Blessings of the Atonement -Are they Real?

Blessings of the Atonement -Are they Real?

YES! End of Blog!

Just kidding….the short answer is yes. The blessings of the Atonement are real. Absolutely. How do I know? Because I’ve lived it. If anyone who has read my blog and actually knows me, they know that I don’t blog about things I haven’t experienced or that I don’t have some experience with. As my blog states, everyone has an opinion, here is mine. So my opinion’s are very much derived from life experience. Also, if you’ve read my blog, you have seen somewhat of the journey I have taken since January. Not necessarily the specifics, but you get the gist.

atoned-eng-large

 

Here is what I know about the Atonement and blessings. I know that Jesus Christ selflessly died on the cross for our sins so that we can return to our Heavenly Father one day. I know that Heavenly Father sacrificed his son to do this for all of his spirit children. That is the basics of it anyway. The short answer of how we have the atonement. But what is the atonement? The Atonement is more than just the act of Christ saving us. It is the process by which we come unto him with broken hearts and contrite spirits. The process of recognizing our weaknesses so that he can turn them into strengths. The process of letting go of our pride and giving it up to Him. Letting Him shoulder our burdens so we don’t have to feel them alone. The atonement is so much more than just sinning and repenting. When you truly recognize the spirit in your life, when you finally realize that you are not ever left alone if you just submit to His will, you feel of his eternal, unconditional love for you. You realize that He never abandoned you, but that you walked away. He never left. You did. Once you recognize that even if you left, he is still there eagerly awaiting your return, you can fully appreciate the sacrifice, the love, the yearning that He has for you to recognize your true potential in his eternal plan. His plan is perfect, His timing is perfect, and you are perfect in His eyes. There is nothing you have done or could do in the future that He will not forgive. He will always forgive you. All you need do is ask, with a sincere and humble heart and He will give it freely.

True-Blessings

Once we have come to this place of a broken heart and contrite spirit, and we submit our Will to His. The blessings are poured out. It will be impossible not to see them. At least it was for me. It was impossible to see all of the miraculous things that happened as anything but divine intervention. I mean, there are coincidences and then there are miracles. So what’s the difference, well, for me it’s the timing of things. It’s how things appeared orchestrated from above and there being no way that many coincidences could happen all at once. But mostly, it’s the spirit testifying to you that these things are true. It’s the spirit telling you that this is His plan for you. I promise you that if you align your will with His, that you will see it. It will be impossible not to see it. That’s the best way I can describe it. It will just be undeniable. Things that used to be so important to you, that were not aligned with His will, will no longer seem important and you will naturally steer yourself away from them.  It will just happen so naturally.

12-gospel-principles-the-atonement-1-728

I used to think the atonement was this abstract concept that sounded nice in theory, or even sounded scary a bit. It was because I’d never really tried to use it. I mean I did, a few years ago I went to the bishop and confessed 20 years worth of sins and I felt better. I even went to the temple in 2010. I’ll be honest, I thought I was converted at that time. I thought, I made it to the temple.  A place I never thought I’d go. Truly, I never thought I’d make it there. But there I was taking out my endowments. It was a blessed day. My mistake was that I wasn’t really ready. Yes, I’d gone through what I thought was the repentance process. I thought I’d done what I was supposed to do and that I’d arrived. So why did it not work? Well, it did, in part. I was forgiven for my past sins. They were washed clean and I didn’t need to worry about them anymore. That was absolutely true. But what I lacked was the rest. By that I mean, I didn’t understand God’s plan for me. I didn’t understand that he would always be there for me. I didn’t understand how to earn a blessing. I didn’t.

