Ads 468x60px

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Joy in Sorrow

Three years ago I was able to experience one of the hardest and greatest moments of my life.  So many torn emotions running through me. 

February 2008 I was up in the frozen tundra of the north (aka, Rexburg Idaho).  For those that don't know much about BYU-Idaho, just know that it's extremely windy and cold (okay, it's frigid).  One Friday, after a swim meet, I went to check my cell phone and found that I had missed a barrage of phone calls.  They were all from home.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tangled Lies

 The ultimate story of a tangle of lies that crumbles and falls to pieces is Aladdin.  Almost the whole movie is a lesson on honesty, but we will focus on Aladdin himself.
To impress Princess Jasmine, he makes a wish to be a prince.  After some exciting theatrics, a little magic, humor, and a bit of music Aladdin is a "Prince."  He's got golden camels, purple peacocks, a zoo, white Persian monkeys, elephants, llamas, bears, lions, a brass band, cooks, bakers, and birds that warble on key.  You name it he's pretty much got it.  But, as we all know, none of that did the trick to winning the young girls heart.  It was all in his personality.
We all know the story.  Aladdin lies over and over.  At one point he receives some sound advice from Genie. 
Genie: "All right, sparky, here's the deal.  If you wanna court the little lady ya gotta be a straight shooter.  Do ya got it?"
Aladdin: "What?"
Genie: "Tell...her...the TRUTH!"
Still, he continues to lie.  At first, it was all good.  The lies took care of things and made life easy.  But, after a while, the web becomes almost too hard to handle.  He begins to hurt the ones he loves and the happiness he found at the beginning is lost in the sea of lies and deception.  "What if they find out I'm not really a prince?  What if Jasmine finds out?  I'd lose her.  Genie, I can't keep this up on my own."
It is so easy to get caught in a mess such as this.  Sometimes it seems easy to lie and portray ourselves as someone different.  Someone more "cool" or "interesting."  What actually happens to us is quite the opposite.  As the lies slowly unwind we are left with shame, humiliation, and sorrow.  Not one of which is a desirable feeling.
The Church's thirteenth article of faith states, “We believe in being honest.”  It's no fluke that two of the Ten Commandments deal with being honest.  When we are completely honest we are able to enjoy self-respect, peace of mind, and become trustworthy individuals. 
It took time for Aladdin to hone up to his lies and try to make amends.  But he did it and the story ended with a "happily ever after."  Each of us can have a happily ever after.  You don't have to stay stuck in a web of lies.  It is possible to untangle the knot.  Untangling may be painful, hard, and take some serious repenting, but it is worth it.  The peace that comes from living an honest and trustworthy life is incredible!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Be Persistent

"Gee, Brain. What are we going to do tonight?  The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world."  Day after day, week after week, these 2 little rodents kept at it.  One day the world would be under Brain's control.  If there was an award for being persistent, it would go to these 2.

Being persistent is something I have either a) really gotten and beaten to a pulp or b) non-existent (or asked just once).  Certain things were easier to be persistent about, like asking my mom if I could go hang out with a friend or when dinner was.  Just ask my mom, being persistent wasn't an issue.  But, when it comes to asking our Heavenly Father, I was lacking. 

I was in the habit of asking maybe once or twice for something, but not much past that.  God loves us.  If you have gotten anything from reading my blogs, I hope it is that simple truth.  Because He loves us, He wants to hear from us.  He wants to know the desires of our hearts.  He wants us to ask Him for things.  The infamous James 1:5 says it all.  "1If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."  If we have a questions or lack "wisdom," we can ask God and He will give us the answer.  No question is a dumb question to Him.

Now, back to being persistent.  How does this apply to prayer?  It is essential!  Okay, in my mind, if someone only asks for something once, I'm not as inclined to think it is important to them.  It's like a phone call.  If someone calls me only once, and doesn't leave a message, I tend to not call them back.  But, if they leave a message, I probably will.  If you call a million times, leave messages, text me, and call from other phone's, I'll definitely call you back!  At that point you are either dying or have something extremely important to say or ask.  It is the same with God.

