Saturday, November 7, 2015

What I believe and how it makes me feel...

This past week brought a lot of pain to a lot of people that I love. That in turn, has brought me a lot of pain. A deep physical aching. A longing for them to feel loved and not hated. Because, they truly are some of the best people I know.

I feel many people assume that those of us who follow the teachings and stand by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints do so without thinking of how it will affect those we love. I have so many emotions about this, I felt no other outlet would help. So I hope this will bring another perspective into this difficult circumstance we find ourselves in.

I feel lucky to have an open heart. I love people very quickly and deeply. At times it has brought a lot of pain when that love isn't returned. But regardless, I've found that this gift I have, has lead me to have strong genuine friendships with people from so many different backgrounds and perspectives. And I wouldn't change that, no matter how painful it can become.

I believe in God the Father. I believe that his son is our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I believe that they live and want us to be happy and have joy. I believe that they communicate to the Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I believe that they know more than I do. I believe they know better than I do. I believe they are governed by universal, eternal laws, that even they cannot change. I believe they mourn with us when we are in pain. I believe they long to change our circumstances to be what we want, just to make us happy, but in their mercy they abstain. Due to their understanding, they know that what would truly make us happy is perhaps not what we are asking for. So they resist. How difficult that must be. I am not a parent. But I have a lot of students I worry about and care for. I've learned that there is a need for discipline and rules and not giving them everything they want. As I believe we are God's children, if this is difficult for me, why would it be any less difficult for Him?

I believe that Love is not always supportive. So many people are accusing people of my faith to not be Christlike. The Christ I know was perfect and showed a perfect example of how we treat others. Christ did not condone sin. Christ did not pat people on the back and say "Okay. If that's how you feel, go ahead and do that. If that makes you happy then go ahead." However, I believe that he still exemplified perfect love for those he taught. The woman that was brought before him in adultery, how did he treat her? I imagine this women had never known love in her life. Not true love. And to be presented to a man, being surrounded by so many other men ready to stone her to death. What could she have been feeling? She knew she was guilty of what they accused her of, what could she have been expecting?... And in turn what was she met with? A man in his perfect knowledge, being a perfect example of love, asking those accusing her to cast the first stone if they be sinless. Imagine her joy when they turned and walked away. Her shock that someone would accept her in her sin and show her such a kindness. But then what does he say to her? "Go and sin no more." not "Okay, you didn't get stoned so if committing adultery makes you happy go ahead and keep doing that." It was then her choice to do as she would, but what peace that must have brought her to experience someone caring for her and wanting good things for her. This is true Christlike love. Acceptance.

I believe we will one day stand before our God with our Savior at our side and be accountable for what we knew in this life. I believe the "judgement" that so many religions speak of will come from us. Not God. We will be our worst judge and critic. So therefore, if this is what I believe, and this belief is so ingrained in me that it helps me make hard choices and guides me to good experiences, how can I go against what I believe God is asking me to stand up for? If I am to be accountable for the things I was taught and believe in this life, and expect to look them both in the eyes and be asked "Did you live what you believed?" How could I go against what I believe they are telling me to do now?

This is not easy. I do not do this blindly. I trust God and Christ. More than I trust any other living person. So I must continue to trust them even if the world doesn't think I should.

I have had to cause pain to people that I love. I have seen my choices to follow the teachings in this Church bring physical and emotion pain to them. It was not something I did with joy or pride. It was not something I did lightly. It was not something I ever expected to experience. I too felt pain. I too was breaking inside. I have never felt the longing to love and support someone I care about and feel that I am not able to. It hurts. I wish there was a way for me do both. Love God and trust in Him fully and also support those I care about in their choices.

I am trying to do the best I can. Because I truly love having you in my life. I love you. For everything you are. I plan to always love you. But please forgive me that I cannot support everything you do. Please accept me in my beliefs. Even if you do not agree with them. Please allow me my agency to live in the way I feel I must, just as you are living the way you feel you must. You do not have to support me in my beliefs, but accept me as I am and who I am choosing to be. That is all I ask. I still trust you and care about you and want good things for you. I am truly sorry for the pain that this controversy brings. I cry with you. If the day comes that I am proven wrong and it turns out that all I believed in was false, I will ask your forgiveness. Until then, please know I am glad you're in my life and wouldn't have it any other way. Believe me that I am doing my best to love you and my God. A God that I believe loves us more than we can begin to comprehend. A God that has to govern an entire planet of his children and must follow laws for the good of all of them. A God that aches with each one of his children and longs to be their comfort. Yes, a God that loves you. No matter what.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Oh... Hi!

