Feasting on the Words of Christ

I gave a talk at Stake Conference last Sunday and I have had a few people ask me for a copy of my talk. So I figured I would just type it out here to make it easy.

I also did a video of it here, if that’s easier for you too.

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Snuck a picture before the session began ūüėȬ†

Here is the script-

2 Nephi 32:3

Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.

Good morning brothers and sisters. My name is Tarrin Pendergrass. I am a daughter of my parents who aren’t even in this stake but came anyways. I am a daughter of our Heavenly Parents. I just turned 33. I am a wife and a mother of 10. And I know theres gotta be a few of you out there who’s thinking… wait a minute… 33 and 10? My husband had 7 and I had 3. When we got married in January, I became a mother of 10. It has been a little crazy, a little overwhelming, and incredibly good! But… I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

The topic I was given to speak on was Feasting upon the Words of Christ, but not only that, 2 Nephi 32:3 –¬†Angels¬†speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you,¬†feast¬†upon the¬†words¬†of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will¬†tell¬†you all things what ye should do.

I’m here to tell you that these words are so so true! And now I can go back and tell you a little bit about myself. I grew up LDS. Recently, I’ve had a few people ask me, basically, what made you go inactive? Because I recently came back to church from being inactive for about 16 years.

It wasn’t any one big thing. Any one defining moment. It was tiny little decisions that led me away, baby step by baby step.

I stopped going to church around the age of 16. That means I stayed inactive for about 16 years. During that time, I went to college, I got married, I became a midwife, I had 3 babies of my own. Then, my ex husband and I decided to take a big risk and moved to Taiwan.

Now, I’m just one of those people who like to believe the best in everyone and every situation, but Taiwan was hard. Even though it was really interesting to be immersed in that culture, it was so isolating. So what do you do when you feel completely isolated? Personal Development. I started reading every positive book I could find on how to be better, feel better, and become better. And then it was like these light bulbs started going off in my mind. I saw my life as it really was for probably the first time in at least… 16 years. I saw my previous marriage – and I know marriage isn’t easy – but there was a lot there and my marriage was clearly starting to fall apart. It was during this time that I called my dad and just said – I don’t know what to do. What should I do?

He told me every marriage is hard but maybe my ex husband would consider going to church. Any church. For that connection to Christ changes lives. Serving others changes lives. Well, I knew that wouldn’t be happening, but what my dad said next was probably the biggest light bulb that I ever had go off.

He said – Faith isn’t something you¬†have, it’s something you¬†choose and learn.

My first thought was “oh – I’ve been teaching myself¬†not to have faith all of these years!

That struck me so hard. It was exactly what God knew I needed to hear to open that door.

So, I secretly downloaded the Book of Mormon onto my phone. Secretly because I did talk to my ex husband about that I might want to go back to church (I had actually wanted to about 5 years before but he had basically just said no then) what he said this time was that it would be “divorce worthy”. So I secretly started reading the Book of Mormon.

I knew that I had to at least find out how I felt about it. I had to know if what was in these pages was true. So I read it cover to cover in about 2 months.

I was about 3/4 done reading it and I already¬†knew that it was true – when we decided to move back to the United States. We knew our marriage definitely wouldn’t last if we didn’t¬†do¬†something. We decided to move to Utah instead of going back to Oregon where we had lived before. I finished reading the Book of Mormon and things were just not getting any better. I kept getting this feeling that I should ask my dad for a blessing and at first I was like “nooooo” because then he would know and there would be no going back!

But every time I even spoke to my dad or texted him, there’d be this voice “ask ask ask”. You know that really uncomfortable feeling you get when you know you should get up and bare your testimony and you’re just looking around to see if¬†anyone is going to get up and walk up there first and the Spirit is like – get up before I make you crawl out of your skin? That’s the feeling I had every time I spoke to my dad… for like a week. So I finally texted him and asked for a blessing which he came right over to give me.

About a week or so later, I told my ex husband that I wanted a divorce.

