Trusting in God’s Promises

Lately I have been thinking about doubt.  Let’s be honest, we all experience it sometimes.  Whether it is doubt in our own abilities, doubt in other people, doubt in answers to questions, even doubt in God.

However, I’ve also been thinking a lot about promises!  And not just any promises, but God’s promises.  One definition states that a promise is a commitment to someone that you will definitely do something or that something will definitely happen in the future.  It is something we should be able to trust in, and something that should usually bring us a sense of hope and assurance.  

Now, not everyone keeps their promises.  But the Lord and Master, our Savior Jesus Christ, DOES.

I have recently learned a lot about how trustworthy He really is.  This past summer, all the missionaries in the New York Rochester Mission read the entire Book of Mormon together in just under 9 weeks.  We marked every reference to Christ–His attributes, His words, His names, His doctrines.  It was the best challenge EVER!  I made some connections as I found myself in its pages:

People in the Book of Mormon, just like today, were faced with extreme difficulties and trials.  They struggled with their faith, they experienced profound disappointments, they saw families torn by discord, and there were times when they were in spiritual or physical bondage.  There were many of them who faced doubts.  There were many times when things just didn’t make sense.  Yet despite all of these struggles, there were those who remained faithful to the Lord and trusted that His promises would be fulfilled.  Despite how at times everything seemed against their favor and they were perhaps wondering how God could possibly be answering their prayers, they held fast to their trust in Him and never doubted that He would fulfill His word.  Often His promises were not fulfilled until much later than they had supposed, and yet for those who kept His commandments and remained close to Him, they always were fulfilled.

Think for a moment.  What are the promises that God has made to you?  Do you know them?  Do you truly understand the promises that He extends to all those who are faithful to His name?

He promises that He will be with us and never forsake us.  He promises us that in our hour of trial, He will not leave us comfortless.  He promises us that whatever we leave behind for His sake, He will give us a hundredfold in return.  He promises us that despite whatever challenges we pass through, we will find a fullness of joy as we endure righteously. He promises us that we will have all that His Father has.  Ultimately, He promises us everlasting salvation and eternal life.

And these are just the beginning.  What greater promises could you have than from the Creator of all things?  His word NEVER fails!  

So if you’re confused, discouraged, doubtful, or starting to question whether God really hears your prayers, don’t worry. Be patient. Because “God is powerful to the fulfilling of all His words. … He will fulfill his promises which he shall make unto you, for he has fulfilled his promises which he has made unto our fathers.” (Alma 37:16-17)

True Freedom

“And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever.” (2 Nephi 2:26)

With the celebration of the independence of our country a couple weeks ago, I have been thinking a lot about what true freedom means.

Freedom: noun, the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved; personal liberty,
as opposed to bondage or slavery

In a way, all of us are in bondage.  All of us are slaves to physical death; there is nothing we personally can do to stop its grasp from eventually overtaking us.  Because none of us are perfect, we are also subject to sin, which brings a slavery in an of itself.

If there is one thing that I have learned, it is that I cannot free myself from these two things.  I alone do not have the power to erase my transgressions or to raise myself from the grave.  If I did not have a Savior, I would be stuck in the “grasp of…that monster, death and hell” (2 Nephi 9:10).  And yet, out of such great love, Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice overcame the effects of both these.  Because of Him, I can be freed from sin and from death.  I can be freed from guilt, shame, regret, sorrow, hurt, sadness, anguish, and despair.  Because of His infinite compassion, I can become free forever if I but choose to follow Him.

So brothers and sisters, LIVE FREE.  Turn to Jesus Christ, and I promise that He will liberate you from any mental, spiritual, and emotional bonds that you may find yourself bound in. ♥

Mountains to Climb

Often times in life, the Lord allows the unexpected to happen.  Our lives are constantly changing, and it seems like once we climb one challenging mountain then the next mountain is placed in our way.  Some stories, like Heather Von St. James’, go like this:

“At age 36, just 3 ½ months after my first and only child, Lily, was born, I was diagnosed with mesothelioma and given 15 months to live.”

