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Because He Lives!!!

THE STORY

Once upon a time there was a girl or you could say a young woman, or perhaps even a woman named Amy…oh, wait that’s me. Yes this is a true experience about me.

I met an amazing man and we began dating in a way… He lived in France and I live in the United States. We would Skype or make video calls to each other whenever we could and we would send long emails every day. It was wonderful. I began to really love him, or at least I considered it love. He was so very nice and caring. I told him about my struggles with depression and how my arms were full of scars, and he looked past those struggles I had and looked forward with hope for the future.

We began talking more about actually meeting each other. We expressed our feelings for each other and loved talking of our possible future together.

At this point, I wanted to be completely honest, not that I wasn’t before…I just wanted to share everything about myself with him. So, I told him about an addiction that I struggled with and how deeply I feared rejection from others.

When I told him of this addiction, he said he would like to help but followed it up with if I knew anyone other woman where I lived that would like him…basically asking me to set him up with one of my friends.

I responded by saying that I was sorry he felt that way and apologized for my shortcomings, but that I would not just pass him on to another one of my friends here in the U.S. He was simply just not the man for me.

I was heartbroken and depression seemed to start seeping in again. I reverted back to my addiction, which I had been clean of for close to eight weeks. This ended up making me feel even worse. After a few weeks, I even went to send him another email telling him how much I missed him, but after reading his final email to me, decided against it. I really hope that he is doing well.

THE LESSON I LEARNED/ THE POINT

Over time, a couple of months, I learned to lean more heavily on my Savior for help and support. I have been learning to be more humble and pure. I have been attending addiction recovery meetings to help with my addiction.

Basically I have learned that ALL is possible through the Savior. I have been trying to trust in Him and His plan for me more and more…which is definitely not always easy.

I know that my Savior lives and that because He lives I can live again, I can live now. Because He lives, I can truly be happy even amidst hard and challenging times in my life. Oh how I do miss the love that comes from being in a relationship with someone you believe truly cares about you, who you believe you could spend forever with.

But I know that the Lord has felt those same feelings that I have felt and that because He lives I can have hope in my life for a better future, for a clean life from addiction, for the strength to keep going in hard times, for so, so much more.

I hope you enjoy the song/video by Sally Deford. It is one of my favorites. What can you do or believe or feel in your life because the Savior lives?

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Savior, Redeemer of My Soul

This song reflects how I often feel.

I have been ‘healthy’ from depression for at least six months now, and I am truly grateful for my Savior. I have not cut myself for six months and hope that I will never go back to that again, but I will always have the reminder of what I have gone through from the scars on my arms.

I hope that you can find peace and solace from this song as I often do, no matter what you are facing.

What things have you overcome in your life? What helped you through?

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What Shall We Give?

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What are you giving this Christmas?

Many of us are excited to receive and to give during the Christmas season.  What do you give to others that lasts more than a few days?  How can people feel of your love for them?  How do we show our love to Christ?  What do we give to Christ in this His season?

We can give of so very much by just smiling.  It does not take any money whatsoever.  Love comes from kind words and kind acts, not from how many toys are under the Christmas tree.  He loves us.  Let us also love Him.

Spiritual Preparation

I wanted to share some thoughts from Sheri Dew that I read the other day in her book, “No Doubt About It.”  This is what she says:

“In the mid-1930’s, Hitler began to make his play for power throughout the European continent.  Winston Churchill saw through Hitler’s rhetoric and began tromping up and down the British Isles sounding an alarm about this madman in Germany who was determined to control all of Europe.  At the outset, Britishers accused Churchill of war-mongering and ignored his warnings.  In those early days, it was unfashionable to oppose the charismatic German dictator. But the young Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, then serving as a missionary in London, found Churchill’s petitions difficult to dismiss.”

“In June of 1935, at the conclusion of his mission, Elder Hinckley and tow other missionaries being released left London and set out for a brief tour of the European continent en route home.  For several days they saw the sights by day and took overnight trains to their next destination.  The trains in Germany were filled with Nazi troops, and Elder Hinckley was fascinated with their appearance and demeanor.  They were spit and polish, their uniforms pressed and immaculate, their manner efficient and precise as they goose-stepped in unison and on command thrust their fists into the air in salute.

In Munich the threesome witnessed a company of Hitler Youth marching through the streets. ‘It was incredible to contemplate,’ Elder Hinckley said, ‘that a people would take fourteen and fifteen-year-old boys, put them in battalions, and raise up a generation of soldiers.  If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I would not have been able to fathom the insanity of it all.’

