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As a young girl I dreamed about being a wife and mother.  Never was a cat as cute as mine dressed in strawberry shortcake dresses while being driven in my strawberry shortcake stroller.  I was going to have 10 kids and have cookies for them every day and have a beautiful meal on the table every night when my honey came home.  I never thought things would be perfect but I don’t think I thought they would be hard either. If we were in love, then nothing else would matter and we would live happily ever after.

Isn’t that how marriage works?


Yes and no.  I absolutely adore my husband, and I feel that same adoration from him.  However, life comes at us at times, and it can feel rather heavy and burdensome.  Even more than we know how to handle.  Kids or work or church duties or any number of things can pile up all at once and just feel like too much.  I have seen the look of concern on my Husband’s face and wished I could just hold him and take it all away.  We have cried together and been there for each other and sometimes I am just too prideful to allow him to be what I need. I am striving to be a better wife and letting him be the husband I need.

 

A good marriage requires time. It requires effort. You have to work at it. You have to cultivate it.” Gordon B Hinckley

 

Valentines day this year I wanted to do something more than flowers, candy, or dinner out. While I am not above any of those things (who doesn’t love sweets and love notes and a fancy meal?)   I want to give my husband something he really wants or needs.  Not in a material way but emotionally, spiritually.

Last night we watched the movie “The War Room.” If you haven’t seen it, here is a little clip describing the movie. 

Our Father knew exactly what He was doing when He created us. He made us enough alike to love each other but enough different that we would need to unite our strengths and stewardships to create a whole. Neither man nor woman is perfect or complete without the other. Thus, no marriage … is likely to reach its full potential until husbands and wives … work together in unity of purpose, respecting and relying upon each other’s strengths.” Sheri Dew

While my husband and I have a happy marriage, I couldn’t help but admire the way the main character pours her heart out in prayer for her husband. That really got me thinking. Do I plead with the Lord with that kind of intensity for the man I love most?  Yes sometimes. When we “need” it. But what would happen if I prayed that way when he is already doing good?

I can plead with the Lord to give him what he needs, to help him to see it and feel it.  I can pray to know what is in my power to do to help him, to serve him and how to love him more fully.

This year I am going to give him something he will never see but hopefully will feel.  I asked him “If there was just one thing I could pray for you, what would it be?”  After much thought he let me know and then he asked the same of me.  For me that was simple, more peace and a greater sense of joy.

For the 14 days leading up to Valentines my true love and I will give to each other 14 days of pleading in deep and sincere prayer for our specific needs.  Really, I don’t think I could give him anything more powerful than God on his side.  And when he offered to pray for me the same way, I felt an extra measure of love and warm fuzzies for this man.  A heightened level of emotion I felt grateful for.

Are you up for the 14-day challenge of praying for your loved one?  If you do I would love to hear about it in the comments.- Susan

 

 

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We have talked all month about different aspects of goal setting and starting the change process in our lives.  Now I’m really ready to start writing down my goals.  Sometimes I get a little over excited, and I’ll write down a big bunch of things I’d like to do differently.  It can be really exciting and energizing, which is why I do it. But I have to be really careful that I’m being authentic to myself and making goals that really pertain to my own life and development.

I do believe that it’s good to have accountability in our goals by sharing them with someone you trust, thus helping to keep each other on track. However, it can also be a bit overwhelming.

Can you guess what happens next? I listen to my friend as she shares what she is going to do, and I think “Wow, that’s really great, I should probably be doing that also” or “Why haven’t I been able to do that, it sounds really important” or “I wish I could do better like that.”  The problem with thinking like this is that now I feel like less of a person because I think I should actually be like someone else, instead of being me.

Why is it so hard to accept that each of us is in a different place in life.  My personality is different, I have a different home, different husband, different children than…. well, everyone else in the world.  While we may have some similarities with our friends and loved ones, we are each traveling a very unique and different road in life.

Susan and I like to joke that we were raised by different parents.  Even though they are the same “people” they were in such different places in their lives with each of us. When I was born, Mom was just 24, and I was her first, while Dad was still finishing college. But, by the time Susan was born, she was Mom’s last child of 4, born 10 years after me, and Dad was busy building a successful career.  (Plus there were two busy brothers in between.)