Do you remember the day you heard your life-changing news?  Do you remember the times of wondering, how am I ever going to get through this?  Miraculously, Heather beat the odds and is still here 8 years later.  But not everyone’s story goes exactly the same.  However, one thing is the same: if we trust in the Lord, follow His example, and help each other climb our mountains, then we will all make it!

(I’m a month late for National Cancer Research Month, but here’s my plug to please support Heather and other cancer victims by becoming aware of these dangers!  “Mesothelioma is considered one of the most aggressive and deadly cancers; most people are given just one year to live upon diagnosis. There is no known cure for mesothelioma and the future continues to look grim as attention to the disease as well as research funding continues to decline. The only known cause of ‘meso’ is exposure to asbestos, which is still not banned in the US. Sadly, it doesn’t look like asbestos will be banned anytime soon, as there is too much money being made by using this deadly mineral.”  The more people that know about this cancer, the more lives are potentially saved!  Check out the  Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance where there is lots of information about the disease, asbestos exposure, and where you can also read Heather and her husband’s blog about their journey with cancer!)

To all those who are currently passing through physical, mental, and emotional trials that could cause you to cry out, “when I have tried all my life to be good, why has this happened to me?”, watch my favorite video of all time:

Recap from President Henry B. Eyring:

  • If the foundation of faith is not embedded in our hearts, the power to endure will crumble.  …Acting on even a twig of faith allows God to grow it. That particle of faith, most precious and which you should protect and use to whatever extent you can, is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • It is serving God and others persistently with full heart and soul, that turns testimony of truth into unbreakable spiritual strength.
  • If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest of times can be a blessing.
  • The Lord has promised, “I will not forsake thee.”
  • We can feel the love of God.  The Savior has promised angels on our left and on our right to bear us up and He always keeps His word.  His love is unfailing.

Whatever mountain you are climbing right now, whether it be cancer or depression or loneliness or unemployment or anything else in the world, you are not climbing it alone.

You got this. Trust in God, and keep moving forward!

It Was Dad

“Noble fatherhood gives us a glimpse of the divine.” ~James E. Faust

As I think about the words of President Faust, I can’t help but smile in memory of my father.  Much of what I have learned about God I have learned from my amazing dad!  He has taught me more than I could ever describe.

It was Dad who taught me to walk by faith and not by fear.  It was Dad who taught me to live my life with intention and to embrace everything that each stage of life has to offer.  It was Dad who taught me how to genuinely love others.  It was Dad who taught me to be functional, to be Christlike, to be generous, to be kind.  It was Dad who showed me how to give pure, selfless service to others with no thought of reward.  It was Dad who taught me how to put the important things first in life.  It was Dad who taught me to laugh when things are hard and to keep moving forward.  It was Dad who helped me believe in myself when I felt like I was failing.  It was Dad who taught me that I was enough, and that nothing in the world could compare with my personal worth as his daughter.

In my life, it is Dad who has typified the kind of love and grandeur that exist in the Great Deity above.

My friends, just like we all have an earthly father, ALL of us also have a Heavenly Father.  Yet unlike our earthly father, our Father in Heaven is perfect, has all power, and knows all things.  He is the most loving, merciful, understanding, patient, and compassionate being in the Universe.

We are all literally children of God, spiritually begotten in the premortal life. As His children, we can be assured that we have divine, eternal potential and that He will help us in our sincere efforts to reach that potential.” (God the Father, http://www.lds.org)

We cannot even comprehend the amount of love of Heavenly Father has for us.  He wants the best for us– ALL of us.  He has a plan for our happiness!  He is there whether we recognize Him or not.  He knows us infinitely better than we know ourselves because He created us.  His whole work and glory is to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”  (Moses 1:39)

This Fathers Day, remember: No matter who you are, no matter where you live, no matter what your religious background, no matter what your family situation, no matter how alone or forgotten you may feel, your Father in Heaven is aware of you and loves you deeply.  He will help you walk through this life and lead you to eternal joy.

Search after Him through prayer and study, and I know you will feel that that is true.

And then, catch a glimpse of that noble fatherhood through this incredible video!

Happy Fathers Day!

Also check out this amazing website about fatherhood :)

 

Christlike Love

love

Happy June!

