the silence.  I do it so that I am in a place where God can communicate with me easier.  My favorite quote says "When the student is ready the teacher will appear." Sometimes we need to make an active choice to show God that we are ready to hear what He has to tell us.

One thing is for sure… stillness brings clarity.  Take out the distractions and you'll feel the Lord close to you. 

Day 27: "Live in a State of Gratitude"

When we live in a state of gratitude we are blessed! We also start to see all our current and past blessings more clearly.  We see that we did not get to where we are by ourselves.  We recognize God's hand in our life.  We see how much He truly does help us from day to day.  It makes us even more grateful.  Gratitude creates more gratitude.  We live in a more optimistic way, because we see that life really is good.  We develop a deeper faith in humanity.  We believe in good things to come.  We have hope for the future.  It becomes easier to trust God, because we see how much He has guided us in the past.  It is a rippling effect.  Gratitude creates more gratitude.  The thing I find interesting about that is that when you appreciate what you have, you are given more.  The Lord loves us.  He wants to bless us.  He wants us to focus on the good and to trust in Him.  He is with us and He will always continue to be with us.  I promise that the more things we find to be grateful for, the more blessed we will be.  We will be overwhelmed by all the blessings the Lord has given us! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Day 26: "Give Yourself Permission To Forgive Yourself"

I had a huge awe inspiring moment today! I was enlightened and became aware of the fact that I needed to give myself permission to forgive myself.  I tell myself to forgive myself all the time.  I find that I still struggle with it.  However, today was different.  I finally realized that I haven't been giving myself permission to forgive myself.

I started to tell myself that I give myself permission to forgive myself, to forgive others, and to be happy! I actually think it is working! I have been happy all day.  I started changing my thought process and I found myself being grateful for every mistake I have ever made.  I am grateful because each mistake taught me something about myself and about the Lord.  Each mistake gave me the opportunity to grow and change and improve.  Each mistake made me a new and better person.  I became grateful for them!

As I have been doing this, I feel like my world has gotten a little bit bigger.  I feel like I see things more clearly.  I feel enlightened and inspired. I feel more hope and more peace.  I see the world as a little bit better than I did earlier this morning.  I have a whole new perspective on life and on others.  I see everything as a means of teaching me important life lessons.  Everything I experience has the potential to shape and mold me into the woman God wants me to become.  I do not regret my mistakes.  In fact, I feel at peace with every single one of them.  I feel like I left that baggage behind me and I have walked forward.  I have taken the lessons and thanked God for the opportunity I had to learn them!

I have let my burdens go.  The Lord has taken them from me.  I learned what I needed to learn.  I realized that my past mistakes do not define who I am.  I have become accepting of the woman I am right now in this moment.  I am showing myself the love I would show to others.  I am focusing on seeing myself the way the Lord does.

The closer I get to the Lord, the better I feel about myself because I am seeing myself more the way that  He does.  My self confidence comes from within.  It comes from knowing I am in good terms with the Lord.  It comes from knowing I am loved and that He accepts me as I am.  My confidence comes because of my standing with the Lord.  I know I could stand before Him, look Him in the eye, and not be afraid of what He would see.  I feel that way because I know I am being obedient.  I am trying to do all that He has asked me to do.  I know that doing my best is all He requires.  Obedience to His commandments truly does bring me joy.  Long lasting joy and confidence.

I am so grateful for the answer I received today telling me I need to give myself permission to forgive myself.  That will definitely go down as a life changing lesson I learned.  What a miracle and a blessing! I LOVE my Savior!! I love that He answers my prayers every day.  I love that His love is made manifest in my life at all times!!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Day 25: "Let The Son In"

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like without the knowledge of the Savior? Sometimes I think about that and I picture myself being totally lost.  I wonder what I would think the purpose of life was… I can imagine my life would feel pretty empty.  I would have many questions… questions that were unanswered.  I think there would be a void of hope.

Ive heard it said that you don't know what you have until its gone. Well, I can reassure you that I appreciate my Savior.  I have an idea of what life would be like without Him and I don't like it.  Whenever Ive had times in my life where I wander off the path a little bit, I feel a void.  I feel a separation between me and the Lord.  I recognize that I have walked away from Him and I don't like the state it leaves me in. It is in those moments where I realize how much I have come to rely on Him.

