I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know who I am. I know God's plan. I'll follow him in faith. I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ. I'll honor his name. I'll do what is right; I'll follow his light. His truth I will proclaim.

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Repentance Analogy

The fabulous thing in writing a missionary, I'm always thinking of what spiritual things I can share with him. And at a time when I'm crazily busy and not as good at journal writing as I once was, this means that those spiritual thoughts are more likely to be written down. This past Sunday I came up with another analogy to share with Elder Little Brother, and I got it written down. So I wanted to share it here. (Again, I don't think he'd mind.)

My back has been hurting me for about 5 weeks. In the first week, any sitting aggravated it, and the pain would shoot up my back and to my shoulders and neck. My roommate has had back issues, and she thought I might be out of alignment. So we did a hip exercise and that relieved the pain from the shoulders and neck. However, the lower back would still hurt. But only when I was driving or in certain chairs at work.

I finally was able to go to the chiropractor on Friday. I was worried it might be something with a disc, but he did 4 tests and none of them showed it as a disc problem. Thank goodness!! Basically my hips were out of alignment (one leg was 3 inches shorter than the other!) and my lower back was "jacked up." (Doctor's words.) Heat, electricity, stretch, and a couple of pops. A little more to it than that, but either way he got me back to where I should be. But he did say that the pain will not immediately go away because my muscles have been inflamed and compensating and such and now need to heal. In the mean time, the doctor said the pain in the arch of my left foot since the New Year was most likely from the misalignment because while walking my legs are trying to compensate and I've been landing on my foot so as to aggravate the plantar something or other. It would make sense, as I spent the whole week of Christmas sleeping on the couch because my bed was covered with stuff. The back began to hurt when I slept again on the couch because all my clothes were on my bed drying (our dryer doesn't work well). Anyway, the chiro wrapped the arch to give it better support and build the arch back up. He'll check on how I'm doing on Tuesday.

This could just be a "[My sister's] getting old" story, but I actually got an analogy from it today. Sin and repentance. When we sin, we misalign ourselves from God's path. Even the littlest things, they change our alignment. And the pain or symptoms may be something small--we may not even know the cause. (I had thought my foot pain was either a muscle knot or a bone spur.) And often when we don't get the pain checked on (through personal prayer and self-reflection), we don't know what to do to fix the cause of the pain. Thus repentance does not occur.

Left untreated, the pain can get worse, especially if the sin keeps being committed. Eventually we get around to self-examination, prayer, scripture study. We are able to see what we are doing wrong. We are able to fix it. Sometimes we need the help of a doctor (or bishop) to fix the problem. As we're fixing it (and sometimes even after), there is pain as we are healing. Spiritually we've done a number to ourselves and it takes some time for the soul to heal. And it's helpful to keep careful watch of what we do, and how we do it, and even have the doctor (bishop) help us through the healing process and make sure we're on the right track.

I thought it was a pretty good analogy. :-) Especially as I'm currently in the pain from muscles trying to heal. And I have very much known that spiritual pain when I am repenting and trying to fix what I have been doing wrong. But when it is through, and we are aligned again, we are wiser, more careful, more grateful, and healed. It is such a wonderful feeling!

Repentance truly is a gift.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My Best Friend

Then again, maybe I won't have to exercise patience in this particular experience for as long as I thought. I think I got an answer. I think. I'm not sure.

But either way, it is accompanied by pain. And as I approach midnight, I've already cried the sleep out of me. There is only one person who truly understands; who truly can help me as I go through this. My Savior is the best friend anyone could ask for. And there are not enough words or ways to express my gratitude for Him always being there, and in the knowledge that I will most assuredly get through this--with flying colors and ending better and stronger than I was before--only because of, in, and through Him.

In my promise this year to know my Savior, there are definitely things that I know. I believe I knew them before, but I know them quite strongly and I feel them very strongly right now.

My Savior is always there.

My Savior always understands.

My Savior is always reaching out His arms to comfort me.

My Savior knows better than anyone what I go through, and why my trials are difficult for me.

My Savior will always know how to succor me better than anyone ever could.

