The Hike up Spirit Mountain

Everyone is on their very own spiritual journey. We always have Christ to be there with us, but sometimes, He sends a friend along to help share, to lift and to love. Sometimes, He will send your friend YOU.

Imagine yourself living this story. Imagine it is real. Imagine your best buddy. They need help. And you are the only one who can be there.

I’d tell you to close your eyes and imagine but…well…you can’t…you gotta read:)

***LET’S TAKE A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY***


You just came back from the most epic hike of your entire life.

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You just climbed to the top of Spirit Mountain.

Not many people have done it and you feel great! You take a second and look back at all the preparation it took. Not only had you worked hard to get your body in peak form, but you had put hours into studying the scriptures and praying…you were hiking to the top of Spirit Mountain so of course you needed to prepare spiritually too! Now that you’re back from the hike, you can’t contain yourself. You just HAVE to get out and share this experience with you best buddy! You’ve caught the spirit of Spirit Mountain and you want your buddy to have this spirit too! So you hop in your car and you drive 5 over the speed limit the entire way to his house because you just can’t wait to tell him! You screech to a halt in front of his house and the car is hardly in park before you’re already out the car door and knocking on his door.

*knock knock knock*

Your foot is tapping and your excitement mounts as the seconds pass. Finally, after what seems like an eternity, your friend opens the door. Your excitement bubbles over and you just start gushing about your amazing hike and trip. Your buddy lets you in and can hardly sit down before you are telling him all about your hike! The great exercise it was, the amazing scriptures you read,

                  the testimony you gained of Joseph Smith,

                                             and the closer to Heavenly Father you feel.

                                                                                             You look into your friend’s eyes

and his curiosity has been piqued!!

The spirit that you gained on Spirit Mountain comes rushing back with full force and you invite him to climb Spirit Mountain with you.

He hesitates a bit

You realize that he’s nervous! He’s not sure if he’s ready for that yet. You encourage him to exercise every day to be physically ready and then you teach him how to pray. You place a copy of the Book of Mormon in his hands and tell him to read it. You teach him where it came from and you invite him to prepare for this hike up Spirit Mountain.

It’s silent for a minute as you anxiously await his answer…

                                                  …he looks down for a bit…

…and then looks up with a smile.

two-ym-scriptures-618390-galleryHe says YES!!

Over the next few weeks you meet up with him and teach him more to help him prepare. Finally, after much anticipation, the day arrives! It’s time for you both to hike Spirit Mountain.


As you reach the bottom of the mountain, you both look up and see the peak of Spirit Mountain.

You look over at your buddy and you can tell he’s a little nervous. You put your arm around his shoulders and remind him how amazing reaching the top of the mountain will be…

You invite him to say a prayer,

                 asking for strength to make it to the top of the mountain

                                                                                               and for the experience to be worthwhile. family-hiking-1309815-gallery

As he is offering his prayer, you are filled with memories of how wonderful your climb up Spirit Mountain was and once he says “amen” you excitedly pull him up the trail. As you are hiking, you see many incredible sights of nature. There is a doe and her fawn grazing in the distance, majestic waterfalls to the side of the trail and many more wonderful sights, but you know your purpose and you don’t want to distract your buddy from making it to the top of Spirit Mountain.

Whenever your buddy stumbles or begins to lose faith, you encourage him by telling him all about your climb and how rewarding it was to reach the summit. You promise him that as long as you stay on the trail and follow the trail markings, you will make it to the top. You promise you’ll be there every step of the way. And you are.


The moment your feet reach the top of Spirit Mountain you are just overcome.

You feel like you could do anything in the entire world!

The Spirit testifies to you that what you have been teaching your buddy is true. All that preparation was worth it, and all the struggles with your friend were worthwhile. This is why you were so pumped to get your friend up Spirit Mountain! You wanted him to feel this feeling!

You look over at him.

He is just beaming with silent tears coursing down his cheeks

and you know.

You know that after all of his hard work he finally understands. He now has felt the power that you kept promising would come. He now knows for himself.

