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

The Gardener and the Currant Bush

In Church today, a young woman got up and spoke about our trials and how God uses them to help us grow and become better. She shared with us a talk from Elder D. Todd Christofferson, who quoted President Hugh B. Brown. The story goes like this:

“President Hugh B. Brown told of purchasing a rundown farm in Canada many years ago. As he went about cleaning up and repairing his property, he came across a currant bush that had grown over six feet (1.8 m) high and was yielding no berries, so he pruned it back drastically, leaving only small stumps. Then he saw a drop like a tear on the top of each of these little stumps, as if the currant bush were crying, and thought he heard it say:
“How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. … And now you have cut me down. Every plant in the garden will look down on me. … How could you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here.”

President Brown replied, “Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. I didn’t intend you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a currant bush, and someday, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down.’”

This story hit home with me. I have been reflecting on my life the past few weeks. There are things going on that I have considered a trial. I have been thinking about the WHY. Why would God cut me down? Why would he place a trial in my life? Why won’t he take away this pain and suffering from me? Why won’t he just give me what I want?

It wasn’t till today when I realized that he has “cut me down” because he KNOWS what he wants me to be.

I have thought about my latest big trial of coming home early from my mission. Now that it has been over a year, I can see that God had to cut me down so that I could grow. If I wouldn’t have come home when I did, I wouldn’t have finished the schooling that I have and I would not be teaching this year. I wouldn’t be able to touch his other children if I was still in Canada.

I think about when I had my first surgery, on my knee, and I was told that I shouldn’t pursue college sports because of the condition of my knee. My doctor was worried that with all the wear and tear that I would have to have a knee replacement. I realize now that if it wasn’t for that trial if I would’ve pursued college sports, I would be on a very different path than I am now. Now, instead of playing sports, I get to coach kids and watch them compete. That has been such a blessing in my life.

God loves each of his Children. Sometimes the things that we find hard in our lives is just him cutting us down, like a gardener, so that we can grow into something more beautiful and amazing than we are now.

If you are going through something right now, if you feel like you have been cut down, that you can go no further, I promise you that if you kneel down, and ask God that he will help you understand the why. He will help you see the person you are meant to be after all of this. He loves us. He wants us to be better than we are now.

I know that to be true with all of my heart.

The Gardener and Currant Bush.png

If you would like to read the full talk by Elder D. Todd Christofferson, here is the link: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/as-many-as-i-love-i-rebuke-and-chasten?lang=eng

P.S. If you have been missing reading blog posts, don’t worry. I have been working on some content to be released in October! 🙂

 

Do You Love Me?

There is a story in the Bible that touches me in different ways every time I read it.
In John 21 the Lord comes to Peter after being resurrected. He asks Peter “Peter, do you love me more than you love all this?” Peter said “Yea Lord; thou knowest that I love thee” The Savior asked him yet again, “Peter do you love me?” Peter responded for the second time, “Yea Lord; thou knowest that I love thee”. Then, for the third time, Jesus asks Peter “Peter, do you love me?” And Peter, for the third time answered “Lord… thou knowest that I love thee.”

I can imagine myself in Peters shoes. I think of what it would be like to walk with the Savior and spend time with him and have him say “Yaerli, do you love me more than you love all this?”

It got me thinking. Do I really love the Lord more than I love the things of the world?

Elder Jeffery R. Holland in a talk title The First Great Commandment gave a great interpretation of this story. He said that after Peter responded for the third time that he loved him, that the Lord probably responded with (nonscriptural elaboration):

“Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by the same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do… So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me.”

Mic drop right?

I love the point that he makes though. What touched me is the part that says “why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by the same nets, having this same conversation?”

I thought about my own life and how there have been so many times that I have gone to the Lord with my struggles, the same struggles all the time. How I have done the same things over and over again that might not coincide with what the Lord teaches. So, why have I done that? Why am I always having that same conversation with the Lord?

I think it comes down to one thing. Do I love him?

If I were truly living life loving the Lord, then would I act the ways that I do? Would I think the ways that I do? Would I treat people or judge people? Would I keep the commandments? Would I strive to better myself?

All of this automatically happens if I am truly loving the Lord. So, that’s when I decided to change. When I decided that I need to love the Lord and do what he has asked.
It’s not the easiest thing to change and do, and sometimes we are so filled with the shoulda, coulda, woulda, that we forget that the Lord doesn’t ask much from us. He isn’t asking us to go beyond our means and sacrifice all we have for him. He is just asking us to LOVE him. To LOVE him and SERVE him.

