There are so many opinions out there now. Everybody has something to say and an opinion to share. Opinions used to be limited to your circle of “people” (friends, family, coworkers, etc.) and whatever you read (newspaper, magazine, books) NOWADAYS, we can hear from the whole entire world. At every minute. Of every day.
WOW! And AWESOME! And TERRIBLE! All at once.
Holy cow, it can be sooooo OVERWHELMING! And probably the source of a lot of the anxiety we all feel.
So, this year, I chose a word for the year. This word will direct everything I do.
I am seeking truth, embracing truth, living my truth, and sharing the truth that I find with you.
I have created a Facebook page called “Truth Experiment 2017” to record my findings. This will basically my spiritual/inspirational study journal online for everyone to read. Feel free to follow and send your thoughts, submissions, articles, scriptures, encouragement, thoughts, or anything positive, uplifting and full of TRUTH!
Why is it important that we all seek TRUTH on a daily basis?
Every time I come across something that I know is TRUE, it fills my soul and deepens my reservoir of understanding and strength. The puzzle pieces that make up my life seem to fit together just a little bit better.
How do I know what is TRUE?
It is a little voice inside of me or a feeling that swells within me… it is hard to explain, but it is undeniable.
When I feel and hear these things, I know that it is God speaking to my heart through His spirit, the Holy Ghost. Call it your “conscience”, a feeling in your bones, the little angel on your shoulder, the Light of Christ…
Whatever you call it, these thoughts and feeling will Lead You Toward Christ. I promise.
You can test it for yourself, don’t just take my word for it.
Just pray and ask God to know for yourself. I love this reference on How to Pray
I am certain you have felt these feeling of TRUTH before, and that ALL OF US CAN KNOW WHEN SOMETHING IS TRUE.
How am I so sure?
Because God is our loving Father in Heaven, we were created in His image. He has given us all the ability to feel these things and answer our prayers in a way that each of us as individuals will recognize.
So my “Truth Experiment 2017” is underway as of today, January 5! I will be posting at least one TRUTH per day, with links and references for you to read and find out for yourself if it is TRUE. If you are not a Facebooker, follow @truthexperiment2017 on Instagram and I will also post them here on the blog.
This is mostly just a way for me to stay centered on Christ amidst this crazy world and day to day chaos, but I would love for you to follow along if you would like.
Again, with the truths that I share, don’t just take my word for it as truth. Pray and ask God for yourself. He loves you, He knows you, and He wants to share His truths with YOU!
Day 2: January 6
Today’s Truth: Prayer
All of these truths that I will be sharing with you will not do you any good unless you pray about them too. Like I have said before, you have to pray to know for yourself if what I am sharing is true. I don’t want you to take my word for it. You have a direct line of communication with God and He LOVES to hear from you! So use it! And remember, it isn’t possible to wear out your welcome— He wants to hear from you any time, all the time. It doesn’t have to be a formal kneel down, fold your arms, close your eyes event.
A favorite scripture about prayer:
63 Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
64 Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you.
God loves you. He knows you. He is your Father and He is always listening. He knows your struggles and your fears. Just like a caring and loving father on earth would want to hear the things on his child’s heart and mind, our Father in Heaven wants to hear from YOUR heart and mind. About anything. Anytime.
SOMETHING TO CONSIDER:
How can I make my prayers more meaningful?
How often do you say a prayer focused on gratitude?
How often do you pray for others?
“Praying earnestly for others, both those whom we love and those who despitefully use us, is an important element in meaningful prayer. Just as expressing gratitude more often in our prayers enlarges the conduit for revelation, so praying for others with all of the energy of our souls increases our capacity to hear and to heed the voice of the Lord.
Do our spouses, children, and other family members feel the power of our prayers offered unto the Father for their specific needs and desires? Do those we serve here us pray for them with faith and sincerity?”
-David A. Bednar, Increase In Learning
A GOAL I HAVE SET:
I have set a goal this year to express gratitude to my Savior Jesus Christ for his sacrifice for me in EVERY prayer I say. I believe that this will keep Him more forefront on my mind and deepen my love and understanding of what He has done for me.
I have set an additional goal concerning my prayers, to pray for my husband every prayer that I say. Whether it is for him to have a good day, to express gratitude for him, to pray about something that might help him, or just for him to feel of my love. Life can be stressful (we all know this) and with so much going on, kids, and whatever else, it is easy to become disconnected if we are not vigilant. I will report back on this after a while. I also try to pray for my kids every day.
You can read a favorite talk about teaching our children to know Christ HERE.
HOW TO PRAY:
Prayer can be 4 simple steps:
1. Addressing our Father in Heaven
2. Share your gratitude with Him. What are you thankful for?
3. Ask Him for Blessings.
4. Close in the name of Jesus Christ because Jesus Christ purifies our prayers before the Father.
Each day will not be so in depth as today, but I’m excited for what I’ve learned and the thoughts and feelings that have come.
January 7: Day 3
Today’s Truth: You are loved.
The infinite and eternal Creator of light and life knows you! He is mindful of you.
Yes, God loves you this very day and always.
He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer. He knows of the times you have held onto the fading light and believed—even in the midst of growing darkness. He knows of your sufferings. He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed. And still He loves you.
And God knows of your successes; though they may seem small to you, He acknowledges and cherishes each one of them. He loves you for extending yourself to others. He loves you for reaching out and helping others bear their heavy burdens—even when you are struggling with your own.
He knows everything about you. He sees you clearly—He knows you as you really are. And He loves you—today and always!
Do you suppose it matters to our Heavenly Father whether your makeup, clothes, hair, and nails are perfect? Do you think your value to Him changes based on how many followers you have on Instagram or Pinterest? Do you think He wants you to worry or get depressed if some un-friend or un-follow you on Facebook or Twitter? Do you think outward attractiveness, your dress size, or popularity make the slightest difference in your worth to the One who created the universe?
He loves you not only for who you are this very day but also for the person of glory and light you have the potential and the desire to become.
January 8: Day 4
I believe that my testimony of Christ grows stronger every time I study His words in the scriptures, every time I pray, every effort I make to follow Him, become like Him, and live His commandments. And most of all, I believe that my testimony of Christ strengthens EVERY TIME I SHARE IT.
Does it count if I share my testimony on social media? Asolutely!! Is that WHY social media was created?! Yes!
I believe social media was created to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
I decided a long time ago that if I am going to use SOCIAL MEDIA, my primary purpose for using it will be to share my testimony of Christ.
A little history…
At first, back in the earlyish Facebook days, I refused to participate. My roommate at college was on Facebook often and would always say, “Why don’t you get on Facebook?! It’s so awesome!” “No thanks, not interested,” was my response, and that was that. Facebook was unknown territory for me, I had heard bad things about it, therefore, it was evil. It wasn’t for me. Well, one day, she started an account FOR me. What?! Haha, okay. I have never used that account once— and it still exists today and I don’t know how to get in to it! Haha, oh well.
After we were roommates, I went away on a mission for my church for 18 months and fell in LOVE with sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. Watching Christ light up the lives of those who were reaching and searching for the hope that only He can bring…many of these people didn’t ezven know they were searching for Him. And their lives changed forever, a light was born in their lives as they came to know Him for themselves.
12 For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it— D& C 123:12
As the Savior taught His disciples at the Last Supper, He said to Peter:
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to … sift you as wheat:
“But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, STRENGTHEN THY BRETHREN” (Luke 22:31–32).
I returned home from my mission and joined Facebook to keep in touch with these wonderful people that I had taught on my mission and as it turns out, it was a great way to keep in touch with many other friends and acquaintances. Though there were definitely some cons to using Facebook.
I didn’t post anything hardly at all and went long stretches without ever checking. Sometimes when I did, it made me feel bad about my life— usually something great someone else was doing that I wasn’t. My husband and I now call this social media side effect “Drinking the pickle juice” (more on this later in another post.
After a strong spiritual prompting one day and a talk about social media that lit me on FIRE, You can watch it HERE.
I got brave and started to share some things of my own. As I did this, I started to learn and realize the FAR REACHING span that these messages could travel for free. Then with more social media options besides Facebook, the far reaching grasp of social media multipled seemingly overnight!
*Please understand that I am not encouraging everyone to join every social platform and quote Scriptures all day— but there are so many ways to share your light through social media to the world!
One thing I have realized, is that within my busy “mom life”, taking care of kids day to day which entails SO MUCH effort and (this effort being the most important.) I can still share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. Wearing my sweats, with no makeup or hair done AND sharing the gospel has never been so easy!!!
We are blessed to live, learn, and serve in this most remarkable time. The progression of inventions and innovations has been incredible, nothing short of a miracle. Making it possible to communicate with the rest of the world instantly.