You might even say, he has finally been converted.


And Heavenly Father sent and needs YOU to be there for them

every step of the way

🙂 😀 🙂


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The Life of a Lemon turned Lemonade

safe_image3SHGRDD0“When life gives you lemons…”safe_image3SHGRDD0

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We’ve all heard that one before. It doesn’t matter how well-meaning the person may be, you can only hear ‘look on the bright side’ so many times.

But what does this phrase really mean?? I mean REALLY MEAN??

10848017_10205375789461378_6187683943226732972_n…well…

to me…it means a whole lot more than just making lemonade:)

There is so much to learn from the seven little words that make up this well-known adage. Let’s find out what:)

First off…WHEN: What a word to start with! This phrase could have started off with ‘if’ but instead we learn that lemons in our life are not a matter of if, but when. We all have them. They come during different stages of our life and often can’t be predicted. So because we know that they will come, we need to build up our spiritual reserves through scripture study and prayer. We must prepare NOW for those ‘lemons’ that are coming! As Thomas S. Monson, a modern day prophet said, “When the time for decision comes, the time for preparation is past.” Decide NOW how you will react when they come your way.

LIFE: The period between the birth and death of a human being. That is the New Oxford definition for life. So we can determine that the period that we will experience these ‘lemons’ is from birth until death. You might think I’m strange, but that is actually comforting to me! My religious beliefs center around something called the Plan of Salvation which teaches that after life on this earth, we will have a period of rest and we will be fully whole and healed from anything and everything we suffered from in this life. Because of my religious beliefs, I have faith that one day all that is unfair in this life will be made up. So while it may seem like an eternity that our trials last, I love knowing that compared to eternity, these ‘lemons’ are but a small moment:)

Next is GIVES: The word ‘gives’ implies a gift. It’s as simple as that! 10686857_10205220480898761_7867205737770626216_nThese trials in our life are given to us because God trusts us to learn and grow from them. He trusts us. I can’t think of any gift greater than the trust that God has given me to learn and grow and become more like Him!

YOU: You are loved by your Heavenly Father. You are important to Him. He knows you by name. You matter. Don’t forget that as you go through this life:)

Up next…LEMONS: They are all different. For me, it seems like my medical issues never cease. For others, it’s depression or financial troubles or family problems…the list is endless! But that’s exactly what we need to remember…nobody’s trials are the same. We all have different capacities and different strengths and weaknesses. The Lord knows what we are capable of and we “will not be tested above that which we have strength.” What a promise! I believe that one of the biggest tests we go through in this life are not our own personal ‘lemons,’ but how we respond to those ‘lemons’ in other’s lives. That is the true test of life:)

10256963_10204837574006328_5011729511514574556_n 10646752_10204837546925651_8467556379012956641_nMake: President Thomas S. Monson said again, “Work will win when wishy washy wishing won’t.” Oh the truth of that statement!! Work is required for us to overcome our trials! We can’t just sit around hoping for an easier or better life…it is part of God’s plan for us to learn and grow. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really learn anything if I’m not being challenged. It is up to us to make the most of our ‘lemons,’ it’s not up to somebody else to do it for us.

Finally…LEMONADE: The reward at the end. The part where you cross the finish line, fists pumping the air and hollering in victory. The ‘lemonade’ is the moment when finally it all makes sense. Here’s a story I love that sums it all up for me:

“Years ago I read of an African-American who rose from humble circumstances to become the general counsel of General Motors, without question one of the most lucrative and prestigious positions for a lawyer in all the world. As a boy he was poor; he was required to obtain his education through efforts that were heroic and under circumstances that were difficult in the extreme. He was required to work one and even two menial, dirty jobs regularly, and, if I am not mistaken, occasionally three. He was asked if he felt uncomfortable among the highest-paid executives in the world. His answer was no. He said that most of them had been poor boys, like him, who had worked their way up being tested, challenged, threatened, and discouraged. Adversity is the refiner’s fire that bends iron but tempers steel.” (President James E. Faust)

So as I have gone through my 20 years of life I have learned this from that over-quoted phrase:

The true meaning of life is not about getting rid of the lemons in your life, but rather enjoying the process of making that lemonade.

