I forget to find joy in the moment. I have an entire laundry list of Should have's and could have's, but I really need to figure out how to burn that list and come up with all the things are really ARE.
When I was young, I really wanted to be a doctor, but life stepped in and I became a mother instead. I am not sorry for a single moment of not doctoring that happened. I am sorry that that dream took me so very long to let go of. I started going to school to be a nurse, but found myself in the position of being a single mother instead. So, I went to work. I have waited tables, been a nursing assistant, delivered papers, taken pictures, been an EMT and even been a telephone solicitor. I have done anything and everything that I could to support my family and raise my children.
But I have never let go of the should have's and could have's. Perhaps it is time now.
I love my EMT job. It doesn't really pay, but it is truly a job of love. I love being able to help people who are hurting and see direct results because I get them to the care they need. I love my family. I have been able to raise and love my children. They have become adults that I can be proud of. They are truly better than I have ever been, and that is all I could ever ask for. I think that my life looks exactly how it is supposed to. It might not be the way that I imagined it, but it is a life that I can celebrate.
2 Nephi 2:25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
Heavenly Father did not send us here to be miserable. He wants us to be happy. He wants us to have joy. He wants us to celebrate the good things in our lives. He wants us to celebrate our blessings. I love that He is mindful of our happiness. I love that He wants us to be positive about our lives. So today, I am going to trust that He knows exactly who I needed to be and that all these experiences shall be for my good.
Today, I am letting go of the past and moving forward toward a new future.
Today, I am going to find my joy.
I need more patience! I don't want to have more, but I really do need it. I am doing better that last year, but still find myself impatient and grumpy way too often. That is one attribute that is really hard for me to develop. I am not sure why I am so impatient with things and people. I find myself knowing what I mean to say, but having others misunderstand it. Then everyone gets a little bit snappy.
That is not what I want at all. I find myself constantly having to explain what I mean so that people don't take it badly. I am going to try and experiment. I read somewhere, (I really wish I could remember where!) in the past couple of days about trying to turn your words around and making what you say come out as gratitude to the person listening.
For instance, when someone complains, tell them thank you for bringing that to my attention, I am so sorry that you feel that way. It is supposed to defuse situations and reduce misunderstandings. Hopefully, if I can be successful at it, I will also be developing more patience to go along with the gratitude.
Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
I found this scripture and it actually made me smile. Who doesn't need help with temptations? I know, right? We all do, so if we keep the word of the Lord's patience, than He will keep us from temptation. That is a promise that I really need in my own life. I know that I certainly don't need more temptations!
Every gift that He gives me helps me to learn and grow and to develop
It is so easy to get caught up in everything that is going on. It is easy to put our Christianity, our religion, or even our good works aside. In today's world, it is way too easy to become self-centered and selfish. It is also too easy to get caught up in the negatives and forget how many blessings we are given. I had a hard experience this week. I was told that everybody in town hates me. That I am way too mean. That I make everyone angry. That they were warned about me when they came here. It was quite hurtful actually and made me want to lash out and retaliate. It can be hard living in a small town. Sometimes it feels like I am in a bubble and everyone knows my business. It can also be rewarding. Several times a year, the community gets together for service. I love how I feel when my brothers and sisters from every religion meet together and participate in something that has meaning and inspiration for my soul. Sometimes I have to balance the bad of a moment with the good that I know is really here. It can be easy to get caught up in the negative and forget the positive. If I am honest with myself, I am probably not always as nice as I should be. I still react to things instead of thinking them through. I still make mistakes. I still get angry. I still get hurt. I still want people to see things from my perspective. We all make mistakes. We all sin. We all forget. That is why it does my heart so much good to remember that I am loved by Him. I am blessed by Him. Even when I don't feel like it, He is there and loves me through it all. Today, I turned to a scripture in James and it reminded me that each one of us needs reminding once in a while. James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Sometimes, I think I try too hard to deceive myself. I hear the words that are spoken, but my own habits and responses let me down. I forget to be a doer. It makes me wonder what I could or should do differently. What would make me calm instead of angry? What would make me happy instead of stressed? What would make me a doer instead of a hearer only?
I am thankful that He doesn't lose hope in me. I struggle and I reach and hopefully, eventually, I will achieve what I am looking for. I hate to even think of praying for patience and understanding, I never have liked the results of that! But at this time in my life, I think maybe it is time to let go and trust Him. To have Him help me become a doer of the word so that when others see me, they also feel Him near. I really want others to feel the love in my heart that I have for them. I want them to know that they are cared about. That they are loved and needed. That they always have been, and always will be His.
“God’s promises are not always fulfilled as quickly as or in the way we might hope; they come according to His timing and in His ways. … The promises of the Lord, if perhaps not always swift, are always certain.”
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, “Continue in Patience,” Ensign, May 2010, 58.