12c32668f72a988cd607d8541bac004e

The stark difference now, is that I recognize (through the help of dear friends and the spirit) that I was so much more to my Heavenly Father than I realized. That He cared about me personally. That He had a divine plan for me. That He allowed me to go through some things alone so that when I was ready, I could feel His full power, and the spirit in all it’s glory. Had I not taken a different path to get there, I would not have recognized it. Sometimes, He let’s us stray. I didn’t understand that. I always thought, why would He let me go so far off course without warning me? And to be fair, maybe he did and I ignored it. But I also think, sometimes He let’s us stray enough to see the other side of things, so that we recognize the truth more when we see it. It’s kind of like when you tell a child not to touch a hot stove and they reach out and touch it anyway. Why? Because a hot stove to a child is an abstract concept. They don’t know what hot is, so unless they touch it and feel that hot burns, they don’t get the concept of “hot”. I think it’s the same with our Heavenly Father, sometimes, He let’s us touch the stove because then, we know for ourselves and the idea isn’t abstract anymore. But, just like when your kids burn themselves on the stove, they come to you to heal them. To make it better. Heavenly Father does the same for us. He heals our souls when we have touched the stove and need to be healed. The atonement is the healing power. The blessings are that, while our Heavenly Father grieves with us over our pain, He doesn’t say, I told you so. He just applies the healing power of the spirit, and then blesses us with peace, with support, with all the things we need to get better and to stay better. Those blessings are absolutely real.

I know that these things are true. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and blesses my life daily. I feel his love for me. I feel how He is rejoicing for me right now for finally not touching the hot stove. For turning to Him so he can heal me. If you haven’t felt the blessings of the atonement in your life, you should try it! It absolutely works and I have a testimony of that. I know the stove is hot now! Don’t touch it!

Being Converted through the Atonement

Being Converted through the Atonement

What does it mean to be converted? I suppose it means to most having a testimony of certain things and of the gospel right? A testimony that you are living your life the way Christ and Heavenly Father would want you to live it and to know without a shadow of a doubt that these things are true. Sound about right? Well, in a nut shell. So, how do you know if you have reached that conversion point? What are the signs? In short, we are all converts to the Church. Meaning, even if you were born and raised a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, you may not have been converted. Thus you are a member, but not a convert. At some point anyone who is a member of this church or any church for that matter has to become converted to the truth of what they practice.

11902494_10206145933465354_458026644585888461_n

Hi, my name is Desiree Ryan, and I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for my entire life. I am almost 43 years old and until recently, I was not a convert. I thought I was at one point, but I think I was just borrowing someone else’s testimony. I am not sure, even now as I write this, that I can say that I have been fully converted to the gospel yet. I think I’m closer than I have been in the past. Here is what I know, my testimony as it is at this point. I know that Jesus Christ died on a cross for our sins so that we could all return home to live with our Heavenly Father, I know that his Grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before him. I know that I have made many mistakes and will likely make many more but I also know that his Grace has already saved me, but that being saved is not the question. By virtue of his amazing gift he already saved everyone. However, Grace without works is just an unused gift. Jesus paid the price, he gave us the gift, but if we don’t use it, it doesn’t make the gift any less ours, it just means that it is like a wrapped present that we never open. What good is a wrapped present that we never open? If you don’t know what the gift is and how it works, how will you be able to use it? The gift of the Atonement was meant for everyone, but we have our agency to choose whether or not to use it. Regardless, the gift is ours.  I’ve used the atonement once in my life, well, twice now. But once that is complete. It was like taking 20 years of rocks accumulated in a bag and setting it down and walking away. Leaving it there and then asking myself why I carried it for so many years. Was it scary? Maybe a little but mostly it was peaceful and you realize that you didn’t know why you didn’t unwrap that gift sooner.

03-02-16-good-news-how-to-recieve-the-grace-of-god-1

So why do we wait so long to set that bag of rocks down? Do we find all that crap we lug around to be somehow our identity? I think that is what it is. I think at some point we start to feel like we are beyond redemption. That somehow his atoning sacrifice didn’t apply to us? It’s so illogical when  you actually think about it. Of course he didn’t leave you out of the atonement. He didn’t say, “this gift applies to everyone, except Desiree Ryan”. I mean really, that would be silly. So knowing that the gift applies to everyone, why is it so hard to actually go through the process? Well, in short because the process is hard. It isn’t easy, and it’s not meant to be. If it was easy, you’d just sin and then repent and then sin and then repent, and then sin again and it would be endless because it would be so easy right? I’m reminded of Laman and Lemuel in 1 Nephi where they go through that cycle repeatedly. Sin, repent, sin, repent, sin repent….ad nauseam. They would sin, then Nephi would chastise them and they would humble themselves before the Lord, and then be forgiven. It sounds easy when put in simple terms like that. But really it is not. It’s a process by where you feel bad about what you’ve done, you don’t desire to repeat that action, and you humble yourself before the Lord and are willing to submit to his will and not your own and that you will be willing to do anything that is asked to make the situation right if at all possible. Sometimes that is just a simple apology, sometimes you need to truly be penitent and go through steps to show how truly humble and repentant you are for the action. It may take time, but the healing will be worth the time and energy, and maybe even heartache you endure to be able to finally say that you’ve done all you can do and the Lord has forgiven you and he remembers it no more.

