Category: my faith

Why was a restoration of the Gospel necessary?

I taught a Young Women’s called “Why was a restoration necessary”  and it really put into perspective the significance of the restoration of the Gospel. It is so exciting that truths, revelation, ordinances, authority and prophets that were available when Jesus Christ originally set up His church is once again here on earth to guide and bless our lives!!

I LOVED Elder Robert D. Hales talk, “Prepartions for the Restoration and Second Coming” because it was a clear and personal witness to me that God is willing and eager to bless His children with TRUTH anytime we are willing and ready to receive it. Even though the fullness of Christ Gospel was taken from the earth, Heavenly Father’s hand in guiding and inspiring mankind to receive it once again is evident throughout history.

 

It is interesting to me that there had to be lots of things set IN MOTION as mankind grew, matured and developed (just as we do individually) to bring about the right circumstances for a young boy to ask God which church he should join. There had to be a spiritual maturity in mankind itself for the Gospel to return in a sustainable way. This maturity was brought about by curiosity and a strong desire to know TRUTH. This included secular learning and questioning current social norms and  widely accepted beliefs. Above all, a fierce trust in something and someone greater than themselves. Many gave up their LIVES for the sake of truth, after all!

To illustrate the chain of events that happened to bring about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ I brought these toy gears–once again my kid’s toys serving as inspiration 🙂 — I explained that there had to be certain events, inventions, exploration and mentalities put in MOTION that led the way to the restoration.

restoration-gears

I used address labels (cut in half) and wrote on them.

First we talked about why there need to be a restoration. Then we read Elder Scott’s ENTIRE talk together (starting at the 4th paragraph..After the Savior’s Resurrection..). We took turns and read a paragraph

Amazing Grace!

I’m guessing’ you are looking for a printable for your lesson or some inspiration?? Great news, All faith building content has moved to SeekingEternalTruth.com!!

A site created by yours truly (Sariah Tate) jam packed with all the feel good, inspiring, faith building content, printables you are looking for! Yay. Click here for this specific printable on Grace.

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Hard times are a gift to us.

For this lesson and all other faith building material, please fly over to my new site dedicated for all church related content: seekingeternaltruth.com

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If you’ve noticed at all, many of my post are LDS Young Women lessons. To be honest, I didn’t create this blog to post about YW lessons. I intended it to focus on tricks that I find help me with my motherhood life that could hopefully help others (Oh. Maybe thats why I titled the blog “Tricks of the Motherhood Trade”).

The thing is, my faith is a HUGE component of my life, in fact it is not just a component, it is something that is seamlessly integrated into who I am and why I choose to do and think what I do. It affects everything. The principles I share are part of my bags of ‘tricks’ for motherhood and life.

It has been a huge blessing that I was called into the YW a little after I started this blog. Since I was planning, thinking and creating material for my lesson anyway, this blog became the perfect outlet to share what I was already doing. It also gave me the chance to share the dearest part of my heart and life-my testimony of the reality of Jesus Christ. Teaching YW provided topics and resources and became the perfect ground to talk about, share and fine tune for myself the beliefs I had.

Having said that, I hope these lessons, although initially intended to teach teenaged girls in a church group, can be read and applied to anyone’s life. Mothers, girls, women, boys and men. These are principles of a happy, fulfilling life.

With that said, the things I share are true feelings, beliefs and stories that I share with my YW but I share them to also hopefully help anyone else along too.

The lesson was I teaching on was Why do we have adversity? Which was timely for me.
The last couple weeks I’ve been pretty sick. I had a fever higher than I can ever remember having. It was 103-104 degrees for 4 days. I was weak and exhausted. I somehow still had to take care of my 3 sick kids on top of that. I knew complaining and getting frustrated at my situation would only make things worse so I did what I could to redirect my focus to what I COULD do and think (not to say I didn’t have my weak moments of utter defeat!). I thought of the YW lesson I was preparing to teach and thought, “Oh perfect. There is no better way to learn about why we have adversity than to go through this.” My thinking shifted to “What can I learn from this? and “How can this experience help me grow?”

That mental shift changed everything.

Here some of the things I learned.

Tribulations brings a softening and humbling of spirit and heart.
When I was so physically weak from illness, I was reminded of how I feel when I fast. The physical weakness and lack of energy can be turned to a precious moments of humility and direct one to a different power beyond physical strength-spiritual strength.

I have learned every experience, evening if unpleasant at the moment, can be used to create more room in ones soul to allow greater strength and experience deeper peace and joy later.

