Lessons Learned in Nicaragua

There is so much that I want to share about our humanitarian trip to Nicaragua and I have some many that have asked us about our experience. Honestly, it is difficult to find the words to describe the feelings of our hearts. I was writing in my journal the other day, just starting to write down what I learned, noticed, and all the tender mercies of the Lord! I’m feel impressed to share these with you. In a small way I hope to bring you into the heart of the entire experience. There are so many aspects to this trip, I will strive to share them with grace and ease.

What I learned in Nicaragua:

1. When I feel resistance it doesn’t mean I’m bad or doing something wrong, it means I am changing, I am moving forward, I am doing profound things and I have the opportunity to change my life as well as many others. Also, that Father may be using resistance to protect and keep me close to Him so that I stay safe.

2. Always stay true to the godliness within. Allow myself to just be and to move through experiences however I feel I need to. Take care of self. Honor and glorify God by loving self and others.

3. The love of God knows no bounds. Love is the universal language. Love heals all wounds and surpasses time. Love is the language of the Spirit. It’s not about religion…we are all children of God and He loves each of us and as Disciples of Christ, we exemplify him the best by just loving.

4. Stand for what you believe in. Do not be afraid to be yourself and share your conviction with others.

5. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

6. I am blessed, running water and flushing toilets are commodities.

7. Electric stoves and ovens, a home….is a commodity.

8. Happiness does not come from having things, it comes from within, it comes from having connection within oneself, God and others.

9. A smile speaks a thousand words and heals a broken heart.

10. Laughter is the best medicine and provides sunshine to the soul.

11. God paints a beautiful sunset, Ocean waves wash away the stress.

12. There is beauty all around if we open our eyes to see, God is in everything.

13. Never give up on your dreams, especially the ones God puts on your heart. Those are the ones we need to give our all too and believe.

14. Faith is believing in what we can’t see, but know in our hearts is true because of the witness of the Spirit of truth.

15. God always provides a way.

16. Jesus is truly the light, the way, and the truth. He is the answer we are all looking for.

 

There were also so many miracles and tender mercies from the Lord. I will share those on another post. So look for PART 2!

 

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Perseverance

I am up early this morning because I could not sleep. I did not meet my business and personal goal last night and it is eating at me. I have had to dig deep this morning and ask myself again, “what are you going to do?” You know, I have been walking around in fear for the longest time, hiding my heart from the world and even my face from some of my loved ones. I have been walking around ashamed for a failed marriage, ashamed that I am barely making ends meet, ashamed that my children are struggling and that I am struggling to homeschool them….ashamed that I feel that I am so different and this means some how that I am a failure. Well, this is me standing up and fighting back! I am learning that one of the greatest characteristics we can nurture is the ability to persevere. I believe that perseverance is the key to success. No one is perfect and every one is different. The only thing that matters is if you are picking yourself up each day and striving to do a little bit better than the next and that you keep working towards your goals….your dreams. I have a dream, I have many dreams, in fact, some that I’m sure others would say I am crazy and can’t achieve them. I say watch me, because I have learned time and time again that if I am willing to continue to move forward and that I invite the Lord to help me, anything is possible. It is possible because of those 2 factors….God’s Power and the ability to persevere. And I am grateful that God has blessed me with the ability to persevere, He has given it to all of us. No matter what your situation or circumstance, no matter what obstacles you come up against….keep moving forward towards your dreams and always have a brightness of hope in God. perseverance1

Gratitude

Lately I have been reminded over and over the power in gratitude. I’ve definitely seen some dark days and challenges seem to be a constant, especially as of late…. being separated from my husband, doing the single mom thing, moving to a new area, balancing between work and kids….nothing that others cannot relate too. Yet over and over, I see that we have the power to shift a seemingly negative situation into a positive, by simply choosing gratitude.
I was profoundly reminded of this just last week, when I found myself sobbing, as I was driving a long way back home, and had to pull to the side of the road so that I could see and regain some composure. I had been wrestling with a big decision that day and felt so much confusion and hopelessness that I just couldn’t take it anymore. As I sat in my car on the side of the road, i began to plead with God through my sobbing. A few minutes later, I was shocked to see a stranger standing outside my car, at my window, knocking. I rolled down my window, and listened as this young gentleman proceeded to tell me that he had passed by 2 previous cars in need that day and had asked the Lord if he should stop, at which the impressions were “no”, but that when he came upon my car, he felt deeply impressed that he should and that he should share an article with me. To my unbelief it was a talk from Elder Uchtdorf entitled “Grateful in Any Circumstances.” This young man proceeded to tell me that the Lord wanted me to know that He is so aware of me and my circumstances and that all would be well. I sobbed again, thanked him, and he returned to his car.
What I have since come to realize is that God was hearing my cries that day, but I really couldn’t see the blessings or hear the answers until I began to acknowledge and show gratitude for the many blessings I had received already. As I have begun to choose gratitude, I have been humbled as my eyes have been open to the reality of my life.  I am blessed with 4 beautiful children, and they have a father who loves them and strives to take good care of them, and strives to keep a friendship with me. I have so many loving friends and with each new friend  the circle just keeps expanding.  The work I  get to do blesses others in profound ways.  I get to work with friends that are like family and I get to work from home! I am blessed with health, which I did not have, even just a year ago.  I feel closer to my God then ever and see His hand in my life daily.  I have food, water, shelter and love.  I am extremely well taken care of… Gratitude is like magic, it completely changes the way we look and feel about our life situations. Gratitude carries with it the energy of hope, healing and peace. It is a powerful tool against lies and deception. It is a tool that empowers us in any circumstance!  Here is my invitation to you, my friends,….. cultivate an attitude of gratitude!  For sure, I’m trying. God Bless us all in our efforts!gratitude

