Where Can I Turn For Peace?

Peace of mind.  What a gift.  You don’t realize how wonderful it is until you don’t have it.  For years I lacked peace of mind.  I could function just fine most of the time.  But there was always this dark cloud following me around-if I started to feel great and happy, it was there to steal the peace.  Most of the time I tried to ignore it, but it would flair up here and there and I would try and face it, defeat it, please it.  “What can I do to make you leave me alone?!”  I tried to do all I could to feel good, and sometimes I just tried to function and go through the motions.  I thought this was just how life was.  I knew heaven had to be better than this, and I hoped that maybe, just maybe, I could get in.  I really thought I would stand before God when I died and hang my head in shame as He would let me know how disappointed He was in me.  I am so glad I was wrong!

Like a light in a dark cave, the Lord taught me that this nagging guilt that followed me around for years was not Him.  It was never, ever Him.  Nor was it reality.  But when I would feel bad about myself, I would withdraw-most of all I withdrew from God.  I just thought these guilty, nagging feelings were true and I thought they came from God to try and get me to be a better person.  If I could just try harder.  If I just had more (fill in the blank gospel principle).  I thought many “good” opportunities that came up needed to be done, or that I was a loser and didn’t have what it takes to be a saint.  It all felt so hard!  I had been viewing life through a guilt filter-and I discovered this was not only not God-but of the devil and to heed it not!  Don’t even let it in.  The scales began to fall from my eyes and this led me to having a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father.

And through the grace of a loving Savior, I began to taste of the love of God.  It felt so good!  And it wasn’t because I earned it…it was a gift.  And I know it is a gift available to all who come unto Christ.  Not be a good person and then come to Christ, but come now and any time.  It is never too late.  There is never anything too big or too small for the Lord.  He heals us.  I feel like I’ve found the secret to life:) This is the indescribable joy that I thought only came in glimpses and here a little and there a little.  I didn’t know that life could feel this good.

I can be still.  And have peace of mind.  Now when thoughts that lack peace come-I can know that it’s an absence of God’s spirit.  This isn’t God.  Whether it’s a condemning thought about myself or someone else…whether it’s a lack of peace when I’m trying to do my will and not God’s…whether it’s something I just need to say no to.  If the feeling lacks peace-let it go.  And come unto Christ.  He shines light on confusion and darkness and He can help us see things as they really are.  It is absolutely essential to stay close to Him-so we don’t forget where our true worth comes from and how loved we are.  And if we’ve never felt that love, to come unto Him so He can give us the gift.

Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh, receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened.  3rd Nephi 27:29

I love this article my sister sent me…reminds me of how light and loving a pathway with God feels:

http://ldsmag.com/article-1-4724/

Releasing Judgment

Like my last post, I had a pretty cool experience with some new information.  This experience I’m about to relate happened a week after my experience with the perfection seed being planted.  I know they’re related and intertwined, like everything in life-but I struggle to put into words what it all means.  Both experiences and “one-liners” were heaven sent and have been changing my view of the world.  But I didn’t just embrace them both and run with it…I had to mull it over-a lot.  I wondered how it could be and how it could fit into my understanding of life up to this point.  Anyhow, here’s what happened…

I was talking to a woman about judging and I was telling her how I struggle with judging-that I didn’t want to judge others and knew it was wrong, but it was a struggle for me.  She said, “Stop judging yourself.”  Ok imagine hallelujah, clouds departing and angels singing.  Which isn’t what I saw, but in hind sight-I felt like it was a pivotal moment for me that would alter my world big time.  But it was a totally new idea for me.  I argued with her for a bit, “I know I shouldn’t judge others-but if I don’t judge myself, who will keep me in line?  How will I behave??”  She reminded me there is only one judge and it’s not me.

I know this information came at exactly the right time.  The year before, I had thought God was harsh and punishing, and I’d been learning how wonderfully wrong I was.  I felt like I’d been on a love journey with the divine and was getting glimpses of  how loving and kind our Father is.  I saw the cover of a book the other day that said, “God’s Message to the World”, and the cover had a picture of the earth with a sticky note that said, “You’ve got me all wrong.”  I haven’t read the book but I was in love with the cover-and could say “Amen!” to that.  I am so glad I got Him all wrong.  I can’t get enough of Him!