I hope when we have opportunity to walk with the Lord and have him ask us if we love him, that we can confidently say “Yea Lord, I love you with all my heart, and I hope you can see with my actions that I do,” and have Him answer “Yes, I know you love me, thank you.”

Do you love me post

2 Weeks Later…

Hey Folks!

Sorry that it has been a while since I last wrote. There have been so many things going through my head and I haven’t quite been able to figure out how to write them down. I have found myself truly humbled these last few weeks. I have found it amazing what many things you can learn in just a few days.

The first thing that I have learned is that opposition is there to make you grow. Part of the reason why I haven’t written anything, is because there have been a few people writing to me about only posting things to do with the Bible and no the Book of Mormon. Which is fine. I totally understand! The Bible is the word of God and we should share things about it. But, I believe the Book of Mormon adds to the Bible in the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it was really hard for me to have people tell me that I shouldn’t believe the things that I do. I just think that if it teaches of Christ, why does it really matter?

I have finally been able to let it go. It took me a while. I just realized that I know that I am writing about what God needs me too. I am sharing what he needs me too. I am doing this because I love him. Not because I love what people have to say about what I write. That has been what I have needed to let it go. How amazing that is.

The next thing that I have learned is that I cannot control everything. I have an extremely hard time wanting to control anything and everything because I don’t like feeling vulnerable, or in a place of weakness. I have been working hard at recognizing the negative emotions that I have had with control. Emotions like fear of failing, grief about what I should’ve done, and fear of not getting what I want. Its not the easiest thing to let go of, but I have found a lot of peace just with 2 weeks of letting go of those emotions.

The last thing, and probably the most important is that God truly is aware of ME! A couple weeks ago, I got a call from a principal at a school where I am living. He wanted me to come in a meet with them. When I got there, they offered me a job before I even interviewed. It was really neat. But, then I had all the fears and all of the opposition happen. Things with my University and Student Teaching weren’t able to line up. So we went back and forth with the idea of me accepting the job. There was fear about not getting it, and disappointment when things were going wrong.

But, after 2 weeks of figuring things out, we were able to make it work and I will be able to teach next year. It just was perfect knowledge to me that God knows who I am and that he wants me to succeed.

With all of the many things that have happened this week, I have realized that I have been given a great opportunity to experience life. To have a body, to go through trials, successes and find happiness. All of this was given to me because I decided to follow Christ. Just like me, you are here to experience life. I hope that you follow Him and find the true JOY and happiness that he has offered.

2 Weeks later....png

Hope For our Troubled Heart

O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine.

I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.

And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins”

How often is this us? How often do we feel wretched? Sorrowful? Grievous? Encompassed by temptations and sin? Do we feel like we can never rejoice because of the sins that we have committed?

Seriously, how hard and depressing is it to live like this? Pretty darn depressing. But, it is something that we know we must experience because there must be opposition in all things.

Nephi is the one who is sharing these beginning words with us. He just lost his father and he is praying to the Lord. He is experiencing all of these feelings and emotions. But, he remembers Him. His testimony of the atonement is amazing. He says:

“Nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.
My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.
He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.
Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.”

Nephi testifies of Jesus Christ. He testifies that he is there for him in his afflictions. That his love is so overpowering that it feels like it consumes his flesh.

I love that. Christ’s love can truly change us.

Nephi continues to say “Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul. Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions. Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever.”

There will be times in our life where we feel that we have gone far up the path of no return. We will feel overcome by our sins and our guilt. This is where we can choose. We can choose to continue down that path and believe that God doesn’t want us. OR we can trust in the Lord and remember what he has done for us.

There is hope for our troubled hearts. There is joy for our sad soul. We have so much greatness to experience. We just need to reach out and TRUST IN HIM!

I know that as we trust in the Lord, that we won’t have to experience so much heartache. As we trust in him and ask him for protection, he will provide it to us.

He loves us, so reach out to him!

Hope for the Troubled Hearts

 

Are We Children of God?

Knowing that you are a child of God is the simplest, and most powerful knowledge that anyone can have. To me though, it seems to be the hardest and most difficult for me to accept. I am not sure why. Maybe its because I feel like I’m not worthy of that divine lineage. Maybe its because I don’t fully understand who He is and what it means to be His child. I’m not sure. There have been times in my life that I have felt so close to him and knew I was his child. But, there have been others where I have questioned and felt unsure.