I suppose the point is that we can only live the life that we have, where it is, right now. Sometimes I’d like to go back and relive 10 years ago, but that just isn’t an option. (There’s no tardis in my life’s experience.)

My goals need to be pertinent to me, in my life now.  I know people who can run marathons or do triathlons, and I can totally admire them and cheer them on… from the sidelines.  That is just never going to be me.

It isn’t going to do me any good if I try to make my goals look like someone else’s because I want them to think I’m as good as they are. My goals shouldn’t be for the sole benefit of looking good.  They should be to help me to feel happier and more satisfied with my life.

By starting with my list of my own personal values and my “recognitions” I can begin to make a list of goals that are meaningful to me.

For example:

Value: Family

Recognition: I want to enjoy the time I have with my children while they are young.

Goals for this month:

  1. Make sure I’m holding them accountable for their chores and schoolwork.
  2. Do one home improvement project together.
  3. Spend some time each week doing something fun, just with each other.

I like to do home improvement projects with my kids, because it gets them thinking creatively, and they really enjoy feeling like they are contributing.  But that is my family and where we are this year.  I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, it’s just something we enjoy. This is an area that my goal will be very different from my friend’s.

By keeping it simple and do-able I hope to see some progress that will lead to even bigger things down the road.

Some of my other values and recognitions have much bigger goals, and for them I am using Susan’s post it board method to keep me on track.

Whatever you decide to do with your goal setting this year, make it personal, make it meaningful, and if it gets overwhelming go back to a method I talked about earlier.

When thinking about a certain goal, or action step in your goal, analyze how it makes you feel.  If you feel excited, happy or at peace, go forward with this step. It’s a good one.

If you feel anxious, stressed or nervous while thinking about this step, it may not be the right timing.  It doesn’t mean that you can’t have this goal or make this action step, it may be that you just aren’t ready.  Re-examine your recognition or value that lead you to this step, and think if there is something smaller, or simpler that can lead you in the right direction that feels a little more peaceful to you as you think about what it takes to accomplish this goal.

Any step in the right direction, no matter how small, is progress.

The goals that I set with my children in mind this month are simple enough that I feel like I can certainly work on them and not get overwhelmed. Thinking about them makes me happy.

As you work on your goals this month, I hope that you will also find happiness and satisfaction in knowing that you have the power to move forward to becoming the best you that you can be.

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There is this funny thing that can happen when we start to make changes in life.  As we think about New Year’s resolutions and making goals and what should be different this year as opposed to last, doubt and discouragement will try to sneak in.

When do they sneak in? The first time you fall back into an old habit and forget your resolve for the thing you wanted to do differently.

Good people who want to improve can also be really hard on themselves when they make mistakes. But the thing is, they are just mistakes. They are just a recognition of why you wanted to change in the first place. Mistakes are also just a stepping stone to getting to where you really want to be.  The truth is that we are all just human and we are going to make mistakes, or slip up, or just plain forget to do the thing that we wanted to do.

success is getting back up

Success consists of getting up once oftener than you fall down”

Whenever we mess up, the best thing we can do is say “oh well” and get up and try again. (It also doesn’t hurt to own up to the mistake, and apologize to anyone else that may be involved.)

Change can be difficult and it certainly can take time. It also often requires trying over and over again.

Accepting that this is a reality can help us in realizing the real truth.

Even though change is difficult… sometimes really difficult… it is absolutely possible, and the results can be amazing.“

I want to remind you of a technique that I have talked about before, to help you in a pre-emptive strike against discouragement.

As you look at your values and the things that you want to do this year, whether it is your recognition of what you want (from this post) or letting go of things that aren’t really you (from this post) start first by examining or evaluating your past for good things.

Make a list of things that you succeeded at in the past. Try to think of some things from last year, but maybe you will go back to years past.  Maybe there is something really big that you remember and feel really good about. These can be bad habits that you have overcome, or big projects that you completed. Maybe it is a relationship that is dear to you that took some work to save or build.

For some people this will be really difficult. Some of us are not used to boasting or looking for the good in ourselves. Some are afraid that this type of searching is “prideful.”

