When Inspiration Doesn’t Come

Mathew 7:7 reads “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be given unto you.” The Lord has promised us that if we ask him, seek, and act that we will be given the inspiration and guidance that we need. 

So what happens when that inspiration doesn’t come? What happens when you have been asking, seeking and knocking and you have no idea what to do next? Or even worse, what happens if you gain inspiration and act on it, but nothing seems to be happening? 

Recently I have been stuck. Stuck because no inspiration has been coming my way for my life, this blog, or my work.  Granted, I have lost consistency with the small and simple things, but I have always felt like I had a good relationship with God and he has always provided me with the answers and inspiration that I needed at the time. But lately, it hasn’t seemed that way. 

The thing that I have seemed to have forgotten is the aspect of Faith. Faith that God truly is everything. That He has created all, and knows all. That He has a plan for me. That He loves me. 

It is easy to forget and lose faith when the inspiration is not coming. When it seems like we are knocking and knocking, and asking and asking and we are receiving no answers. It is easy to listen to the natural man and think that God will never answer us. 

But, that is not how God is. He is ALWAYS there for us even if we think that we don’t deserve his presence. 

A couple weeks ago I had a random prompting to check a school districts employment opportunities. To my surprise, in a town that I hope to live in one day, a position opened for a middle school math teacher. I had conflicting emotions. Maybe I should apply. Maybe I should just forget about it. But for some reason I could not shake the idea of this position. I decided to bring it to the Lord knowing that he has all of the answers. To my surprise, I got my answer not even 5 minutes after I was done praying. I randomly opened my scriptures, like I often do when I need answers and I read in Doctrine and Covenants 8:4 that says “Therefore this is thy gift; apply unto it”. This was pretty straightforward and I knew what I needed to do. So I applied. And nothing has happened since. 

It has been so hard since I have applied to have faith that God knows what he is doing. I have been really confused because I haven’t gotten any response or feedback about my application. Sometimes it is hard for me to trust Him when I feel out of control. But I guess that is when I need to have faith in him the most. Faith that no matter what, things will go according to His Almighty plan. 

When you are not receiving the inspiration that you desire, just remember the lesson that I have learned the hard way. Keep the faith and trust that He has a plan for you. Remember that you are enough, because Christ is enough. Knowing this will help you trust in the Lord. It will help you to keep knocking and keep asking even if you aren’t sure if He will respond or answer. I promise that he will in his own time. He loves us more than we can comprehend.  

When inspiration doesn’t come, don’t forget to have faith that it eventually will. God doesn’t forget his children. He especially doesn’t forget you when you are doing the right things. He will bless you with more than you can imagine because he loves you. You are his child. He loves you. I can’t emphasize that enough. He loves YOU. All of you. Because of that Love he has provided us a way through our brother Jesus Christ to return and live with Him again. Faith in Jesus Christ makes everything worth it because Christ has made the ultimate sacrifice. 

I hope you will look forward to this week with optimism and faith. Faith that He has a bigger plan for us than we have for ourselves. Faith that He will provide us with the inspiration that we desperately seek. 

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.

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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! 🙂

 

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.

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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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1 Year After…

It has been an exact year since I have been home from serving an LDS mission in Edmonton, AB, Canada. There have been so many ups and downs during this year of being home. I had no idea that it would be this hard on me spiritually, mentally, and physically but also so rewarding.

There are a lot of expectations within the church for LDS missionaries. You are expected to serve the 18 months if you are a woman or the 2 years if you are a man. During this time you are expected to live a higher law and return better than you left and continue to stay holy and righteous. You are expected to get married and to start a family, or if that is not your path, you are expected to be excited to go to a young adult singles ward.

I really don’t like expectations. Especially these ones because I literally didn’t accomplish any of them. I did not serve for 18 months, I only served for a little over 5. I came home really spiritual, but did not keep up on the things needed to stay that way. I did not get married or start a family, and I have not been a super great sport about going to my YSA ward.

So in my mind, for this past year, I felt like I had failed in so many ways. I have dealt a lot with so many internal struggles and have faltered spiritually along the way.