The Power of Love

I believe that most of us have witnessed the power of God’s love in our life, I know of no other way it is manifest more strongly than in the Atonement of His Son, Jesus Christ.  I have spent many weeks pondering on this great act of love and service on our behalf, and have spent days and nights on my knees asking for the power in the Atonement to help me daily overcome my weaknesses. I have been impressed with thoughts and idea’s that have changed the way I go about doing things.

This what I have come to understand so far:

When Christ’s Atonement was made it opened up a portal, a way for us to access the powers of heaven to assist us on our earthly life journey.  Because Christ, willingly turned his life over to be crucified, out of love for us, when we align ourselves with him, by obedience to his commandments, we have access to that same power that enabled him to endure and overcome…God’s infinite and eternal love.  The power in the atonement is pure love. We become at one with light, truth, spirit and power when we access Christ’s love to cleanse us and guide us and set us free. The act of the atonement allows us access to that love and power and God’s knowledge, through the Savior. We literally get to be yoked, or have companionship with Christ because of the atonement and we become able to have heaven’s divine help.  The Atonement is love in it’s purest form; the power of the atonement is God’s power, which is Love.

LOVE is Power.  LOVE is SPIRIT.  Love Heals all.

How do you access and use the power of the Atonement in your life?

Personal Power

The other day I found myself driving down the highway, listening to Alanis Morsette and crying!  As I listened, the words struck me to the very core:

That I would be good even if I did nothing,
That I would be good even if i got the thumbs down,
that I would be good if I got and stayed sick,
that I would be good even if i gained ten pounds….

that i would be fine even if I went bankrupt
that i would be good if I lost my hair and my youth
that I would be great if I was no longer queen
that i would be grand if I was not all knowing….

I painfully realized that somewhere along my life journey I picked up on the lie that who I am is  not good enough.  Not only did I let that lie sit in my mind, but I took it into my heart and believed it to be true.  I have been spending years playing that out and pushing myself beyond exhaustion to prove that I AM good enough.   I have wasted so much time and energy aligning myself with others expectations, judgements and limitations. I have been consumed with concern of how my actions look to other people and striving to please others so that I could have the reward of recognition and feeling good enough.  The sad thing is….there has been no change or reward, only the continued feelings of  worthlessness, hurt and shame.  I’ve gone the other way also and  have played it small so I wouldn’t make others uncomfortable or cause them to shun me!  No wonder I have felt crazy, depressed or both for so many years!

Why? Why have I done this?  I don’t know all the reasons….but this I do know….. I’m Done.  I’m taking back my own personal power, the power to choose who I want to be, and to respect who I am already. I’m choosing to love myself for who I am, and see myself thru God’s eyes. I ‘m choosing to not let others define who I am, my worth or my capabilities. I’m choosing to be more concerned with loving and accepting myself unconditionally and allowing God to work through me, not limiting myself or what He can do.  I no longer choose to be  limited by other people’s negative perceptions and opinions, and I no longer choose to believe the Lie that I am not good enough.

I believe that there is great power in realizing that a change just starts with a simple act of choosing.  I have been given the god given right and power to choose, we all have.  I believe that when I come to the God in Heaven and ask him to walk with me and to guide me and to show me who I am in his eyes and fill me with his unconditional love, He will.  I have come to understand that this is where my strength to do hard things and my ability to seperate myself from untrue beliefs and others false perceptions and judgements will come from, through Christ. When I choose God first, and I follow His voice and His counsel and I allow myself to see myself through His eyes, I am truly free.  Free to choose who I want to be, free from others definitions and opinions, free from shame, guilt and untruths. His love heals me and sets me free to be my best self.  I’m striving to reach higher, use my personal power to CHOOSE my actions and turning to God for strength to do these things.  I choose to believe that I AM GOOD ENOUGH! What are you choosing to believe today?