“Trains to telegraphs to radios to automobiles to airplanes to telephones to transistors to televisions to computers to satellite transmissions to the Internet—and to an almost endless list of technologies and tools that bless our lives. All of these advancements are part of the Lord hastening His work in the last days.” -David Bednar
“Every discovery in science and art, that is really true and useful to mankind has been given by direct revelation (inspiration) from God, though but few acknowledge it. It has been given with a view to prepare the way for the ultimate triumph of TRUTH, and the redemption of the earth from the power of sin and Satan. We should take advantage of all these great discoveries, the accumulated wisdom of ages, and give to our children the benefit of every branch of useful knowledge, to prepare them to step forward and efficiently do their part in the great work” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe
Social media expert Grant Cardon said,
“Social media was the first place where I could start streaming out a message of what I teach, what I believe…. Your going to start with no followers, with an account that doesn’t exist, your going to start without knowing anything!”
Because of this we can share the light that we have through Christ across the world INSTANTLY for FREE. And we don’t have to take hours doing it.
Wow guys, we are so lucky to live at this incredible time! It is up to us to replace all of the DARKNESS out there in social media with LIGHT. The light of CHRIST. I promise there are so many people who need YOUR testimony. Don’t be afraid.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth
I recently shared on my blog an important part of my story.
The reason why I started my blog MarathonMomma.com and this TRUTH EXPERIMENT 2017:
In the last year, God has made one thing very clear to me…
Of any talent that I possess, the one thing He needs me to share is my testimony of Him as it relates to my day to day life.
This direction has brought with it many feelings of inadequacy, glaring weaknesses that stare me in the face, and frequent questioning, “Why me, when there are soooo many other people who are more spiritual, smarter, cooler, and overall better functioning human beings than me?” (#truth)
His answer came loud and clear… and has honestly been repeating over and over again in my mind.
“Because you are willing to share.”
I don’t believe that I am special, nor that this mission is unique to me. The fact is,
HE NEEDS ALL OF US.
Bear with me on this TRUTH EXPERIMENT 2017. As I’ve noted before, I don’t consider myself a gospel scholar, English scholar, or any scholar for that matter. I study truth every day anyway and am following a prompting from God to share my personal studies with you. They will not always be so in depth, but I always invite you to study these things to know for yourself if what I’m sharing is true.
How can you share more of Christ in your social media space?
January 9, Day 5
Today’s Truth: Motherhood
Five days into my Truth Experiment 2017 and I am amazed at the way my personal study habits become deeper and more meaningful. This is seriously awesome! I was worried about having a stupor of thought some days and struggling to know what to write… but it has actually been the opposite. I have felt the spirit of God prompting me to know what to share. It is amazing, humbling, and I am so grateful.
My sister called me today with some questions for me…
“How do you do it?”
She has a brand new baby, new to motherhood, lives far away from family, and her husband is in a very rigorous program to become a doctor… She and her husband are actually doing the same exact program (getting an MD and an MBA at the same time) in the same exact place my husband and I were 6 years ago (for 4 years total).
“How did you handle it all?”
“How did you not resent your husband when he was always so busy and couldn’t help you?”
I would love to say that I was perfect at these things, that I handled all of the pressure and stress, and kids with a smile all the timeI had two starting medical school and three kids half way through the four years) . The truth is, I struggled just like we all do at times in our lives. It was so HARD. But in those hard moments, among the tears and earnest prayers, somehow I grew stronger, more independent, and truthfully, I blocked some of it out too. 😉
There are a few things that have become absolutely necessary to my success and happiness as a mom. This is what I shared with my sister, and I share with YOU just in case there is someone else out there struggling too.
1- Personal Scripture Study – Reading the word of God, no matter what, will help you every day. I promise. Test my words. Find out for yourself.
“And it supposeth me that they have come up hither to hear the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which HEALETH THE WOUNDED SOUL. “ Jacob 2:8
2- Regular Exercise- This is like manna from heaven for me. Walk around the block or train for a marathon or do something in between. It doesn’t matter what you do, just find what YOU love. Loving your exercise of choice will in itself motivate you to exercise. One of my favorite quotes about this…
“Take responsibility for your own physical well-being. Your soul consists of your body and spirit (see D&C 88:15). Feeding the spirit while neglecting the body, which is a temple, usually leads to spiritual dissonance and lowered self-esteem. If you are out of shape, if you are uncomfortable in your own body and can do something about it, then do it! Elder Russell M. Nelson has taught that we should “regard our body as a temple of our very own” and that we should “control our diet and exercise for physical fitness”- Jorg Klebingat
3- Weekly Dates with my Husband- This is the 11th commandment in our marriage. Whether we have “at home” dates or hire a babysitter and go out on the town, this is CRUCIAL for the wellbeing of our relationship. Just to be able to talk without the stress of kids, no interruptions, usually over a good plate of food— this heals all! Sometimes after a particularly horrendous week, it is just the thing to let down, relax, enjoy, and remember why we love each other. And when we don’t have to fight the “putting kids to bed war” one night a week, that alone can be totally worth it!
4- Find time for yourself to do what you love. When your kids are really little and really attached to you, this can be really really hard to do! But I believe it is important every now and then to give yourself a breather. Time where you can do something that you enjoy by yourself. A craft, shopping, a girls night, read a book, whatever it is. Don’t feel guilty, don’t feel selfish, it is crucial to your wellbeing to take care of yourself a little bit so that you can take better care of the ones you love and give so much to.
5- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When I first started having kids, I was close to family and that made it easy to get help every now and then. But then we moved away to medical school with two really little kids that were 20 months apart, I had a husband trying to earn two degrees at once, so it was pretty much on me. My list of people I could rely on was forced to grow, even though it was a little out of my comfort zone to ask for help. So this list began to include friends, visiting teachers, young women from my church, etc. (the last two mentioned are from organizations in my church. Learn more about them Here: https://www.lds.org/callings/relief-society/getting-started/roles-and-responsibilities/visiting-teacher?lang=eng and Here: https://www.mormon.org/
FACE YOURSELF TOWARD GOD
Ever since I can remember, while searching for my mom, I would go all over the house looking for her and often find her on her knees at her bedside, praying. Or with a stack of scriptures and inspirational books and magazines by her bedside table studying away and taking notes. In fact, for years my mom rounded up all 6 of us kids and brought us to church by herself every week. That just gives you a small idea of the SPIRITUAL IRON WILL this woman has.
Anyway, this last weekend while visiting my parents… my mom, knowing that I had been struggling for a while trying to recover from an injury all while doing the day to day of raising four kids, broke out her journal which was full of inspirational quotes and insights. She had been praying for me and had come across a quote that she felt particularly inspired to share with me and in turn, we both wanted me to share it with you.
“The noblest calling in the world is motherhood. True motherhood. True motherhood is most beautiful of all arts, the greatest of all professions. She who can paint a masterpiece, or who can write a book that will influence millions, deserves the admiration and plaudits of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters, whose immortal souls will exert an influence throughout the ages long after paintings shall have faded, and books and statues shall have decayed or have been destroyed, deserves the highest honor that man can give and the choicest blessings of God.
Motherhood is the one thing in all the world which most truly exemplifies the God given virtues of creating and sacrificing… No nobler work in this world can be performed by any mother than to rear and love the children with whom God has blessed her.”
So when you are struggling and feeling like you can’t go on, just remember that you are doing the greatest work. I am grateful for my mom who is still doing this noble work even though I am all old and grown up with a family of my own. She knew just what my mommy heart needed to hear—— like, every. day. 😃 And chances are, some of you momma’s out there needed to hear it too. I love the quiet strength that my mom has always shown me as she has tried to stay close to God. Her example has taught me that even when things are REALLY HARD, Mothering with God makes you unstoppable.
READ SOME OF MY FAVORITE TALKS ON MOTHERHOOD HERE:
January 10, Day 6
The Gift of The Holy Ghost
Today’s truth is the talk that I wrote for my son’s baptism. I spoke about the Gift of the Holy Ghost. For weeks before, I prayed over and over that God would help me to know exactly what my Tommy needed to hear. I wanted the spirit to touch his heart and I was worried that because he doesn’t always listen to me at home, he wouldn’t listen to my talk either. 😃 I even tried to ask other family members to speak on the topic to no avail, and finally, my husband was like, “You just need to do it.” Haha, okay okay… I had come up with some ideas but it didn’t really come together until early morning of the actual day. I had gotten up nice and early, I prepared the body of my talk with all of the attributes of the Holy Ghost, but I still needed it to really touch my son’s heart.
Well, he LOVES super heroes. And truthfully, having the Holy Ghost with you is like the greatest super power you could ever have, right? So I drew an alter ego superhero of my son and named him T.C. (My son’s initials). I loved the idea of using my son in the drawing — hopefully he could see himself loving and understanding the Holy Ghost like T.C. does) I framed the picture and held it up the whole time, so it was like the talk was coming from T.C. and not from me! Haha, it worked! The spirit was so strong, I can’t even explain it. And my son was riveted on every word I said.