Now, there’s a lot in our marriage I’m leaving out because it doesn’t matter. And 5 years ago when I had told him I wanted to go back to church and he had said no – I wasn’t ready to choose church and God over my marriage. But after reading the Book of Mormon,¬†really reading it because I¬†had to know if it was true or not, and receiving a clear resounding¬†yes – this book is true and it is from God. I couldn’t make any other choice.

So that Sunday after I told him I wanted a divorce, I got my 3 girls dressed up and we went to church. Their first time ever and my first time in 16 years. This first church visit was almost 11 months ago. Since that first time I read the Book of Mormon one year ago, I’ve read it cover to cover 2 more times. Each time I learn more and more. I find what seems like brand new scriptures all the time. I find verses that speak to me and help me with my day to day life – daily!

This last year, I’ve read the Book of Mormon 3 times, I’ve gone through a divorce, been a single mom, met my current husband – which I’ve never prayed so much about a relationship in all my life. We met and 6 weeks later were married. But I know without a doubt that he is exactly the person I was supposed to marry and that his kids were meant to be mine as well. I never envisioned myself as a mother of 10 but then again I never envisioned most of the things that my Heavenly Father has brought into my life in the last year.

And it is only by God’s love, grace, and infinite understanding and orchestrating that I am standing in front of you today.

My testimony of this gospel and of the Book of Mormon are way stronger than they ever would have been if I didn’t first understand what it felt like to be without it all. And I’m not saying that’s the way to go – but for me personally – who happens to be a moderately stubborn person… I think God knew that I would need to see and feel the difference.

This gospel is light. Those light bulbs that went off in my mind were well timed and well placed by a Heavenly Father who loves me intensely and unconditionally.

Whether you’ve been in the church your whole lives, or taken a break and come back, or if you are new in the gospel – we all¬†have¬†to be converts. Because at some point in our lives, we all have to read the Book of Mormon with one intent. To really know and feel and¬†testify of the truth of it. And when we’ve done that and gotten our own personal conviction and revelation that this book is true then we can really begin to live this gospel. It all starts here. I implore you to read this book and pray your hearts out to feel the truth it contains. To feel your Heavenly Father testify to you personally the truth because this is the only way that your faith will hold firm. And, my friends, we need strong testimonies in this gospel. We need people who will stand up and testify of the truth in these pages. It took me a long hard road to learn this and I will never let this truth go because I have gotten confirmation from my God without any doubts whatsoever.

In Alma 53:10 it says –¬†And now behold, I have somewhat to say concerning the¬†people¬†of Ammon, who, in the beginning, were Lamanites; but by Ammon and his brethren, or rather by the power and word of God, they had been¬†converted¬†unto the Lord; and they had been brought down into the land of Zarahemla, and had ever since been protected by the Nephites.

The word of God has incredible power and we are blessed to have an entire book full of words of God. Now I want to tell you a few reasons why I love this book so much. Some people believe it’s simply a history. A history of peoples long gone. But it’s not.

This book was written for¬†us! It’s full of advice, prophecy, hope, love, secrets for those willing to look for them, and power.

These prophets saw our latter days and knew by the grace of God what we would need to read. Can you imagine these prophets being shown our day and age? Living in their time and seeing ours? I want to read you this scripture – just for fun – it’s in 2nd Nephi Chapter 12 – the synopsis reads ,¬†Isaiah sees the latter-day temple, gathering of Israel, and millennial judgment and peace‚ÄĒThe proud and wicked will be brought low at the Second Coming‚ÄĒCompare Isaiah 2. About 559‚Äď545 B.C. Then it goes on to say in verse 7 –¬†Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their¬†treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots.

The prophet Isaiah is describing the latter days. He saw them. He was shown¬†us! Sooo… do we have chariots? I mean, I’m sure there’s a few out there – but do we have “neither is there any end of their chariots?” “a land full”… of chariots? No! Cars on the other hand… how else would an ancient prophet of God be able to describe the things he saw? He’d use the vocabulary he has. Remember when I said there are secrets in scriptures for those willing to look for them?

Line upon line does not mean sit back and wait to be taught. It means read it over and over and over again.

Each time you do, pray. Pray for your minds to be opened. Your eyes, your ears, and your heart to be opened. Prayer is a dialogue. It’s not meant to be a monologue. Talk and then pause, listen and respond to what you feel or hear, and I guarantee you will learn deeper and deeper truths each and every time you read this book.

