Sunday, May 18, 2014

My Holy Place

On Friday I went to seminary class, and we talked about the Restoration. Our seminary teacher brought up the Sacred Grove, and asked us all to think about it. He brought up the fact that the Sacred Grove was the place where Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ showed themselves to Joseph Smith during the first vision. He then told us all to think of a place where we can feel the Holy Ghost, where we go when we want to be alone with God. My first thought was my bedroom, but my room is often messy, and that doesn't allow myself to focus very well.

So when I thought of my holy place, my "personal Sacred Grove," I thought of all the times I had been to the mountains, and just had time to sit and think. Whenever I do that, my thoughts wander to God and the gospel. The mountains are my holy place.

That day in seminary, we read Moroni chapter 10 of the Book of Mormon, and Moroni's promise found in verses 4 and 5. The promise challenges us to, after we read the scriptures, pray to God and ask if the things they say are true. My seminary teacher challenged my class to go to our holy place and pray. I was immediately sad, not knowing the next time I would be able to travel to the mountains and have a moment to just sit and think.

What I'd forgotten was that I was going to youth conference later that day, almost as soon as I got home from school. I quickly packed up all of the things I would need for this overnight trip, then ran over to our church meeting house and loaded my bags into the trailer waiting for us. We drove up the canyon, and I realized that I was being brought to my holy place after all.

During those two days and one night I was at youth conference with all my ward friends around me, I had a blast. We played hard, danced, hiked, and just had a stellar time. But when I had a minute to myself, I could feel God's love for me. I knew He cared about me individually, and that He wanted the best for me. It made me want to do better than I was doing.

That's what God's love does: it fills us with the knowledge of how much He cares, and makes us want to do better. Those days during youth conference, I didn't do Moroni's challenge. I didn't need to. Heavenly Father had already borne witness to me that the Book of Mormon was true. The reason I feel so blessed for having ended up in my sacred place after all is because it still strengthened my testimony. I'm so glad that I was able to go to my holy place and know that God was watching over me, helping me along, and blessing my life. I love Heavenly Father, and know that He is looking out for me always. He has my best interest at heart, and will always love me, no matter what. And that's the part of my testimony that was strengthened in my holy place.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Honor Your Hero

Today is Mother's Day in America. Whenever I think about Mother's Day, there's just so much I want to say! I'm not sure where to begin. So I guess I'll start with my mother.

My mom is funny. My mom is hard working. She's always there for me. She's compassionate. She's loving. She listens, and she cares. The house isn't always clean, and sometimes the day is so busy we just have mac n' cheese for dinner, but it's OK. Because we never are left doubting that my mom is trying her best to be there for us. She has priorities, and she knows that sometimes certain things have to be sacrificed in order to bring about better things. I love her so much more than she will ever know.

Most of all, my mom is the biggest example in my life. She has such a strong testimony of the gospel! I've learned so much because of her. She's my go-to person, and my very best friend.

In Alma chapter 56 verses 47 and 48, it says:

47. ...Yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
48. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.

I love those verses! They are so true. Nobody will ever have an influence over our lives as much as our mothers will.

With that being said, some people don't have a strong mother figure in their family. Or perhaps their mother is gone a lot of the time, so that motherly influence comes from somewhere else. This last general conference, Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared a talk entitled, "I Have Given You an Example." In his talk, he shard how two of the biggest influences in his life were his grandmother and wife, not his mother.

My mom is my hero. She's such an example to me! Whether you have a mother or a grandmother, an aunt or a sister, or even a neighbor who is your example, let them know how much you appreciate them. So today, honor whoever your hero is. Mother's Day is the day to celebrate those who guide you and lift you up.

Some people might have circumstances where they don't feel like they have a motherly figure in their life. They might feel completely alone. But always remember that we have the Savior, Jesus Christ. His love is unconditional, and he knows our infinite worth. So if you don't feel like you can turn to someone around you, turn to Jesus and thank Him for all He has done for you. Jesus is also my hero. He is so selfless and has the purest love. I know that the ultimate goal I could ever have would be to become like Him.

I am so thankful for my life. I am so blessed, and I recognize that. Sure, I have hard times, and things don't always go my way, but I know that the Lord's way is so much better than my way. I trust Him completely, and know that He has a wonderful plan in store for me and each of His beloved sons and daughters here on earth. He knows who I am, and He knows who each of us is. He will never leave us alone. God is also my hero.

Today remember your heroes. They are always there for you, and want you to know how much they love you. So show them your love in return! Because they will never ever leave you alone. They will help you and teach you and lift you up. They will encourage you to become your best self. Remember that. Never forget that. Every person is loved more than they can comprehend.