He is a part of my day to day life.  He is walking with me step for step.  He answers my prayers and He allows me the opportunity to answer others prayers for Him.  When we are striving to be close to Him, we are given more opportunities to be like Him.  We start to understand what He did for us better and in the process we start to understand ourselves better. We learn our true identity as children of God.  We realize that this life has purpose and that this isn't the end.  In fact, it is merely the beginning.  We can see ourselves in a more eternal perspective.  We understand that we make mistakes.  We fall a little bit.  Each time we fall we have the opportunity to stand up again.  We learn new things.  We have experiences that change us.  They shape and mold us into a stronger version of ourselves.

Every time we fall we have the chance to turn it into a good thing.  We can take the experience and gain wisdom.  We learn what to avoid in the future.  We learn how to be more strategic the next time around.  We learn to walk as far from the edge as possible, because therein lies our safety.  We learn that sometimes its better to walk away then to put ourselves in a tempting situation.  We learn our weaknesses, and if we make a conscious effort, we can change them into strengths.  We can do this through the Atonement of our Lord and Savior.  HE makes it possible! HE helps us to change.  HE is our biggest supporter, the one person who understands us, and HE has provided the way.  Our Lord does not leave us to do this on our own. He knows who we can become and He is going to help us in any way He can.

I know that as we turn to the Lord, we WILL find Him there.  We will feel of His love.  If there is any one thing I have been learning these past few weeks, it is the importance of letting the Son in.  Letting ourselves feel of His warmth.  Letting ourselves be guided by Him.  Letting ourselves trust Him enough to do as He asks.  As we do this, miracles happen.  Things you thought were impossible become possible.  Our hope becomes brighter.  Our load becomes lighter.  Our lives begin to be filled with joy, and we can know with a surety that we are never alone!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Day 24: "His Peace Will Be Yours As You Wait Upon Him In Faith"

"Only the Master knows the depths of our trials.  He alone offers us eternally peace in that time of adversity.  He alone touches our tortured souls." -President Thomas S. Monson

I've been feeling overwhelmed and discouraged this past week.  Sometimes when things don't go exactly the way I thought they should, I start to doubt.  I know that things will work out.  Honestly, deep down I know it, however that doesn't prevent doubts from seeping in.  I have to be aware of my thoughts so that I can change them.  I have to believe that things will work out perfectly according to God's timing.  I know that there is so much that I can't see.  I am viewing things from a very narrow perspective.

I find that as I remind myself that God knows all, that I feel better.  I feel hope and peace.  I know that I will see results.  I just need to press on.  To keep moving forward with faith in what will come.  These quotes helped give me reassurance.  I know that God is with me.  I know it! I am grateful that I never have doubts about that.  It is something that I can say I know without a doubt.  I know every time I pray that He is listening.  I know that He knows me so well and that He knows what is best for me.  I know that He knows my struggles and my challenges and my disappointments.  He knows what breaks my heart and what causes me to worry.  He knows my desires.  He knows they are good.  He knows that I will follow Him.  He knows He can trust me to listen to Him.

"He knows your sacrifices and your sorrows.  He hears your prayers.  His peace and rest will be yours as you continue to wait upon Him in faith.  Every one of us is more beloved to the Lord than we can possibly understand or imagine." -Elder Robert D. Hales

"Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years.  People grow old by deserting their ideals. Years wrinkle the skin, but giving up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.  Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear and despair- these are the long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust.  You are as young as your hope, as old as your despair." -President James E. Faust.

I don't want to waste my time and energy worrying about what will come.  I want to continue to increase my faith in my Savior and trust that things will work out.   They have always worked out in the past.  They will work out in the future.  He sees everything from an eternal perspective.  He knows what timing is right.  I don't want to "grow old" from the things I let creep into my thoughts.  I have realized that Satan is subtle.  He sneaks in, you barely notice him.  In fact, if we aren't aware, he could sneak in and make himself at home.  Satan tries to destroy self confidence.  He encourages us to doubt, to question, to worry.  He feeds us lies and hopes that we will believe him.  We need to be aware and shut them out before they settle in.  

I need to remember that Heavenly Father ALWAYS keeps His promises.  He is ALWAYS there!! I can put my trust in Him and know without a doubt that things WILL work out! They always have and they always will.  I can view this time of uncertainty as a way of becoming closer to Christ.  As I rely on Him, I start to see His hand in my life. I realize once again just how much He loves me.  This is a time for me to strengthen my own testimony of my Savior.  As I learn to wait upon the Lord in faith, I WILL feel His peace.  I will feel hope and joy through the unknown.  I can trust that all things happen for a reason!

