Not Broken

The other night I was scrolling through Facebook, just passing time really, when I found something that changed everything. I wasn’t searching for answers, nor was I looking for inspiration. That is why it was so impactful.

It was as if it was placed right there, right then for the purpose of answering a question that has been in my heart for a very long time.

It was a story about a family who learned how to be with their autistic son. For so long they thought that there was something broken and it needed to be fixed. Instead, they discovered that as they learned him by doing what he did, there was nothing broken. He was exactly who he was born to be.

As I read that story, it was as if a door opened up in my heart and mind. For so long, I have battled with understanding who I am and finding my unique purpose in life. I have watched people and wondered how they figured out who they are and the purpose that they live. I felt like being in my forties, I should have it figured out. I should know.

But I don’t.

I have felt for so long that I really have nothing to offer (an adversarial lie). I am not artistic. I am not business-oriented. I am not really outgoing. I am not a lot of things. This thinking has left me feeling broken.

So that led me to ask the question…What am I?

As I read the story, one thought came more powerfully than anything else…

I AM NOT BROKEN. There is nothing in me that needs to be fixed.

I am learning me. I am learning that spirit that existed long before this life on earth. I am finding my way on the journey God has placed me on. It is my journey.

On this journey, I have discovered so many things. I have seen things I do not like. I have just barely learned it is because they do not fit with who I truly am. On the other hand, I have seen and embraced things that I love, because they tap into that spirit. These are the things that light my soul on fire. They are unique to me and my journey.

A huge part of understanding and learning me is those who I surround myself with. I am drawn to people who are strong, have an inner power, and a strong desire to become more. They bring out the best in me. I truly hope that it goes both ways.

I believe that there is a great power that is unleashed as we find and accept who we truly are. It lies deep within our souls and requires us to search. It is found in those things that light our souls on fire and speak deeply to our souls. For so long I tried to push them down, thinking I needed to be something else.

Not anymore.

I am a child of God. I am who I am. I am so much more than I ever thought. My journey is far from over.

Take time and discover you… Listen, be patient, and you will learn.

The Process

Wow.

The past few months, but especially the last few weeks, have been insane. It is one pivot after another. If we were on a map program, it would constantly say, “recalculating”.

We back a few months ago, we felt like we needed to put our little house up for sale and move. Crazy as it is because we just celebrated our first year in this home. Yet, we could not deny the feeling and subsequent pieces of evidence that have come that tell us that we need to move on….again.

Fortunately, our lives have been such that big changes are something we have experienced. There are times when I have craved the opportunity to put roots down for longer than a few years. Then there are other times when I am ready to make a change and move on. I truly believe that these feelings are a blessing, because they keep my mind and heart open to what is around the corner.

As we have been projecting, getting the house ready to sell, we have also been looking for a house. Trying to find the next place that God needs us to be. This has proven to be a challenge that has shaped us in ways we didn’t expect.

We have put offers on three different houses. Each one we thought for sure was THE ONE. And then, it wasn’t. Leaving us confused, sad, and relieved. It is interesting to know that we were supposed to put offers on each one because there was something we needed to learn from them.

It has been a purifying process to live through. Sometimes I would wonder why God would give us this strong feeling that we needed to move, yet there was nowhere to go. Ultimately I know that to trust God is to trust the process He will guide us through.

It has been amazing that with each disappointment has come a partial understanding of why. Looking back, even at this point, I see that we may have not been totally unified on one of the properties, but we were trying to make the other one happy. I see that financially these properties would have been a constant drain on us. I see that it may not have been the best place for our family for one reason or another.

I am sure that when we finally get to our place, we will see the reasons for this process unfold clearly. Until then, I am grateful for these little nuggets that bring understanding, comfort, and a knowledge that even when I am not in control of the process…

HE IS.

This is powerful to know. It is comforting even when our house is sold and we don’t know where we are going. It is comforting when we have looked at every house that we think is a possibility and absolutely feel like it is the wrong place for us. It is comforting when the one that shouldn’t make sense, does.

