Haven’t you ever had a dream?

This is Rapunzel from the Movie Tangled. You may or may not have seen it, I know I have since coming home from my mission. It’s cute, sometimes its funny and sometimes it’s sad. Overall, I like it. For those of you who haven’t seen it, Rapunzel is stolen as a baby and raised as the wicked Gothel’s daughter, who is never to leave her tower in order to protect her hair from ‘evil people’ that would use and abuse and cut Rapunzel’s hair. However, every year on Rapunzel’s birthday, lights fill the sky-they’re not stars though, and Rapunzel feels as though they are meant for her and she wishes with all of her heart to see them. One day, a thief discovers Rapunzel’s tower in his effort to escape and Rapunzel enlists his help in making her dream come true. Flynn Ryder, Rapunzel’s escort, is a wanted man and so he gets caught and in an effort to save him, Rapunzel screams “Haven’t you ever had a dream?” And she shares her dream, and those who were initially going to give Flynn over to the authorities change their mind. It’s really a delightful movie, one that I wanted to focus on because we all have hopes, and dreams.

We all have the desire to see something or experience something. Eventually, Rapunzel learns that once her dreams come true, she needs to find another dream and she does. I know I’ve done that.  I pretty much had my life planned out until I graduated from high school, once I made it to that point, I was like “now what?” and I had to f ind another dream, create another goal, and move on with my life. Most of my dreams have been tangible, graduating from high school, college, working regularly so I’m out of debt, finishing my mission, going to Europe, finishing my degree, living happily, and so many more! All of these are tangible, and as I reach for them, I can get them. I’ve learned though, that the dreams I have now, the ones that have come to replace the ‘dream come true’s are not as tangible as these are. What I want most, is to be with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again, I want my family to be together forever, something that can only happen through following the Savior. I dream of being with them again! This is a dream that will turn into a reality if I do my part. I can’t just have faith in Christ, I need to act on such faith in following Christ. I love the book of John in the Bible, he quotes Christ as saying “If ye love me, keep my commandments” John 14:15. If we truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we will do and become what He would want us to be.

If we don’t yet fully know if keeping the commandments will bring us happiness, we’re challenged to try it out and see if it will change our lives for the better in turning us to God. “If any man will do his (God’s) will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself (Christ)” John 7:17. I’ve done that for myself and I’ve never been happier in my life. Following Christ has not only brought me great peace and happiness, it’s given me a dream that is only possible through the Savior, Jesus Christ. I can’t get a better dream than that and neither can you!

 

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Thank You

Do you ever just have those days when everything is good. Not that everything goes right or that the world is a perfect place but you have a positive few of everything that is going on in the world? That is how I woke up this morning. I woke up rejoicing in my God, in my world, and the miracles that each of us experiences on a daily basis. For example, a few weeks ago I was playing tag with my younger brother, 9, and my younger sister, 11, on a playground. It was pretty fun except for telling me how woefully out of shape I am. Well we’re running up stairs and sliding things and all manner of goodness when I tried sliding down something similar to this piece of quipment. Sliding down it was painful and I knew immediately that it was going to bruise pretty badly. Guess what? I was right for once. It bruised and it bruised badly. People would see it and say “man it looks like somebody beat you, what happened?” So it was painful at first but I was fine the next day, it was a little tender.

Two weeks later, I’m happy to report that the horrible disgusting bruise is almost completely healed. Now for one who bruises easily and the bruises last forever, I’m thrilled that it’s healing so quickly! I woke up this morning, just astonished at how well it looks and how it’s getting to be so much better. Which lead me to rejoice in my Heavenly Father who was wise enough to make our bodies with the ability and the capacity to heal themselves especially when we do stupid things. I am so grateful that all things denote that there is a God, He is real and HE LOVES US! I am so grateful for this. Whenever I’ve had a moment of reflection today, this thought has crossed my mind and believe you me, it has been one of the best days in a while.