Well I knew I needed the “Stop judging yourself” message.  This made sense to me, and yet I had spoken this judging language with myself for so long-learning to release judgment with myself has been like learning a new language.  It’s been several months since this message and with time and practice, I’m starting to grasp it.  The more I think this way-the more love I feel in my life.  I keep catching myself since it was previously my go-to way of thinking.  Wow, I can’t believe how much this changes things.  Here I was trying not to judge the world, but was judging myself constantly.  Of course the way I see myself would be projected onto how I see the world-how could I stop judging the world if I couldn’t stop judging myself?  It all started making perfect sense.  I was looking at everything as good and bad, right and wrong.  And when something was going “wrong”, I would so quickly look inward and wonder what I did to cause this problem.  I often saw in terms of bad=punishment, good=reward.  I worried if I ever caused suffering or made mistakes-that I needed to suffer.  But I was forgetting my dear Savior and His Atonement.  I feel like I’m learning to release all the energy I was putting into the good/bad and right/wrong…and just leave it alone.  This frees me from the temptation to blame.  I wanted to find reasons for pain, misery and suffering in the world.  But I feel invited to leave judgment and blame alone.  Focus on my Savior, focus on following His Spirit.  And leave things alone that take away the light.  Who’s right and who’s wrong are irrelevant.

I feel like my regrets are fading.  And my memories are healing.  I feel free to observe life, memories, and people as I get judgment out of the way.  And there is so much light everywhere!  And truth!  With opposition in all things there is also darkness and lies-and it’s all essential and part of our glorious journey.  I feel like I’m seeing things “as they really are” and I’m shedding a lot of heavy baggage beliefs that I don’t need to carry anymore.  When the scriptures talk about denying ourselves of all ungodliness, I’m seeing what this means to me personally.  I can add judgment to guilt, shame, fear, and whatever else keeps me from Him.  Those things are heavy,  achy and blah!  I used to think, “If only I knew then, what I know now.  I would have done things differently.”  And I felt sad about the wasted time.  But without judgment, I feel like it’s all good.  Everything-even those times I was searching and searching for peace and happiness-and looking everywhere but up, because I was too afraid.  Even then. I love that I’m learning more of the nature of God this way-the bitter to know the sweet.  To learn what isn’t Him, to find Him. Everything has a purpose.  As my husband reminds me, I wouldn’t be the same person without all these experiences.

Life is quite a journey.  I feel like the Savior is teaching me to release this judgment mantle I’ve taken on myself.  I imagine it to be this totally uncomfortable heavy wooden vine that consists of old dead wood.  It’s kind of tangled around me and it’s hard to get anywhere with it.  He lifts it from me.  Sometimes He has to remind me again and again-to let Him take this.  And it feels so good.  And in return, He gives me a precious shimmering jewel in my hand.  “How is this done?  How is this possible?”  My precious Savior, dear Redeemer.  Again and again-He saves me.

“Oh That I Were An Angel…”

O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people! (Alma 29:1)

Over the past year, I’ve felt the power of the words, “Oh that I were an angel…but when Alma says he wants to cry repentance unto every people, well I didn’t understand the last part-about crying repentance.  If it was scripture from me, I would have said, “Oh that I were an angel, I would tell the world how much God loves them.”  But lately I’m beginning to see the connection.  I was wanting to type a post on how repentance is about love.  I’m beginning to see on a deeper level, how the gospel is all about love-especially repentance.

Recognizing and then following the Lord’s Spirit in our lives is key to coming unto Christ, and being perfected in Him.  Over many years, I began to think God was harsh and punishing.  But I was wrong, His Spirit is loving, peaceful and inviting.  Anything that makes us fear God and not feel worthy to approach Him, does not come from Him.  God is love.  “I cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” (D&C 1:31)  And “Wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10) is because he loves us.  Sin is bondage.  And our Father in Heaven, out of love, wants to keep us free.  The devil wants all men miserable like himself, and God sent His Son-to save us.  “Men are that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25).  I want to shout, “MEN ARE THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE JOY!!!” The gospel is a message of love and the pathway to joy.  It’s forsaking the ungodly things in our life for something much better…

I can see for myself in life, some things have been hard to let go of.  Some things I didn’t want to let go of, and other weights and burdens I gladly give up.  “I don’t want this-I’m so glad I don’t have to carry this anymore!”  And I gladly stop carrying the burden.  Some weaknesses and temptations take superhuman strength to overcome and may be a process of giving up-again and again.  The enabling power of the atonement is how we can overcome.  Line upon line.  The Lord loves us so very much.