Besides finding hidden messages of cars in the Book of Mormon, how else can we apply this book written in ancient times to our modern lives?

It’s actually really easy to find ways to do this when we really know that it was written for us. Let’s go back to 2nd Nephi 32:3 –¬†Angels¬†speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you,¬†feast¬†upon the¬†words¬†of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will¬†tell¬†you all things what ye should do.

Stephen R. Covey spoke in 1974 saying – prayerful scripture study is also the key to personal revelation. Nephi taught that the Holy Ghost speaks “the words of Christ” and that if we would “feast” on the words of Christ we will be told all things that we should do. In other words, the Holy Ghost will give us guidance. Whether we accept that guidance depends on our faith and obedience to the light already given. (line upon line – remember?) and this part is really cool. He says, The verb “feast” is most instructive, it implies savoring, believing, loving, pondering, meditating, relishing, all of which bespeak a spirit of faith and obedience.

When we regularly feast on the words of Christ (prayerfully study the scriptures) they become planted in the fleshy tables of the heart.

2nd Corinthians 3:3 says –¬†Forasmuch as ye are¬†manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us,¬†written¬†not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in¬†tables¬†of stone, but in¬†fleshy¬†tables of the¬†heart.

And then the Holy Ghost will bring them to our remembrance of consciousness, as each occasion demands – perhaps somewhat like a computer would draw on its data bank to solve a problem.

We are not asked to memorize the scriptures. We all can’t be scriptorians. I’m definitely not! We are asked to¬†feast. To love, to relish the words. And then the Spirit will bring to our minds what we need when we need them.

One of my favorite bits of advice for reading the scriptures and applying them to our lives is to insert your name. Visualize you being there, being a part of the stories. Visualization is uniquely human and powerful. Putting yourself into the shoes of Nephi, Alma, Jared, King Benjamin, and any other person in this book can give you new perspective, renewed faith, and confidence for your life. Try it!

In 2011, Elder Neill L. Anderson said: In todays world, the arrogant arguments of Korihor – the anti-Christ, find listening ears:

“Why do ye look for a Christ? For no man can know of anything which is to come.”

“Behold, these things which ye call prophecies… are foolish traditions of your fathers.”

“Ye cannot know of things which ye do not see…”

“Every man prospers according to his own genius, and conquers according to his own strength.”

These are things we hear today. These are things I let myself believe when I left the church. The adversary doesn’t need new tricks when the old ones still work so well.

He goes on to say – We need our own secure and settled faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we need help in strengthening our families so that this faith flows into the hearts of our children and grandchildren. Faith in Jesus Christ, when solidly anchored in our souls, brings true conversion, and in its wake – repentance, honest discipleship, miracles, spiritual gifts, and enduring righteousness. This is an important part of the divine mission of the Book of Mormon.

One of my favorite gardening tips I’ve gotten – also from my dad – was “when you think you’ve watered it enough, water it some more.” I think this little tip can be applied in so many areas of our lives.

When you think you’ve prayed enough, pray some more. When you think you’ve learned all of the answers, ask more questions. When you think you’ve read the Book of Mormon long enough or enough times, read more, read it again.

Just like plants in the garden need more water, our spirits need everything we can give them. And if we can do this, I know for a fact that we can grow, progress, and get the personal revelation that our prophet is urging us to seek. And the Book of Mormon is how we begin.

I say these things in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

Summer Fun

Yesterday was a buuuusy day from the time I got up until the time I fell asleep (almost on the couch!) So tired.

It started with the fact that I completely forgot that most of the kids had a dentist check up at 8am, which John reminded me of at about 1:30am. So I got up at 6:30, got ready, made the kids breakfast, made them all wake up, eat, get dressed, and got them out the door… 15 minutes after their appointment was supposed to begin. Thankfully, it’s really close by!

We did the dentist appointment for 5 of the kids from 8:25ish-10am. Then I went across the street to the store, grabbed some food for a picnic, and rushed back home.