So... I was just going to post something but then I saw that people still read this so I got hesitant... So for now I'll just say hello. How are you blog world? Seems like it's changed a lot since we last spent time together. No offense but I've found my social media outlet from Instagram.... Oh, you know Instagram? Oh... You two don't really get along? Hmm... I can see that. Well don't take it personally, even though you're s far more personal social media, still, it's not you, it's us. We're all hyped up on instant gratification and getting things quickly... Like this post. I bet since it's longer than two sentences everyone stopped reading it. And tonight I really just needed to get some things off my chest and didn't know who to whine too... I'm sure you don't want to be used for that. Do you?

Well, maybe I'll come around a bit more... I can't really make any promises are firm commitment. But maybe... I'll do my best.

So uh... Goodnight blog. Sleep well.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Too much to work on...

I've got too much to work on...

Educationally

Professionally

Personally

Spiritually

Physically

Mentally

Socially

And any other 'ally' you can think of.


However, I will share this.
On Monday evening for our ward Christmas party, Kenneth Cope came and performed a lovely Christmas program. One thought he shared has stayed with me. He told us that we're all broken. That no matter what, we've all got things that need fixing. But it was when he(Kenneth Cope) realized that God still uses us in our broken stages, that he(Kenneth Cope) was able to have peace and progress in life.

This is something I'm trying to have faith in. That even though I fall short in so many areas of my life, God still wants to use me for his work. That I'm still of worth, though imperfect. I do not need to be perfect to be of use to my Father and Savior. He can use me in my imperfections. Most importantly he loves me. Regardless of how broken or imperfect that I am.

And here is the song that Kenneth Cope sang for us.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

All that I have...

So I'm just happy today. I had just finished my scripture study on Alma chapter 8. A favorite of mine. I just admire Alma's ability to do such hard things. Sure we read how speedily he returned to the city of Ammonihah, but how easy would that have been? To go back into a city where you had been spit upon, reviled, and cast out of. I sure wouldn't want to go back. But after an angel appears to him and tells him his work is accepted of the Lord, he's asked to go back. And he goes speedily. What courage. What faith.

So I read and was pondering those things. When I received a phone call from a husband and wife I was able to meet in Dallas on my mission. They're my black mama and papa. My goodness their amazing. We are not members of the same church, but we are believers in the same God. They simply called to tell me happy thanksgiving. Just hearing their voices and chatting for a short time filled me with love for them that once consumed me while serving my mission. Suddenly I recalled all the many other people I got to meet while serving the Lord. My heart was full. I was then able to with clarity think upon all the many wonderful things I have in my life.

I wont proclaim that I was the best missionary ever. But I will say that I did my very best to love all the people I was privileged to come in contact with. That's all I really knew how to do well. And what I got in return was an outpouring of love.

I got of the phone with my mama and papa and just got tears to my eyes. I was filled with love. And thought, really what else matters in this world more than loving others? Is there anything else that is as lasting and fulfilling? I began to list all the things I have in my life. I'm truly blessed. We live in a country of peace. We don't have to worry about our safety from day to day as so many of God's children do. I have loving parents and family members. Wonderful friends. I've been blessed to receive an education. I find myself in a career that brings me so much joy and satisfaction. I have a healthy body that works and I get to do things that make me happy. I could go on... amid all those things I get to love others and feel love from others. I really see no greater blessing in life.

So this thanksgiving day I proclaim gratitude for the greatest blessing I think the Lord has giving me, the ability to feel love from others, and the desire to love others. I think that's why I love being a teacher. It doesn't take me long to care about each one of my students and wish the best for them. Gosh right now I just want to hug all those I love. I don't know how to better show my feelings than through time and affection.

Above all of that, I'm grateful for my relationship with my Father in Heaven and his son Jesus Christ. I'm not able to put in words how my heart longs to be near them. And how grateful I am that each day I'm able to work hard to get to know them better and become more like them. Father, my expressions of thanks are not sufficient for the gratitude I feel towards thee and they Son.

I pray that we all may be able to enjoy this holiday season with those we love. Not only to feel that love from them, but mostly to be able to show our love to them. In whatever way will communicate it best.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thank you C.K.

