There are some moments in your life that you know will change the course of your entire future. Sometimes we embrace these moments and other times we try to avoid them with all we can. We push back for fear of where they will lead. We are uncertain of how things will turn out. The idea of where we thought our life would take us... this life plan we have spent years creating for ourselves... is shaken up so much that there are no remnants of which to pick up and piece back together. We find ourselves at the beginning again. We find we are starting over, however, this time with such a greater knowledge of where we want to end up. We find that we are more insightful and somehow more capable of planning out where we want to end up. We have discovered more about ourselves, our passions, our purpose. We know more and therefore can make a more educated and thought out plan for the future. We find we can dream bigger than ever before. We find that our past plans didn't live up to the potential we have and so we find solace in the idea that they are gone. We find a new hope in what lies ahead and in the adventure of choosing a new life path. We notice that we have more faith in ourselves and all we are capable of becoming. We can believe in ourselves with a greater conviction. We know we can do whatever we set our mind to and that is liberating. It literally sets us free from our own confinement. We no longer feel trapped by our self doubts or fears. We feel grateful that things fell apart so that we could have the opportunity to build them back the way they were originally intended to be. We find ourselves changed, not temporarily... but permanently. We find these moments we are given that allow us to change are blessings from the Lord. Blessings that often don't look like blessings at the beginning. They are hidden because we cannot see past the uncertainty. They reveal themselves as blessings as we push through the unknown into what reveals itself as a home to our souls. We feel we are exactly where we were always meant to be. It is then, that we can look back and see how this was all laid out perfectly by the Lord and it led us to this moment. A moment where we feel at peace with who we are and what we have chosen to become.
Have you ever wondered what opportunities you have missed out on due to fears that keep you trapped... fears of things that may never happen, and yet we live as if they will. We live in a state of fear, a fear that is so paralyzing, so confining, that it becomes a very real part of who we are. We are limited by restrictions we place on ourselves. We fear failure, unknown, illness, injury, accident, loss. We fear the inevitable. We fear what we cannot control. So we hold back. We attempt to control our lives by not allowing ourselves to live fully. We think this is safer... or so we tell ourselves. I believe that when we live with fears, we never allow ourselves to reach our full potential. We can't because we don't allow ourselves to do all we are capable of doing. We hide from what could hurt us. We hide from possible pain, and yet by doing that we create more pain for ourselves. Fear is so detrimental. I honestly believe that one of the Devils greatest weapons is fear. If we are in a state of fear, he knows we won't become who we were meant to be. By having fear, we give some of our control over to the devil. He loves when we fear things! So how do we replace our fear with faith? By remembering who is in control. We have a Heavenly Father who knows ALL. He knows everything about us and He loves us more than we will ever know. He is in complete control and we can trust Him to lead our lives perfectly. He will take us to where we are meant to go, we just need to believe Him. When we allow fear to take place in our lives, we limit the amount God can guide us. We cannot have faith and fear at the same time. We always need to remember who is leading us. We need to remember how God has led us in the past and He will continue to lead us if we allow Him to. Make an effort to replace your fears with faith and watch as God takes over and love fills the voids that were left. I can promise you that He will!
Sometimes life has a way of completely surprising you. Sometimes you find yourself at an orphanage in Romania working with bedridden children with severe mental handicaps. Children that are so close to God that you can feel His presence when you sit with them. You feel the love God has for these perfect little humans. Perfect humans, that have been neglected because they didn't appear perfect on the outside. NEVER judge someone by how they look on the outside. It is deceiving and wrong. If you want to know a person, look at what they do... who they are... what they say... how they make you feel. That is much more accurate. I am SOO grateful for a loving Savior who looks at our hearts and not our appearance!
When I created my life plan years and years ago, I must admit that Romania wasn't on the list. In fact, many of the life events that have occurred didn't make it on my list. I didn't think I would find myself living an unconventional life. A life, that most people wouldn't be able to relate to. I didn't think I'd be the type of person that brings up God in almost every conversation. I didn't think I'd be going to get a Masters degree in Scotland. I just didn't plan for these things. Life has a way of unfolding perfectly. It is never all at once. We see piece by piece. A little bit at a time until eventually it will all reveal itself. It takes time, it takes faith, and oh does it take patience! (Believe me I know.)
I've been praying with my little orphans every day. At first I was praying with each room, so it was more of a group prayer. Then I decided I wanted it to be more personal. So I began praying with each orphan specifically about their needs. I have been amazed at how much they love when I pray. I noticed that each one smiled. They became calm. I would pray that they would have angels watching over them and they would feel God's love for them. As soon as I mentioned this in my prayer, each child looked up at the corner and smiled. They were so focused on the corner of the room... as if someone was there. I honestly believe there are angels watching over them and that the orphans are aware of that. They are so close to heaven. I feel like they are angels themselves. They are here to teach us more about a loving Heavenly Father. They are here to remind us of our Savior. They are full of happiness and hope. They are a manifestation of God's love. I am SOOOO lucky to know them, to love them, and to learn from them. I never thought this experience would teach me so much in such a short amount of time. This is an experience that will change the course of my entire life. It is teaching me so much about the gift of love. To love someone without wondering what they will give to you in return. To love someone as the Savior loves them. To give love without expectations is to become like the Savior. It teaches us more about the Atonement and what He ultimately did for us. His life was a gift of love. Love that we could never return to the same extent. He didn't expect us to. He just asks that we try to love those around us. To try harder to be compassionate and kind. All He asks is that we try! Love is the answer. Love is so healing to the soul and it will fill us as we give it away.