Limiting God

Sometimes I truly hope I can express what is going on inside. As much as I want to be able to translate the feelings of my heart and the lessons I am learning into words, I find I am not as skilled as I would like to be. Refinement comes through action, so here we go.

Last week I had a gut check of faith. Acting on inspiration from Heaven, our family has sold our home and purchased a spec home in another town. It will take a few weeks for this home to be completed, so we are staying with my kind parents in the meantime. After all of the chaos of packing and moving, we settled into their home and the stillness settled in. I am learning that I do not do well sitting still.

My mind started to race and think about why we were moving and doubts began to creep in. The adversary is quite skilled because these thoughts didn’t feel like doubts, they felt like legitimate ideas. One idea would lead to another and to another until my mind was racing and I had forgotten all of the miracles that had led us to where we were buying our home. Fear set into my heart and I could not see my way forward.

After a sleepless night, I found myself on a car ride with my husband where I shared all that was going on in my heart and soul. He patiently listened to all of my concerns and never once told me that I was wrong. Instead he took me out to the house we are buying. To be honest, I did not want to be there. I had truly convinced myself that it was not where we were supposed to be, so it was the last place I wanted to be.

He found a bucket, put his jacket on it (he is a true gentleman) and sat me down. Through inspiration from God, he reminded me of everything that had happened to bring us there. We had offers on two other homes, but neither worked out. We were NOT going to look for a home in this particular town, but it was the only one we liked. New construction/spec homes were never anything we considered, yet it was the one that felt the best. After we put an offer on it, all of the paths began to open to get us there. It truly has been one miracle after another. He told me to rejoice and let God show me why we are supposed to be there. It will always be a special moment to me.

After a good amount of sleep, my heart was healed and I began to see things as they are.

I had allowed fear to take over and hold me back from an amazing adventure and opportunity for our family. Rather than using fear to drive me forward, I had let it hold me back. We have never been able to see the whole reason for why we have moved in the past, because the experiences have shaped us one at a time. I had forgotten this.

I realized that my fears and doubts limited the power of God in my life. They had became the barriers that restrained inspiration, joy and strength that would drive me forward.

Yet, the moment I turned to Him and Jesus Christ through prayer and talking to my husband, they were right there. There wasn’t a hesitation on their part. It was as if they were waiting for me to invite them to help me take down the walls I had built.

In moments of reflection, I see how much their power was limited because of me. Rather than submit, I chose to let fear to take over. In fear, I felt defeated, overwhelmed, tired, impatient, weak, defiant, stagnant.

As soon as I let Them in, I began to feel creative, hopeful, peaceful, receptive, powerful, centered.

Which led me to the question… Are there more places in life where I limit God?

Yes.

The power comes in recognizing them to overcome. It takes courage to face the walls we have built with our fears and doubts. It takes more strength than we have to tear them down on our own. The incredible moments come when we accept help and allow His power to manifest in our lives. It is always humbling to see how much He knows us and loves us.

Storms

I read this quote today:

STORMS QUOTE

 

Honestly, it was the perfect way to start the day. For the past 2 months, I have felt like there have been storms on every front of our lives. Each storm has been followed by a brief moment of sun, only to have the next one roll in.

I have noticed in times like this that God has something greater for us coming. It is these times that we can feel like He is working against us because everything is seemingly going wrong when it should be going right. Yet, if we trust Him, we eventually see how He is working FOR us.

Sometimes the storms in life are spread out with a fair amount of time in between. And other times, the storms move in one right after another, with varying intensities and durations. They can be life events, battles of the mind and heart, or the effects of decisions. All of them test us, either driving our roots deeper in trust or uprooting us. It is really our choice of how we will come out of the storm.

A couple of months ago I was happily living life, you know just doing my thing, when out of nowhere… WHAM! A thought crossed my mind that made NO SENSE AT ALL but no matter how hard I tried, it would not leave. I have learned that these bolts of inspiration are not mine, but someone telling me it is time for change. A change that I never would have considered on my own. One that would affect everyone in our family to one extent or another.

As much as I tried to keep it to myself, I couldn’t. So I shared the thought with my husband. This amazing man jumped right in with scenarios and solutions. He is truly my rock.

Taking steps forward in the dark, because remember IT MADE NO SENSE AT ALL, we have accomplished some pretty incredible feats. We are blessed to be a great team.

Yet, at this moment there is no forward movement. The path is blocked.

This is when the negative influences of the adversary always begin to wreak havoc.

We all have something or a lot of things that trigger our souls, bringing storms of despair and hopelessness. For me, it is feeling overwhelmed with seemingly no resources to move forward. One moment of overwhelm gives into two and on and on. These are days when it is nearly impossible to find hope. They start off with a negative thought that perpetuates throughout the day. Some days I can fight and pull out of it, but after many days, my fight starts to give way. It takes longer to get up mentally and spiritually. How grateful I am for prayer because I know the internal dialogue with God is heard and He is there.

