The power of hope when things are hard.Read More
Our family theme for the 2019-2020 school year even though we don’t have anyone in school.Read More
For a long time, I had so much anger and bitterness in my heart.
At the same time, my brain and body were as anxious as they'd ever been. What a roller coaster of emotions.
Deep down I knew that I needed to let go of the hurt and anger and bitterness that came because of what I'd experienced in high school. I needed to let go of everything that my abuser did.
But for some reason, letting go and forgiveness seemed impossible. I wanted to hold on to the anger and the bitterness because I thought that if I let it go if I forgave him, it would mean that I was okay with what had happened. That I didn't care anymore, even though that was so far from the truth.
Forgiving my abuser doesn't mean that I forgot what happened. It also doesn't mean that I'm looking at him and saying 'oh it's okay' after he apologized (which he did. I realize this is rare, but it did happen.)
For me, forgiveness has turned me to Christ, to the very one who can take away all of our pain and sorrows. Forgiveness is turning it all over to God, it was me saying "God, I cannot carry this hate and bitterness and anger anymore. Please, take it from me."
It was me recognizing that all the anger and hurt and hate and bitterness was only hurting my life and that I needed to let it go, and trust that in the end, God will take care of everything.
I feel like writing this makes it sound easy, but it's still been so so hard.
Every day I still work to give my burdens and my troubles to God. I am constantly working on letting go and moving forward. It is a process. It's been a process for 9 years.
For a while, I really struggled because I felt like no one at church was talking about forgiveness this way.
What do you do when someone really hurts you? What do you do if they don't apologize? What do you do if they do?
I continue to ask myself these questions because I really just don't know. I've been listening to the latest General Conference from last October and this past week I listened to The Ministry of Reconciliation by Elder Holland.
As I listened, I felt like I should write this post. I honestly don't know how much of this makes sense, but I knew I needed to share a little bit more of my experience.
Of how I've been turning to God to take away the pain and anger and hate through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He's the only one that can take away the pain. I can't go back in time, my history and past can't be changed, but I can change who I am going forward and how I feel, and that's all because of the Savior.
To end I want to share some quotes from Elder Holland's talk, you can read or listen to the entire thing here as well:
“Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven,” Christ taught in New Testament times. And in our day: “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you, it is required to forgive all men.” It is, however, important for some of you living in real anguish to note what He did not say. He did not say, “You are not allowed to feel true pain or real sorrow from the shattering experiences you have had at the hand of another.” Nor did He say, “In order to forgive fully, you have to reenter a toxic relationship or return to an abusive, destructive circumstance.” But notwithstanding even the most terrible offenses that might come to us, we can rise above our pain only when we put our feet onto the path of true healing. That path is the forgiving one walked by Jesus of Nazareth, who calls out to each of us, “Come, follow me.”
My beloved brothers and sisters, I testify that forgiving and forsaking offenses, old or new, is central to the grandeur of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I testify that ultimately such spiritual repair can come only from our divine Redeemer, He who rushes to our aid “with healing in his wings.” We thank Him, and our Heavenly Father who sent Him, that renewal and rebirth, a future free from old sorrows and past mistakes, are not only possible, but they have already been purchased, paid for, at an excruciating cost symbolized by the blood of the Lamb who shed it.
With the apostolic authority granted me by the Savior of the world, I testify of the tranquility to the soul that reconciliation with God and each other will bring if we are meek and courageous enough to pursue it. “Cease to contend one with another,” the Savior pled. If you know of an old injury, repair it. Care for one another in love.
My beloved friends, in our shared ministry of reconciliation, I ask us to be peacemakers—to love peace, to seek peace, to create peace, to cherish peace. I make that appeal in the name of the Prince of Peace, who knows everything about being “wounded in the house of [His] friends” but who still found the strength to forgive and forget—and to heal—and be happy.
Today's post is a guest post from my sister, McKenna. She also created a free Sabbath day printable that you can download to take notes and record your thoughts on Sundays! This is her experience about getting more out of the Sabbath Day.
My Story about Sabbath Day Worship
When I was little I always loved going to church on Sunday’s. I don’t know if that was because my parents loved going and it showed or because I loved seeing my friend all I know is that Sunday was the best day of the week. As I grew older the feeling was still there I became a young woman, and during those years I truly developed a testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
My testimony wasn’t huge but it was strong and I knew that I was a daughter of God and that He would always look after me. Church was still one of the best parts of my week. I was able to pay attention and get things out of each meeting that helped sustain my faith.