This process has taught me that sometimes I need to look outside of the box I think is the answer. I have learned that unity with my husband on our feelings is ESSENTIAL for our peace and happiness. I have learned that God’s plan for us has never made sense, but has always worked out in amazing ways.

Searching for Him in the processes of life leads to greater insights into ourselves and those around us. It teaches us that we are not alone. That He is in control when we are not. That He is mindful of us on so many levels. That what is important to us is important to Him.

This knowledge of Him makes the process of life so much better. Not easier, just better.

 

My Mountain

It has been far too long.

Each time I set foot in my mountain, I write in my heart.

Unfortunately, that is where my writings have stayed.

I have felt over and over again that I need to record the beautiful lessons I have been taught as I run the trails. Yet, words have not come so easy.

As I sat in Stake Conference this past weekend, one of the speakers shared a poignant, life changing thought. He said that every time he writes down a feeling or thought that comes, that feeling or thought becomes more permanent in his soul.

I want the gifts I have received in my mountain to become more permanent in my soul.

Almost three years ago we moved to the home where we live. It is located right next to the mountains. An amazing friend took me into the mountains and showed me the unique beauty therein. I have never been the same.

In this mountain I have learned that fear is nothing more than the adversary keeping us from our true potential. I have learned that God has not given us this spirit of fear, but of love, power, strength, peace and a sound mind. Time and time again I have leaned upon this knowledge to overcome something that is holding me back.

The mountain has taught me that falling down is scary and exhilarating all at the same time. The day I fell on the trail, I realized that the initial shock of losing control can be quickly followed by a wonderful sensation of freedom, only to be squelched by the rapid onset of rocks and dirt. Getting up from the ground, dusting myself off and finishing my run was a bit empowering. Sometimes we need to fall to understand that we are not defined by a tumble, but by our reaction.

I have learned that some days I conquer the trail with strength and energy and other days the trail conquers me. What matters the most is that I am on the trail. The same holds true in life. Some days there is nothing that I cannot accomplish and other days it is all I can do to get dressed. What matters most is that I am moving forward.

The greatest gift that I have received from the mountain is the unadulterated time I have with Heavenly Father in prayer and pondering. The rhythmic pounding of my feet on the ground allows my mind to relax and find that place of openness and reception. Inspiration has come bringing answers to questions and prayers. Peace has filled my troubled heart. Hope and faith have been restored. Time with Him in the mountain is a treasure.

I am forever grateful for my mountain. I love the way it smells, the beauty it shows me each day I am there and the sounds of the water cascading down. The blessings that I have received there are priceless. I hope to make them more permanent to my soul.

Standing Still

The story of Moses has always fascinated me. I am in awe of his faith, strength, courage and determination to follow the path the Lord laid out for him…in spite of all of the Egyptians and children of Israel fighting him.

peaceRecently I read the passage in Exodus that teaches about the Red Sea.

I can only imagine the feelings of terror and uncertainty they all felt. They had to fight to get out of Egypt. They were leaving their lives, not knowing where they were going. They knew that they were being followed by the armies of Pharoah. And…they come to the Red Sea.

It is interesting what Moses is inspired to say as they are complaining out of fear, frustration and uncertainty…

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

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

Fear ye not. Stand still.

I don’t know about you, but when I am in a situation that is uncertain, terrifying or scary, the last thing I want to do is stand still. Between my mind racing, my heart pumping and the nervous energy that takes over my body and soul, standing still is virtually impossible…or so I thought.

A few weeks ago our family was brought to our own Red Sea. The only way we could go was forward, however we could not see a way. Our petitions to Heavenly Father were heard, because we felt that peace that comes from Him hearing our prayers, however the answers were not given. Each step we took was done out of pure faith in His path, timing and ways. We simply had to trust Him.

I remember uttering pleading prayers with the answers I had come up with. I remember holding my breath constantly, waiting. I remember telling myself over and over again to stand still.

I have a quote hanging on my wall that says, “God did not remove the Red Sea, He opened it. He will help us find a way through our problems as well.” ~Brad Wilcox

I have often hoped that God would remove the Red Sea that we find ourselves returning to time and time again. I have often wondered how many times do we need to return to the same place. I have often prayed to be done.