For it is in the journey that we find the JOY.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Poem to a Weary Missionary

No matter how difficult the road may become, always remember WHO has traveled it and will always be traveling it with you.


imagesQK6AH2IZEach step felt like a thousand,

Another person dropped.

Again no one had listened,

The work, I felt, had stopped.

Like many servants before,

My situation not unique,

I fell to my knees, my heart cried out,

It was comfort I did seek.

While on my knees I cried out loud,imagesBCLN0L47

My despair was plain to see.

I wept, and like the Son before, asked

“Why hast Thou forsaken me?”

I finished and for a moment

I waited for a light,

But the moment then turned to minutes

So I retired for the night.

I dreamt I was in a meadow,images4A73RQ0R

The distance held mountain peaks.

A man then sat before me

And then proceeded to speak:

“You seem to be downtrodden,

Your spirit appears distraught.

You feel you have been abandoned,

In the snares of doubt, you’re caught.”

He asked me, “What’s the reason?”sdfg

His eyes were locked on mine.

“I no longer feel his presence,” I said,

“It’s like somebody cut His line.

I haven’t seen a baptism,

No success has come when I knocked.

I’ve tried,” I said, “to do my best

But the windows of heaven seem locked.”

imagesD2RW7OTBHe looked away a moment

Then turned back towards me.

His eyes now glistened with unshed tears

Unashamed for me to see.

“I cried just like you did tonight

When my father was hidden from view.

But being alone was necessary

So I would know how to comfort you.”

                    My eyes were suddenly opened,

                    My heart then filled with grief.

                    I cried aloud to the Lord my God

                    “Help Thou my unbelief!”

He then embraced me in his arms,imagesZE7QKW0N

His love was strong and pure.

“My sister,” He said, “you are doing well.

Now to the end you must endure.

You haven’t moved any mountains.

The sea you did not part.

But you have power alike to theirs,

You can reach out, heart to heart.

untitledI have entrusted you this power,

The field is ready to reap.

The work you have been called to do

Is to gather my lost sheep.

But the numbers do not matter

If only one conversion you do.

You will not leave a failure

If that one convert is you.”

He finished with a smilewoman-taken-in-adultery-948871-gallery

And wiped my teary eyes,

“I stayed faithful to my Father’s work,

Now go, and do thou likewise.”

As I watched Him walk away

I awoke with a start.

My faith renewed, I fell to my knees

And pledged to do my part.

10646746_10204837533565317_4336137220773074402_nNow as we go knocking

In the heat or bitter cold,

I know, like the Parable of the Talents,

At judgment I want to be told:

“I called you to go labor

And find thy wayward friends.

Well done, my dear good servant,

Thou hast been faithful to the end.”

😀 😀 😀

-Sista Carroll

When All is Said and Done…


Life is a journey; it is not achieved in one giant leap, but merely in the tiny steps we take each and every day. And when all is said and done will I, and more importantly will He, be pleased with my journey?


 When all is said and done

As the season slips away,


November 1994

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I open my eyes for the first time. I feel the warmth of an embrace. It’s my mom. I would know her anywhere! My life is full of firsts: first bottle, first car ride, first Christmas. I’m surrounded by a loving family. I waited so long to come down to them. Now I am here.


When I’ve taken steps beyond my sight

Will I find my strength in greater light?


Now I’m a toddler

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A time of curiosity, activity, and restlessness. Dashing across the street and getting into cabinets keeps me and Mom busy. Sitting still in the pews at church is just too much to bear, and I’ve had just about enough of this whole “big sister” thing. I sit through seemingly endless Family Home Evenings, but I’m learning. I am learning about Jesus. I am learning that He lives. And I am learning that He loves me.


Will my courage grow with every passing day?

