Grateful for Trials

Wow, what a hectic week this has been! I’m really starting to feel the toll of college, and it was the semester break! I’ve officially overcome taxes and I was feeling pretty good about myself, until I got hit in the face with auditions and pre-program acceptance exams and random health issues. Yikes! However, I also feel a strange peace and excitement about this upcoming semester.

I think oftentimes we think of trials as a negative, bad, terrible awful punishment. However, as I look forward into the looming doom of the next three months of my life, I don’t really feel punished at, but rather pushed. I can feel Heavenly Father’s influence, and I know that my trials right now are 100% His doing. And I certainly didn’t do anything so wrong that all of this would be placed on me. Rather, I kind of brought this on myself.

Let me explain. Last semester was challenging in all sorts of different ways. I had to overcome many things I never thought I could, and even though it was painful and gross and I never want to do it again, it changed my life. I think this past semester really taught me something amazing and beautiful: sometimes Heavenly Father shows His love for us in unexpected ways, like trials. I know, I know you might be thinking what are you even saying right now???

My closest friends know I absolutely love to share my relationship with Heavenly Father with them. There are few things I cherish like this relationship. They know how it works, with 90% me whining and the other 10% Heavenly Father calmly and lovingly rolling His eyes while quietly laughing at my drama. I love that He can laugh with me at my human urges. I love that He does laugh, and doesn’t comfort me every second something uncomfortable happens. Instead, once I have finished an episode, He very calmly and resolutely reassures me that I am His daughter and I can do anything I put my mind to. And instead of letting me curl up in a ball like I really want to, I am given the push I needed to accomplish the task at hand. He knows my potential. He knows those desires that I tell no one and won’t even admit to myself. He pushes me until every ounce of my being is known in the universe. I love my Heavenly Father because He refuses to let me bury my talents. Constantly He pushes me until I have earned the capacity for more, and then He pushes me again.

Even though I know this semester certainly won’t be easy, even though I know that I will get depressed and frustrated along the way, even though I have a vision of what I want and I know I probably won’t get it, I know that I can trust my Father’s plan for me. He has yet to let me down with His infinite wisdom and knowledge. He has yet to fail me with how He reads my heart and my mind and every other part of my being. I know He knows me, I know He loves me, and I know that He is doing something with my life. I may not know what I am being prepared for, but I know that I can eventually get there.

I’m not going to lie and say that most days are happy-go-lucky and effortless. I’m beginning to realize more and more how similar everyone else’s days are to mine, that I’m not the only one drowning in life’s responsibilities and expectations. I wish more often we shared these vulnerable points in our lives. I wish that I had recorded my thoughts at the harder points, because in retrospect I’m a little skeptical at my reasoning for being so stressed out. I really want to learn to respect myself even in those moments of near insanity, and not just wave my arms and say ‘hey, I survived!’. I think as a society we need to really learn to see the beauty in the struggle, the joy in the journey, and truly respect what we consider our “worst”. If we can lovingly acknowledge our flaws and strengths and praise our efforts rather than looking down upon them, I know we will begin to learn more from the trials in our lives.

Even though I am certainly scared about how I’m going to get through this semester at all, let alone with a smile, I know that I wouldn’t be where I am in Heavenly Father didn’t think that I would benefit. I know that I am where I am because it’s where I need to be and I have a lot to learn. I’m so grateful for these stretching periods that I have the opportunity to go through. I know it’s easy to say things like that between the storms, but I honestly have a testimony of His hand and love in my life. Not only have I noticed this, but I am also extremely grateful for His influence in my life. It’s a blessing to have His power in my life every step of the way.

I feel that we are very unkind to our God. We see Him as a dictator, torturer, executioner, and fault finder. I know from my own life experience that He is not anything of those things, but a kind and generous Being, who only wants the very best for each of us. He only sees our potential and pushes us to strive for the victor in each of us. I believe in a God of miracles, a God who performs miracles because He loves us. I will forever be grateful for His miracles in my own life, and I pray that we can all feel His presence and see Him in a new light, one that is positive and even reciprocating in love. That is, after all, something most fathers treasure above all else, and I don’t think Heavenly Father is an exception.

Annie

 

Conquering College

This week has been a wild ride. On a sudden whim, I decided to become very organized and get my homework completed in the most timely manner possible. I charged through my assignments at an astounding rate and by the end of the week, I feel amazing and almost like I can do anything. I’m beginning to see how much time I actually have in a week and it’s incredible to me. It’s lead me to pondering how I spend my time, and I’ve been noticing that the majority of has been going toward dreading my homework, worrying, stressing, avoiding, and all around not doing much of anything. I’ve noticed how much of my time and resources have been poured into absolutely nothing. I could kick myself for how little I’ve managed to get out of everything I’ve been given.

However irritating the past may be, I’m optimistic for my future. I’ve realized that not only am I very capable of completing the things that I need to, I’m very quick and when I apply myself I learn a lot. Thinking about where all my time has been going, I’ve realized what activities I could squeeze into my life, even as I become a whole lot busier next semester (hopefully I’ll be getting a job, and I’ll soon be starting some pretty challenging classes).

It’s changed a lot of my perspective. While talking to a friend this week, he said something rather insightful. I explained how I have a difficult time applying myself to things I think of as “easy” or a “waste of time”. I’m not sure if he quite knew who to accredit the quote to (nor do I, really) but I think he quoted Michelangelo when he said in not so many words, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

I felt like spiritually someone poured cold water over my head. Of course! I know in my heart that I can do way better than I am, but my head always says otherwise. As I face fear after fear, I’m learning that the heart can be a lot smarter than the brain at times.