The other day I was beating myself up for having made the same mistake-AGAIN.  I was feeling all those thoughts of, “It’s just too hard…why can’t I be done with this…” and I felt ridiculous to have to come to the Lord and repent-AGAIN.  The words came to my heart, “I will forgive you.  However many times it takes, I will forgive you.  Just keep coming back to me.”  I felt peace and love.  And I knew I wasn’t in this alone.  I don’t have to be better to come to Christ-HE makes me better, He makes me stronger, He makes me a new person…again and again.

There are no little things…  Recently I was checking something on the internet that leaves me with that mind-numbing feeling.  Deep down I felt like it’s not only a waste of time, but that I needed to stop doing it.  Over the past year, I’ve been able to see how reading certain blogs and checking certain sites actually kept me from feeling a strong spirit.  I’ve noticed how one by one, the Spirit has helped me stop reading things that were not enlightening.  As I checked these sites and blogs less and less, the Spirit was stronger in my life and I was less distracted.  There is a lot of great stuff out there, and then there is just waste of time, distracting stuff. I noticed how much more I was enjoying my life when I would try to focus on reading the things that brought me closer to Christ and improved my life.  But there was this one thing that I didn’t want to stop spending my time on.  And I would get the deep down feeling that I should quit wasting my time…”But I need a balanced life…but this is so harmless and silly to think it matters…” And on and on the justification went.  Then the Spirit got my attention.  The words came clearly to my mind, “This is keeping you from fulfilling your mission and purpose here on earth.”  And I put it down.  I got it.  I was reminded that there are no small things and the promptings and invitations we receive from the Spirit are because He loves us.

I can look back and see the difference in trying to overcome without and then with the Savior.  For a long time, I struggled with something that was a big stumbling block and thought I needed to overcome it by myself.  With the help of the adversary, I was convinced that the Lord didn’t need to be bothered with this and that I needed to overcome it to be worthy to come before Him.  Oh how wrong I was!  When I tried to overcome it by myself-this would just transfer the stumbling block to other things.  I wasn’t getting to the root of the problem-nor could I even see the root of the problem.  Then with the Savior’s loving care, He showed me how.  He shed light on the whole issue.  And through His power and love, he freed me.  He guided me through and I was amazed.

Repentance is about love.  It’s about freedom from bondage.  It’s about forsaking our sins and not letting anything come between us and Christ.  Seeking the Lord’s forgiveness and help with sins and temptations is how we are purified.  “No man can serve two masters” and God wants us focused on the most wonderful, loving and perfect master of all-His Son.

The Only Way

I recall one day years ago, feeling like I had exhausted all my options.  I had a problem that weighed so heavy on my mind.  I felt like a failure, and why can’t I just have this problem fixed?!  I don’t want to deal with this anymore!  And I would try to just get over it, just try harder, have a good attitude, and all those things.  Tomorrow I’ll do better, tomorrow, tomorrow.  I thought I knew what the Lord wanted me to do here.  It seemed so obvious yet it also felt so impossible.  I had ASSUMED that I knew what to do, and I continually felt defeated.  It’s funny how some things seem too silly to pray about.  Here was a problem that was like a big brick wall, and I thought it wasn’t something to go to the Lord with.  I’ll just climb over the wall…and every day I would try to climb it, and every day I was tired.  FINALLY, when I talked to someone about my struggles-she asked if I had prayed about it.  Hah!  Prayer?  I already know what I need to do, just buck up and do better.  I kept thinking the Lord was so disappointed in me and wished I could just get over it already.  Oh how wrong I was…He wanted to help me.  But I hadn’t asked for the help yet.  Plus deep down I knew part of the problem was letting go of my wants.  I wanted His help as long as it would lead me to what I wanted:)