 I am SOO grateful for my Savior, my Heavenly Father, the Gospel, the Spirit, my temple covenants, the scriptures, and the prophets. I am grateful for my family and their support, my good health and the knowledge I have been given.  I am grateful for every single one of my experiences (good and bad) that have led me to where I am at today!! Sometimes experience is our greatest teacher. Our challenge is to learn from it and move on.  Always move forward… leave the past in the past. Take the lessons, let them mold and refine you, and leave the rest behind.  What a beautiful blessing we have to be able to do that because of our Savior! 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Day 23: "Let God Be in Control"

Today I learned a lot about myself.  Mainly that I like to be in control of everything in my life.  I like to control how things go and I like them to go my way.  I realized that this causes me a lot of stress and pressure in my life.  I like knowing what is going to happen and when it will happen.  However, most things in my life don't happen that way.  I have learned that I need faith.  Faith is believing that God is in control, handing it over to Him, and moving forward.

I know that Heavenly Father is there.  I know that He hears my prayers.  I know that He is in control of everything and that He has my best interest at heart.  I am very aware of that! I see it on a daily basis.  I am happier when I hand things over to Him.  However, I find myself taking them back from Him and trying to control them again.  It is subconscious.  I don't do it on purpose.  I know that Heavenly Father can take care of them way better than I can.  He sees the end from the beginning.  He knows what will happen.  He knows when it will happen.  He knows how it will happen.  If I keep that in mind then it is soo easy to trust Him.

This morning I was running late for school.  It normally takes me about 30 minutes to get to school, from the time I leave my house until I walk into the classroom.  Today I had 15 minutes to get there.  My teacher is very chill and would not care if I walked in late.  However, I cared.  I prayed that I would be able to get to class on time.  Every light I came to was green.  There was no traffic. I got to school and someone was backing out of a spot right as I pulled in.  I walked into class right before it started. I was SOO grateful!! To me, that was a huge miracle!! I know that I was on time because Heavenly Father helped me.  He knew it was important to me and so it was important to Him.  I know that He was with me.  I am amazed by all that He does for me.  All I had to do was pray and ask for it, and then I let Him figure out the details.  I gave my control over to the Lord and He blessed me for it!

I am SOOO grateful for my Savior! I am sooo grateful for the Gospel in my life and for the knowledge I have of who I am and where I want to go.  I know that I am a child of God.  I know that He loves me more than I can comprehend.  I feel His love each day.  I am soo grateful for His constant guidance and reassurance.  He has led me to where I am and I know He will continue to lead me.  All I need to do is trust Him, give Him the control, and keep moving forward.  I don't need to know how or when or why or who or what.  I just need to know that He knows.  That is enough! 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Day 22: "Christ Came to Lift Us Up"

"Christ came to lift us up, not to put us down."-Brad Wilcox

I don't know about you, but I often find myself focusing on things I did wrong.  I spend more time dwelling on my mistakes than I do on my accomplishments.  In my mind I am thinking of the disappointment I must have caused my Savior and my Heavenly Father.  I get frustrated with myself for not being better.  I realized that I am a perfectionist.  I have tried to hide it for a long time.  However, now that I have been able to acknowledge it, I can find way to improve it.  I realized that we can't fix a problem until we have determined there is a problem.

I have found that I expect perfection from myself.  I don't really expect it from others.  I hold myself to a higher, unrealistic standard.  My perfectionism does not come from a place of what people will think of me.  It comes from a place of what will God think of me. I try to do the best I can and when I mess up I am really hard on myself. I don't want to disappoint God.  However, I am coming to realize that Heavenly Father loves me no matter what.  He wants me to do my best.  He knows my best is not perfection.  He knows I will mess up.  I think He just wants me to learn from it.  I do not need to beat myself up.  I just need to learn the lesson and move forward.  I have learned that it is important for me to build myself up.  To talk to myself the way the Savior does.

In no way is it beneficial to me or to the Lord, to put myself down.  It doesn't help Him, and it doesn't help me.  Christ came to lift us up, not put us down.  He doesn't focus His thoughts and attention on my flaws.  Instead He sees everything I am doing right.  He sees the path I am on.  He knows the intents of my heart.  He knows my desires to follow Him.  He loves me and He understands when I make mistakes.  He is full of mercy and grace.  When we fall down He isn't there to yell or to demean us.  Rather He is there to offer us His hand.  He is there to pull us up.  He is there to help us regain our balance so that we can keep going.