Then I started going to the singles ward when I graduated from high school and my faith faulted. It is not that I didn’t study or have a testimony but church on Sunday didn’t seem to really matter anymore. I would go to all my meetings and go through the actions but I didn’t learn anything or really care what was said.
I moved out and started going to a BYU singles ward and that helped a little. I was engaged in church callings and I had friends that loved going to church but I still didn’t get much out of it.
One day in sacrament meeting my roommate was giving a talk on Sabbath day observance. She gave a quote:
Someone asked President Spencer W. Kimball, “What do you do when you find yourself in a boring sacrament meeting?” His answer was a little surprising: “I don’t know. I’ve never been in one” (Donald L. Hallstrom)
And that struck me. He had never been to a boring sacrament meeting… in my head, I was thinking how is that possible? And then I got thinking about myself. Why was I bored at church? Why didn’t I get anything out of the meetings I was going to? Was it because of the speakers or the teachers? Or was it because of me and the lack of preparation I had come to church with?
This got me really excited and ready to change MY attitude about Sabbath observance and what I could do to get more out of my worship.
That same day after coming home from church I asked myself this question: WHY? Why do I go to church? What is the purpose?
We all have different reasons why we attend and that is ok. None of us are the same, we all think and act differently. But once we know what the reason is we can truly reflect on if that reason will keep up going. Or see if we can find the motivation to keep going for more than just that one reason.
I soon discovered that as I changed my attitude and tried to find different reasons why I was going and resolved that I would never have a boring Sunday meeting again. The next few months were great. Sunday worship was more focused on God and what He was trying to tell me.
Let me say though this new habit didn’t last long. I am human and I fell into a slump of Sunday blues again.
This past year I was called into nursery and I loved the calling. I loved being around the sweet spirits and testifying that they are children of a Heavenly Father who loves them so much. I noticed after a few months that I wasn’t feeling the spirit as much as I used to and I was missing something in my life.
I turned to my mom. What she said really stuck out to me. “What are you doing at home to increase the spirit in your life? That way while you are at church you can relate to things that you have studied and pondered over the week.”
What a bold statement! Preparing to worship for church each Sunday will increase the spirit in our lives and enable us to learn more and get more from our church services.
It is up to us to get out of church anything and everything.
One other thing that helps is taking care to remember! Remember is a powerful word. If we are prepared each Sabbath and have come ready and willing to feel the spirit we should have a way to record and keep track of those sacred experiences that we will have.
I have created this printable to use on Sunday to ponder and ask questions and to keep track of the things Heavenly Father wants me to learn each time I go to worship Him.
I am so grateful for my journey of faith and trial to come to know that we are responsible for our own learning at home and at church. The teachers prepare but we must as well. God wants to give us revelation but how can He if we are not open to hearing it. We are not perfect but we can try. Prepare at home to have the spirit with you as you attend church meetings, pray for answers to questions, ponder the feelings in your heart as teachers teach and you listen, and WRITE down the things that you feel. Getting more out of the Sabbath day will come little by little and we give more of ourselves to HIM.
ASK. SEEK. FIND.
You are loved.
Grab your free Sabbath Notes Printable!
How is your family scripture study going? Ours isn't going as great as I'd like honestly. Since we got married in 2015, we've always struggled to get in the habit of reading scriptures as a couple. And we still struggle with it now as a family of three. At first, it was something that really bothered me, but then I just got used to it. Now that I've been making my own personal study a daily priority (as much as I can, I'm definitely not perfect,) I do want to try again with our family scripture study. I sometimes read the scriptures out loud to Von, but I know that we can be better at studying as a family.I was super excited when the new Come, Follow Me curriculum was announced because even though it meant more responsibility for us at home, it also meant that there was a little more structure for family scripture study. This is something that we're still working on, but I today I'm sharing 5 things that we're doing and that you can do too to improve your families scripture study.
Put it on the calendar
Maybe this idea seems obvious to you, but scheduling time for scripture study helps so much! We're still figuring out what day works best for us, either Sunday afternoon, Monday night, or maybe even another time. But having a set time helps because we know that that is when we're going to study together.