However…

That is not how He would have it in our lives.

And I am grateful.

As we have been on the shores of our Red Sea, I have learned more about the love Heavenly Father has for us. I have learned to stand still, even when every fiber of my soul wants to move. I have gained a greater understanding of how important I am to Him. I have seen Him fight for me and my little family. I have experienced peace in the storm. And, most importantly….

I have seen the Salvation of the Lord.

It is truly beautiful.

Clarity

Have you ever had a moment, so random or minute in nature, that brought more clarity than you could have imagined? These moments are treasures indeed.

clarityLast night I was blessed to find one of these little nuggets of treasure.

I have a good friend, one that I have grown to respect and value in the short time I have known her. To me, she is a powerhouse of determination, strength, humility, all wrapped up in an incredible person. The times I have been able to spend with her, I have left feeling so good both physically and mentally.

As we were chatting about life, my returning to school came up. Last summer, I felt strongly that I should finish my Bachelor’s of Science degree. I couldn’t explain the whys, just the power of the push to get it done. After much pondering and prayer, I found a degree that I would enjoy working in, because to me if I am going to spend that much amount of time I had better love what I am studying. After a bit of ‘fun’ trial and error, I found a school that would work with me as a mom (which is a full-time job 🙂 ). I settled into my Health and Wellness degree.

It has been a wonderful, difficult, challenging journey. I have learned so much in regards to nutrition, holistic healing, wellness living and exercise design. These are topics that I have always naturally loved, so increasing my knowledge therein has been fantastic.

Back to the conversation with my friend…

With a cute little smile on her face, she asked me what I want to be when I ‘grow up’.

My response: A mom. That is it. A mom. To which she completely agreed (by the way she is an amazing mom).

In that brief response came the treasure of clarity….I want to be a mom. I want to be there for my kids when they walk in the door from school. I want to cook dinner, do laundry, clean, all of the wonderful things that show we live. Mostly I want to be the one they chat with, counsel with, cry with and laugh with. They are two of the most amazing human beings I have ever met, and I want to get the most out of my time with them.

This nugget has come after many years of wondering if I was doing the right thing by staying home for them. I had always planned on working, and when things are tight, I definitely want to help. However, each time I thought about going back to work, I truly felt like vomiting. I took that as a sign from Heavenly Father that I was not supposed to (He has to be quite strong and physical with me at times). So, in that moment, He blessed me with a deeper understanding of my purpose right now.

I am truly grateful for the ‘small and simple things’ that bring deep understanding and peace.

Life is to be lived with purpose, fighting that purpose brings frustration and sadness. Embracing our purpose brings clarity and peace. How beautiful the gift.

Quiet Miracles

This Christmas season has been different for me. It has come into my heart rather slowly and very quietly.

Quiet MiraclesLife is constantly changing and that is how we learn to grow and become malleable. Sometimes changes are very positive and other times change brings growth. We have been growing.

As the season descended upon all, I found myself avoiding it. Things that would normally bring joy to me (putting up decorations, shopping, music, creating) were a bit empty. I felt a bit hollow and guilty all at the same time. I wanted to feel it, but at the same time I couldn’t.

I prayed for help to feel it. Heaven was quiet. So I figured the best thing to do was hope and search.

One day as I watched the snow fall, a thought came into my heart. What was it like for Mary? I thought about her as they were required to travel a great distance. I wondered what her heart was saying. I imagine it wasn’t talking about the amazing celebrations or gifts or anything we get wrapped up in. It must have been quiet with determination to do what she needed to do. She must have felt the great burdens of her pregnancy and who she was carrying. She must have had so many questions of how do I do this? can I be the mother He needs? will we find a place to safely bring Him here?

As I pondered that sweet, amazing woman, my heart began to understand that maybe, just maybe this Christmas for me was to see things differently.

The quiet gifts that have been given to my heart are not those that can be wrapped up, nor will they ever fade.

