Blessed by the Strenth

[Posted from my journal amarvelouswork]

The priesthood is one of the most amazing gifts we have been given to help us here on earth.

This past Friday through Sunday evening I felt like Alma the Younger. "I was in the darkest abyss; soul was racked with eternal torment" [Mosiah 27:29, excerpts]. Between a chain of events and my own personal conscience and frightening of the Spirit, I found myself treading water in the depths of a filthy lake of emotional and spiritual torment. I felt like I had been thrown to a pit of rattlesnakes and bitten and torn to shreds, left to shake and decay alone in the bottom of the pit.

On Sunday morning I felt the worse. Sunday afternoon I spent the afternoon with dear friends at their family's home in the backyard of the Jordan River Temple, and I could not muster the strength to be cheerful and bright as I always am while visiting with them and enjoying the view. I returned to my home and stared blankly. Finally, I started sending text messages to anyone in my cell contact list to ask if they knew any priesthood holders in the downtown Salt Lake area. I had only met most of these people once or twice, so I felt silly asking, but I knew a blessing would be a source of peace and comfort. No matter how undeserving and filthy I matter how unworthy and stained I saw my reflection to be, I knew that I was in need of my Savior's love the most. Soon, my friend Jenna - whom I had only met once - replied with a message saying her friend Patrick would love to give me a blessing and that they were on their way. Satan took the reigns and started playing with my emotions once again, which caused me to reply and tell her not to worry, that I'd be fine on my own, and I made up excuses, including the fact that I didn't want them to have to drive all the way into town. But she continued insisting that it would be no trouble and that sometimes the only way we feel the peace to make it through is by a priesthood blessing.

They arrived. We stood there talking for quite a bit, and then I received a blessing. The power and strength that I felt was amazing; I know for a fact that Heavenly Father was definitely using Patrick as an instrument that night. As he continued to pronounce blessings of peace, comfort, and other concerns on my head, I felt the Spirit come back to me. "My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and the bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched and my soul is pained no more." [Mosiah 27:29, full] I felt as if Christ were wrapping his arms around me..."But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love." [2 Nephi 1:15] He blessed me with comfort and with blessings in response to struggles that he did not know about me. He blessed me with a love for the Scriptures and to search them everyday to find answers and guidance for my tribulations in life [I've had an issue with sticking to studying them]. Most importantly, he gently blessed me with the reminder that my Heavenly Father loves me, and to continually fall on Jesus Christ; I was reminded that Christ KNOWS what I am feeling and the torment I am going through, because he literally has been through it himself. This was also a topic of a talk that touched me not long ago that I wrote in my journal about. Heavenly Father wanted me to remember it.

I am so thankful for the priesthood. I am thankful for the power I feel through the hands that are placed on my head, no matter if I know them or not. I am so grateful for all the men in this church that live worthy and hold the priesthood, remembering that it is a blessing and look at giving blessings as an opportunity to serve.
I am beyond words to describe my love and the tenderness I feel toward the Savior and my Heavenly Father. I know it all seems like a redundant item of testimony, but I'm glad that it is; it shows how important that love is to each of us.

I am grateful that Heavenly Father knows us each so intimately - more than we know ourselves. Yesterday I, though feeling so much comfort from the blessing I had, still didn't feel like I would be worthy of receiving such blessings. Well, during work something within gave me overwhelming hunger to read the scriptures more. I couldn't put them down, and when I got home from work, I read more even until I fell asleep. This morning I read, and right now at work I am reading. They are alive right before my eyes. I love them with such a passion, and I'm grateful for them and the way they are coming to life in my mind and soul.

Heavenly Father seems to give us a little nudge in the right direction, even when we feel undeserving. He knows what it takes to move us along, and I am so grateful that He wants to see us happy because we are His children.

Living a Life Worthy

Today I was scanning some bulletins and I found this talk that a friend passed along that riled up some emotions within myself. President Hinckley gave the talk in the April 1998 Priesthood Session at General Conference. You can read it under the cut, or click here to read it on the Church website.

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The talk definately hit a chord. It relates a lot to many conversations that Katie [girliegirlie711] and I have had about dating/marriage/etc. It also hit my heart something fierce since lately I've been a huge fan of this video on youtube. I really recommend watching it.

Temple marriage is so beautiful. I often find myself wandering around myspace from friend page to friend page looking at pictures of temple weddings and swooning. Although, I am 23 years old and I think that gives me some right to do so. My internal clock gives me that passcard.

Love. I feel over the past few years I've finally developed a sense of what true and pure love is. I've had my fair share of crushes and swoon-worthy guys I've drooled over, but I've never really dated anyone. I've only been on one date with a guy alone, which happened to be one of the most amazing guys I've ever met - and he's engaged now [read here if you like all the juicy details on the emotions attached to that]. That talk reminds me a lot about all of the emotions that are stapled to his name and personality.

But this isn't about him. This is about the inner core of my heart. The emotions. The longing. Marriage. Companionship. Eternity. Love.

