Monday, November 17, 2014

{Four Years}

Four years ago, to the day (November 17th), I went to the Temple for the first time after being reactivated in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This day is so special to me because it marks the day I became 100% active in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Before then, I was still gaining a testimony.  Before then I was still unsure.  I prayed and studied and came to the knowledge on my own that this is the truest gospel of Jesus Christ on this Earth.

The temple is the literal house of God on Earth.  He dwells there and it is extremely sacred.  It is a place where worthy members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints go to feel peace, comfort and love, make and keep sacred covenants and perform ordinances for others who have already passed away.  The ordinances performed in the temple are saving ordinances.   The temple is a sacred and holy place.  It is set apart from the world.  It is where we go to learn, pray and grow.  It is a sacred place where we can talk to our Heavenly Father and receive direct revelation and inspiration.  I love the temple so much.  It is absolutely incredible.  The blessings of the temple are also incredible and amazing.  I love going and always hate leaving.  It is what heaven is going to be like! :)

Today started off rough, but it got better.  I woke up knowing what the day was and the importance of it, but I didn't have time to think about it or ponder it because I was in a rush to get my biology homework read and rush off to class.  I missed reading my scriptures and headed straight to the bio book because of the time crunch. I don't know exactly why, but half way through reading I just broke down.  Sobbing.  I couldn't focus, I had a million things on my mind and I was frustrated.  I couldn't handle it all at that moment and I just broke down.   As I sat on my bed, alone in my apartment, I just prayed for comfort and peace.  I needed to feel my Heavenly Fathers love at that moment.  I pulled myself back together and started to read again with a clear(ish) mind.  It only took about five minutes until I broke down again. I didn't get it this time.  Why was I still crying? It took me a second, but I finally realized why.  I was overcome with the spirit and I felt so much love.  I was reminded of the meeting I had with President Chamberlain when I was putting my mission papers in.  I was bearing my testimony to him and telling him all about my family.  After all of this, he asked me if I would like a blessing.  I remember that blessing so vividly.  It was so powerful and he said exactly the things I needed to hear.  He didn't say these things because he thought them, the Holy Ghost prompted him to say those things.  I know Priesthood Blessings are straight from God.  I am so grateful for them and the power of the priesthood.  I finally got myself together and got ready for the day.  I ran out the door on my way to visit a friend in need and didn't have time to eat breakfast.  Before I left for class, I stopped by Dennis's apartment to get a blessing from him.  When I walked in he was making breakfast and asked me if I wanted some.  Seriously, the Lord is so incredible.  This was such a sweet and simple tender mercy.   I didn't have time to eat before I left my house and I was stressed and overwhelmed. I am so grateful to have him and my life and am so grateful he listens to the promptings of the Spirit. The Lord works in the most wonderful and mysterious ways and I know He is aware of EACH of His children! Wether you want to think that or not.. I know without a doubt it is true.  The rest of the day was alright, but I was emotionally on edge.  I felt like I was about to cry all day and I just wanted to go home and sleep.  I am emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted.

But back to the reason this day is so special to me.  It is so special because of the blessings that come with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is so special because of where it has taken me.  As I look back, I notice the Lord's hand in my life every single step of the way.  Four years ago I would have NEVER EVER thought I would be serving a mission.  Four years ago I would have never thought that my mom would be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and be endowed in the temple.  Four years ago I would have never thought I would be endowed myself at this point in my life.  Four years ago without the gospel I would have never been able to be blessed this much.  Four years ago I would have laughed at all of that if someone had told me that is what my life would be like.  But after all of it, I would not change any of it for anything.   In the incredible words of Al Fox, because I can't say it any better: "It is hard when nothing goes the way we planned. That’s when we have those fleeting thoughts of, “Does God really care about me? Is He even listening? Is He even there at all?” But how grateful I am that things haven’t always gone my way, because they have been profoundly better than what I ever could have imagined on my own— greater than I ever knew existed and was available for myself. And that’s how Heavenly Father always works. God’s way, though usually more difficult, always leads to the greatest things life has to offer. I wouldn’t have anything I do now without my faith and without strength from my Father in Heaven. I am weak without him. Happiness is fleeting and fake without Him. We must never forget whose hands we are in. When we do, fear can never be an option. With God life is perfect. Perfect to learn from. To grow from. And to receive the greatest there is to ever exist.  I have come so far since that simple day in 2010.  My testimony has been strengthened every single day since November 17, 2010.

