Tag Archives: LDS

A Time To Every Purpose Under Heaven

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven -Ecclesiastes 3:1 (and The Byrds) 😉

I was recently talking to a friend who is on the board of a wonderful charity called PJ’s Forgotten Children. While I was pregnant with Chloe I had several opportunities to volunteer at their headquarters but many times didn’t go because of exhaustion, morning sickness or both. I was telling her how much I wish I had been there more when I had what now seems like loads of time and how I would love to be there to help now. She said to me, “There is a time and a season for everything.” I loved hearing these words and the thought stuck with me. 

A few weeks later I managed to make it to yoga because hubby was working from home. (Yay!) During the class our teacher mentioned that since his 18-month-old twins came into the world he hasn’t able to practice nearly as much as he would like to. His body is not what it used to be. His practice is not what it used to be. But he knows that this is a season of life that will come and go. It is temporary. This is not always how it will be. I layed there in savasana with a smile on my face and couldn’t help but notice the recurring message the spirit was sending to me.

Today I asked my hubby, “Don’t you love being a parent? You’re so good at it you’re such a wonderful daddy.” His response? “It’s hard.”
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We talked about all the things that we used to do and used to be. When you are single, the world is your oyster and you can up and go anywhere whenever for as long as you want. You can pursue your passions without worrying about the effect it will have on others to a great degree. Then you get married and that changes slightly, but you can still do the things you love and even redo your bathroom without worrying about using your sledgehammer or saw during naps and finish it in a LOT less time. Then you have children and that changes completely. Things have to be placed on hold or at the very least given less of your attention which can feel frustrating and sometimes hard.

img_8294“This too shall pass. She will never be this small again. One day you won’t be able to hold her in your arms. Enjoy this time.”

Whenever I start to get frustrated during the 3AM feedings, or when my little one refuses to take a nap and I find myself crying along with her (which happens more often than I dare admit) I say a prayer asking Heavenly Father to take the negative feelings away and every single time the spirit whispers to me, “This too shall pass. She will never be this small again. One day you won’t be able to hold her in your arms. Enjoy this time.” and with these thoughts my frustration dissipates and my heart is peaceful again. That is the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. He is there for us in such infinitely personal ways. And he loves us so much he only not wants to take away our pain, he wants to give us a greater peace than we could expect. 

I know many who are on the other side of where I am at right now and are actively pursuing other goals and dreams now that their children are a little (or a lot) more grown. I know many who are in the thick of it. Two, three, four, five children in. I know many who have journeys completely different of their own or have yet to know what this journey feels like. Is it hard? Yes. Is it beautiful? Yes. Is it transformative? On every level yes. Is it worth it? A thousand times YES.img_8184

There is so much beauty in creating with God and experiencing a life unlike any other I’ve ever known. There is such beauty in the process that as a friend put it, “tears you apart so that you can rebuild yourself as a mother.” There is such beauty in the growth that takes place in such a short period of time; in having this person who needs you and loves you and who looks to you for every comfort. This person who is eternally sealed to you. Yes, there are all kinds of experiences we are unable to have right now. But so many of these experiences are temporary and fleeting. A yoga class here, a bike ride there, a concert, a movie, a quiet night to ourselves. I have been reflecting the last few days on how all of these things are impermanent. All of it. Except one. 

The one permanent thing, the single thing that we can take with us when we leave this earth, the one thing that is everlasting and is worth every second of our time and investment is the family we are each a part of.

Families are not fleeting. Families are not temporary. This is life eternal and families are forever. 

Begin Again

Again, the spirit has called and called me here to write and to share. Again and again I allowed myself to get caught up in things that distracted me. Now, here I am with a six-month-old baby wishing I had been recording my spiritual insights and experiences here all along and kicking myself for not doing this day after day.

Today I begin again. Because the day I walked into Niki Mantyla’s class nearly three years ago and the day she announced that our final for the class would be a blog discussing something that changed our lives (the very blog you are reading) I knew this was the message Heavenly Father wanted me to share. The joy I had in my heart would grow and grow each time I did.

I promise not to be like Chemish and Amaron. I will not blow my chance to bless a life and say nothing of value or be arrogant in my comments. I will do all I can to give my readers something useful, something good, something beneficial to think on and learn from.

I promise not to be like Chemish and Amaron. I will not blow my chance to bless a life and say nothing of value or be arrogant in my comments.