97e2e327f1adb17b4a59813143905ad7

A lot of times it is our pride that keeps us from repentance and from true conversion. I love the idea that the Lord will make weak things strong unto us and his Grace is sufficient for all men. My favorite scripture is Ether 12:27 which states: “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”  All we need to is come unto him, open the gift and use it, and you will see amazing things happen in your life. The Lord cares for all of his children, and he truly desires that we all return unto him. He knows we will make mistakes. He knows it will not be easy. But I have a testimony that his timing is perfect. Everything happens in his time. I don’t question that now. Sometimes we don’t know why we have to go through certain things before he shows us the light. Sometimes, we think, why does so and so have it so much easier? Why did I have to suffer through what I did before I was shown the truth and the light? Because his timing is perfect, and when you reach that perfect timing, you realize, this is why. This moment right here, is why.

quote-receiving-personal-revelation-is-not-a-passive-process-as-we-seek-such-revelations-we-l-lionel-kendrick-122-31-15

Over the last 5 or 6 weeks, I have seen the Lord’s hand and timing in my life. I have seen the fog lifted. I have felt his divine hand in everything, and yes I have suffered. I have heard the spirit speak to me and felt it in my soul. I have received hard and fast answers that even, pray as I might have before, I never received,  not like this where the clearest answer was just plain as day. I always wanted to receive answers like that before and never could, and it wasn’t because I wasn’t righteous enough, it was because I wasn’t ready enough. It was because it wasn’t the right time.  It was because the right people hadn’t been put in my path yet.  When you receive, undeniable proof transmitted into your soul, you have then been converted. You then see things differently.

7a0554708b7cf3773fee08debf3f136e

My conversion story starts with an invitation to sing. Something so simple, a small seed. Something so benign. It is planted with a conversation. It starts to grow with friendship and fellowship. It flourishes with the testimony of others. It blossoms with the Holy Spirit and promptings. It blooms and grows with humility and grace. It holds steadfast with repentance. Through the love and help of others, through the Grace of God, through the Atonement of Christ, I am converted.

Hello, my name is Desiree Ryan, and I am a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Finding Strength in Unholy Places

Finding Strength in Unholy Places

I started this blog around 5 weeks ago. As stated in my first blog, I wasn’t sure why I started it. I am still not sure. I think it was a need to get my thoughts out instead of holding them in to fester. For some reason, typing them out was easier than just talking to someone in person. I think because if I suddenly spewed all of these thoughts out on a person they’d be overwhelmed or at the very least, avoid talking to me again. I’ve probably over shared in some of my posts, inadvertently. You see, my posts are very much just an idea that my stream of consciousness runs away with.  I’ve learned recently that I should at the very least, not publish all of my thoughts. Live and learn right?

So back to my current thought, finding strength in unholy places, I’m sure that title seems strange. It is, in the sense that unholy is subjective, but the strength is real. So what do I mean by that? Well, I mean that my life is very much unorthodox when it comes to most LDS, married women’s lives. I’m sure I’m not the only one with my circumstances, but I’m the only one I know of.  I haven’t always found strength, in fact until recently I would just buckle. I suppose that was easier, or at least I thought it was. Quite frankly, it only seemed easier at the time.

 

