Wednesday, March 31, 2010

If you want to be an architect...

...get yourself a pair of round, black-rimmed glasses. Just look at the evidence:

Walter Gropius

Le Corbusier
(affectionately referred to as "Corby" by architecture students)

Eero Saarinen

Philip Johnson

I.M. Pei

Robert Venturi

And even my architecture professor (who I, regrettably, do not have a picture of).

Now I wish that I wore glasses.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hearts All Whole

Today I am amazed by the power of charity, the pure love of Christ.

Recently someone asked a favor of me. Someone who had slighted me in the past, who I had felt rejected by in a time when I was vulnerable. They weren't trying to hurt me, but I just didn't quite fit into their social group at the time. And I had been hurt.

Naturally, my first response was not the most pleasant. I wanted to be punishing. Weren't they just using me? Why should I help them?

But then I remembered my Savior. Surely this is not how He would have me respond. And I had pledged to follow Him with all my heart and soul.

I realized that even if I couldn't find love in my heart for this person, the Savior could. He had died so this person could repent and progress. If I tried to prevent that by holding my grudges, I would be mocking His great atoning sacrifice. I certainly did not want to do that.

I realized that this was an opportunity for me to show this person the love that Christ has for them. Even in my weakness, I could reflect the love that Jesus had for them. I decided that I would grant this favor because it was an opportunity to testify of Christ.

And the most amazing thing happened.

As we sat and talked, my heart was healed. I forgot about my pain. The Lord helped me to understand the situation that had hurt me and to realize that it wasn't personal. He softened my heart and helped me to forgive this person.

And that's not all. God transformed our relationship. We talked openly about our joys and struggles. We understood and uplifted one another. We rejoiced together. I felt our friendship shift into something more mature, more selfless, more eternal. I know now that I will be able to stay friends with this person throughout my life, that we will be able to support one another through the challenges that life holds. Christ healed my old wounds and transformed this relationship to what He had wanted it to be all along.

Today my heart is brimming with love for everyone - and the more I share that love, the more it grows. It's a magnificent cycle.

I am so grateful for a Savior who has the power to transform me. I am grateful for the gospel, which reminds me that there is a better way to be. I am grateful for the healing power of the Atonement. I am grateful that Jesus never gives up on me, even when I am so stubborn. I am grateful that He has shown me the indescribable beauty of His love and what happens when I allow it to transform my soul.

I can't wait to see how else He will transform me.

Sure on this shining night
Of star-made shadows round
Kindness must watch for me
This side the ground

The late year lies down the North
All is healed, all is health
High summer holds the earth
Hearts all whole

Sure on this shining night
I weep for wonder
Wandr'ing far alone
Of shadows on the stars.
- James Agee

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Everyday Heroes

I have discovered that life is not a series of great heroic acts. Life at its best is a matter of consistent goodness and decency...I have observed that it is not the geniuses that make the difference in this world. I have observed that the work of this world is done largely by men and women of ordinary talent who have worked in an extraordinary manner. -Gordon B. Hinckley


Today I want to write about my heroes. These people are simple, accomplishing amazing things just by living good, consistent, selfless lives. They do not realize their influence. These are the people who inspire me to be my best self, and I hope they inspire you too.

1. Mom
My mom is my best friend. I call her all the time to talk about my struggles, my funnies, and my lovelies. She makes me laugh every day. She makes me smile every day. She drops what she is doing every day to talk me through my difficulties. Of course she is not perfect, but she puts her whole heart and soul into being the best she can be. She has an amazing gift to connect with people. I am amazed at her ability to recognize those who are silently struggling and think up ways to serve them without making them feel like a "service project." When I grow up, I want to be everything that she is.

2. Dad
I just wrote a post all about my dad a couple weeks ago, but I had to include him in this one as well. He is the hardest working man I know. He has given up everything he has to support our family and serve the Lord. He is so smart, so talented, so wise, and He has consecrated all of that to the Lord. He may be quiet, but he has a strong testimony of the gospel and guides our family in living it. I couldn't have asked for a better father.

