Saturday, November 16, 2013

Love Will Bring Them Back

I was sitting in my recliner this morning reading the scriptures.  As I sat contemplating the words I was reading I was struck by the story of Enos.  This has always been my most favorite book in the Book in the Book of Mormon, but it hit me in a completely different way today.  It hit me so hard, because I am now the person that has returned.  I am now the person that changed my life, and accepted God once again.  Love was what brought me back to the church.

During my youth I was very active in the church.  I loved Primary, and learning about Jesus.  I love singing the primary songs, learning the articles of faith, and saying my prayers.  I loved knowing that Jesus loved me, and I loved him.  I found extreme comfort in knowing that I was loved.

As a teenager I was very overweight.  As you can imagine, I was bullied pretty badly in school.  I felt alone, lost, depressed, and fragile.  When I was 14 and left the church, I felt like God didn't care about me anymore.  I knew he heard my prayers, because I never stopped praying.  I just assumed that he didn't love me enough to listen.  I mean, if no one else on this earth could love me because I was fat, how on earth could God love me?  I felt completely and utterly alone.  That was when I turned my back on Heavenly Father, and the church.

From the age of 14 to 24 I said many terrible things about the church, the people who were a part of the church, and the lifestyle of members of the church.  I bashed them any chance I got.  I still knew that the church was true deep down, but I was trying so hard to disprove everything that it stood for.  After all, these people that had been so mean to me, and bullied me because of my weight were all members of the church.  If that's how members of the church treat one of their own, than this church absolutely wasn't for me.  Not only was it not for me, but it couldn't be true.  People of the God I believed in didn't act like this.  They were supposed to love one another.  Members of the church didn't love one another, and they definitely didn't love me.

I'll never forget a time when I was 19 years old.  I was taking the missionary discussions in my search for truth.  I remember going into these discussions believing that I could disprove everything they were going to tell me.  An amazing thing happened though.  As they shared the Gospel with me, (I still thought the story was crazy) it wasn't the story that got to me, it was the love they had for me.  Here I sat, this big overweight girl, and they didn't even care.  All they cared about was making me feel loved and teaching me that my Father in Heaven loved me.  I don't remember the stories, or the discussions, but I remember their love.  That was the 1st time in years that I thought of members of this church to be people of God.  It was the start of the opening of my heart so many years later.  I wish I could thank those missionaries today.

As I went about my life, searching out every religion possible, and pushing out members of the church, I came across a boy that seemed to just care about me.  He didn't care what I had done in my past, and he didn't care about what I was doing then.  He just wanted to be my friend.  As I got to know this boy better, I saw a light about him.  There was something different about him, and I wanted to know what that was.  I wanted to know what made his eyes shine, and his smile bright.  I wanted to know what made him who he was.

The first date Dave and I ever had was magical.  I couldn't stop starring at him, and I just wanted to be in his presence forever.  I wanted to feel of his love and kindness forever.  It was an amazing night.  It would take 5 months of Dave and I knowing each other before the church was every brought up.  I'll never forget hanging out at his house, and looking through his closet (yes I was snooping) when I came across a scrapbook.  The best part is that it was a scrapbook his ex girlfriend had made for him. :)  That wasn't the point though. As I pulled down this scrapbook and started to look through it, I realized that the boy I was dating was Mormon.  Not only was he Mormon, but he had served a mission.  This was his missionary scrapbook.  I figured out then and there that the light that he had about him was the light of Christ and he got that from his belief in the church.  That was the moment I opened my heart to the Gospel.

That night sitting on Dave's bed, looking through that scrapbook changed my life.  It started a conversation between the 2 of us about what he believes and what he knows to be true.  It started the life that we now have together.  I owe everything I have today to that night.

I didn't come back to the church because someone was trying to force me to believe.  I came back to the church because a man loved me.  He showed me he loved me and cared about me, without ever bringing up the church.  He knew I would find out, and that when I was ready we would talk about it; but I came back because of his love.  

His love opened the pathway for us to talk about the Gospel, for us to go back to church together, for me to read the Book of Mormon for the first time, and for us to be sealed for all eternity in the temple.  It started with love, and it still ends with his love to this day.  

I'm so blessed to have Dave in my life.  I'm so lucky that he loved me enough to show me that my Father in Heaven loved me.  He showed me that people aren't perfect, but that God is.  God loves us perfectly, just like our Savior, and Dave showed me that Christlike love.  Dave has a love that no one on this earth can understand unless they experience it.  I am the luckiest girl in the world that I get to have his love daily.

I'm grateful that love brought me back to this beautiful church.  I'm grateful that I understand that the people are not the Church.  The LDS Church in itself is perfect, but people are not.  The General Authorities are not perfect, but they're all trying.  The most important thing we need to remember is to love one another because that is how you will bring your loved ones back to the Gospel of Christ.  Love will bring them back.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


My husband and I were reading in 1 Nephi last night.  Nephi was describing the things that his father had seen. I'm not sure if he had seen them in a dream, and vision, or what, but I know that he saw them.  The spirit confirmed to me that he did indeed see these things.