The Answer

I’ve been reflecting on the sudden passion and urge I feel to write and share and how this is such a change from my 9 years of living in a dark and depressing place of loneliness and seclusion.  I look back on my life, even at this moment, with tears in my eyes, and wonder how I have made it thru so many years of struggling with depression, anxiety, guilt, anger….hopelessness. Depression in all its negative forms attack the mind and  enslaves the soul. A disease in so many aspects, a disease in which I thought I would never find a cure for, nor any kind of consistent relief. I remember so many times wanting to die, or run away.  I can recall many times, planning an escape, figuring out in my mind how I could just disappear in the least dramatic way so that it wouldn’t hurt my kids and husband too much.   I remember feeling such loathing for myself, that I would literally crawl in a ball and cry out for mercy, hoping that I wouldn’t be consumed by the darkness, but then wondering if I was, that maybe my heart would just stop beating and I would be free. I remember one day after having my third baby, sitting on a street corner and literally not being able to move because of the sadness and despair and hopelessness I felt.  I ended up picking myself up off the curb and calling the suicide hotline asking for help. These are just a few scenes from the never-ending roller coaster of a journey that my family and I have been riding.  Yet, now, today I feel it’s distance. Where there has been hopelessness and darkness, there is a brightness of hope, a surety of peace.  Where I could barely muster the desire to pull myself out of bed, now there is a fire and a passion that burns and drives me to stand, to speak, to listen, uplift and love others. I’ve pondered so many times on the miracle that I am even still here, that I have a desire now to live and to love.  There are a few reasons for this miraculous change,and the one that stands out most to me today, and that ultimately is the answer, is God’s grace, His Love and His ultimate wisdom.

As today is Christmas, and Christmas is the celebration of God’s Beloved Son, I thought it fitting that these thoughts have been running thru me. This is what I know…. I know that Jesus, my personal Savior, has done just this…personally saved me. He has saved me, my soul, from an awful fate and he has saved me from having to feel the effects of guilt, hate, anger, hurt and pride all my life. At the same time, He has saved me to be a voice of hope. He has saved me so I could stand as a witness of His mighty power to heal and to rescue. He has saved me so I could experience His powerful love and testify of it. I know that He has never left my side, that he has always stood by me, watched over me and lifted me up. This is why I am now here today, with a love and hope burning brightly. In a society where others forget him, discard him, dismember him, and mock him…I stand by Him and for Him.   I realize that in His hands, we heal, we overcome, we live and we can love with great power. He has saved us all in hopes that we will be a manifestation of love and goodness in this world.  We are not alone, we are never alone.  Know this….now is your time to be free, to be happy and to manifest the godliness that is in you. You have a purpose….a mission, that you have been called to do.  Rise Up! Take courage in Christ…and know that what you need is on it’s way, and when your miracle comes….accept it with full heart and run with it!

 

A Champion’s Heart

So….before you continue reading, I just ask that you go gently on me.  This is my first blog post ever and I know the page is  rough and incomplete, that you who don’t know me have no background….I apologize.  That will all come, I promise!  I just wanted to get this first post out, as it came to me with such power and I just felt I needed to jump into the world of blogging before my courage weakened.

I just got off the phone with my friend. We  were discussing my family and our most recent challenge….. my husbands cut in hours and a possible foreclosure on our home.  I expressed my feelings of peace and my faith in a loving Heavenly Father, that He was hearing and answering our prayers and that all would be well.  That this challenge was some how a blessing in disguise and that I just couldn’t see all the pieces fit together yet.  As I hung up the phone, I sat and pondered on our conversation for a bit and a thought came to my mind…..”you have a champions heart.”  I answered in thought….”what? really?” and then asked myself  “what is a champion?”  The answers began to flood my mind and I began to write.  So…. what you will be reading is the frantic writings of an untrained mind….haha!

What IS a champion? I thought, a champion is someone who overcomes great odds to accomplish an almost insurmountable goal or task.   A champion is someone who never gives up, perseveres against all odds, has been an underdog at some time, has had extreme opposition and battled with self confidence.  A champion is someone who has a dream or goal, believes in that dream and doesn’t let anyone or anything deter from attaining that goal and never stops working towards the dream.

I believe we all have a champions heart!  A heart that believes, a heart that is driven, a heart that burns with a yearning to be something more, to make a difference for good.  We all came to earth with a champions heart, its who we really are!  We just need to be reminded.  Sometimes we just need someone we love and respect to look into our eyes and hearts and speak with power of truth….”I see you, I believe in you!”  When we hear those words with our hearts and feel the power, sincerity and truth behind them, the light will turn on again inside.  Where there was once darkness and a loss of remembering, there will be a small stirring and we will begin to believe in ourselves again.

This is where my journey begins with you, on this blog……the awakening of the champion inside. This is the journey I want to share with you, that I want you to be a part.  I want to be, what my friend has been for me….the person that says,  “I don’t care where you’ve been, what you’ve done or haven’t done.  I see YOU,  your heart, your worth, your strength.  I believe in you and your ability to overcome and to make a difference.  I believe in your ability to achieve and do great things.”