Today I want to begin by sharing the thought I had while listening to Mormon Channel Talk Radio. Yes, this is a thing I do several days a week if I ever know I am going to be home for a while and have no place to go or nothing pressing that day. I listen when I need a little spiritual upliftment. I listen when my scripture study was cut short by things like feeding the baby or changing the baby or playing with the baby. You catch my drift. At any rate, I highly recommend that anyone try listening. Each day is filled with conference talks, Mormon Messages, programs produced by the church and the Mormon Channel. The content is fabulous and trust me you will thank yourself for listening.

I love how the spirit can make any talk, any scripture, any discussion relevant and so very personal to each of us if we are seeking to receive it. Today I had the restoration on my mind since this is the theme for April in Young Women’s. I received several thoughts and direction due to segments today. I was excited and grateful to look further into the promptings I received. Then later as I was putting the baby to sleep, I overheard a piece of a BYU speech from Elder Holland that gave me much to reflect on. The quote, “When suffering, we may in fact be nearer to God than we’ve ever been in our entire lives. That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would-be temple.” 

This quote was especially powerful today because I have a dearly loved sister who is going through an excruciating experience and I have had a hard time finding the words to express comfort to her. Last night, I found myself on the phone with her explaining how I will sometimes look for others are in much worse situations than I am to help me find the good in difficult times. When I was going through my divorce, I would read holocaust novels. When we spent ten days with Chloe in the NICU I would think of parents who were not able to hold or take their babies home from the hospital. Last night it was a tale of a friend who endured something similar but without the support and companionship of a loving husband.

“When suffering, we may in fact be nearer to God than we’ve ever been in our entire lives. That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would-be temple.”

As I was listening to Elder Holland’s speech today, it hit me that maybe the reason we do this is that as we look for examples of suffering greater than ours, we will ultimately be lead to the perfect example who is Jesus Christ, who suffered more than any other human ever has or ever will. He suffered so that we would not have to, and when we give our pain, disappointment, discouragement, suffering and doubts over to him, we will learn as Elder Holland says, “every experience can become a redemptive experience if we remain bonded to our Father in Heaven through it.

. . . maybe the reason we do this is that as we look for examples of suffering greater than ours, we will ultimately be lead to the perfect example who is Jesus Christ . . .

These difficult lessons teach us that man’s extremity is God’s opportunity, and if we will be humble and faithful, if we will be believing and not curse God for our problems, He can turn the unfair and inhumane and debilitating prisons of our lives into temples—or at least into a circumstance that can bring comfort and revelation, divine companionship and peace.”

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith even said that perhaps such sufferings have to happen—not only can they happen, perhaps they have to. Regarding the events that took place at Liberty Jail, he said:

“As I have read the history of those days, the days that went before and days that came after, I have reached the conclusion that the hardships, the persecution, the almost universal opposition [toward the Church at that time] were necessary. At any rate they became school teachers to our people. They helped to make [them] strong.

I testify that this is true. I know that the challenging times we have in this life are all there to give us experience. Everything that we survive becomes our teacher, helping us to help others, to have empathy and compassion and a deeper understanding. It is my prayer that I will be able share this hopeful message with any of you who may be suffering. I urge you to listen to the words of Elder Holland, yes all 45 minutes of it, and I promise you will be uplifted and edified. Christ will carry you through your most difficult times if you reach up, he will take your hand. I know this to be true and I leave this testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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Honoring the Law of Tithing

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Last week the bishop asked me to give a talk on tithing in sacrament meeting. It was finals week, so this felt like a daunting task on top of everything else. However, I have gotten in the habit of writing my testimony on this blog so I used it to write my talk. Here it is!

tithing-illustration-coins-principle-157170-galleryI am so grateful to be able to speak to you today about the law of Tithing.

Next to the desk in the office I work in, I have a bulletin board with inspirational quotes etc. and on it I have a quote that reads:

“Be fearless in building up the kingdom of Zion”

I look at it often and consider what I can do to help with the work. As members of this church, we have many opportunities to help build up the kingdom, and there are times when helping can seem challenging. and there are times when paying tithing can certainly fall into that category of things which seem difficult, but as President Lorenzo Snow so eloquently put it,

Tithing is not a difficult law . . . if a man receives ten dollars, his tithing is one dollar, if he receives one hundred, his tithing is ten . . it is very easy to comprehend.”  