As we were reading I was moved to tears.  I couldn't believe that a man that lived 600 years before Christ was ever alive, had the faith to not only pray, but to then listen to the promptings of God.  As I read I was touched by the faith of Lehi and his determination to do what the Lord asked of him.  

Because he was faithful and did the things the Lord asked he was blessed.  He was blessed so much so that he saw not only the coming of Christ, but the atonement, and then he saw our present day.  He saw that there would be people scattered all over the earth and they would become so wicked once Christ left the earth, that it we would need for Christ to come down once again and save us from utter destruction.

As I read I realized that his faith isn't something that only prophets are able to have.  What are we capable of doing?  If we exhibit the same faith of Lehi, and listen to the Lord, and follow his promptings without hesitation, what blessings can we receive?  What amazing things will happen in our lives?  What things are we missing out on because we don't do all that the Lord asks of us?

Now I'm not saying that we are going to see the coming of the end of the world, or that we'll have such dramatic visions, but I'm also not saying that we're not capable of doing so.  If we have the same faith in God that Lehi, and Nephi had, we can truly move mountains.  We can do things that we normally we wouldn't believe possible.  We will have the power to do things that by ourselves we would not be able to do.

So how do we get this incredible faith, and is it even possible?  Of course it is.  Faith isn't reserved for prophets and apostles.  God loves each of us equally which means we are equally worthy of receiving great blessings.  The way we obtain such powerful faith is by praying for it, and then acting when God speaks to us.  Pray first, then action next.  I promise if you will do these 2 things you will receive the kind of faith that Lehi, Nephi, Joseph Smith, and our current prophet, Thomas Monson, each have.  We are just as worthy as they are because God loves us just as much as he loves each of them.

We can do amazing things.  We are incredible people and God is waiting to bestow amazing gifts to us.  If we will only first seek to do his will and then open the door when he comes to tell us what to do.  He truly stands at the door and knocks.  He wants us to open it.  He wants us to talk with him and do the things he asks. He wants us to have amazing lives, and do amazing things.  You just have to let him in.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Search for Truth

In my late teens and early 20's I wasn't a member of the Church.  I wandered my way through life believing that I didn't need a religion to follow.  I believed that my Savior loved me and that was enough.  I knew I could pray, and a Father in Heaven would listen.  I knew that if I needed some peace and comfort, I could ask for it.  The one thing I never knew was the truth.  

I studied many religions, and never found the answers I was looking for. I knew for me, that I needed to belong to a church. I needed that comfort in my life, but I never found what I was looking for. Then I met my husband, and he invited me to read the Book of Mormon. As I read in faith, and sincerely looking for the truth, I received the answer I needed. This was the true Church of Jesus Christ. I had found what I was looking for.

In my early years I was raised in a Mormon family.  I was actually very active, and involved until a major event happened in my life.  My grandmother died suddenly. She was someone who I felt understood me completely.  I knew she loved me unconditionally, and I hadn't felt that from any other person in my life.  When she was taken from me, I blamed my Heavenly Father.  I therefore blamed his church.  There and then I decided that if this God, of this church would take away my Grandmother, it was not a church that I wanted to belong to.  I suddenly felt empty and hollow, and I blamed those feelings on the Church of Jesus Christ.  From then on I hated the church and everything it stood for.  I began some of the hardest years I have ever had, but I couldn't see that.  I began a life without the restored Gospel.

People have asked me now, if the Gospel is so beautiful and wonderful as you now know it to be, why on earth would you leave?  There are many reasons.  Not only my reasons, but reasons that many members who have now left, have.  There are so many thoughts, questions, emotions, and feelings, that go with leaving the true Church.  Things that you can't begin to comprehend unless you have gone through it.

Some people leave the church because they let the actions of imperfect men and women, hurt them so much that they blame the church and leave.  To these dear members, my heart breaks.  I know these feelings.  I know these issues that arise, that you feel like you can't possibly deal with.  But let me tell you, that these feelings don't come from your Father in Heaven.  These feelings of anger come from Satan.  These feelings are not righteous, and have no reason to be in your life, other than you allowing them in.

In this church we have the pleasure of walking daily with our Savior.  He can lead and guide every part of our life.  I didn't know this until just the last year.  I have recently learned the truthfulness of this.  Over the last 4 years that I have been an active member of the church, questions have come that have no answers.  Questions that I have to seek answers from my Father in Heaven.  Even though I have these questions, I have chosen to hold strong to my faith and know that an answer will come.  I never believed I could walk with my Savior daily, until my prayers started to be answered.  I learned to ask my Savior to teach me when he is speaking to me, and help me to follow.  I have learned that if I ask, he will answer.  It will be in his time, but if I remain faithful and strong those answers will come.  I'm so grateful that I now walk with my Savior daily.  He truly leads every step of my life, as he can do with yours.