The love I have in my heart for people is beyond words. Sometimes it's so overwhelming that it really does make me uncomfortable. I get awkward and I grow afraid to express myself because the only thing I can think of is a huge "I love you!" and a hug that never ends. Some people get weirded out by that. Others interpret it wrong. Sometimes I feel like a child that sees all love the same. For example, little Lorin that I used to nanny for...she's five years old now and she considers me her best friend. She still sits on my lap and squeezes my face so hard that she makes an evil mean face. Someone that doesn't understand may think that she's trying to hurt me, but she's really just trying to express her love and emotion but can't find a way to do it. She's told me that she wants to marry me. She's also told me that she wants to marry her brother. She's so precious and her love for everyone and everything is so pure and innocent, so amazing. I often feel like she does. I feel so frustrated because I have all of this love to pour out and I do all that I can, and I'm still brimming to the edge. Every single person I meet holds a bookmark in my mind and heart, even if I just know their name and nothing beyond.

What am I worth? Last night I asked my parents if they thought I was worthy of a wonderful guy and listed many qualities that President Hinckley mentioned in this talk. They kept beating around the bush and really didn't give me a straight answer which really frustrated me. Am I not worthy of a guy like that? I read back on a letter I sent confessing my feelings to a model priesthood holder that the Prophet could have been refering to need be, and I see a pattern of thinking in which I feel I can't possibly ever been seen by a strong man in the Gospel as a choice woman. D&C 18:10 reminds us that the worth of souls is great in the sight of God. What an amazing promise that is and a comfort to my heart! My self-esteem, mostly because of my physical appearance, has always hovered just above the scummy algae level in my life. It's played a significant role in thinking down upon myself. I know my worth and my identity, and for that I know that I am worthy of such a man, but I feel that such a man will never give me the time of day. I know that the man I want to love forever will be such a man that will love me no matter what size I wear, but it's still a huge issue in dating today - especially since I look at the girls out in Utah and all I see are typical perfect LDS girls who are gorgeous, blinding me with their perfect Crest smiles and deafening me with their broadway-worthy voices. Here I am, with my mousy brown frizzy hair, too-dark brown eyes, overly-rosy cheeks, and full-figured body. I love to sing and am complemented here, but out there I feel I can be nothing. Perhaps it's just my competitive nature [I realize that comes as a shock to many], or my tenancies to be a perfectionist in things I do [also a shocker]. I can't offer what other girls have. All I've got is my testimony - never waivering, ever growing - and my soul-deep prayers that that will be all that is needed for the right man to fall in love with me.

I feel like I'm not expressing the words I really am feeling at the moment, and it's frustrating me. I'm such a woman of words and adjectives and beautiful soliloquy, and I'm just spewing out random thoughts. I realize all of this love & marriage talk seems crazy with my preparing to hand in my mission papers shortly, but it still crosses my mind everyday. This talk refreshed my mind of what I am worthy to receive, and reminded me of those blessings I was promised in my Patriarchal Blessing six-and-a-half years ago. I'm glad he told the men to choose carefully; that is something I always think of. An eternity is a very long time, and I am very cautious in handing my heart out. This could be the reason why I haven't really dated anyone. I feel like my relationship and dating life is the one thing I have that is still pure and clean. I don't feel bad that I'm 23 and haven't really had a man that I've dated and said "I want to marry him."

So many nights I find that it seems I have been on my knees for just moments, and I arise to rugburn and a clock showing two hours later than I thought it would. I cry out that I can receive help from Above to continue to prepare to be a worthy wife and mother...a woman and Daughter of God worthy enough to receive and be blessed with a husband that President Hinckley drew in his talk.

"A woman's heart should be buried so deep in Christ that a man must be seeking the Lord to find it."

Here's to keeping my heart a buried treasure.

Today & Always

All of a sudden I feel nervous to write in here, though I'm sure that will fade. It's just that my faith is the closest thing to my heart and I tend to be wounded easily by the remarks of others even though I am strong and will not waver. I'm stoked that I finally created a journal for my spiritual musings since I've been talking about it for so long. I keep a paper journal that I write in during church and when I'm studying, but I love to be able to type and use stream of consciousness to string all my thoughts together. Plus, ljbook is an amazing thing so I can print out my entries to keep for always.

Earlier in the day I really wanted to write endlessly about everything burning & embossing my soul, but after taking a walk and finally returning to my seat, I just couldn't focus on one particular emotion I want to write about. I did, however, run across this quote in my e-mail that I think definately sets the basis for my feelings right now, especially with my mission service being so near. I think it's a good intro to pages and pages of feelings and thoughts that I will soon hopefully gather and share.

I think this is going to be a great outlet for me, and a good way to keep on track, to gain from others [all of you wonderful people reading! :)], and to compose myself during hardships and trials with the adversary. A good journal is always a trusty old friend.

"My beloved brethren, you and I, today and always, are to bless all peoples in all the nations of the earth. You and I, today and always, are to bear witness of Jesus Christ and declare the message of the Restoration. You and I, today and always, are to invite all to receive the ordinances of salvation. Proclaiming the gospel is not a part-time priesthood obligation. It is not simply an activity in which we engage for a limited time or an assignment we must complete as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Rather, missionary work is a manifestation of our spiritual identity and heritage. We were foreordained in the premortal existence and born into mortality to fulfill the covenant and promise God made to Abraham. We are here upon the earth at this time to magnify the priesthood and to preach the gospel. That is who we are, and that is why we are here--today and always."

--- Elder David Bednar