“It is a law revealed specially for our protection and safety, as well as for our advancement in the path of righteousness and holiness; a law by which the land on which we dwell might become sanctified; a law by which Zion might be built up and established never more to be thrown down or removed out of her place by wicked and ungodly men.

We have temples, and we receive blessings pertaining to them, even the highest ordinances ever administered to man on the earth, by reason of our obedience to this law. (1)

The Bible indicates that God’s people followed the law of tithing anciently; through modern prophets, God restored this law once again to bless His children. God created the world we live in and everything in it, including us. There is no way that we could possibly repay him. We are forever indebted to him and all he asks of us is ten percent of our.

In Elder Bednar’s conference talk on tithing “The Windows of Heaven” he describes how,

These sacred funds are used in a rapidly growing church to spiritually bless individuals and families by constructing and maintaining temples and houses of worship, supporting missionary work, translating and publishing scriptures, fostering family history research, funding schools and religious education, and accomplishing many other Church purposes as directed by the Lord’s ordained servants. (2)

I love that as members of this church we have the opportunity to help support and sustain our leaders, our ward-members, our missionaries, the youth of this church, and others around the world. I enjoy having the right and the responsibility to contribute to help maintain and develop all of the wonderful tithing-607694-gallerybuildings that we have which allow us to worship, to have activities and meetings, blessing others of God’s children with the opportunity to learn of Him and grow in the gospel.

When I signed up for my first Institute class down at the SLCC campus, I was told that I could have a free parking pass. I love that my tithing funds go to help encourage young people to learn of our Heavenly Father, even by making it more convenient to come and attend the classes.

Developing Faith in Heavenly Father

Paying tithing helps us to develop faith in our Heavenly Father. When I started my journey back to the church, I had a whole myriad of difficult things to overcome, and some were a great challenge for me, but paying a full tithing was immediately a great blessing to me. It brought me great joy to have something that I was able to do without hesitation, with a thankful heart, it was a very tangible way for me to exercise my faith in the Lord.

Every time we pay our tithing we can have that same feeling of gratitude for having something temporal we can do to show our gratitude to our Heavenly Father.

Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve said,

the primary purpose of this law is to help us develop and test our faith in our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Tithing helps us overcome our desires for the things of this world and willingly make sacrifices for others.”

By sacrificing to the lord what we may think we need or want for ourselves, we learn to rely on Him. Our faith in Him makes it possible to keep temple covenants and receive eternal temple blessings . . . . (3)

In Malachai 3:10 we read:

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (4)

In the 1900 General Conference of the LDS Church, Joseph F. Smith shared a memory of his mother:

“My mother was a widow, with a large family to provide for. One spring when we opened our potato pits she had her boys get a load of the best potatoes, and she took them to the tithing office; potatoes were scarce that season. I was a little boy at the time, and drove the team. When we drove up to the steps of the tithing office, ready to unload the potatoes, one of the clerks came out and said to my mother, ‘Widow Smith, it’s a shame that you should have to pay tithing.’ … He chided my mother for paying her tithing, called her anything but wise or prudent; and said there were others who were strong and able to work that were supported from the tithing office. My mother turned upon him and said: ‘William, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Would you deny me a blessing? If I did not pay my tithing, I should expect the Lord to withhold His blessings from me. I pay my tithing, not only because it is a law of God, but because I expect a blessing by doing it. By keeping this and other laws, I expect to prosper and to be able to provide for my family'” (5)

During my preparation for this talk I have been given an opportunity to reflect on the blessings that I have received as a result of being a full tithing payer. I did a lot of Google searches to find inspiring stories from others, and then began to realize that I had many examples of my own.

In the fall I decided to go back to school. At the time, I was working a full time as a program manager and part time as a yoga instructor. I was teaching at my home studio in Sugarhouse, and at a new studio which recently opened up in West Jordan. (In case you didn’t know, the yoga that I teach takes place in a room with 110 degree heat and 40% humidity, so simply teaching a class can be physically exhausting.)

As is the case with most new yoga studios, the West Jordan studio was struggling to get on its feet, and I felt a great obligation to do whatever I could to help even though I was wearing myself thin; I didn’t want to let the owner down by taking time away to focus on school. I considered quitting my full-time job to teach and go to school full-time and I had been praying for an answer from Heavenly Father to help me to know where I should be focusing my efforts.