Feeling spiritually disconnected and alone
The most difficult moments for me are not the physically weak ones but the moments when I feel alone, left in the dark and disconnect from the source of peace and joy. The most trying challenge comes when I can hardly feel that spiritual strength and power within myself.

Being sick for that length of time combined with the demands of parenthood left me unbalanced in all sorts of ways. Despite my efforts, I wasn’t getting enough rest for what my body needed to recover. I didn’t leave for the gym in the mornings because I felt too sick. Which meant I didn’t get the exercise I usually get which helps keep me emotionally, mentally and physically afloat. This threw me for a mental/spiritual/emotional spin off. It left me feeling really down casted, unmotivated, depressed and easily discouraged by everything. It was that familiar dark place where it feel like something inside me has died. Life feels dismal and meaningless. Everything I was once excited about–my passions, my ideas, my insights– all seem to disappear. Thinking about things like that at the time of gloom seemed like foolish nonsense.

Having gone through this several times before (see “dealing with mommy blues“) I have learned that this is actually part of the test. It is the most difficult testing point for me. It is where I must make good choices when I feel no motivation for them. It is a slippery time when I feel my very faith and sentiment toward God seems dim and waning. It is where the darkness of doubt, fear and insecurities creep in again to confuse everything inside me.

I have learned that however seemingly illogical, I must still continue to seek the God I can no longer feel and the light that seems like is no longer there to guide me. I must make good choices for myself and respect others even when I don’t feel like it. It is the only way to get out the dark.

positive-choices-quote

It is a moment where my FAITH becomes a principle of  deliberate DECISION and ACTION  instead of a genuine sentiment or feeling.

I thought of Joseph Smith and how he must have also felt abandoned when he cried out, “Oh God, where art thou?” in Carthrage Jail. I know my experience is not nearly as dramatic and devastating as that of the prophet but I believe that no matter our outer challenges it is the inner workings and battles of the soul in each of us that are the most challenging and ultimately where our character is built.

greatest-battles-silentchambers-of-your-own-sould

 

Heavenly Father answers Joseph’s plea with, “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;” (D&C 121:7)
I thought, “This too shall pass and I will enjoy greater happiness once I am able to overcome this yucky time!”

What is happening TO you is happening FOR you.

I used to stay in the dumps for a long time before I was able to climb out. I used to panic and condemn myself for what I was experiencing and it would start a vicious cycle that made it difficult to climb out of. Now I know to not freakout. I am getting quicker and better because of what I have learned. Doom and gloom are lies from the adversary we must learn to not believe. It is not because God has abandoned us. He is ALWAYS there, even in and especially during the times we can’t feel Him. He lets us experience dark moments and soul shaking attacks from the adversary because He knows we grow tremendously every time we can conquer those times with His strength.  It is pressing forward in faith and continuing to make positive choices even when we don’t feel like it. Overcoming the dark cavities within ourselves create greater room for the Spirit to dwell with in us.  It is preparatory for us to enjoy greater joy and peace and connection to God later. He allows these sorts of things FOR OUR OWN GROWTH and GOODNESS. Trust.

I feel like this fits in so well with Linda S. Reeves temple analogy:

Provo Tabernacle before fire (source)

“Almost three years ago a devastating fire gutted the interior of the beloved, historic tabernacle in Provo, Utah. Its loss was deemed a great tragedy by both the community and Church members. Many wondered, “Why did the Lord let this happen? Surely He could have prevented the fire or stopped its destruction.”

Provo Tabernacle fire. (Source)

Ten months later, during the October 2011 general conference, there was an audible gasp when President Thomas S. Monson announced that the nearly destroyed tabernacle was to become a holy temple—a house of the Lord! Suddenly we could see what the Lord had always known! He didn’t cause the fire, but He allowed the fire to strip away the interior. He saw the tabernacle as a magnificent temple—a permanent home for making sacred, eternal covenants.4

Rendering of upcoming Provo temple (end of 2015-beg of 2016). (Source)

My dear sisters, the Lord allows us to be tried and tested, sometimes to our maximum capacity. We have seen the lives of loved ones—and maybe our own—figuratively burned to the ground and have wondered why a loving and caring Heavenly Father would allow such things to happen. But He does not leave us in the ashes; He stands with open arms, eagerly inviting us to come to Him. He is building our lives into magnificent temples where His Spirit can dwell eternally.

Painting saved from the fire. Christ never leaves us alone. He is alway there with His arms extended towards us. (Source)

If you would like to use this analogy to teach your family, or church group, here is the download of the pictures in a PDF. It can be printed on paper (or cardstock) to display as you tell the story.

