Joy

God is SO in charge of our lives. If he told me when I was younger that I would be where I am, I don’t know that I would’ve believed such a dream. Not a single part of my life is how I had imagined. The trials I face wear me down in ways I never thought possible, but the way I rise above them and pick myself up is astonishing. The friends I’ve gained, the things I’ve learned, the way my goals and dreams have shifted and changed, it all leaves me amazed.

Every night before I fall asleep, I have to remind myself that everything is real. It really is this hard and confusing and glorious. I really am surrounded by marvelous children of God whom I love and adore, and who love me back. This really is the life I get to live. What a gift I’ve been given!

I’ve fallen in love with so many aspects of life, I’ve learned so much about embracing the crazy and rolling with it. My path is not straight on, but a winding road of unexpected twists and turns that both surprise and delight me. What an absolute joy to have such amazing experiences, to learn beyond what I once knew.

Each new chapter, each new place, each new person- leaves me breathless. I can never predict or pinpoint the amount of joy and pain each will bring to me, or how I will stretch beyond my comprehension. But if I must live in this crazy, upsidedown world, I have concluded, then I must live!

Love, Annie

Alleluia!

This past week has been amazing. I’ve done so many thing that stretched me as a person, and faced many fears. There are lots of things I never thought I’d be able to accomplish, and yet here I am. I’ve at last and finally started the process of facing and recovering from my PTSD, which has all but taken over my life for the past two years. I have had such a difficult time admitting just how much it has affected me, and pridefully, it embarrasses me. I have had to unlearn the art of lying about the extent of my problems, something I am still not good at.

It’s been a painful struggle, and finding my value and worth in the midst of such a trail been has been soul-stretching, to say the least. But throughout it all, I have found the comfort of God. He lead me to the highlight of my life this weekend, when I was blessed to receive my endowments. This is a day I will forever cherish. I felt both prepared, and yet so unprepared.

I had challenged myself to attend the temple every day until then in order to better understand the promptings of the spirit that I might feel. I didn’t want to miss a single thing on my big day. I knew this was a huge step for me, and that God was very proud. What I didn’t know is that that challenge was what would keep me sane. As it always is when making wonderful, righteous decisions, the adversary tries extra hard to hurt us beforehand, as well as after. My personal struggles that I had already been failing at increased beyond everything I thought I could bear.

The temple became my refuge. I needed it so badly every day that I put everything I had into getting there. I barely had the health to walk there, but I knew I had to. While this sounds extreme and crazy, and looking back I honestly don’t understand half of what went on, this was an amazing testimony builder to me. I learned so personally to lean wholly and completely on God. I let go of all of the little things I’d been using to cope before, and God was all I had left.

Sometimes, it’s honestly hard to put everything aside and look to God. Sometimes, I’d rather do anything but, because I’m ashamed, angry, confused, or lost. Sometimes even when I’m happy and content. But I know without a doubt that he makes everything possible. I may not always like who I am without his help, but I sure like the me I’m becoming with his loving guidance.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say how incredibly in love with life I am. God has turned my storms into something beautiful. After this Friday, I have no more desire to sin. Obviously, though, I’m human and I still do thoughtless, dumb, and clumsy things, but my malice is gone. Maybe not forever, but I’m going to enjoy every minute it is. Love is the answer. God is love. We live in a beautiful and amazing world surrounded by brothers and sisters with so many unique and precious gifts, and we are showered daily in blessings of every kind. I am so grateful to my Savior, Jesus Christ, and to my God and king. With all my heart I wish to shout, “Alleluia!”

Love, Annie

I Believe in a God of Miracles

I totally believe in miracles, guys. God is so real, and He is such a part of my life. This past year has been an absolute financial nightmare, just from trying to stretch loans and grants to cover school and barely having any food to eat all semester. It’s been a real miracle I’ve gotten where I have, but I am SO blessed, because I’ve made it this far, and I’ve had so many help me along the way.

These past few months, I’ve been praying about going investing in a trip to Europe this summer to further my education as a music major. Not only that, but I would have the opportunity to go to the Paris temple, something that has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember (it’s actually going to be in operation and there is time for it on the trip!!!!). It’s an incredible opportunity that I felt crazy for shooting for. I attended the first few meetings, but I very quickly felt like there was no way I could ever afford such a luxury. However, after speaking with my professors (who all urged me to consider going), and much prayer, I felt inspired to prepare to go. I prayed to Heavenly Father to please help assist me in my efforts if it this trip is really the best thing for me. It’s been hard to feel like a “real” part of the group, and not just a charity case because of my finances, but my professors have been so good, and haven’t thought any less of my efforts.