Life never seems to go quite the way we plan it. I am learning, through my own experience, that is ok. I used to love to go to Women's Conference up in Utah at BYU. It is a weekend with speakers who talk about all kinds of things. I take it pretty seriously and go through the entire schedule to circle the speakers I would like to hear and also back up ones in case the session is full. It can get crazy there as it seems to me that all the speakers I want to hear, there are several thousand of my sisters who want to hear the same ones. I can't tell you how many times I have had to go to a class that didn't even sound interesting to me, only to find it was exactly what I needed to hear.
Life is a little like those conferences. We go through lots of trials in this life. Most of us have a plan for dealing with them. However, if you are like me, often plan A does not even come close to dealing with the problem. Sometimes, it seems as if I get all the way to plan X or Y before I find something that will work.
I can get so caught up in my own visualizing of the situation, that I don't take into account what is really needed. For instance, I get so excited about serving someone, that I forget to take into account others might not want to serve with me. In my mind, everyone is on the same page. They all want to do the same things that I want to do. Of course, that is not true, I just forget and want everyone else to find the same joy that I do in service. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. We each find joy in our own types of service. We don't all find joy in doing the same things.
I am a planner, and often, when things don't go quite the way I planned for them to go, I get upset and stressed about what is going to happen. I am not sure that I will ever deal with stress in a positive way, I am trying to see stress as simply more changes. I keep telling myself that "change is good", right???
Or, if it is not good, perhaps it is good for me. Nevertheless, much like my experience at BYU, I think that my Heavenly Father knows the things I need to do and He will put them in my path if I will just trust in Him. He knew I needed to hear those speakers at just that time. It can be hard to trust when you can't see where the road you are on ends. It can be even harder to let go and simply believe. However, I know that He is ever mindful of us. One of my favorite scriptures, that brings me peace is found in Alma
Alma 36:27 And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me.
I might not have been in prison, but I have been made a prisoner because of the actions of others. I know that He is with me and watching over me. As I look back over the past several years, I can realize that my Plan A, was never His. He wanted me to work through it, but He did not leave me alone. Eventually, I got there.
I have come to discover that, only after our trial, comes the blessings. Today, I can be thankful that the Plan A's of my life have seldom worked out. I an appreciate the struggle. I can recognize the strength I have gained, and I can appreciate the Love that He has for me.
Darn, I did not want to read this one. Sometimes, I just want to know that I have been wronged. That someone has not been kind, or loving, or even very nice. I don't want to conquer my pride. I don't want to set it aside. I don't want to feel weak and helpless. Sometimes, I just want the person that did all the hurting to pay the consequences of their sin.
But I try and listen when those loving me speak. I try and pay attention. And I even know their words are for me. As hard as it is, these words tell me that I need to let go. That I am also in the wrong. There is a scripture that reminds me of this.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Sometimes, I just want to be angry. I want to pour oil on the fire and fan the flames. I want someone to pay for what has been done. Sometimes, retribution sounds so much better than forgiveness.
And then I remember the healing that came with His blood.
The power of His Atonement and sacrifice.
The strength of His love.
I am content to let the water of forgiveness wash away the fire of revenge.
I am content to let His Healing was away the pain.
This has been a hard thing for me to learn. I did without for so many years, that I tend to collect things now. I really don't need anymore of pretty much anything. I am out of space to put everything and the dust bunnies are ready to run away with my house!! I think they are on the attack!
Why is it so easy to want the next big thing? To look forward to tomorrow, or next week, or even next year? Why do we waste so much of our lives looking for the next moment?
I can remember saying,
I will be happy when they are all out of diapers.
I will be happy when they can feed themselves.
I will be happy when they don't mess up the house.
I will be happy when I am retired
I will be happy when.............
I am thinking that Heavenly Father doesn't want us to wait to be happy. He wants us to find things that bring us joy every single day. They can be simple things, or more complex. I love the way my Grand children smile and laugh and giggle. I love the way my teenage girls are learning to help each other and be kinder to each other.
I love living in the now.
This Christmas, I received one of the greatest gifts I could have imagined. Christmas is hard for me. It is the busiest season at work, I usually have a lot to worry about, (money, hours, people, packages, ect....) It is also busy at the fire department where I volunteer. People get sick any time and the holidays don't make it any better. Sometimes, it is even a little bit worse.
To top it off, my husband loves to be Santa. He goes to the valley every weekend and does his "Santa Gigs". He loves it. However, 7 days a week work, me having to teach his church class as well as the Primary music every week, makes Mom and little bit cranky.
He has 3 Santa appointments on Christmas Eve and to top that off, a blizzard blew in that evening. We were not sure that he was going to make it home that night. We have a tradition for Christmas Eve. We all open one gift, and that gift is always Pajamas. The girls decided (on their own with no prompting from me) that they would wait to open their Pajama's until Dad got home safely. Midnight came around and He was taking it slow up the rim when I got a call for the Fire Department to go out in the storm and drive someone to the hospital.
Imagine my surprise when I came home at 3:00AM to find my family snuggled up on the couch, sleeping, and waiting for me. So, we all opened our Christmas eve Pajamas and slept in. It was amazing.