"We can lift ourselves... when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude." - Pres. Monson

Dear C.K.,

Thank you.
Thank you for trusting me.
Thank you for always believing in me.
Thank you for motivating me to set goals.
Thank you for supporting me in my standards.
Thank you for all the road trips.
Thank you for holding my hand in public.
Thank you for motivating me to be more active.
Thank you for the hours of hugs.
Thank you for wanting to help me with school work.
Thank you for being interested in my career.
Thank you for laughing with me.
Thank you for watching Disney movies with me.
Thank you for being supportive of my career.
Thank you for being patient.
Thank you for showing me what it feels like to be loved.
Thank you for being with me when I was sick.
Thank you for all the miles put on your car coming to and from my house.
Thank you for spending time with me doing nothing.
Thank you for giving me tips on how to wrestle more effectively.
Thank you for showing me what it's like to stop day dreaming.
Thank you for building my faith in Christ.
Thank you for helping me better understand the Atonement.
Thank you for showing me I can be better.
Thank you for teaching me.
Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for showing me how good it is to be a team.
Thank you for communicating so openly with me.
Thank you for your honesty.
Thank you for following the spirit.
Thank you for giving me the chance to prove to myself that no one can ruin me with God in his proper place.
Thank you.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Institute Insights

So this was from last week. I'm taking "Teachings of the Living Prophets" so we get to go over the most recent conference talks.

Last week we watched Pres. Uchtdorfs talk, "Of Regrets and Resolutions" But what stuck with me the most was how my teacher chose to preface the talk.

He told of a CES fireside given by Elder Holland back in 1999. It was broadcast to the entire church but live in attendance were the local CES employees. So my teacher, Robert Line, was in attendance. Bro. Line told how the fireside ended and they all got up to leave and suddenly over the speakers they hear Elder Hollands voice say, "Wait! I'm not done. I just had to finish because of the broadcast. But sit down. I still have more to say." I love Elder Holland.

Elder Holland then counseled these CES teachers on the "6 Top Priorities in Your Life." So I'm going to share them with you now.

1. Physical and Spiritual Self
2. Spouse
3. Children
4. Calling
5. Career
6. Civic duties

We then talked about how important it is to keep these priorities in line.

Immediately I noticed that I needed to take better care of myself physically. I've been doing better and have set goals and have noticed a difference,  but this is something I'll need to continue to do the rest of my life. Bro. Line told us that Elder Holland continued to explain that #1 was really just putting God First in our lives. That with God in the proper place all the other priorities will be able to be taken care of. And to not let one over power the other. That physical and spiritual needs are equally important.

One girl raised her hand and said "Um, where are friends on that list? I'm single and friends are really important to me." My teacher went on to say that maybe they fell in line around 3 or 4. I disagreed. I raised my hand, not to be confrontational, but I felt like if friends needed to be up there Elder Holland would have added them. So I said 'No. I think it's exactly how it should be. How often do we, as singles, replace friends with #2. It's a whole lot easier to just priorities our friends than find a spouse.' There was no argument.

But this could go with anything. How easy it is to mix up these priorities. I'm guilty of it. I reflected and recognized times that I haven't put the Lord first and my relationship with him, and I've suffered. Not only spiritually, but physically as well. And then all my other 'priorities' took a beating too.

So with that teaching in mind we listened to Elder Uchtdorfs talk.  What I remember most about his talk is the counsel to "find happiness". I remember envisioning this mass of happiness that was just out there. Something tangible, waiting to be grasped. All we need to do is find it.

Along with that, I was talking to a friend on Sunday. We had been having a very personal conversation, he mentioned that he missed the sunshine and that always makes him gloomy. I said something like "Oh yeah! Seasonal depression is a pain. But some of us get to deal with it year round." He looked at me puzzled. I smiled. Then he said "So... " I said, "Yes. I suffer from depression. I have for years." My friend: "Well, then can I ask you something? If that is the case, why is it that you always seem so positive all the time? Because, it doesn't seem like you'd be someone who deals with that."

I told him that I've learned to recognize it for what it is. A space of time that causes me to lose all desires to do anything. I acknowledge it, accept it, and keep doing what needs to be done. I remind myself that it's not permanent. That the things I feel and think are not truth. I told him that I've learned to recognize the difference between what is truth and what are the lies Satan is trying to feed me. I told him that I may have depression, but I don't have to be depressed. That I believe all things can be healed through the Atonement.

But I think a main reason that I'm able to preserver through this physical/mental abnormality is that I do my very best to put God first in my life. He is my strength and motivation. I don't want to ever think that I don't need him there. Nothing frightens me more than when I think "I don't need to pray today." Or "I don't need to read my scriptures." Because who am I to not need the Lord that day?

Another institute teacher once taught this same idea that we needed Christ at the center of our lives, holding everything else up. Because if we put our spouse, family, job, or anything else there, those things may fail us. A spouse may die, or leave, family may choose to not stick around, or not come at all, you can lose a job, but Christ is and always will be the Savior. He will not let us down. Upon the rock of our redeemer we cannot fail.

I think this is a day by day thing. At least it seems like it will be for me. Each day  making decisions that put my priorities where they need to be. To be open to the spirit and following the counsel of my Father at what is best for me to be doing.