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 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!

Lesson Learned And The Wheel Keeps Turning ♫

Sometimes I feel like life is like a huge Ferris wheel.
This Ferris wheel is always turning; we are in a continual cycle of ups and downs. The interesting thing about this ride is that the pace is never the same– sometimes we seem to slow down at the top and we have times in our life that are wonderful and seem to last forever, but then we are inevitably faced with downs, hard times or trials, which may be short or may take longer than we’d like for the wheel to start slowly moving up again.
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Have you ever felt this before? And if you have, have you ever stepped back and wondered….what is the point?  I mean really, who wants to ride around on an endless Ferris wheel?  If we are in this continual cycle going nowhere, then why even get on?
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Two things.  
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The first: JOY!  Joy in the journey!  I don’t know about you,  but some of the most magnificent scenes I have ever beheld have been the grandeur of looking down on God’s remarkable creations–whether that’s
  • at the top of a Ferris wheel
  • the breathtaking view at the summit of a mountain peak
  • out the window of an airplane
  • from the top of the Eiffel Tower (or any other skyscraper!)
  • etc.
Pretty darn beautiful.  So the next time you are at the lowest of low, just remember that you will once again be at the magnificent top somewhere in the future!  And in the meanwhile–enjoy the ride.  Every single spot you are at on this wheel brings you a different perspective on what is around you, and it can be just as beautiful.
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The second: Here’s where the the difference comes in.  Unlike a Ferris wheel, our ups and downs DO have a point, and they DO get us somewhere.  They shape our hearts, they build our character, they give us experience, they bring us joy, and they fit us for the celestial life to come.  We need to experience the lows in life, otherwise we would never fully appreciate and understand the highs.  We need to face challenges, otherwise we would never truly be shaped into the divine beings that we were designed to become.
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I am personally so grateful for both of these experiences–through the darker times, I have come to learn so much about my Savior and so much about myself.  I can honestly say that I am building an unshakable foundation in Jesus Christ and His Gospel that cannot be rooted up by anything. I still struggle, I am still weak, but truly through Christ I am divinely capable and SO ARE YOU and so is EVERYONE ELSE!  If we have faith, even as a grain of mustard seed, then we can overcome all things, because God can work through us. And does He not have all power? “Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled?” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:31)
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So, enjoy EVERY MOMENT life has to offer you.  Embrace the ups and downs.  Keep having faith and trust in God’s promises! They are REAL and I know He will fulfill His promises to each and every one of us. Look forward with light in your eyes and love in your hearts and know He will bless you with the joy and strength to rise to whatever challenges you are facing!
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And remember, “Count it all joy.” (James 1:2)
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(p.s. ^^ “If there were no ups and downs in life, we would be dead.” 😉 )

Our Purpose. Our Adventure.

Everyone has a plan for their life.  Everyone has a dream.  Everyone wants a happy ending.  Yes, it sounds cliché, but it is true!  I believe that deep down, each one of us wants an adventure.  We want a life worth living, a goal worth achieving—a grand destiny that makes everything we go through in life worth enduring.  Some of us may be avidly working toward that dream.  Some of us may still be searching for what that dream is.  Some of us may have given up—may have buried those hopes deep within us because we have resigned ourselves to the daily grind of mundane life.

Well, I am here to tell you that all of us, every single human being on the face of this earth, have a divine destiny.  We are all part of a marvelous plan—a grand, eternal journey with incomprehensible joy as our reward.  However, like any worthwhile journey, we will face opposition.  After all, can we fully appreciate joy and peace unless we experience, at least for a while, despair and turmoil?  Every good adventure includes darkness and light, failure and triumph, good and evil, strength and weakness.  A hero is not made through enjoying a life of ease, but through learning to overcome obstacles and come off conqueror.

We are children of God.  He created us, and we lived with Him before we came to Earth.  He is our loving Heavenly Father, and He has sent us here for a reason.  He wants us to enjoy all His blessings.  In order to do that, we needed to progress and become more like Him.  And so, here we are!  We are in the middle of our mortal adventures, herein to learn, grow, progress, and gain experiences that will enable us to reach our divine potential.

My fellow seekers of light, let us not be weary in our journey.  Although at some times it may not feel like it, this life is full of wonder and purpose.  In a world that is increasingly full of darkness, let us keep the light of hope.  In the words of Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a living Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ,

What kind of existence can we hope for? Those who come unto Christ, repent of their sins, and live in faith will reside forever in peace. Think of the worth of this eternal gift. Surrounded by those we love, we will know the meaning of ultimate joy as we progress in knowledge and in happiness. No matter how bleak the chapter of our lives may look today, because of the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we may hope and be assured that the ending of the book of our lives will exceed our grandest expectations. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

What will true followers of Christ do if we love Him?  We will keep His commandments.  We will enter in by the gate which He has laid before us—namely: faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  This is the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  This is the only path that leads to eternal happiness.  This is our divine destiny.

I HAVE SET MY PATH.  Have you?