And will my faith be constant as the setting sun

When all is said and done?


It’s GREAT to be EIGHT!

I’m so excited! My whole eight years has been leading up to this moment. I’m going to be baptized! My whole family has comeuntitled to support me in this decision. My white clothing makes me feel so clean and happy. I don’t know everything about Jesus yet, but I know this is what is right. I feel good about being baptized, and my parents say that’s the Holy Ghost confirming to me that I am making the right decision. I like that feeling. And I get to have this feeling with me all the time after I am baptized. I think I’m going to like that.


When all is said and done,

And the years have turned to gold,

Will my life become a legacy

of the things that matter most to me?


An early teen…Heaven help us!

I am so nervous! I just got my first job! I’m working at an amusement park selling games…what was I 296070_2059476532809_589324865_nthinking applying for this job?! I am so shy! After my whole brain surgery I felt like I was regaining my confidence. But a job?! In sales? Man…I’m, like, crazy. But, ya know, I’ve done some pretty crazy things to push my confidence recently, like singing in a competition and traveling the world…

2434_1087452073696_4800372_n 10392074_1193964216433_4151989_n This shouldn’t be so hard right? And I earned my Young Women Medallion from church and strengthened my testimony of the Savior. I can do this job. With Christ, I can do hard things. Right?


 Will the fire of faith burn bright as I grow old?

And will I want to be the person I’ve become

When all is said and done?


High School = Confidence

Man, I just love high school! Friends, clubs, work, choir…everything is so different than I imagined! Choir president, DECA Business club national competitor, promoted to management at work, National Honor Society President…

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What a turn around from Junior High! Am I still shy? You bet I am. But I overcome it each and every day by relying on my Savior and His love for me. He is with me always, and because I know that, I can make it past every hurdle thrown in my path. I know that everything I have achieved so far in life is because He is watching over me. Seeing all these blessings in my life makes me want to help others find these blessings. I hope…ah snap…I have a paper to write that’s due tomorrow…TTYL!!


 When all is said and done,

When my eyes can finally see,

Will I glory in the sweet release

and will mercy fill my soul with peace?


Moving Up and Moving On

947392_10201274665495842_1583503899_nThe car’s unloaded, my parents have kissed me goodbye…I’m all alone in my new dorm room. It seems like just yesterday I was graduating from High School! Now I’m about to start college…man I’m old! I have no idea what I’m going to major in or how I’m going to make new friends, but I’m excited to begin this new adventure! My new singles ward at church seems really nice, and now that I’m on my own, I am in charge of my spiritual education as well. I’ve been praying and studying the scriptures, and I really feel like the Lord wants me to go serve Him on a mission. I’m nervous but excited to go spread the gospel to some place in the world that is unknown to me! In a few weeks I’m going to find out when and where I will be serving for a year and a half…EEP!!!  But until then…I really should figure out where all my classes are… 🙂


Will I kneel and wonder at the Savior’s feet?

Will I hear Him say “well done,”

when He sees who I’ve become?


The Present is a Present to Me

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I am now 19 going on 20. In my short twenty years, it astounds me how much I have grown and how much I still have to grow! My call from the Lord came, and I am now serving Him in Chicago, Illinois. Looking back, I am able to see all the small miracles that happened in my everyday life that got me to where I am now, and now I am able to witness miracles all around me here in Illinois. This time I have right now to serve the Lord with all my heart and energy is precious to me. Through the ups and the downs, the smiles and the frowns, I am becoming who He wants me to become. It’s through the everyday decisions that we make that we become the person we will be in eternity. We cannot just sit stagnant. We must ACT.  So here’s the big question–

Are YOU willing working towards Christ–for eternity?

It’ll be worth it.

🙂 🙂 🙂


Will I live with Him

When all is said and done?


Stand Up! A Glimpse into my Beliefs

With social pressures and opportunities arising to have a “good time”, why do I choose to say no to a drink or cigarette, walk out of a movie, and not wear the trending style? When “everyone else is doing it” and “just once won’t hurt you” are popular phrases going around these days, why do I still go against the crowd and stick out? It all comes down to the core of my beliefs. My beliefs center on my Heavenly Father and the fact that He has given me an immeasurable gift–my body.