If you have any questions on my beliefs about baptism and confirmation (receiving the gift of the holy ghost) I would be happy to answer them. I will include a few links at the end of the talk.
The Gift of the Holy Ghost
“Tommy, what if I told you that you had the ability to possess the greatest super power in the world?!” (Looking right at him, and he was excited!)
(Then I held up my drawing which was framed)
This is my friend T.C. and he is a boy just like you that has learned how to use the greatest super power in all of the world. T.C. always feels BIG feeling of JOY & HAPPINESS because of it. He wanted to teach you today how you can too!
His lesson is called “The Gift of the Holy Ghost 101” also known as “the greatest super power in all of the world!” Here is what T.C. wants you to know:
– You are getting baptized today, baptism by water is only half of a baptism. Baptism for the Remission of sins is only complete when you are baptized by FIRE as well. Not by fire like we know it, but fire as in receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost is the other half of baptism.
– If you keep the promises that you make with Heavenly Father at baptism, He promises you that THE HOLY GHOST WILL ALWAYS BE WITH YOU. And the Holy Ghost will help you to KEEP YOUR PROMISES TO HEAVENLY FATHER too!
– The Holy Ghost brings BIG feelings of COMFORT! And will make you FEEL WARM INSIDE. You know, like how you feel BIG feelings of LOVE for everyone around you? This is the Holy Ghost helping you to STRENGTHEN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS. If you have the Holy Ghost with you, you will feel more CALM, FORGIVING, and PATIENT with those around you.
– When the Holy Ghost or “The Greatest Super Power in all the world” is with you, you feel like helping everyone around you. Serving others will make you feel those BIG feelings of PEACE and JOY inside. That is the Holy Ghost and Heavenly Father cheering you on!
– T.C. wants you to know that sometimes sad things or hard things happen in life. It can hurt your heart. But the Holy Ghost brings feelings of PEACE. With the Holy Ghost, you NEVER HAVE TO FEEL ALONE.
– The Holy Ghost helps you IMPROVE yourself, CHOOSE THE RIGHT, and KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS.
Another very important thing that T.C wants you to know is…
– The Holy Ghost will help you to BE THANKFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE. (This is a REAL GIFT!)
– The Holy Ghost will PROTECT YOU FROM DANGER by a warning feeling or voice.
– The Holy Ghost will help you to KNOW WHAT TO PRAY FOR.
– The Holy Ghost will help you to KNOW WHEN YOU HAVE HURT SOMEONE OR DONE SOMETHING WRONG— then you will want to tell Heavenly Father and those you hurt that you are sorry.
– The Holy Ghost helps you to KNOW THAT HEAVENLY FATHER AND JESUS CHRIST IS TRUE. When you bear TESTIMONY of these things, you will feel the Holy Ghost swell in your heart… like it might burst!
– The Holy Ghost helps you UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURES and other things that might be a little hard to learn or understand.
– The Holy Ghost can help you FIND ANSWERS to your PROBLEMS. If you don’t know what to do about something, just ponder and pray about what to do and the Holy Ghost will fill your heart and let you know that you made the right choice. If the decision is not right, you will feel uncertain and confused.
– The Holy Ghost helps us to REMEMBER things that you learn. The Holy Ghost even helped your daddy learn how to speak Portuguese on his mission!
T.C. wants you to know that the feelings you receive from the Holy Ghost are called “PERSONAL REVELATION”. When you do, HEAVENLY FATHER WILL BLESS YOU and your ability to use “The Greatest Super Power in the World”, which is the Holy Ghost, will increase!
January 11, Day 7
“Everything depends on our desires. These shape our thought patterns. Our desires thus precede our deeds and lie at the very cores of our souls, tilting us toward or away from God (see D&C 4:3). God can educate our desires. Others seek to manipulate our desires. But it is we who form the desires, the “thoughts and intents of [our] hearts” (Mosiah 5:13).
Only by aligning our wills with God’s is full happiness to be found. Anything less results in a lesser portion (see Alma 12:10–11). The Lord will work with us even if, at first, we “can no more than desire” but are willing to “give place for a portion of [His] words” (Alma 32:27). A small foothold is all He needs! But we must DESIRE and provide it. -Neal A. Maxwell, “Swallowed Up In The Will of the Father”
I have read this quote (and it’s accompanying talk) over and over— this is just one of the many gems that spoke to my soul.
Read the whole talk HERE:https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1995/10/swallowed-up-in-the-will-of-the-father?lang=eng
Each decision I make boils down to my desire. But when I sit and think of my one greatest desire, I know that I have made decisions that take me away from reaching my greatest desire.
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you do what you do every day? What is the purpose? And do the things you do every day take you closer to the deepest desire within you? For that matter, do your deeds tilt you “toward or away from God?”
What is the core desire that drives your life?
My core desire can be summed up by one picture painted by Minerva Teichert
When I look at this picture, I see a pioneer woman with her family. Her number one desire was to follow God’s will. He asked her to do something really REALLY hard. To take her loved ones on a journey over a thousand miles on foot with only the possessions they could fit in that handcart. No doubt the journey was treacherous, the food terrible, the weather worrisome, the terrain impossible, lives were lost, hope dwindled— but she was driven by one deep desire. To follow God and make it to Zion. And then, as captured in the picture, the victory on her face as she reached the peak— she made it to Zion!… So immediately, she turns around to the rest of her party (because she deeply cares and loves all around her) throws her fist up to the sky elated as if to yell to God and his angels too, “We did it!!!!” The emotion and power behind her exclamation brings me to tears… no doubt she shed a million tears on that journey.
I liken my life journey (all of our life journeys) to this pioneer woman and her family’s trek to Zion. Our ultimate destination is to make it together back to God. This woman’s trials were physical in nature, and the trials in our day can be physical, but most especially, we encounter many spiritual tests and trials. I want to have this pioneer woman’s strength. I want her faith. I want to successfully bring my family along as we point our wagon (our home, our lives) toward God. Because my greatest desire is to return to live with Him, His Son, and my family. I already feel exhausted and marred by the vicissitudes of life with many more miles (years and experiences) to go. Truly beaten down with little hope at times. But I know that if I am facing the right direction, putting one foot in front of the other, and letting my deepest desire drive me on— I too, will make it through all of the muck, the sludge, the falling rocks, the seemingly impassible rivers, the bad days, hard moments, and whatever else is thrown at me. The key is to keep my arms around my loved ones, look toward the Savior, follow my scripture map, and keep my lines of communication open with He who thought I was fit for this journey in the first place. If God thinks I can do it, if He sent his Son to walk by my side and feel my pains and troubles, and even carry me at times, I have no reason to fail.
I will reach the top of the mountain, with my loved ones by my side and it will be a glorious view… one worth every snag and tear. Where I will turn around and proclaim to all of my loved ones and friends, “We did it!!!!!!”
January 12, Day 8
I wanted to share with you a portion of a talk that I have been studying by Elder Russell M. Nelson at a recent worldwide broadcast. At the end he issued an assignment. I am going to take him up on it and would love for you to join me. Take a look!
“While the world is filled with uncertainty, there need not be uncertainty in your heart and mind about what is true and what is not. Uncertainty is born of imperfect or unknown information… I plead with you to learn God’s irrevocable laws. Learn them by study and by faith. That means among other things, living by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God. Pray to discern between God’s laws and the philosophies of men. Including those cunning counterfeits of the adversary. Through ions of time, Lucifer has honed his craft. He is skilled at distraction, distortion, deception and misdirection. I plead with you to avoid his cunning snares as you would avoid a plague.
As you keep God’s commandments and live by His laws, you’ll become increasingly free. This freedom will unveil to you your divine nature and allow you to prosper personally. You will be free from the bondage of sin, you will be free to be you! …Happily the blessings of living God’s commandments are also predictable, dependable, and repeatable.”
To Become A Greater Disciple of Christ
Jesus Christ, our Master is our ultimate mentor and this assignment will help you increase in your discipleship.
Consecrate a portion of your time each week to studying everything Jesus said and did. Study His laws as recorded in the Old Testament, New Testament, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants.
Why these books?
Study the Old Testament for He is the Jehovah of the Old Testament
Study His laws as recorded in the New Testament for He is it’s Christ
Study His doctrine as recorded in the Book of Mormon of there is no book of scripture for which His mission and His ministry are more clearly revealed.
Study the Doctrine and Covenants for He continues to teach His people in this dispensation (time)
ADDITIONAL STUDY MATERIAL:
The Living Christ https://www.lds.org/ensign/2000/04/the-living-christ-the-testimony-of-the-apostles-the-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints?lang=eng
The Proclamation to the Family https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation?lang=eng
A PROMISE FOR YOU:
If you proceed to learn all that you can about Jesus Christ, I promise you that your love for Him and for God’s laws will grow beyond what you currently imagine. Your ability to turn away from sin will increase, your desire to keep the commandments will soar, you will find yourself better able to walk away from the entertainment and entanglements of those who mock the followers of Jesus Christ.