Don’t worry about being prideful in this exercise.  Pride is thinking that you are better than someone else, or smarter than the guiding you may get from the spirit. That is not what we are talking about here. Here we are looking for ways that you improved yourself, and probably helped others through these improvements. If you have trouble thinking of something, ask family members or close friends to help you. I promise there is something you have improved in, and maybe somethings you have conquered that you can feel really good about.

The reason why this step is so important is that it gives encouragement and hope to know that if we have conquered a bad habit from the past, we can do it again.

If we have learned a new skill in the past we can learn more.

If we have made a desired improvement once, we can surely do it again.

Once you have completed a list of a few things that you have been successful at, you can turn back to it and refer to it, as you make the list of changes you are now ready to tackle in your life.  As things get hard, you will find strength in the hope of change, knowing that you have already done some hard things in the past.

Our Heavenly Father wants us to grow and improve and to BE HAPPY!!  He will help us along the way, if we let Him.

The caution is that Satan knows the power of improvement that can come from us also, and he will try to prevent it any way he can. It surely scares him when strong people become even stronger. When you start to feel discouraged, know that it is coming from him. When you feel that a minor setback is a major failure, that is coming from him. His great lie of “you’re not good enough, you shouldn’t even try” will probably be thrown at you just when you are on the verge of growth and improvement.

When you start to feel this coming on, turn your focus back to the Savior.  His death and atonement is what makes it possible for us to fall and get back up again.  To continue to try, to grow, to reach for becoming the person He wants us to be and knows that we can be.  Through the miracle of repentance we can change. WE CAN CHANGE!! Even if it’s hard.  Even if it’s slow. It is possible because of Him.

I invite you to continue to work on your goals, and continue to strive for constant improvement.  Feel free to share in the comments some of the goals you are working on, and some of your past successes.

As we improve this year, we will combine to make this world a better place.

 

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In the last few weeks we have talked about making changes and moving forward in our lives in positive ways.  Susan discussed letting go of fear, and making that leap into becoming who you are really meant to be.  I (Laura) talked about letting go of the expectations of New Year’s Resolutions in favor of starting with declaring or recognizing what it is that I really want in my life.

From these two places we can start to make the changes in our lives that will be the most beneficial.

 

Today, I am deciding what my personal values are.  What do I want to be working on this year?  What is really important to me?

Values could be anything from: spiritual development, parenting, relationship with spouse, education, financial security, physical fitness, improved emotional state… and many other things.  It is personal to you and to the stage of life you are in. Your important values from last year may be different this year. It is easier for me to analyze and think about in a diagram.

This is an example of my values

Here is a blank bubble diagram of values so you can add your personal values.

These values can be even more effective if they are made more specific.  Service could be: giving more service to my neighbors.  Family could be: building a better relationship with ____. Fitness could be: feeling better about my body.

As I make my list I will analyze each area.  I consider the value and I pay close attention to how I feel inside, at my core.

Does concentrating on this value make me feel good or excited or at peace?  If so, this means I am headed in the right direction.

If looking at this value causes me to feel stress or tension or fear, it is probably not the right time for me to work on this area of my life.  It may be something to re-visit after some other areas are tackled first.

I believe that we are all meant for greatness.  There is a message inside each of us that we have for the world. Big or small, it is there waiting to come out. And when or if we can get it out, it will be amazing, not only for ourselves but also for the people we have influence over.

Getting in touch with our core values is a starting place to build around.  In his talk “What lack I yet?” Elder Larry R Lawrence said

the Holy Ghost will prompt us to improve

 

Our Heavenly Father is always on our side, and He wants us to improve and will guide us in our efforts. Allow Him to show you where He can help you grow in your life. Only He knows what we are really capable of and how much more we can grow. He knows more than any other the greatness that is in us just waiting to come out.

As you contemplate your values and the direction for your life this year, always making Heavenly Father a part of your process, you will be able to see a real shift in goals that are realistic, do-able, and can bring us into line with our true selves.

Let go of your fears, let God help you, and as you brainstorm your values and directions in your life, you will be on the way to discovering the greatness inside of you.

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It’s that time of year again where we start to reflect on who we are compared to who we want to be.  Our dreams and aspirations come to the forefront of our mind and we begin to wonder if this will be the year we finally figure it out.