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I’ve had this comes to my mind often:

rebuild-in-a-beautiful-way

I think it is important to write down our thoughts and impressions we receive in moment of clarity and wisdom. Quotes and scriptures that touch us and help us through are essential to write down so we have positive references when life isn’t looking or feeling good. It’s all about REMEMBERING. I created this handout for anyone to use to help them remember the good stuff that will pull us through!

spiritual-strength-adversity-01

[Download not found]

 

For my lesson I showed the video, “Mountains to climb” and had girls fill out above handout as they heard things that impressed them. Through out lesson they wrotte down thoughts that could help them.

YOU CAN DO THIS MY FRIEND!

Other helpful links:

Object lesson video and handout about finding solutions to challenages

6 ways to be happy during tough times

RS presentation video about mentally/emotional/spiritual wellbeing 

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Who am I, and who can I become?

I’m guessing’ you are looking for a printable for your lesson or some inspiration?? Great news, All faith building content has moved to SeekingEternalTruth.com!!

A site created by yours truly (Sariah Tate) jam packed with all the feel good, inspiring, faith building content, printables you are looking for! Yay. Click here for this specific printable on Becoming

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Finding Solutions to my Challenges | Handout and object lesson

I’m guessing’ you are looking for a printable for your lesson or some inspiration?? Great news, All faith building content has moved to SeekingEternalTruth.com!!

A site created by yours truly (Sariah Tate) jam packed with all the feel good, inspiring, faith building content, printables you are looking for! Yay. Click here for this specific printable and video on solutions to my challenges.

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Fasting: Getting Beyond the Hungry and Grumpy

I’ve been studying the young women lesson, “Why do we fast?” and it reminded me of a journal entry I wrote last year after I had completed a fast (in our church we voluntarily go without food and drink at least once a month). This was a time when I felt like I came to a better understanding of why we fast. Hope it helps!

“Today I decided to fast longer than the usual short and pretty insignificant fast of skipping breakfast and stuffing my face as soon as I get home from church.
I decided to really complete the two meals of fasting. 

Part of me resisted it because I have a very hard time functioning without food. I get grumpy and when I am grumpy I’m short, reactive, impatient, and mean. And I end up thinking to myself, how is fasting a spiritual experience if I don’t have the spirit at all?? Why are we asked to fast if it ends up being a negative thing for me?

Well you know that scripture that says,
 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: (Matt 7:7)”
It’s true. (See receiving personal revelation post)

After thinking about it, I figured one of the reasons we are asked to fast is because we are giving up our natural desires and letting our spirit conquer and be in charge. I learned that my experience with fasting was basically never getting to the ‘let the spirit be in charge’ part because my body was just too consumed with the fact that it was hungry and grumpy. I was letting my body take the reins because it does by default when I am hungry; and it becomes exceedingly difficult to take over again until I get fed! But I needed to win this time. Once I realized the real war that was raging: body vs. spirit, I knew I could win.

After I realized this dilemma in my fast, I knew how to better approach it. Today I decided that I would succumb to having the spirit instead of giving into my natural human urges. It didn’t start off well. It was end of daylight saving time, which sounds like it was a good thing because of the extra hour. But that knowledge of extra hour made us sleep in and take our sweet time while getting ready to go to church.

We were late. I was hungry and irritable and snarky at my husband and impatient with my kids. I felt myself getting worked up. But I caught it before it got crazy. I reminded myself of my goal. Even though almost every part of me had no desire and it seemed impossible that I could actually get over the starving/grumpy aspect of fasting, I chose to do what I could to stay calm and choose the spirit. And I kid you not, magical things happened that day. Magic that may have not been realized by anyone else but me, but magic nonetheless. I was awakened to things I would not have realized had I not been fasting.

I was very prompted to bear my testimony. Even though I’m happy to bear my testimony, it can be an intense experience, and many times it is just more comfortable NOT bearing it. But when you know, you know, and so I did it. I did it because I knew that the Heavens and my spirit really wanted me to express those those things lying deep within my heart. I talked about the war in heaven and how it hasn’t ended. Each day we choose whom we will serve.

Each moment of every day we decide if we choose the spirit or not. If we succumb to anger or love. Self pity or self respect. It is about overcoming our human nature and embracing our very real and true divine nature. I know when I choose the spirit, my spirit enlarges and my capacity to keep making those good spiritual choices is strengthened. If we don’t choose God we are choosing to give captivity to the devil. If we aren’t aware of it, we will just choose the default, our human nature, which is actually to serve our natural carnal desires. The war is still RAGING!