One morning, after a particularly strenuous and challenging 5:30 A.M. class, the owner came in and without my even asking, offered to give me a break. In an instant I was given permission to walk away from something that had been a great cause of worry and tension and I knew that Heavenly Father had a hand in it. I knew that my efforts were meant to be placed elsewhere and it was such a blessing to receive an answer to this question that had been constantly on my mind.

This also meant that I would be losing a chunk of my income, but I knew that the Lord would help me to survive because I had been faithful in paying my tithing.

And the simple truth is this: I have had more than enough each month. You hear stories all the time about people deciding to pay a full tithing, even when they were struggling to make ends meet, and somehow being able to make it work. It works because the Lord opens the windows of heaven and pours the blessings out. I encourage each one of you to test your faith in the Lord by paying a full tithing. Prove Him now herewith. Be fearless in building up the Kingdom of Zion. I bear my testimony that if you do this, there will be joy in your heart, that the Lord keeps his promises and that the windows of heaven will be opened to you, you will receive great blessings both temporal and spiritual that there will not be room enough to receive them. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Sources:

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow Chapter 12: Tithing, a Law for Our Protection and Advancement.” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow Chapter 12: Tithing, a Law for Our Protection and Advancement. 1 Jan. 2011. Web. 13 Dec. 2014.

Bednar, David A. “The Windows of Heaven – David A. Bednar.” The Windows of Heaven – David A. Bednar. 1 Oct. 2013. Web. 13 Dec. 2014.

Hales, Robert D. “Becoming Provident Providers Temporally and Spiritually – Robert D. Hales.Becoming Provident Providers Temporally and Spiritually – Robert D. Hales. 1 Apr. 2009. Web. 13 Dec. 2014.

Malachai. 3:10. Print.

 

#ShareTheGift

Last week while listening to Christmas music and preparing Thanksgiving dinner, it hit me that I kept feeling the spirit with some of the songs that were playing; something I haven’t felt for a very long time. I looked at my mom and said, “Is this how you always feel at Christmas?” She smiled and nodded saying, “Isn’t it wonderful?”

The sister missionaries came over last night to help us decorate the Christmas tree, and they brought with them a DVD of the church’s latest video. It made my heart swell and almost burst! I am so proud of the church for delivering such a beautiful, gentle message that perfectly fits the spirit of the season.

This video does the same thing for me, and I hope that it touches your heart too.

#Endowed!

Today (and every day) I am grateful that after twenty-plus years of wandering away from what I knew to be true, I let go of my pride, followed my heart, and landed straight back with my LDS faith. Last week I entered the temple for the first time with my family and friends to take out my endowments. I am now officially a wearer of temple garments and it feels grrreat! All I could think the whole time was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful and yet again, wonderful.

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Temple Preparation: A Journey In Itself

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When I first came back to church, the temple was on my mind constantly, the glowing beauty on nearly every horizon of the Salt Lake Valley seemed to call to me wherever I could see it. But I had not followed the law of chastity for the last twenty years, I was still drinking and had only quit smoking in the not-so-distant past, I was drinking tea and coffee religiously, not to mention the idea of tithing and garments?!  How would someone like me ever muster up the strength to overcome my addictions, my shortcomings, and manage to get there?

If you are considering going to the temple for the first time, I know how daunting it can seem. But the process is simple. In the words of Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Lattet-Day Saints, “We must learn that in the Lord’s plan, our understanding comes “line upon line, precept upon precept.” 6 In short, knowledge and understanding come at the price of patience.” I did what I could, with a steadfastness in Christ, I listened to what the spirit was prompting me to do, and made changes in my life little by little. I started going to church. I prayed morning and night. I decided to read the Book of Mormon in it’s entirety for my very first time. After that, my life continued on, filled with challenges as always. Only now I had the spirit with me and blessings started pouring out.

I started back at school, I found this class which lead me to creating this blog and sharing my story, my sister whom I had been praying for moved back in with my mother and I in search of help, I have been allowed to be by her side to grow and learn with her, my family ties have been re-invigorated and strengthened through our faith in the plan of salvation and our love for one-another, I have made new friends who inspire and uplift me, I have been given opportunities to inspire and uplift others around me, with the help of my bishop I received my temple recommend, I received my Patriarchal Blessing, I have been called as a Ward Missionary, and I am ready to enter the temple. The list keeps growing, my mind keeps expanding, and my testimony grows and grows with each passing day, each trial, and each triumph.