3. James
My brother is ridiculously awesome. Ridiculously. He makes up his own songs on the piano and while he's doing his homework. He takes scraps of paper and turns them into art. He makes me laugh every day with his witty, sassy comments. He's made up his own breakdancing moves from the time he was 5 years old. He loves the gospel. He is selfless and kind to those who are unkind to him. He is the definition of love. He has made our family complete.

4. Brian
I could talk about Brian for ages. He is funny, smart, thoughtful, selfless, always willing to serve and has an amazing gift to make other people feel comfortable. He always sees the best in me and helps me to feel my Heavenly Father's love. He's currently serving a mission in Ukraine and has thrown himself into the work. He LOVES to serve and he loves the Lord. He has shown time and again that he is willing to give his whole soul over to the Lord. And as he has done that, he has been transformed into an even amazing young man. I am so grateful to have him as my best friend.

4. Courtney
Courtney is my soul sister. We are alike in so many ways, from being the oldest children to singing in choir to loving family history! I first noticed her because she is incredibly friendly and kind to everyone she meets; when it comes to relationships, she is fearless. That is something I want to develop in myself, and I look to her example so often in that area. I see her as the definition of charity, and the way she lives her life testifies of Christ. She understands my heart and is willing to drop everything to serve me. I am grateful for her example and her friendship!

6. Marshall
Marshall is brilliant, though he would never say so himself. I am astounded by all the things he knows how to do, and even more astounded that he can do so many of those things with great skill! He is bursting at the seams with creativity and encourages me to think about things of eternity. Whenever I talk to him, he uplifts me and inspires me to be a better scriptorian and a more committed Latter-day Saint. He is a wealth of knowledge and is passionate about using that knowledge to serve other people. He is going to do amazing things in this world - oh wait, he already is.

7. Hillary
Hillary is a constant in my life. We first met doing sound for Christian Youth Theater, where she patiently taught me all the duties of the sound board, and she has been patiently teaching me ever since. She is truly a woman of God, and even though that means she has to stand alone sometimes, she is willing to make that sacrifice for Him. Her faith and charity are inspiring. And even though I don't get to see her very often, I know that whenever we do get together again, we will pick up right where we left off. I am grateful to have a friendship with her that will last throughout the eternities.

8. David
David is another constant in my life. He is always there when I need someone to talk to, and has helped me through so many tough times. He always sees my strengths and reminds of them, for which I am grateful because this critical world causes me to forget. I only wish that he could use that gift on himself and recognize how wonderful he is! He is a talented ballroom dancer, a great conversationalist, a hard worker, a dedicated servant of the Lord, and a selfless, loyal friend.

9. Breanna
Breanna is one of my favorite people to work with. She is always willing to do the tasks that no one else wants to do. Plus, she is beautiful, fun, and incredibly loving. She always sees the best in other people and I have NEVER heard her make a negative remark. She helps me to recognize strengths in others and in myself. She loves Disney Princesses, but I think that she is more amazing than any character put on the screen.

10. Joshua
Oh, Joshua. He's tall, dark and handsome. He sings in BYU Men's Chorus. He's Dutch. He's hilarious. He is thoughtful. He has an amazing family. He always makes me feel loved and valued. He is hard working, yet fun-loving. He brings games into the workplace, making it a joy to be there. He brings joy wherever he goes. He radiates the Light of Christ.

And of course, my most important hero, Jesus Christ.

All of the people I have listed above have blessed me because they have taught me about Jesus Christ through their words and deeds. They are evidence of the Savior's love for me.

But it is through Christ alone that I am healed.

He has borne my griefs and carried my sorrows. When words fail and no one else can comfort me, He speaks peace to my soul. He has atoned for me sins and through His grace I will be able to be made perfect. He helps me through my struggles and forgives even though I make so many mistakes. I am astounded by His patience with such a slow and stubborn creature such as me. He has given my family power to be together forever. He has shown me the way to find true happiness in this life and the next. He helps me to progress and fulfill the measure of my creation.

Without my Redeemer I am nothing. But through the cleansing and enabling power of His atonement, He is shaping me into something wonderful.

And for that, I rejoice.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Beauty for Ashes

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are comfort all that give unto them beauty for ashes...that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified. - Isaiah 61:1-3

This weekend, I literally had "beauty for ashes."