Anyway, I felt so much better after that. It was a spiritual release! People thanked me for my testimony (which is actually a really awkward experience for me) but I’m grateful that what I was able to say through the spirit was able to touch them.

During the rest of my fast I was happy and full of the spirit. I didn’t feel grumpy or weighed down. Even though I could feel the physical weakness of not eating, my thoughts were not focused on eating or my discomfort. I engaged in activities that could enlarge and feed my soul. I felt ideas and inspiration for my church calling and for life flow freely. I felt more connected to my true self and to my God.”

If you are doing a lesson, here is a handout you could use. Invite them to write answers they find regarding fasting in Isaiah 58:3–12Print

 

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What I learned about putting God first in my life.

I’m preparing a Young Women lesson titled, “What does it mean to take upon myself the name of Jesus Christ”.  One of the focuses is putting God first in our lives. In this post, I share my personal testimony and experience of what I learned about putting God first in my life.

I used to think always putting God first in my life was out of obligation. So I tried to put all churchy things before most things. I prayed and read scriptures in the morning and performed calling assignments before I did anything else. It was a great start because those things held high priority in my life. But the way I executed these tasks and my attitude about them made all the difference in the resulting level of power and influence.

(Source)
The trouble was that there was something missing from my actions. In my hurry to just say prayers, just read scriptures, or just do this required service was that my heart was only focused on getting it over with so I could do everything else I wanted. When I read scriptures, my mind wasn’t as occupied thinking about the story or concepts found there as it was busily thinking about everything going on in my day(Such as what I would wear and other ‘important’ items).
Now, I believe turning our full heart to the Savior is a lifelong process of conversion. And immersing ourselves in acts of faith like prayer, reading scriptures, or going to church redirects our thoughts and intents to the Savior even if just for mere a minute. Practices like these build on each other to construct a solid foundation of faith in our life.

It wasn’t until later in my life that it finally became clear what it really meant to put God first. After I had half heartedly gone through the motions of worship , I realized what I was missing.
See, there was a disconnect from the daily tasks I was doing to the thoughts and intents of my heart. I just wanted to get it over with most of the time, almost just to say I did it or to feel like I was ‘good’ enough. But in the end it had little to do with my actual relationship to Deity.

The reason I went through those motions had nothing to do with motions at all. It was to reflect sincerely and deeply about the Savior and feel a connection with Him. The purpose is to feel and have a connection with the SPIRIT.

(source)

It isn’t supposed to be just for that moment of prayer, church or study, but to take that Spirit with you throughout the day, intending to keep it by acting and thinking in a way that would preserve it. By doing  this we can invite a powerful influence into our lives. Having the spirit, or Holy Ghost, I invite Christ into my life. I no longer act alone with my own strength and understanding, but I perform with divine help and guidance. When I have a measure of the Spirit, I inherit a portion of His divine characteristics. I can become ‘Christ-like” not through my own personal human power, but because I have succumbed to a higher power.

My behavior changes not because I force myself to act ‘perfect’ or because I feel obligated to behave a certain way, but because His spirit invites and provides change of behavior. My heart is able to change from my natural selfish state to one that is willing and ready to love. I know when I have the Spirit in my life because it changes me. It’s similar to the effect it had on the people of King Benjamin when they said ” Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.” Mosiah 5:2

(source)

I come to know and understand Christ and what real love means as I come to feel and understand myself when I have the His Spirit. The more I drink in of His Spirit, the more I know Him and the more purified I can become.

I receive, even if only in the tiniest portion, how He feels, acts and thinks about me, His children and the purposes of life. Life becomes clear and beautiful.

It is easy to forget, to tune out the spirit. The gravitational pull of our fallen human natures requires us to seek Him daily, moment to moment. To do everything to remind our stubborn human selves of Him. Much of our religion is based on bringing a remembrance, a repetitive educational course of why we are here and why Christ matters. (see this post) Weekly church and sacrament, constant prayer, daily scripture study, gratitude all remind us of the covenants we made with Him. Because we are weak, vulnerable humans prone to leave our one true God, we cannot afford to stop doing those things that remind us.

(source)

Taking upon His name is not only putting Him first’ in the day and then forgetting about Him but I believe it means putting Him and seeking His Spirit first in our hearts, minds all day long. When our natural mans takes over, to taking time to realign to the spirit again (See daily repentance post)

God wants us to put Him first heart, mind and soul because when we do, we are blessed with His Spirit and with His Spirit we can experience the greatest love, self respect, self control, patience, understanding and happiness. We are made ALIVE in Christ by doing so!

As the sacrament prayer goes, “that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.”

Here is an object lesson to go with it.