At least that’s how I feel. Will this be the year I finally lose those 10 lbs, write my book, or become super present with my kids?

I am big on goals.  Over the years though I have come to see how goals work and don’t work for me. Saying I want to be skinnier never gets me there. But by coming up with a simple easy plan I am much more likely to achieve that.

Back in March I shared one way to make goals work for you. A system that uses post-it notes. You can find that back here.  Laura shared about the importance of dreaming back here.

Today however I want to focus on unbecoming.

unbecoming small

Maybe the journey really isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you, so that you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.

For a long time I have let my fears get the best of me. Fear of failure. Fear that I might make a huge mistake while trying something new, so I fail to even try. I don’t believe this is who I really am, a person filled with fear, Not really. It’s something I picked up along the way, and I have been working to unbecome afraid so that I may become more of who I was meant to be.  I desire to be more ok with failing from time to time because I recognize that is the path to success.

About a month ago Laura and I were talking about this very concept. We were discussing our fears and how they hold us back. I realized it was time I did something about it. Took the bull by the horns as they say. We thought of crazy things that scared us, like skydiving. We laughed and said “if we could do those things I’m sure that would help us overcome other fears” and then my mind latched onto this idea. I had to go skydiving. Not because it’s been on my bucket list (in fact I always thought people were crazy for wanting to do that) but because I really felt conquering one fear would give me the momentum to conquer other fears as well.

I spent the next several days stewing over this idea. I could tell it was a turning point for me. If I decided not to go it was evidence to me that fear was in control. But if I decided to go forward with it I would be given the confidence that I could do the things that scare me. So I decided to jump.

It was kind of surreal and I had no idea what I was missing. I made a real effort to be present and take in every single moment. Skydiving was the funnest thing I have ever done. Had I let my fear win I would have never known that.

When I was getting suited up for the jump my instructor said “the scariest part is simply the unknown” and so I began to wonder what else I could do. What have I been too afraid to do because I didn’t know how to do it or I didn’t know what it would look like or feel like?

I’m now working on a project I hope I can share with you in the next six months. It’s something I was too afraid to do in the past but now I’m looking it straight in the eye.

I don’t think everyone needs to jump out of a plane to start unbecoming all of the things they aren’t. Let me give you a simpler way. Something I have found to be very useful.

First you need to IMAGINE.  I usually began this process with a prayer asking for guidance from a God who knows me and loves me and knows exactly what I need. Get out a piece of paper and write down everything you wish you could do if there were no limits. Every single idea that comes to your mind put it on that paper.  Don’t judge yourself for your aspirations. Don’t worry about how you would make it happen just let your mind dream. Now think of the person you want to become. Do you want to be more patient, more kind? More giving, more faithful?  Again, don’t think of how you are not currently these things and don’t allow whatever self talk in. This is a time for dreaming and hoping.

Now set that piece of paper aside for the rest of the day. Before you go to bed add anything else you might have thought of.

The next day look at your list again. Read it through a few times. Now circle just one thing you want to do and one thing you want to become. The one that screams at you. Either it’s the scariest or the easiest. It could be the one that looks the most fun or the one you know you need the most. Listen to your inner voice and allow God to guide you in this process.  He knows what would be the very best thing for you to work on.

Two goals. If all you did this next year was accomplish those two goals, would it be worth it? I hope you are shouting out ABSOLUTELY!

Write those two goals in statements. For example: I will lose 10 lbs by May 1st. I will take my family to Hawaii by Dec 2016.

Now that you have established your two goals, you get to come up with a next action step. What is the very first step you need to take to become the person you want to be and do the things you have always wanted to do?

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

If I want to lose 10 lbs do I need to join a gym first or look at my eating first?  I believe goals become overwhelming when we think of all that needs to be done before we can achieve them. So just think of the very first step. If you decide to join a gym then commit to when you are going to do that.

Here is the important part. Celebrate your victory and let that momentum move you into your next step. Now that you have joined a gym, are you going to hirer a trainer or look on Pinterest for workout ideas?

You never look farther than your next step. That way you are constantly feeling your progress instead of looking at how far you need to go. I like to use the post-it system I mentioned here because you get to see the progress you have made. If you are visual like I am, it really helps.

