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.
When it comes to organizing an event, I think the most delightful difference between females and males is probably that a females feel compelled to theme, color coordinate and cutsie every aspect of the experience. A male on the other hand…well…lets just say I grew up with 3 brothers and I clearly remember invitations to activities were swiftly hand written notes that were photocopied. I was also quite shocked to walk in on one of their big camp planning meeting (with only 2 week prior to the camp, no less) to find out that they had NO THEME, crafts planned, OR decorations for their camp site!!! When I asked about it, I remember those males were in bigger shock that we actually brought things like that up to camp. My question is–What is the point if it won’t be pretty or over the top creative??
Anyway. With this year’s Mutual theme being, “O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.”, we all went nautical nutty and decided on a cruise ship theme. With a surge of genius, though not without the help of pintrest (my, have planning meetings changed. Each girl, phone in hand swiping upward to get some insPINation…) here is what the ladies came up with. Continue reading Cruise themed YW New Beginnings-Free Printables
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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
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.
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.
[Download not found]
I’ve had this comes to my mind often:
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!
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
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 Christlike love.
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 58:3–12.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
I’m preparing a YW lesson for this month’s theme of Priesthood and priesthood keys. So I’ve been mulling over in my brain and heart how I feel about the priesthood (the power of God given to man on earth, read more about it here.). I’ve also been thinking about the great blessing it is in my life and for everyone that participates in the ordinances involved.
I know it can become a sensitive subject to some since there are those that feel like they never had the priesthood in their homes. There are others that feel it an injustice since “women don’t hold the priesthood.” The reality, however, is that ALL MEMBERS of THE CHURCH– guys, girls, kids, old and young– get to receive and participate in priesthood blessings (Read this ).
As Elder Oaks said, “While we sometimes refer to priesthood holders as ‘the priesthood,’ we must never forget that the priesthood is not owned by or embodied in those who hold it. It is held in a sacred trust to be used for the benefit of men, women, and children alike.”
Here is an analogy depicting our individual role, responsibility and blessings within the priesthood.
What is more important in helping a car run and move forward? The steering wheel or the wheels?
I like to think of the priesthood (the power of God given to man on earth) as a complete car and the members as different vital components that help the whole car function. All members can ride, benefit, receive and contribute to the priesthood, but each person has different responsibilities to build and operate it smoothly. We all are vital components needed to make it run; the whole couldn’t operate without the individual parts.
Just because one person is called to be the ‘steering wheel’ doesn’t make him better or worse or more important than those who serve as the ‘wheels’. A steering wheel is useless to the whole function of the car without the rest of the parts. Comparing and arguing who has what part or what responsibility and feeling resentful of the difference instead of focusing on the performance of the whole results in an unsatisfying, dysfunctional and divided effort. Focusing on doing our part, keeping our end of the covenant, trusting and allowing the car and work of the Lord to move forward brings satisfaction, blessings and progress to the whole and individuals involved.
That is what helps brings the power of God (or priesthood) into our personal lives. Sister Sherry Dew said, “The power of the priesthood heals, protects, and inoculates all of the righteous against the powers of darkness.” Think of the ‘priesthood car’ as a vehicle on the way to eternal life protected against the thick and luring powers of Satan all around.
That is awesome power to have, if you ask me. AND we can ALL have that personal power of the priesthood in our lives as we make and stay true to our sacred covenants! Yay!
Sister Dew continues, “Most significantly, the fullness of the priesthood contained in the highest ordinances of the house of the Lord can be received only by a man and woman together.” It is a power that is then increased as men and women come together and complete each other in the priesthood. One part cannot fully function without the other. There is humility required in understanding that we depend on one another and to achieve unity.
This analogy can be perpetuated to a large scale to encompass the entire ‘vehicle’ of The Church of Jesus Christ as we trust the ordained leaders in our church. This includes callings in our local wards and family units. We must trust that our part is moving the Lord’s work forward, whatever that may be. We are all full partakers of the blessings of the priesthood as we make promises with God and receive awesome blessings and power like the Holy Ghost to lead us. It opens up our eyes to how precious we are in producing a lot of good in this church, in our own personal lives, and in this world to glorify God.
I trust that Heavenly Father is the master ‘car engineer.’ He is not only the engineer but the DRIVER Himself. Man is not the one ‘driving the priesthood,’ He is only operating through God.
Heavenly Father knows our divine capacities and where we will serve best. He also understands we need to learn to rely on each other and Him. I’m so happy He lends to all His children His power of the priesthood to direct and protect us in this life so we can return back to Him. Its a beautiful thing.
Scripture to tie into car analogy: D&C: 84:109-110
109 Therefore, let every man stand in his own office, and labor in his own calling; and let not the head say unto the feet it hath no need of the feet; for without the feet how shall the body be able to stand?
110 Also the body hath need of every member, that all may beedified together, that the system may be kept perfect.
Love this quote because we are really all in this together:
Here is the file to download to use as a handout (4 on a pg) [Download not found]