Lds object lesson plug into the spirit

 

Here is a handout card I created that can be made into magnets to put on fridge or locker to serve as a reminder of who we are representing and striving to be like. Click on download link below for pdf with 4 on a page.

remember christ-02

 

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Receiving Inspiration and Guidance for your Life

receiving-inspiriation-guidance-life

I believe our souls are inherently seeking divine guidance that will lead us personally to true and lasting peace, happiness and success in all areas of our lives.

The great news is that we are not alone in this earthly journey! We are children of a God that is happy and eager to impart His wisdom, light and guidance that will lead us along our way to become beings greater than we could have even imagined ourselves!! He wants to lead us to success–most likely not in the way our puny human minds imagine it, but only as a deeply loving, all-knowing, all-powerful Father understands it. Success in a far greater and deeper way than we even thought possible!!

How is this done? How in the world do we tap into that Heavenly knowledge that can direct us back to spiritual success? How do we train our mind, body and soul to seek out the living water of truth available to us instead of accepting and following every other voice, impulse and direction that is fighting for our attention? How do learn to LISTEN? To that sweet, gentle, still small voice of the Spirit that will guide us to truth and righteous?
” And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your atrust in that bSpirit which leadeth to do dgood—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to gjudge righteously; and this is my Spirit. Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall aenlighten your bmind, which shall fill your soul with cjoy; And then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.” D&C 11:12-14

I’m teaching the YW lesson “How Do I Receive Personal Revelation?” and I’m excited to share insight I have learned through studying the lesson and the wise words of apostles and prophets on this topic!! I created this worksheet for personal or classroom use as a guide to finding answers in our lives. Below is a worksheet of my personal elaboration on each section of the worksheet.

personal-revelation-01

 

[Download not found]
First, We Gotta Ask QUESTIONS!!
You know that scripture that says, “Ask, and it shall be bgiven you; cseek, and ye shall find;dknock, and it shall be opened unto you:” It is FOR REAL. It is real because Heavenly Father seriously desires to and does reveal and open the gates of Heaven for us. But it is contingent upon our efforts to seek those answers! Posing big or small questions engages our mind and spirit to receive answers!  When we sincerely and continually ponder and seek divine direction in our lives, we become OPEN. Our eyes see what we otherwise would not have seen, our ears hear what we otherwise would not have heard and our hearts take in what would have otherwise passed by us. It is a conscious effort on our part, but receiving nuggets of wisdom and understanding from our Father in Heaven can be a constant and infinitely rewarding prize.

Removing Spiritual Blocks
We need to remember that God’s plan is NOT to hold back guidance that will lead us to greater happiness. But He simply CANNOT communicate what is needed if we are unwilling to listen or not in a position to listen. Think ‘spiritual toddler.’ If we are having a ‘tantrum’ over a trial, we most likely won’t listen to a loving parent who genuinely wants to assist us. This happen much more than we are probably willing to admit. Just like it would be like in leading a small child we gotta be that calm child, who is finally eager to listen, who isn’t crying wildly in frantic panic, who isn’t just concerned about getting ‘her way’. Elder Henry B. Eyring said, “Many of us, in moments of personal anguish, feel that God is far from us. The pavilion that seems to intercept divine aid does not cover God but occasionally covers us. God is never hidden, yet sometimes we are, covered by a pavilion of motivations that draw us away from God and make Him seem distant and inaccessible. Our own desires, rather than a feeling of “Thy will be done,”2 create the feeling of a pavilion blocking God.”  Read his talk.

spiritual-toddler

Living a life to have a connection with the Spirit.
I cannot think of better way to receiving guidance from God than to revolve our daily efforts in striving to keep and listen to the Spirit. It means being humble enough to listen to that quiet voice that speaks right into our hearts to practice patience, to forgive oneself and others, that feeling that sweetly nudges us to listen closer and more empathically to our loved ones, that split second thought that says to know not indulge in gossip when the moment arises, that gentle feeling that encourages us to let go of our anger or frustration over someone or a situation. It tries to communicate with us ALL DAY LONG but if we are too distracted, too stressed, too busy, too tired, too consumed with worldly pursuits and entertainment it is SO easy to miss, so easy to be totally desensitized and disconnected from it. But if we but make small efforts day by day to invite the Spirit, to keep it in the forefront of our hearts and minds, to take care of our bodies, to read the truths found in scriptures, and talks and church magazines, to manage our emotions, to keep a clean mind and heart, then we will open communication from heaven to help us with our questions, concerns, decisions and it is AMAZING the feeling and life we can have for ourselves.  “It is important that our daily activities do not distract us from listening to the Spirit.” -Richard G. Scott, read his talk about “Obtaining personal revelation and inspiration for your life”

