His Path

His PathTwo years ago our little family moved into a wonderful home, incredible neighborhood and beautiful area. It has been a little utopia for us on so many levels. It was a drastic change for us, as now our children were safe to play outside at will, be out after dark and feel a freedom they had not been familiar with. Here we have found peace and healing at many levels.

At the same time, this has been a place of sacred testing and growth. We have passed through some of the most exquisite trials, pulling at the depths of our souls. We have seen scarcity and great blessings all at the same time. We have been shown what it is like to live by faith day in and day out. We have seen the tender mercies of our Heavenly Father manifested through family, friends and strangers time and time again.

A few months ago the nomadic spirit inside of me woke up. I truthfully didn’t like it, because I love so many things about where we are. Yet, there it was….desiring change.

I am pretty sure that Heavenly Father knew that I would need a lot of time to adjust to a change of this nature, because I felt content where we are. I am pretty sure that He needed me to prepare myself at that time, so that I would be in a peaceful place to help my family go through the same process. I am pretty sure He understands my heart so deeply that He does these things for me.

The final decision was made only a few weeks ago, and once again it was done out of pure faith in how we feel. We have taken steps, most of which we have no idea why, only that we felt like it was what needed to be done at that time. There are many steps yet to be taken, however we feel like the end is hurtling towards us in the darkness.

It is times like this that I have to rely on the promises that have been made specifically to me and my family. I have to remember the quiet whisperings I have been given that assure me all is well and He is in control. I have to remember that when I feel all of the opposition in my heart we must be on the right path. I have to remember that He is gently teaching me along the way how to trust Him and be His friend. I have to stay strong, yet allow my heart to feel everything that will come its way.

I am pretty sure it would all feel a lot better if we knew our ‘where’, yet that is part of the path that has not been opened up to us yet. I have a new found respect for those in the scriptures who were driven from their homes to find a new place for them, for the pioneers who traveled thousands of miles in the wilderness not knowing where they would be until their prophet saw it with his eyes.

I hope I can be strong like they were.

Forward

ForwardLately I have been in awe of the timelessness the words given to us from Heavenly Father are. I have found a great deal of strength, comfort, knowledge and peace as I have studied His words. It stands to me as one of the greatest miracles we have before us.

One of the stories from the Bible that has always intrigued me is the Exodus of the children of Israel. I marvel at the strength and faith that Moses had in Jehovah as he led thousands of people from captivity. The path was not laid out for him. It was required of him time and time again to take a few ‘steps’ and ask for the way to be shown.

I can only imagine the desire to understand what the will of God was when they arrived on the beaches of the Red Sea. I am sure there was a moment of confusion and the question of, “How am I supposed to do this?” Yet, there they were….on the beach, no time to build boats adequate enough to carry everyone across, complaining abounding, and their enemies were upon them.

Moses turned to the Lord in prayer.

13. And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

14. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

15. And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

16. But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. (Exodus 14:13-16)

I have found there are times in my life when I am on the beach of a proverbial Red Sea. The way forward feels impossible and there is not an option to turn back. I have found myself wondering the same thing, “How am I supposed to do this?” It is in these moments that I do my best to understand what the will of God is for me.

I find comfort in Moses’ words….the Lord shall fight for you.

It takes a great deal of prayer and trust in these situations. I have learned through this journey that we are one that He goes before us and prepares the way. I have learned that those things that I think are impossible to overcome are only limitations that I place upon His power. If it is His will, then the path will be made clear before me.

The Red Sea did not part as soon as they reached the beach. It took a moment of faith, seeking and action for the path to be shown to them. It was also a path that no one had anticipated, but Him. I have to wonder, would the children of Israel have followed Moses if they knew their where their path would lead them?

Would I have followed if I would have known where my path was going? if I would have known there would be moments that I cannot see the way forward?

I am so thankful to know that Heavenly Father is in control. I am so thankful to know that He has confidence in me to take me down a path that will require faith and trust. I am so thankful to know that He has always been there (even when He stepped aside for a while). I am so thankful to know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ has not only given me forgiveness when I have fallen, but it has enabled me through its power to do things I never thought I could.

Like Moses, I will do my best to step to the edge of the Red Sea, trust and lift up my rod….

Forward.

Receiving

Receiving30 days ago I had fear in my heart….fear and dread. It was not the best prelude to the season when we emulate the life and teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ. I remember pouring out my heart to my Heavenly Father, wondering how it would all happen for us.

I received a beautiful feeling of peace….that everything had been taken care of. I just needed to let it all unfold.