The church was created by our Savior, but restored by imperfect men.  The Savior will never allow his true church to fail, but this doesn't mean that the men running it don't screw up occasionally.  The savior is patient with us, and we need to be patient with each other.  Some things that the apostles say may hurt or offend us.  We must not lose faith when this happens, but we must seek to learn why we were offended.  If the answer doesn't come, we must ask our Savior to soften our hearts and let us learn to accept the fact that men are not perfect.  Let us allow them to make mistakes as we do, and allow ourselves to be patient with them.  The Savior and his Church are perfect, but the people in the church are not.  Thus the reason we must rely on our Savior for comfort, and answers.

We are a part of a church that allows personal agency.  We are allowed to do as we please.  It is one of the greatest blessings that God has given us.  Therefore, if someone in your family or your friends, choose to leave the church, you must remain patient.  You must allow them the free agency to do as they please, and you must pray for their safe return.  You need to love them no matter what, even if you don't love their actions.  Pray for them, love them, and one day they will see the light.  Heavenly Father will answer our prayers, although it's not always in the time we would like.

For those who have left the church, I want you to know that there is a place for you here.  There will always be a place for you.  Every single person has doubts.  Some just rely on their faith better than others.  We need you.  We need people with questions.  We need people who doubt.  

I have doubted so many times, and by holding onto my faith and relying on my father, those doubts have turned into my strengths.  It didn't come overnight.  It didn't come in a year.  But it came, and I testify to you that your answers will come.  Your doubts will become your strengths.  Your hardened heart will become softened and you will be healed.  

God has not forgotten about you.  He loves you and will come to you.  Hold onto your faith.  Come, join with us.  Share your unique view, and your testimony with us.  We need it.  We need you.  We love you.  We want you with us in this church.  You will belong.  You will be loved.  You will find the truth that some of us know, but all of us search for.  You are not alone.  You are one of us.  We love you and we want you with us as we journey together.  Come and be a part of a church and a family that love and support you.  We want you with us.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lord, I believe. Help my Unbelief

In April 2013 during general conference, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave a talk titled, "Lord, I Believe."  I wrote about it on my blog here.  In his talk he speaks about how a man brought his son who was possessed by an evil spirit to Jesus and asked him to heal him.  Jesus in turn asked if he believed he could be healed.  The man said that he did, but to help his unbelief.  The Lord then takes the boy in his arms, and heals him.  The Lord helped his unbelief.

During this conference talk I was struggling with my feelings towards the prophet Joseph Smith, as I had ever since I was a young girl.  I held onto the words that Elder Holland said, and how he said to not focus on my doubt, but to hold strong to the truths that I do know.  Well at that time in my life I knew that the Book of Mormon was the true word of God.  And if the Book of Mormon was the true word of God then Joseph Smith had to be a prophet of God.  

I got on my knees that night and asked my Father in Heaven to strengthen my testimony and teach me that the things that Joseph Smith saw, and witnessed were real.  The answer to my prayer did not come right then.  It didn't come the next day either.  It didn't come the week after or even a month after, but I held firm to the truths that I already knew and I continued to have faith that God would answer my prayers.

Throughout my life, two phrases have resounded within me: "Jill, your Father in Heaven KNOWS you, and LOVES you" and "Whatever you may ask, in faith, from your Father in Heaven, he will give unto you."

These 2 phrases have stuck with me my entire life.  Throughout every step of my life, whether I was doing what the Lord asked of me or not, I remembered that He loved me, and that He would answer me.  I believe that it is because of these 2 things that I always knew I could pray to my Father.  I always knew that he was there, and that he would listen to me.  I always knew that even if I was mad at him, if I was blaming him, if I was yelling at him, that he would indeed listen to me, and answer me.  No matter what I was doing in my life these 2 promises have remained true.  I'm grateful for the knowledge, and the faith, that I had in these 2 phrases.

In April of 2013, after that talk by Elder Holland (which can be found here), I got on my knees and again asked the Lord to teach me about the prophet Joseph Smith, knowing that he would answer me.  Well my dear readers, this past week I got my answer.

My husband came to me last week and said, "Jilly, I think we need to start reading the scriptures together nightly."  I was so touched that he would suggest this, that I hugged him and said, "I would love that Babe."  Then he said, "I'm not going to be the initiator because you know if it's left up to me we won't do it, so I need you to be on top of it."  :)  It made me laugh, but of course I agreed and said that, that was something I could be in charge of doing. 