Understanding what it feels like and what it means to receive revelation and divine guidance.
I believe that when we speak of REVELATION, we can make it out to seem to so big and sometimes so sensationalized that we can miss that we have already received guidance or miss the answer that Heavenly Father is trying to communicate with us. Even though there are incredible stories of faith found in the scriptures and even in our church culture of receiving answers to prayers, most of the most miraculous experiences are quiet, personal, and seemingly undramatic. The truth is that our seemingly anticlimactic answer to our long time pleas and prayers, if we open our hearts of understanding, can hold even more deep and much more powerful influence in our personal lives and lives of others than the most sensationalized, awe inspiring, mouth dropping answers and miracles performed in history!!

“And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul—”
-Heleman 5:30

My personal experience with receiving inspiration and guidance
I think and ponder about a subject and that I’m curious about/ have questions about or need direction with. When I am connected to the spirit, I feel like my thoughts are heighten, my mind is expanded to understand things in a broader eternal perspective. But it is not with my continual and conscience desire to know, ponder and understand truth.

Heavenly father rarely just dumps revelation out of nowhere (though at times it may seem sudden). He wants to direct us to the answer thought by thought, feeling by feeling, process by process, line upon line as it says. It is like a treasure hunt where we continually gather evidence, clues along the way as make decisions and press forward. We learn bit by bit as we are willing and ready to receive it. As we receive it we can feel the truthfulness of a principle.

God allows for this type of learning because when we come upon the answers through our own diligent seeking and willingness to receive, those answers become a PART of us. We have made an effort to be taught by the Holy Ghost. When it communicates with us it goes straight to the heart, not as an external passing thought but to the deep and spiritual part of our being that swallows and accepts truth for itself and becomes an integral part of our nature as we continue to apply the truth we have learned. It is receiving and experimenting by putting it to the test, trusting in God and in ourselves. It is a learning process, it is a journey.

I love Elder Bednar’s analogy
 (here is a great vid on it) on receiving light. I believe that revelation be sometimes received in all three ways that he explains (light switch, sunrise, and foggy day). We can have a light ‘switch moment’ or aha moment of what we should do. Then we have to move forward to make that decision in our lives step by step, noticing more and more guidance and understanding (like a sunrise). Yet we may be traveling as what may seem a fog day, not know everything ahead of us, trusting with each step with what we can see and having faith that are moving in the right direction.

Keep pressing forward in faith my friend!!

Object Lesson


My obsession with ‘getting things done’ and how it blocked real happiness.

getting-things-done-list

It was the 4th or 5th time that month rewriting my ideal ‘routine’ for the day. I was striving to create the optimal schedule that would make time for everything I needed to get done. I felt like there was so much for me to do all the time that surely the only way to rid myself of all that stress was to get it all done right, by staying on top of it, without missing a step and pushing myself until everything was complete. Otherwise, I frankly felt my life would fall apart even more than it already was (gasp! oh no! I could NOT let that happen)
I was walking on this precarious tightrope of to-dos that any wind could knock my socks and I over into an internal oblivion of despair. See, I was carefully planning and doing all this to run a peaceful household, and be the optimal mother I felt I could be but the element that seemed to throw everything off were be the people I claimed to serve.

messes
It was easy for a 2 year old to break schedules, make way more messes than I could catch up with, not be entertained for the slightest second so I could just get one thing done! I counted on his naps for me to finish client work but his naps were increasing becoming more and more unpredictable or non-existent, and my irritation and stress levels were exponentially increasing.

Even though I planned moments to be with my child—to go out with him, read to him, teach him— I missed out on most of the enjoyment of it all because my mind was fixated on tasks, on the next to do, on everything else that needed to be done.

2yr-old-at-park

I was there physically and even seemingly emotionally as I expressed with an enthusiastic high-pitched mom voice praise and excitement over the things he did but inside there was just a ticking clock impatiently waiting for him to go down for a nap or entertain himself so I could do something else and hopefully knockout some more of the to do’s heavily weighing me down.

It became an obsession. An addiction, even. This poisonous drive to just get things done that was creeping into all the crevices needed to create stress and crack precious relationships.

I become a slave to an agenda, an idea of what my home should look like, what I should be doing do during the day so I could feel complete, accomplished and finally at peace. I evaluated how I felt about myself based on what my house looked like and what I got done that day. I often went to sleep discouraged and woke up totally overwhelmed. (See post about Feeling Enough)

I felt like a slave. You’ve heard misery loves company, right? I’m seeing that EVERY emotion, good or bad, loves it too. If I felt like a slave, certainly everyone around me should be one too!