It is in these stormy days that the doubt tries to take over. Telling me that what I felt is no longer valid and that I was wrong. I really need to recognize this so that I can brace myself and fight. Doubt is always one of the last tools the adversary throws at us, taking away our trust in a God that ALWAYS SAVES. If we can keep moving, even if it is one step that day, then the strands of doubt weaken. These strands gain their strength when we feel paralyzed, hopeless, like we have nothing to give/offer, less than, eternally stuck, … you get the idea. Some days it feels like the best solution is to curl up in the storm and let it beat on us.

I love the song “Stand In The Rain” by Superchick. The chorus is especially powerful:

So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it’s all crashing down
You stand through the pain
You won’t drown
And one day, what’s lost can be found
You stand in the rain

The storms are there to make us stronger. It is up to us how we face them. Standing up, with our faces to the heavens allows us to move forward. We will always find more strength in moving than staying in one place. Every step breaks the strands of doubt. One foot following the other.

Storms pass. Sunlight returns, even for a brief moment, and we see that we are NEVER ALONE.

 

Changing Direction

These past few weeks have been a veritable roller-coaster of emotions, thoughts, ideas and internal fighting. As taxing as the struggle can be, it is necessary for growth and definition.

Changing DirectionI love quiet moments to ponder, talk to Heavenly Father and simply be. I have found in these moments more inspiration and direction than anywhere else. These educational moments continually teach me about myself and the path that I am currently on.

Recently I read a book that rocked my world. Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker is the cause much of the roller-coaster I have been riding. I will be honest, most of what was the catalyst of the explosion of thoughts had nothing to do with becoming a millionaire, but more to do with the qualities and thought processes of people who are successful and live life to the fullest. I began to see how scarcity had become the ruling thought in my mind, which in turn became how I viewed the world.

As I have thought about where my mind had been living, I began to realize that life will never be lived to the fullest when scarcity rules our thoughts. God created a world of abundance. It is not difficult to see how much we have been given, however if we only focus on the path at our feet, we will miss all of it. When we are always looking down we miss the greatness of everything around us.

I made a decision that I do not want to live in scarcity any more.

To make a change like this, I needed to face what was holding me back, to understand it, to overcome. I am blessed to know a great guide (my husband) who is skilled at walking people through challenges such as this. In order to face scarcity I had to realize that I had become bound by fear, uncertainty, overwhelm, and darkness. Breaking through these bindings was challenging at best, but worth it as I now had the strength to let go of scarcity.

As Kevin talked me through all of this he pointed out that abundance is the weapon to fight off and hold back scarcity. It is the abundance of knowing I have never, ever been without what I need. I have always been able to do what is necessary to take care of my family and those I need to help. It is the abundance of knowing that Heavenly Father is in control and will lead me (sometimes pull me) to where He needs me to go. And right now He needs me to change direction.

There is a difference between change and changing direction. As we are presented with a new opportunity to move down a new path, one that will create newness of strength, courage and skill, we have the gift to choose whether or not we take that first step. Moving down new paths is our change of direction. The change within us comes as we take in this new path, noticing the differences in feelings, sights, thoughts and actions. Each step is a choice to continue. Each step is a demonstration of trust and courage.

As I have taken a few tentative steps down this new path, I have been able to see a few things for what they truly are…and it is liberating. Ideas that I have held onto that I have not been able to realize are now understood and filed where they need to be. For a long time I thought I wanted to have a business building/creating things… It was hard for me to grasp why this idea never had enough strength to pull me through the initial phases. Now I understand that I love to build/create for the pure love of it…not to sell, just to give. I can now leave that business path behind and move onto something else. I am not sure what that is yet, I am still seeking. Yet, I know I will be led….

Windows of Heaven

windows of heavenOn Monday evening it was my turn to teach our family night. I wondered what aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ would be the most meaningful for our family. I thought about the many things He taught, his example and the stories that make these things real, yet nothing stuck out to me. Then ever so quietly I felt that I should teach about tithing.

In Malachi Chapter 3 we read…

Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may bemeat 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.

11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.

As the Lord commanded the children of Israel to pay their tithing, He offered them countless blessings for doing so. I have always looked at these blessings and wondered how they are truly manifested in my life.

I asked our little family why they choose to pay tithing (1/10 of our increase). Their answers were as follows:

  • It is a commandment
  • Habit
  • It is an important principle of the Gospel
  • To be worthy to receive the blessings that are promised

As I thought about everything that has taken place in our lives over the past couple of years, my reasons have changed as much as our lives. I have come to the place in my heart that I pay tithing out of gratitude for all that He has given us. I know that everything we have received has come from His goodness. I know that without this we would be lost.

The blessings have been innumerable in our lives. I had often thought that the ‘windows of heaven’ was more money, in that I was very short-sighted. As we talked, I learned that blessings that have come from our windows have been deeper than money. We have become so close as a family, it is a relationship that I cherish beyond everything else. My knowledge of the Love of God has grown…He has never left us alone. I have found deeper strength…a strength I never knew I had. I have found courage to face the ‘lions’ that threaten to take me down. I have found faith to take the next step into the darkness, especially on a path that leads me somewhere new.