As I sit in my living room, the night before fast Sunday, fasting for the first time in years, my thoughts are on strength. I’m looking at the pictures on my walls, which is a Hodge-podge of pictures such as: a gorgeous picture of Christ with a child on his lap with the quote from Matthew 28:20 “For Lo, I am with you Always” inscribed on it, family photos, a picture of the Manti Temple and the Las Vegas Temple, posters from the suicide prevention website, “To Write Love on Her Arms”, my brother’s eulogy, the Proclamation to the Family, Football memorabilia, Motorcycle paraphernalia,and a large painting of a motorcycle club that my husband belongs to, among other things. I realize the things that are important to me. My family, first and foremost, Christ, my deceased brother’s memory,  music and the biker lifestyle. Pretty eclectic right? I have always felt comfortable (at least after I got older anyway)  in most situations. I am adaptable to most things. I can be comfortable sitting in church on Sunday by myself and also comfortable  hanging at the bar later on. I am comfortable listening to (and I love) rock and roll, #aerosmithisthegreatestrockbandever, country, punk, alternative, underground bands, etc. You name it, I am probably comfortable hearing it. I don’t flinch at curse words the way some people do. I am comfortable letting strangers sleep on my couch (well, strangers to me, my husband usually knows them or knows someone who knows them) but still strangers none the less. So when I say, strength in unholy places, I mean places where the spirit generally doesn’t dwell. My house for example. The spirit dwells there temporarily, but never permanently, by virtue of external factors that may come into my house.  I love the life I have. I think maybe a few months ago I might not have said that. The lifestyle catches up to you at some point. But, having reevaluated how I deal with the situations, I find that I do love my life. I love the bikes, and the noise, and the friends/family, the smell of cigarette smoke and whiskey. I love the loud music and the lyrics and the feeling. I love the company that stays at my house at a moments notice. I love riding on the back of my husband’s Harley in a pack of other Harley riders, heading down the road with the wind in my face and tunes blasting in my earphones.

img_6320

What I have found, is that I can stand alone in these places, in these situations, and I can still be me. That I don’t have to buckle under them to make things easier. I used to think I did. But now I know I don’t. So I find strength every time I go to a bar and I stand alone. I find strength every time I find the joy, the pleasure, and the fun in the situation that others may find cringe worthy. That yes, I can even laugh, dance, and make jokes, and that I don’t have to buckle. The strength comes from within me, regardless of the holiness or UN-holiness of the situation. What I lacked before was the faith in myself that I could stand alone. I always stated that I didn’t lose my faith in God. I really didn’t, it was faith in myself that I lost.

4f311e918fdc807554fd77c213636006

I get that it isn’t a lifestyle for everyone, and not everyone could exist in it. But this is my life, this is where my journey took me and it’s chaotic at times, and it’s loud, and it’s atypical, but it’s perfect. Yet, I also find strength in the scriptures, in the church hymns, and the talks and lessons in church. I find strength at the temple, just walking around the temple grounds. I find strength in friendship and in music. I find a lot of strength in music I think. It grounds me, regardless of if it is rock and roll or if it is a beautiful piano solo of a well-known hymn. I think that everyone should find what brings them strength and figure out how that fits in your life regardless of how typical or atypical it is. I truly believe that the Lord understands each of us individually and understands that different things strengthen different people. I don’t feel like there is a one size fits all recipe to finding strength in the gospel. So whether you find it at church in a pew, or on the back of a motorcycle, or in playing music or singing music, or however your strength is revealed, remember that you can find strength in any situation because the strength is within you because the light of Christ is in all of us and we all have the ability to feel that strength. We just have to reach inside ourselves and find what triggers that strength in us. You can always stand in holy places, even if you stand alone and even if the external environment is unholy because the holiness and the strength lies within you.

Hello Darkness my Old Friend

Hello Darkness my Old Friend

So this is literally what I felt like upon waking this morning. Just endless thoughts of what is the point of my life. Not just that but just this sick, unrelenting feeling and these sick unrelenting thoughts of doom, and despair, and just darkness that were all swimming in my head.  I have no idea why. I had a perfectly fantastic weekend in the trenches of the Supernatural Convention 2017.  Saw some great speakers, spent way to much money, pictures with the super awesome, super gorgeous Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. So why wake up to this feeling right? It makes no sense, much like me sometimes. I just make no sense. I am this strange complex person who, apparently is fine one minute and filled with darkness the next. Yay Me!

So what’s my point? I wish I knew. I wish I could give this feeling a name, or a description. I guess darkness is the closest thing to an accurate description I can think of. I want to be so quick to just say, oh it’s the adversary filling my head with this stuff, but I think that would be a mistake. I think it would be a mistake to just blame it on Satan and be done with it. It seems to easy to just do that. I have written a lot about some very intense and trans-formative feelings I’ve had recently, mostly in a spiritual and light-hearted way at times. But I feel like I just can’t get their today. Like I can’t just spin some spiritual thoughts and poof I’ll suddenly see the light again. I’m not sad. I’m not mad. I’m just here.  Like in the song “Amazing” by Aerosmith (greatest rock band in the world by the way) it says “in the blink of an eye, you finally see the light.” I keep blinking today but there is no light. I have a wonderful husband who loves me. Sure he has his faults but so do I. No one is perfect. My daughter is absolutely amazing and she is perfect just as she is. So why can I only see darkness today?