 So the next night while sitting in bed, I turned to 1st Nephi, and he said, "What are you doing?  If we're going to read the Book of Mormon we're going to start from the VERY BEGINNING."  I thought he was crazy and said, "This is the beginning."  He said, "No Jilly, the title page, and testimonies."  I was a little stunned because this had never crossed my mind.  I had only read the Book of Mormon once in my life up until now, and I had never read the title page, or the testimonies of the witnesses, or of Joseph Smith.  So I said "Okay" and Dave started reading.

Dave read through the testimonies of the witnesses.  Then we got to the testimony of Joseph Smith, and it was my turn to read.  Oh, and just so all of you know we started our reading with a little prayer, and asked our Father to allow us to feel of the spirit, and for him to teach us the things that we each needed to learn that night.  Okay, back to my story.  So I started reading the testimony of Joseph Smith, and his story about Moroni, the Golden Plates, and so on.  As I was reading (and I don't remember exactly where it was) my Father in Heaven did indeed send his spirit to me to teach me what I had been praying for, for 6 months.  The spirit revealed to me that Joseph Smith did indeed see the angel Moroni.  That he did indeed see the Golden Plates.  That he truly did translate the Book of Mormon by the power of our one and only Father in Heaven, that he truly is the prophet that restored the one and only Gospel of Jesus Christ to our time, and that he indeed is a true prophet of God.

Each of us are taught by the spirit in our own individual way.  The spirit speaks to each of us similarly, but each of us are individuals, and the Holy Ghost treats us as such.  I don't know how the Holy Ghost speaks and bears witness to your soul, but for me it is as clear as day.  When I feel the spirit I feel calm, at peace, and I have the most beautiful feeling of love in my heart.  I am filled with deep feelings of happiness and contentment, and my mind is clear.  I mean my mind is PERFECTLY CLEAR.  The spirit clears my head, so that my Father in Heaven can speak with me directly.  When the Holy Ghost is speaking to me through my Father in Heaven, it's as clear as 2 people having a conversation in their native tongue.  I can ask my Father questions and immediately my mind will be filled with the answer.  If what I am asking is true and correct, it comes instantly, and there is no confusion or question.  If it is not the spirit speaking to me through my Father, my mind will wander, many thoughts will come at once and clutter my mind, and I won't be able to focus.  Clarity is how my Father in Heaven speaks to me.  Clarity is what I had that night as I read the testifying witness that Joseph Smith had, and shared with each one of us.  

Yet again, the promise I had been given so many times was answered.  The question that I was asking of my Father in Heaven through prayer, and with faith, was answered that night.  For I now KNOW without any doubt that Joseph Smith is prophet of God that he saw my Father in Heaven and his only begotten son, Jesus Christ.  I know that he translated the Book of Mormon that is another story of our Savior and the love that he has for us.  I know that if we read that book with the intent to find out if it is the truth, that Heavenly Father will answer our prayer.  He will fill our heart with love, peace, and calmness, and testify to us that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God who gave us the keystone to our religion.  

If we will read and follow the teachings found in the Book of Mormon, we will not fail.  Satan will not have the power to overcome us, and we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear.  I know that if we ask our Father in Heaven the desires of our hearts, and questions that we so desperately want answered, that he will answer us.  It may not be that moment, that day, or even that year.  But if we remain steadfast to his Gospel, and hold tight to the truths we already know, and don't focus on our doubts; those answers will come.  We will not fail.  We cannot fail.  We will succeed every time with the guidance and love of our Father in Heaven, and in his son, Jesus Christ.

I know that my Savior died for my sins.  I know that he is the only person in this world, and in heaven, that understands every pain, physical, mental, or emotional, that I go through.  I know that when I am in need, I can ask for his strength and he will send it.  He will not leave me comfortless.  He will come to me.  Christ didn't die so that we would never cry, he died so that he could be there to wipe away our tears, and turn our weaknesses into strengths.

I can't imagine the pain, suffering, and anguish that Joseph Smith went through while translating the Book of Mormon, but I know that he did because that is what God asked him to do.  I know he did it for our time.  He did it for me.  He did so that each one of us can return to live with our Father in Heaven again one day.  I'm so thankful for him, and his testimony, and for his willingness to share it with people like me.   People that question, and people that have doubts; imperfect people.  I'm thankful that he shared his testimony so that it can build mine.  

I know that Joseph Smith is a TRUE and RIGHTEOUS prophet of God.  I know that he restored the one and only true church to this earth today.  And I know that it is the Gospel that will save my soul in the next life.  I'm so grateful for this knowledge.  I'm grateful that my Father in Heaven loves me enough to send me this knowledge.  I'm thankful that this week I was taught a little more about my religion and why I do the things I do.  I know that you can have all this knowledge as well, if you will simply ask in Faith KNOWING that he will answer your prayers, because he answered mine.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Be Happy with Your Life

I have a dear friend that is constantly complaining about how much she has to do, and all of the different ways she is being pulled.  As I was talking with her today she was almost in tears because she felt like she never had any time to do the things that she wanted for herself.  After she had told me everything that was going on, I was prompted to tell her something.  I simply said, "Your life is how it is because of you. You choose what to put in your life, therefore you are in control of your life. It's up to you to be Happy with you Life."