I have been given the sweet understanding that hope is real. It is the foundation of faith and the opening of the heart to something greater than what we see.

I have been given sweet and powerful moments of love that have brought me to tears. Looking into my daughter’s eyes and seeing the pure joy and wonder. Watching my son work through situations that make him strong. Laying in my husband’s arms by the Christmas tree. All quiet, beautiful gifts to me.

I have been given the opportunity to see that when it feels like life is falling apart, it can actually be moving forward. These are the moments that I have been able to step back, watch quietly and see His hand working, molding and creating.

I have been given the gift to feel love wrap around my heart.

I have been given the gift to be strong when I feel like I can’t hold up the load that I have been asked to carry. Seeing Him reach down and lift my heart just enough has been so healing. He never took it all, just enough that I could continue to gain strength and move forward.

This year, Christmas is about quiet miracles. How blessed I feel to know that He wants to teach my heart deeply.

Peace Restored

There have been many times that we are promised that if we but call upon our Father in Heaven in prayer and turn the words of the prophets (ancient and modern), we will have peace in our lives, strength in our hearts and courage in our souls.Peace Restored

Today started off like a Monday does…waking up early with Dude to train for an hour, getting him ready, waking up Sis to get her ready, praying as a family, fixing lunches, fixing breakfasts, starting laundry, reclaiming the house from the activities of Sunday, starting my homework and so forth. In the mix of it all I did not take the time to sit and read my scriptures.

For the most part, everything ran smoothly and both children were able to make it to school with clothes on their backs, food in their tummies and lunch packed for later. I was able to get 2 of my 3 papers written. Cleaning started and, oh how I love the feeling of being productive.

Yet, in spite of it all the demons started to whisper their words of doubt and fear to my heart. As much as I worked to push them back, they insisted on joining my heart, bringing with them heaviness and hopelessness. I truly refused to let them win, however they were gaining ground. They are so quiet…to a point, then they yell and tug.

It got to a point that my heart was truly heavy from the fight….and then I remembered.

After all of the rain we have been blessed with here, it is a gorgeous day. The sun is shining, bringing it’s life-giving warmth. The mountains are showing the blazing colors of fall. The trees surrounding us are green. The birds and animals are busy. Truly beautiful.

It is in this setting that I took my Book of Mormon and words of Elder Holland to read. I prayed to have that promised peace return to my heart so that I could feel my faith in the fight. I prayed specifically for those things that I see we need at this time. I prayed for His love to manifest itself.

No sooner than I read the first 2 verses of scripture, the peace returned to my heart. It was calm, quiet and powerful. It came without answers to the questions I asked. It came without any pretense. It simply came and restored. There is no power on earth stronger than the peace that comes from the Spirit of God through words teaching about Jesus Christ.

Beautiful.

Beyond My Reach

There are times in my life as a wife and mother… I do not have the answers. These times leave such an emptiness in my heart, because it is my nature to heal.

lookupOver the past week I have been asked some pretty difficult questions by each member of my sweet family. These questions have come after a lot of prodding, quietness, more prodding and more quietness. I get it, I am not so good at sharing my deepest thoughts either.

I think it is the pleading in their eyes that sinks into my soul. The pleading that says, “I can’t do this anymore…I don’t know the answers….I need you to answer.”

The emptiness that comes over my heart is so quiet and heavy when their questions are beyond my reach. My heart wants so badly to have the answers, say the magic words that are so often scripted for others, or have the ability to simply heal their hearts with my arms wrapped around them.

Yet, it is not meant to be…..

Today was particularly difficult, because one of my children was hurting at a deep level. It is something that has been lying under the surface for a couple of years, and today the wound opened just enough to expose the rawness of pain. I sat and prodded, waited and listened as the hurt came out. It was not anything silly or dumb…it was real. I simply did not know what to say…words seemed completely useless.

I began to pray in my heart….”Please give me the words. Please let me know what to say to help. Please.”

None came….again this was beyond my reach.