I know that this gospel is true with all of my heart.  I love the peace and comfort I feel from this gospel and from knowing that I am a Daughter of a King.  I am a beautiful daughter of God and He loves me.  So much. He is aware of me and my specific needs.  He is aware of me and my struggles, both daily and long(er) term.  He sent His only begotten Son, for me.  He sent Christ so that I could return back to Him.  I know that Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. He atoned in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross for me.  He atoned for all the sins of the world so that I could live with my Heavenly Father again.  I am so extremely grateful for Him and the sacrifice He made.  He is my advocate to the Father, my older brother and my best friend.  I love Him so much and am eternally indebted to Him.  I owe Him everything.  I am extremely grateful for the power of prayer.  Prayer is REAL.  Prayer works.  Time and time again prayer has blessed my life.  Prayer gives me the opportunity to talk to my Father in Heaven and tell him everything- my wants, my needs, my desires.  I love prayer so much.  I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true as well.  I know, for myself, that it is.  It is Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  It testifies of His visit to the Americas after He was resurrected.  It is the truest book.  It is chalked full of so much amazing doctrine and I LOVE IT! I love reading it, studying it, pondering it and annotating it.  I love the scriptures so much.  I love, love, love the peace I feel from reading the scriptures, all of them.  I love the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.  I know that they were all written by Prophets of God.  I know that God loves His children SO MUCH that He has given us a prophet on the Earth today.  I know that Thomas S. Monson leads and guides the church today.  I know that He holds all of the keys necessary to lead and guide the world right now.  I love having a prophet.  I love that God doesn't leave us alone to fend for ourselves.  I know that Joseph Smith restored His church.  I know that through the power of prayer, Joseph, a 14 year old boy, asked God which of all the churches was right, and He got his answer, none of them.  He restored the gospel of Jesus Christ on this Earth after that simple prayer and the world has never been the same.   I know that God and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph in the Sacred Grove and told him of the gospel and what he was to do.  I know that satan is real, but I also know that we can overcome trials and temptations.  Temptations will come and trials will never cease, but through the gospel of Jesus Christ I can overcome anything.  I love the priesthood and the blessings it brings to me and my family.  I love priesthood blessings and the power they hold.  The priesthood is of God, it is His power and He has entrusted so many men with it.   How grateful I am for those righteous and worthy men who hold it and use it wisely.  I am grateful for the temple and I know that it is the House of God on this Earth.  I know that the ordinances performed in the His House are so sacred.  I am so grateful for the sealing power we have in those temples and that I have the opportunity to be sealed to my family forever- time and ALL eternity. I am grateful for my family and the wonderful examples each one of them is to me.  I can't ever imagine my life without them and I can't wait to be sealed to them eternity.  I love this gospel so much and I am so grateful for the decision I made four short years ago to come back to the fold.  I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to go and share this wonderful message of joy with the people of Kentucky. (50 days people. FIFTY.)  I can't wait to be a full-time missionary! I am so excited!

The simple truth is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses lives.

I am so grateful for the gospel in my life and the blessings I receive every day.

XOXO,
Madeline

2 comments:

  1. You know what's amazing about this is that I could feel the Spirit testifying to me the truth of your testimony! Thanks so much Maddy! You're incredible and such an example to me.
    I'm so blessed to know you and have felt God's love for me through you. Thank you :)

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    Replies
    1. Lucy, I love you! Thank you for your sweet comment! I can't wait to be in the MTC with you! :)

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