What unfolded was one of the greatest lessons I have ever learned. I have come to realize that Heavenly Father rarely blesses us without teaching us deep lessons in the process. For that I am truly grateful, because therein I see that He loves me enough to help me grow.

There is a famous quote that states, “It is better to give then receive.”

In a lot of ways I truly agree with this. My heart loves to give. It is something incredible when we are able to offer a portion of ourselves, our time, our means and our love to someone who truly needs it. On many occasions the opportunity to give has blessed my life with a much needed portion of joy.

Yet, what about receiving what has been offered? Does this make us less than when we are given something we truly need?

No.

I know now that receiving what is offered can bring the same amount of fulfillment, joy and peace as we would feel when we give. The key is allowing our hearts to be receptive to the gift that is offered.

In the beginning of this journey we have been on, I did not want to receive any help. I felt that I should be able to do it all, take care of everything and fix what I thought was broken. I wanted to be ‘self-sufficient’. When that didn’t happen, time and time again, my heart broke. I began to think that I had done something wrong, that I had made a mistake that rendered me unworthy of the blessings I sought for. I felt alone and abandoned, because I didn’t get what I wanted.

What truly was happening was Heavenly Father patiently teaching me that He is the one that gives me everything I have and everything I need. He is the one that brings the miracles right on time. He is the one that fixes the broken things. He is the one that delivers us from our storms. He gives us everything…and sometimes He uses those around us to deliver the gifts.

As I took a step back to see His hand in our lives, I saw all of the ways that we have been blessed to receive of His goodness through the kindness and generosity of those who love us, those who may not even know us and those who genuinely want to help us on our way. They have been family members who listened when the Spirit spoke to their hearts, they have been friends who felt a need to reach out, they have been strangers who understood the look in our eyes without even saying a word….they have been angels.

Receiving has been a miracle in my life. I have learned that my heart determines how the gift enters into my life. Through countless prayers and time spent studying His word, the Savior has blessed my heart to soften. There is no room for receiving when there is hardness surrounding our hearts.

I truly believe now that in order to give with the right heart, we need to be able to receive with that same heart. That is my Christmas miracle.

Twists and Turns

twists and turnsLife is an amazing journey full of unexpected twists and turns.

There seems to be times when the road of life is relatively straight and we see what is coming from quite a distance. It is easy to prepare ourselves for any bumps that appear on the horizon.

Then there are the moments when we are travelling through a perilous canyon with hair-pin turns, steep grades that rise and fall within moments of each other and let’s not forget the potholes that engulf our hearts and jar our souls.

Yet, I think we learn the most when we are travelling on the edge of peril day in and day out.

I have learned more than I thought I could in this little canyon of life we are travelling in…

There is nothing quite like the power of accepting the will of our Heavenly Father, especially when it is something that we never thought we would do. I have experienced many of these moments over the past few weeks.

For the longest time I have believed that when I surrender myself to His will and accept what He knows is best for me I would feel this overwhelming sense of peace, strength or courage. I have found that this is not the case for me. It is as though my heart felt the calm, however the mind and body had to deal with the surrounding storm that accompanies these decisions.

For a while I felt that I was doing this whole thing wrong and that I should be as calm as a summer morning in spite of the raging storm following us. I felt that I should know all of the answers or at least have a glimmer of understanding. Because I haven’t had either, again, I thought I was doing this whole thing wrong. When there is a lot of uncertainty, the negative voices seem to talk louder and entice me to feel this way.

Searching through the scriptures, I found that many times those called upon to accept the will of the Lord, when they didn’t know how to move forward, were just as confused and lost as I have felt. There is a lot of comfort knowing that those who have gone before have struggled through their own canyons of growth too.

Truth be told, I have felt lost and found at the same time going through these twists and turns. I have felt the reassurance that all would be worked out for our good while at the same time wondering how it will happen. I have felt the calm in my heart while doing things that have scared me at a visceral level. I have felt a strength that enables me to put one foot in front of the other when I don’t have anything left to give.

It is the little things that have gotten me through….the little daily, seemingly insignificant actions that have helped me navigate these twists and turns. In my heart I feel like there are many more to come before the blessed relief of the rolling hills. So for now I will pray, study, act and face this head-on….

 

He Knows I Can

IMG_6495To say that we have been on a strengthening journey would be an understatement. The thing with strengthening journeys is to be strong, we must feel weak at times…a lot of times.

I will be honest, I haven’t been gracefully strengthened through it all. There have been good days…and bad days. Days that I have felt the peace that can only come from Heavenly Father and days that I could not breathe because of the anxiety in my soul. I have learned that peace and anxiety cannot coexist. Peace is only given when we let go of fear, anxiety and disbelief.