January 13, Day 9
My heart has been heavy over the past 24 hours as my husband’s cousin Andrew died from RSV. Then we received word that my sister’s neighbor hydroplaned while driving home from work and died from the impact. He left behind his wife and 5 kids.
Wonderful people that have to deal with really really hard things. In these moments it is so easy to question why. Why can’t they just live? Why do we have to have this heart ache? Why is it so hard?
And especially in the case of this sweet family who lost their dad, it’s so easy to think “What if this happened to me? To my family? What if I had to raise my children on my own?” And then I just want to stay home with my family, lock all of the doors, close the shutters, and live our life forever more sheltered and protected.
I know, not really very realistic. And this is not even half of my irrational thoughts I’ve had. But I was grateful to delve into the scriptures today. To find truth that could bring me comfort and peace at a time when so many are hurting and struggling. I know that Christ and his words can makes us whole even when we are hurting or broken. I am going to squeeze my husband and babies a little tighter tonight and forever. And I am so thankful that I have a forever family.
For today’s truth, I am sharing a few nuggets that gave my heart hope and peace today. And if you feel so inclined, please donate to their GoFundMe pages linked below. Xo <3 Laura
“The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life…As seedlings of God, we barely blossom on earth, we fully flower in heaven.” -Elder Russell M. Nelson, Doors of Death
Alma 40:11-12 (The Book of Mormon)
11 Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.
12 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.
1 Cor. 15:22
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
He’ll See You Soon
By Marcia Crofts (My mom wrote this one Easter morning while I was on my mission and sent it to me. At the time my Grandpa was still alive but struggling. She had him in mind as she wrote it. I love that momma of mine)
Do not mourn, and tearfully say
That our dear father has passed away.
Instead, rejoice! Lift up your head;
Exclaim that he’s “passed on” instead.
Passed on into a beautiful room;
Only his body lies in the tomb,
But his spirit soars unfettered, free,
Transported to eternity.
Glorious reunions await him there.
Friends and family, as here, who care.
His entrance into the room above
Will resonate with warmth and love.
The Savior, bathed in love and light
Will be a most belov-ed sight.
Resting in His fond embrace,
Could there be a better place?
Then there’s work to do and things to know,
People to help and places to go.
God’s glorious work continues there;
It’s simply a transfer to a place more fair.
Christ has freed us from the grave.
His Atonement gave Him power to save
Us from death and from eternal pain,
To see His loving face again.
Covenants bind our loving ties.
One future day we all will rise
To live together in mansions fair,
Blissful, happy, free from care.
So do not mourn his passing on.
Just simply know that he has gone
To work for you in another room.
His love remains; he’ll see you soon.
An amazing talk: “Because of Him, even our Savior, Jesus Christ, those feelings of sorrow, loneliness, and despair will one day be swallowed up in a fulness of joy.” Read More Here:
What I believe about life and death (via this link: https://www.lds.org/topics/plan-of-salvation?lang=eng)
God Is Our Father
God is the Father of our spirits. We are created in His image. We have a divine nature and destiny.
We Lived with God
Before we were born, we lived with God, the Father of our spirits. All persons on earth are literally brothers and sisters in the family of God.
Earth Life Is Part of God’s Plan
Our life on earth has purpose. Coming to earth is part of God’s plan for us to gain a physical body and learn to choose between good and evil.
Jesus Christ Is the Way
Our Heavenly Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior and show us the way to live according to God’s plan.
We Can Find Happiness
Following God’s plan for us is the surest way to find happiness and endure life’s challenges.
We Can Live with God Again
Our lives will not end when we die. Our future lives are determined by the way we live our lives now.
Watch some of my favorite videos about life and death below, Have you ever had any of these questions below?:
Why are we here on earth?
Where did we come from?
Where do we go after death?
January 14, Day 10
I love getting to know new people and making new friends. A while ago, I had the privilege to spend some time with a remarkable person, we’ll call her Jenny. Jenny is sacrificing and daring greatly to follow God’s will and accomplish something big with His help. Jenny has suffered a lot, experienced great struggle, pressed forward, clung to the Savior, and is now touching lives and leading them back to Christ.
The day after my time with Jenny, another friend (we’ll call her Susan) contacted me wanting to know if I had spent time with Jenny the previous night.
“Yes! We had a great time! She is an amazing person. Do you know her?”
“Interesting…. yes I know Jenny, we went to high school together.” She said with some disdain.
Without warning, Susan began to tell me why Jenny shouldn’t be doing this big amazing project that she was involved in. The same project that Jenny, herself, had told me the night before, was something God had told her to do. “She has struggled with ….(blah, blah, blah).” I stopped her, successfully changed the subject, and I became really really sad for Susan.
What Susan didn’t realize is that repentance is real… using Christ’s love and assistance to overcome our sins, imperfections, and insecurities is REAL. Jenny had done that. Sadly, Susan thought she was being “righteous” in telling me. She was being “helpful” by informing me of Jenny’s imperfections “just so you know” she said….. What?! No.
Whatever Jenny struggled with years before, was none of Susan’s business. Did Jenny need to send a flair up to let all of her family, friends, and acquaintances know, “Hey everyone! I have repented now! So instead of thinking of me as a sinner for doing ________, I am a saint now!”
We don’t have to be the judge. We are called to LOVE. That’s it. So simple (and yet so hard sometimes, right?) One of my favorite stories that illustrates this very principal is in Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk called “Remember Lot’s Wife”—This is one of those “hits you right between the eyes talks that is such a good frequent reminder! I highly recommend listening to the whole talk HERE:
“There is something in us, at least in too many of us, that particularly fails to forgive and forget earlier mistakes in life—either mistakes we ourselves have made or the mistakes of others. That is not good. It is not Christian. It stands in terrible opposition to the grandeur and majesty of the Atonement of Christ. To be tied to earlier mistakes—our own or other people’s—is the worst kind of wallowing in the past from which we are called to cease and desist.
I was told once of a young man who for many years was more or less the brunt of every joke in his school. He had some disadvantages, and it was easy for his peers to tease him. Later in his life he moved away from his community. He eventually joined the army and had some successful experiences there in getting an education and generally stepping away from his past. Above all, as many in the military do, he discovered the beauty and majesty of the Church and became very active and happy in it.
Then, after several years, he came back to the town of his youth. Most of his generation had moved on, but not all. Apparently when he returned quite successful and quite reborn, the same old mind-set that had existed before was still there, waiting for his return. To the people in his hometown he was still just old “so and so”—you remember the guy who had the problem, that idiosyncrasy, this quirky nature, and did such and such and such and such. And wasn’t it all just hilarious?
Well, you know what happened. Little by little this man’s Pauline effort to leave that which was behind and grasp the prize that God had laid before him was gradually diminished until he died about the way he had lived in his youth. He came full circle: again inactive and unhappy and the brunt of a new generation of jokes. Yet he had had that one bright, beautiful midlife moment when he had been able to rise above his past and truly see who he was and what he could become. Too bad, too sad, that he was again to be surrounded by a whole batch of… those who thought his past was more interesting than his future. Yes, they managed to rip out of his grasp that for which Christ had grasped him. And he died even more sadly , though as far as I know the story, through absolutely no fault of his own.
That happens in marriages, too, and in other relationships we have. I can’t tell you the number of couples I have counseled who, when they are deeply hurt or even just deeply stressed, reach farther and farther into the past to find yet a bigger brick to throw through the window “pain” of their marriage. When something is over and done with, when it has been repented of as fully as it can be repented of, when life has moved on as it should and a lot of other wonderfully good things have happened since then, it is not right to go back and open up some ancient wound that the Son of God Himself died trying to heal.
Let people repent. Let people grow. Believe that people can change and improve. Is that faith? Yes! Is that hope? Yes! Is it charity? Yes! Above all, it is charity, the pure love of Christ. If something is buried in the past, leave it buried. Don’t keep going back with your little sand pail and beach shovel to dig it up, wave it around, and then throw it at someone, saying, “Hey! Do you remember this?!” Splat!
Well, guess what? That is probably going to result in some ugly morsel being dug up out of your landfill with the reply, “Yeah, I remember it. Do you remember this?!” Splat!
And soon enough everyone comes out of that exchange dirty and muddy and unhappy and hurt, when what God, our Father in Heaven, pleads for is cleanliness and kindness and happiness and healing.
Such dwelling on past lives, including past mistakes, is just not right! It is not the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”
I have had a lot of personal experience with feeling put in a “box” of previous imperfections by others. It hurts. When people don’t see who you truly are, it can be heartbreaking. I’m certain some of you out there have felt disapproval, been torn down, put in “the box”, and surround by others who will never see you as you truly are.
