Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Holy Woman

What an incredible weekend it has been, I have had the chance to go to women's conference in our stake and listen to several of the amazing women in my stake. A part of the conference that I want to share with you is something that I, miraculously, had been thinking of (in a way) for a while now.

This is the CD the women listened to.

Our Stake Relief Society Presidency gave a challenge to four women in our stake that are all in different stages in their lives, and very different circumstances. The received the challenge to find three things in their lives that they could work on by thinking "What would a Holy Woman do?" They each had wonderful stories of learning and experience. Many of them were humorous and others were tender, but each of them were important lessons learned.

Copyright: Simon Dewey

I have always looked up to Mary the mother of Jesus as a wonderful example to me. And I have always wanted to be able to be the kind of woman that no matter what Heavenly Father needs me to do or be he would feel like I was capable of that. There are so many women in this world today that are incredible, fabulous, loving, kind, beautiful, and holy. So thank you to all of you wonderful women who are striving to be righteous daughters of a heavenly King, mothers to heavenly children, and friends to everyone. You are a light in my life and have helped me to become the woman that I am today, I am far from perfect, but I am better that I was yesterday, and sometimes that's all you can do.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Lesson On Love

This may be kind of hard to believe for some, but I'm kind of an introvert. Especially around my family. It's something I have been working on for the past few years. I would always try to be the happy, bubbly person that I want to be in public and then get home and be so exhausted that I would shut myself into my bedroom and not talk to anyone and would escape my own life through books and movies. It was just how I operated. But that also meant that I hid my own true emotions for most of my teenage years and focused on others' thinking that their feelings were more important than mine. It was the reason for my reading constantly, because I needed to escape everything that was real and be in something that I knew everything was fake. 

Another reason for my always acting like I was fine is this, and it is not a bad thing, my mother is a worrier. I knew that she didn't sleep most nights because of worrying about her kids' and the things that they had told her they were struggling with. I felt like if I could hide that I was hurting, frustrated, tired, or any other less that wonderful feeling that she would get more sleep, that she could focus on the others, that she wouldn't worry about me. I know, it was a ridiculous thought and she has always, and will always, worry about me.

This worked for years, and believe me when I say years. I would bottle up my emotions and let everything go through reading, writing (both journal writing and just for fun/school), sports etc. Anything I could find to use as a release then I would. But eventually I couldn't hold things in anymore. I didn't know how to handle my own emotions, whereas I was pretty much an expert at handling other peoples'. I would just start crying for no reason, anytime, anywhere. And I never understood why I was crying, just that I needed to cry. The smallest sad moment would set me off, like sitting in a lecture on the Revolution and talking about a battle that a relatively small amount of people died and I would start openly weeping and would have to leave the class as quickly as possible. I didn't know how to take it anymore. Then I found my new favorite song:

"Carry On" By: Fun. This is my favorite part: 

"...You swore and said, 'We are not, we are not shining stars.' 'This I know I never said we are...' If your lost and alone or you're sinking like a stone, carry on. May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground, carry on, carry on...Cause we are, we are shining stars, we are invincible, we are who we are..."

I had just been talking to my Bishop when I went to walk home and pulled out my iPod. I had recently put a couple new songs on it and wanted to listen to them. I had never actually listened to this one but I was glad that I did at this point. The whole song is wonderful and has changed to mean different things to me in the past year. It helped me so much because it helped me to understand and internalize the things that I had just talked to my Bishop about. I felt like I was sinking, that I was losing myself and I didn't know what to do. 

He told me this: "You are not losing yourself, you are developing, becoming someone more. You just need to accept who you are. You are becoming that person for a reason and you need to pray for acceptance of that person and what you will accomplish because of being that person."

Needless to say I started crying at that point because of the spirit I felt. I realized that maybe it is a gift to feel, and that I could accept it, and myself. My family have joked that I have the "gift to weep" I always took this as a bit of an insult. But I have come to realize something. Most of my frustrations have been about not knowing how to help someone else. So maybe it is a gift, to weep for those who will not, cannot, or just need someone to weep for, or with them. It is not a bad thing to love, love deeply for that too is a gift. 

Life is hard, and it will only get harder, but we must carry on. Here's a little lesson on love and life from First Corinthians 9:24: "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain."

I love this, it doesn't tell you that it's a leisurely walk; It is a run, it is often hard, uncomfortable, annoying, and tiring, but it is worth the prize of eternal life at the end. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Trials and Triumphs

I have always had a good life, a great family, and a great neighborhood. School has always been something I enjoyed and I've always had friends. I have never had a valid reason to complain about anything and I am glad for that. But lately I have been thinking about trials.

I had a seminary teacher my sophomore year of high school that helped a lot in changing my outlook on life. There is one lesson we had that I have recently been thinking about a lot. It was focused on the atonement and a talk entitled "Sunday Will Come" by Joseph B. Wirthlin and was given in the October 2006 General Conference. (if you would like to read it here is the link: Sunday Will Come )

I remember sitting in class as a 15 year old girl who had no worries other than if the boy she liked knew she existed, but this lesson hit a chord with me. I sat on the third row and about four seats in. It was the perfect spot. My class was first hour and this particular teacher was known very well for his enthusiastic, and often times, very loud approach to teaching. Everyone loved him. But today was different. He wasn't teaching in his loud rambunctious manner, and was rather quiet. I remember leaning forward in my seat and feeling the spirit so strongly. I learned so much that day. I learned that no matter how hard times may get that it is up to us to persevere and to remember the character of our loving Heavenly Father.