The blessings that have poured out have been incredible and very personal. He has done just as He promised, for the ‘devourer’ has been rebuked time and time again. We have been taught what is most important and to always trust in Him. These are blessings that will last longer than any possession. For that we are blessed beyond measure.

Daviding My Goliaths

The StoneThe story of David and Goliath is one of the most inspiring stories in the Bible. One day in Switzerland many years ago my heart was overwhelmed with the many tasks that faced me. I was in a foreign country, learning a new language, teaching people about Jesus Christ and I had little or no access to my family. It was all very big.

As I turned to the scriptures for study, comfort and guidance, I was led to this story….

And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. (Sources say he was over 9 feet tall)

And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass.

And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders.

And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.

And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. (1 Samuel 17:4-9)

For forty days this Philistine challenged the armies of Israel. I am sure it felt like an eternity as they shrunk in fear before this terrifying opponent.

After forty days came one, who was not supposed to be able to fight this giant, let alone win. David came to the camp to bring food for his brothers. When he heard the challenge he was angry that one would come and challenge the armies of his God. He volunteered to be the one to fight the giant.

Going before the king he was told that he would not be able to defeat this man, because he was too young and he was not proven in battle. Yet David was inspired by a past, a past that had given him strength and success:

Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.

David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee. (1 Samuel 17:36-37)

He carefully chose the weapons he had proven in his battles….his staff, five smooth stones chosen carefully from the brook, his sling and, most importantly, his faith in the living God. He faced the giant with faith, confidence and courage.

And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

And the Philistine said to David, come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.

Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.

And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.

And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. (1 Samuel 17:43-49)

David then victoriously took the giant’s head. The underdog had won the fight.

The Goliaths I have faced, that we all face in life look a lot different from a 9 foot behemoth, yet they are no less daunting. They seem to hand selected for us to face.

I am learning that the best way to David my Goliaths is to do what he did….look back to see how Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have shown me skills and strengths that I need. I must select my personal weapons that I have proven to give me the abilities I need to win. I need to seek and accept Their help.

I have found great strength in my life as I have relied on the Living God to give me what I need. I have been terrified beyond capacity on many occasions, and He has stepped in and steadied my heart. I have been shown there are truly times when I don’t know what to do, where to find the answers I seek and He is there.

Warrior Heroes

IMG_6672Last night it was my turn to teach our Family Home Evening. It is a time we spend talking about spiritual things to strengthen ourselves and each other. As I thought about what to teach one of my favorite stories came to mind.

In the Book of Mormon the story of the 2,000 Stripling Warriors has always been one of my favorites. There are so many lessons that I have learned from this story over the years.Continue reading “Warrior Heroes”

Des Mauvais Herbes

file000449390231-1I spent 18 months in either Switzerland or France as I served a mission. In that time I grew to love the people, language, history and culture of those beautiful countries. It has been over 15 years and there is not a day that goes by that I do not think of my time there.

While I was living in Lausanne, Switzerland, a truly beautiful ville, I was blessed to meet a beautiful, strong woman named Alice. I don’t even remember how it all came to be, however we would spend one afternoon every week with this sweet woman. Alice was in her 90’s when we met her. She was spunky and full of as much life as she could muster.

Alice has lived a life that most of us would run away from in terror and dream of at the same time. When she was quite young she and her younger brother were sent hundreds of miles away from their family in Belgium. Her father had information that could lead to the downfall of the enemies. To keep them safe, her parents put them on a train to Switzerland with a list of names that needed to be protected at all costs. At 9 years old, she took her brother and bravely left all they knew.

The train stop was 400 yards away from the Swiss border in Germany. As they disembarked, the soldiers began to search the passengers. Fearing for her life, the life of her brother and the lives of the people who were on the list, she quickly ate the list so no one would get caught. The soldiers satisfied that they were harmless children let them go. After 400 yards, they made it to safety.

As we sat around the table the afternoon she told us this story, I knew I was in the presence of someone who would have an impact on my life forever. She was incredible.

Her favorite thing to do was to dress up in her ‘American’ outfit. It was a denim skirt with a striped button-down shirt. She proudly wore that every day we visited. She had spent some time in America and enjoyed what she found here. She wanted us to know that she had a bit of America in her heart.

One day all dressed up in her outfit she announced that she wanted to attack ‘des mauvais herbes’ (weeds) in her little backyard. She told us it had been ages since she was able to work in her garden and she wanted so much to do so that day. We helped her down her back stairs. She sat on the bottom step and pulled two little weeds. Then she grabbed the dirt with both hands and relished the feeling of it. I will never forget the look of pure joy she had on her face as she pulled those weeds and played in the dirt.

She expressed her gratitude for that moment time and time again.

I took so much from my time with her. This one always fills my heart with joy and memories of her. Each time I work in my yard, pull weeds or get my hands dirty, I think of my sweet Alice. I know she has passed from this earth and is in a much better place for her. I honor her memory by loving those moments, because she taught me to do just that. Thank you my dear Alice! I will never be the same, because you touched my life.