This week I have been thinking a lot about my motivation for being here in New York on a mission.  Not only that, but I’ve been thinking a lot about my motivation to live a clean life, to stand out from the world, to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, etc…  And I’ve realized that for me, it all comes down to love.  Love for my Savior, love for the people around me, love for the Gospel.  I want to emanate that love to the world!

Think of it…can you imagine a world filled with people who emanated the pure love of Christ?!

I recently came across this gem of a talk by Elder John H. Groberg about the power of God’s love, and I simply can’t resist sharing it:  “God’s love fills the immensity of space; therefore, there is no shortage of love in the universe, only in our willingness to do what is needed to feel it.

When filled with God’s love, we can do and see and understand things that we could not otherwise do or see or understand. Filled with His love, we can endure pain, quell fear, forgive freely, avoid contention, renew strength, and bless and help others in ways surprising even to us.

Jesus Christ was filled with unfathomable love as He endured incomprehensible pain, cruelty, and injustice for us. Through His love for us, He rose above otherwise insurmountable barriers. His love knows no barriers. He invites us to follow Him and partake of His unlimited love so we too may rise above the pain and cruelty and injustice of this world and help and forgive and bless.

I know He lives. I know He loves us. I know we can feel His love here and now. I know His voice is one of perfect mildness which penetrates to our very center. I know He smiles and is filled with compassion and love. I know He is full of gentleness, kindness, mercy, and desire to help. I love Him with all my heart. I testify that when we are ready, His pure love instantly moves across time and space, reaches down, and pulls us up from the depths of any tumultuous sea of darkness, sin, sorrow, death, or despair we may find ourselves in and brings us into the light and life and love of eternity.”  (October 2004 General Conference, “The Power of God’s Love”)

This is the love that the world desperately needs.  And YOU can go and bring that to someone today.

Spread it! :)

It Will All Be Worth It

“And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ.” (Alma 31:38)

I don’t know what afflictions each and every one of you are going through.  I don’t know your lives, I don’t know your fears, your worries, your circumstances, your weaknesses, or your challenges.  But I know someone who does–the Savior, Jesus Christ.  And I have come to learn in a very real way that no matter how many afflictions we have, no matter how long we feel we have suffered, all of those afflictions will be swallowed up in the joy of Christ.

What does this mean to me?  It simply means that it will all be worth it.

I promise you that you will not struggle forever.  Press forward!  Trust in God!  Pray to Him!  Look to the light!  Just like the Lord promised Alma and his brothers during their own afflictions, He will strengthen you.  The moment will come when you will be filled with the purest, divinest joy–the joy of Christ that comes as one lives faithful to His teachings.

It will all be worth it.

So to all you who are feeling like your afflictions are starting to pile up:  take heart, for that means that you have an even greater amount of joy ahead to swallow them up!

The Divinity of Motherhood

When I think of motherhood, I think of sacrifice.  I think of love, encouragement, compassion, charity, and selflessness.  I think of virtue, purity, empathy, understanding.  I think of a warm welcome home, a listening ear, a helping hand, and countless other tender memories that bring a smile of gratitude to my face.

Why do I think of these things?

Because these things are everything my mother is!  Because these are attributes of Christ, and this is the way that He has shown all mothers everywhere to raise their children in the light.  Why is that significant? Because Motherhood is the highest and holiest calling assumed by humankind!

I love my mother for numberless reasons that could never be written (thank you, Mom!!♥), but I will tell you one of the most influential:

I love my mother because she has shown me the way to Jesus Christ.

And that has made all the difference.

She has been my example through thick and thin, through good and bad, through hard and easy, through darkness and light.  Her Christlike characteristics have led me to become who I am.  Her motherhood is in great part the reason why I am a missionary.

You see, as someone told me today: “You can’t remember Christ and forget mothers, and you can’t remember mothers and forget Christ.  They go hand in hand in creating and fostering life.”

So all you women out there: YOU MATTER.  You make a difference!  You inherently have the power to influence generations for good.  YOU can lift, help, strengthen, edify, and inspire others in a way that no one else can.  The prophet Gordon B. Hinckley once said, “When  you save a girl, you save generations.

And oh, was he right :)

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

(Click HERE for the cutest two minute film to honor your mother with!)