What matters, however, is what you and God know. What you and God work together to accomplish. Surround yourself with the people that love you and support you NO MATTER WHAT. The ones that love who you are and see the person you are becoming! Find those that want to dream with you and build you higher. And keep those naysayers, judgers, and tearer-downers at arms length or farther if you need to. But in all things just rely on THE ONE who you know always has your back.
Sort of unrelated, but in the same ball park— and I just LOVE this quote!!!
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt
January 15, Day 11
As I sat in church today, I was thinking about all of the different people gathered for one purpose. To worship the almighty God. I love how people from all walks of life— different backgrounds, different stories… hard trials, individual weaknesses, and hurdles of every shape and size can come together in a unity of FAITH.
I love this quote that was shared in church today, “There are some members of the Church whose testimony is sure and burns brightly within them. Others are still striving to know for themselves. The Church is a home for all to come together, regardless of the depth or the height of our testimony. I know of no sign on the doors of our meetinghouses that says, ‘Your testimony must be this tall to enter.’”
-Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth (Find this talk HERE)
We cannot allow excuses to get in our way preventing us from worshipping God.
“Church is not a showcase for the saints, but a hospital for the sinners.” -Unknown
Sometimes, we are our greatest hurdle when it comes to worshipping God on His holy day.
So I wanted to issue this test to you + 6 tips to increase your spiritual confidence as written by Jorg Klebingat in his talk “Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence. Read the whole talk HERE.
Let me know how it goes!
“On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your spiritual confidence before God? Can you say within yourself that Heavenly Father is pleased with you? What thoughts come to mind if you had a personal interview with your Savior one minute from now? Would sins, regrets, and shortcomings dominate your self-image, or would you simply experience joyful anticipation? Would you meet or avoid His gaze? Would you linger by the door or confidently walk up to Him?”
[It is easy to feel like] Heavenly Father is disappointed in you, that the Atonement (Jesus Christ’s suffering on behalf of our sins) is beyond your reach, that there is no point in even trying, that everyone else is better than you, that you are unworthy, and a thousand variations of that same evil theme.
As long as you allow these voices to chisel away at your soul, you can’t approach the throne of God with real confidence. Whatever you do, whatever you pray for, whatever hopes for a miracle you may have, there will always be just enough self-doubt chipping away at your faith—not only your faith in God but also your confidence in yourself… [living this way] is completely unnecessary! The decision to change is yours—and yours alone.”
I would like to share six practical suggestions that, if heeded, will dissipate these evil voices and restore to you the kind of peaceful assurance and spiritual confidence that is yours to have if you only want it.Regardless of the rating you gave yourself on that 1-to-10 scale, by applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ, you can begin increasing your spiritual confidence today if you are willing to listen and act.
1. Take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being. Stop blaming others or your circumstances, stop justifying, and stop making excuses for why you may not be fully striving to be obedient.
2. Take responsibility for your own physical well-being. Your soul consists of your body and spirit (see D&C 88:15). Feeding the spirit while neglecting the body, which is a temple, usually leads to spiritual dissonance and lowered self-esteem. If you are out of shape, if you are uncomfortable in your own body and can do something about it, then do it!
3. Embrace voluntary, wholehearted obedience as part of your life. Acknowledge that you cannot love God without also loving His commandments. The Savior’s standard is clear and simple: “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Selective obedience brings selective blessings, and choosing something bad over something worse is still choosing wrong. You can’t watch a bad movie and expect to feel virtuous because you did not watch a very bad one.
4. Become really, really good at repenting thoroughly and quickly. Because the Atonement of Jesus Christ is very practical, you should apply it generously 24/7, for it never runs out.
5. Become really, really good at forgiving. “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men” (D&C 64:10). Forgive everyone, everything, all the time, or at least strive to do so, thus allowing forgiveness into your own life. Don’t hold grudges, don’t be easily offended, forgive and forget quickly, and don’t ever think that you are exempt from this commandment. Spiritual confidence increases when you know that the Lord knows that you bear no ill feelings toward another soul.
6. Accept trials, setbacks, and “surprises” as part of your mortal experience. Remember that you are here to be proved and tested…Spiritual confidence increases when you accept that “often trials and tribulations are allowed to come into [your life] because of what [you] are doing right.
January 16, Day 12
Today’s Truth in particular warrants some extra days of study for me. My husband and I will actually take some time together this week to study it together, assess where we lack (and believe me, we have PLENTY of improving to do!!!), and set goals to do better.
We had an emergency date night tonight. One where we could sit and talk without distraction and reconnect to be on the same page. Plan, coordinate, hold hands, and remember why we love each other. Life is complicated with lots of balls to juggle and stress to endure and sometimes, many times, it can get the best of us. But I love the following encouraging words and I want to read this one over again a few more times because it is just that good.
“The truest mark of your success in life will be the quality of your marriage. … This choice [of a companion] will be the most important of all the choices you make in your life.” – Gordon B. Hinckley
For some people, falling in love is a magical encounter, something that seems to happen at first sight. For others, it is a growing affinity and attraction toward another, like budding blossoms that flower into a beautiful bouquet. Though the first type of love may also bloom like the second, it is often merely glandular, a cotton candy kind of love that has no substance. While it may begin with warm cuddles in moonlit glades, it can soon grow cold as honeymoon memories fade and familiarity turns to faultfinding.
“The love of which the Lord speaks is not only physical attraction, but also faith, confidence, understanding, and partnership. It is devotion and companionship, parenthood, common ideals and standards. It is cleanliness of life and sacrifice and unselfishness. This kind of love never tires or wanes. It lives on through sickness and sorrow, through prosperity and privation, through accomplishment and disappointment, through time and eternity.”
-Spencer W. Kimball
CHRISTLIKE ATTRIBUTES IN MARRIAGE BY LYNNE G. ROBBINS FROM HIS TALK “AGENCY AND LOVE IN MARRIAGE. READ THE WHOLE AMAZING TALK HERE.
“Suffereth long” (1 Cor. 13:4)
THE LORD’S WAY:
• Is patient and tolerant, does not criticize. Recognizes that spouse is progressing, is patient with imperfections.
THE WRONG WAY:
• Is intolerant, ill-tempered, critical, cranky. • Despite staying together, has no close relationship. • Is impatient, complains, gives the silent treatment.
“Is kind” (1 Cor. 13:4)
THE LORD’S WAY:
• Is nice, thoughtful, interested in others. • Is a Good Samaritan, comforts, is merciful. • Can we “fall out of” kindness?
THE WRONG WAY:
• Is mean, miserly, cruel, inconsiderate, unmerciful. • Has a scowling countenance.• Is indifferent, remote, unconcerned, uninterested, unresponsive.
“Envieth not” (1 Cor. 13:4)
THE LORD’S WAY:
• Is content, grateful for blessings. • Rejoices in another’s gifts, talents, success. • Is generous and offers help to those in need. • Lives frugally. • Knows the difference between needs and wants, avoids unnecessary debt.
THE WRONG WAY:
• Is resentful, jealous, greedy, covetous. • Fails to pay an honest tithe. • Is selfish and withholds help (see Morm. 8:39; Mosiah 4:22, 24–25). • Has a “my,” not “our,” money mentality. • Incurs excessive debt. • Has a spirit of speculation.
• Is ungrateful. • Is a partial tithe-payer. • Is vain—sets heart on costly apparel, etc. • Lives beyond income. • Allows interest on credit cards to accumulate. • Does not try to save food or money for future needs.
“Is not puffed up” (1 Cor. 13:4)
THE LORD’S WAY:
• Is humble, meek, teachable. • Does not speak vainly or seek attention. • Happily serves wherever called. • Lifts, praises, builds others up. • Seeks the will of God.
THE WRONG WAY:
• Is proud, eager for attention, self-centered, pompous, boastful. • Murmurs against leaders. • Is condescending with spouse or “holier than thou.” • Is offended when advice is given.
• Does not praise or give due credit to others. • Aspires to positions. • Is a know-it-all, is unteachable. • Puffed up because of knowledge, talents, wealth (see 2 Ne. 9:42).
“Doth not behave itself unseemly” (1 Cor. 13:5)
THE LORD’S WAY:
• Is courteous, well mannered, tactful, tasteful, reverent, respectful, mindful of others. • Is clean, neat, orderly.
THE WRONG WAY:
• Is discourteous, crude, disrespectful, indecent, improper, irreverent. • Enjoys dirty jokes. • Is boisterous: loud laughter. • Leaves a place worse than it was found.
• Doesn’t say “please” or “thank you.” • Has forgotten everyday courtesies. • Is disorderly and unkempt.
“Seeketh not her own” (1 Cor. 13:5)
THE LORD’S WAY:
• Is tender-hearted, sensitive, compassionate, merciful, generous. • Seeks unity, kneels together in prayer, listens with empathy, avoids contention. • Thinks “we” and “ours.” • Is approachable. • Seeks to please God.
