Learning about God from that “One” Student

Since school has started, I have had this one student in my 7th Grade Math class that has been so tough. Every teacher has sent this student to the office at least once. My first two weeks I sent him twice.

This kid has had a rough life and has seen everything. I feel so bad for him and what he has had to go through at such a young age. Because of this, this student has struggled with his behavior and being compliant towards the teacher. He knows math. He is actually really smart, but he refuses to put any effort in and takes away from the learning of the students around him.

The other day, he was so distracting that I sent him out into the hall. I had the students doing some practice and extension work and I went out to confront him. I had so many things going on in my mind and I was full of frustration for this student.

“WHY DOESN’T HE JUST SIT THERE AND DO HIS WORK? IS IT REALLY THAT HARD??”

I walked into the hall and observed him kicking at the brick outside of my room. There were so many things that I just wanted to yell at him for but for some reason I couldn’t.

I looked at this student, and asked him to look at me. I told him “You know what? I know that you know how to do this. I know you are smarter than you are trying to make everyone believe you are. I know that there are teachers at this school that send you to the office when you misbehave and I know that I even sent you away at the beginning. I know that is what you are used to is getting sent away. But that is not how it is going to work in my class. I want you here. I want you to learn. I like having you in my class. You have friends here and I know they want you here. But, I can’t have you not doing your work. I can’t have you disrespecting your classmates. But, I promise, I do want you here.”

I watched this student look at me, in silence, with this weird look on his face. I could tell what he was thinking, “Wow, she really does want me here”.

The bell was getting close to ringing so I had this student wait until everyone had left. Then I asked him “So, are you going to be better for me tomorrow?” He didn’t make eye contact, but shook his head yes and then left.

The next day he came to school, got a pencil and a paper for the first time without me asking, and sat down to begin his bell ringer. I was SHOCKED. That day he completed a worksheet, and did his ALEKS topics and I rewarded him by letting him sit by his friends for the end of class.

This student sometimes needs some tough love still, but he is doing tremendously better.

I have learned so much about Heavenly Father through this teaching process. I think that I am a lot like this student. I disobey his commandments and I struggle to be like he wants me to be all the time. Sometimes he has to chasten me, but there is one thing that always stays the same.

His love for me. His love for us.

He wants us to be able to return to live with Him. He wants us to find the JOY in our lives that come because he LOVES us.

When we sin, struggle, doubt, he forgives us and instead asks us “So, are you going to be better for me tomorrow?”

As we start a new week this week, think about this. As we get to start over, are we going to be better for HIM?

God really does love us despite our weaknesses and shortcomings. He loves us through our good days and our bad days.

He will always be there for us. I am so grateful that I have such a loving Heavenly Father.

Learning about God post

The Small and Simple

Recently, I realized that I used to feel so close to God, but now, all of the sudden, I feel like I am so far away from him.

As I have been reflecting I have realized that I have been forgetting the small and simple things.

What are the small and simple things?

Honestly, I think they are different for each person. But for me, the small and simple things are those little things that can build my testimony or take away from my testimony.

My small and simple things are sincere scripture study, deep and honest repentance, sincere prayer, and obedience to the commandments.

These things lately have felt like a checklist for me. I wake up and say my prayers. CHECK. I read a chapter of the Book of Mormon. CHECK. I pray before I go to bed. CHECK.

But, because they have been more like a checklist, I have gotten lost. I have not received as much from them as I could.

I have a picture of what I wished my life looked like, for example:

One day a young woman woke up. She was grateful for the new day and was full of so much energy and excitement for the events that would happen. She couldn’t wait but to thank her Father in Heaven for letting her live another day and for blessing her with the opportunities that were planned for the day. While kneeling in prayer, she prays to have her Father help her keep the commandments and notice the ways that she is falling short. She prays for the Father to place people in her path that need encouragement and love. She prays for an opportunity to share with others the Gospel and the Love that He has for them. She prays full of love and gratitude.

Then, she crosses her room and opens up her scriptures. Instead of quickly browsing through the chapter, she writes down a question. Today her question is “What is God wanting me to learn from my trial?” She reads the scriptures, pondering each verse. She thinks about how that verse applies to her. While reading, she is overcome with the spirit as she receives the answer to her question.

This young woman continues on throughout her day. She notices a little boy who is sitting by himself. She asks him how he is doing. She can tell he is glum and feeling down. She notices that he has drawn a beautiful drawing in his notebook. She tells him what an amazing job he has done. His face lights up and he offers her the drawing and walks away.

She realizes, here was the person God needed me to touch today. She sends a silent prayer in gratitude for being able to help someone smile.

Later, she is talking with a co-worker who has recently been wondering about religion. The co-worker asks the young woman what she believes. She responds with love and simply states that she believes that “God loves all of his children”. This leads to a conversation about God.

The young woman realizes that this is the missionary experience that she had prayed for.