It was my turn to make Sunday dinner for my roommates, but some friends called me and invited me to hang out with them. I didn't know when I'd be back, so I put my soup on the stove and left a note saying they could go ahead and eat whenever they wanted to.

Unfortunately, I left a plastic spoon in the pot. And unbeknown to me, my only roommate at home was asleep. She woke up a while later to an awful smell and these lovely sights.

This is the remnants of the spoon compared to what the spoon used to look like.

And this is what my roommates were supposed to eat for dinner - a mix of burnt tortilla soup and melted plastic. Not soupy at all.

"Would anybody like some soup? It's not like it's tainted with the poisonous and naseous gases of boiled plastic, or anything. Please dearie, try some."

When I returned from my adventures hours later, we laughed and laughed and laughed.
"This will be a great story to tell your children," they consoled me.
"Oh sure," I agreed. "If I don't kill them with another cooking accident first!"

Fortunately, my weekend had a lot of beauty too. I:
*Went to the BYU Men's Chorus concert, which was beautiful
*Made new friends
*Howeled at the moon
*Pretended to be a Ninja
*Ate ice cream with an amazing family
*Enjoyed silliness with my favorite people in the world
*Learned how to make a revolving door out of people
*Smiled and laughed until (and well after) my face was sore
*Went on a walk in the sunshine
*Tied with someone 4 TIMES IN A ROW on rock paper scissors
*Toured the industrial design lab
*Rode an electric wheelchair
*Attended a wonderful Stake Conference
*Ate thin mints on the lovesack
*Tried my hand at being a Shaman
*Ate good stew
*Petted a dog
*Took silly pictures
*Watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
*Had some really good conversation
*Got to enjoy many of my favorite people in Provo.

If God decides that my life needs some ashes to counteract the many, many beauties, that's ok with me.

So even though my apartment still smells bad, my roommates are a little annoyed with me, and my clothes smell like smoke, I have many reasons to rejoice.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Give Me Jesus.

Simon Dewey, "Living Water"

I went to a Men's Chorus concert last night, which was beautiful. I love BYU choir concerts because I always leave uplifted and with impressions of how I can improve my life. And last night was no exception.

As they sang, I reflected on this past week. It was not the best week; I was busy and tired and lacked motivation. I had been hard on myself for that lack of motivation, frustrated that I was not living up to my own expectations.

Suddenly, I realized that I had been trying to save myself. I had been so focused on my efforts and my imperfections that I had forgotten that I can't do this alone, that my Savior is here to help me. I had forgotten to seek His strength. I had been relying on my own, and that had failed me miserably. I needed to rely on Him.

With this pause in my train of thought, I listened to the words the choir sang.

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.

Oh yes.

And the words of one of my favorite blog posts came to my mind.

But now, I'm going to lean back, like a child against a cool pillow, and feel God's love. And I can already hear the murmuring words of comfort - "I understand...I know life is hard...I know you've made mistakes...but I've paid the price for you. Let me in." - Michelle L.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

The Power of Unconditional Love

Girls' Camp, July 2009

We got a new bishop a couple weeks ago and I went to meet with him a couple weeks ago. I've applied to be an EFY counselor this summer and still have not heard back from them. They contact your bishop as a reference, and I figured that it might be good for the poor guy to actually know who I am if they called him up.

My bishop is amazing.
He was paralyzed by a shot to his spine when he was 14 and is in a wheelchair. Being in a wheelchair led him to wheelchair sports and he was on the national wheelchair cycling team in the paralympics! He was also a scoutmaster for many years and has great insights from that experience.

Meeting with him was different than any of my previous appointments with bishops. Instead of letting me lead the discussion, he took control from the beginning of it. It took me by surprise at first, but it turned out to be a great experience. He started asking me questions about my idea of being an EFY counselor. Why do I want to be an EFY counselor? How will I relate to the young men in my group? Am I a ready for these kids to put me on a pedestal as an example of virtue and chastity?
I wasn't very prepared because I hadn't thought about these things since my interview before.

I told him about my experience last summer as a
tent mom at Young Women's camp. My goal was to show my girls the love of Christ since I did not know if they had experienced that love in their lives before (and I discovered that many of them came from harsh backgrounds where they indeed had not felt the love of Christ). That decision transformed me into a better leader and opened the hearts of these sweet girls. I think they served me more than I was able to serve them.