As women we put it on ourselves that we need to do everything that everyone asks of us.  It's difficult for us to tell anyone no.  It is actually innately inside of us to have feelings of charity.  I can't remember which apostle said this (so don't quote me) but he said that "Women naturally have feelings of charity towards others."  You don't need to beat yourself up because you want to naturally help others in this world, or make other people happy.  You do need to decide how much you can do though, and leave time for you.  Only you can choose to have a happy life.

When I was younger (and not ill), I went constantly.  There were days that I didn't sleep because I was constantly doing things for others (it probably also had something to do with my bipolar, but that's besides the point.)  I never told anyone no, and therefore never had anytime for myself.  I always over committed to everyone, and in the end I felt like I wasn't in control of my life.  I was constantly consumed with my real estate customers, and if they were happy.  I sent out hundreds of Thank You cards a week to people, and I put hundreds of miles on my car go, go, going.  I was exhausted all the time, and never felt rested or at peace.  I never knew that I was doing it to myself.  I thought that this was just adulthood, so I should suck it up and do it.  Little did I know that EVERYTHING would change once I got sick.

When I became ill in 2009 I was working a full time job, being a full time wife, going to school, and had a calling in my church.  I got sick literally overnight.  One day I was at work, came home and made dinner, and 30 minutes later ended up in the emergency room, and had surgery later that night.  I didn't get better after either.  I ended up living in the Hospital for months.  I remember going crazy inside because "Who was going to do my job?"  "Who is going to make Dave's lunches?"  "Who is going to teach for me at church?"  No one could possibly do the things that I did.  It was all up to me.  Guess what?  The world didn't stop when Jill couldn't get out of a Hospital bed.  My job found a new agent to take my place, the church found a new person to teach, and Dave learned how to cook.  I was forced to take a step back and allow my life to stop.  I had to focus on Jill for the 1st time in years, and it was hard.  I learned what happiness was, and trust me, it wasn't selling houses, making money, making sure my house was spotless for whomever to come over, and it wasn't in making sure I had baked cookies for the neighborhood.  True happiness was found in lying in a Hospital bed talking to my husband.  Happiness was calm, peaceful, and slow.

Now, 4 years later a lot has changed and a lot has stayed the same.  I haven't been able to go back to work because I'm not well enough.  I have learned to say no to people. I have learned to accept help instead of always feeling like I have to give it.  I have learned that people will love me even in the slow moments of life.  I have learned that Dave can cook sometimes, that my visiting teaching might not get done every month, that my house is not spotless everyday, and that loads of laundry waiting to be folded can sit for weeks, and it's all okay.  The world is not going to fall a part or stop turning.  I have learned to enjoy the calm, and slow moments in my life.  Even though I was forced to slow down, I'm grateful I did; because I have learned what true happiness is.

Last night my husband and I were sitting in bed together just talking.  I enjoyed the peaceful feeling of his love, and the power of his faithful priesthood.  This was happiness.  Being with the person I love most in this world, and enjoying doing nothing at all.  I was at peace, things were calm, and I was with my best friend.  There was no other place in the whole world that I would've rather been.  No real estate deal could ever be better then sitting there talking to Dave.  To have moments like last night, I would trade every single house I've ever sold.  Money, dishes, cleaning, lessons, home teaching, church, school, none of it mattered last night.  The only thing that was important was sitting there with my sweetheart.  Something I would've never been able to do 5 years ago.  I'm so thankful that my Father in Heaven made me slow down and enjoy life the way it was meant to be.

When I told my friend what I told her, she sat there and tried to make excuses.  She tried to tell me that it had to be done. If she didn't do it nobody would, and you know what?  She may be right.  It might not get done if she doesn't do it, but it doesn't matter. The only things that matter in this life are our Father in Heaven, his plan for us, our families, and how we treat others.  

The Gospel teaches us to love one another.  Sometimes we take this to mean that we have to cure every one's problems, do every one's chores, and make everything all better.  That couldn't be farther from the truth.  It doesn't matter how many people we have taken dinner to, or if my yard looks better than my neighbors.  It doesn't matter if someone knows that I spent $900 or $10 on my shoes.  It doesn't matter if my house is cleaner than yours, or if I have dinner done every night for my family.  None of these things matter, even though we place value on them.  In the big scheme of things God doesn't care if our flowers are watered, or if our grass is greener than the Jones family next door.  God cares about how we treat the Jones family.  God cares about how we treat our own family.  And most important, God cares about how we treat ourselves, and if we never leave anytime for "us" then we're not living the life that God wants us to live.