I was listening to a talk today by Brian K. Taylor titled “Am I a Child of God” and I felt like it was just what I needed to address this question and gain the knowledge that I need. He shared a quote by Boyd K. Packer that says:

“You are a child of God. He is the father of your spirit. Spiritually you are of noble birth, the offspring of the King of Heaven. Fix that truth in your mind and hold to it. However many generations in your mortal ancestry, no matter what race or people you represent, the pedigree of your spirit can be written on a single line. You are a child of God!”

Then Brian continues to say: “Coming to know these truths with certainty helps us overcome trials, troubles, and afflictions of every kind. When asked, “How can we help those struggling with [a personal challenge]?” an Apostle of the Lord instructed, “Teach them their identity and their purpose.”

What can I learn from these quotes about being a child of God?

  1. I learn that God is the father of my spirit.
  2. I learn that I am of noble birth
  3. I am the offspring of a KING
  4. I am a child of an all knowing God

What blessings can I receive knowing that I am a Child of God and living that way?

  1. Overcoming trials
  2. Overcoming troubles
  3. Overcoming afflictions of EVERY KIND

Those are some pretty amazing promises. One thing that I love about God is that he has made everything so simple for us. He has made it so easy to return to live with him. Unfortunately we are the ones that stand in our own way. We lose the knowledge that God is our father. We forget that that knowledge is what helps us to OVERCOME the world. 

God knew that there would be times that we would forget our true identity. He knew that we would struggle in mortality and would sometimes lost sight of where we truly want to end up.

He has blessed us with the knowledge of prayer. He wants us to speak to him. Ask him in prayer if he loves you. Specifically you. Ask him if he knows who you are. Ask him if you really are his child. He will tell you. He will witness it to you through the power of the Holy Ghost.

There is a story from Brian K. Taylors talk that really stood out to me. He told a story of a young women who had been in a bad car accident and the other driver had ended up dying. The young women could not forgive herself and felt like God was so disappointed in her and that He didn’t want her as a child. Luckily she had friends and family members who were concerned about her and one of her leaders invited her to write down and say “I am a Child of God” 10 times each, daily.

Brain quoted the young woman and said:

“‘Writing the words was easy,” she recalls, “but I couldn’t speak them. … That made it real, and I didn’t really believe God wanted me as His child. I would curl up and cry.”
After several months, Jen was finally able to complete the task every day. “I poured out my whole soul,” she says, “pleading with God. … Then I began to believe the words.” This belief allowed the Savior to begin mending her wounded soul.”

Do we sometimes hold ourselves back from letting the Savior take upon him our sins? Do we limit ourselves to only feeling the negative and not the positive. I know that I do.

I am going to take this challenge. To write down that I am a Child of God and say them to myself each day. I want to truly experience life knowing that I am a Child of God and that my Father in Heaven is on my side.

I hope you will take the challenge too and allow the Savior to begin mending your wounded soul.

Have a great Sabbath!

Child of God

Disappointments

This past week, I have felt disappointed.

A lot of my disappointment comes from wanting to control and plan everything, and then getting upset when it doesn’t go like I planned.

Its not really a great and fun way to live. I got disappointed when work was uneventful. I got disappointed when I didn’t do well on a test in school. Disappointed when the meals that I cooked didn’t turn out as planned. Disappointed when relationships aren’t developing in the way that I would like. And then of course feeling disappointed in myself and how I am doing.

I was reading in the scriptures and came across a verse that I had never really noticed before. It says “But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever” (2 Nephi 9:18).

I got thinking about the crosses of the world. What are some of the crosses of the world that I have to endure?

For me, disappointments are one of them. Disappointment is not something that is Godlike. Instead it was created by the world to give us an excuse to be upset about things. It is one of my worldly crosses that I must endure. So what can be done about it?

I found this quote on Twitter that reminded me of things that I am often disappointed by, but also who I can rely on to get through them. It was written by Jennifer Rothschild. It says:

“Sometimes our friends fail us. Our health fails. The economy fails, dreams fail to come true, and relationships we’ve counted on can even fail too. But God does not fail, cannot fail, and will never fail. You can trust him completely, no matter what you are going through.”

I read that quote and found myself checking things off because I had felt the disappointments that come from friends, health, economy, dreams, and relationships. I love though, that Jennifer reminds us who we can depend on. Who’s intention is never to hurt. His intention is to help us feel loved and valued.

So, when you are overwhelmed with the feelings of disappointments, get down on you knees and pray to the Lord. Express to him all of what you are feeling and why. Give those feeling to HIM to take care of them, then let it go and move on.

There is so much power in this. He will help take away the pain of our disappointments. God is so good and He gave us his Son for this reason. Let’s use the atonement to help us get rid of our negative feelings and accept positive ones, so we can find true JOY.

Disappointments 1