At this point in the conversation the bishop grew very quiet. He asked, "so, do you think that giving your youth the Love of Christ is the single most important thing you can do for them as a counselor?"
I reflected for a few seconds and then said, "Yes. It is."
"I was going to say unconditional love, but that is the love of Christ. In the world there is so much conditional love, and I believe that unconditional love can transform today's youth. I now know everything I need to know."


There is so much conditional respect, admiration, and love in the world. If you wear the right clothes, say the right things, listen to the right music, watch the right TV shows, you get attention. If you refuse to be a blind follower of pop culture, you risk being alone and unpopular. What a terrible way for the world to be.

What we forget is that people are eternal beings. The fads we give up so much time and money to follow will fade in an instant, but the people and relationships we take for granted will exist throughout the eternities.

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations--these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit--immortal horrors or everlasting splendors....Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat, the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden. -C.S. Lewis

I love that line, "your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses." My neighbor is precious because they are eternal, but also precious because Christ is manifest in them.

It was not always easy. Sometimes they fought with each other over petty things. Sometimes they complained about the activities. Sometimes they screamed about bugs in the middle of the night. Sometimes I had to pray really hard to find some ounce of love inside me; I felt like I would snap from frustration and exhaustion, but I knew that if I was unkind to these vulnerable girls, I could cause serious damage. And the Lord helped me to see the divine in these girls, to love them when they seemed unlovable, to feel a portion of the love that their Savior has for them.

I saw amazing things happen as I loved my girls with all I had to give. They learned to love themselves. They learned to love each other. They learned to love the Lord and gained stronger testimonies of the Gospel. I received sweet notes from some of them, humorous because of their preteen methods of expression.

I think you are so nice. When I talk you always listen you don't just fake like the other people.

I really like you because you are respectful and you are nicer to everyone even if they're not nice to you.

I just want to thank you for being so nice and respectful ALSO very understanding to all of us girls

Thanks again I will always remember you and you're my hero!

You are the best camp leader ever!

But the truth is, through this experience I learned more than I think those girls did. I learned that pure, unconditional, Christlike love truly is the most powerful thing in the world. It opens and heals hearts. It makes it possible for a 19-year-old white BYU student to be able to relate to 12-year-old Black, Hawaiian and Filipino girls. It brings the Spirit of the Lord into whatever place you are in, even if it's a dirty campground. It refines and purifies me, making me a better person day by day. Knowing that there are people who love me unconditionally helps me to have the courage it takes to work towards becoming the best I can be.

And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another....
And thus they became the children of God. -Mosiah 18:21-22

And that is what I want to spend the rest of my life doing - sharing the love of Christ with whoever the Lord puts in my path so we can all become the children of God.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Little Wonders.

Photo found here.

Spring is here. The transformation is beautiful. Snow has melted, new plant life bursts through the soil that has been hidden all winter, people shed their coats and lay on the grass. But even more amazing is seeing how God opens and thaws people's hearts.

I was so touched by all of your comments on my recent post, "Who I was born to be." I was a little hesitant to write all of that because some of it was personal. But also because it was long and it was about me and I was afraid that it would be boring. But I felt a drive to write all of those feelings. I had to do it, mostly for my sake. But I hoped that reading of my experience might be able to help someone out there who was going through the same thing.

I had no idea.

I got a father's blessing before I left for school in August, and in it I was promised that I would be able to use my disappointments to bless others. When I heard those words I was worried. I had dreams of women's chorus and folk dance, and I wanted those dreams to be realized. The road of disappointment did not sound fun to me.

But now as I am seeing that promised blessing being fulfilled, I realize that this path is so much better, so much more fulfilling, so much more joyful, so much more eternal! And for the thousandth time, I thank the Lord that His plan played out instead of my own.

Thank you for reading, thank you for commenting, thank you for sharing your experiences with me, thank you for being a part of this little wonder that is my blog.

As John Greenleaf Whittier wrote, "Thee lift me, and I'll lift thee, and we'll both ascend together."

Thank you for ascending with me. I look forward to going even higher.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Good Reading for a Spring Day

Taken March 2007

Happy Monday everyone! It is a beautiful sunny day and it is fun to see spring popping up all around! I've encountered a lot of powerful blog posts this past week, and thought I would focus my Monday Links on that. I hope you find this reading as uplifting as I have!