Are you ready to unbecome the things you aren’t so that your true self can finally shine through?  It’s as easy as taking one step at a time. Susan

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You, my dear friend, who is reading this, God wants you to know that He loves you. And that within you, right now, you have the capacity to be whatever He has in store for you.

I really pondered over what to write today, and I felt impressed that you needed to hear that you truly are enough and that its ok for you to believe in yourself. Right now. Just the way you are. Embrace the divinity within you. Don’t believe me yet? Read these amazing quotes and let your heart be touched.

Believe in yourselves. Believe that you are never alone. Believe that you will always be guided. Elaine S Dalton

Believe in yourself and then live so as to reach your possibilities. Thomas S Monson

Believe in yourselves. Believe in your capacity to do great and good and worthwhile things. Believe in the nature within you, the divine nature, that you are in very deed a son or daughter of the Living God. There is something of divinity within you, something that stands high and tall and noble. Get above the dirt and the filth of the earth and walk on a higher plane with your heads up, believing in yourselves and in your capacity to act for good in the world and make a difference. Gordon B Hinckley

God is eagerly waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as he always has. But he can’t if you don’t pray, and he can’t if you don’t dream. In short, he can’t if you don’t believe. Jeffery R Holland

It is extremely important for you to believe in yourselves only for what you are now but for what you have the power to become. Trust in the Lord as He leads you along. He has things for you to do that you won’t know about now but that will unfold later. If you stay close to Him, You will have some great adventures. You will live in a time where instead of sometimes being fulfilled, many of them will actually be fulfilled. The Lord will unfold your future bit by bit. Neal A Maxwell

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In a world that constantly tells me I am not enough it can sometimes become difficult to remember who I am and what I am capable of doing. The messages from the media can be confusing and contradictory in regards to what kind of wife and mother I should be. So how does one find herself when everywhere you turn someone has a different answer for her?

Personal identity is something I have thought a lot about in my life. It’s so easy to see the good in others. To see what makes them unique and divine. But often it can be rather difficult to see in ourself.

This weekend I sat with a friend as we discussed our personal identities. It was enlightening to say the least. I walked away with a greater desire to love and accept me for who I am and not what others tell me I am or am not. And the wheels in my mind began to spin. What have I learned over the years that has helped me to understand who I am and how do I help other women to love who they are as well?

My biggest cheerleader is the one I never see. Only one person knows me, the real true me. That’s my God. He knows my potential in spite of my failings. He knows the deepest desires of my heart that I never speak out loud. A necessary first step to understanding your individual worth is to go to Him and ask Him for that knowledge.

When I have prayed for an understanding of who I am in the past, I was surprisingly overwhelmed with the love and the confidence I felt from God to me. He wants you to succeed at whatever it is He is asking of you. I truly believe that. Over time He can show you who you are and what you can become just as He has done for me when I have asked.

Trust Him. Believe He can make you into more than you could ever imagine. He needs you on His side to uplift, to teach, to guide and to love others. He will walk with you if you let Him.

I have also seen and felt satan want just as badly for us to fail. Those are the low moments in my life, when I believed the lies satan threw at me. Anytime you feel not good enough, like you don’t measure up, that life is too hard, that’s satan lying to your face. He is doing all in his power to stop you from knowing your worth.  If he can get you to doubt and fear he knows he can also stop you from becoming the powerful person you are meant to become. He can stop you from influencing those around you, and he is doing all he can to stop you from finding true joy.

I found one exercise to be extremely helpful.

Grab a piece of paper and pen. (Or use your phone to notes.  I love Evernote)  Find a quiet moment and kneel in prayer. Ask Heavenly Father to guide you to be able to see the good that is in you.  Ask Him to show you what makes you special and unique. Ask Him to open your eyes that you may see who you really are. And then thank Him in advance for the answers you will receive.

Once you finish let your pen begin to write I am….

These are meant to be traits not roles. For example some traits you could write are:  I am strong. I am a good listener. I am always there when my children need me. Where as roles you fulfill are things like I am a wife. I am a mother.

You want to really discover what makes you who you are. So although you might be an amazing mother what traits back that up?