We have to continue to ask and pray for things.  He will answer in His own time and in His own way, but He will answer.  So, "are you pondering what I'm pondering?"  Be persistent and be ready for the answer, whatever it may be.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Oh No You Didn't!

 Certain things just get me all fired up.  It's just who I am and in my nature.  Today someone brought up one of these "fire up" topics and I intend to address it again here.

There is a common stereotype given to the Sister missionaries that has gotten extremely out of hand and is false on so many levels.  Allow me to share with you the exact statement I heard this morning: "The three reasons why a sister missionary serves a mission are 1) They want to and are doing it for the right reasons.  2) They are looking for their future spouse.  3) They couldn't get married."  Oh how lucky that poor child was that I am a missionary and have self restraint.
To share something a little personal, I have been engaged before.  I do not intend to go into detail about it, but know that I was.  At first it was sad, but very quickly I realized what an incredible blessing it was for me!  It would have been a terrible mistake.  The Lord intervened and took me another direction. 
When I first turned 21 and prayed about going on a mission, my initial prompting was no.  So, I didn't.  I continued to work.  But, as I have shared before in my previous post (Why I'm On A Mission), about 6 months later I got the prompting that I should go out and serve the Lord.  A part of me was very apprehensive about it.   Point 3, 'They couldn't get married', was something I didn't want to be labelled.  Thankfully, I listened to my prompting and came out on my mission.  I made that decision and have never regretted it since.  I used my agency to do the best thing I have ever done in my life.
California Santa Rosa Mission Sisters.  Booyah!
Everyone has agency, or the right to choose between good and evil and to act for themselves.  We choose our actions.  This gift is given to everyone.  No one can take that away.  Someone tried once, but he was thrown out.  He tries persistantly to get us to make the wrong choices in life.  Sad thing for him is that he can't force us to do anything.  Silly Satan.  Just never learns.

So, for all you 'nay saying sister haters' out there.  Let me just bluntly tell you that each of us chose to be here.  We weren't forced to come because we "couldn't get married."  We aren't here because we want to "find our future spouse"  It was a conscious choice to come out and serve our Lord and King.  No one took away our agency and kicked us out the door.  This is the best decision I have ever made!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Abridged Food Chain

This morning, while eating my breakfast, I was reading in "Jesus the Christ." The author James E. Talmage gave an analogy that I thoroughly enjoyed. I found myself lost in thought about it for some time. I will attempt to convey my thoughts in this post.

The chain of life; or abridged food chain if you will.

At the bottom we have dirt. It isn't alive, it can't grow, it just is. But, it can move up in the chain. How? Well, plants draw upon nutrients that are found in the ground and within the dirt. For them to survive, they need these nutrients. Thus, the lifeless dirt is able to move up to a higher plane of life. Lifted up by the plants to a higher state of being.

Plants are alive. But, they aren't quite at the same level as animals. In the grand scheme of things, animals are at the next level in life. They too need nutrients. Whether this is by feeding upon other animals or upon the plants, it doesn't really matter. They have a natural need for nourishment. As these animals eat the plants, they bring them into that higher level of existence.

And at the next stage, there is man (or woman :p ). We eat it all! Yes, even the dirt sometimes. Everything on the earth was made for us and we partake of a great deal of it. This is the highest we can get on our own. The highest level in life that we can go without help. So, who is it that can take us to the next stage? As with all the others, there needs to be someone or something to lift us up. The way, or person, is Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ came to earth for us. The literal son of the living God came to earth to take upon Himself the sins and struggles of man. His everlasting and eternal Atoning sacrifice allows us to repent of our sins. To become clean from all the filth we stack upon ourselves. Clean and fit for the kingdom of God. He also overcame death, by his resurrection, promising us that we too may be lifted up again.