Now I'm not saying that if your day is jam packed that you can't be happy, or that you're in the wrong.  If you choose to live that way and it brings you happiness and peace, then that is all that matters.  As long as you are happy, and living the way that your Father in Heaven wants you to, than you are going to have happiness.  What I'm saying is, that if your day is jam packed with things that you don't want to do, or that cause you anxiety, stress, depression, or sorrow, then only you can change that. You're the only one that can choose to be Happy with your Life.  

God has a unique plan for each one of us.  He knows each one of us so perfectly.  He knows that I'm not capable of working everyday 9 to 5.  He knows that I'm not capable of having the responsibility of holding the priesthood.  Just like he knows that I am capable of all the beautiful and wonderful powers that being a woman holds.  He designed a life specifically for me; as a beautiful, talented, thoughtful, and faithful, Daughter of God.  He put me on this earth for a reason, and it isn't to see how many casseroles I can deliver.  It's to love others as he would, to teach people about the Gospel and how much their Savior loves them, and to be an ambassador of Christ. 

He put me on this earth to love and support my husband in his priesthood, family, and work callings.  He put me on this earth to honor my husband, therefore having him honor me as the beautiful Woman that I am.  He put me on this earth to be a wife to Dave, and to love him more than any other person on this earth.  He wants me to stand by his side and be his equal, not his helper.  Dave and I are together for a reason, and the main one is to find happiness, peace, comfort, and joy in the love that we have for one another.  That is why I am on this earth.

I don't know why you're here, only you can ask God to direct you in your life.  He's the only one that can teach you what you are here to do, and to allow you to have all the happiness that each Child of God deserves.  It is up to you, and you alone to be Happy with Your Life.  The way to find it is through our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ.  We must choose his path, and choose to be Happy.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Marriage is Sacred and Beautiful

People who have met my husband have felt of the amazing spirit he has.  They have seen the light that surrounds him when he smiles, and they know of the love that he has for his Savior.  I'm lucky to have this amazing man in my life.  

When Dave asked me to marry him I had already made the decision that I was going to start living the teachings and principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I never knew how sacred of a decision that would be.

For those of you who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints you are familiar with the temple.  For those of you that are not familiar with our church, the temple is the house of the Lord. It is one of our most sacred places on this earth.  When you enter to be sealed together as husband and wife, it is the most sacred ordinance that we have as members of our church.  Dave and I were married and sealed in the temple because we chose to do that, and made ourselves worthy of that sacred ordinance.

Dave and our marriage is sealed for eternity.  No matter what we go through on this earth, and no matter what happens to either one of us, we are sealed together for not only time on this earth, but for all eternity. What a beautiful promise that we made not only to each other, but to our Father in Heaven.  Because of that our marriage is promised to outlast this earthly, mortal existence.  We will be bound together long after we leave this earth.  That's what made our marriage possible when I was so sick and dying.

The first year of our marriage when I was sick, Dave was faced with the fact that he may lose his wife.  I was faced with the fact that I was going to leave the love of my life for the time on this earth.  It was heart wrenching.  It was the most difficult thing either of us have ever faced, but through this trial we were comforted with the knowledge that even if I did die, we would be together again.  What a beautiful thing.

I believe (speaking from experience) that when you are faced with your own mortality, certain things change.  This was a time that either Dave and I would pull a part or bound together.  Through this year of trials (and still to this day) Dave and I decided to face decisions together.  We turned to each other.  We didn't turn to our families or our friends when we had hard times.  We leaned on each other, and sought guidance from our Father in Heaven.  This not only strengthened our marriage, but made the love that we have for one another stronger than any bond I have ever known.  I know for a fact that Dave and I can get through any trial, or any circumstance that may come our way because we once were faced with the hardest trial of all; losing your best friend.

Dave is not only the love of my life, but the best friend I could ever ask for.  He is the one I turn to in hard times, and in good.  He is the last person I talk to at night, and he is the first person I talk to in the morning.  We never leave each other without a hug and kiss, and we talk all day long.  I miss him while he's at work and I let him know with a simple text.  I love getting random messages from his during the day telling me how much he loves me.  My heart still skips a beat when I see him walk through the door at night.  And we still hold hands every time we're driving in the car.  It's the little things that make our marriage so much fun.

Not only is our marriage sacred and eternal, but it's also beautiful and enjoyable.  From almost dying, I learned to never take my spouse for granted.  Dave learned the same thing.  Don't make mountains out of mole hills.  Don't scwabble over the wet towels your husband leaves on the floor, because I guarantee you would miss those towels if the next day they were gone for good.  Dave often does the dishes for me just because he knows I hate them.  It's the little moments of showing your spouse that you love and appreciate them.  I know how much Dave loves when I cook, and that is something I started when I was sick and couldn't even eat.  I made him dinner every night, I packed his lunch every day, and I make breakfast for him every morning.  I knew these were the moments I would miss if I was gone, so I wanted to take every opportunity that I had to show him that I loved him.  How beautiful it is to show your spouse how much you love and appreciate them.  A little will go a long way.