My Savior will never leave me alone.

My Savior loves me.

My Savior knows me--who I am, why I am, how I am, and more.

My Savior's Atonement is real.

To access all the above, but most particularly the previous, I simply need to remember Him, reach out to Him, and remain obedient to what He has asked.

I am never alone, because my Savior is there for me. I don't just believe that. I absolutely know it.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

More patience in suffering...and everything else

I am learning a very long lesson in patience. And it's hard! Patience has never been easy for me. I suppose many people say that. And it's true. Virtues are not always easy to come by. The difficulty in attaining and living them is part of what makes them a virtue.

I just don't remember an experience being so obvious in teaching me patience.

No matter the outcome of the experience, I hope it will at least teach me to be more patient in ALL things.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Rejection Analogy

I had some thoughts a week ago, and I finally wrote them down. Of course, they were in an email to my brother on his mission. I don't think he'll mind if I share them here. I thought they were important enough for me to have easy access to them so I can continue to reflect on it.

My other spiritual thing is rather an odd connection. It came to me last week during testimony meeting. I don't think I told you in last week's letter. I was thinking upon dating and rejection and such. I know--what a happy thought, especially during testimony meeting! But, as you may have guessed from my letters, dating and all has been on my mind lately. More so than typical because there is a possible candidate. Possible. That's where the rejection thoughts came in. I'd been feeling rather rejected the previous week, especially as memories of all the times guys have rejected me came to mind. They aren't pleasant, but they are part of my life. They can be quite painful and it has been some hard lessons and efforts to learn not to let those feelings debilitate me. 

We all know rejection. Missionaries and member missionaries feel it all the time. So many friends I talked to about the Gospel, or invited to Church, or gave a Book of Mormon. Most were polite (though one did stop the friendship), but they never accepted. They rejected what I offered. Of course, I know you know this. Especially with your work as a full-time missionary. You also know from that funny group date story you have of asking so many girls and being rejected. Now, rejected is a harsh sounding word in some cases. Some of the girls may have been busy--already made plans. Some of the guys I liked were interested in other girls. Still, a rejection is a rejection. And it hurts.

As I was thinking on rejection, it came to me how many if not all of us reject the Savior. Not intentionally on many of our parts. And we certainly don't mean to do it often or at all. But the Lord has asked us to keep His commandments. When we don't, in a sense we are rejecting Him. When we don't pray or say hurried prayers, we are rejecting the opportunity to communicate with Him, feel of His love, and know what He would have us do. When we neglect our scripture study, we are rejecting Him. We reject the words He made sure we would have for our benefit, and reject another way for Him to speak to us. When we don't go to the temple, we reject Him AND his children who desperately need our help. Any little thing we do that does not follow His commandments, it is a type of rejection of the Savior's love, His Gospel, and of the Savior Himself. It was a very eye-opening realization for me. I who know rejection so well and think my being rejected by others is so hard. It is nothing to how it must sadden our Brother and our Father when we reject Them. And how much more should we be accepting of Them!! My thoughts on that are not complete, and still need some pondering. But it certainly awakened me to my own actions, and to try to be better at my obedience. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Count the many... (even though I only have time for a few)

Today's Conference talk in my Gospel Study was President Monson's Sunday morning talk from last fall. I felt it only right to do as the prophet suggested, and write down some of the blessings I have seen in my life. Both great and small. I tend to do better at writing that down when I have a computer because my typing keeps up with the brain flow better than my hand writing. So I thought I'd jot off a few right now before work. And how appropriate that Josh's "Thankful" song just played on my iPod.

He talked about seeing the blessings in our lives, but I also wanted to point out (for myself) ones that have been rather immediate in my life. So I'm going to list them in two categories: recent and life in general. Please note I am doing both GREAT and SMALL. In no particular order. And what may seem trivial or silly to you probably is. However, Pres. Monson did say "I believe that no concern of ours is too small or insignificant. The Lord is in the details of our lives." And to me, those details include anything that brings me joy, peace, happiness, love, and more.