I found myself impatiently nagging my kid and my husband to do things.
I started to only view that guy I married as an instrument to get more things done so he could just lighten my load.

To my dismay, he simply couldn’t keep up with my demands. I became resentful if he didn’t do as I asked. Even if he did do it, I’d be mad inside because he didn’t do it quite right, or not as I expected or because he didn’t just do it without being asked! I was never happy with anything he did! It was ridiculous.

I couldn’t handle him relaxing and watching TV because, heavens, I NEVER got to do that, why should he??? He should be doing chores, like me!! I was tired all the time but never took a rest like him!! I became even more bitter.

When I did do things to ‘serve’ him, only in retrospect do I realize how grudgingly I did it because inside I felt like he never did the same or enough for me. Or I did it so I could see him ‘finally step it up’ and do more things for ME in return. I felt disconnected from him and assumed it was because he simply didn’t meet my needs better or just do more things for me (you know, be an even better personal slave. Geez.) I felt like I just didn’t get the ‘relief’ of stress I thought he should give me. I felt sorry for myself all. the. time.

I felt like my kid also didn’t respect anything I asked. I found myself arguing with a two year old, which is NEVER pretty.

Bleh. I was exhausted and yet my house was still not ‘clean enough’ my tasks were never completed and my relationships with my family felt so cold and out of whack. Life felt empty even though I knew I had so much, which made me feel even worse. I just felt like if people in my family could just be THIS way or just DO certain things, then things would be so much better. Everyone needed to change but me for it my life to improve! I mean I WAS doing everything in my power to fine tune things, working REALLY hard to make things work, right??

I love how we are taught in the life…well, definitely in retrospect, at least.  I’m often brought to a breaking point before I’m actually humble enough to change and that inner change is what actually brings about the changes in outer circumstances. (see repentance post) I’m usually brought to place where I’m sick of being miserable, tired, confused and frustrated and I finally plea in totally sincere and desperate prayer for a rescue.

I’ve often had this thought come to my head:

” God lets our life fall apart so we can finally let Him help us rebuild it in a more beautiful way.”

rebuild-in-a-beautiful-way

It took a lot of ‘falling apart’ before I actually started to make a turn around and leave behind attitudes that kept me so unhappy. One defining moment for me to better understand what it meant to have real joy was when I had my second baby.

preggo

When I was pregnant with him (so super on edge as it was)I was running the treadmill of life, frantically trying to get everything done before the baby came. I had client projects that needed to be FINISHED and out of the way. The idea of having yet another kid put in a panic as I was convinced that even more lack of sleep and screaming sounds and non-stop demands of a newborn would surely push me over the edge and send me to a mental hospital.

But then I had him. He was 2 1/2 weeks early which stopped me right in my tracks. I didn’t get nearly anything I had hoped to have done but instead of a panic, it was a relief. A huge one. I finally had an excuse to say, “Hey world, leave me alone, I just had a baby! I’m dropping everything!” I held that tiny 7 lb human and stared at him, my whole being was actually and finally THERE with him: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I experienced a deep and beautiful connection that left me with so much peace, confidence and sheer joy.

mother-and-child

I got home and dishes piled up, laundry was backed up to high heavens, house was upside down, but I had finally let loose and focused finally on the things that mattered most: my family members.

For the first time in such a while I remembered that peace and happiness don’t come from just checking of to-do’s (even though I still think there is great satisfaction in that) but the ultimate hallmark of joy is being IN LOVE. In love with the people you get to serve and in love with life itself. That love provides the energy, confidence and peace to carry about doing all other minute details but never overshadows your focus over precious family relationships.

to-loves-above-to-dos

I remember thinking that even though my life on the outside seemed upside down, I was not overwhelmed by it. I knew that there would be time later to get caught up with all those mundane details. We would survive. It didn’t mean I was a bad mom. I was enough. I really had it ALL.Life can look messy externally, but you can be in total harmony internally because you know where your true priorities lie. It was my great epiphany. (See post about “How to prioritize your day to create the most joy.“)

From that moment I fumbled and stumbled (I still do) and learned and continued to grow as I kept learning and re-learning this great lesson.

I feel like I’ve come a long way since then. I’ve learn to drop a lot of unnecessary things out of my life, not stress, focus on what counts, and take care of my needs to best serve those around me.  It meant letting go of extra income and clients so I could have a calm life. It meant taking time to take enough breaks and time to just enjoy. It meant embracing and accepting life as it comes. And meant accepting my efforts, accepting the efforts of others, whatever they may be. Of course, I still have my moments, but boy, I’m SO MUCH happier now. I’ve fallen in love with my spouse again, with my kids, with my life with my life giving God again. For this, I’m eternally grateful.

family

Can anyone else relate?? Love to hear your thoughts!