THE WRONG WAY:
• Is demanding, controlling, selfish, manipulative, blaming. • Lacks unity, is contentious. • Thinks “I” and “mine.” • Seldom listens, is aloof. • Seeks self-gratification, is self-indulgent. • Seeks the praise of men.
• Doesn’t say “I’m sorry.” • Is reluctant to render help (as with household chores). • Is guilty of self-pity and advertises it. • Is uncaring.
“Is not easily provoked” (1 Cor. 13:5)
THE LORD’S WAY:
• Is forgiving, patient, calm, gentle, respectful. • Understands that anger is a decision and can be controlled. • Is a peacemaker (see 3 Ne. 12:9).
THE WRONG WAY:
• Is irritable, spiteful, vengeful. • Is easily angered, often hostile and abusive. • Is defensive, responds with disgust or contempt. • Swears, has a bad temper.
• Argues over every silly little thing, is not open minded. • Disciplines in anger. • Does not bridle passions (see Alma 38:12).
“Thinketh no evil” (1 Cor. 13:5)
THE LORD’S WAY:
• Is nonjudgmental, respectful, helpful, pure, obedient. • Has “no more disposition to do evil” (Mosiah 5:2). • Is modest in dress, thought, speech. • Virtue garnishes thoughts unceasingly.
THE WRONG WAY:
• Is cruel, conniving, deceitful, dishonest. • Indulges in pornography and inappropriate music. • Dresses immodestly. • Is an inventor of “evil things”(Rom. 1:30).
• Is judgmental, prejudiced, faultfinding. • Bears grudges, gossips. • Participates in jokes about intimate or sacred things. • Seeks improper intimacy with spouse. • Tolerates evil influences.
“Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6)
THE LORD’S WAY:
• Stays close to the Spirit through regular scripture study, prayer, obedience. • Has discovered that truth leads to joy and happiness.
THE WRONG WAY:
• Has an “eat, drink, and be merry” mentality. • Is indulgent, unfaithful, disobedient. • Is addicted to vices. • Justifies self, makes excuses.
• Is light-minded. • Is casual with prayers. • Is not diligent about gospel teaching or scripture reading in the home.
“Beareth all things” (1 Cor. 13:7)
THE LORD’S WAY:
• Has moral courage, is bold in truth. • Turns the other cheek, is calm. (This does not mean that abuse victims should silently bear cruelty, or follow a spouse disobedient to God.)
THE WRONG WAY:
• Is insulting, defensive, irritable, touchy, grouchy, moody. • Is a coward. • Is ashamed of righteousness.
• Is ungrateful. • Yields to peer pressure in compromising situations. • Is apathetic. • Is weary in well-doing.
“Believeth all things” (1 Cor. 13:7)
THE LORD’S WAY:
• Clearly sees the eternal potential of spouse and forever families. • Sees others as children of God. • Holds fast to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
THE WRONG WAY:
• Doubts spouse’s potential, is critical and cynical. • Is unfriendly to spouse. • Is condescending, intolerant. • Has let go of the iron rod, is not active in the Church.
• Is distanced, remote, inattentive, insensitive. • Is a hypocrite, lives a lie. • Goes to church, but wishes to be elsewhere.
“Hopeth all things” (1 Cor. 13:7)
THE LORD’S WAY:
• Is an optimist. • Looks for the best. • Praises, builds up, expresses affection. • Continues courting spouse.
THE WRONG WAY:
• Is a pessimist. • Is a nagger. • Is a faultfinder. • Is unrepentant, in denial.
• Is a fatalist. • Is bored. • Is neglectful. • Doesn’t feel worthy to pray for forgiveness.
“Endureth all things” (1 Cor. 13:7)
THE LORD’S WAY:
• Doesn’t complain or murmur. • Is responsible and gladly accepts callings. • Sees growth in adversity. • Has a desire to learn and progress. • Is steadfast, knows life is a test.
THE WRONG WAY:
• Is always complaining, murmuring. • Shirks or avoids responsibility. • Can’t keep a job.
• Is lukewarm or gives half-hearted effort. • Is lazy or spends too much time on hobbies, TV, etc. • Is afflicted with self-pity.
I’m so glad that I’ve got this guy for eternity…. that he looks past my million (it feels like) faults and makes me feel like I can do anything. He is my biggest cheerleader and support— and often saves me like SuperMan at the end of a long day. Our life isn’t perfect, our marriage isn’t perfect, but with the Lord all of it is perfect.
January 18, Day 14
Today’s post topic spurred from my need to regroup, re-evaluate and repent— specifically concerning a certain child (who will remain unnamed 😉 ). This morning I found myself boiling inside before the day had really even started while trying to get everyone ready and in the car for school. I’m convinced the thoughts in a certain child’s head are louder than anything I say (even when I say it 10 times!) I lost it, we lost it. I feel bad about that. I REALLY want to have a great relationship with my kids. I love this child so much. So tonight we went on a date to dinner and a movie. We had time to talk, laugh, and just have fun— we ALL need that, right?! Barriers are mending and I need a hefty pep talk on controlling my anger— so here you go!
“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city” (Prov. 16:32)
“Control your tempers, to put a smile upon your faces, which will erase anger; speak out with words of love and peace, appreciation, and respect. If you will do this, your lives will be without regret. Your marriages and family relationships will be preserved. You will be much happier. You will do greater good. You will feel a sense of peace that will be wonderful.” -Gordon B. Hinckley
“The family is also Satan’s primary target. He is waging war on the family. One of his schemes is the subtle and cunning way he has of sneaking behind enemy lines and entering our very homes and lives.
He damages and often destroys families within the walls of their own homes. His strategy is to stir up anger between family members. Satan is the “father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another” (3 Ne. 11:29; emphasis added). The verb stir sounds like a recipe for disaster: Put tempers on medium heat, stir in a few choice words, and bring to a boil; continue stirring until thick; cool off; let feelings chill for several days; serve cold; lots of leftovers.
A cunning part of his strategy is to dissociate anger from agency, making us believe that we are victims of an emotion that we cannot control. We hear, “I lost my temper.” Losing one’s temper is an interesting choice of words that has become a widely used idiom. To “lose something” implies “not meaning to,” “accidental,” “involuntary,” “not responsible”—careless perhaps but “not responsible.”
“He made me mad.” This is another phrase we hear, also implying lack of control or agency. This is a myth that must be debunked. No one makes us mad. Others don’t make us angry. There is no force involved. Becoming angry is a conscious choice, a decision; therefore, we can make the choice not to become angry. We choose!
Unchecked, anger can quickly trigger an explosion of cruel words and other forms of emotional abuse that can scar a tender heart. It is “that which cometh out of the mouth,” the Savior said; “this defileth a man” (Matt. 15:11).
-Lynne G. Robbins, “Agency and Anger”
Full Talk Here: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1998/04/agency-and-anger?lang=eng
The following excerpts are from a talk by El Rey Christiansen called, “Be Slow to Anger”
“Aggression, … suppressing the anger, talking about it, screaming and yelling,” are all learned strategies in dealing with anger. “We choose the one that has proved effective for us in the past. Ever notice how seldom we lose control when frustrated by our boss, but how often we do when annoyed by friends or family?” (“The New Obscenity,” Reader’s Digest, Dec. 1988, 24; emphasis added).
“The size of a man may be measured by the size of the things that make him angry.” -Anonymous
“To become upset and infuriated over trivial matters gives evidence of childishness and immaturity in a person.
“We are constantly exposed to irritations as we mingle with others—and even when we are alone. How we react to these irritations is a reflection of our personalities and temperaments. It would seem reasonable to believe that in order to develop a healthy, pleasing personality and to become useful and an influence for good, one must avoid being easily provoked to anger. Not only would we show, thereby, more maturity, but we would also be able to resolve disturbing situations more intelligently, because seldom, if ever, is any good accomplished while persons are in a rage. Anger does not contribute to good. It is a destroyer, not a builder.”
“Even in our families, situations may arise that could cause irritations. It is then that parents must be calm and exemplary. The man with an uncontrolled temper is like an undisciplined child—he expresses his emotions explosively or by sulking, and disregards the feelings of those about him. In the home, anger should be controlled and love should abound. When, in his most impressionable years, a child experiences ugly situations that result from uncontrolled tempers, when he hears unkind words exchanged between his father and mother, and when he sees contention crowd out an atmosphere of kindness and mutual respect—when these conditions make a child’s environment, what chance has he to become refined and noble? The minds of children are like the sensitive plates of a photographer; they record every incident, good and bad. Our children may forget what is said, but they never forget that which they are made to feel.”
“Frustrations often offer us the means of progression, for by overcoming them harmoniously, we grow and become more Christlike.”
“Jesus set the example in personal conduct regarding anger when, although he had been falsely accused and made the subject of railings and mockery, he stood majestically and completely composed before the perplexed Pontius Pilate. He did not retaliate in anger. Rather, he stood erect, poised, unmoved. His conduct was divine. What an example for all of us!”