The body is an amazing network of nerves, bones, muscles, organs, and much more working together in harmony to give us the gift of life. There is a delicate balance needed to maintain the optimal function of this priceless gift. I believe in taking the best care possible of my body and I try not to take anything in that will harm me. In my religion, we do not believe in drinking alcohol, smoking, or doing drugs. We try to keep our bodies as pure and clean as possible so that our bodies can function to the full capacity that our Father in Heaven intended. As we show respect to our bodies, we show respect to our Creator.

So yeah, sometimes I stick out like a sore thumb for not drinking and stuff, but hey…

1973307_10203393653589220_1302023978_o …who ever said you can’t have some good ol’ fashioned fun with a chocolate milk “cheers”?! 😉

But with the things I don’t believe in doing, comes the things that I do believe in doing! And that is taking things into my body that will help me become and stay healthy. Also, staying active and exercising help me to keep this gift that Heavenly Father has given me healthy and strong.

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So I DEFINITELY believe in eating healthy and taking care of my body.

I mean…who doesn’t just love to eat?!

I know I do 😉

I’ve also learned and believe that we are affected by our surroundings. I try not to participate in any activity that makes me feel dark, dreary, or uncomfortable. Yes…that has meant walking out of a movie theater when the film gets inappropriate and asking my peers to refrain from swearing around me. It’s not always the easiest thing to do. But I know that I am becoming the person I want to be and the person my Heavenly Father wants me to be because I know what I believe, and I follow through. And I mean…

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Nobody’s ever too old to enjoy a classic Disney movie right?? 😉

Another ever-present temptation for me is to alter the way that I dress to what everyone else around me is wearing. I mean, while everyone around me is wearing tanktops, short shorts, and bikinis, why do I choose to wear the complete opposite? Well, one reason is because I don’t feel comfortable showing too much skin…it’s a personal thing I guess:) But secondly, going back to my views that our bodies are a gift from our Heavenly Father, I want to dress in a way that shows respect to myself and to my Creator. I believe that my body is a temple, and since a temple represents purity and righteousness, I want to dress this “temple” that Heavenly Father has given me in a similar way. I find myself more confident and outgoing when I dress in the way that I believe my Father in Heaven would want me to.

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I may not be wearing the most trendy or current fashions as the rest of the world, but I still try to be “fashionable” in my own way;) And as I decide each morning what to wear, the words of my favorite religious leader ring in my ears…

“Modest is HOTTEST!!”

And you know what? I believe it and I live it! 😀

So those are some of my core standards. I won’t bore you with more:) But I love the life that I have led so far! I’ve been told that I’m missing out on the fun that life has to offer and have been asked why I live the way I do. I tell them that my beliefs are what make me ME! I have found through living my beliefs that they really are good! In the scriptures it reads “by their fruits ye shall know them.” I have tasted the fruit of my beliefs as I have lived them, and I have only seen good come of them. I live my beliefs because they make me happy 🙂 And what is the purpose of this life? 

TO FIND JOY!!

I invite you to go out and find what makes you YOU and stick to it! It is when we stand up for what we believe in that we find what we truly believe. So don’t be afraid when the going gets tough…

STAND UP!!

Because when you stand with God, you never stand alone!

😀 😀 😀

To find out more about what I believe and my religion, visit my profile at: http://www.mormon.org/me/DBCF/Lindsey

If you have any questions, I’m the gal to message! You can find me on FB too 🙂

And don’t forget…SMILE! You’re a child of God!!

 

Filling your Spiritual Potholes

The Book of Mormon teaches us to “come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.” It is a comfort to know that Christ wants us to make our way back to our heavenly home. But, he does not only have a desire for us to return, but He has personally laid the pavement of the path that leads back to heaven and eternity.

