Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013!

Hello everyone!!

I am so grateful to write a little note this week.  I am so excited to Skype my family on Wednesday!  I can't think of a better Christmas present than to just be able to talk with my family!  I miss them a ton and I continue to be grateful for them in every way that they've shaped my life.  I always see different things and knew that my Heavenly Father hand-picked my family for me.  He continues to do so with the new additions that we have to my amazing family!  Little niece and another on the way!  My in-law's - I can't remember what our family was like without them as part of our family.  I am filled with so much gratitude that I get to be part of an amazing group of people.

This past week I was brought to remembrance the struggles that I had several years ago.  As a kid, I had always dreamed that I would go to BYU and leave on a mission at the age of 19.  After never being accepted to attend BYU or the University of Illinois, many of my plans changed and sent me on a different path.  I was quite literally scrambling to find my way and my future.  My expectations on life had changed.  I faced many trials that I eventually was able to overcome with faith.

Today, I am an Illinois State University graduate with a Bachelor's in Finance.  Overall, I was denied from the University of Illinois 3 times and BYU 3 times.  The last option I really felt for myself was to attend Illinois State and I did so grudgingly.  Through an experience I had, there was a professor that ended up teaching a Leadership class where I was accepted.  The same teacher, Dr. Ringer, invited me to 'come to church'.  I was lost and tried to find my own way, but as this man invited me to come to church it changed my whole life.  I recognized that there is a loving Heavenly Father, through all my weaknesses, He still calls us to do His work.  I came to know from that specific experience, Heavenly Father knows us.  He knows what we will choose.  He knows how to teach us.  In my own learning, I learned that I was supposed to be called on this mission at this time.

There were many people who inspired me to become where I am.  Today, being my 11-month mark on my mission, I am able to recognize the blessings I've had in the past year.  Even more than just the year, He has blessed my entire life.  He hand-picked my family and allowed me to have the experiences that were necessary for me to grow.

My favorite investigator has come to know of this knowledge.  This past week she shared with us a story that she had.  When she was alone and in a dark place in her life, she turned to the only person she could, our Heavenly Father.  She prayed for help.  She said that He answered her prayers and told her how strong He was.  She explained Him as solid as the cement ground - immovable.  I then shared with her the scripture in Helaman 5:12 - quite possibly my favorite scripture in the Book of Mormon.

When we build our foundation on Christ, the greatest gift that God has given us, we are able to stand immovable.  This investigator has come to know that through her experience.  I have come to know that through my experiences.  I know that there is a Heavenly Father who knows us individually.  We are all imperfect, but He has given us the Savior Jesus Christ to help us overcome our imperfections and to be lifted to a high plane of thought and understanding.

I am so grateful this season for Jesus Christ.  I am grateful for my family and the foundation that they laid for me.  I know that Heavenly Father knows us all individually and that He only wants us to be as happy as we allow ourselves to be.  When we allow our lives to be filled with the grace of Jesus Christ, I know we can become happier than we've ever imagined.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!!!

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