At the end of the day, the young woman returns home. She is exhausted. She watches some Netflix, and instead of praying while laying in bed, she gets out and kneels down. Here she repents for the wrongs that she had done for the day. She repents of the judgments she made, the gossip she spoke, the hardness of her heart. She then thanks Him for the Atonement and how she has a Savior that helps her to repent. She prays to thank God for the opportunity that she had to obey the commandments with strict obedience. She is filled with so much love. She knows her Heavenly Father loves her. She falls asleep with plans to do it all again.

As I think about this young woman, I think about what I can do to change. First, my prayers need to be more sincere. This is a small and simple thing that if I just go through the motions, I could lose my testimony. However, if I pray more sincerely, it can be something that helps me come that much closer to God. Second, my scripture study needs to be more of a study versus a read. Through studying, I can gain a stronger testimony of the different gospel topics that I don’t know or understand well. Lastly, I need to focus on obedience and repentance. These are small and simple. They can be done easily in a day, but if we don’t do them, it could lead to us leaving and abandoning our faith.

I encourage you to find those small and simple things that you can do in your life to improve your relationship with God. I know that he wants us to come and find him. I know that he wants us to seek him and understand him. I know that he wants us to feel of his love. I know we can do that by following his word and continuing to do those small and simple things.

Our small and simple things

My Two Words

The other day, my family and I were asked “If you could describe Christ’s gospel in 2 words what would they be?” I don’t know why, but this question was so hard for me to answer. There are so many words to describe Christ’s gospel. My family each took turns responding to the question and my mind was still blank. It is hard to put into two words something that is so important to you.

I responded to the question by saying “a path”, but as I think about it more, I wish I would’ve responded with the two words “My life.”

My life is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I live the gospel. Even during the times that I am struggling with commandments, or doubting God, I am still living the gospel because I am exercising the gift to choose and am applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ into my life.

We each have our downfalls, our struggles, our desires, our weaknesses, but He helps us understand that we can find strength. That we can find hope. That we can find true JOY.

I wish I could’ve answered differently because “a path” is just too simple of an answer. It doesn’t describe really how much this gospel means to me. But, I think that describing the gospel as “My Life” adds so much more understanding of what the gospel means to me.

I am beginning to study more about my Savior. I am really trying to understand him better. There have been times in my life where I felt like I knew him very well, but lately I have so many questions about Him that I am trying to figure out for myself.

I am so grateful for the knowledge that I do have about Christ. Every time I learn about him, I realize how great of a person he is. How perfect, loving, caring, and selfless he is. When I think about Christ I think about how he has changed “my life” and how he has helped me want to make “my life” better.

I truly wish that I could’ve changed the two words that I chose. I wish I could’ve expressed to those missionaries what the Gospel of Jesus Christ means to me. Because, the gospel truly is my life and I am eternally grateful for it.

My two words.png

It Is NEVER Too Late

During church last Sunday, a sister gave her talk on our self worth. She did an amazing job, and I felt the spirit so strongly. But, what meant the most to me is a quote that she shared from a talk by Jeffery R. Holland. It goes like this:

“I do not know who in this vast audience today may need to hear the message of forgiveness… but however late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have NOT traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.”

He continues on to say:

“There is no problem which you cannot overcome. There is no dream that in the unfolding of time and eternity cannot yet be realized. Even if you feel you are the lost and last laborer of the eleventh hour, the Lord of the vineyard still stands beckoning. ‘Come boldly to the throne of grace,’ and fall at the feet of the Holy One of Israel. Come and feast ‘without money and without price’ at the table of the Lord.”

How much hope does this bring to you? Think about that. Reread it.

This brings me immense hope. Because it reminded me that no matter how far lost I feel I can turn to the Lord. That no matter what I have done, the Lord is still there. It is so true. He is beckoning for us. He is waiting with his arms wide open. He is knocking at the door. He is by our side.

All we have to do is want His help.

All we have to do is recognize that He is there and turn to Him.

What an amazing blessing it is to have the Atonement of Jesus Christ. How great is it that we know that there is someone who UNDERSTANDS EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE GOING THROUGH. He knows what it feels like to be right where we are. He knows how much we may want something, or are sad about something, or are disappointed. He KNOWS, and he UNDERSTANDS.

The main message that I wanted to leave today is to invite you to turn to the Lord and join him. To leave a message of HOPE that everything will work out and that He is there for us.

I love my Savior and know that he loves us unconditionally.

The talk mentioned in this post is titled The Laborers in the Vineyard by Jeffery R. Holland. It was given in the April 2012 General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

My Ponderize Scripture

I love my ponderize scripture for this week. Already I have learned so much. This week I chose to follow along with the Book of Mormon Monday video and chose the verse Alma 32:25.

It says:

“For I do not mean that ye all of you have been compelled to humble yourselves; for I verily believe that there are some among you who would humble themselves, let them be in whatever circumstances they might”.

There are many reasons why this verse stood out to me and why I want to learn more about it.
1. I feel like I could do so much better at humbling myself before the Lord.
2. I think about the times in my life that I have felt humility and often I was compelled to be humbled.
3. I want to learn how to humble myself in whatever circumstances.