Next, dropped off most of the kids at home and told them to get their swimsuits on as fast as they could. Caitlin and Ethan stayed there and helped with Vaiden, Taevia, Phalin, Tahlia and Paxton. While they did that, I took Jordan to work real quick.

Got back, packed the last few things for the lake and got them all back into the car. Drove over to the Grandparent Pendergrass’s house and we headed out to the lake!

The lake wasn’t busy at all which was really nice! All of the kids had a ton of fun swimming, building sand castles, and rowing in their cousins canoe. That was my favorite part too. At one point I had Theia, Tazden, Paxton, Tahlia, and Phalin in the canoe at one time. I rowed them out to the buoy so they could touch it and rowed them back to shore… at least 10-15 times. Caitlin read a book most of the time, but she came with us which is the most important part!

I’m so glad their grandparents, aunt and uncle and cousins could all go. It’s so nice to get to know their (our) family better and to be able to spend time with them doing something that all of the kids enjoy.

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After the lake, we went home to change then I brought most of the kids over to their grandparent’s house to play with their cousins for a little longer. We finally got home for the night about 10pm. All of the kids went to bed and then so did !!

Long day but a good day. I’m looking forward to many more! The only thing that would have made it better is if John were here with us.

Happy Fathers Day

I’m lucky to have some really great fathers in my life. First, my dad. Who taught me to be strong and fearless by his example. Who never gave up on me. Who always hoped and prayed and believed that I would come around to the gospel again someday. Who is an example of leadership, entrepreneurship, and being bold in the face of adversity. Who taught me and continues to teach me that making mistakes is human but coming to Christ heals all. My dad who has loved me since day one. Honestly, I firmly believe we loved each other before we came to this earth. I’ve always loved and admired this man with all my heart and know of a surety that we were meant to walk this life together. I couldn’t do it without him and wouldn’t want to.

Thank you dad, for all that you are.

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my dad

My step dad. Who taught me that forgiveness is Christlike. That we all make mistakes but that family is forever. This man taught me that people change, even me. That even if we don’t understand our parents that someday, we just might. This man who loves my mother, who took on 3 kids in his early 20’s with no parent manual on how to be a step-parent but tried his best regardless. His example has taught me perseverance. sacrifice, and humility.

Thank you and Happy Fathers Day.

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My step dad with my mom

I have to give a little shoutout to my father in law as well. I actually met him a few weeks before I met my husband in person. He came over to my house to meet me and loan me a book John and I had talked about over the phone. When I met him, I automatically liked him. He is kind, smart and easy to talk to. Since getting to know him better, he constantly impresses me. He loves God, Christ and his family intensely. He pushes me to be a better person. I’m thankful for his example, strength, and love that he adds into our family and into my life already and our journey together has only begun.

Happy Fathers Day!

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my father in law

I also want to say Happy Fathers Day to my husband. The man who already had 7 kids yet opened his heart to 3 more. Who tries so hard to connect with them and love them when he’s home from work. He is an amazing father. A father who loves and listens to his kids. Who stays hours after he should have left for work to make sure they’re all okay. This man who is a powerful priesthood holder. Who has given me blessings whenever I ask for them, who prays for and with our family every day that he’s home, who teaches and talks about the gospel with excitement and love. This man loves God and our Savior Jesus Christ with all of his soul. He is the strength and center of our home and family, even though he has to work away from home for weeks at a time. Who makes me laugh. Who I can talk to endlessly about anything at all. Who already knows me so well and can crack my stubbornness with his persistent love. I couldn’t have asked and prayed for a better father for all of our kids. I’m lucky to walk this journey with him by my side, leading our children through this life.

Happy Fathers Day my love, my soul mate, my husband.

 

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Calm in the Chaos

This week was the Young Living Convention in Salt Lake City. My favorite part about it was being able to see all of my people, my friends, and my friends who I had never met in person before! It was amazing.

It went from Wednesday to Saturday. There were classes on business and networking, emotions, essential oils, science, you name it and we got to visit the farm.

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Sniffing freshly cut Juniper

This year, they put all of the classes online as well. This meant that… I didn’t worry about missing the classes. I’m sure that’s not why they did it, but it was really nice!