One caution, write everything you can think of. Even if you do not feel perfect at it. I am not a Pinterest worthy crafty person. And yet I love to create and make things for my home or for my kids parties. I enjoy those things. Yes, there are woman who are better than me. But I can still be good at it. My point is don’t judge if you are good at something based on the fact that someone is better.

Don’t worry about proper sentences or grammar. Free flow writing can allow your mind to let go of worry and stress and let the truth flow from God to you. No one ever has to see this list. It’s just for you.

Once you are done take a deep breath and read through what you have written. Keep this list near you over the next couple of days and add to it as often as a good trait comes to your mind.

As strange as it may feel to do, ask those around you what they see good in you. It can be very heart warming and funny to hear what your kids have to say about you. Things you might not have thought of as a good trait can come from the mouths of babes. Your parents and spouse will usually have more to say that can add to your list.

What if for the next 30 days every time you woke up someone told you what you were good at? Can you imagine how that might make you feel?  What if that person was you?  I hate hearing my own voice but I have felt a quiet prompting to record my “I am statements” and listen to them every single day.  I believe the power from hearing yourself give positive feedback can be more powerful than hearing it from anyone else.

Are you ready to start on your journey of finding out who you really are?

PS. If you do this challenge I would love to hear how it went. Even if you just did part of it, share with us your thoughts.

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braver

I want to share with you another story of a strong woman, as shared by Bonnie Oscarson in this talk, who lived her life in a fearless meaningful way.  Her full story can be found here.

I recently read the story of Marie Madeline Cardon, who, with her family, received the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ from the first missionaries called to serve in Italy in 1850. She was a young woman of 17 or 18 years of age when they were baptized. One Sunday, while the family was holding a worship service in their home high in the Alps of northern Italy, an angry mob of men, including some of the local ministers, gathered around the house and began shouting, yelling, and calling for the missionaries to be brought outside. I don’t think they were anxious to be taught the gospel—they intended bodily harm. It was young Marie who marched out of the house to confront the mob.

They continued their vicious yells and demands for the missionaries to be brought out. Marie raised her Bible up in her hand and commanded them to depart. She told them that the elders were under her protection and that they could not harm one hair of their heads. Listen to her own words: “All stood aghast. … God was with me. He placed those words in my mouth, or I could not have spoken them. All was calm, instantly. That strong ferocious body of men stood helpless before a weak, trembling, yet fearless girl.” The ministers asked the mob to leave, which they did quietly in shame, fear, and remorse. The small flock completed their meeting in peace.

I love this image. Of all the people at this meeting who could have gone out and confronted this mob, a young woman, sure of her own intent and beliefs, didn’t wait for the men to go deal with the problem. She stood up and confronted the angry mob of men, head on. I imagine it was pretty scary, but she didn’t let that stop her. I hope that I can be like her when faced with doing what is right and necessary.

We are each more powerful than we often believe that we are, and through reading about people like Marie, I hope that we will see that it is possible to stand up for what we believe and face our fears with dignity, considering more about the benefits of doing what is right, rather than worrying about what might happen to us.  Make it a great weekend.  – Laura

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?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I’ve read the words of Jesus in the New Testament all my life, and learned more about them in Sunday School while growing up.  But every once in a while you read something and it has so much more meaning, as it is looked at in a different way.

In Matthew 17, Jesus was asked by a man to cure his son.  He said that he’d asked the Savior’s disciples to do it, but they couldn’t. Jesus responded very concerned, saying that He wouldn’t be with them for long, and they didn’t have enough faith to heal themselves.  Jesus then healed the boy, and his disciples asked him why they were not able to help this boy.

Jesus then said:

Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Looking at the full context of this comparison of a grain of mustard seed, I saw something new.  This mustard seed is being compared to the disciple. Both are God’s creations, both have to decide if they will believe that God can make of them what He promises.

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The mustard seed is very tiny. It could easily look in a mirror and say “I’m just a tiny seed, I don’t really matter.  I don’t amount to much on my own, so why even try to be anything more. I’m content to just be the seed that God made me.”   This little seed, not believing he could be more, may not allow himself to be planted, to germinate, to reach and stretch and become something so much more. But with enough faith in God the little seed can grow to be a beautiful plant, that will produce more seeds and will continue on for generations, fulfilling the destiny that God gave to him.

