Why, God?!

Do you ever feel like there are things in life that just don’t make sense?

Because I do.

Recently I found myself asking, “Why, Heavenly Father?  Why is this happening?”

Not accusing, just confused.  I sincerely just didn’t understand why things were happening the way they were happening in my life.  I had a perfect plan for my future and now I was having to let go of things I really didn’t want to let go of.  And not only did I want an explanation, but I wanted Him to tell me exactly which direction He desired me to take to move forward.

So for a solid period of time I pleaded to God for answers and understanding, and all He gave me was peace——not knowledge, not clarity, not answers, not direction… just peace.

And it was then that I learned something.  A sentence came into my head as clear as day:

“You know, Lauren, this life isn’t so much about finding answers as much as it is about finding Me.

It was as if a little light dawned on me.

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God was trying to teach me that it’s not so much about coming to know everything as it is about coming to know Him.

It’s not so much about understanding all the details, but about understanding His details–namely, that He is real, that He loves us, and that He has created a plan for us to be happy.

You see, if we can go through difficult circumstances that we don’t understand and through those come to understand more about our Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement, then maybe that’s enough reason.  If we are tirelessly searching for an explanation, we may miss out on what God is actually trying to teach us!

After all, didn’t He say that “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”? (John 17:3)

Now, don’t get me wrong.  God does give us answers.  He does lead us.  But He also wants us to learn to make our own decisions.  If He gave us the answers to everything, then it wouldn’t really be a test, and we wouldn’t really learn.

I still don’t really understand why certain things are happening in my life.  I still sometimes feel sad about it.  But frankly, there are simply some things in life that none of us may ever understand.  Yet, through these experiences we can come to understand Him.

And you know, that’s an understanding that I sure would never want to miss out on.

So next time you’re tempted to exclaim, “Why?!”, just remember that the answer you’re looking for might come differently than you’d think!;)

Transitions

This past weekend marked the official one month that I have returned home from Rochester, New York to Salt Lake City, Utah, marking the end of my full-time service as a set apart missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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A month ago today, I never would have believed the change I’ve seen in my life since the moment I walked off that plane.  Coming back to regular life has been full of excitement, trial, relief, heartache, happiness, struggle, and everything in between.  It has been such a wonderful yet bittersweet journey!

love being able to see my family again.  I love being able to communicate often with so many friends that I care about in my life.  I love that I’m able to go to college and work toward having a bright future.  I love being able to drive around in my car and blast the music to my heart’s content. 😉

But every so often it feels like something is missing.

I miss the little things.  I still find myself feeling my right shoulder for my name tag.  When I write messages online or on my phone, I still go to turn to my companion for their input and then realize that no one has to proof read what I say.  I still have an urge to stand out behind the car to back someone up out of a parking spot. (Haha!  Sometimes out of habit I still do and then I realize what I’m doing and awkwardly get in the car and pretend like nothing happened!)

But I also miss the big things.  I miss having the increased sense of purpose that comes from knowing exactly what God wants me to do each day.  I miss teaching people about Jesus Christ everyday, and helping people know that God is their loving Heavenly Father who wants them to be happy.  I miss not having to worry about anything else except for the gospel.  I miss going out and hitting the streets of Rochester, talking with everyone I see and sharing with them my testimony of the eternal truths that I would never want to live my life without.

However!  I was inspired by Sister Beckham, a leader in the church, who said,

“Remember, we will return to [Heavenly Father] by moving forward, not backward, and in the process we will become changed. Our transitions make possible that change.  Every transition, every change, gives us a chance to choose again to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in the principles of his gospel.”

And so, while a part of my heart still lies in Western New York, I’m thankful that God has given me this time to transition home.  Coming home has given me a chance to choose again to have faith in my Savior.  I have spent the last almost 19 months of my life helping others to make decisions out of faith in Him, and I’ve realized that now is the time to really put that to the test in my own life.

Besides!  We’ve all been given a promise in Alma 37:44, 45:

“Give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss.  …For the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.”

THAT, my friends, is what I trust in!  Whether you are a missionary or not, the words of Christ will always point toward eternal bliss.  They will always carry us through life’s transitions and lead us to the greater things of eternity.  They will always help us find a sense of purpose, peace, and direction in our life.  Why? Because our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, will always love us and they will never leave us alone.

So go out!  Like my stake president said, “You are never released from being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Name-tag or no name-tag, go help someone find the Lord today! 😀

Unchangeable

“For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.” Moroni 8:18

Isn’t that one of the most comforting things you’ve ever heard?  We can trust God because He is constant!  He is not partial, He is not variable, He is not transient.  His nature will never suddenly change.

He is 100% here for us 100% of the time.

Think of it!  Because He is unchangeable, He is 100% trustworthy.  I know I can give my whole heart to Him because unlike some of our relationships in mortality, I know He will not go anywhere.  He will not become disinterested in us, He will not give up on us.  He will always be there!