Listen to these marvelous words of the Savior, the master teacher:
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matt. 5:43–44.)
-El Rey Christiansen, “Be Slow to Anger” (Full Talk HERE)
“Parents may tell
But never teach
Unless they practice
What they preach.”
“For in many things we offend all. [But] if any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” James 3:2
Okay, okay, you get the idea. I don’t know about you, but I have A LOT to work on. I think it all starts with prayers and baby steps. So tomorrow I am praying for patience and love. I think I can go one whole day without getting upset… I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…
January 19, Day 15
I have been recovering from an injury the past few months and getting very discouraged at times. I was talking to a friend one day who had an unexpected answer for my problem. Not something that would necessarily fix my injury, but could it help me heal? Her suggestion was to use one thing…
The Healing Power of MUSIC.
“We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps any other thing except prayer.” -J. Ruben Clark Junior
“Music can [promote] healing on all levels—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
Music and sound are actually the world’s first medicines, used by shamanic healers to cure illness and regain one’s spirit. The effects are instant and tangible, with the power to reveal realms in our consciousness we may not have known existed. That’s because rhythm and harmony are more than musical elements—they are the energetic foundation of life, nature, our universe. Their vibrations can expand the heart, transform the mind, and heal.” Isaac Eliaz
Music and healing is being studied and implemented more and more among medicinal and therapeutic practices.
“Did you know that certain forms of music can help you tap into your own innate ability to heal your heart?
It’s for this reason that many healthcare practitioners, have begun turning to the power of music. Increasingly, they have come to believe that the melody, pitch, timing and beat of music can alter a persons state of being by quieting his body and allowing him to enter the spiritual recesses of his mind.
Calming, soothing music is considered one of the ultimate mind-body tools. “No question about it, music is a very powerful way to connect the mind and the body. And when they’re connected, the real process of healing begins,” says Stephen Sinatra (Read more about it HERE.)
So what kind of music should we listen too? I love music that lifts my soul higher. Music that is full of positive messages.
“We live in a world that is too prone to the tasteless, and we need to provide an opportunity to cultivate a taste for the finest music.” -Neal A. Maxwell
“For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.” (D&C 25:12)
Music has helped me so much through all of this healing I have been trying to do. It has brought me closer to God and brought me hope when I have felt hopeless. Whatever it is that you might be struggling with in life, I believe that prayer, scriptures, and uplifting MUSIC go hand in hand for making our body and spirit WHOLE. Here is some of my favorite uplifting songs that will make you happy, help you feel God’s light and love for you. I hope you enjoy!
The first one is a video of part of my little family’s annual Christmas Concert at the Children’s Hospital
January 20, Day 16
The Healing Power of Christ– My experience
So if you caught part one, you learned about the healing power of music— that it literally has the power to heal the wounded soul.
Today’s Truth Experiment, I wanted to share some special experiences I have had recently…
The first one is my experience yesterday when putting the song compilation for my previous music and healing post together:
I was sitting at my kitchen table yesterday morning, trying to decide which songs to share with you. As I listened to some of these songs it was like basking in the glow of the Savior. I couldn’t help but think about my Heavenly Father and the fact that he has given these people incredible divine gifts and talents. I felt so grateful that they were sharing these gifts with the world. Because of their bravery and willingness to share, I can feel closer to the Savior.
All of a sudden, I felt an urgency to sit down and write a song. This was foreign to me… I have written songs before, but not since I was a teenage girl with a guitar.
So I grabbed a piece of paper and pen, and started to write down what came into my heart and mind. My song is about the Savior. About our struggle through this life, how we feel helpless— sometimes until the very last moment when he becomes the rock that we can stand on. The words just flowed out of me… I felt so moved upon by the spirit that I could hardly keep myself from sobbing. I sat there at my kitchen table sobbing, then writing, sobbing some more, blowing my nose (because wow, that was making it hard to sing! Ha!) I didn’t know why, and I have never considered myself a talented song writer… but with God’s help, my song came to fruition. In one hour, I had written the song from start to finish.
I felt blessed and overwhelmed by God’s love. Being able to express my love for my Savior through song felt so purifying— so strengthening. I could hardly believe what had just happened to me.
So I shared my recorded song with my best friend (during my recording you can hear my baby who was climbing all over me at the time ) This particular friend has been my friend since kindergarten and seen me grow all the way up— through all of the awkward stages— and loved me anyway! So I knew that she wouldn’t judge me, she would just love me good or bad. My song made her cry too. This is my very friend who had told you about in my previous Truth Experiment post— the one that told me to use the healing power of music to help me through this injury that I suffering from.
Later that evening, I was asked to be an extra in a music video for Nathan Pacheco. If you don’t know who he is, look him up. He has an absolutely glorious voice!
It took quite a bit of juggling to figure out kids and babysitting, normally I would’ve given up after all the dead ends trying to find someone to watch my kids— but I could feel the spirit driving me on.
The following day, it was finally time. I headed out to the set of the music video. My pelvis (which is nearly fractured in two places) had been hurting all day long. I’m not going to lie— it is incredibly discouraging. The doctor has ordered for me to rest as much as possible– and as a mother of four little kids and an incredibly busy husband that can’t often be around to help, resting feels quite litereally IMPOSSIBLE. Struggling with all of this has been really really HEAVY. I have never felt so helpless…. I have never felt like I have needed my Savior more than I do now.
This Truth Experiment 2017 has been just the thing that I needed to feel his love and stay close to him. The ONLY way I can get through all of this….
Anyway, back to my story…
I arrived on set of the music video. When it was our turn to go in to the film studio to record the video, here’s what happened:
They gathered all of the extras together, we were going to be the choir that sang with Nathan at the end of the song.
We began with a beautiful prayer, and the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost) filled the room. There were about 30 of us total including crew and everything. There was no down in my mind, we were doing God’s will. He was with us, because we were there to spread His message— the message of our dear Savior. I didn’t know these people, none of them. But you could so much love in the room.
Please take a minute to listen to the song “FOREVER” Here:
After the prayer, Nathan shared an experience in association with the song that we were about to sing. I will paraphrase what he said…
“One night 5 months ago, my wife went into labor— the crazy thing about it was that the baby was coming 5 weeks early. We were surprised and worried. As the baby was born, all of the his stats started to drop. The doctors and nurses started to poke and prod, putting tubes in, needles everywhere including his head. I watched feeling so upset that they were doing this to my baby. But I believe that when babies are born, they bring with them, a little piece of HEAVEN. As I worried and watched and waited, I was listening with my headphones to this song (the song we were about to shoot the music video for). As I listened, I was overcome with PEACE. I knew that Jesus Christ had paid the price for all. Somehow, I knew that everything would be ok.
“So for all of you, I ask you, to lay you cares, your struggles, whatever is hurting, whatever you are dealing with— lay it on the alter. Jesus Christ has overcome all things for you. He has felt all things, he knows your pains and struggles. He loves you and is here to help you. Feel that, think of that and you sing this song. Because it’s true.”
My eyes began to water… I felt his words, I knew that they were true. And boy, have I had my share of struggles, especially lately.
Please, please listen to this song. Listen to the angel choir at the end that I was so incredibly blessed to be a part of and think of that very message…
“We sing Hallelujah, we sing hallelujah, we sing halleluja… the Lamb has overcome!”
As we sang this over and over, my heart may have nearly exploded. What an incredible experience. It was a witness to me of the reality of the atonement of Jesus Christ. And for that window for, even with a lot of hours on my feet— I wasn’t in pain.
God is working on me every day— I am thankful for these experiences that were handpicked to teach me of the reality of Christ’s atoning sacrifice and His infinite love.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
I know that the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ has overcome ALL things . And His love for you is perfect. So lay all of your struggles on the alter for Him. Please listen to the healing power of this music.
The music video I was in will be coming out one week from now. I will be sure to post a link!
January 23, Day 17
I have realized a few things the past few days:
1. Doing a super in depth “Truth Experiment” post every single day of 2017 is a lofty and unrealistic goal
2. I would rather have quality than quantity posts for my truth experiment 2017.
3. I have LOVED sharing my studies with you! I don’t share everything, but I hope somehow it helps someone out there.
4. Truthfully, this whole project is mostly for my benefit and for the benefit of my children to have my words someday— but I LOVE the fact that I can strengthen others along the way!
Thank you to everyone that has been sharing and sending quotes, talks, thoughts, and ideas my way. I am grateful and humbled and convinced that the Lord works in mysterious ways! Almost everyday since I have started this, I have had some incredible experiences— where something randomly happens and it’s like God is saying, “This is what you need to share next!”
So in saying all of this, I wanted to talk about priorities for a minute. My priorities look something like this…
God, Husband, Kids, Family —> and everything else I do is to enrich these four things.