I am so grateful that although this life is not perfect, we can find joy and peace in the good things that God has given us. I’m grateful for His love. I’m grateful for His Son, Jesus Christ, who sacrificed himself so that we might overcome all of the trials and the sicknesses that we may have. I know that our bodies are far from perfection and we suffer as a result. When we hurt, they don’t always heal the way we want them to but I certainly am grateful that Jesus Christ made it possible that we all may have a perfect body some day. I’m grateful for the hope that comes as a result of having the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life and I am especially grateful for a God that loves us enough to give us more than one witness that Christ came for everybody on this Earth. Thank you Heavenly Father!!!

Father’s hugs

So I’ve been pondering this whole life thing, as of late, and the end of my mission was really the beginning of the rest of my life and everything that the mission has helped me create in myself. I loved my mission with all of my heart. There is something so special about constantly testifying of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and I will always remember it fondly. Of course I look back and try my best to see all of the good but it’s not hard by any means to see the rough times either. I remember talking with one of my companions when everything was so hard and we just wanted to have a fathers hug. I know there have been times in my life where I’ve been needing something and just wanting relief and I’ve turned to my father and have found that comfort and I know there were times on my mission where I really just wanted a hug from my Dad. He was only 1700 miles away.

Now that I’m home and I have access to my Dad, it really hasn’t been the easiest transition back into ‘normal life’ I feel like my life as a missionary was normal and something that I could do forever though I’m happy to see my family and to hug all of them again. Though it’s been wonderful seeing my family and re-entering society as a normal person (which I don’t think I will ever actually fully fit that description by any means), I’ve felt lost. I know that I control my future at this point and it’s a scary prospect and there are times that I just want to break down and cry. In those moments, that’s when I feel the love of my Father-my Heavenly Father. He knows how I am feeling and He knows how I can overcome this sense of loss. Now all I have to do is my part, I have to continually turn to Him and His words, in the scriptures, and I will once again feel that peace and I have.

In those moments where I feel the weakest, I can reach for my Father and be comforted. Just as I once longed for a hug from my Dad, I now long for a hug from my Father and to feel of that continuous peace and reassurance. Luckily, it’s something I can look for, seek after, and find on a daily basis. I just have to reach for Him and He’s there. If I do my part, if I work on my part of my personal relationship with my Father in Heaven, with His Son Jesus Christ, I will feel the peace of the Holy Ghost in my life. Just like Christ promises in John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Oh what marvelous comfort and what marvelous joy which can be found in the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They invite all men and women everywhere to repent and to taste of such peace.

Testify of Christ

One thing that has always stuck out to me on my mission is the fact that so many people have a testimony and a witness of Jesus Christ. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve spoken to that have a wonderful witness that Jesus Christ is their personal Savior and Redeemer. It’s something that I’ve found so much glory and so much hope in. People believe in Jesus Christ. That is something that I love, I’m so grateful for the goodness of people. People are much better than I tend to give them credit for, which I’m grateful to be wrong.

After receiving that witness of Christ, it is our obligation and our duty to share our happiness and the joy that we’ve found in the knowledge that Jesus is the Christ. My companions and I were reading out of the Book of Mormon with someone the other day and we were reading in the book of Alma about a prophet named Alma who is calling the people to repentance, to change, to turn back to God. He then shares his testimony of Jesus Christ and how he came to know it for himself. This is approximately 83 years before the coming of Christ. “…I say unto you, that I know that Jesus Christ shall come, yea, the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth. And behold, it is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world, yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name.”  After that, Alma states what his calling is. “And now I say unto you that this is the order after which I am called, yea, to preach unto my beloved brethren, yea, and every one that dwelleth in the land; yea, to preach unto all, both old and young, both bond and free; yea, I say unto you the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation; yea, to cry unto them that they must repent and be born again.” (Alma 5:48-49

Now there are many forms of preaching and teaching about Jesus Christ that take place. St. Francis of Assissi said “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words” I’ve been preaching the gospel with words and with authority for the past 18 months, which isn’t very long. I’ve been held to a high standard all of my life though. I haven’t always lived up to this standard but through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I have been healed of many of my hurts and overcome many of my mistakes and that’s why the message of repentance is so vital. Christ can and hals helped me in my times of trial and in my times of grief and I’m so grateful.

I’ve been using words to spread the gospel for a long time now, I’m excited to begin preaching the gospel through my example and my words. It’s a wonderful thing.