I am stronger now because of it though. I have been angry at the Lord, because its the easiest thing to do unfortunately, but have learned on how to rely on him even when its hard to have faith that he wants the best thing for you. I have learned how to rely on scripture study to light the path when you feel like you are overcome by the cloud of darkness. I have learned that I can continue on with serving the Lord in a way that I didn’t think was possible and reach so many people.

Before I left on my mission, I had to give up many things that I loved. I had a really great job in the school, had a scholarship at college, had an amazing boyfriend, I was close with my family and had several great and close friends. I was promised that I would be able to have all those things when I returned and that they would be even greater. So, nows the test, has it been true?

The answer is yes. Everything that I have sacrificed I have been able to be blessed with even more from God. I am going to have a great job starting in August that I couldn’t have planned for myself. If I were still on my mission I would’ve missed this opportunity. The Lord is so mindful.

I have been able to find a university that I can afford and that I can go at my own speed. That has been a HUGE blessing in my life.

I still have an amazing boyfriend who waited faithfully for me to come home and has supported me during all the hard things that I have gone through inside of my head.

I am even closer to my family and have made more lifelong friends that I was able to meet on my mission.

So, as I reflect a year later, I still say that my mission was the best thing to have ever happened to me. Even though I have struggled about being home, I know it was what I needed to understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was what I needed to test my testimony and I know I am where I need to be because of it.  I might not have experienced all of the expectations, but I was able to receive what the Lord knew I, individually, needed.

I am grateful for this last year. I have grown so much and have been blessed with so many things. I know that the Lord watches over me, and if he watches over me, I know he watches over you too! We can go through those times of struggle and realize that God really is aware of us! 🙂

 

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Faith, Action, Commandments and Sacrifice

Today during my personal study, I came across some great scriptures in the New Testament that I think work hand in hand.

The first that stood out to me is the woman in Matthew 9 who was diseased with the issue of blood. In Matthew it reads:

“And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment;

For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

But Jesus turned him about and when he saw her, he said, Daughter be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour” (Matthew 9: 20-22).

These verses have stood out to me many times throughout the years. It is easy to sin and to feel like you are unclean. But, this woman shows us what FAITH can do to help us in the process of repentance and forgiveness. She shows that little acts of faith can help us to be whole.

I also love that Christ doesn’t care what we have been through. He knows that all we need is to have faith in him and ACT on it and he will make us whole right then.

I then came across the story of the young man who comes to Christ and asks him:

“Good Master what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

And He said unto him, Why callest me good? There is not good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: WHAT LACK I YET?” (Matthew 19: 16-20)

This is where I stopped and thought to myself. What is it that I lack? What could I be doing better to follow Christ, to serve him, to strengthen my faith or to be better cleansed from my sins?

Christ continues to teach the young man by saying:

“If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life” (Matthew 19: 21-29).

I think that the main message that Christ is trying to teach us is that something that we often LACK is the sacrifice. He has promised us that if we will give up our worldly possessions that we will inherit so many more great things with Eternal Life. I don’t think that He means that we need to get rid of our houses, and leave our families to go on a journey to follow him. I think He means that we need to give up the things that are holding us back from following Him.

That could be social media, entertainment, habits, friends, addictions. Anything that could be keeping us from the Savior.

I love these two stories because I believe that they work hand in hand. We learn from the first that we need to have FAITH and ACT on that faith and the Savior has promised us that we will be able to be whole. Then, we need to KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS and SACRIFICE what is keeping us from the Lord.

I know that as we follow those things, that we will learn how to humble ourselves before the Lord and trust in him as he guides us through our lives. I hope that we each will choose to follow him and to exercise the faith that is needed to do so.

I love my Savior and am so grateful that He has provided us with ways to learn from Him and be guided by the Spirit.

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Visiting Mormon Church Sites

I spent the last week driving and driving and driving. We travelled from Utah to Illinois to visit a place that is very dear to the Mormon religion. Nauvoo Illinois is full of many different sites, the Smith Homes, a blacksmith shop, gravestones and many other things that we still have or have been restored from the early saints.

It was a great experience to walk where historical figures like Joseph Smith Jr, Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, Emma Smith, Wilford Woodruff, and many other inspiring people walked.