Then the next morning the girls (again on their own) decided that we weren't going to open any Christmas presents until their brother got home later that day. Not once did anyone complain. We had Miracle and Quinn over, made a nice dinner and enjoyed it as a family and then opened gifts at about 7:00PM.
All I could think of what that this was Heavenly Father's way of showing me that I have made a difference in my own small corner of the world.
I love that corner!
I love everything and everyone that are in it.
I love living in the now
All that I have really is everything that I need.
I had to write about this today. I can be very opinionated it what I believe is wrong or right. At least, I can be opinionated within myself. But perhaps my greatest strength is simply my ability to love everyone. I believe this. More importantly, I think my Heavenly Father believes this way. We are not placed here to be judge and jury over our fellow sojourners. Only He has the ability to be that. Only he looks inside and knows everything about us. Only he knows why we make the mistakes we make.
Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."
I believe every single one of us are made in His image. That that image shines through us and into the hearts of others when we find within ourselves that little piece of Christ Like love within. Personally, whether you are right or wrong doesn't matter to me. I have made plenty of mistakes all by myself that I need to repent of, without worrying about yours.
In my life, love is a gift that I give to those around me. Perhaps that is why I take betrayal so very hard. You are worth loving, no matter what choices you have made. Whether they are good or bad, whether you are rich or poor, no matter your color, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. You are His and HE loves you always.
I have learned that people don't always like differences. I wonder if our differences scare us a little. I am amazed by that. I think this earth would be so very boring if we were all exactly the same. I have experienced those in my own life who are prejudiced against me. Mostly because I am female or a boss or because of my religious beliefs. It can be so difficult to be judged for something that means the world to me.
I have been persecuted and condemned and even told that I was going to go to hell because I did not believe the same way. It makes me sad. The God that I believe in is a loving Father, who has my back in all things. He knows exactly who I am and loves me in spite of myself. The God that I know is one who loves each of us, no matter what we affiliate with. He knows us intimately in our grief, sorrows and pain. He also knows our joys and blessings. The God that I believe in wants us to have joy in this life. He wants us to love one another. To be kind to one another. To help one another on our journey.
He wants us to learn to love right. Without condition. Without needed to be the same. Without needing to agree or be right or be wrong.
The God that I believe in is a God of love and kindness, a God of repentance and forgiveness, a God of peace and joy.
My hope for today is that we will each strive a little bit harder to love those that are hard for us to love. Find a little bit of common ground in every sinner and in every saint.
I believe if we love them, we will find no time at all to judge them, and a lot more time to love Him.
I have done hard things in my life. There have been times when I could not believe that life was worth living, let alone that I might ever be worth loving. For much of my life, I craved love and affection from people who were unable to give it. I truly felt as if every one that I ever loved eventually turned their backs on me and betrayed me in some way. It was not a happy way to live, and has pushed and pulled at me right through my life. Last year, wanting it or not, some things happened that made it impossible for me to ignore what I needed any longer. I have had to work very hard to help myself and to be willing to get help for myself. I have had to change, and like it or not, it has been a difficult, yet positive thing.
I know that I needed that change, although I really have fought against it. I really struggle to get help for myself, to spend money on myself, to bare my soul, relive the hurt and overcome my past. I wish the remodeling of my soul was finished, but I know that I still have so very far to go.
I have told you before that I am a worrier. I think my past probably made me that way. It certainly made me strong in some ways, and weaker in others. I constantly struggle with self esteem and the cruel taskmaster jealousy. I feel like life is somehow a competition for love.
Living years with a man who constantly points out the good in my, has gone a long way toward healing the hurt that has always been a part of me. And, on the days when I just can't seem to get out of bed, he is supportive of that too. Maybe, the guilt comes from my own need to be better.
There is a scripture that I love, it is found in Doctrine and Covenants 121:7
"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;"
When I was younger, it seemed as if the bad times in my life lasted practically forever. It still seems that way when I am going through a bad place, but this past couple of years have not dragged like the ones before. There have been things to learn and grow with. There have been so many parts of me to change. Time, as hard as it can be, also brings us joy.
My youngest daughter turned 16 yesterday, and I look back and remember as if it were a blink. Time has flown when I think of her. She brings me laughter and joy. When I work at changing my focus to the happy times, the bad ones don't have such a hold over my heart and do not seem to last as long.
I saw something on facebook yesterday, and it made so much sense to me.
Those who argue about whether the glass is half empty or half full are completely missing the point.
The glass is refillable.
That is life. It is not good or bad, it just is. There are half full joys and half empty trials, but the glass, the opportunity to live life to the fullest is refillable. And one of us (including me) can start today and change the ending of our own story. No matter what trials we have faced or what sins we have made, we can each one, take charge from here on out. Indeed, that is the only thing we have control of. Nothing I do will change the past, and nothing I do will change the decisions of others, but I can and I will make my own decisions to be joyful and happy.
I am worth that.