Everything I say yes to, everything I choose to do with my time requires a CONSTANT readjustment. In fact, as I’ve been doing these truth experiments— all of these priorities of mine have been flourishing and it has been amazing! The only problem is, I need to spend quality time with my hubby at night for the tiny window we have instead of writing a daily truth experiment Soooo, I am just going to cut back a bit. One to two per week is the magic number I think.
Then I can always make sure to be sharing quality truth experiments instead of quantity.
I know more than ever before that God knows me, is aware of the desires of my heart— in fact, the desires of my heart were summed up perfectly as I read Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 ) today…
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
TODAY’S TRUTH: PRIORITIES
Read or listen to the talk below entitled
Keep these three questions in mind:
1. What are the BEST things in your life that you want to give your time and attention?
2. What things distract you from the most important things?
3.What thing(s) can you drop out of your life to better choose the BEST things for your time?
When there are infinite possibilities for our time, it is crucial that we revisit this often. This world is FULL of distraction!!! Here are some numbers for reference from a talk by Lynne G. Robbins entitled “Simplicity”. You can the full talk on simplicity HERE.
“Never in the history of the world have the children of God been faced with so many options that compete for our time, attention, and other resources.
Options seem endless. As of Aug. 2014 there were over 253 million products for sale on Amazon categorized into 35 departments. There are nearly 5 million items in the clothing department alone.
We clearly live in a day and age of more than 31 flavors and 57 varieties. Buzz Light Year wasn’t too far off when he said “To infinity and beyond.”
Here are some additional statistics to think about, as you ponder the complexities of life. There are over 26 million songs to choose from on iTunes. There are over 900 cable channels available with the average American receiving 189. As of July 2015 there are over 1.5 million apps available at the apple store, and more than that at Google Play. The average Facebook user now has 338 friends spending an average of 40 minutes each day on Facebook. Add other social media to that and time spent rises to about an hour and 45 minutes each day.
Our options for entertainment, clothing, sporting activities, TV programming, video games, music lessons, cable channels, YouTube videos, iTune songs, connections through social media, education, etc., etc. is enough to make one’s head spin.
We not only have more options to choose from than any previous generation, but the options are more accessible, often at the touch of a button or an app.
Some modern inventions and options have actually simplified life, like in-door plumbing and electricity and modern appliances. In those respects life is much easier and simpler than past centuries. But the 21st century with its gazillion options has also made this century the most complex; the easiest of times and yet the most complex of times.
Perhaps never in the history of the world has living in the world, but not of the world, been such a difficult equation to balance. Some heavenly calculus is needed to help us deal wisely with good, better and best.”
So what are YOU going to change now?
Laura Crofts Cope
I wanted to reiterate again, how crucial it is for everyone to pray to know of the truthfulness of these things that I share. Don’t take my word for it. God is the ULTIMATE SOURCE ALL TRUTH. He is aware of you, He knows you personally. Pay attention to how the following message and videos make you feel. The peace you feel comes directly from God through the Holy Ghost.
In order for you to discover YOUR MISSION on this earth, you have to understand where you came from,why you are here, and where you are going.
We lived with God before we came to this earth. He is our loving Father in Heaven. He loves us, so He created a plan for us to become like Him. This plan is called the “Plan of Happiness”, or the “Plan of Salvation”. This plan answers all of those questions:
Where did I come from?
Why am I here on earth?
Where do we go after I die?
Knowing the answers to these questions, and understanding where you personally fit in God’s Plan WILL bring you the greatest possible joy you can EVER imagine. And because of this knowledge you will further be able to understand what an important role you play. YOU HAVE A DIVINE MISSION ON THIS EARTH.
Watch these videos to understand God’s Plan of Happiness:
Each of us have a divine mission to perform on this earth. Including our Savior Jesus Christ whose mission can be summed up in this scripture.
“For behold, this is my work and my glory- to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Moses 1:39
Jesus Christ is at the center of God’s plan for us. He loves us so much that He gave his only begotten son as a sacrifice. Jesus Christ was willing to sacrifice himself for us, so that we could return and live with our loving Father in Heaven.
OUR MISSION IN LIFE, the mission for ALL of mankind is summed up in this scripture:
“Behold this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength.” D&C 11:20
I felt impressed to share some parts of one of my recent favorite talks by Steven R. Covey called “Achieve Spiritual Potential” Linked below:
PLEASE TAKE A MINUTE TO PONDER EACH LINE OF THIS QUOTE:
“WE ARE ALL EQUAL BEFORE GOD.
WE ALL RECEIVE THE LOVE OF GOD.
CHRIST ATONED FOR YOU.
YOU ARE PRECIOUS BEYOND PRICE.
YOU ARE OF INFINITE WORTH.
YOU ARE GOD’S OWN CHILD“
DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF WITH OTHERS
WHAT DOES CHRIST’S ATONING SACRIFICE SAY ABOUT YOU?”
I know that the spirit of Christ is given to every person on this earth. Since we all have it, we can know when we read truth. This is divine truth and comes from God. Everyone who reads those sentences above, feels the peace that only God can bring.
“Every salient truth which comes so forcibly to the heart and mind of man is but an awakening of the memories of the spirit.” -Joseph F. Smith
Your “divine mission” is whatever you are meant to do on this earth. Each of us has a different divine mission and that is why it is CRUCIAL that we do not compare ourselves to others, but that we look up and ask God, “What is it that you want me to do?” Then, after you pray, LISTEN.
I was talking to my friend Rhonna yesterday and she expressed to me a time in her life when she was struggling with many things. Her prayers changed from “Please help me!” and “Why is this happening to me?”
“What can I learn from this trial that will help me with the divine mission that thou has for me?” “What can I do today to fulfill my divine mission?”
She then challenged me to change my prayers as well. I am praying to know how my trials will be stepping stones toward my life mission. Each mission is distinct and different. It is up to each of us to FOCUS and figure it out.
3 Ways to Help You Discover Your Divine Mission:
1. Pray and Listen– as I talked about above.
2. Remember– Recite those phrases above to yourself DAILY. In order for you to find your divine mission and potential, you have to know WHO YOU ARE. You are God’s child!
3. Study God’s word— FEAST upon the word’s of Christ:
“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” 2 Ne.31:20
I read this talk by Wendy Watson Nelson ten years ago. At the time I read it, I was newly married, no kids, and ready to conquer the world! Her words burned within my heart. I felt like the women portrayed in this quote— I knew I had a very important work to do. It is never too late to start discovering your life’s mission. She said:
“Do you feel a growing urgency to do all that the Lord requires of you, so
that you can fulfill your life mission? Every woman (and man) here was commissioned to do something, and probably many “somethings,” for the Lord.
I think of a great woman—a wife, mother, and grandmother—who has recently been focused on gaining a better understanding of her life’s mission. This past Christmas she called and said, “I did all the right things. We had wonderful food and scripture readings. The children performed the nativity. We sang carols and took pictures. We celebrated the Savior’s birth as a family and had a marvelous time being together. But now that Christmas is over, I’m looking for more meaning in my life.” What a spiritually in-tune woman! The Spirit is moving upon her spirit and letting her know that there is yet more to her mission on earth. She is like a thoroughbred ready to run.. She wants to do all that she was born to do—all that she agreed premortally to do here in mortality. Even though she is doing all kinds of “right things,” her spirit can tell there is something more, or something different, she needs to be doing. As she has thought about it, she knows that missionary
work has always stirred her soul. Could it be that she and her gifts for searching out missionary moments and for preaching the gospel with simplicity and power were brought to the kingdom for such a time as this? Congratulate yourself if you are in a situation similar to my friend, looking for more meaning in your life. It may mean that your spirit is restless and knows that you were indeed born to do something different, or more, than you are presently doing. If you feel a little unsettled these days, the problem may be that you are not yet doing what you came here to do. Does it mean that you
need to make a dramatic change? It may, but it may not.”
I believe that missionary work is a huge part of my divine mission in this life. Hence, a big reason for why this truth experiment was born.— I would love your help. If someone comes to mind that would benefit from this project, or from a particular subject within the project, Please share it with them.
I can’t wait to hear about your divine mission.
And in closing, I say to you something that a wonderful and incredibly spiritual women said to me many years ago when I was 12 years old, “Thank you for everything you will ever do in your life.” -Margaret Nadauld
Discover your divine mission, let’s cheer each other on and remember that we are ALL on the SAME TEAM if we are rooting for CHRIST! Stand up, dust yourself off, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” for each of us.
Until we return to Him and hear Him say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” You have completed your mission on the earth.
February 1, Day 19
What can you do in your small corner of the world for the refugees?
We all may have had a “refugee” experience in our life. Feeling displaced, hurt, alone, misunderstood. I believe that there is something we can do, no matter how small. It is my prayer to God today and everyday to find out what I can do. If you are someone involved in a project to help refugees please tell me about it in comments!
Please watch this: