Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Nothing Doubting

So many of my spiritual experiences happen around water. Many of them while I'm soaking in my bathtub, reading or thinking. I don't know why that is, but maybe it's because water is such a good conductor of energy.

Anyway, eleven years ago I was relaxing in my bath when, out of the blue, a voice in my head spoke to me saying, you are going to have another baby and it's going to be a boy. I remember going still, frozen in amazement, wondering if it was true, but it was so clear that I had a hard time doubting it. My first reaction after that was, "Please don't send another boy. I really want a girl." I had 3 boys already and one daughter. (And those boys were high maintenance!)

But the message was so clear and even though my husband moaned and groaned about it, he acquiesced. My pregnancies are long and difficult. Filled with fatigue and throwing up on a daily basis, so he was not ecstatic. We got rid of our birth control and let ourselves get pregnant. Truth be told, I was very excited for another child, because I'd felt we weren't through for whatever reason.

I got pregnant right away and found a midwife I liked. At my two, or maybe three month appointment, my midwife couldn't find a heartbeat. She sent me to a regular OB who also couldn't find a heartbeat, but I was still testing positive for pregnancy. It was a scary moment, to not be able to find a heartbeat or even see the baby on ultrasound! The OB thought I was probably having a tubal pregnancy, which needed to be corrected right away. Otherwise the baby would burst the fallopian tube, which can cause death.

I was immediately scheduled for surgery. Come to find out, I was having a molar pregnancy. I'd never even heard of that, but what it basically is, is an egg becomes fertilized, implants in the uterus, and then for whatever reason, doesn't grow, but the placenta keeps growing because it thinks there's a baby there. It's craziness!

When I woke up and was told all of this, I was broken-hearted. I had been so excited about having another child. I couldn't believe I'd been so off in my understanding of the message. I began to doubt myself because of all I had been through, and wondered if I was making spiritual experiences up, if it was just all in my head and I was schizophrenic or something. I cried for a long time, but kept moving forward with a shred of faith that everything would work out and that for some reason, it was meant to be this way.

I think it was in June, three months later, that I got a phone call from DCFS. They asked me if I wanted to take Emily's (not real name) new baby. New baby? Her baby was a year old and her family had him as far as I knew. The gal on the phone said, no, she'd just had another baby that was 3 months premature, was in the McKay Dee NICU, and needed a mother to come in every day to hold and feed him. Emily had given birth and then two days later had gone to jail for breaking her probation (meth and other drugs). They were asking me since we'd adopted Emily's other baby (her 3rd one) who was three at the time. All in all, Emily had 6 kids, all of them taken away and adopted out. I would have taken them all, but we only got two.

At that moment, my heart was pierced to the core! The voice I'd heard in the bathtub said, "THIS is your baby boy!" I didn't even call my husband to ask how he felt about it. I screamed, YES! into the phone. Yes! Yes! Yes!

I went to that hospital every day to hold and feed him. The nurses had a hard time getting him to eat the amount he needed in the time allotted, but for me, he would! It was a miracle really. He was a very slow eater and not growing rapidly until I started coming. (He'd been in the NICU almost a month before they'd called me!)

That baby felt like a reward to me, like the Lord was giving me a gift for some of the extremely difficult things I had been going through. And considering that our little Wyatt been born so early, there was NOTHING wrong with him. He has a slight lazy eye, but that really is it, unless you count that he has some ADHD issues now that he's 10. I adore him as though I'd given birth to him myself. I feel undeniably connected to him, which has been the struggle I have had with his older, half-brother who had also been born premature, who when we got him, had RAD (reactive-attachment disorder), did not like to be held or cuddled, and now has some difficult issues he (and we) deal with. That's a post for another time, but Wyatt is a gift not only for us, but for his brother who struggles so much. They're best friends now, even though they fight like cats and dogs half the time.

This experience has taught me a few things. One, that God operates on his own time-table, and we need to be patient and understand that whatever He has promised will come to pass... someday. Two, that messages don't always come in their entirety, and maybe that happens to make us trust more, which leads to three, that we need to trust Him. Nothing doubting.

Monday, September 18, 2017

My Comforter is Real

I haven't written for a while. Over the last six months some amazing things have happened and I have been waiting for the okay to talk about them. I'm feeling like I should share them now.

Last April of 2017 I started communicating with Philip Stevenson. He has this great business where he helps people overcome their subconscious roadblocks so they can achieve greater success. He also teaches people how to have their second comforter and it's much simpler than we have been led to believe.

We had our interview over the phone since we live so far apart and I wasn't sure how things would go doing it that way. I honestly didn't have high hopes. Most of our work would be about my personal hangups, things that keep me from being my best self and at the end we would attempt a visit with the Savior.

Since it would be too hard to type everything all over again, I'll just cut and paste what I wrote after it happened. It's a summary, but is accurate.

"There aren’t words to describe the experience I had on Thursday morning, April 13, 2017.

Phillip Stephenson had offered to take me on a guided meditation as thanks for editing a book he is working on and I took him up on that offer. I figured it would be fun and enlightening and would possibly help me overcome a few issues I had with financial success and in my relationship with my adopted son, Gabriel. At least I figured it couldn’t hurt.

Phillip called me at eight in the morning and we began a session that I figured would last a couple of hours. That was what we’d planned for anyway. What happened was far beyond my expectations. Far beyond what I could have imagined. The conversation lasted five hours and yet it only felt like an hour and a half! Two at the very most. That said, I will only touch on a few things here. There was just too much!

Rather than write a step by step description about what happened, I want to jump forward and talk about the best part of all. I saw the Jesus Christ! I did not expect this to happen. I hadn’t planned on it, even though I’ve heard it can happen in these kinds of situations.

I had gone through about four hours of guided mediation with Phillip that were incredible and hard to even describe in how enlightened I felt, when I went to a place in my mind that I call The Garden. It’s a little piece of heaven for me, with a little stone bench that sits by a pond. Paths weave through that are lined with flowers of all kinds and sizes. Trees, mostly Weeping Willows, grow, giving shade, and all the paths are made of soft, green grass.
Everything there feels alive—with a consciousness. I could feel the life and energy of all the plants and trees, reaching for me as though they were living beings, so excited to have me there. At this point in the meditation, after literally running through my garden, rolling like a child, frolicking in the grass, and rejoicing in this new world that I thought was just in my mind, I came back to the stone bench, and standing there, all in white, was the Savior. Jesus Christ. I knew immediately who He was. 
He had a dark beard, that wasn’t long or bushy, but short and neat.

I immediately fell down at his feet and kissed them, overcome. The reaction was instantaneous. I couldn’t NOT do that. I COULDN’T stand in his presence. Not because I felt unworthy necessarily, but because I was overwhelmed with an emotion I’ve never felt before. One I can’t even put into words. I started crying and he bent down and lifted me up.

Some of this I related to Phillip, but after listening to the recording, I realized I hadn’t told him much of what was happening at this part, and even now, one day later, I’m afraid of forgetting it. (I have memory issues)

The Savior didn’t speak to me with his mouth, but with his mind through thoughts. His voice is warm and rich. He has a wonderful sense of humor and he frequently laughed, like I amused him with my wonder. 

Phillip asked me to ask him if I am worthy to be there with him and when I did, immediately all the things I’d done wrong sprang to mind and I thought, no, I’m not worthy, but then the words, “Your sins are forgiven,” came into my mind from him, which in turn, made me worthy.

It was almost too hard to believe, but I felt I should believe, since He was standing right there saying it to me. I mentioned as much to Phillip and he said to ask Jesus to help me believe. When I did, Jesus took my face in his hands and with a funny grin said, “It is done. You believe.” It totally made me laugh! He’s funny! I’d heard that from other people, but hadn’t anticipated it. He was playful when I felt playful, and serious when I needed seriousness. He gave me what I needed absolutely.

And then I said to Phillip, “I wish this were real. I want it to be real, but it seems too fantastic.” It felt real, but I also worried that it was just all in my mind, and then Phillip said, “Ask Him if it is real.” So I did.

I don’t know how to describe what happened next. There aren’t words. One minute I was asking the Lord if this experience was real or just all in my head, and the next a power was filling my body, growing and expanding, like nuclear energy or a bomb that was about to go off. It was huge and terrible in its power, and it terrified me. I thought if it didn’t stop expanding I would explode and that my chest would blow out. If it didn’t stop, I’d break. As soon as I had the thought, “This needs to stop.” It did. That fast. I started sobbing immediately, and I remember thinking I needed to control my crying because I didn’t want Phillip to think I was out of control. But that was how it felt. Totally out of control. And even though it scared me, the experience was over too quickly. I wanted it back, despite the fact it was terrifying to experience with no warning! The crazy thing was, it WAS NOT IN MY HEAD. It was my actual physical body that experienced it and it scared me to death, because I didn’t know what it was or if it would stop. (Can I say how bad it scared me enough times? I truly thought I would die)
And then Phillip asked me, “So was it real?” (he was still waiting for my answer) 

I started laughing (because that's my go-to reaction) because, yeah, the message had come across loud and clear. I felt the Savior saying, “THIS IS REAL! Let me make it obvious for you!”

And then Phillip asked if there was anything else I would like to ask or communicate to the Savior. (he took me through it step by step because seriously, my brain went out the window as soon as I saw Jesus.) Phillip suggested a blessing. I liked that idea, so I asked the Lord for a blessing. He was happy to do that.

I knelt down, but not in some formal way like you see in church pictures. Instead, I wrapped my arms around his legs, like a little child hanging onto their parent for dear life, and he put his hands on the back of my head because I was pressed so close to him, but it didn’t feel weird or inappropriate or anything. He didn’t think so either. It’s weird to me now when I think about it, and I have to just shake my head at how weird I am.

These are some of the words he spoke to me… He called by my whole name. He blessed me to be able to love everybody, and be able to forgive easily. I am to be his hands. A tool in his hands. He’ll direct me where to go and what to do every day. I don’t need to keep worrying about the future and what I should be doing. Everything is happening according to his plan. I need to have faith that it’s all in his hands. If I constantly listen, I’ll know who I am supposed to help. He’ll bless my body to continue to heal and be strong. I need to be careful and not use it for my own selfish purposes (as in to look good or impress others). That it will be so I can work for Him. He’ll bless my faith to grow stronger, and the things I desire will happen, as in more experiences with him etc… (I really hope this comes to pass quickly!)(6 months later and it hasn't come easily or quickly LOL. It has taken work and effort!)

(Back to my experience with Jesus) 

At this point I had a feeling (in a playful way) that he thinks I’m a little rebellious! He thinks I doubt too much and that I shouldn’t doubt him. Ever. I need to keep meditating and visualizing like this and coming to him in this way. I need to write it all down so I don’t forget. It’s important that I rest when I need to and not overdo it, and that He’ll give me strength when it serves Him to do so. At this point I had to laugh again. He’s so funny and gets my sense of humor. Just the way he said, “when it serves me to do so.” It was in a jovial tone of voice. His sense of humor is beautiful and perfect. Never done in a way that is sarcastic or belittling like we humans are so prone to do. I respond well to humor so I'm guessing He catered to me to communicate his love for me. It's hard to explain.

After the blessing He took my hands and raised me up, kissing my hands on the knuckles once I was standing. It was so sweet, like what a father would do as he stared at his adored daughter. He told me he loved me, and then he cupped my face in his hands and stared into my eyes and said with an intense, but adoring, playful smile, “Be of good cheer!” (as though I’m not cheerful often enough) This also made me laugh because I know these words didn’t just come from my own mind (as though I were making this whole thing up) because I would never use those words. It sounds too formal to me, but when He spoke them, they didn’t. He said he wants me to be happy, as though I'm not often enough. And then he hugged me tight again, kissing me on the cheek.

And then, in the snap of a finger, He rose up fast, and was gone, and I was left by myself. As I reminisce upon this now I think how stupid it was that I didn’t ask him the millions of questions I’d wondered about for years! When the moment is upon you, it changes everything. My mind went completely blank!

But Jesus is right. I doubt too much. Even right after it happened I wondered if it was real. Phillip told me it’s normal to feel that way, but that it is important to remember the feel of his hands and voice, that I was now connected to him in a way I never was before, that I was now a member of The Church of the First Born, and I needed to stay active in that church and visit it often.
I don’t think people understand clearly what the second comforter really is. And I hadn’t either, but the feeling I had when it was over, the joy that radiated from me, couldn’t be explained in any other way. It stayed with me for weeks after. 
I was also exhausted. More than I’d ever been before. The whole rest of the day, even though I felt such happiness and peace, I was absolutely dragging, and my eyes felt blurry and achy, hurting to be open from crying so much… for the rest of the day."
Almost six months have gong by since this experience and I thought it would be easy to return, but it hasn't been. It's exhausting and take relentless drive to make even the simplest experience happen, but it is getting easier. My spiritual eyes are SO out of shape. It feels like being under water, trying to focus, constantly trying to see. Meditation is key. Being still and quiet is key. I have taken what Phillip taught me and am applying that knowledge to get to "the throne room" on my own. It's SO hard sometimes but also so simple. Maybe that's the problem. I haven't seen Him again (yet) but I have visited with other heavenly messengers. There are things the Lord expects me to do before I get to be with Him again, which obviously I've failed to do... (again, yet.)

One more thought before I go. I have not forgotten what Jesus feels like. HIS spirit. It's not the same feeling I get with the Holy Ghost. It is unlike anything I can describe to compare it to. No one else feels the same way and it is impossible to mistake Him for anyone else. You KNOW as soon as you are in his presence that it's Him. You just KNOW. For every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. And this is my testimony that I add to everyone else's who has seen him. That He LIVES! And there is NOTHING I desire more in my life than to be with Him again and again and again.

Anyway, there it is. I want to add a song here that means SO much to me.

THIS is how I feel now.

P.S. I need to add that Phillip will help anyone through this process and he does not charge, of course. He does charge for the work with subconscious baggage that holds you back from financial or emotional success. It's how he makes his living, but he wants to help everyone to Christ with no compensation. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Seek First My Word

After my study time today, I lay back on my bed and closed my eyes, trying to get in the most comfortable position possible. Today was going to be the day, and I had time, so I wanted to be comfy. I then began to plead with the Lord to come visit me... or take me to him. Either way, I was good.

I lay there begging for a few minutes, feeling that it just wasn't fair that this process took so long, and could possibly take years. How much "better" did I have to be? How much more obedient? I don't know what else to do or how to "fix" me so I'd be "good" enough.

Thoughts began to enter my mind and the feeling behind them was somewhat humorous. Not like He was laughing at me, but chuckling at how impatient and dramatic I can be. And I do have a flair for the dramatic. But I have also been very sincere in my desire and so is He. He told me it wasn't about being good enough, it was that I wasn't ready.

Ready? Seriously? I'm am ready! Totally ready!

And then He said that "ready" wasn't the right word. I got the feeling that it can be difficult to communicate the right words as language can sometimes be a barrier, or maybe it's that my vocabulary is too small. LOL Anyway, then the word "experience" came into my mind. He told me I needed more experience with spiritual things and that it would happen at the right time. These things can't be forced or rushed.

So, in other words, spiritually speaking, I'm still finishing up with milk. Maybe it's even milk with toast! But I can't have the really tough meat yet. I'm certainly not where I used to be when I was actively going to the LDS church. I have progressed by leaps and bounds, but it was as if He were saying, "there is more in store for you, so let's get crackin'."

Today, He told me that we (and I'm not sure if it's just my family, everyone, or who) are not using the scriptures enough.

I read A LOT of blogs. I LOVE studying others' words and learning about what they're studying. I LOVE reading books. I have many books on my shelf, written by a variety of people, but for some reason I always procrastinate reading the actual scriptures.

A few days ago He told me to "obtain his word, by studying the scriptures." It was pretty clear, and has been throughout this forty-day fast. Every time I ask what I should study, it is always some place in the scriptures. Usually books I'd NEVER think to study on my own, usually the Old Testament. Yesterday it was Micah. I wasn't even sure I remembered if there was a book in the Bible called Micah, but there is. Obviously. Because I studied it. It does exist and is all about future events. So fascinating.

He told me to read Alma 13-14 today. I thought it was odd, because I'd read those chapters not long ago with my kids, but I obeyed. And two verses in particular caught my attention, and maybe He was just speaking to me, trying to get the message across, but maybe the message if for you too. Here's what I learned...

In Alma 13:20, (and not the whole verse, just part of it is what he wanted me to notice. I'll highlight it.)
Now I need not rehearse the matter; what I have said may suffice. Behold, the scriptures are before you; if ye will wrest them it shall be to your own destruction.
I got the distinct feeling that I needed to pay attention to those words. I'd always thought wresting was the same as wrestling with the scriptures or something similar, meaning you were doing your darndest to learn and understand. So I cross-referenced with Alma 41:1, and that's NOT what it means.
Alma 41:1 And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the restoration of which has been spoken; for behold, some have wrested the scriptures, and have gone far astray because of this thing...
The Oxford English Dictionary gives us the most common meaning of the verb “to wrest” during the production of the King James Version of the Bible — the almost certain source for English phrases regarding wresting the scriptures, whether found in the Bible or in Mormon texts is:
To strain or over-strain the meaning or bearing of (a writing, passage, word, etc.); to deflect or turn from the true or proper signification; to twist, pervert.
In other words, you better not misinterpret the scriptures and think it's the truth, let alone teach that untruth to others. Your reward will be condemnation. That's some pretty serious stuff. It happened all the time at church. All the more reason to "obtain his word" directly for him. Let the Holy Ghost guide you, but even then, there have been times when I did't understand a passage, or I thought the HG was telling me something and then found out I was wrong. This learning curve is tricky.

The important thing is we NEED to be studying the actual scriptures. Not just blogs, articles, or facebook posts. We NEED to have a quiet, thoughtful time every day, with the Lord, studying His actual words. If we are confused, we have to DIG for answers. I'd never tried to figure out what "wrest" meant. Today I did. I had to. I was too stumped and it was bugging me. I had to know.

And then I continued my studies, reading...
Alma 14:1 And it came to pass after he had made an end of speaking unto the people many of them did believe on his words, and began to repent and to search the scriptures.  
If the importance of the first verse didn't get through, this second one did. Loud and clear. I just stopped and stared at the words. The people had their own scriptures? I've been a part of discussions where we debated on if the BoM people had their own, personal records, or if only the prophet did etc... This tells me they did! The people believed Alma's words and started studying on their own! Just like we are supposed to. Many have read Denver Snuffer's words. They have seen him speak. They gobble up his books, and there's nothing wrong with that. I did the same thing. But we can't stop there. We have to study the scriptures. I know many are already doing this, but just in case you're anything like me, and procrastinate studying the scriptures for alternate material, you've been warned! LOL

I love the way the Lord speaks to me while I study. He makes certain things stand out, and explains what they mean FOR ME. It's like the scriptures have been tailored just for me. (during my personal study)

I am so grateful He does that. He'll do it for you too.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

His Promise

My 40 day fast is more than half over and I am amazed at how wonderful it has been.

Today I sat down, took my sacrament, and asked the Lord what He wanted me to study. It was very clear. The words D&C came to mind. I said, "Okay, which section?" And then just as clearly the numbers 88 appeared in my mind. I hadn't read that section for a while and because I have memory issues, I couldn't even remember what it was about. But I remembered it was LONG, and I had the distinct impression to read all of it.

How beautiful are the words of section 88!! I can't even tell you how much they filled me. The whole thing is now marked up beautifully with my pink colored pencil to remind me of those verses that I felt were speaking right to me. Here are a few that pierced me to the core.
2. Behold this is pleasing unto your Lord, and the angels rejoice over you; the alms of your prayers have come up unto the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded in the book of the names of the sanctified, even them of the celestial world.
I don't know if this verse touches you like it did me, but I felt the Lord saying this, that my prayers had come up to HIM! That my prayers are being recorded. (and that is what I felt he was saying directly to me) It brings tears to my eyes even now.
11. And the light which shineth, which giveth you light is through him who enlighteneth YOUR eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth YOUR understanding. 

 I have experienced this over the last month. My understanding has deepened, my eyes have been opened. Inspiration comes quickly and clearly.

The next two pages are about the three degrees of glory, are beautiful and should be studied in depth, because there are gems there that I've missed in the past, things that mean something to me deeply that I never remembered reading before. (but we all know how well I remember LOL) But I won't share them all.
49. The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not; nevertheless, the day shall come when YOU shall comprehend even God, being quickened in him and by him. 50. Then shall YE know that YE have seen me, that I am, and that I am the true light that is in YOU, and that YOU are in me; otherwise YE could not abound.
Now, remember, these verses felt like they were being spoken directly to me. Not to a bunch of people that lived a hundred and fifty years ago, who heard them first. (which is why I made the "yous" large, so hopefully they'd speak to YOU too. This is one of the things that has meant so much to me in my recent studies. Even though these scriptures are written for all people and many times read to large groups, these words feel personal, just for me, and I feel this deep in my heart as though the Lord is standing right before me, saying them to my face. It's powerful and amazing.
62. And again, I say unto you, my friends, I leave these sayings with you to ponder in your hearts, with this COMMANDMENT which I give unto you, that ye SHALL call upon me while I am near--63. Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 64. Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name,  it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you;

I LOVE this! It speaks straight to my heart. Do you feel it too? Do you hear it? This promise? The promise I've been searching for! The promise that I can and will have my second comforter if I stay on this path. And did you get that it is also a commandment to call upon Him? Do we even realize it's a commandment? We often feel it's an invitation, but it's not. He is our God! We MUST call upon him and worship him. He wants us to. He's begging us to.
67. And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.
This is my goal. To be filled with his light. All the time. I haven't figured out how to do that, to be filled with light all the time. I find myself easily annoyed or irritated by the little things life throws at me, but now the recognition that I'm being that way is instant. It's like the Lord has a magnifying glass on me all the time and not one second goes by before I know I'm misbehaving in some way and that I need to repent. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Not if I want to progress quickly, and He wants me to progress quickly, so I'll stick with the magnifying glass.
78. Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand; 79. Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are now on the land; and knowledge also of countries of of kingdoms--80. That ye may be prepared in all things...
 The only people I'm really teaching anymore are my children. I used to be a Gospel Doctrine teacher and I loved that job, but now I can only influence my kids and husband, but I feel that on this day, at this time, that is what this scripture is telling me. To teach my family about these things. It felt personal and it was easy to understand. They don't study as much as I do and they won't learn this anywhere else. It's my job, no, my responsibility, to teach my family the things I am learning and instill in them the desire to search them out for themselves too. I pray it happens for them, that they learn to love the Lord as much as I do now. My heart absolutely sings when I think of Him. I can't wait to see Him. To touch Him. To hug Him. To learn from Him. It is my greatest desire.

The next verses talk about the future, about what will happen before He comes. The earthquakes, flooding and fear that will fill men's hearts, and that we need to be ready. The trumps will sounds, angels will call forth the righteous, Satan's army will fight against Michael's. We learn in this chapter who wins, and I wish we could just skip that part since we know the outcome anyway, but everyone must have a chance to prove themselves. And then comes one of my favorite verses.
118. And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yeah, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.
 How beautiful are these words? Seek learning by study and faith. That is what I am doing. Right now. And I can't tell you how much I've learned or how quickly it's happening. To see the Lord takes effort on our part. We have to prove to Him that He is the only thing that matters. Are we willing to sacrifice all to know him?

What is ALL to you? Time with your family? Time at your job? Time in front of the TV? Are you willing to skip Game of Thrones to know Him? Facebook? Youtube? All these things are distractions that keep you from growing close to the Lord. Are they bad in and of themselves? No. Okay, maybe Game of Thrones is. LOL I've never seen that show, but I know it's super popular and there are other shows I do love to watch, so I get it. These things take up precious time we could be using to search out Jesus, or visions, or angels, or taking the sacrament. I don't say this to make you feel guilty, like you're aren't doing or being "good" enough, but are you?

I used to feel bad for watching so much TV when I could be doing something more useful or constructive, but until I had a catalyst, this fast, I couldn't seem to make myself stop. Now it's like a tidal wave of knowledge has started to wash over me. It will happen for you too, if you want it to, and that's the crux of it, isn't it. DO YOU WANT TO? Actions speak louder than words and if you continue to let yourself be distracted by other "good" things, then your answer is NO, you don't want to.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

You Said WHAT?

It has been two weeks since I started my 40 day fast and I must say, it has been quite the ride. As some of you know, if you read my last post, I decided to fast from TV, which I thought would be SO hard, since the temptation is only a few feet away on my wall.

Surprisingly, it's been easy. And when the kids or my husband want to watch a show, I go to my room, turn on my lamps and my Christian rock and snuggle up on my bed, and study. It has become a calming and peaceful way of life, and I am hoping I don't slide backwards when my 40 days are up.

I want to share a couple of things that have happened since I started the fast. Things that have blown my mind and shifted my paradigm so drastically, that I am honestly kind of afraid to share them. I worry that people won't understand. That they'll judge me harshly, but at the same time, I feel as though it's okay to share. That I should share.

On the very first day of my fast, the Spirit was so strong as I prayed, that I sobbed and sobbed, begging the Lord to forgive me of my numerous sins and to show me his face. More than anything, I wanted to be in his presence. That it was the goal of my fast and to tell me how to do it.

It was a beautiful moment even though He didn't appear or take me to him. (which I didn't expect, but did hope for.) I asked the Lord to tell me what I should start out with--where I should begin my study. I had no idea where to start, but immediately I felt led to the blog, (not during my prayer but very soon after) Pure Revelations. I knew immediately the Lord wanted me to study every entry and so I did.

What powerful words of inspiration I found there!! It was just want I needed! Just what I asked for! It almost seemed miraculous, but I've come to expect the miraculous since I started this journey. Here I am fasting to receive my second comforter and I find a blog where someone has written a book called, "How to Have Your Second Comforter"!! I downloaded the book and it has absolutely changed my life. Completely. You can find it here.

I have been following this author's counsel ever since.

One of the things (I'm going to call the author Jonathan) Jonathan does is have a "holy" time, three or more times a week, with the Lord. He goes into the privacy of his room or closet and always starts with the sacrament, blessing it himself (obviously). I wanted to have experiences like Jonathon also. SO BAD!! But I'm a girl and my husband is seldom around when I want to have this kind of experience. Plus, I'm doing this fast alone and so I prayed for a solution.

I prayed and prayed, asking the Lord what I should do. The words were clear and precise in my head. He told me to bless the sacrament myself. I couldn't have heard right. I literally recoiled at the thought! I'm a woman! I can't bless the sacrament! I'd be struck by lightning! But the words came again. Bless it yourself.

I have spoken with the Lord my whole life and really feel I know the sound of his voice, but even still, I just couldn't bless my own sacrament. Everyone is deceived at times, so I prayed even harder to have the adversary expelled from me and my home, that I would be shielded from any unclean thing during my prayer time. And then I prayed again, getting the same answer.

I decided to muscle test. I learned the art of muscle testing years ago and use it frequently. I have since learned it is a good way for your spirit, which carries a record of all truth from the pre-existence, especially when combined with The Holy Spirit, to tell you what you should and shouldn't do (especially if you're doubting that voice in your head). You're body can't lie. We try to make it lie. Oh, do we humans go to great lengths to get it to lie, but it can't. From micro-expressions to muscle testing, your body always tells the truth.

Anyway, I muscled tested over and over in various ways, trying to get an answer that said, "No, you can't bless your own sacrament, you stupid girl!" But that answer never came. It was always the same. Bless your sacrament. After all this, I prayed again, asking if that was really the right answer, because I didn't want to make a mistake and offend the Lord. I can still feel His words in my mind saying, "How many different ways do I have to say it before you'll believe me?" He also said, it's just a prayer. A prayer that makes no reference to priesthood or authority and I could say it for myself. I decided I had my answer even though it went against everything I was ever taught. That said, I decided to trust in the Lord. I have a very thick skull and the Lord has to go to great lengths at times to get me to understand!

I was so afraid, because even though I'd gotten a yes answer, it still felt wrong! I truly feel that Satan DIDN'T want me to do this, and that he also was going to great lengths to stop me, to make me doubt myself and the Lord. But I pushed through, trusting that loving voice that has never led me astray. I knelt down by my bed, my sacrament before me, and prayed, using the same words as Jonathan (in his book he said he changed the words to "I" and "me" instead of "us" and "we") I felt so connected to God. So loved. The spirit was very strong.

Since that day, I have had my "holy" time with the Lord almost every day. I devour whatever he tells me to study. One day it was Psalms. I'd NEVER studied Psalms and didn't really want to, but the Lord's voice was insistent. I learned some amazing things from that record!! Who woulda thunk it?

I'm studying The Words of Joseph Smith now and learning some wonderful truths there. I hope to dive deeper and learn more every day, growing closer to the Lord as I do. This fast has been an amazing experience and it has only been two weeks! I have not received my Second Comforter yet, and sometimes I wonder if I ever will, but I'll keep hoping and praying and trying to do ALL THINGS the Lord commands me. No matter how crazy or uncomfortable.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Dreams and Invites

As soon as I read the email that the "Remnant", and anyone else who wanted to participate, was invited to take part in a 40 day fast (find more info about that here) for more charity, I knew I wanted to participate. No, I knew I NEEDED to participate. It was something I felt at a gut level. The Lord was shining a light bulb in my mind, telling me to wake up and get moving.

"We would like to invite any and all to join in a 40-day fast for the Lord to pour out His Spirit and His love (charity). It will begin February 8 and end March 20th (spring equinox). This can look however you want it to look. It may not have anything to do with abstaining from food if you don't want it to. You could abstain from something else. Perhaps you could give something "away" to those who suffer (instead of giving something "up" to make yourself suffer). Or you might simply focus on adding light to your life. It may be appropriate to include prayer, meditation, "rejoicing" and whatever else might be deemed as "all the energy of one's heart." For more information as to why this might be a good idea, please see the following points and cited scriptures."

Let me be clear. I am not a faster. I've never enjoyed it nor desired it. I find fasting, in any way, torturous, but something told me this fast would be different for me and would not include food, which is what most of us associate with fasting.

With this particular fast, we are invited to focus on fasting for charity, but I am also fasting to receive further light and knowledge. You see, lately I have been avidly praying to receive my second comforter like so many others have received. Well, I don't know about "so many" but I know quite a few of you out there who have had this experience, and I can't for the life of me figure out why I haven't! I mean, I'm no better or worse than most people, so there must be some other secret ingredient I'm missing. It has been my mission these last few months to figure it out. I really think this fast will be my catalyst. At least I hope so.

Two weeks ago or so, I had an unusual dream, the meaning perfectly clear as soon as I woke, and it knocked me off my feet. A powerful message that told me I was not rising to the "Lord's" occasion. Here's the dream....

I arrived late to a Relief Society meeting. It wasn't my ward, but many of my friends were there. (I haven't attended RS is a couple of years, so it was odd) I hurried to sit down, not wanting to be noticed (in the front of the room). Of course, as soon as I did, the woman in charge asked if I would like to share my story. (I never saw her face, only heard her voice. She felt powerful and completely in charge, but also very patient, loving, and kind) 

NO WAY did I want to share. Everyone was looking at me and waiting, and I felt very uncomfortable. I answered, "What exactly would you like to know?" You see, if they wanted to ask a specific question about my story, I was happy to share, but I didn't want to just dive in and say something that would invite their condemnation. The woman in charge didn't answer my question, but she said, "We can pass you by if you'd like."

That was exactly what I wanted, and I said, "Yes, pass me by." 

I was passed by. There was no judgement. I didn't feel looked down on or in any way like I was "wrong" for wanting to crawl under a log and hide. 

Then the dream shifted to a long, high wall that we were all shuffling along. We held hands as we made our way, the last person in line helping the next one up. The wall was only a foot in width, so there wasn't much room to balance on. When it was my turn to help someone up, it was an older man who was huge and heavy. I was sure he'd pull me down rather than me successfully helping him up. It took a lot of work, but I got the guy up onto the ledge. What a huge it relief that I was still safe and still on the wall with the others who were trying to get to the desired destination! We then continued shuffling along the wall. Man, was I happy my part was over!

When I woke up, I felt so unhappy! I knew what this dream was telling me! That I was passing up opportunities to share my testimony! That I am too worried about myself, rather than helping others to rise. And I'll be passed by if that is what I really want, which is okay, but that IS NOT WHAT I WANT! I want the Lord to use me. I want to be an instrument in his hands, and yet, at every opportunity I tell him to pass me by!

What a huge wake up call!

I sat down and thought about what was holding me back. Insecurity. Fear of rejection from my friends, fear of looking stupid or crazy. Fear of ridicule. Fear of man.