Make it fun
I want to be better at loving the Bible, but I have really struggled in the past. Thankfully, I do understand the New Testament a lot more than the Old Testament. But it can still be hard to want to sit down and read them as a family. One thing that I've been loving is the Primary manual. Because we teach primary on Sunday it means we're also reading those lessons. It's the same scriptures that we're already reading, but with activities and other ideas to help make learning about the scriptures fun. I definitely will be using the Primary manual as a resource when Von gets older.Make scripture study fun by:
Acting out the scriptures
Coloring a scene from the scriptures
Watching a short bible video
Read the scriptures in a different accent
Make it Meaningful
I think we've struggled with scripture study together in the past because it can get a little boring when we just read some verses and call it good. But we've also had times where we read a verse or two and then have a really great discussion, and end up talking for a long time about what we think, feel, and know. Obviously, I know that it's not realistic for me to think that every time we sit down to study the scriptures it will be deep and profound. But I do think that if we stop to ask questions or share our thoughts after we study (or use the tools in the Come, Follow Me study guide) that we can make our study time more meaningful. And I know that when we've had meaningful studies, we've wanted to study more.
Have a treat
Food always makes everything better. Do I need more of an explanation? Haha, but really. I do think that having a treat or something fun makes scripture study more fun, especially when kids are involved. Obviously, Von is still pretty little and doesn't really know everything that's happening. But I remember having treats as a family when we had family home evening. But having treats makes everything a little better.
Keep Christ at the Center
Remember that we're all trying our best and that we should show ourselves grace in all our efforts. Christ is there to make up for it when we fall short. When we try our best to study as a family, we will be blessed.Plus, making Christ our center focus will help everyone remember why we're studying the scriptures in the first place. It really is to learn of Him and strengthen our faith in Him. Taking time to think about and talk about the Savior daily as a family has been a goal of mine this year, it's still a work in progress. But life is so much better when it's centered on Christ.What are some things that you've been doing to improve your family scripture study? I would love to hear more ideas of how we can make this a regular habit and part of our home!
I'm so excited to share this guest post with you! Today's post comes from my friend Racquel, she's shared a post before which you can look at here. Happy Sunday! - Taylor There is a phrase that I’ve heard as long as I can remember, and it’s usually some variation of primary answers or Sunday school answers or seminary answers. Those 2-3 are easily dismissed as though they don’t have any weight, any importance, any meaningful contribution. What am I talking about? The little things, the ones that we constantly hear about. Reading the scriptures, saying your prayers, going to church, attending the temple, etc. When did those answers become something that we brush aside in our search for something with more meat? When did we decide to invalidate the importance of those answers and think of them as something that a child might answer? Didn’t Jesus Christ Himself tell us to become as a little child and that if we do so we will find our place with Him? If we are supposed to become as a little child, then shouldn’t we be trying to act like one? As I have grown older and (hopefully) gained more life experience, I see people around me leave their faith. The thought that I might someday be among them terrifies me. I fear leaving the faith that I have grown up with and built my life around and I can’t imagine ever leaving my faith behind for something else. I’m sure that many people who have left their faith were once in my position. So, over the past year, I’ve thought over and over about what I can do to always hold onto my faith. And over and over my answer has always been the same: daily acts of worship. The primary answers. Doing those little things seems so simple and so inconsequential, but isn’t that exactly the reason that we should be doing them? When the children of Israel were afflicted with poisonous serpents, Moses took one of them, fastened it to a pole, and raised it up for the people to see. If you chose to look at the serpent, you were healed. So many of the children of Israel did not “look and live” because it seemed so simple, too good to be true. I think that’s the view that we sometimes take towards our daily scripture study and prayers. We think to ourselves that it’s just one day, what difference will one day make? Then one day becomes two, two days becomes three, three days becomes a week, a week becomes a month, etc. As I have tried to dive into the scriptures and really seek the Holy Ghost and seek God’s light, I have found that my daily scripture reading is what boosts my testimony the most. My strongest source of the Holy Ghost comes from reading and studying God’s word. When I truly try to communicate with my Father, prayer becomes a strength and a comfort. Going to church on Sundays provides the community and organized gospel learning that I need. Attending the temple can be the antibiotic to the bacteria of Satan’s influences trying to reside inside our souls. Friends, we need these small acts of worship and we need them daily! Think of how much more in tune with the Spirit you might be if you are seeking His influence every day. Think of how much closer you might be to God if you spend more time building your relationship with Him. How blessed we are to have His word with us and to be able to talk to Him! My challenge this week is to make the little faith-building things a priority every day. I’d love to hear about what you find! Happy Sunday!