it-is-during-our-darkest-moments-that-we-must-focus-to-see-the-light-quote-1

Like have you ever had the thought that you just didn’t want to be here anymore. Like you just wanted to go away or run away. Think about it. What if I just woke up one morning. Packed a bag and left? What if? It’s a horrible thought for sure and just even typing that out is hard. It’s hard to read back. I wonder though, how many mothers or women in general just feel like enough already? Like I said, I have no particular reason to feel this way at this particular moment. I had an awesome weekend. My husband got home from his trip last night and everything is good. So why? Why feel like running away? Why feel like you wish the end was here? I think that’s why I thought of the song “Sound of Silence” because it starts out “Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.” It sort of perfectly sums up my feeling. And why is darkness my friend?

what_if_sabotage

Maybe it’s a feeling that things are going good and so you think to yourself things shouldn’t be going good, let me look for my old friend darkness so I can feel horrible again. But I don’t think so. I don’t think I sought it out. I think it’s just there. Always lurking in the shadows, waiting for me to feel good so that it can come and claim my soul for its own. I have no idea what I’m saying and I’m fairly certain this blog is taking a very dark turn and probably will cease to be interesting anymore.

cc6caa7afae6b2b67684530b9fedc787

Here is the thing about me. Most people who know me, know I am a very optimistic and generally up beat person. I’m not Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh who is perpetually sad, dark and gloomy. That just never was me. Today, I feel like Eeyore. Like it all just doesn’t matter anyway so why bother? That is just my general mentality today. I hate that I feel that way, it isn’t at all a comfortable feeling for me. Some people who have that general gloomy disposition most of the time might find it comfortable in the darkness. I myself prefer the light. So when I wake up feeling drowned in a murky cloud of darkness it leaves me perplexed. It leaves me unable to really function well. Now, normally, I’d blame something like this on hormones or whatever. But it doesn’t feel hormonal. It doesn’t feel like what that roller coaster of emotions feels like when you are in that state. This feels eerily calm. Like I’m not freaking out needlessly or just riding that roller coaster of imbalance. I’m calm and yet I’m enveloped in this darkness. I think it’s the calm that bothers me. The fact that I’m in this state and I don’t care. The fact that I can have some of the very dark thoughts I’ve had and still be calm. That it could not faze me in the slightest.

8a47d772f834f1aa4b83b56c25b638b4

So, now that everyone who might read this blog is thoroughly depressed now, I suppose I should stop bringing the world down. I don’t know what any of this means. I don’t know why it’s happening. I don’t know what I’m going to do about it. But hey, here is this blog right? I guess I’ve disturbed the sound of silence enough. Maybe silence is better.

Lost and Found

Lost and Found

I was torn on what to write about today, because the ideas just keep coming. I know #bloggerproblems right? Just kidding, I’ve never been a blogger before now so I wouldn’t know if it is a problem for others or not. However, today I have just felt extremely good about everything, for no reason. I kind of hesitate to write that down because it’s like Murphy’s law, if you say it out loud you jinx it. Anyway, too late.  Over the course of the last 2 weeks I’ve went through a lot of very deep diving emotional and mental breakthrough’s, it’s been exhausting to say the least. So why the title “lost and found”? Well, because that is sort of like what the last couple of weeks or, if I’m honest, the last 4 years, have been like. It’s been like I found what I had lost, except that before I found it I didn’t really know it was lost. I guess in a way, I kind of did, it’s like scotch tape or the scissors in your house. Do most of us know where they are most of the time? I mean, we know we have tape and scissors somewhere, but could we actually tell someone where to find it in the house if we had too? Well, maybe some very organized people can, but I can tell you I can not.  I might be able to say, I saw it in the general vicinity of the kitchen,  maybe start there.

o-before-570

So, like the scotch tape and the scissors that I know I have in my house somewhere, I felt like my faith and my spirituality and my emotional and mental health were somewhere inside of me. Like I knew it wasn’t just gone, but like my tape and scissors, I probably couldn’t have told you where it was or what happened to it.  So when I say it wasn’t really lost, I mean, I knew I had it, I just didn’t know where I put it. So I suppose a better term would be misplaced rather than lost. But lost sounded better in the title. I mean misplaced and found sounds silly.