Now, some believe that walking this path requires little effort because the pavement has already been laid. That because Christ has already suffered for our sins and died for us, they get to, in a sense, ‘catch a ride’ instead of walking the path. Unfortunately, that is not so.

We must all actively walk the path back to Christ. The path, as we’ve heard many times, is strait and narrow and leads to eternal life. But while the scriptures tell us this path is strait, they do not say that it will be easy.

I’d like to share a short experience. A while ago, I was driving home from school when I came upon some unexpected traffic. I wondered what had happened. As the traffic slowly moved forward, I discovered the reason.

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A car had fallen into a pothole in the road and the damaged vehicle could not get out. The driver’s journey to their destination was halted.

Along our own personal paths back to Christ, we encounter many roadblocks. We may stumble on a rock, get stuck in snow, or fall in a pothole.

big_rockstuck-in-the-snow-by-beige-alertPothole_1911993b

These roadblocks hinder and delay our journey. So it is on our spiritual journey. Sins and mistakes trip us and temporarily halt our progression towards eternity.

When we do hit a spiritual pothole, we sometimes become overwhelmed. In Psalms 38, verse 17, it reads “for I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.” Feelings of guilt, shame, and unhappiness seem to weigh us down to the dark depths of sorrow. We recognize that our actions have been wrong and that we have slipped, gotten stuck or strayed from the strait and narrow path.

It is now, in this depth of despair, in this moment of being lost and full of sorrow, that our merciful Lord extends his emergency response unit.

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This unit includes scripture study, church attendance, and earnest prayer. As we confess our sins through prayer and repent, we receive forgiveness from our father in Heaven and are pulled free from our spiritual pothole.

In the Book of Mormon, Enos is a shining example of repentance and prayer. The book of Enos verses 4 through 6 reads:

   And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.

   And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.

   And I Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.

Enos was so desperate to be free from his sins, that his very soul hungered for relief. Earlier in the chapter, Enos says that he wrestled with God for a remission of his sins. This is how we should pray. If our true desire is to be forgiven of our sins, we need to pray with real intent and full purpose of heart. Kneeling down before our Heavenly Father and asking for forgiveness is an act of faith. Enos continued on by explaining how he received a remission of his sins. Verse 8 says:

   Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.

Having faith is key to repentance. We must believe that Christ lives, and believe that through Him our mistakes will be washed away. We are then relieved from that guilt, and pulled free from that nasty pothole.

But that is not all. After we are back on the path, we promise our father in Heaven that we will turn our hearts away from that original sin. That when we come upon that spiritual pothole again in our path, we will not attempt to go over it, but instead will avoid it completely.

A Pothole in Broadmoor

When we promise this, The Lord knows that our hearts have been changed and that we have sincerely repented.

Although, there are times as we walk this path that we are unable to see those damaging potholes. The adversary darkens the path so we do not recognize the pothole until we are already upon it. We attend a movie that has a little more violence than we thought. Our friends dress under the standards of modesty, and we desire to fit in. You’re invited to a party where there will be alcohol. These are types of potholes that Satan tries to darken.

Sometimes, we are able to safely drive over the darkened pothole, escape the party without drinking or walk out of the movie theater. Other times, since we are unaware of the pothole, we are taken by surprise, and fall into the hole of temptation. The adversary knows that if he can catch us when we least expect it, that it is easier to fall into the temptation and sin.

Fortunately for us, our pathway doesn’t ever need to be dark.

light of christ

Our Savior has provided light all along our path so that we can see those spiritual potholes. But we can’t expect our path to be lit if we aren’t willing to pay the electric bill. More and more lights are turned on as we have daily scripture study, morning and evening prayers, attend church, go to seminary, and share the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the light given to guide us through the temptations and potholes of life. When we do slip up, and fall, we always have The Lord to call upon through repentance and forgiveness.

Repentance is one of the steps to baptism. After repentance and baptism, we are made completely clean.