In the early weeks of my return back to church, as I was testing the waters with the active members of my family, looking for guidance and support, my nephew Connor, a recently-returned missionary, told me I should listen to this talk given by Brother Brad Wilcox. I have since returned to it over and over. His words are so encouraging and have given me the hope and motivation to press forward.

 

Ever since I received my temple recommend back in September, my family and I have been meeting (almost) every week to review the Temple Prep Classes. If you are preparing to enter the temple, I highly recommend taking the classes, and (if you are able) I would recommend doing them with your family. It has been such a blessing for us to gather and discuss things like the plan of salvation, the importance of temple work, the importance of the use of symbols in teaching, the purpose of temple garments, etc. It has been a great testimony builder, and a source of strength and power for me and my family to gather and intimately share our beliefs, experiences, hopes, challenges, and most of all our testimonies has been a treasure beyond measure.

Another thing I highly recommend is reading a post by a fellow blogger entitled “The Truth About Mormon Temples, and What to Expect When Going”. This post gave me hope and helped to relieve any residual anxiety I had about getting there and how my life would change after I went. This post completely changed my perspective on temple garments (women you need to read this!) Her attitude and enthusiasm towards garments (something that seems like such a hard concession to make, especially when women are told by the fashion industry to dress a certain way. But I have learned that there is such freedom in dressing modestly, and

How wonderful and perfect is God’s plan for each and every one of us? If it weren’t for the gospel, I would not be where I am today. If it weren’t for the requirements to enter the temple, I wouldn’t be making the progress I have made in my life in order to get there. I can not wait for the next growth spurt that will come after I go. To quote my sister Annie, the temple is a place where all are welcome. Elder Russel M. Nelson advises that, “No one is denied access so long as they are Our Redeemer requires that His temples be protected from desecration. No unclean thing may enter His hallowed house. 11 Yet anyone is welcome who prepares well.”

I am living proof of this and I am so grateful for all the wonderful blessings, wisdom and experiences I have gained just by preparing myself to go.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

A Great Article to Use for My Blog

Yesterday my mom found this blog called Normans where their creedo is “Just a handful of Mormons trying to prove how freaking normal we are.” I love it! It’s chock-full of good reads, and this article will definitely become another source for my report. On the site, there is a great story, “Taking Off My Worried Shoes” about how Mormonism is a path to true happiness. I quite enjoyed it.

A few other possible sources/inspiration for how-to pages come straight from the pages of the Ensign:

 

Called to Serve!

Hi guys! There is so much to tell, so much has been going on, but right now I can’t wait to post that I got my first calling in the ward on Sunday.

I got a text from the Bishop’s secretary (is that what you call him? It’s the guy who does all the scheduling,) asking if I could come in to see the Bishop on Sunday at 9am. He and I had been meeting weekly when I first returned back to the church, so at first I thought “Oh, he just wants to catch up, we haven’t spoken in a while.” But the I remembered something from the night of my Patriarchal Blessing, which I invited him to attend. He told me that after I bore my testimony in church earlier that day, he leaned over to his first counselor and said “We need to get Sara into a calling!” I knew that must be the reason.

I was filled with excitement, and immediately started to wonder what it would be. Primary came to mind right away since we have one of the noisiest wards in the valley, with new children showing up week after week. “Yes,” I thought, “it’s definitely likely to be Primary.”

Later that day, I went with my friend Renee to pick out material for my temple dress that she is making for me (I am so blessed to have a friend who offered to do this for me!) and she reminded me that it could be the nursery. Bom, Bom, Booooom!!

No, not nursery! Just last week my visiting teaching gal told me a horror story about being converted to the church and immediately being assigned to the nursery for TWO YEARS! I was half-hoping that wouldn’t happen, but was prepared to accept a nursery calling if that was what the Lord wanted for me. Besides, I love kids, how bad could it be? 😉

When I arrived to his office at 9am, he told me that after much pondering and prayer, and discussion with the Ward Mission Leader, I have been asked to serve as a Ward Missionary! Can you believe it!?

He set me apart that night after church. I am so proud to say that I am now even more officially responsible, as we all are, to share the gospel with all those whom I come in contact. I can feel my Heavenly Father supporting me in this cause, giving me the courage to share my testimony with anyone and everyone who will listen.

Here’s a cute video of the song my mom has been singing to me all week. 🙂