Last week I was able to go to the temple for the very first time. I had never even been as a teenager before I went inactive. I¬†loved it. So, because I wasn’t worried about missing classes¬†and I had babysitting already – I walked the few blocks over to the SLC Temple instead. I was able to go 3 of the days this week. It was so calming amid all of the hustle and bustle. I’ve learned so much in such a short amount of time and I want to go every day! I don’t think I’ll actually be able to go every day or even 3 times a week most of the time but I’m so glad that I was able to this week.

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Such a beautiful building!

Mostly I’m exhausted from lack of sleep and being on the go all week. I’m looking forward to settling back into the routine with the kids (I’ve missed them!) and planning fun things we can do together as a family this summer.

Christ Heals All Things

You hear the phrase ‘Christ heals’ all the time, right? Do we really know what that means? Usually, when we think about healing we think of big miracles. Healing the sick, making the blind see, etc. Am I right? I could be wrong. But that used to be how I viewed this idea. The only way I saw this.

I was wrong. I think I’m a little closer into understanding now though, Christ heals¬†all things.

I don’t really know why I’m writing about this – other than I feel like I should. Maybe it will help someone else understand too.

If you’re not LDS, bare with me. I think there’s still some good stuff here.

Anyways – I was inactive from the church for nearly 16 years. During that time I started drinking coffee. I liked coffee. I liked the taste, the ritual of drinking it every morning. It became a comfortable habit to have. But I was addicted. No question about it.

When I decided to come back to church, I gave up coffee. It was my choice and it was one I wanted to make. I believe the Word of Wisdom is there to help us, make us healthy, make us strong, and develop other healthy habits. It was not an easy habit to break.

I would drive by a coffee shop and a thought would enter my mind such as “one coffee wouldn’t hurt anything”. But you know what, it¬†would. Because if I wanted to be able to go to the temple, then even one would hurt.

You see – those thoughts – those are thoughts of addict. The adversary will and does use anything he can against us. Even little things.¬†Especially “little” things. Because those little things are small concessions. Each small concession gets you one step further and further away from where you really want to be. Those little things end up being a really big thing later.

Now let me tell you something simply miraculous. As soon as I had that temple recommend in my hand. Those thoughts vanished. The idea of wanting coffee – gone. The thought of drinking coffee actually kinda grosses me out now. I¬†don’t want it.

CHRIST HEALS ALL THINGS

Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

I never thought that I would live out a scripture passage. But weak things definitely can be made strong. I fully believe that I will never again have the adversary use coffee against me. That addiction is gone.

I never would have¬†ever called myself an addict either. I mean, it’s not like drugs or alcohol…. right? Wrong. There are so many possible addictions in this life. Thankfully, Christ can heal them all. Even the little things.

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Growing Weeds

I was weeding outside this morning and the weeds reminded me of a comment on Instagram yesterday.

As I was scrolling Instagram, LDSLiving posted a photo that said “Why is Modesty Important?” Out of curiosity, I scrolled through reading the comments. I love hearing what other people have to say and just see people’s personal reasons behind their decisions or beliefs. I’m just curious like that.

So I was reading comments and came across one that shocked me just a little bit. This person commented that “no one wants to see those butt and boob cracks and those other things” I was like… seems a little passionate but okay… and then she continued “I think it’s bad enough that they tattooed them self why would you want to show your temple like that”. There was a few other things said as well but these were the main comments that caught my attention.

At first I just scrolled by thinking, wow – that was a little judgmental.

And then I went back. I’m pretty good at letting things go and ignoring people but I¬†really wanted to comment on it so I said –

“I have tattoos. We all make mistakes in life, some of our mistakes are just more visible than others. I choose to dress modestly because if Christ walked in my door, I would want to be wearing something I would not feel ashamed in. I’m not ashamed of my tattoos, my past, or my mistakes for they are what brought me to this gospel. I would however, feel ashamed to be dressed in a way that was not temple worthy or would make my grandmother cringe. ūüėČ ”

Her response was “so true, I have made some mistakes but repented and same here.”

So why did weeding the garden remind me of this interaction?