If God can take this tiny seed, with enough faith to allow itself to develop the way it was intended, and make it into this beautiful field, don’t we deserve to give God the chance to do something wonderful with us also?

a field of mustard plants

 

As a metaphor, the comparison of this mustard seed was meant to teach His disciples to have faith enough to be able to heal, to preach, to help one another after Jesus was resurrected and ascended to His Father.

In our day He wants the same. God and Jesus Christ love each and every one of their children, but they cannot come down here to physically help all of us.  That is why He gave us mothers, fathers, friends, teachers… Each of us has a mission in this life to help each other, all of God’s children, as we make our way through this life.

And just as the mustard seed, we cannot afford to look in the mirror and think, “I’m just me, nothing special. I don’t have anything important to give to the world.”  If we think that way, we are denying the divine destiny that God has planted inside each of us.

You may look small in the beginning, but with faith that God will help you to become something more, you can then step out and start looking for ways to be all that He wants you to be. You have it all inside of you.  You were meant to do good, to grow to a greater capacity than you can see from just looking in a mirror.

God has a purpose for you. If you believe Him as He attempts to guide you, and continue in faith like this mustard seed, you will be amazed at what He can do with you.   – Laura

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A few months back I was having an especially rough time. I felt overwhelmed and under-prepared to handle some of the challenges life had thrown my way. But one specific day was harder than I could handle. I sat down on my stairs and cried. I felt myself falling into a dark place.  I had been praying for help and yet in that moment I felt helpless.

That is the moment my sweet friend called me on the phone. I looked at the caller ID and debated. Do I let her see this weak failing side of me?  Do I fake it and tell her everything is fine?  Should I just ignore her call?  I can’t imagine she would want to talk to me when I was in such a terrible state.

I’m usually a private mourner and yet I bravely hit the button and answered with a little hiccup in my voice. “He..llo”

She let me talk. She let me feel and process,  even in my very broken state. And what was of most value, she loved me anyway. She didn’t look at me differently and in that moment I started to accept that I am really ok, even, no, especially when, difficulties get the best of me.

That one phone call didn’t snap me instantly out of my hard moment but it was the beginning steps that helped me to move forward.

Looking back I can see how courageous I was for letting in a friend when I needed her most.  But much more than that I see how beautiful this friend is for being there for me. She was just being her. I’m sure that conversation was just a small moment to her. She called me with no idea of how much I needed her and then, when we hung up I’m sure she continued on with the things going on in her life.

Have you ever had a friend, leader, co-worker, or family member say just what you needed to hear and they had no idea they had done that for you?  This is just one experience where someone else has deeply touched my life for good.

As I think back on these tremendous women I am left to wonder, what if they had decided they were not good enough to share who they are with me?  What if they compared themselves to other woman and had decided they were lacking and so they had nothing to offer?  My world would have been dimmer. I needed their light. I am who I am because they were brave and courageous enough to let who they were be good enough.

You too have a light to share that is unique and glorious. Your light will touch others when they are feeling dim. Shine that light. Let your imperfections be part of the equation. Let them see that even though you struggle you still embrace the individuality that is you.

I read an article the other day on house shaming. You can read it here. (Side note Allison Reynolds is a great writer, she is so good at mixing funny with real.) She talks about how embarrassing it can be when someone sees your lived-in house. How we apologize profusely and that needs to stop. Sometimes we just need to say, “I’m ok, you’re ok,  let’s be ok together.”  Even your flaws can give other people the ability to accept who they are. Being you, imperfect as you are, gives others permission to be them. Isn’t that what we want, a little more realness and acceptance?

When we see the effect one person can have on the lives of so many, it perhaps is no wonder that the Lord reminded us, “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (D&C 18:10).

That quote is from Harold G. Hillam titled The Worth of Souls. 

If you knew today something you did in the near future would bless a friend or family member tremendously, wouldn’t you be willing to jump out of bed and do whatever it took for your dearest loved ones?  What if all that meant was that you had to be ok with being you? Would you still be just as eager?

The worth of souls truly is great!  Shine bright so that others may see themselves more clearly by the light you project. 

Someone needs your light. They need your love. They need your specialty and they need your talents. Just as others have joyously blessed your life you have that same ability. Be you. Be awesome.                                                                      — Susan