I finally prayed for help, and I can look back and see how he led me along-guiding me to lasting help.  I can also look back and see when I would go in circles-as I would hang onto what I wanted-not wanting to really let go.  But His answer was the same, I often heard in my heart, “Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?” (D&C 6:23)  So over time I would try my way less and less, and follow Him more.  And I felt like He was loosening my chains.  As quickly as I would obey, he would help me.  I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise. (D&C 82:10)  He didn’t just lift me over the brick wall, He led me around it-showing me a totally different way, something I hadn’t even thought of.  And I thought I wouldn’t be happy unless I got what I wanted-yet He showed me amazing joy in giving up my wants and casting my burdens on the Lord.  Give Him all of it-the sins, worries, heartaches, obsessions, anything heavy.  HE ALREADY SUFFERED THESE THINGS-SO THAT WE WOULDN’T HAVE TO SUFFER.  But we have to go to Him.  His hand is stretched out still and always will be.  I see myself searching all around, trying to fix things, do things my way-or what I think I’m “supposed” to do.  Yet when I go to the Lord, He shows me a better way.  But I have to ASK.  He wants to help-we just need to ask…He is the perfect one to ask, since He knows everything about us-He has felt all our pains.  He knows us better than we know ourselves-so He is the ultimate source for deliverance.  Prayer is a powerful thing.  We can call on heaven and He will send His angels.  Not in our way, but in the Lord’s way.  When we give Him our hearts, our will-He will bless us in profound ways.

The devil tries to keep us off our knees and out of the scriptures.  Eternal joy is found in our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ.  He is Living Water.  I was noticing how often joy is mentioned in the Book of Mormon-particularly as His children taste of and share the love of God with others.  I love how sharing in His love and joy increases my own.  It tastes so good-we want to share it.  As I’ve found relief from sorrow in our Savior, I see others troubled and I want to lead them to Him.

2 Nephi 31:21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.

Christ is the only way for true healing, peace amidst the storms of life, and forever joy.

Poem by Francis Thompson…

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;

I fled Him, down the arches of the years…

From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.

But with unhurrying chase,

And unperturbed pace, 

Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

They beat-and a Voice beat

More instant than the Feet-

‘All things betray thee, who betrays Me.

This song shares this message so beautifully:

Don’t Take the Poison

I recall a story someone shared that I think of often. This man related a story of early on in his marriage when his wife was angry with him and told him so. She said something like, “You make me so mad!” He replied, “since when did you give me control over your emotions?” My first thought was, “Oh I bet that really fueled her fire.” But this story has stayed with me.

I know no one can make me do or feel anything negative. And nothing I do in my life isn’t my own choice. No more, “but I have to do this.”  Because when I’m honest with myself-I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do. Everything is a choice-including being angry and every other negative emotion. I’ve known this for years but it wasn’t until recently that I’ve found out how it can be done. I tried to will through before and have tons of self-control and all that. But it was so HARD! People made me so mad sometimes! “But see what I have to put up with? My situation is different…until they change this or that-how can I possibly be happy?” And I would allow outside circumstances to determine my happiness.

These are all “natural man/woman” responses and it’s all a lie. The devil is in the details and he had me fooled. When I blame my misery on someone or something else-it’s the devil luring me in to wrap his cords around me. And I allow myself to be tied to this “impossible” problem and feel like it’s hopeless. When I do this, I’m following satan’s lies. And he is successful at bringing misery. It’s all a choice. And the more I follow the Holy Ghost, the more I see the devil’s lies and how they destroy happiness. He wants anger, fear, and all those miserable emotions and he wants me to think solutions to my worries are based on what others say and do. That I can’t be happy and have peace until they change. And when I believe it I feel tied to others and ready to pounce on what drives me crazy (not the good crazy) about them. I’m quick to be offended and I can feel the yucky emotions start to stir.

But the spirit has been stopping me-and warning me that this isn’t them or reality. That if I go further and give in to temptation then I’ll be following Satan. Situations that have usually left me all wound up-stop. I feel the spirit saying, ” stay with me. Don’t take the poison.”  If I go down the road of offended and hurt or angry feelings, I indulge in Satan’s lies. Nothing anyone does determines my peace and happiness.

FREEDOM!!

