It may seem strange to many people that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints look forward to approximately sitting through 8-10 hours of church on TV every 6 months. Haha! But it is true! I LOVE General Conference and the opportunity to hear directly from the Lord's living prophet and apostles. The simple instructions provided help me refocus my life and my efforts in striving to be a more Christlike person and keep evil from my home and family.
I feel that this General Conference I was especially focused on how the messages applied to me. Becoming a mom has been so wonderful, but it also scares me to think of raising Grace in such a confusing and misleading world. I wanted to know how to be a stronger, more prepared mother in teaching my daughter the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
"Never suppress a charitable thought."
If any of these messages speak to you, I encourage you to read/listen to the messages presented at this General Conference. You can watch the talks here, or they will be written and published at lds.org. As I listened to the speakers and music this weekend, the Spirit testified to me that God knows me and loves me. He is proud of the work I am doing as a mother. I am so grateful for the guidance provided in the scriptures and through church leaders that helps me leave the worldly influences behind and follow with confidence the will of my Father in heaven.
Truth: Life is tough
Truth: Life has been really tough for me lately.
Truth: I've had thoughts of quitting my job as a teacher.
Truth: I am frustrated that I am not pregnant yet.
Truth: I am unhappy with my weight and how I look.
Truth: Andrew's current job assignment is frustrating and unfun.
All of it is true, and I could probably write a full, long, detailed blog post about each one of the above truths. But there is another truth that Andrew reminded me of yesterday after we left our Stake Conference:
Truth: We are very blessed.
It is so difficult to look at all the blessings, especially when you want to just focus on all the things that aren't going your way. But the fact is, Andrew and I are very, very, very blessed. So here is a small list of our blessing to counteract all the negative and difficult trials we are currently facing.
Blessing 1: We both have great jobs that push us to be better and challenge us. Yes, there are elements to our jobs that we would love to change, but really what job out there is 100% perfect? For me, I get to interact with people constantly; I get to be creative; I get to be a goof as I teach and entertain; I have great support in my coworkers; I love my students. I really could go on and on about how teaching truly is the job for me. I am blessed to be a teacher.
Blessing 2: Medicine is truly a miracle. I am grateful that there are doctors and medicine that can help Andrew and I get pregnant. Long story short, for some reason I stopped ovulating right about the time we decided we were ready to have a baby. It has been a long and frustrating 6 months, but this week I went to a new doctor and he prescribed some medication that he is hopeful will help me ovulate so that we can get pregnant. When I told my mom about the medicine he prescribed, she told me that another girl we know took it and it (and I quote her exact words) "kinda wreaks havoc". Needless to say, I'm pretty nervous. But in the end, I'll take all the crazy emotions and bloating if it will help my body correct itself and helps me have a baby. So modern medicine is a huge blessing for us right now.
Blessing 3: Andrew and I have a fabulous relationship. We also have great relationships with our family. We are surrounded by love. Truly, what more could you wish for? I thank Heavenly Father every single day that I am so blessed to be Andrew's wife. He makes me so happy and buoys me through depressing moments. We support each other in our goals and celebrate each other's victories. It is a beautiful marriage, and I am most grateful for this blessing in my life.
So I'm sure life wont all of a sudden become easy and trial-free, but I am grateful that Andrew had the impression that we need to focus more on the blessings rather than the difficulties in our lives.
I was blessed to have the opportunity to teach Relief Society last Sunday. The lesson was based on President Eyring's October 2015 General Conference talk entitled "The Holy Ghost as Your Companion".
From last week's spiritual musing post, it's no secret that happiness has seemed to evade me for the past few months. While I set some goals to prioritize my life and focus on things to make me happy, I think the real purpose of those goals is to help me feel more of the Spirit in my life. So this lesson's topic was a great way to remind me of the many blessings of the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Elder Eyring starts out his talk by stating his objective (as a teacher, I love that he does this). He says it this way:
As I read this, I interpreted desire to be the acknowledgement that we want to have the Spirit. In order to increase this desire, President Eyring goes through a list of blessings that we receive through the gift of the Holy Ghost. These are:
Just from reading this list, looking for examples of these in the scriptures, and contemplating how I have seen these blessings in my own life already helps me increase my resolve to have these blessings more abundantly in my life.
But President Eyring acknowledges that we know that it is difficult to maintain the Spirit in our lives. That is where determination comes in. In my mind, determination means that we are willing to do anything to have the Spirit. Here are the things President Eyring suggested for qualifying for the gift of the Holy Ghost:
This post is seriously just a quick skim through his talk. Within these teachings, he gives examples taken from the life of his own father. Go read it here! It's wonderful.
But by far, the most wonderful thing I experienced while I shared this lesson on Sunday was the simple, small hug of the Spirit reminding me that my Heavenly Father loves me and wants to bestow all of his promised blessings upon me. As I shared my thoughts, I began to cry because I knew the Spirt was in that room testifying of what I taught. I knew that, even through my unhappy moments in the last few months, my Father in heaven was aware of me. I've promised Him that I will strive to live more worthy of the gift of the Holy Ghost that I received shortly after I was baptized. I will not forget that gift.
I've decided I want to write on this blog at least 2 times a week. One will be about the weekly going-ons for Andrew and I; the other will be a focus of something spiritual I have contemplated throughout the week.
So here is my 1st spiritual musing: how to be happier.
Now, I don't want to come across as super negative, but I also want to be honest in this first spiritual post. The truth is, I haven't felt truly happy in a while. (No, this is not about my marriage. That part of my life at least is exactly what it should be). This Saturday, when suddenly I burst into tears during a date with Andrew and cried that I didn't feel happy, I knew I was hitting an all-time low...and I didn't like it.
Luckily, I am married to an amazing man who has wise spiritual insights. As I cried into his lap he asked me two simple questions:
Andrew explained that his mission president taught them years ago that there are 3 important relationships to focus on as missionaries: 1. their relationship with God, 2. their relationship with themselves, and 3. their relationship with the Taiwanese people (where he served his mission). The mission president explained, "If you don't first have a solid relationship with God and yourself, you will not be able to fully connect and love the people you serve, and you will not be able to experience a true fullness of joy."
As I've thought about this, I've decided that I really do need to spend more time every day strengthening my relationship with God and learning to love myself more fully too. This is how I plan to do it:
So there you have it. I am going to experiment with these goals for happiness over the next few weeks, and hopefully I will be able to report back good things.
Andrew and Maichael
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