This past week has been a bombardment of miracles after miracles. I’ve been striving to grow closer to Heavenly Father these past few weeks. As you’ll see later in this post, there were a lot of miracles I have hoped for at this time, some because of righteous desires, some because of need. I wanted to give Sign to my Heavenly Father that I trust Him, so in the thick of my trials, I bore my testimony of miracles. Bearing my testimony was all it took for me to feel a 1000x more confident in the trust I’ve placed in my Father. It was a beautiful start to my week.

I also tried my hand at fasting for the first time in years (I know better, but I really wanted an answer), which resulted in my being sick the entirety of Monday and missing all of my classes (My sweet bishop, when I met with him on Sunday, promised me that a half fast, or a different fast didn’t mean any less to the Lord. So no more fainting for me anymore haha). It made the rest of my week insane, which was mildly discouraging because of my goal to attend the temple this week. But, again, miracles! I was able to do the biggest load of homework ever after days of non-stop studying, and I was actually able to go to the temple and do the work of family names I had found early last semester. It was by far one of the sweetest temple experiences I’ve ever had. Taking your own names always changes the game, but this one was particularly meaningful, and I left with my heart touched and the cares of the world gone from my mind. Also!!! The temple workers are willing to help me complete 200+ male names this Friday! I’m so excited to have their work officially completed!

My temple experiences have been quite lovely, but one of the biggest miracles of my life also happened this week. At the beginning of last week, while pondering my temple worthiness for my temple recommend renewal this month, I realized that I had quite a chunk of tithing I had forgotten to pay from my last job. It wasn’t that I meant to avoid it before, but it hit me a little hard at this time.  It was almost like a punch in the gut. I felt like Heavenly Father was telling me that Europe wasn’t for me. Though it broke my heart, I knew that if it was God’s will, it should be mine as well. I was still concerned about my finances in general, but I never doubted because I know that my Heavenly Father always provides. So, after praying and putting my faith in Him, I paid my tithing.

A few days later, I went to go see my financial aid counselor. I can’t express what happened next. We reviewed my financial aid and my situation, and she told me I should be getting the maximum in financial aid assistance. I was not only to have an increase in support, I was to be compensated for the past year I had spent budgeting insanely. I was blown away. I gave Him what little I had, and He provided me with the hugest financial blessing I’ve ever experienced.

I couldn’t contain myself from crying. I was staggered. I always knew He would bless me, but I had never expected to be blessed like this. To me, He was saying that He approved of and supported my dreams. He provided me with more money that I had hoped to scrape together for my crazy endeavors. I know this blessing came because I gave what I could, and He definitely multiplied it beyond anything I could ever do on my own.

Faith is so important. If I hadn’t had faith in God’s will starting in January, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I wouldn’t have even considered this crazy trip to Europe. I wouldn’t have paid that tithing that stretched my little budget. My testimony would be smaller than it is now.

Every sacrifice I have ever made, small or large, and resulted in a gigantic mound of blessings. I don’t even know when I hesitate on some things anymore. He always, always comes through. Whether through friends willing to feed you breakfast on Saturdays, friends who send you money because they’re crazy and they love you, professors who love and support you and don’t think you’re any less than anyone else, and just the people who listen and care on the daily. Blessings are all around us.

I need you to know that God loves you. He knows your challenges and struggles. He loves you so, so much. He knows your dreams and goals and deepest desires. I know He knows me personally, because He blessed me in a very personal way. He wants to bless you, and He’s waiting for you to ask for His help.  I am so grateful for the way my relationship with Him has impacted my life. I wouldn’t be where I am without His love and endless, unconditional generosity. God is truly good.

And, because of Him, I’m totally going to Europe this summer!!! (and possibly some other beautiful surprises…Heavenly Father is awe-inspiring ❤)

~Annie

  Where am I Going? 

Hi, my name is Annie. I’m kind of a private person when it comes to me, but I have a bigger picture to look at.  I know that a lot of people think that they are alone, unwanted, or generally just feel overwhelmed with struggles. I want to create a place of openness and love. I want to share the deepest, rawest parts of me and be completely honest with what I am facing. I struggle with speaking to people about a lot of things, but I can write about almost anything.  Continue reading