At first I realized that I had been wanting to wallow in it sometimes. I didn’t fully want to let go-because then I would also be responsible for how I felt. I had to own up to the lies and the sin on my part. That it was truly a temptation for me that I had to let go. It was sinful for me to take the poison and allow satan in. And it was miserable! But how can I not feel hurt? How is this done? Yet the Spirit says, “stay with me.” And when we make it through and I look back-I feel like I witnessed a miracle. Wow. But that always left me a mess before.  And I don’t feel the residue and pain left behind that I normally do when I let the poison in, then try to just forgive or get past it and move on. There is nothing there to forgive. When I don’t take the poison, I don’t have to get it out of my system!  Only a freeing journey that keeps me from giving into satan and temptation. I don’t even have to go there to begin with!

How is this possible? Through Jesus Christ. I understood the concept of no one “makes” me do anything-but before I had to concentrate so hard and try to will through. Now I’m realizing how strong I am in Christ. Seriously. He helps us move mountains. “Stay with me.” He carries me through and life is AMAZING!  I am in awe that I can feel the joy under so many circumstances. But what about this…what about that? Isn’t there ever any justification for bitterness? No. Any time I believe that I’m taking the poison. Christ suffered for us.  I don’t have to suffer! He loves us so very much and can save us from misery. I wish I had the words of an angel to express it the way I feel it-Jesus is our SAVIOR!

“I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

 

Hard-Easy, Easy-Hard

Sometimes I hear how HARD the gospel can be.  How HARD it is to live it.  And I used to think it was.  I knew the gospel was true, but I thought it was so HARD to be a saint.  I figured it was for the select few who have something special about them.  I thought they must have an amazing amount of willpower.  Lately when I hear how HARD it is to live the gospel, I think, “You know what’s hard?  Life without the gospel.”  For years I tried carrying my own burdens and saving myself-that’s HARD.  That’s HEAVY.  I tried living with one foot in the world and one in the gospel.  That’s hard.  It’s conflicting, with an inward struggle constantly going on.

Sometimes I would try so HARD to do something that seemed so EASY.  I thought the Lord wanted me to do these things.  They were GOOD things, simple things.  And it would feel like walking through tar.  I would struggle with every step and if I willed through it, I didn’t feel peace.  I felt like it was never enough.  And I thought this was God!  I didn’t stop to listen cause I felt guilty all the time that I couldn’t measure up and I couldn’t do these simple little things.  Then one day, God spoke to my heart.  I heard, “That’s not me.”  Guilt has been such a stumbling block and the devil was trying so hard to keep me from this message.  But I distinctly heard and felt, “That’s not me.”  It was like a flash of light in a dark cave.  And I kept searching and following after that light.  This was the best news!  If that’s not the Lord, then it’s the devil.  And that means all these other times I feel awful and not enough-it’s all a lie and from the devil.  All these times I felt uneasy about doing something that seemed so simple-I wasn’t even supposed to be doing them!  But I feared God so much that I didn’t stop to ask, to listen.  I just assumed and felt terribly inadequate.

The Lord brought to my mind several experiences from my life that I normally would have considered very HARD, and things I couldn’t imagine ever wishing upon myself.  Yet they were His will for my life and He was with me.  They felt EASIER than I would have ever imagined.  He carried me through them.  And these experiences were ENORMOUS blessings in my life.  His yoke is EASY, His burden is LIGHT.  It’s hard for me to even consider these experiences a sacrifice or service because I was blessed so much.  Then he brought to my mind several experiences when I tried to do things against His will.  Some things were simple, seemingly good things that I try as I might, they felt so HARD.  And some things were my own wants and plans I had for my life, but they weren’t God’s will for me-and they felt HARD too.  Which is why when I try to change things about me that are who I am, it feels so HARD-it feels nearly IMPOSSIBLE.  Sometimes the adversary’s voice is so loud that I think I need this or that to be happy.  I can’t be happy until…  The devil wants me miserable, and sometimes it’s sending me on an endless search for something that will never be.

Which helps explain why I struggle so much when I try to change how I would naturally eat, or how my body is.  Try as I might, my body doesn’t change much.  And initially this felt so depressing-to have to accept myself the way I am.  But it has turned out to be the greatest news and has brought PEACE to my life.  I love an athletic, strong-looking body! And I wanted one for so long!  And try as I might, I couldn’t look the way I wanted.  I was stuck in a vicious cycle.  But as I’m following Christ, he has been showing me all these things in my life that are not His will for me, so I need to let go.  “But why can’t I have that!  Why is it so wrong for me to have this or that?  Why does she get that, and I don’t?”  (I know-I sound like a spoiled child:)  But I get that uneasy feeling and know where it leads when I try to make something happen in my life that isn’t God’s will for me.  I’m learning to let go.  And initially my hand clings to what I want for myself, but with the Lord’s loving and gentle help.  I loosen my grip, and let it go.  And I find PEACE!  I don’t know the how and why all the time, but I know there is PEACE and JOY in following Him.