247586_web_new010810pothole1Hilly Road

Our path undergoes construction and all the previous potholes are filled. So when we look back at our previous path, we are not wracked up in our guilt by seeing those potholes or sins we had previously fallen in to.

But the path ahead is still full of spiritual potholes and temptations. But we are comforted to know, that each week we have the opportunity to repent and partake of the sacrament. In doing so, we renew our baptismal covenants and become completely clean again. Our path undergoes construction every week. We don’t have to live in the past and remember our guilt. Instead, our Savior washes away those sins and guilt and fills those potholes that He remembers our sins no more. And as Moroni says in chapter 6 verse 8:

But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven.

We can repent as often as we need. No one is too deep into a spiritual pothole or has hit too many to repent. Through sincere repentance, we all can be pulled free from sin time and time again because of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Through Jesus Christ, we can have those second, and third, and fifty-seventh chances:)

 

The Miracle of Trials

The Miracle of Trials? What kind of a title is that? Who would ever consider a trial to be good, much less a miracle? Well, I humbly submit my feelings that trials in this life are indeed miracles. I would like to explain myself through examples and personal experiences. I’ll begin with a narrative of a man in the Old Testament:

I was a just and righteous man who feared God and served Him with all my might. I was well-off for I had many riches, livestock, and ten beautiful children. I had indeed been blessed for my righteousness. Satan, however, believed that I would not remain faithful to God if I no longer prospered temporally. The Lord permitted Satan to test me, and soon the trials came. Satan caused my livestock to be taken and sent a strong wind that blew my house down and killed all of my children. Satan cursed me with “sore boils from the sole of [my feet] unto [my] crown.” But I refused to curse God, and when The Lord saw my faithfulness, he ended my suffering and blessed me even more abundantly, even with “twice as much as [I] had before.”

This man was called Job. He experienced trials and hardships for seemingly no reason at all. But through those difficulties, Job grew in ways he wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. The miracle he experienced was personal spiritual growth, and after he had endured his trials well, he received countless blessings from on high. Who knows how Job’s life would have turned out had he not experienced those trials? But because he did, he was refined and polished into an even greater man of God than he was before.

Maybe that is one of the reasons why I feel that trials are miracles. Personal growth. We seem to become stronger in countless ways the more we endure. Take a tree for example. The poet Douglas Malloch expressed this concept in his poem “Good Timber”:
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Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees.
The further sky, the greater length.
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.

Through the wind and the storms, both trees and people grow stronger and better. The trials in my life have shaped me into the confident young woman I am today.

Growing up, I was always pretty shy. I had a great desire to fit in, but was terrified to actually try to do it. As I entered junior high school, that feeling intensified. I’d just come from an elementary that fed into a different junior high, so I was starting out all alone. So you might say my want to make friends was very high. At this time, I began to base my worth on how much I weighed. I figured all the popular girls were stick thin, and with my 13 year old brain, I concluded that I needed to lose weight in order to gain friends. That is when my eating disorder began. For 9 months, I ate little, exercised excessively, and denied that anything was wrong to my parents. The weight did come off, but every time that I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see how much I’d lost. I saw one thing or another that I wanted to change. It had started with losing weight, but now I wasn’t happy with anything on my body. I can assure you that at this time in my life, I was starving not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Something needed to change, but I was so stuck in the anorexic mindset that I just could not get out.

This is where I can visibly see God’s hand in my life. This is where I can say that I know trials are miracles. I was in a dangerous place with my anorexia, and nothing anybody did or said to me got through. But God knew something that would. Nine months after I had started down this slippery slope I was diagnosed with an Arnold Chiari 1 Malformation. That is when the brain doesn’t have enough room in the skull, so it begins to seep down into the spinal column. I was slowly becoming paralyzed. I underwent two major brain surgeries in two weeks, and was in a neck brace for 5 months.