There is no other way to do this. "There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin." Without Him, we would have been kept from God's presence and never be able to move past this life. It would have all ended here with death. But, because of all that He did, we can move on to that next level. We can live again with God. I am so grateful for everything Jesus Christ has done for me. He is the way the truth and the light. I love Him with all my heart.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Love Nature!

If you are familiar with missionaries at all, you know pday (preparation day) is the day we get to do the "normal-ish" things.  We do our usual studies and then clean, do laundry, shopping, email our families, and clean our car.  If we accomplish all of that and still have time left, we can do some recreational activities.  Usually this is either sports, hiking, site seeing, or (for the wimps ;p) a nap.  This week my companion and I decided to go to Sequoia park.
Our adventures began with the playground and then off to the woods.  I kid you not, if an Ewok jumped out at me, it would not have been a surprise.  Or a giant T-Rex.  Of course we had to pull out our light sabers and have a battle, but I digress.  The trees were amazing!  The pure beauty of the nature around us was astounding!  I haven't seen anything like it on my mission.  We are blessed.
Seeing this gorgeous scene made me think about all of the other wonderful things we get to enjoy on this earth.  "1...yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator."  There is so much beauty around us that our loving Father in Heaven has given to us for our benefit.  To allow us to be happy and enjoy our time here upon the earth.  These things not only are for our enjoyment, but they help us to recognize that He is there.  He is the almighty, all powerful God.  I am so grateful for all the beauty He has given us and for Him. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ode to Mothers

One guess as to what this post is going to be about?  If you guessed mothers, you'd be correct (and if you didn't.....check your calender).  Mother, mom, madre, mama, mum; no matter how you say it, they are the ones we know and love.  Somehow they are able to look over all the dumb, insane, annoying, and gross things we do. 

They go through intense and indescribable pain to bring us into the world, then they have a tiny little human to care for.  Changing diapers, feeding, rocking, holding, and doing the basic baby thing.  Okay, from a non-mother point of view, this would get really monotonous.  But, mothers have that connection and will to do whatever it takes to care for a child.
After the baby stage there is the infamous "terrible two's" or toddler stage.  Heavenly Father must have known how horrible kids would be around that age, that's why they look so cute.  My mom had some interesting times with us at this stage.  Some of the things we did to her as toddlers consist of almost getting sued because of a car flying through a store and hitting someone in the head, biting of other children, drawing all over the walls in permanent marker, going to the bathroom in....not the bathroom, the list could go on and on.  I'm just grateful she loved us enough not to sell us.
Teenagers.....don't even get my parents started on that!  What teenager doesn't put their mom through grief and hair pulling anxiety attacks?  It's normal.  I'm still not sure how they make it without killing us, but it's probably the many years put into us prior to being a teenager.  And the fact that they semi-remember what it was like "when they were a kid."
My mom :)
My mom has so much love for us it is incredible!  No matter how much we push her buttons or drive her completely up the walls, she still is able to love us unconditionally.  The kind of love that she has, is charity.
" is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever.."
I am still striving to have this kind of love.  My mother, Beth Nestman, exemplifies this in everything she does.  I am so grateful for her and the wonderful opportunity I have to be able to call her on Mothers day and tell her that.  Go tell your mom you love them. 
I love you mom!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Reflection and Growth

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  Today marks a big mission landmark for me, one year of being a missionary.  For an Elder, this would be the half way mark (aka the "hump").  As a Sister it marks two thirds of the mission.  Tragic and sad, but it's the life of a Sister Missionary.

At zone conference yesterday we were privileged to hear the testimonies of  a couple of our soon-to-be departing missionaries and listen to the words of wisdom they had to share.  Listening to them made me reflect back to who I was before the mission, just one year ago.  What changes have I seen within myself since then?  What kind of person have I become?  One thing rang true to me, I don't want to be who I used to be.