Just around the river bend….

I look once more. For those of you that don’t know, this is from Pocahontas. Ok so how often do you find yourself singing Disney songs? I know I do it still. I’ll get a random urge and the songs just come bursting forth, I always feel badly for those that have to hear me but I love Disney songs and amazingly enough, there are great lessons to be learned in some of them.

This song is especially one that I loved singing as a child. I really wanted to be Pocahontas so badly but knew that I never could. Now that I’m a little bit older I can see the value of what she was contemplating. Often we’re making life changing decisions that will affect us in ways that we can’t even imagine. Sometimes I seem to make those decisions in a snap but other times I hem and haw my way through until I’m forced to make a decision. Sometimes I don’t feel bad when sitting in a restaurant and I don’t make my mind up until the server arrives and is asking me what I want. Other times I can’t do that.

Today I wanted to compare us to the river. Pocahontas loved the adventurous water and kept bringing surprises around each corner. Her father loved the steady moving water-it wasn’t fast, it wasn’t exciting but it was moving. Of course, if we are to be like that water than we need to be continually moving forward and getting to where we need to be. This is how our progression towards God can be. We either move forward very quickly or we move forward steadily but we can always be moving forward.  Sadly, I know I’ve reached points in my life and especially on my mission where I seem stuck, almost like a dam in a river. Dams stop our progression and keep us from going to where we want to go. Now in real life, dams can be quite useful but spiritually, you don’t want to be dammed.

We want to keep moving forward and we want to continue to learn and move closer to our Father in Heaven. We can overcome those spiritual obstacles that keep us from our Father through prayer, through scripture study, through service, through becoming more and more like our Father in Heaven and then we will no longer be damned and we can experience true joy.

Like a river, always looking towards the next bend, being prepared for anything and witht he Lord on our side, we can take on any white water, any tricky bends, any currents, open water, waterfalls, or whatever nature or life throws our way. Don’t get trapped in the idea that you’re stuck forever when you get stuck because you can change, you can have that joy and you can continue to overcome anything and everything.

A Perilous Terrain

So I love dirt roads. I love bumpy dirt roads that it feels like you are surrounded by potholes the size of Montana! It’s fun to drive on them and go slow when you don’t want a jarring experience or to go fast and get an adrenaline rush. It’s an adventure to go off roading and see how much of nature you can conquer and overcome. Nature is fun!

It can also be some perilous terrain. Sometimes you choose what’s coming next and if you are on a certain pathway then sometimes things just get in the way that you have to overcome. Of course, that’s exactly what this life is like. Sometimes we choose the pace that we travel at and at other times, we just have to roll with the punches. Luckily we have a loving Father in Heaven that helps us along our perilous journey without Him. He gave us the plan of salvation or the plan of happiness so that we can know the purpose of this life and how to overcome it through our Savior, Jesus Christ. He’s also given us a lot of tools to get to where we want to go.

So if we’re wanting to offroad or go jeeping. We need the tools to actually do it. We wouldn’t just want our shoes to get over everything that you need to do. You can’t just use shoes to get over lives problems. It’s the same thing with a 10 speed bike. Yes you’ll get to your destination faster but overcoming some of those trials just isn’t going to happen the way that the Lord intends you to do it. Now if you are in a front wheel drive car, it’s still not going to be the same thing as having an all wheel drive vehicle thats is going to help you get to where you want to.

Now we can choose how much we want our Heavenly Father in our life. We choose how much help we are going to accept and if we allow Him to help us. It’s like having that all wheel drive vehicle that will help you overcome any obstacle and help you withstand any climb. If we choose anything less than that or we deceive ourselves, by having a vehicle that’s not fully prepared or we’re not following the plan of salvation or the gospel of Jesus Christ perfectly, it’s like being in a front or back wheel drive car. You’re going to get stuck. The nice thing is, we don’t have to have a lot of money or be perfect or anything like that to upgrade to the vehicle of our choice. To accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, we just have to do what the Lord would have us do. He wants us to follow Christ, to feel of His peace and to overcome all that perilous terrain successfully!

“And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”                                                                                                  Mark 10:27