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Some would think that a trial such as this would further demolish my self worth. That I would digress farther and farther, especially since I would be wearing a neck brace for most of my eighth grade year. But I testify to you that God knows each of us perfectly and knows what we need to grow. He gave me a trial that I grew from. Throughout my hospital stay, I literally felt His presence. He gave me strength when I felt I could not stand it any longer; He was with me on those lonely nights in ICU; He surrounded me with countless people who loved and cared for me. I gained my own personal witness that God is my loving Heavenly Father; that He made me the way I am and that He loves me for me.

I learned and grew so much from this trial. After my surgery, I began to talk more openly to people. I felt that this drastic trial in my life was the perfect time to remold myself into the person my Heavenly Father knew I could become. So I became more social, more self confident, and I reached out to do things I had never thought possible. By the time my high school experience ended, I had been president of multiple clubs, promoted to management at work, and was Graduating Student of the Year.

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None of this would have happened had I not been blessed with the trials I had. I went from being a girl who couldn’t even look anyone in the eye to an outgoing, talkative, and motivated young woman who loves to smile at random people:) And I attribute all my progress to my Heavenly Father who knew me perfectly and gave me the trial that I needed in order to refine me and mold me into a more Christ-like daughter of God. A miracle occurred in me personally because of the trials I was given.

I know that everyone experiences different trials in this life. I’m not claiming to know or understand what everyone is going through. But the Savior knows. He knows what Job went through because of the Atonement.

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He knows what I went through because of the Atonement. And He knows what every trial anyone faces in this world feels like because of the Atonement. How can that be? How could He possibly know what EVERY trial feels like? In the Book of Mormon, a verse mentions the condescension of God. As I have studied the word condescension and the life of Jesus Christ, I have gained such light and understanding. Jesus Christ left His kingdom in Heaven and came down to earth. He sank lower than every single person who has and whom will ever live upon this earth. He did that so that when He rose on the third day, He broke ALL the bands of death that would tie any of us down. And we know that we can turn to Him in our direst of trials, because He knows perfectly how to comfort us and help us.

Christ’s life was full of trials. Yet His life was full of miracles. Our lives are full of trials as well. Because of Christ, we can experience miracles throughout our trial-ridden journey. The tricky part is identifying those miracles during the hard times. The lyrics of my favorite song sum up perfectly my feelings about trials in this mortal existence:

What if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights is what it takes to know you’re near?
What if the trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

I’ve found the miracles in my everyday trials. My challenge to you: find and appreciate those miracles yourself!

SMILE!! YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

The Miracle of Sunshine:)

I looked out the window and what did I see? Sadly, not popcorn popping on the apricot tree…but I saw the beautiful sun!

And as I stepped out the door, I felt the warm rays on my face and thought, “this is what Heaven must feel like.” Sunshine is the ultimate therapy for sadness. The warmth that envelops you and the light it sheds on God’s creations is almost impossible to describe. It’s amazing to know that sunshine is one of the many priceless gifts and miracles that Heavenly Father gives to us every single day! What about the rainy days though? He even gives us sunshine on those days too. Let me share a verse from a hymn I love:

Oh there’s sunshine, blessed sunshine when the peaceful happy moments roll. When Jesus shows His smiling face, there is sunshine in the soul. (#227, LDS Hymnbook)

We are given the gift of sunshine every single day through our Savior Jesus Christ that goes directly to our souls.

Now, a soul is the spiritual part of a human being also regarded as immortal. When our souls connect with the Spirit and it recognizes the light of the gospel, we can have sunshine in our souls 24/7! Because of Jesus Christ, we have the knowledge that cloudy days can be made sunny, death isn’t the end, and mistakes can be forgiven. LET THE SUNNY DAYS ROLL ON!!!:)

Caroling is always a popular pastime during the Christmas season. We share the joy found through Jesus with those around us. But why let it end  when the gingerbread is eaten and the tinsel put away?

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Christ is present in our lives year round, so why not “sing” praises to our King throughout the spring showers, the summer heat, and the colorful fall? In all the little things in life, let us have a carol to our King constantly in our minds, our hearts, our souls, and our Facebook posts! 🙂

Caroling? In the summer?! OF COURSE!!