Marriage is meant to be fun, enjoyable, happy, and loving.  You're supposed to love being with your spouse.  You're supposed to want to make up quickly because it hurts your heart to argue with them.  It makes us humble, and forgiving.  It teaches us to love others as we want to be loved.  And it gives us the opportunity to serve one of our Heavenly Father's children like Christ would do.  We are supposed to have that unconditional, Christlike love for our spouse.  It doesn't come overnight, but if you practice you can have this love in your home.

People often comment on Dave and my marriage.  They tell me that they can not only see the love that we have for one another, but they can feel it.  I am always told that people love the feeling in my home.  It's the feeling of love.  Don't you want that in your life?  Don't you want people to ask you what you do to have the love that you have?  Don't you want people to recognize the love that you have for your spouse without you saying a word?  Of course you do.  This is something we all want in our lives.  The secret is to treat your spouse like you would want them to treat you.  Forgive quickly, and love always.  Pay attention to them, and applaud their accomplishments.  Don't overlook the small things.  Acknowledge everything that they do, or at least make the effort.  Thank them for the service they provide.  Let them know how much it means to when they make the bed even if they don't put the pillows on correctly.  Love as you would want to be loved.

Marriage is beautiful.  Marriage is sacred.  We must protect our marriages with everything we have because the world is so wicked.  We must let God be a part of our marriage, and ask for his guidance.  He will guide, and protect your sacred union if you simply ask.  Love your spouse.  Love them like no one else could, so they don't want anyone else to love them. Protect your marriage, and your marriage will be beautiful.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Best Friends

I am blessed with having many friends.  God has blessed me with people in my life that love me even though I'm not perfect.  They don't judge me for the things I do wrong, they don't ignore me when I screw up, and if I offend them they don't hate me. They come to me and we work things out.  Friends are one of the greatest blessings in this life, and each of us have one in Christ.

In my life I have had many friends.  Some have stayed with me from the time I was little, some have come and gone, some have been there for a specific instance and then left, and some have been my friends on and off again through out the years.  I think everyone of you can relate to this.  

Friends come and go.  For me it seems like one person is always there at the exact time that I need them, then they might not be in my life for awhile.  God always blesses me with someone at the exact moment that I need them though.  He seems to know what my need is and sends me a friend to be with me, comfort me, love me, make me laugh, hold my hand, and sometimes even cry to.  Whatever I am going through I always have someone by my side; and I am so thankful to my Father in Heaven for providing that comfort for me.

There are some friends that may be there only for brief moment in your life.  It doesn't mean that they are any less special than the long term friends, it just means that they were there when you needed them.  Then there are those friends that you make and they are with you for a lifetime.  Those are the friends I would like to focus on.  The "Best Friends".

I have a lot of friends, but I have very few "Best Friends".  To me best friends are the ones that you make and you just click.  They understand your weird sense of humor, they like the things you like, they laugh at the stupid things that no one but you would, and you have those special inside jokes with them.  They are the ones that no matter what time of day or night it is you can call them up and they will answer.  They are the ones that get that text at 3am telling them that you need a hug and they walk the 2 blocks to your house to hug you.  They are the ones that pick you up when you haven't even asked and take you to lunch because they just had a "feeling" that you needed them.  They are the ones that know when you're sad even if you haven't talked to them in months.  They are the ones that can decode you Facebook posts, and see through the fake happiness.  They are the ones that you get in trouble with, but would never turn the other one in.  They've been there with you in the darkest moments of your life, and they still love you.  They've seen you without make up, in your sweat pants with a box of tissues crying your eyes out, and all they can see is that you need a hug.  They are the friends that you get in fights with and may not talk to for a few months, even years, but will always repair the relationship, and the reason why is because of the bond you have.  Because of the love the 2 of you share there is nothing that can break that friendship.  They are the friends that you consider your family, because in reality, you're truly closer to them than your family.  They are the people that you would rather spend every second of your day with vs. being alone.  They are the ones that you want to come over when you tell everyone else that you don't want any company.  They are your BEST FRIENDS.  For me, these friends are few and far between, but I know they are there for life.  Christ is one of my Best Friends.  He is one of these special people that I sometimes get mad at, sometimes push away, but no matter what he is always there.  
When I was younger Christ wasn't a part of my life.  I didn't have a relationship with him, and the thought of it seemed weird to me.  How on earth could I be friends with someone that I don't see face to face.  Someone that I can't text, or call or, run over to their house to play?  The thought seemed ridiculous and absurd.  Little did I know that later in my life he would become my ultimate best friend.

When I made the decision to come back to the church my relationship with my Savior started to develop. I was very cautious letting him into my life, as I am with every friend that I make.  I'm picky with who I allow into the darkest and brightest parts of my life.  I needed to learn to trust my Savior before I could let him into be my friend.  This didn't happen over night.  

