True Beauty

This might not be the most amazing picture you ever see in your feed, but to me, it is a miracle! Today, for the first time in my whole life, I feel beautiful.

Yesterday was one of the hardest days of my life. I had my first full-blown panic attack in months, in the middle of church no less. I was embarrassed, and ashamed. I was at my lowest, and the darkness seemed to swallow me up. I didn’t know if I could ever be happy again, and I didn’t know if I could ever find my place in the world.

It was so difficult to relapse like that. I’ve been working so hard for so many years to overcome everything, and it felt like I’d just been pushed back to square one. It was devastating.

But all of those feelings of hurt and pain –as intense as they were– were fleeting and brief. At My Darkest Hour, I was not alone. As my soul was weighted with all the pain that I’ve ever felt in my life that I had yet to overcome, I cried out to God. Kneeling in the bathroom stall, I leaned against the wall and repeated over and over “God please hear me, please help me. I can’t heal myself, but I know you can.” It was the longest hour of my life. But I know God heard me. This was what he had wanted, all along. He had been waiting so patiently for me to let him in my heart, in a way I have not been able to in years. And now, his love engulfs me.

God hears us. I know he’s been with me from the beginning, my trusted friend and confidant. How it must have absolutely broken his heart to listen to my cry every night and not be able to take away my pain because I wouldn’t let him, how my Savior must have agonized over the sacrifices he’d made for me that I wouldn’t accept.

The Savior’s atonement is not just for sinners. He can help us carry any burden, and I know without a doubt he has lifted mine. He has placed people into my life to help me, and I’ve struggled very much to let them in. And through it all, they still loved me. I will forever be grateful to my Savior, and I am ELATED to feel beautiful

~Annie

The Truth About Scriptural Distortions

In an article that recently appeared on Facebook, titled The Thing About Getting Offended Mormons Don’t Often Understand (It was originally published on LDSLiving. You can read it here.) I made a comment that I felt was so important, I had to share it here as well. It was in response to many comments made about some members misusing the scriptures and conference talks that reprimanded those who “choose to be offended”. Their intent in this action was clearly to place the blame of their sin on the person who’s feelings that must’ve known they had hurt.

I find it absolutely necessary to make the truth known to everyone. Here is the comment I made:

Looking through a few of the comments, I wanted to make this clear. If anyone is using scripture, such as choosing to be offended, as justification for their actions, they are exercising unrighteous dominion as stated in The Family: A Proclamation to the World. In that proclamation, they were explicitly warned that they would have to face serious consequences for any such infringement on others, whether they were originally given rights over a person (read parent, guardian etc.) in order to provide care for them, or they decided they had rights over a random person. Yes, it can be extremely frustrating at times to deal with people like that, and we certainly don’t need to let them walk all over us, but we still need to exercise a level of control over ourselves. I think when Christ tells us to “turn the other cheek”, He’s not saying to passively take the abuse- He’s telling us to not allow our control over ourselves to be taken from us. He’s telling us to not give them any control over us and to hand the matter of offense over to Him to solve. He only wants to give us peace of mind, not continued hurt. But certainly do NOT let others convince you that it is okay to be terrible and that Heavenly Father has justified them, because He will NEVER justify willful sinning ESPECIALLY (but not limited to) when someone is harming another of His children.

I 113% stand by my words. I wish I could teach all who have had any moments of confusion about this and calm all of their doubts and pain. Please know that the commandments of God were created to make us happy! As my professor here at BYU-Idaho says, “Does it taste like light?” If it does not, I urge you to pray about it. I promise that Heavenly Father is the source of all truth and light, and He will NOT do anything that won’t eventually lead to your ultimate happiness. If ANYONE is continually using the words of God to hurt and belittle you, please seek help from those who love you. This is manipulative and unrighteous dominion! Talk to your Bishop*, a friend, anyone who you know you can trust, and allow yourself to find what will truly make you happy in this life. Pray for guidance as you search, and read the scriptures for direction. You deserve to be surrounded by people who acknowledge and celebrate your divine nature and encourage you to seek (and have! See Utchdorf’s Forget Not to Be Happy Now) true happiness. Heavenly Father loves you and His two deepest wishes and ultimate joys are to see you happy and see you return home to Him.

*Your Bishop is inspired by Heavenly Father to be a righteous judge in Israel. He is there to help you heal, whether it be by your own choices or the choices of another. He should be working closely with the Savior to help you achieve peace. If he is reacts in a way that does not taste like light, such as making you question whether the abuse is indeed real, understand that that is his choice to not fulfill his calling righteously. Not all bishops are like that. In that case, talk to your stake president. Talk to as many leaders in your church as is needed to get help. Remember that when a leader does not fulfill their calling they way they should, it is NOT your fault. they still have your agency. Pray for guidance, and as you work with your righteous church leaders, I can promise that you can find peace. It may be a long road, but all righteous people will find happiness in the end, and even the most arduous journey can be filled with many moments of joy. God loves you. Of all things, never forget that.

~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

Why I Left

Many of you know that I left home at a young age. It’s been hard for me to really explain what lead up to that point. I’ve been self-conscious, guilty and felt the need to justify it many times, even to myself. Many did not and still do not fully understand why I did what I did. I have also had a hard time accepting  the reality of my life circumstances.

However, I feel like I’ve grown a lot in the last month. Because of many trials in my life the past few years, I’ve gone through a bit of a rough patch with my testimony. I have never doubted my testimony, I’ve struggled to understand myself and therefore my relationship with Heavenly Father and Christ has suffered. It’s been very difficult, and a time of deep self-reflection and spiritual distress.

I know without a doubt that my trials have been tailored specifically for me. My Father in Heaven knows that nothing hurts my soul more deeply than hurting someone- especially those whom I love. Continue reading

He Will Heal You

Being a month from 19, I still consider myself to be little more than a child. And, like a child, I won’t stop asking questions until I find satisfactory answers. I am sure that I am not alone in my queries of: What is going on in my life? Why am I where I am? Where am I going? Such questions lead down a rabbit hole.

As I’ve been pondering my current life situation, Continue reading

Shame vs. Guilt

I’m sure we’ve all had a plenty of experiences where we’ve done something stupid and felt that flip in our stomachs that tells us bad consequences are coming. I feel it when I’m in the middle of some thoughtless words, when I’m clumsy, and lots of other typical things. When we make mistakes, we should be filled with guilt. Guilt is a healthy, normal thing that is required in order to progress. It helps us to know that we need to get back on the path to God, and that’s great. Guilt is like that pain you get when you burn your hand on something hot; it’s not to torture you, but to warn you that you are headed in unsafe territory. If you keep your hand on any longer, more damage will be done. Guilt is our safety net from further pain and error. It’s one of the beautiful gifts from God. I’m so grateful for this gift, as I need it quite often in order to prevent the repetition of certain mistakes.

Shame is something I do not find beautiful at all. Continue reading

  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