Because weeds can be incredibly amazing. They bloom and flower. Many have medicinal power. They grow in locations and conditions that can be incredibly challenging. And yet, they are judged because a lot of people deem them to be pests, useless, or just not what they want.

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such a cute little flower! growing in the rocks.

My friends, it is not our place to judge others. Many of the most spiritually courageous people have and will come from backgrounds that might be deemed less than. Please, do not squash someones confidence or willingness to learn because they are or look different than you.

It is only our place to love.

Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Let Go and Let God

Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.

‚ÄĒ2 Nephi 2:16

Lately I’ve been getting some really strong feelings that I need to completely change my focus on a few things in my life. They seem like big things. I decided to talk to my dad about it on Sunday and his reply was basically – well you¬†needed those things in the past. They allowed you to get to where you are today. You don’t¬†need¬†them anymore, not really.

Mind blown. It hadn’t really occurred to me that I really didn’t need all of the things that I work on all the time. Yes, I know I’m being vague. I’m gonna be for now. It has nothing to do with marriage or family. Those are really good!

The specifics aren’t really the point anyways. The point is learning to let go and let God. Sometimes this is really really easy. Sometimes it’s not so much. Why do we – and by we I totally mean me – get so caught up in these patterns, habits, lifestyles, goals, visions of what we perceived our future to be. I’m over here thinking that I need to be doing specific things for my future when in reality, I’m sure my Heavenly Father is there trying to say “Tarrin – com’mon, I have something so much¬†better planned for you!”

But oh my WORD is it completely terrifying sometimes! My mortal mind just can’t let go of some of these ideas even though I¬†know¬†I should and I completely trust my God sooo… why do I wait?! Procrastinate?! Dip our toes?! lol it’s pretty silly when you really look at it like that.

2nd Nephi 10: 23 and 24 says –

23 Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves‚ÄĒto choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.
24 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.

These scriptures remind us that we have free will. We have our agency to choose. When we get these promptings of the Spirit – we still get to choose.

But then these scriptures are pretty intense, aren’t they? I mean, it basically all comes down to an ultimatum. Did you choose God’s way, or not?

But then verse 24. Verse 24 tells us to¬†reconcile¬†ourselves to the will of God. When the scriptures use the word reconcile, they are usually referring to the Atonement. When we are reconciled unto God – we have chosen the Atonement. We have chosen repentance, love, and submitting our will to God’s. That word holds a lot of meaning and a lot of power. This also means that God knows that we will make mistakes. He knows we will need to reconcile ourselves to Him over and over again throughout our lives.

Isn’t God so good?

So even though these choices might be big. I know they will be good because God always has plans better than mine.

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Testimony Sunday

When I knew that I wanted to come back to church, I worried that I would be judged because I have tattoos. There are LDS people that have tattoos, especially nowadays. But I still worried because I have noticeable ones. Ones that I can’t hide unless I wear long sleeves all the time and shoes that cover the top of my feet. I worried, until I found the Tattooed Mormon’s blog. Her name is Al Carraway. When I found her blog, my thought was – “If she is this popular with mormons, I can walk into¬†one church.” My point in telling you this is that she has also posted that everyone should bear their testimony every fast Sunday – even if it’s just to yourself. Ever since I read that, I’ve thought it’s a great idea. Because our testimonies should be growing and changing and evolving all the time.

So here’s my first one –

I know without a doubt that this Gospel is true. When talking to my mom last week, one of the things she said was “exciting things started happening the moment you committed your life to the Lord”. Boy, was she ever right. I was thinking about my life since I made the decision to come back to church. I knew I wanted to before I made the real commitment but that commitment has seemed to open a door to the Devine that I really had never thought possible. There is no doubt in my mind that God is real, Christ is real and risen, and the adversary is very real.

I have had numerous experiences in the last year that has proven this to me time and time again. One of those was when I had the flu, I was stuck in the bathroom (tmi, I know) for hours in the middle of the night. I felt¬†awful and I was so¬†tired.¬†I finally said a prayer telling my Heavenly Father just that. That I was tired and I just wanted to go to bed and sleep. I immediately felt this real physical calm wash over me from head to toe and my whole body calmed down. I felt fine. I stopped and paused and thought “maybe I should just sit here for a while and make sure” and then my next thought was “nope, I’m going to go lay down while I feel this good and if I have to get up again, I have to get up again” but I didn’t. I slept the rest of the night and felt just fine by morning.