I did the only thing I could think of….I knelt in prayer with my child. I prayed for the words to speak so that this one would know that there is someone watching over them. As I spoke the words of my prayer, they really didn’t seem to flow as easily as I would have hoped, but they were not really mine. I felt the love of a Heavenly Father who knows that this child is deeply hurting. I felt the knowledge that He is watching over and has a greater plan than what we can see today. I felt like it would all be okay….even if not how I thought it could work out.

In that sweet moment, I learned (again) that when their hurts and questions are beyond my reach, I know where to look for help.

Thanks be to my Savior for giving me the gift of prayer, so I can communicate with my Father.

 

The Triumphal Entry

Sunday was such a beautiful day. Palm Sunday. The day of the Savior’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. A day of hope.

He Lives....lds.orgAs I sat listening to a powerful testimony borne of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I reflected on who He is to me and what He does for me every day.

It wasn’t 20 minutes earlier during my walk to church that I was fighting a battle within my heart. I was so ready to be done with everything that has been challenging our little family and I simply wanted some repose. I had feelings of frustration, anger, sadness and impatience boiling in my soul (not really the peaceful, spirit-inviting attitude…but it was what I had). I prayed with each step I took towards the church that I would be stronger than these feelings, that I would be able to find my Savior that day, that I would be at peace with everything.

As I fought for these answers to my prayers, I found myself hoping that He would hear me. I found myself fighting for the submissiveness that invites Him into our hearts. I found myself wanting Him to know that I needed Him to carry those burdens that had become too heavy.

I fought silently.

And then it came….

Peace. Hope. A Triumphal Entry.

The miracle of Palm Sunday became so real in my heart. All of the turmoil left. It was gone. He heard me and fought my battle with me….we won.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:  not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” ~John 14:27

His peace is a miracle, it is powerful and all encompassing. He has promised that if we need, He will carry our burdens, fight our battles and lift us. His promises are always fulfilled. He is real. I know He lives.

 

Ready to Hear

Ready to HearSome time ago I had an experience that taught my heart many lessons. It came at a time when I had been searching for answers and ways to move forward.

We had been looking for a new ‘where’ in our lives. It felt like it was time to move on, yet we didn’t know how or where to go. A feeling of being stuck pervaded my heart and my greatest desire was to break away from it and everything around me. I thought that a new ‘where’ would be the answer, because sometimes new beginnings allow us to renew.

One day we happened to be visiting family in a beautiful valley. The mountains surrounding this valley were covered with freshly fallen snow, the air was crisp and clear and the feelings of peace were tangible to my heart. I fell in love with that place and everything I felt in that moment…so did my little family.

As I pondered this new ‘where’ I found many answers and ideas flooding into my heart and mind. A possible position for my husband came to mind, a way to start a business that I have been thinking about opened up and the possibilities for our children seemed amazing.

It truly felt good.

However as life moved forward, it didn’t move forward in that direction.

I couldn’t understand and my heart began to panic. I wanted this all so badly and everything about it felt good and right, so why wasn’t it working? I went through the normal questions….was I not worthy of a blessing like this? did I do something wrong? were these all my thoughts, not inspiration?…on and on it went.

I realized that these questions were not doing anything for my spirit. My prayers were an echo of these questions, an echo that is not ready to receive.

As I thought about my questions, I realized that, although I had been asking, I was not ready to receive His answer. I only wanted my answer, my way, my path.

It took a little bit of time for me to get to the point where I would be ready for His answer, not mine.

So I prayed…for His answer.

I explained everything I had felt and thought. I explained why I wanted this ‘where’. Then I asked, “Is it what Thou needs us to do? Is it where we need to be?”

The feeling of peace that came over my heart was so powerful. It was not a yes, no or this is what I need. It was, “Be still. I’ve got this. You are being taken care of.”

I learned that it is okay to search our paths with our minds and hearts. I learned that sometimes we walk down a path for a little while and find it to be a dead end…only to realize that is not where we need to go. I learned that while we are on this ‘wrong’ path there are other things that open up in our hearts that we never would have searched for.

Mostly I learned that when my heart is ready, He will answer with unmistakable peace and clarity.