In my desire to understand and become who He wants me to be I have asked so many questions. I have wondered at times if I had made a mistake somewhere and the blessings we desire have been withheld. I have wondered if I am not learning what He is so patiently teaching me. I have thought that maybe I didn’t listen or misunderstood when a feeling presented itself to my heart.

Many days it has been quite difficult to kneel in prayer, because my heart felt so abandoned. I felt like there was a pavilion covering me, therefore my access to Him was difficult. It can be a little painful when all your heart desires is that overwhelming peace that only He can give and what you feel is quite opposite.

As hard as it has been, I haven’t quit turning to Him. Quite honestly He is the last person I talk to in my heart and mind and the first one I speak to as my mind begins to take hold of a new day. It terrifies me to think of how desperate and empty I would be if I turned away from Him. I have always known He is there.

Letting go of fear has been a challenge for me. It felt like if I let go of fear then I would let go of any semblance of control I had. Truth be told, I have not one ounce of control over any aspect of my life. I have control over my choices and that is it. Recognizing this took a lot of tears, counsel and humbling. Realizing that fear has done nothing to help me through my journey was a difficult, yet liberating moment.

As I let go, my mind was able to open up and see things a little differently. This situation, this journey has been something that was meant to be. It is not a result of poor choices I had made, not listening to the spirit whisper to me or a punishment. It is something that has been there for us to grow, to become.

Realizing this, I learned that He knows I can do this (even if I don’t). He knows that even when I don’t feel like I can go any more, carry the load one more step or even face the day…I have a strength far greater than I ever even realized. He knows who I truly am meant to become and this is the path that I need to travel.

I have found so much peace and strength in this…. He knows I can.

Healing My Limitations

healingAt one point in my life I was a runner. I loved the freedom I felt as I found a steady rhythm that match my music and soul. Not only did I find strength in my body, but I found strength in my mind as I would let go.

One day I experienced a pain like no other pain I had felt. It seemed like there was a knife cutting through the side of my knee. No matter how much I worked at it, I could not run through this pain. 

I spent many years trying different types of shoes, thinking there was a magical pair that would heal my knee. I worked at stretching, interval running, strengthening and so forth. There never was a long term solution, so I simply ‘accepted’ the fact that I was not to run anymore.

My heart has wanted to run so many times, especially now that we live in an area where it is safe to run. Not only is it safe, it is incredibly beautiful.

I have been pondering this knee pain and the limitation I felt it had put in my life. I decided last week that I would return to running, one way or another, I would run again.

It is amazing how Heavenly Father orchestrates our lives. When we have a desire in our hearts, it seems as though life aligns to realize it.

I am now one belt away from earning my black belt in karate. This is has been a journey in and of itself. One of the requirements is running. When I heard this my heart dropped and my body went into ‘you can’t because of your knee’ mode. I felt it so profoundly in every part of me. I felt the power the limitation had over me.

With a background in Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine, I ran through all of the scenarios in my mind of this chronic knee pain. I couldn’t find a solution that would work for me. I hate that more than anything, because I feel so trapped.

Today I decided I would get on the treadmill, no matter what. I am not going to let this win. My husband started to challenge my thoughts of being limited by ‘knee pain’. He wouldn’t let me make any excuses or allow anything that resembled limited thinking. He knows just the right buttons to push to get me thinking and moving forward (I will say that as I stepped on the treadmill I had a growl in my head).

As I began to run, I focused my thoughts on healing and strength. I found a gait that was so comfortable, a pace that was perfect and a rhythm that spoke to my soul. I could feel fearful knee pain thoughts creeping in. I decided not to allow them access to my mind, body and soul. As I fought them off, I felt myself relax and enjoy the little journey I was on.

That short little run was one of the most healing experiences I have had. My self-imposed limitations had affected my body to such a degree that I was not able to do something that I truly love. Healing that limitation and turning it into a freedom was so powerful to my mind, body and soul.

Our minds are a gift from Heavenly Father. There is so much power that lies within them…power to become incredible or nothing at all. It is all in how we choose to exercise this power. Today I chose to let it heal me.

I Can Take A Hit

SparringOne of the most incredible journeys I have ever embarked on started 3 years ago right before Mother’s Day. My family had been doing karate and I decided it was time I needed to join them. Stepping on the mat for the very first time was nothing short of intimidating. It was one of the most scary steps I have ever taken…and it was one of the best steps I have ever taken.