I remember the day I sat in my Bishop's office having my interview to receive my very first temple recommend.  As I was asked the sacred questions I remember being filled with a feeling of love every time I answered that I was worthy.  It was such a touching moment that it brought tears to my eyes.  At the end of the interview my Bishop allowed me to sit there in silence, basking in that feeling of peace and love, before he asked me if I knew what that feeling was.  It was something I had never experienced before, so of course I told him that I didn't know.  He informed me that, that feeling was my Father in Heaven and his Son Jesus, letting me know that I was worthy to enter into their Holy Temple.  That feeling was the spirit of God, and the love that they had for me.  I had never been so honored or so touched in all my life.  I couldn't believe the love that they felt for me.  I knew that if they were willing to give this very special feeling to me that I would never do anything to make it go away.  If they would continue to give this feeling to me, I would not only follow it, but allow them into every part of my life.  I would make them both, my Best Friend.

From that day on I have followed every prompting, every feeling, and every bit of guidance that they have given me.  I know that if I was to ever choose not to follow this feeling, that it would be taken away from me.  I never want this feeling taken away from me, and I never want them to not be a part of my life, so I continue to follow their loving promptings that guide me to do the things that I do.

I remember when I was sick and dying the first year of my marriage.  It was the hardest time of my life physically, but mentally and emotionally it was the most beautiful time of my life.  Everyone told Dave and I that the first year of marriage was the hardest.  Our first year of marriage was the most beautiful.  We were able to see how much we loved each other.  We were able to not sweat the small stuff, because when you're about to lose the person you love those wet towels on the floor don't seem quite as important.  In fact I would miss it so much if one day I woke up and those towels weren't on the floor.  It would mean that my love was gone.  Our first year of marriage built the strongest bond that I have ever experienced.  Dave and I have a marriage that I know is rare, but we have it because we were tested and tried so hard that first year.  Our love is something that can't be touched, tested, or swayed.  I love Dave with all my heart, and I know that, that first year and all we went through was to teach us to lean on our best friend in each other and also our best friend, The Savior.  

Being so ill and not having anyone who understands is difficult, but it taught me to truly allow my Savior to be my best friend.  He was the only person in this world who knew exactly what I was going through.  He was the only one who knew my pain, inside and out.  He was the only one who could hold my hand as I was wheeled into those surgery rooms and say, "I'll be here the whole time, and I understand."  He's the only one that was with me in that recovery room when the nurses couldn't get me to breathe, and he was the one who gave me the choice to either return to him or keep living.  He is the only one who knew what a hard choice that was, and he was the only one that could hold me why I was in that excruciating pain when I started breathing again.  Although my sweet husband has been there every step of the way, my Savior is the only one who truly knows what I go through.

And now today, my Savior is the only person who knows what it's like to throw up on a daily basis.  He is the only one who knows why I scream and cry while I'm laying on the bathroom ground because I'm so worn out.  He listens to me when I cry.  When everyone else is sick of listening, he is there.  He's the only one who knows what it's like to be nauseated 24/7 and still have to do the things you have to do.  He's the only one who knows how great it feels to accomplish a small task like making my bed, or picking up the TV room.  He's the only one that can empathize with carrying loads of laundry up the stairs and being so out of breathe and weak, but knowing that I still have to do it.  He's the only who knows how badly I want to cry sometimes when I'm in a group of people and can't.  He understands my frustrations with daily life, and he never gets sick of listening to me.  I can turn to him for anything and he's never going to push me away or tell me to be quiet.  He is always going to be there.  He always has been there, and he always is there.  All I have to do is ask.

My Savior is truly my best friend.  The great thing about the Savior though, is that not only is he capable of being my best friend in a way that no one else can, but he is capable of being your best friend.  The way he loves and understands and comforts me, isn't just for me.  He is capable of doing the exact same thing for each of you. And the best part is, is that he'll do it whether we are making decisions and choices he wants us to make or not.  He will be there for us whether we are choosing the right or not.  He doesn't have limitations on his friendship.  He's there 100% of the time, all the time, for each one of us.  All we have to do is invite him into our lives. 

I'm thankful for my Savior.  I'm thankful for his love and acceptance of me.  I'm thankful for his friendship and his unconditional love.  Without his love I don't know where I would be.  Without his patience, kindness, acceptance, love, and grace, I wouldn't be alive today.  I wouldn't have the peace and comfort in my life that I have to enjoy today, and I wouldn't have the greatest friend anyone could ever ask for.  

 He will be your friend too.  Invite him into your life.  Allow your heart to give him a chance to trust him.  Give him a shot.  I promise it will be the best decision you will ever make and you will have the greatest friend you've ever had.  Your life will be better, your heart will be softer, and the peace that will come to your life is something that I can't even explain, but it's something you want.  I promise.  Give him a chance to love you.  Give him a chance to be the Best Friend you've ever had.