I'm going to try to focus more on seeing myself the way the Lord does.  I am going to try to build myself up and focus on all the good that I possess and not my faults. It's always amazing to me when I can see things in my life that I need to work on.  It's like a light turned on and it is illuminating the path in front of me.  I know what I need to do if I want to get even closer to the light.  I think anytime we are shown something we need to work on, that it is an answer and a blessing from the Lord.  In short, it is nothing less than a miracle! 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Day 21: "Let Go of Worry"

Today I was reading in a talk by Boyd K Packer called "The Balm of Gilead." He talked about the importance of cleaning out our minds.  One of the things he said that stuck out to me was ridding yourself of worry.  I find that I worry way too much.  When I am aware of it, I try to stop it.  However, it tends to be a fall back.  I think worry comes from lack of faith on the matter.  
Some of my favorite parts of the talk include:
"The first thing a doctor does with a wound is to clean it out. He gets rid of all foreign matter and drains off infection—however much it hurts.
Once you do that spiritually, you will have a different perspective. You will have much less to worry about. It is easy to get all mixed up about worry.
Somewhere there is a message in the protest of a man who said: “You can’t tell me worry doesn’t help. The things I worry about never happen.”
All of us carry excess baggage around from time to time, but the wisest ones among us don’t carry it for very long. They get rid of it.
Some of it you have to get rid of without really solving the problem. Some things that ought to be put in order are not put in order because you can’t control them.
It will then be as though a cloudy, dirty film has been erased from the world around you; and though the problem may remain, the sun will come out. The beam will have been lifted from your eyes. There will come a peace that surpasseth understanding.
In my dream last night I was told that I need to stop worrying so much about a situation that will work out in the end.  It was a huge answer to my prayers.  I know that was inspiration from the Lord.  I don't need to worry.  It was a great reminder to place my trust in Heavenly Father and stop trying to control the details. It brought me a lot of peace.  I know the Savior is there and that His hand is in the details.  However, in the moment of worry, I tend to forget that.  I am SOO grateful that He reminds me that I can trust Him.  I can give it to Him and He will work it out! 
There is an indescribable peace that comes when we can turn over our concerns to the Lord. I am so grateful for the reminder I was given to let go of worry.  Everything will work out in the end! That is all I need to know! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Day 20: "The Blessing of the Restoration"

I was on vacation for the past couple days and could not blog.  So I will be extending my 30 day challenge an extra couple of days.  I am currently reflecting on all I learned about the Savior from my study abroad to Italy. One of my good friends was teaching a class in church and she asked me to write up my thoughts and what I had learned.  I will share with you what I told her.

There was a huge understanding gap before the Restoration of the Gospel. The people were taught to fear Christ.  He was viewed as a damning judge.  It brought resentment, bitterness, and depression.  The people did not understand who God was and how much He loved them.  Because of the Restoration of the Gospel, we have a more clear understanding of who God is and who the Savior is. We see how the Atonement gives us hope.  We understand His love for us… His powerful infinite love.  We see how He is full of grace and mercy.  He is there for us through it all.  He is cheering us on.  He is our biggest supporter and friend.  We see the world differently when we understand the true character of God.  It literally changes us.

Going into all the churches in Europe and seeing how these people worshipped the Lord, taught me so much.  It helped me to appreciate the knowledge that I have been given.  It helped me to see how much I have been blessed.  I know how much my Savior loves me.  It is not a question.  I don't make my decisions based on fear.  I can allow God's love to be my motivation.  His love is warm and sweet and all encompassing.  It gives us strength and peace.  God's love allows us to make corrections in our lives without causing us to become bitter. We can feel inspired to change rather than beat ourselves up for our mistakes.  God's love is not dependent on what choices we have made.  He loves us no matter what.  He will always be there for us.

I know the power of that love. It is real! It is there for all of us to experience.  His love is healing! When we can allow His love to be our motivating force, miracles happen.  I can promise you that is true! Miracles happen everyday.  God is with us at all times.  He blesses us constantly.  We can choose to see it, or we can choose to find a logical reason for why something happened the way it did.  I am here to testify that He has His hand in our lives.  He performs miracles for us all the time.  He is watching out for us and He has our best interests at heart.  When we can take a step back from the situation and remember that He is in charge, then we can relax and trust that all will work out.  He knows us better than we know ourselves.  This knowledge we have is a blessing of the Restoration.