Since that dream I have prayed and prayed for guidance, for what I can do to change course and truly follow the Savior without fear. How could I be more obedient and better prepare myself? This fast. And not just for charity and to better follow Him, but for my second comforter visit, which I feel deep in my heart isn't too far away if I am diligent.

The number one thing the Spirit told me to do was to stop watching so much TV. Yep. It's still an issue. One I always feel guilty about. When I'm tired, which I frequently am, it's my go-to. But I need a catalyst to help me. I feel too weak to quit on my own. I need something that will force my hand and motivate me so-to-speak. 

This fast is the perfect thing. I started today. 

Normally, I turn on the news first thing, to make sure we're all still here and no national catastrophe has occurred. It relaxes me. But not today. Today I woke up thinking about my bright future and how excited I felt. So far, it hasn't even been hard, but we're only a few hours in.

My day began with Denver Snuffer's The Testimony of St. John. It has started my fast off in the right spirit and I hope to experience many great and wonderful things during these next 40 days. If nothing else, I'll fill my mind with great literature and hours of study I would not have normally had. I'll meditate more, do yoga, and listen to a lot of my favorite music. Christian rock. I'll play the piano more, sing, and practice the guitar, which I seldom do anymore. I'll go on long walks and play games with my kids. Things I should be doing already.

THANK YOU, to whoever thought of this fast, and for inviting everyone to participate. If any of you reading this would like to join in, it's not too late. It's never too late to turn your heart toward the Savior.

The Lord has invited us all. Many are called, but few are chosen. Oh, please let me be one of the few who are chosen. And may you be too.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Little Things Matter

I had an interesting experience this last week. One of those experiences that when looking back on it, makes your whole soul want to sing, because you realize that those little things DO matter. That God IS watching over you and He DOES care how your life turns out. How your children's lives turn out.

My sister, who lives almost an hour away texted me last week, inviting me to her daughter's piano recital in two days. I don't go down to her house much anymore for a variety of reasons. Partly because the drive is hard on my body and the anxiety of driving exhausts me. (left over stuff from Lyme) and my sister and I don't have much in common anymore. We have very different values and ethics, and there are times when I don't want my kids around it. I'd rather just stay home and do my thing.

But she is letting my son live at her house while he's going to school and looking for a place of his own, (which is a whole 'nother subject I'm not totally comfortable with) and she has been very loving and generous to him and my other children.

Her daughter's recital was at seven in the evening. ON A SCHOOL NIGHT! That alone was enough to stop me. I don't like going anywhere in the evening. I'm dead by then AND I'm night blind. But for some reason the Spirit told me to go. Over and over, constantly nagging, nagging, nagging, until finally I gave up and promised I would!

I didn't understand it. I didn't want to, and for two days I kept trying to think of excuses to give my sister for why I couldn't go. In fact, originally, when I'd answered her, I told her we had something already going on that afternoon but that I'd love to go, meaning I was sorry I couldn't go. But obviously I didn't write that clearly, because she took it to mean we were coming! I didn't have the heart to retract my answer and with the Spirit constantly telling me I should go, I just pulled myself up by the bootstraps, mentally preparing myself for the torture of the drive.

Well... let me just say... I have never been to a piano recital (and I've been to hundreds. I've played my whole life and even taught for a few years) where EVERY student played like a virtuoso and they were all super young!!! Seriously. I sat there floored and amazed the whole time. The teacher is pricey, but she has a year long waiting list of kids trying to get in with her! Wow! I wanted my kids to have a teacher like that! Every song was well played and beautiful and the teacher didn't just pick the classics. Some students played rock pieces and some new age.

At he end of the recital, my nine year old turned to me and said, "I want to take piano from THAT teacher!"

I almost busted up laughing and tried not to be offended, because I'd just started teaching him and my other son (12) a few weeks ago, feeling guilty that I was letting so much time pass without developing this talent and I KNEW they had the talent. But I'm a "tired" teacher, still struggling with liver issues, still having a hard time feeling good. I'm probably no fun.

The next day I pondered and pondered and felt strongly to ask my town's facebook classifieds page if any of them new of a good piano teacher in town. Long story short, my boys start Tuesday with an amazing lady who I spent quite a bit of time talking with. She's a little pricey also, but will be worth it. I feel really good about her, like she's "the one".

Now, ever since I've told the boys they're taking with this new, amazing teacher, they have been walking on cloud nine. (crazy, I know, but they're young and don't know any better. *snicker*) And even this morning my 9 yr old son came into my room and thanked me profusely for signing him up.

The Spirit has since told me I was supposed to go to the recital to see all those amazing students and to get excited about signing my boys up with their own teacher. It would never have happened otherwise. We would have just kept on going the way we were and then that pebble that was supposed to be dropped into the pond would never had made all those ripples it needed to.

Let this be a testimony to everyone, that God DOES care about the little things. The choices we make and the talents we develop matter. As a mother, my responsibility here is clear, and I am SO grateful I listened.