Now maybe you are one of those people who always knows where you put everything. You know, everything has its place and everything it its place so to speak.  You are probably one of those people who has a label for your label maker right? You have a cute holder for your scissors or your tape that you made off of Pinterest right? Well, for that person I say, good for you. That is awesome that you are such a tidy person.  So being that type of person you probably would never misplace your faith right? Let’s hope not. I’d hate to think that you could keep track of scissors but not faith. Okay, I’m totally making fun of organized people now. But it is all in good fun and I don’t mean anything bad by it. I am truly in awe of your organizational talents.  Come to think of it, I used to be a very organized individual and at work I still am, but when I’m at home I have essentially given up the organization fight.  But I digress, so back to spirituality and faith. How does one misplace it? That is the million dollar question.

junk-drawer-oprah

For a lot of people it is probably gradual, where they just sort of stop using it. When you don’t use something very much it’s easy to lose track of its whereabouts, where as something that is used daily, like your cell phone, you don’t lose track of because it’s likely permanently glued to your hand.  But the scissors or the tape only get used occasionally so it’s easy to forget where you last left it. The same can be said for your faith, your spirituality. If you stop using it, you lose it.  So by that I mean, you stop doing the things that brought a spiritual connection to you. Maybe you used to pray daily and you stopped. Maybe you used to read scriptures daily and you stopped. Maybe you used to go to church every Sunday and you stopped. So if you stop doing the things that exercise your faith, then you start to forget where it is or how it made you feel.  You let life happen in its place. Now again, I am truly awe inspired by those individuals who consistently exercise their faith because they are more likely to not misplace it. I, on the other hand, am very prone to complacency and very prone to be arrogant enough to think that I could stop exercising my faith and still know where it is. I am wrong. I am wrong every time I do that and yet, I keep doing it.  Just like I’m wrong every time I say I’ll just set the scissors here, I’ll be able to find them again next time, only to have to tear the house apart looking for it when I go to wrap Christmas presents every year. I swear, I never learn.

 

Over the past 30 days or so and more specifically the last 2 weeks, I have undergone some what of a spiritual overhaul. Sounds pleasant doesn’t it? It’s not. I mean it is but it is emotionally and mentally draining. So I uncluttered my psyche, and in the process found where I had left my faith and spirituality, turns out it was right in front of my face the entire time. It’s always the last place you look though. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a lot more clutter and organizing to do still, but I found the core of it at least. Like a scattered puzzle, I found the box with the pretty picture on it,  I’m just looking for all the pieces now.

puzzle

Part of my journey I really think started late last year, but I didn’t realize it.  Possibly even half way through last year. I was having problems in my business and with my family and just with everything in life including my health. I think everything was manifesting itself in my left eye. Cornea infections are not fun, let me tell you and I am still having left eye issues. I was searching for something but didn’t know what. I had even hired business coaches and life coaches to assist me thinking that would help. I know, me, life coaches (nothing against life coaches) but I was seriously that desperate and the fact that I was paying life coaches was just, eww…like made me want to gag. Because I’ve never been that type of person. Now I’m not saying life coaches are bad. I know plenty of them and they do add value to a lot of people’s lives and businesses, so don’t start sending me hate mail. It was just something that I never thought I’d do. Anyway, the point was I had done this trying to find answers. The answers were in me all along. I had just misplaced my faith. What I was searching for was God. He never left though. I just closed the door on  him and forgot which door I left him standing behind. But he was still there, when I found that door and opened it, there he was. Never moved.  Just in the same spot I left him. The wonderful life coaches I hired didn’t know I’d left him behind a door. How could they. So they couldn’t help me find the door he was behind because they didn’t know he was there.

woman-accidentally-joins-search-party-looking-for-herself-240x180

What I needed was help from someone who actually knew he was there and that I had left him behind. So, God, in his infinite wisdom, because he couldn’t get a hold of me, started calling on some friends to alert me to the fact that I totally forgot about him. Luckily, eventually the right people answered the phone and he sent them to the rescue. To remind me that hey, I’d slammed the door on God and left him just standing out in the cold. He didn’t do it for himself though. He wasn’t like, how dare she do this to me?! Just forget about me like that! He was concerned that I hadn’t come back after I closed the door. His concern was for me. So he sent a posse out to find me to make sure I was okay. I am so thankful that he did. Because now, today, even though I’m still finding pieces to the puzzle, I feel amazing. I feel connected. I feel again. I think I had stopped feeling. So here I am writing this ridiculous blog about tape, scissors, and faith, but I feel amazing doing it. I have a lot of unanswered questions right now and I’m even unsure about some drastic events that may or may not happen in my life right now and somehow, I’m okay with all of it. I’m so okay that I’m actually happy, giddy, excited about life again, regardless of what that life looks like now.