  • I think I'm finally over the awful sickness I got at the end of February. I felt pretty wretched and its effects lasted for weeks.
  • I know how to take care of my hair better than before--and it doesn't take as long as I worried it would.
  • I have my music to listen to in the morning
  • I managed to get up around the 6 o'clock hour the last 4 mornings
  • I love my Vitamix machine. I love getting in so many fruits and vegetables and I can tell my body loves it, too.
  • I am so grateful I have met a particular young man recently. I am interested in him, and I'm pretty sure he is not interested in me. But interest aside, I am so grateful for the friendship that we have been developing. It has been a long time since I have had a good male friend that I can turn to. I am grateful for the opportunities we are having to deepen and improve this friendship. 
  • I loved going dancing last Saturday! Especially at my home of BYU. And that I had an excuse to dress up for it. And that I got to people watch there, which was so fun because they all looked beautiful and were so happy as they were dancing. Loved it.
  • I'm grateful I have another brother serving a mission, and that he is working hard and diligently.
  • So grateful for my family.
  • I'm grateful I'm finally getting my letter project to my nieces and nephews going.
  • I'm grateful to have clothes to wear, food to eat, a lovely place to live, a bed to sleep in, blankets to keep me warm, a job to go to that is fun and fulfilling, and good health and strength to accomplish so many things
  • my parents. For sacrificing so much for us kids. And for loving us. And for being very patient with me!
  • my siblings, who put up with a lot from their bratty little sister until I was able to fit in more with them. I'm grateful that they still love me in spite of me being me. :-)
  • I'm grateful that I was raised with the Gospel. Grateful that it has always been a part of my life.
  • the covenants I have made throughout my life.
  • I'm grateful I am able to enter the temple and serve there--especially now that I can do so often.
  • my testimony
  • I'm grateful for the things that have been in my life to help strengthen my testimony: scriptures, prayer, callings, temples, messages from leaders, trials and tribulations
  • the opportunities I have had related to music (choirs, musicals, etc.)
  • music
  • the role music plays in my life
  • Books!
  • the chance I had to be educated. Learned to read, cipher, analyze, and all that school-stuff
  • the chance I had to gain non-school education: how to be a friend, how to love another, how to serve, how to smile, how to be kind, how to know when to reach out, etc
  • the opportunities I have to still learn and improve on the things in the previous item
  • overall decent health. My health problems have not kept me from living a very full, happy life so far. Even the few things I am limited from doing are extremely few and rather inconsequential
  • the Church and its programs
  • the scriptures
  • my ability to pray whenever, where ever, and for whatever--knowing that my Heavenly Father hears and answers in His own time and for my best interests
  • my smile, and that there are so many things to bring that smile to my face
  • food. Mmm. It's good. 
  • the moves I had to help me learn to adjust to change (since that has always been a struggle for me)
  • learning to find beauty where ever I may be
  • the chance to travel out of my country and learn of other peoples and their cultures
  • being able to attend BYU for college. It offered everything I needed educationally, socially, spiritually, and more
  • the wonderful friends I have been privileged to have in my life
  • The things of the Internet that have enabled me to stay in easier, more frequent contact with friends and family
  • having outlets to write out my thoughts and feelings and more
  • the freedoms I have had from living in this country]
  • having a choice to let my voice be heard
  • being able to have opinions and feelings and thoughts
  • JOY
  • my hair
  • learning how to dress and present myself to make me feel more confident and beautiful
  • my eyes
  • my heritage--all the ethnicities that make me who I am
  • having a love for family history work--someone's gotta do it, and at least I love to!
  • the family journals I had available to read when I was growing up
  • the many jobs I have had--having employment, learning new skills, meeting many people, and simply learning to work hard and well and to earn what I make
  • all the homes I have been in. I've been rather fortunate in all of them for one reason or another (or many more)
  • being the emotional person I can be, because really it just means that Heavenly Father blessed me with a tender heart. And maybe it seems like a weakness or silly. But I am grateful to have something tender in a world full of cruelty and sadness--and is in need of tenderness and compassion
Wow. I was just getting started and now I must be off. 

Truly: I am so blessed. Beyond what could be counted.