*This is one of my favorite posts about trials EVER. Read it. It will change your viewpoint on comforting forever.
*This made me laugh so hard!
*These two poems are so beautiful. Please read them.
*Watched this over the weekend and loved it!
*Did you know that BYU Independent Study offers free courses? They have gardening, religion, bowling, and even dating. I think I'll take one over the summer. How great is that?!
*My dear friend posted this yesterday. It is fabulous!
*This post is so cute!
*If I was a penguin, I would want to live here.
*My best friend is serving his mission in Ukraine, and in his weekly email he wrote, "Ukrainian church activities are a lot like Power Ranger Episodes...They always follow the same format and out line but with slightly different characters to mix things up. Americans have their pot lucks with Primary Kids singing and Ukrainians have something that more resembles an extended roadshow. There is some sort of loose plot that ties together a variety of performances and games and them cookies and juice for dessert." Of all the metaphors in the world, he used Power Rangers. But it made my day!
*This is a great talk too.
*Going to this on Friday! One of my work friends is in the choir and got us discount tickets. It's gonna be awesome!
*I kinda want to live here. But only for like 2 days.
*Yesterday my little brother was learning about Moses parting the Red Sea in Primary. When they showed a picture of the event, he quipped, "Looks like the blue sea to me." What would we do without him?
*Tomorrow my choir is singing a GORGEOUS arrangement of "O Say, What is Truth" at the BYU Devotional! You can watch it at 11 am MST here.

And if you need a this!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Who I was Born to Be

Me, about 1996

I've always been different from my peers.
As a child I had many of the same personality traits that I have now. I have a unique gift to not care much about what others think of me. I am my own person and don't struggle with peer pressure. And while that is such a protection, such a blessing, it has left me alone rather often.
My mom says that I've always gotten along better with people younger than me or older than me; there was just too much competition in my peer group. Even today some of my closest friends are older or younger than me.
I am a perfectionist, especially when it comes to inter-personal relationships. I doubt myself a lot. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by my expectations of perfection that I can't even begin. I like chocolate milk too much and vegetables too little. I like to read in voracious chunks - I'll read an entire book in one Friday afternoon and go for a month before I seriously read another one. I have a strong aversion to confrontation. I need a lot of alone time. I'm not good at hiding my feelings, so when someone annoys me they, unfortunately, find out about it.
I hunger for eternity.
While other fourth graders read "Baby-sitter's club" or "Goosebumps" books, I was reading "Little Women" (which has been my favorite book ever since). In high school others were content with running around and having fun, but I longed to go to BYU. I knew that none of my friendships there would be very deep or lasting. I wanted friends who would really understand me, who would help me grow, who would be my friends forever. And even now, as I enjoy the wonderful spiritual and social environment of BYU, part of me longs for the future when I will be a mother and a wife. There have been times when my roommates are hanging out with people in the ward and I stay at home, talking to my mom on the phone or reading
Segullah or doingFamilySearch Indexing. I anxiously look forward to the end of April when I will fly home to be with my family, be a pseudo-mom again, put on tea parties for little girls in the world, and hopefully be an EFY counselor (I'm still waiting to hear back).
And I'm not good at worldly things.
I was listening to a devotional talk the other day and this story hit a special place in my heart. It as an experience that happened to Elder Holland's daughter, Mary, when she was 7 years old. These are the words from her journal at the time.
I was practicing the piano one day, and it made me cry because it was so bad. Then I decided to practice ballet, and it made me cry more; it was bad, too. So then I decided to draw a picture because I knew I could do that good, but it was horrid. Of course it made me cry.
Then my little three-year-old brother came up, and I said, 'Duffy, what can I be? What can I be? I can't be a piano player or an artist or a ballet girl. What can I be?' He came up to me and whispered, 'You can be my sister.'