To backtrack a little, I wasn't some horrible person.  Never a "rebel" or a "wild child."  Just your typical 21 year old LDS girl.  Made good choices and didn't do anything contrary to church standards.  I went to church, went to some activities, and read my scriptures occasionally.  Not overly dedicated or tons of effort put into my religion.  I knew it was true and all that jazz, just didn't give it the priority it deserved.  My evaluation of this person, pathetic!
Pit stop on Highway 1
One year on my mission has made me a whole new being.  I have grown in more ways then I can ever possibly hope to explain or try to convey.  The person I am now is far superior to the pathetic being I was before.  This may sound harsh, but it's true.  There has been a change from within me. 
"1Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word..."
There is a light within my soul that I didn't know was missing.  Now that I have found it I don't ever want to lose it.  "Onward and upward;" no turning back to who I was.  This change has happened and is all attributed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Gospel of Christ changes lives.  It makes an okay life amazing and an amazing life even better.  If you haven't yet, I invite you now to come unto Christ and make that change in your life.  He invites all men everywhere to "2follow thou me."  To follow Christ's example and be baptized.

"3Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel."

If this is your desire, please please PLEASE take the steps necessary to follow Christ.  Meet with the missionaries and have that change of heart too.  I know it will bless your life forever.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Don't let it Melt!

One of my favorite foods/deserts/hot day snacks is ice cream.  Probably not the best thing to love and adore, but it's something I enjoy.  Picture the classic giant ice cream cone.  Flavor upon flavor stacked about 4 scoops high.  After that cone gets into your hands what are you going to do?  Eat it right?  The consequence of not eating it right away is having it drip all the way down your arm and onto the ground.  Talk about yuck and a waste of perfectly good ice cream.
Frequently I have been told "you missionaries push too hard,"  "this seems to fast," or "I want to take my time."  Sometimes, all of this is true .  But, there is a reason for the urgency we give our message and why we push for action.  When someone receives a prompting from the Holy Ghost or a witness of truth from him, we are expected to act.  If we don't act, those promptings and feelings will just wither away into nothing.  Melt away and leave us with nothing but a vague remembrance of what we once had.
Maybe, instead of commenting on how pushy or persistent missionaries are, you should consider why we are.  It is all out of love and concern.  Don't let your ice cream melt away!  Take action and eat it up.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Living Waters

It is very clear that my companions think I am insane.  My blog ideas come at the most inopportune times and they usually result in me dashing out of the room, or across the room, to hurry and write them down.  From experience I have learned that unless the idea gets written down, it gets forgotten.  Anyways, this is the "jump out of bed and dash to the living room" idea I had last night.
There is a story, in John, of Christ teaching the woman of Samaria.  The woman comes to Jacob's well where Christ is resting from his journeying to get some water.  Jesus asks her to give him a drink.  The woman replies in a somewhat shocked manner and says "1How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria?  for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans."  Christ then tells her how if she knew the gift of God and who was asking her for a drink then she would have asked him for water, and he would have given her of the "living water."  Water that "whosever drinketh....shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."
After reading this, my mind was called back to a book I read ages ago entitled Tuck Everlasting.  It is a story of a family that has found a spring of water that allowed them to live forever.  In a different sense, following God's will and living the Gospel can do the same, only better!  In 1 Nephi 11, in Lehi's dream, he gives an excellent description of what the "living waters" are.
"And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God....."
"The love of God,"  how wonderful is that?  By drinking of the living waters, we will have the love of God within us and "springing us up into everlasting life."  Christ can do this for us.  He is there ready for us to ask for a drink.  He will draw the water that allows us to never thirst again.  I hate being thirsty, so never having to thirst again is the greatest thing ever! 
We can live forever with God in Heaven by obeying His word and partaking of the living waters.  His love is the driving factor that each of us need inside.  Don't wait till the last minute to have a drink, "2ask, and ye shall receive..."
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...