heartsdoorsmall

The bottom line is never lose hope, never think that something or someone is so lost they can’t be found. God doesn’t quit looking, he will stand there at the door knocking for eternity until you finally find the right door again. He will call reinforcements to help you. He will never quit. You will always be found! Now, the tape and the scissors is another story, that’s all on you, but rest assured that tape and scissors can be easily purchased again so don’t sweat it.

Change

Change

People always say change is a good thing? Is it? I mean I suppose it can be. Depends on the change. But I think people say change is a good thing because if nothing changes, then nothing changes. Meaning everything just stays the same all the time. Day in and day out, no changes, just the same old same old. That would be kind of boring right? But change is also hard. Because we get comfortable in our complacency. We are comfortable in our surroundings and our lives and changing something means we would have to be uncomfortable for a time until we got comfortable again.

You might say we have a love/hate relationship with change. Because, while change is good, it leads to personal growth and maybe new possibilities, we also don’t like the growing pains we feel while the change is happening.  Think about it, we get stuck at a job we hate because it would be too much effort or too scary to go out and find another job that we might love. We stay in failed relationships or marriages because leaving would mean we would have to find a new place to live, figure out how we are going to pay for things, and also means you have to put yourself out there again after you’ve grieved that relationship. All scary stuff. We don’t like things that we can’t predict. If we can’t predict what we are going to do tomorrow or what the plan is tomorrow, don’t we freak out a bit?

images

Now, not every change has to be life altering. You can make little changes to yourself as a person that doesn’t involve something big like moving, or finding a new job, or getting out of a relationship. Self reflection can bring about much-needed change in your life that maybe just helps you to focus, or to feel better about yourself or to strive for something you’ve always wanted to do. Something that is just for you.

I was reading in another article today about overcoming challenges. Sometimes we don’t try to overcome them because the tasks seem so daunting. It seems like you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel because the task seems so hard. But what if you broke that task down into small steps. Small accomplishments that are easy and attainable but all of those tasks were working toward an ultimate goal? The analogy in the story used was going on a long hike and at first you were fine but then as the hike got harder, it seemed like you couldn’t make it to the finish line because you were tired and thirsty and wanted to rest. Well by all means, rest then, but don’t get so comfortable resting that you stop progressing. Because you certainly won’t finish that hike if you stop where you are indefinitely. So the idea was to count 100 steps and along the way while you are counting you notice the beauty around you, you find things to look at and admire that are fun. Maybe you even sing a song. Before you know it you’ve reached 100 steps. Then you start again, okay let’s do another 100 steps. So if you break the goal down into attainable smaller goals eventually you reach the ultimate goal.

2187773984

I think we decide to stay stagnant and complacent because we are afraid that the goal is too big. That we can’t see the finish line so we give up. So, maybe instead of picturing the finish line, you just picture the next 100 steps. Believe me 100 steps isn’t that many, I have a fit bit and it counts your steps, 100 is pretty small. You don’t realize how many steps you actually take in a day.

Now why am I bringing this up? Because like most of you, I get scared, I get comfortable and complacent and I get afraid to make even small changes that will most definitely make my life better, but I fail to do them because the finish line seems so unattainable. So maybe I will stop thinking of the end result and just start focusing on the next 100 steps. I can do that. I’m reminded of a saying, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey we take to get there, and the journey is beautiful. The journey is life. We go through ups and downs and hills and valleys and storms and all sorts of obstacles, but if we stop the journey, if we just sit down and wait because we are scared, are we living? Can we really call that life? If we don’t take the journey, we never experience all that we could have. If we stop taking the journey, we die.

img_0976

So change really is a good thing. We should invite the change, we should embrace the change, and yes, as Gandhi put it, “you must be the change you wish to see in the world.”  But remember, you must change from within first and it starts with just the first 100 steps.