This lesson hit me so strongly. A lot of it is because of something that happened before I was even born. My mother's father died during a heart transplant when she was three months along with me. I don't ever remember being told about him, when he died or anything like that, but I always knew. As a little girl I remember envying Kaitlyn because she got to know Grandpa Craig and I didn't. I can recall going out back when I was upset and swinging on the swing set and singing songs that I made up about knowing Grandpa. I would imagine him pushing me on the swings. I always missed him, but he was always my special friend when I was little. I still think about him every day and I love him, but it's not the same as when I was little.

So when I read this talk it was such a comfort to me to know that Sunday will come. I will meet him and I will get to be with all of my family forever someday. So I moved on after a while. I sort of forgot about the talk that had made such an impact and went on with my high school career. I graduated and was a part of the Hyrum City Royalty the summer and fall after graduation. That was when I really got to know Allisa. We had so much fun that summer, getting to know each other, talking about life, driving to and from parades, complaining about having to wear formal dresses on hot summer days, talking to little girls who came up to get a picture with the princesses. She made my summer that much better, and I learned what an amazing person she is. (If you'd like to know more about Allisa and her amazing family you can find her mom's blog here."

Then after our parades were over I got the news Allisa's tumor was back with a vengeance. She had already battled cancer once before and won but this time wasn't looking very good. She passed away in January of 2012. I have never questioned my life and what I was doing with it so much as when she passed away. It was at this time that I revisited this talk and had my own personal triumph amidst trial. That triumph was one of realizing that I do have a testimony. That I do know that we must travel through the darkness in order to come unto Christ. We must go through the refiners fire so that we can be comfortable in the presence of our Heavenly parents. I know that all these things are for our good and that we can and must endure them well. The Lord knows everything and so I know that he knows what I can handle. This quote is the one that got really helps me through my dark moments:

 "Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.
But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come." -Joseph B. Wirthlin

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Never Thought Norway

When the announcement was made in October that I could now serve a mission as soon as they needed me (already being 19) I didn't hesitate. It took two days to get in with my Bishop because of the flood of young adults who were anxious to begin the process of preparing to serve. But once I got started nothing could slow me down. Not even my phobia of needles, as I got shots, a TB test, and blood work done! I was on my way.

I have never been so sure of something in my life. People asked me how I felt, if I was okay, if I was excited,  and I was also asked several times if I was sure about my decision. I had been telling my parents since I was 10 years old that I was going to go on a mission. Around the time I was 15 I was telling them that as long as there wasn't a ring on my finger then I was going on a mission. This past year on August 30th I had a little celebration because a year from that day I could have sent in my mission papers! So yes, I would tell people, I was very sure of my decision.

I had my final interview on October 30th and was just waiting to see where I would be sent. Two anxious weeks went by. My best friend and roommate Kaycie was going to be getting her call too so we suffered the anxiety together. Then, on November 14, 2012 we were sure that our calls were coming that day. Unfortunately we had a test in one of our classes so we couldn't just go home and wait yet. We might as well have forgotten the test, because I know that I was unable to focus on anything other than my mission call! Finally the test was over and we could go and wait for the mail. Thankfully I don't live very far from the university so I was home in only 20 minutes. Kaycie had to drive two hours. But finally three o'clock rolled around. No one was at my parents house but me as I watched the mailman drive up, with bated breath I watched the mailbox open and that was all I could see. I couldn't tell, was it here yet? My mother really wanted someone to video me getting it out of the mail so I had to wait for almost 20 minutes before my little sister got home. Never have I stared so long or so hard at anything than I did at that mailbox. If I could have  willed myself to have x-ray vision, believe me, I would have. Finally my sister was there to video and I went out and got it from the mail. I didn't let it go until 6 o'clock that night when all my family had arrived and I could open it.

Kaycie and I at the temple.

A lot of missionaries that I had talked to told me that when they got their call, before they opened it, they knew where they were going to go. I was straining for some inkling of where and came up with nothing. I was actually guessing that I would go state-side. So you can imagine my shock when I opened my call.

When I read that beloved sentence of: "Sister Roe you have been hereby called to serve in the Norway, Oslo mission." Screams erupted from my mom, aunt, and grandma. I had to re-read it about three times before I believed it. Only once before have I felt such peace as when I read that sentence, I knew that it was the right place for me to be and that it would be a blessing to me and my future family.

But, after I felt that adored peace I had the thought "I have to learn to like fish!" followed quickly by "What do they even speak there? Danish?"

I thought that the time would pass so slowly, realizing that I had 6 months from the time I got my call to the day I leave (April 17th) but now I am glad for that time. I feel so much more prepared and am glad of the time that I have to be with my family. Especially my little brother, who will leave on his mission before I get home. I know that the Lord loves all of us and knows what's best for us!