To be honest, at first I really thought that Nauvoo was a little boring. You walk into several different shops and each one takes about 45 minutes because the people talk to you about the history. And if you know me, I really struggle with history. It is hard for me to comprehend for some reason. SO, it was all a little over my head.

But, what I learned there made all of the difference.

One of the places that made such a big impact on me was visiting the gravestone of Hyrum, Joseph and Emma Smith. Gravestones of the Smiths

The picture is a little shadowy, but for me, this place touched me more than I expected. When we visited the graves with a big crowd, everyone suddenly became quiet and the spirit was there. I wish I could’ve known these people when they were alive. I love them so much now from learning about them. It was a somber moment for me to look at Joseph’s Grave. He gave so much for this church.

I feel bad for him because his name is remembered for both good and bad, but he did so much good. I honestly think that if he made this religion up and that it was all based on a lie, that he wouldn’t have sacrificed so much for it. He would not have been willing to leave his family, to take hundreds of people across America, and definitely would not have watched his brother die and then die himself if it was fake. It was inspiring to me to realize how much Joseph, Hyrum and Emma gave up for the church.

Another place that I loved was Liberty Jail Liberty Jail

Liberty Jail was a jail that Joseph and 4 other men were placed under false accusations. Eventually they were able to be let out of it.  I loved that they had mannequins in there representing the men. The structure of the jail is the same as what was built during that time. It has been restored, and a building has been built around it. I enjoyed listening to the missionaries talk about this event in history and how it impacted the men, and the saints and then how it will now effect me.

My favorite place to visit was Carthage Jail.

Carthige Jail

Here was the Jail that Hyrum Smith was killed by a bullet in his head, and where Joseph Smith Jr. was killed with two bullets in the back and two in the front and a fall out of a window. It was in Carthage that I realized what a good man Hyrum Smith was.

Hyrum was Joseph’s older brother. I imagine it would be hard to be an older sibling and know that your younger brother was called to be a prophet, but it wasn’t hard for Hyrum. Hyrum was always by his brothers side. He believed in Joseph and knew that he was called of God to be a prophet. He went everywhere with Joseph and died with him. I don’t think I could do that if I knew that Joseph was a liar.

Inside Carthage jail they played the hymn a Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief. This song is about Jesus Christ and I love the line that says “He asked if I for him would die.
The flesh was weak; my blood ran chill, But my free spirit cried, “I will!””

I could feel some tears developing during this song. That is exactly what Christ asked Joseph to do. He never said that it would be easy, but that it is what he was asking of him to restore the church and fulfill his mission and Joseph went with a willing heart, and Hyrum supported Joseph till the end. Seriously so inspiring.

My trip in Nauvoo ended with a quick family picture at the temple. I had spent time in the Nauvoo temple the day before doing sealings and watching my younger cousins perform baptisms. It was a great experience. I love the Nauvoo Temple.

Nauvoo Temple

The Nauvoo temple is inspiring to me because the saints were still trying to finish it as the mobs came into town to cast them out. They were working on it until they couldn’t anymore. Why would they do that? I think its because they knew that the Lord asked them to build a temple and the saints wanted to follow him. They also wanted the covenants and promises of an eternal family and were willing to do what was needed to accomplish it.

Unfortunately, the mobs burned the insides of the temple after the saints left, and then tornadoes came and took down the outside of the temple. So it has been rebuilt and restored. What a blessing it is that we still can have a temple in that location to remember the saints and their sacrifice.

Nauvoo was an inspiring place for me in many ways, but ultimately I just realized how much the saints desired to follow the Lord and how they were willing to sacrifice all that they had to do so. I hope that I will be able to sacrifice with a willing heart like the saints did when I am asked.

I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. I know that he was visited by God and Jesus Christ. I know this because I have sought for myself if it is true and the Lord has testified it to me. I know that the Lord has made it so that we can communicate with him and receive our own personal revelation. I know that there is a living prophet on the earth today Russel M. Nelson. I know that God asks us to sacrifice because we benefit from the sacrifices. I know that Christ lives and that he loves us and desires us to come and follow him.

 

Church History Post