One of the disciplines we study in karate is sparring. I will be honest, it has not been my most favorite aspect. Yet, I have learned so much from this. A couple of weeks ago it was sparring training night. After suiting up in the foot pads, hand pads and headgear (definitely one of my finer looks I may say), I was ready to go.

I made a decision that night that I would just go for it. I let go of the dislike and trepidation that I feel when I am all padded up. As the night would have it I sparred against some younglings and finally against my 6’6″ husband and our instructor, who both are pretty incredible at sparring. Regardless to say, I took some pretty good hits (I would like to say I dealt some pretty good hits too).

Now, we don’t spar to kill each other. It is a discipline of control, speed, power and strategy. I did come away with some pretty trophies, but not the kind you put on a shelf. These trophies were black and blue… honestly my favorite kind.

The best trophy I received, however, came as a quiet thought that entered into my heart and mind.

KarateI can take a hit.

This knowledge is powerful. It tells me that I am strong, that I am capable, that I don’t quit. It tells me that when I make a decision to fight, I will have the strength and power to overcome whatever blow is dealt.

It is so true in my life off of the mat too. We have been in a perpetual ‘sparring match’ for quite sometime. There have been days when I feel like I have been hit in the face, kicked in the head, blitzed, knocked down and pulled up for more. I haven’t quit. I have simply adjusted my padding and assumed the sparring stance.

It is through little decisions, made on a daily basis, that has given me the power and strength I need to take a hit. Little decisions of prayer, communing with Heavenly Father, spending time with my family, searching His words and seeing the blessings…every little and last one of them.

Life is not easy. There will never be a time in my life when there is not something out there ready to strike. The best thing I can do is pad up and be ready.

Into The Darkness

file0001735790414This last week was something incredible to say the least. Sometimes we are blessed to have things ‘fall’ into our lives that will forever change the way we live, think and become.

We have been on quite the journey for the past 2 years. The path has not always been lit, even if a little bit. We have hit our heads on low hanging branches, ran into rock walls, stepped on sharp stones, tripped over debris on the path and bruised our knees every time we hit the ground. Continue reading “Into The Darkness”

Elevation

544085_10200804704015999_587680661_nLast March as our family searched for a new home, we made a list of where we wanted to be and how much we could afford to pay. Because of our circumstances our choices were quite slim. Deep in my heart I knew I would know our home when I saw it. After searching and exhausting all of our options my spirit was pretty low.

I decided to expand our search. When I did, I found a beautiful home that I fell in love with…well as much as I would allow myself. Once the arrangements were made to see the home, I placed a little barrier around my heart. After countless heartbreaks, I wanted to be distant (for future reference, this is not a good thing to do). Continue reading “Elevation”

Closer at the End…

DSCN1337Today marks the end of summer vacation in our home. It is eerily quiet in the house. In years past I have looked forward to this day with great anticipation…not today. I already miss them and it has only been 45 minutes.

My kids are amazing. I love these two incredible spirits! They are as different as fire and ice, yet they both have brought so much life and love into our lives.

As I walked home from dropping them off at school, I thought about the summer and what we experienced that made it different from every other summer. We didn’t go on any elaborate family vacations, we actually didn’t do more than a couple of extras this year. Yet, we had a blast. It speaks a lot about the giants I am raising (not just stature) when they did not complain that we were not on vacation or out doing things other people were doing.

This summer we became closer as a family than we have ever been. I am so thankful for each day we spent together. When I say ‘we’, I mean the entire family. It is a blessing in our lives that my husband is with us every day, all day. I know not every family could do this, so I am thankful ours can.

I learned that it is not in the grand things that we draw closer to each other. It is in the simple moments of going on a hike, building Legos, playing a video game or two together, reading, coloring, chatting, eating together, practicing karate and so much more that we have the moments to truly bind our hearts together.

We were blessed with the opportunity to spend time helping my parents build a wall in their backyard (something we all lovingly refer to as prison work) and landscape. I was able to capture moments in my heart watching my children draw closer to their grandparents. These are priceless times that no camera could fully capture, but my soul has them.

There have been many a Friday evening when my husband’s mom would come up to eat and play games with us. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with her. She and the kids had this fun and sweet banter they would share. They have been able to share moments with her that will bring joy into their hearts when they recall them down the road.

The blessings we have received this summer are overwhelming; the greatest of which is the closeness we have gained. I love who my kids are. I love that we get to see them become the amazing people they are.

As much as I am sad that the summer has ended, I am excited for the journey they have started today. I look forward to sharing the adventure of a new school year with them, because it brings with it even more opportunities to become closer.