Me and my sister, about 1994

Friday was one of those "what can I be?" days. It was just another day at school, but it seemed like everything I did was a failure. It all culminated in clogging, my last class of the day. We were finishing up a combination that I had been struggling with. The teacher introduced some new steps that just put me over the edge. Everyone else seemed to get it just fine. I had asked my classmates for help, but each time they seemed annoyed that I couldn't pick it up. They would rush through the step and I would pretend that I understood it to avoid annoying them further.
I wearily climbed up the stairs from the Richards Building, trying to ignore my sweatiness and the tears of frustration welling in my eyes. Why couldn't I do anything well? Why couldn't people be more patient with me? Was there anything I could do well? In essence, what could I be?
Then one of my favorite scriptures popped into my mind.
"Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days. And in temporal labors thou shalt not have strength,for this is not thy calling. Attend to thy calling and thou shalt have wherewith to magnify thine office." -D&C 24:8-9
Temporal labors. Was that what I had been seeking after? My desires to do well in school, my social life, dancing, singing - these were all temporal. They weren't lasting. In the eternal perspective - in God's perspective - they didn't really matter.
The Lord has taught that He GIVES us weaknesses to keep us humble, to teach us that He is the only source of lasting strength (see Ether 12:27). He could have created me to be gifted in "temporal labors," but He did not. And He did it for a reason.
I think one of those reasons is addressed in Ether 12:27; my weaknesses keep me humble and keep me coming back to the Lord for help. But that verse also promises that God can make weak things become strong unto those who seek them. That has happened for me in many areas (my testimony, social skills, ability to love, optimism, and self-confidence) but not the areas I have listed above. God could make be an impressive dancer, singer, and/or scholar. But He doesn't want to.
When I ask Him why, the answer is always the same. "For this is not thy calling."
So then, what is my calling? What areas do I have strength in?
I like to think I am pretty good at writing. My mother always tells me so. And that fact that you are reading this seems to be proof that I'm not horrible. I've gotten positive comments on the blog posts I've written and the quotes I post on my facebook. It is a small thing, but through it the Lord has been able to uplift and strengthen others.
I'm not bad at singing. At BYU my gift doesn't help much, but when I go home my voice is needed more. It is so fun to sing in my home ward's choir and feel that my voice is actually a benefit to them. And of course, my favorite way to sing is to testify of Jesus Christ.
I've gotten better at meeting new people and making them feel comfortable. I'm good at making new friendships and maintaining the old ones.
I have a special love for youth and children. I love spending time with them, talking to them, and caring for them. I want to teach them about Christ so they can be their best selves, so they can reach their full potential. That's another gift -I have a strong testimony of the gospel. I know that God lives. I know that He loves me and blesses me and guides my life. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, the Son of God. I know that His Atonement is real and has the power to heal, to transform, to make ugly things beautiful once more.
So what is my calling? To testify of Christ. To love my brothers and sisters and teach them about the Savior, who will ultimately bring them back home to Heavenly Father. To be a wife and a mother that will base my family on the gospel of Jesus Christ. To raise children unto the Lord. I will testify with words when its necessary, but mostly in being a window to the love of Christ. When people think of me, I want them to think of the love the Savior has for them. I want to be a living manifestation of that love. I want everything in my life to point to Christ, to testify of Him, to glorify Him, to accomplish His work and glory - "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (see Moses 1:39).
And when I remember that great work the Lord has given me the ability and desire to do, suddenly nothing else matters. I don't want to be a clogger anymore - I want to be a disciple.
I was pondering all of these things yesterday, still feeling a little sad and trying to remind myself of all of my blessings. I was battling another round of negative thoughts about myself when the Spirit whispered, "You are not filling the measure of your creation here; you are preparing for it."
At this point in my life I am not able to be a wife or a mother or teach youth about the Savior. But I am able to serve those around me and share my testimony with them. But mostly I can prepare to fulfill my life's mission. Study the gospel. Strengthen my testimony. Get even closer to the Lord. Get ready for those years when I will be required to give a tremendous output.
Christ had to pass through Gethsemane to become who He was born to be; Am I greater than He? No, and I must pass through my own Gethsemane to become who God wants me to be.
And I am willing to pay the price because I know that He will make some better than I could ever imagine.
And that He will help me through every step of the journey.
And though I may not
Know the answers
I can finally say I am free
And if the questions
Led me here,
Then I am who I was born to be.
-Susan Boyle

This is what I was born to be.
Photo by Michelle L.