Humility is something that I have always struggled with it. Ever since I was little, I have always done things by myself. So much so, that when I was in Kindergarten, I was the Red Hen in the Little Red Hen play and one of my lines was “I will do it by myself”. My family jokes around with me a lot over it because it has been so true.
It takes a lot for me to realize that I need help and to reach out and ask for it. I don’t know why. So humility and realizing that I can’t do it all by myself and that I need the Lord is always something that I am looking to develop.

I hope to one day feel like I don’t have to do it all on my own. I hope that I can truly let go of the burden that I carry and give it to the Lord.

I think this scripture is one that will help me. As I ponderize verse 25 this week, I am going to be thinking about what I can change in my life so that I can be humble in any circumstance. I am going to study the word Humble and look for verses all throughout scripture that can teach me more. But, most importantly, I am going to turn to the Lord, pray for humility, and seek to find ways to let him hold the reigns for a while.

I love that the Lord and our loving God have given us the scriptures. They are my light in the darkness and my guide down the confusing path.

I hope that you pick a scripture this week that you can ponderize and apply into your life.

Check out my Facebook page for the Book of Mormon Monday video!

humble post

HOW TO: Ponderize Scripture

What is Ponderizing?

Devin G. Durrant said “The word ponderize is not found in the dictionary, but it has found a place in my heart. So what does it mean to ponderize? I like to say it’s a combination of 80 percent extended pondering and 20 percent memorization.”

When I first heard Brother Durrant’s talk, I jumped on board with the Ponderizing challenge. I have since stopped because I let life get too bus. But, as I have been thinking about what I am needing to incorporate into my life, I was reminded of Ponderizing and have decided that I need to start again.

There are two simple steps:

Durrant says “First, choose a verse of scripture each week and place it where you will see it every day.
Second, read or think of the verse several times each day and ponder the meaning of its words and key phrases throughout the week.”

I liked to put my scripture verse in my car, but you could put your scripture on the fridge, on the lock screen of your phone, on your computer desk top, on you desk, wherever you are most likely to see it the most.

I wish I would’ve stuck with Ponderizing longer than I did. I remember when I was thinking about my scriptures, and trying to apply them in my life, I remember the strength I got to fight against the Adversary and fill my mind with good versus the bad.

Ponderizing happens in those simple steps.

  1. Find a verse of scripture every week, and find a place where you will see it.
  2. Read, study, think about the verse and why it is important.

Seriously, how hard is that?

Durrant finished his talk by saying “I promise you will not regret writing a verse of scripture on your mind and heart each week. You will experience a feeling of perpetual spiritual purpose, protection, and power.
Remember the words of Jesus Christ when He said, “’Do the things which ye have seen me do.”’

I hope that you will take the challenge to ponderize a new scripture every week. I know that you will find spiritual strength as you do so! 🙂

Devin G. Durrant “My Heart Pondereth Them Continually” https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/10/my-heart-pondereth-them-continually?lang=eng

PONDERIZE

Embracing

The definition of embrace is to “accept or support (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically”. Lately I have been wondering about this word. Embrace.

I wonder if we can truly embrace ourselves. Can we accept or support ourselves willingly and enthusiastically?

I think that sometimes we are our own worst enemy. We know our faults. We know our wrongdoings. We know the things that we have within ourselves that we don’t like about other people. So how do we embrace all of that?

For me, it is hard for me to embrace myself. To willingly and enthusiastically accept who I am and what I am like. It is hard for me to be okay with the things I wish I could change.

It is hard for me to accept that I am a control freak, and when I can’t plan something it drives me insane. It is hard for me to accept that I have a problem having fun, because I worry and obsess over all the work that I could be doing.

I often wonder how I can embrace myself. Embrace the things that bug me the most about myself.

I often wish that I could do more things spur of the moment. That I could be someone who like to do things that are fun. Instead I like to do the same things. I like to spend time at home, cuddling with my favorite blanket, and the same routine.

I wish I didn’t have so much self doubt. I wish that I had the self confidence that I had when I was in high school and didn’t have a care or anything to lose.

Can I embrace the parts of myself that I wish I could change? I honestly don’t know.

All I do know is how different and better I feel when I let all of it go. When I let the desire of wanting to be different go and instead fill that void with the love for myself and for who I am. It is by embracing who I am, instead of who I am not that I am able to find the joy.

In our lives, it is easy to notice the things that we are not. It is easy to lose ourselves in our insecurities and doubts. But, that is not a fun way to live. Take it from someone who battles with those feelings every day.

That is why I have found that letting go and surrendering my negative feelings has provided so much help for me. I am able to realize that I love who I am and that I don’t need to change.

I have to admit though, the change doesn’t happen over night. Obviously since I am thinking about it right now you can tell that it is something that I am constantly having to let go.

But, it is possible. The gradual changes provide happiness and light into my life. This can happen for you too. Experience those feelings of things that you desire would change and let them go. Replace them with positive emotions. Love for yourself, Courage to embrace who you are, and Peace with where you are at.

This truly is powerful. I cannot say this enough. Embrace yourself. Love yourself and you will find JOY.

Embrace post

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