In Dresden, as they visited a memorial to an earlier war, an elderly woman approached the monument.  Poorly dressed, her face wrinkled with age, she laid a bouquet of flowers at the Unknown Soldier memorial and then knelt to pray.  As she arose, her eyes filled with tears, Elder Hinckley could hear the sound of drums and marching youth filling the air.  ‘History is going to repeat itself,’ he said to himself.  ‘In a coming day, men and women will kneel at this monument and mourn the loss of the youths marching just a block away.’

When he and his friends crossed into France, the contrast was dramatic.  The French troops were not as disciplined or precise in their dress or their movements.  Their demeanor suggested that they weren’t as concerned about or prepared for what lay ahead.  Elder Hinckley later reflected, ‘Hitler had identified his object and knew what he was doing.  But the rest of Europe was asleep.  I sensed that I had a front-row seat on the bleachers of history.’

Similarly, we have a front-row seat on the bleachers of an era in which Satan is moving about largely uncontrolled and unchecked.  When Britain could have opposed Hitler and stopped him early on, the Britishers were busy doing other less significant things.  They didn’t recognize their enemy, and as a result they didn’t prepare or marshal their energy and resources to defeat him.  Other Allied countries were similarly nonchalant.  And the results proved fatal for thousands of soldiers.

Today we face and enemy ever so much more threatening than Hitler, for what we have to lose is our happiness and peace of mind here, and eternal life in the world to come.  Satan’s tactics are bold and brilliant in both their subtlety and their impudence.

Satan knows exactly what he is doing.  But do we?  Are we sleeping, or are we creating places of security where we may insulate ourselves from his advances?

Now is the time to prepare.  What are your thoughts on what Sheri Dew wrote about this battle we are in the midst of now?

Experience the Power of Prayer

Follow this link:  Experience the Power of Prayer

A Snow Covered Christmas Tree

Here is another endearing story I found in the December 2008 Ensign:

A Small, Snow-Covered Tree

BY DARRELL SMART

One day, shortly before Christmas, our third child and first son, Bay, was born. As I said good-bye that evening to my exhausted but joyful wife and left the hospital, the warmth and joy that accompanied the birth of my son overwhelmed the cold chill of that clear December night.

The following December we celebrated the first birthday of our dark-eyed, dark-haired son. The day after Christmas, during an evening of games at the home of my in-laws, our revelry was interrupted by an awful shriek from my mother-in-law: “He’s not breathing!” She had gone to check on Bay, who had been sleeping on her bed, and discovered his cold, lifeless body. We immediately rushed our son to the hospital, attempting CPR on the way. We were grief-stricken to learn that nothing could be done to save his life. He had died from sudden infant death syndrome.

Since then, Christmas has been filled with a much deeper meaning for ourfamily. Each year on Christmas Eve when we take down our other children’s stockings to fill them, one solitary stocking is left on the fireplace mantle. Throughout the remainder of the holiday the stocking serves as a reminder of Bay.

Each year, around the time of Bay’s birthday, my wife and I drive to the cemetery where he is buried. At each visit we find that someone else has arrived before us and placed something on our son’s grave: one year it was delicate, small flowers; the next year, a stuffed bear; the next, a little Christmas tree decorated with miniature ornaments. We have no idea who is responsible; the gifts, which touch us deeply, are never accompanied by a note or card.

When I hinted to my mother-in-law that I knew her secret, she denied responsibility. The following year while she and my father-in-law were serving a Church mission abroad, we again found that someone had placed a gift on our son’s grave. Even after inquiring with other familymembers and friends, we were unable to solve the mystery.

Ten years after our son’s death, a series of snowstorms prevented us from traveling short distances. As a result, our annual visit to our son’s grave site was delayed until several days after Christmas. When we finally made it, we saw a small, decorated Christmas tree, mostly buried in the snow, standing bravely at the head of Bay’s small grave. The effort it must have taken for someone to get to the cemetery through the heavy snowfall overwhelmed us. Tears streamed down our faces as we realized that someone still shared our grief and loss.

After that, we were more resolved than ever to discover the identity of our benefactor and thank him or her for showing us such compassion. But as we reflected more, we realized that whoever was doing these acts of kindness did not want to be identified. We decided to allow our friend to remain anonymous. We replaced our need to thank our friend with a desire to simply live better.

It is now harder for us to speak ill of or criticize any of our friends or family members, because any one of them may be our anonymous friend.

Often while doing service, my wife and I pause to examine our hearts: are we doing good things to be seen by others or for the pure love of Christand of our fellowmen?

For us, charity—humble and never seeking its own—is symbolized by a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, half-buried in snow, resting in a quiet cemetery.