Becoming New Through Christ

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you.” Ezekiel 36:26-27

It’s January.  You know what that means?  It means it’s the perfect time to start over–the perfect time to resolve to become the people we want to become this year.

How do we do that?  Well, first of all, we need to start off being honest with ourselves.  So can we all just get something out of the way?

ALL of us have issues.  Let’s just admit it!  All of us have scars.  All of us are broken in some way.  All of us “have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)  All of us need to improve.  And none of us can do it on our own.  (Phew!  Glad we got that out of the way.)

Next: how can we expect to move forward if we are still carrying the past with us and dragging our burdens behind us?  Answer: we can’t.  It’s just like C.S. Lewis said: “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.”

Expectation: Easy, right?  Just leave it behind and move on!
Reality: NOT EASY.

We cannot truly move forward when our heart is heavy with scars, bitterness, regret, pain, sin, fear, disappointment, or any other kind of burden we carry.

But how do we overcome all these things and become free of them?  How do we slowly erase these scars until our broken heart starts to heal?

Here’s a glorious thought: what if you could be given a new heart?  What if there was a way that you could keep all the wisdom and experience and lessons you learned from your trials, but have the burden of them completely taken away?  What if you could take your broken, tired, and weakened heart and exchange it for one that is strong, pure, free, and whole?

News flash: YOU CAN.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ is not just to pay the price for our sins, but it is help us truly become something.  It gives us the chance to become new and clean over and over again each day, so that we may have the strength and the capacity to continue moving forward–today and always.

What a beautiful promise!  Because of Jesus Christ, we do not have to be a slave to the past.  We do not have to be a slave to sin, to death, to heartache.  Because of Him, every day we have the chance to leave yesterday behind and begin again with a fresh start.

So what do we have to do in order to receive that gift? Give our heart over to Him!  Not just some of it, not just what we want to give, but all of it.  If we truly want to move forward, we have to trust God enough to put our lives entirely in His hands and live the life that He has commanded us to live. (See also Mark 8:35).

I can promise you as someone who is trying to become new through Christ everyday that His promise in Ezekiel is real.  I have felt His redeeming power take my broken heart away and give me one that is new and whole.  HE IS THERE, and He will help you!

So let go of the past.  Give your heart over to Him.  This year, resolve to become new through His grace.  And I promise you, there will be far greater things ahead than any you will ever leave behind ♥

BRING ON 2014!

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Awakening

One of the most sacred experiences I have been blessed to have is that of praying in the Sacred Grove.  There is pure majesty that exists there.

What I feel goes something like this:

Kneeling down, eyes closed in prayer.  Darkness.  I see nothing.  This helps me focus on the things of a far more eternal nature.  Whispered, heartfelt words, spoken with the marvelous understanding that somewhere above, a grand and glorious being–God, our Heavenly Father–is listening.  For a moment, the world is lost.  Distractions disappear and I am at one.  I know who I am.

And then, as I end my simple prayer, I open my eyes.  Green.  Light.  Life.  Wisdom.  Perfect stillness.  Everything seems new and beautiful.  The trees know, I think.  They know where they are and they bear powerful record of it.

In that moment, I feel revived–new, pure, and filled with purpose.  In short, I feel as though I have awakened.

Awaken: [verb] to spring into being, to wake up, to stir, or to rouse from sleep or inactivity

To you reading this, are you aware that you are a child of God?  Are you aware that you have unlimited divine potential?  Are you aware that you have a Savior that loves you unconditionally?  Are you aware that your spirit existed before this earthly life and that your time here is simply a training ground for a much more eternal destiny?

My dear friends, awaken.  Spring into being!  Look around you and see the beauty in everything!  Do not let the mundane struggles of life drag you down.  Open up your eyes to the light around you, for  “the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:11-13)

God is in the details.  I feel Him in the rays of sunshine from above.  I feel Him as I pray in the Sacred Grove.  I feel Him in the beauty of nature.  I feel Him in the kind smile of a stranger.  I feel Him through the scriptures.  I feel Him through music.  His tender mercies “are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty.” (1 Nephi 1:20)

You may feel God’s presence in your life differently than I do.  All of us come to know Him in a different way.  Perhaps right now you may not feel Him at all.

But how can we recognize Him unless we first awaken to the reality of His existence?

And what greater day than today to awaken your souls to truly finding Him?

 

 

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”   ― Roald Dahl

The Joy of Starting Over

Sometimes you have those moments in your life where you realize that you are not the person that you want to be.  In those moments, you have two options.  You either remain on the path to nowhere, focusing on your mistakes and everything you’ve done wrong, or you make a decision.  You find the courage in your heart to start a new path.  You make a decision to change.  And once you make that decision, you can’t go back.  You can’t revert to the old.  You have become totally new.  Your old self disappears and you start over.  Not only do you decide to move forward, but in that moment the Atonement of Jesus Christ takes full force and literally cleanses your past.  He takes away all of your baggage and makes you clean.  He heals you.  He carries you.  He lifts you.  And He helps you become who you need to become.

And so now you have the moment come in your life where you realize that you are not your past.  You are not your weaknesses.  You are not your mistakes.  Through the infinite mercy and love of Jesus Christ, you are whole and filled–filled with light, hope, love, charity, and joy.  And armed with each of those things, you move forward to become the person that Heavenly Father has created you to become.