Use Your Life Line

Use Your Life Line

Over the years we have all come across trials and hardships in our lives. No one is exempt from this. It’s called life. Have you ever stopped to look back at trials in your life and realized that without knowing it you were probably thrown a life line? A metaphorical life-preserver if you will. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize it at the time but then, when you look back you see the help clear as day. What if you were aware though? What if you were fully cognizant of the fact that you were being thrown a life line and you chose not to take it? No thanks, I’m good, I can swim. Move along. What if instead of letting our pride get the best of us, we grabbed that life line and held on for dear life? Or maybe, you didn’t even realize you were drowning until a life line was thrown to you? I’ll admit, that is usually me. I’m going along, just swimming along thinking I’m good, everything is good, and then suddenly a life boat appears or a life preserver and I think, “well that’s odd, like why do I need this? I’m totally fine.” But, for some reason I grab it anyway, because, well, why not?  Maybe I’ll need it someday.

237496-divine-intervention-quotes-jpg

The point is, often times we get so busy with life and thinking we can do it all on our own that we forget that we can’t. That’s right, I said we can’t. It’s not a some can and some can’t kind of thing. It isn’t a debate, we absolutely cannot navigate this life alone.

Recently I’ve been thrown a life line, one I didn’t know I needed. This person who has come into my life, has offered me one thing….friendship. That’s it, something so simple. Something we take for granted every day. Someone to talk to, to bounce ideas off of, to just listen when you need someone to listen. To try to cheer you up when things seem hopeless. Sometimes, that’s all it takes. It doesn’t have to be some drastic hallelujah sign from above. It’s the little things.  We are sent these angels every day, to help us through the tough times. Sometimes it is someone expected, sometimes it is totally unexpected. But none the less it’s there, and who knows, maybe you were sent to that person to help them in some way. I think God absolutely uses us as tools to help each other and the bonus part is you end up with a life long friend. Who couldn’t use one of those right?

This is not the first time I’ve been thrown a life-preserver. Although this is probably the first time I’ve been fully aware that it was happening.  I can think of many situations and times in my life where divine intervention is absolutely the only reason that I got out of a bad situation. There just wasn’t any other way to describe it. I don’t believe in luck, I don’t believe in coincidence really, I mean yes sometimes things are coincidental, but not usually big things. My life has been orchestrated in such away that it lead me right to this moment. This moment where I am writing this blog to whomever, explaining that God knows each of us, and he cares for each of us individually and there is nothing that we feel or experience that he isn’t aware of. He absolutely inspires events and people in our lives to reach out when needed.  I am here, at this point in my life for a reason. It wasn’t by choice (not really) it was by circumstances, and yes choices I’ve made, but ultimately choices that maybe I needed to make to get here.  This all sounds very deep and vague I know, but honestly, look at your life and think back. Who was your life line, who helped you, how did you make it through some situations? Was it truly alone? I don’t think so.

footprintstop

Now what about those truly horrible situations that happen to some people where you think, why would a loving God let that happen? Yes, there are truly bad things that happen to good people through  no fault of their own. Why is that? Is it because he cares less for them? No, it isn’t. There maybe no real clear answer to that until we ultimately pass on and the big picture is revealed, but one thing I can say is that even though some people endure horrible circumstances in their life, they ultimately come out of it with an experience that in some way, I am sure, has taught them something. Is it fair, well, no, but life isn’t fair is it? Some of those people don’t make it out alive, fair? Maybe not, or maybe they were taken out of this life to live a better one, without the pain and suffering of this world. So while we may not know the reason why some people are saved and some people are not we know that everything happens for a reason. Even if we can’t see that reason in this life.

mormonad-reach-up-1118300-gallery

I am fortunate enough to not have to go through something truly horrific in this life thus far. But, I truly am blessed to know that I am not alone. That through inspired events in my life I’ve seen numerous life lines thrown to me. Some I have taken, and some I have passed by only to have that life line offered to me again later on. I am here writing this blog because right in this moment God knows what I need. He knows how I feel. He loves me even when I don’t love myself. Maybe I’m writing this for myself, maybe someone else needs to hear it. I don’t know. But I don’t need to know all of what God has in store for each of his children to know that right here in this moment he sees me, and hears me, and loves me and is proud that I used the life line, even when I wasn’t sure why I needed it.