I’m certainly not where I want to be in life, and I’m starting to get the idea that therapy has a long future with me, but things are changing in such rapid succession that I also get the feeling that huge opportunities and blessings are unfolding for me. Every moment I blink, something new happens; either it’s a new idea or a new event, but in any case it flips me upside down and leaves me to ponder over all of my beliefs once more. I can definitely feel my fears subsiding, my strength returning, and my testimony blossoming.

I know this may be viewed as extremely cliché, but I truly believe these changes could only happen at such a place as BYU-I. I’m increasingly gathering my courage and fall more and more in love with the atmosphere. Sure, it’s not perfect in any way, but it’s the home I’ve always dreamed of with a peace that very few places can replicate. I’m so grateful that I get to attend a school with such loving teachers and faculty and that fosters a love for the Savior in every single program therein. I can’t say enough about my school! I only hope that I can make use of these blessings to better the world around me.

Annie

Hilarious Blood Drive Incident

Drugs can sure make you act and think differently. This week I’ve started a few new prescriptions. The results have been hilarious if not frustrating. Certainly I’ve been out of the loop in life, but I think I’ve managed to crawl my way through it. I figure I share enough deep and personal things that it’s time we shared a laugh.

This week I went to a blood drive with one of my roommates. I can’t give blood, so I guess I just went for support. She ended up getting a burst vein from the nurse, though, so she didn’t actually get to donate anything. Disappointing, but oh well.

As soon as she came back to talk to me, I felt a bit dizzy, but I didn’t think anything of it. In between the two doors of the exit, I passed out. There was a girl who popped in a few minutes later and started laughing so hard. It was hilarious! Of course, I couldn’t really say what I thought, because I was only have conscious. The funniest part was a little bit after  when she realized I wasn’t kidding. She kept apologizing and asking me if I needed help. Way to ruin the joke! I wish I had been aware enough to let her know I thought it was just as funny. It’s one of my favorite pranks, because I faint quite a bit anyway. I like when people can laugh with me. No blood = perfectly funny

I ended up laying on the benches while my roommate fed me trail mix as I laid on my side (not at all easy, by the way).Honestly, I’m a little scared to leave my room  now. I was so close to being on concrete and the joke would’ve fallen quite flat (pun intended) if that’d happened.

So even though new medications are the worst, they make it terribly funny when you walk out of a blood drive you didn’t even give blood in and faint dramatically as a warning omen to all future donors. I rate this experience 10/10 would do again.

Annie

Our Trials Do Not Define Us

I have no idea why trials keep bombarding me, but they honestly do. The other day, I was talking to a dear friend about what is going on in my life. I was overwhelmed, scared, and I’m still a little unsure of what I’m supposed to do. I feel like my world has been tipped upside down.

It’s easy to let your problems drown you until you don’t really exist anymore. It’s easy to hide behind them, to make excuses, to play the victim and run away from the world. Trials are some pretty tough cookies. But God is insurmountably tougher. 

I’m exhausted from running from my problems. My sweet friend related her own experience of taking on her trials without letting Heavenly Father help her, and her gentle warnings reminded me that that would only make my trials worse.

One of Satan’s favorite ways to hurt me is by telling me that my trials and problems are a part of who I am, and by extension, I myself cannot progress. I will never be worthy enough to receive God’s love because of how dirty and sinful I am. But what I’m learning more and more is that our trials do not define us. No matter what we go through, we will always be children of God, infinitely loved and forever in his thoughts. He gave up His son so that we could repent. We must not let Satan frustrate that! But it is still so hard in practice.

I’m grateful for the reminders from my Father in Heaven this week. I don’t know where I would be without His love. So many great things are happening in my life, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel his those blessings working. I’m so thankful for the peace that His love brings me every day, even if it doesn’t make things any easier.

 

 

Our Ancestors Are in Us

Last Sunday, I was asked to prepare a talk on family history. It basically turned into 100% me losing it and crying my eyes out in front of everyone. However, I thought it would be fun to share a piece of myself with everyone.

(audio recording available here, if you’d rather listen than read)

Oftentimes, we each have moments of loneliness. We think we are completely and utterly alone in our trials, and we feel we have hit a dead end. I testify that we are NOT alone, nor will we ever be. Though we may not physically have the guidance and help we need, not only do we have the gift of the Holy Ghost and the Atonement, we are constantly surrounded by angels- those who are completely on our side, and fighting for us. It is a common feeling that family history is something that we do for our ancestors. Let me share my personal experience. Continue reading

My Purpose

I attended a career fair today, which was amazing! It was intimidating in theory, but honestly I came back feeling amazing. I never imagined that I had that much to offer the world, but here I am! They were all so kind and told me all of the ways I can get experience for my career. I love that no one laughs or discourages. It strengthens my belief in myself.

I know I’m just a girl with big dreams, but isn’t everyone? I felt a warmth of reassurance from my Heavenly Father as I’ve considered my life options so far. Despite major on and off emotions, mostly I feel His love for me. I know that He is pleased, even if I forget sometimes. Continue reading

A Reawakening

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(link to photo here https://www.pinterest.com/pin/24066179238990551/)

Sometimes it’s hard to see the end of things. Sometimes we think they’ll last forever, and when they do end we suddenly wish we could do it all over again. I don’t know what it is that makes us feel comfortable, but how much greater would over lives be if we never let ourselves get dragged into that hole of forgetfulness? Continue reading