Other post that might be helpful:
How to deal with negative emotions in a positive way
Why Christ Matters, a mother’s saving grace.

How can repentance help me everyday object lesson video

repentance-object-lesson

I was searching my brain on how I could represent what happens to us spiritually when we sin and how repentance is such a beautiful gift that is given to us to cleanse and help us come to know greater levels of happiness and come to know our Father in Heaven. I’m excited to share this  object lesson that came to my mind as I was pondering ways to illustrate this concept. Enjoy! This goes with this YW lesson, here are my additional  thoughts, insight and handout that goes with the lesson.

Here is what you need for the object lesson:

  • Stress Ball or Sponge (cut out like a heart if desired)
  • Play Dough (here is are recipes)
  • Dry Beans

Here is the basic written out from of the video:
I’m going to attempt to illustrate to you with an object lesson how repentance can help us everyday and how it is a key part of feeling and living in an abundance of real peace love and happiness.

This foamy stress ball heart represents our heart. (if you are try to do this object lesson you can use a sponge–cut out like heart even)

In its purest form it is moldable, teachable, humble and clean which makes it totally receptive to the spirit, inspiration and communication from God. It is happy, free and at peace.

The fact is that our hearts don’t always remain as such because we are human  and that makes us selfish and mistake prone.

Our Heavenly Father wants us to grow in varying degrees to change, develop learn and use our agency wisely.

He allows life to present us with many opportunities for us to experience growth.

But who knows why exactly we do this but in our fear, pride, limited understanding, want to protect ourselves, our resistance against change, selfishness our impulse to do it our way we place barriers between us and the spirit by hardening our hearts (i’m using playdoh here and putting it over the heart)

We refuse to listen to what is best for us for all those reasons.

But in our rebellion we have blocked that communication from our Father in Heaven and our true happiness.

The hardening of our hearts invites sin. Those hard parts have block us from spiritual understanding. ‘

Our hearts still long to ‘feel’ something so selfishly we start to do things that bring some temportary satisfaction but bring great sadness to our Heavenly Father and ultimately ourselves.

 Little things like gossip we do because he feel like we are at least better than someone else. (place a bean in the play dough after each statement)

We treat with others with anger because it helps us feel dominion over someone else

We hold grudges because we feel some kind of symbolic victory.

We may even turn to putting  harmful things into our bodies because we feel momentary relief or satisfaction.

Or may even comprise our moral standard because we want to feel something with someone.

 But all those things have only created a greater barrier against our true happiness and receiptiveness to the light and love of our Heavenly Father

“Wickedness was never happiness”

 I heard someone once add, “But people often don’t do wicked things for wickedness sake but because they confuse it for happiness.

All those ‘sins’ are just cheap substitutes for happiness.

The awesome new is that we can be cleansed of all these yucky sins, these behaviors and attitudes that weigh us down and block us from feeling real happiness.

God wants so badly for us to feel His love but it cannot penetrate our souls if we have but barrier around our hearts.

The scriptures speak of His arms being open, 2 extended, 3 stretched out, 4and encircling. 5 They are described as mighty 6 and holy, 7 arms of mercy, 8arms of safety, 9 arms of love, 10 “lengthened out all the day long.” 11

He wants us to repent, turn around, come back, change, be clean so he can communicate his love, guide us, strengthen us and empower us.

Once we are humble enough to realize we have offend God and made choices that have blocked his spirit and we have gain a desire to return, Christ can come in. If we do our part to repair the harm we’ve caused, He can simultaneously come in a repair and heal our hearts from sins with the power of His Atonement.  We can be purified, cleansed and sanctified (become as saints only through the power of Christ). YAY!!! (Remove play Dough until clean)

When are hearts are clean, we can be more fully receptive to the spirit, guidance and feel greater happiness, peace and love.

I’m finding that Daily repentance is not a feeling of continually feeling guilty and weigh down by my less than perfect efforts but it having a penitent heart that is eager to improve and willing to change. So during my day I notice that my heart and mind do get hard and unwilling by things I may think or do but a penitent heart is one that is quick to come back, to remove pride, throw away thoughts and behaviors that and ‘blue barriers’ that prevent feeling the spirit. To realign, repent, change, forgive and move forward toward God because that is where I can best enjoy an abundance of peace and happiness.