God loved His children in the past, and He loves His children today.  He spoke to prophets in the past, He speaks to prophets today.  He performed miracles in the past, He performs miracles today.  He gave us commandments in the past, He gives us commandments today.  He led a church through His Son Jesus Christ in the past, and He leads a church through Jesus Christ today.

Doesn’t it all just make sense?!

So today, make the decision to trust Him.  You will never regret it, because He will never fail you. ♥

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Be blessed!

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 🙂

 

We Lived in Heaven!

Have you ever wondered where you came from?

I’m not talking about where you were this morning, where your ancestors are from, not even how you were conceived.  But you–where did your spirit, your own personal soul come from?

The beautiful answer is found in one of our fundamental beliefs as members of Christ’s church, which is that we lived with our Father in Heaven before we came to this earth.  Our spirits are eternal, and our stay here on earth is but a period of time in a vast eternal round.

….WHAT?  We were where? What was that life like?  Who did we know there?  Why are we here on earth now?  Are we going back to live with Him again?  Here’s some of my favorite little insight from an apostle of the Lord today about our experience before earth:

“You knew Jesus Christ, who would become the Lamb of God. You had faith in Him. And you knew that your destiny was not to stay in the security of your premortal home. As much as you loved that eternal sphere, you knew you wanted and needed to embark on a journey. You would depart from the arms of your Father, pass through a veil of forgetfulness, receive a mortal body, and learn and experience things that hopefully would help you grow to become more like Father in Heaven and return to His presence.

In that sacred place, surrounded by those you knew and loved, the great question on your lips and in your heart must have been “Will I return safely to my heavenly home?”

There were so many things that would be out of your control. Mortal life would be hard at times, filled with unexpected bends in the road: sickness, heartbreak, accidents, conflict.

Without a memory of your previous existence—without remembering that you once walked with your Father in Heaven—would you still recognize His voice amid all the noise and distractions of mortal life?

The journey ahead seemed so long and uncertain—so filled with risk.

It wouldn’t be easy, but you knew it was worth every effort.

So, there you stood on the edge of eternity, looking forward with unspeakable excitement and hope—and, I imagine, also with a degree of worry and fear.

In the end, you knew God would be just—that His goodness would triumph. You had participated in the great heavenly councils and knew that your Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, would provide a way for you to be cleansed from sin and rescued from physical death. You had faith that, in the end, you would rejoice and join your voice with a heavenly chorus singing praises to His holy name.

And so, you took a deep breath …

And a great step forward …

And here you are!”

(To read/watch the rest and learn about the map God has provided for us here,
click here: Your Wonderful Journey Home, Dieter F. Uchtdorf)

HERE YOU ARE.  Can you believe it?  We are smack in the middle of our earthly adventures, and now it is up to us to live the way that will bring us that eternal joy we are promised through Jesus Christ.  We are all brothers and sisters of the same loving Heavenly Father, and He sent us here because He LOVES us and wants us to SUCCEED GLORIOUSLY.

So get out there!  Don’t be afraid!  You made the right choice once, and you can make it again!  Remember where you came from, and that you are not forgotten. ♥

Take the next great step forward and succeed gloriously, my friends!

Who Are YOU?

I believe that many of our core struggles in life come from not fully understanding who we are.

I believe that so many of us simply can’t see ourselves clearly.

Think about it!

Do you truly understand your worth?

Do yourself a favor and let an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ remind you:

Incredible, isn’t it?

How different would your life be if every single day you took confidence in knowing you are a child of God whose potential is divine and whose worth is infinite?

President George Q. Cannon said this: “There is not one of us but what God’s love has been expended upon. There is not one of us that He has not cared for and caressed. There is not one of us that He has not desired to save, and that He has not devised means to save. There is not one of us that He has not given His angels charge concerning. We may be insignificant and contemptible in our own eyes, and in the eyes of others, but the truth remains that we are the children of God, and that He has actually given His angels—invisible beings of power and might—charge concerning us, and they watch over us and have us in their keeping.”

To those who feel lost, worthless, discouraged, overwhelmed, hopeless, or depressed, I propose one thing:

You are simply unaware of who you are.

You may let the transient losses and hurts of life get you down, but if you only knew what lied in your future, you would be filled with a light that could never be darkened.  If you only understood the power and glory of who you are, you would never let anyone make you feel inferior.  You would cease to give any place in your heart to worldly cares that lie so far beneath your privileges.  Your heart would be so consumed with the light of Christ and the love of God that meaning and peace would fill your soul to an  extent you never thought was possible.

My dear friends, try to see yourself as your Father in Heaven sees you.

And then with confidence, go forward and share your light with the world!

(To learn more about who you are and God’s plan of happiness for you, click here.)