He’s not trying to punish me-to make me a saint by taking everything away that I want.  He is helping me to let go of the natural woman in me.  He knows me better than I know myself and time and again I’m amazed at the answers He has for my life.  I’ve never experienced such peace and help.  But I have to keep letting go of my plans and what outside voices may tell me I need.  When it’s God’s will, I feel peace.  I feel calm.  And when I feel uneasy about something (sometimes this unsettled feeling is way down deep, but it’s there), I need to let this go.  Sometimes these are things the natural woman in me wanted and it often takes a lot of faith.  And sometimes these are things I love to let go-woohoo!  Yay!  I didn’t want this worthless, negative, drag-me-down feeling anyway!  And with the Lord’s strength, all things are possible.  And He keeps helping me let go.

“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” (Mosiah 3:19)

He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. (Matthew 10:39)

Thriving or Barely Surviving?

A friend asked me a question the other day that I’ve been thinking about.  He asked who I could think of that’s really happy.  He specified that the answer couldn’t be children (because they can often be totally happy and live in the moment!)  We talked about how a lot of people are having a hard time.  It’s not like they’re downright miserable, but maybe they just aren’t really happy either. I have noticed the same thing.  There are a lot of people I care deeply about and I have wondered if they are thriving.  When I look someone in the eyes, I sometimes see laughter and joy.  But sometimes I see pain and worry.  When I see sadness, I want to lift them.  I want to know how I can help.  I want to lift the heavy load that is weighing them down.  I may not be able to lift the burden, but our Savior can.

I used to think the Savior and His Atonement were for the big things.  The tragedy in our lives.  For big sins, trials, and adversity.  I thought the every day stuff was for me to deal with and manage.  And honestly, I was often afraid of taking a problem to the Savior, worried about what the answer might be.  I was trying to do it myself-not realizing how much lighter life is with the Savior.  I would be afraid of what He would ask of me.  Afraid I might need to give of my hopes of having a better body, or that I might be spending too much time exercising.  I feared I would have to live a sack cloth and ashes life and lose everything I thought made me happy.  I knew Heavenly Father and Jesus were real but I feared what was God’s will for me.  I was hung up on my will being the source of happiness.  

Then God got my attention.  His truth had been whispering to my heart to come to Him.  To set aside my worldly worries and kneel before Him, ready to listen.  Ready to find peace and healing.  He is gentle and will not force me to follow.  But I was having a rough time like I do sometimes and I thought coming to my Father would make it even harder.  It was my will, not His.  Then the spirit spoke to my heart.  I felt peace.  He brought to my mind how often I’ve struggled and never felt like enough-He helped me see this was never Him.  He was never the source of my worthless feelings.  He brought to my mind times of great strength and deep joy-He showed me this was Him with me.  I could look back on my life and see everything happening for a reason.  Everything.  I could see the purpose and growth from all my experiences.  I only regret I didn’t put down my guard, and come to Him sooner, ready to listen and follow.  I thought I was keeping Him at a safe distance-just enough to do what I wanted to without making life too uncomfortable.  Oh how I was deceived!  The joy I’ve found each time I practice even my little amount of faith leaves me in awe.  It brings me to my knees with deep gratitude and love.  The more I listen and follow, the more I am blessed!  The answer is often not what I thought it would be or should be, but it’s always better than what I ever thought!  Saying, not my will but thine, is becoming so much easier because I’m seeing the love and joy I receive from Him.  

When I see someone that’s barely surviving, I want them to thrive!  I want them to see the beauty in themselves and find love and mercy in our Savior.  I want all who are “heavy laden” to find rest.  The Savior died so that we might live.  He is for everyday life, the big heartaches and the little details.  Everything matters.  One of the greatest and life changing truths I’ve discovered the last few months is that the Lord cares about everything and everyone.  I’ve tasted of this incredible love and have found healing and peace…His hand is stretched out still.