God’s grace is¬†real.¬†God’s grace is¬†amazing. And a lot of times, most times, it’s not a big flashy thing. It’s as simple as – now I feel well enough to leave the bathroom and finally sleep.

We all have this grace in our lives. I see it in mine all the time. It’s when we get too busy, too distracted, too caught up in the world that we don’t see it for what it is. Because most of the time, it is these small things. People tell me all the time how overwhelmed I must be with 10 kids. And I do get overwhelmed. I get stressed. I feel really busy most of the time. But it is¬†only by God’s grace that I really don’t feel overwhelmed most of the time. I know I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I know that I can find joy in the busyness that comes with having 10 kids. I know that I can teach my kids to find that joy in their lives no matter what – because of God’s grace.

I love this Gospel. I love my God and my Savior. I love what this Gospel has brought into my life. I know that my life has been guided by God since the moment I was born and I am (maybe slowly) learning to let God have the reigns completely. My job in this life is to be still. To listen. And then to act upon what I know and feel to be true and to let God decide and lead me where He wants me to be.

I say these things with all the love in my heart, in the name of Jesus Christ – amen.

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Can’t hide the tattoos. And that’s okay!

CTR and Summer

 

I used to think that CTR rings, necklaces, WWJD bracelets, etc were silly. I don’t particularly like crosses as jewelry… but that’s a whole ‘nother post for another day. I used to think these types of jewelry were silly. Why? Because why would someone need that except to be flashy? To be trendy? I didn’t get why anyone would need jewelry to show they loved Christ. Wouldn’t that just be something you needed to¬†feel and not flash around to everyone else?

CTR stands for Choose The Right. It’s something that was designed for kids to help them to remember to choose the right, make good choices, and follow Christ. Except ever since I’ve come back to church I’ve felt like I needed a CTR ring. It’s taken me nearly a year to buy one. Part of that reason was I still felt like it was silly.

Until I went to dairy queen for ice cream with the little ones the other day. The older kids were having parties at school and the tiny ones were feeling left out – ice cream fixes everything, right?! Our cashier was a woman a little older than me. She looked like she might have had a rough past (absolutely no judgement here, just a simple observation), she had a tattoo on the back of her hand (again… never gonna get judgement for tattoos from me!) and she had a CTR ring on. I almost said and I wanted to say “Wow! I’m so proud of you!” This was literally the first thought that came to my mind. And I was a little taken aback by my own thoughts. I also wanted to ask her to be Facebook friends with me but I’m still trying to figure out how weird I can be about religion with people. lol No seriously, I am definitely that weird in general with people and make friends pretty easily wherever I go but I still feel a little awkward talking about religion with people I don’t know, don’t know well, or even people from my past that knew me when I wasn’t active in the church. There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to offend people or make people feel awkward about it. I’m slowly getting over this but it really has been a struggle. Silly, I know.

Anyways, my next thought illuminated as to why that was my first thought and reaction to seeing her CTR ring. These rings aren’t just to remind¬†us. They are a statement of our values. An¬†outward statement of our beliefs. My next thought was¬†“you¬†need one”.

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So I got one today. It’s these little things that show others (and ourselves) who we really are. It shows the world who we are striving to be. It shows our Father that we are willing to stand and say, Yes, Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.

And that’s why I’ll probably be treating this ring just like my wedding rings and it won’t be coming off.

Step by step just like line by line, we learn and grow.

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Today was the last day of school for these kids! Summer is officially here!

We went to the park to play after school although I didn’t get very many pictures since everyone was running around in opposite directions!

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After the park, we decided to go celebrate National Donut Day.

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I’m sorry if you ever get stuck waiting in line around us…
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love these kids!

Then we had pizza and movie night to celebrate the beginning of summer. I’m actually looking forward to not having to worry about school for a few months. I think this will give us all a chance to learn to work together, to get along a little better (a mama can hope!) and create some good family habits before the next school year begins.