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.

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Looking to fill the void

So have you ever asked yourself questions and never seem to find answers that satisfy? I know I have. I’ve asked myself, where I came from? why I’m here? is there a purpose to this life? Does God love me? Does He even exist?

I know I’ve asked myself these questions and before I even really gave religion a chance, I figured there was no point and there was no purpose. I figured that I had all the answers and that I could do whatever I wanted to do. Unfortunately, it took me a long time to realize that I was still searching for meaning, I was still searching for a purpose and a point. I was actually looking for some kind of value for myself. That’s when I started checking out religions again.

It seems that when we’re searching, it doesn’t matter where we look or what we do, our spirits are never fully satisfied so we keep filling our hearts with junk. We keep trying to fill ourselves up with something but I know for myself, I was never satisfied! It didn’t matter what changes I brought in or what things I tried, I wasn’t satisfied and I kept searching.

Fortunately I started looking for happy people and wanted the happiness that they had. I found some very happy people in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I actually started paying attention to what my parents were trying to teach me, what I was supposed to be learning in sunday school and what people had been trying to tell me all along. I decided that this was something that I wanted, I wanted that void, that black hole to be gone, I wanted to be satisfied. I started trying out what it says in the Book of Mormon “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of CHrist, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things.” Moroni 10:4-5. We can know the truth of ALL THINGS! That is an awesome promise.

I testify to you, that the void that was in my life is gone. My questions have received answers and my heart and spirit has been satisfied. I know that Jesus Christ is the only way that we can return to be with our Father in Heaven. I know that God loves me and that He loves you and that He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to pay the punishment for our sins so that we can be made clean. We don’t have to be weighed down and burdened by our guilt and our shame but we can be forgiven and we can find happiness. We can experience true freedom and then we can take joy in this wonderful world around us. How thankful I am, that God loves us enough to give us gifts so that we can return to be with Him. Thank you, thank you Heavenly Father!

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

Life is a treadmill

 Have you ever just looked at a treadmill? Just look at one and notice that the only way to move on it is forward. When you’re on one, it takes work to stay on it. It takes some effort to stay on the thing and sometimes we control the intensity of the work out and sometimes we choose one of the workouts and it will push us. The purpose is to push us to new levels and to help us improve in some aspect of our lives. It just depends on the goals that you have. If you want to lose weight, than you pick a cardio work out, if you want to push yourself to the extreme of how fast you can go, then you do that.

Life is a treadmill. You choose to get on it and once you do, you choose the intensity of the pace that you want, you choose if you want to have an incline or not, if your treadmill gives you that option, and you move forward.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the same way. Getting into the gospel of Jesus Christ is like stepping on a treadmill. We’re meant to move forward and be pushed to our limits. Sometimes we choose the pace at which we are going to progress and other times, Heavenly Father pushes us to levels that we never thought we could reach. I think of the examples in the scriptures. In the Book of Mormon, the first prophet’s name is Lehi. He chooses to follow God and when he does that, he sees a vision, is given the revelation to leave Jerusalem and come to ‘the promised land’ on the American continent. I’m sure that when Lehi chose to follow God that he never thought that he would take his family and leave the land that he was raised in. Then he was brought to the American continent and his family became two great nations. They also knew about our Savior Jesus Christ and they also had their times of good and bad and it culminated in Christ coming to visit Lehi’s descendants. I’m sure he never realized how much the Lord would push him but I’m sure glad that Lehi stayed on his treadmill for it has changed my life and so many other lives. It has brought me so much closer to my Heavenly Father with more knowledge of our Savior.

Do you know what your limits are? Are you ready to blow past those limits with God on your side? I know I sure am. I don’t know how strong the Lord wants me to be but I know that He is going to take me places that I never thought possible.