Wednesday, April 12, 2017

WHEN GOD MAKES YOU WAIT








Photography // Sadie Banks 

I was the girl that dreamed about going to BYU, finding the perfect guy, and getting married just a few years out of high school, I mean at least by the age of 20 because that's what Mormon girls do. (Shh...don't you dare tell McKay - this is our little secret) Clearly, God had other plans for my life....

Plans that then I didn't understand.
Plans that broke my heart and shattered it into a trillion pieces multiple times.
Plans that made me question if He even loved me.
Plans that could have filled an entire ocean with my tears.
Plans that had me questioning my worth, my value, my potential, my beauty.

But...
Plans that made every single tear, fear, and heartache worth it! 

I can't thank Heavenly Father enough for the joy that I feel on a daily basis, or for the love that I have for my dear husband that never ceases to stop growing, or for the tender mercies of a beautiful place we call home where we make yummy food, share the same hobbies, have tons of inside jokes, and laugh at least twenty times a day about the most random things. Life is bliss at the moment and my heart is indebted to my Heavenly Father for His patience.

Let's rewind a little bit to the hardest 10 years of my life to this point, shall we?

Ugh, dating... it's the worst. Don't get me wrong, it can be tons of fun, but man is it hard. It's not for the weak, especially when a little bit of heart break is involved. I can't even count how many times my heart got broken, and some were from the same guys over and over again. 

Dating was exhausting, there were times where it felt hopeless, times where I questioned my faith or wondered if I had completely blown the promises Heavenly Father had given me. 

I remember a particular season in my dating life where I just felt like I wasn't beautiful enough to be the wife of any guy. I would look in the mirror and the comparisons of girls on magazines ate me alive. It was my every thought and I felt beyond inadequate...you know why? Because Satan knew the great happiness that awaited me right around the corner. He knew the joy that my heart would sing and he wanted me to feel worthless... and girls when you feel as if you don't have value or when your self-esteem isn't where it should be... you make poor decisions, you start to compromise your values, you become vulnerable to even more lies of the adversary which is why self-esteem is SO important!

There was another chapter of my dating life where this guy would be on again, off again all by the council of Heavenly Father. He said he wanted to marry me but God didn't want that for us and it broke my heart. It tore me into pieces for well over a year as this is how long the journey lasted. It wore at my heart and actually started to weaken the relationship I had taken so long to build with Heavenly Father. 

To be honest, I have no idea if Heavenly Father really gave him that revelation that he wasn't to marry me or if he was just confused with his own feelings... I'll probably never know the truth to that one and that is okay with me. But I do know I didn't receive that same revelation and for some reason my mind started to have me believe that I wasn't spiritual enough for this guy from the Lord's point of view and that's why this just wasn't going to work out. I honestly started to feel unloved by the Lord, this experience had my mind creating all sorts of thoughts that simply weren't true.

I do remember a particular evening I had plans to go on a date with this guy as we were trying to make it work, he took me to the church parking lot where he told me for the umpteenth time that we couldn't date due to revelation he had been given. It broke my heart and I couldn't stop crying. I received a priesthood blessing of comfort that night and in the blessing one line stood out that said "This is the last time you will have to give up a guy." I thought that was really interesting but actually didn't know what it meant. I assumed the next guy that I went on a date with would be him. I should have known better...lines like that have deeper meaning with much more beauty to them.

I actually broke up with McKay 3 months after we dated the first time based on strong spiritual promptings I couldn't shake away despite the fact that I REALLY didn't want to. But I was obedient...and then came the hardest 4 months of my life. Months where I spent anywhere from 3 hours to 20 hours a day crying. Some days I knew why I was crying and others I just couldn't even process anything but depression had never been so real. Never have I ever felt so worthless, only to feel like a grain of sand had more value then I. I was lonely more than I had ever been in my life...the only people I saw were my brother, mom, and dad and there was quite a bit of contention at home and not a good environment. I was broken to my very core.

And then something happened, McKay texted me out of the blue one day to say he was sorry. I couldn't believe it... he had done nothing wrong. I was elated but worried all at the same time. I sure wanted to talk to him because I really liked him, but I was so scared that we couldn't be together because of the surety I had that it was the Spirit that had me break of with him and what if we would have to go through that all over again?

Well we got together and talked and started seeing each other every single day after that. Some days I would beg Heavenly Father that McKay could be mine forever and always. For some reason there was a fear though that seemed to linger and follow me everywhere. It was this fear that we wouldn't end up together. It was this fear that pierced my soul and caused me some of the greatest grief I had known. You see... I think I was suffering from PTSD of not having it work out with any guy I had ever dated. I had this deep fear that Heavenly Father wouldn't approve because that seemed to be the pattern in my life. 

I wish I could explain to you just how much agony I was in as this fear paralyzed me. I would often cry in McKay's arms and ask if marriage was ever in our future. (Heavenly Father's love is real... the proof is in the fact McKay didn't go running for the hills. For reals though, if there is hope for me - you better believe there is hope for you.) The anxiety I felt was immense pain, however the joy that came after made every single moment of it worth it! 

I now can look back and see what the line in that priesthood blessing meant, giving up McKay the first time was a test. A test for me to know how much I love the Lord, and then for Heavenly Father to not make me give up McKay permanently was a token to show how much He loves me and just how closely he listens to prayers.

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A special note to girls, if you're in the dating phase right now just remember how much God loves you and that you are never alone! He is guiding you, He is watching over you, He is keeping His promises.

If you are waiting on God, know that His plans are perfect. He may not give you everything you want but He surely will give you everything you need!

TRUST GOD & DO GOOD!! This is the formula to joy no matter what waiting phase you might be in! 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Learning to LOVE Yourself through Serving Others



Service used to be my middle name. I lived to help others, it was on my mind ALL THE TIME. I would come home from school to go pick up trash in the neighboorhood park, or I would ever so sneakily take up my neighbors trash can for them, or I would clean the entire house and leave notes on the beds for my family to find. It is what gave me great joy.

Then life got a little more hectic as I started to deal with some personal hardships and trials and somehow I allowed my heart to become blinded of the needs of those around me. 

The other day I was listening to a talk by President Eyering when a few words he said suddenly pierced my heart. 

"Sorrow comes primarily from selfishness, which is the absence of love."
- President Eyring

 These simple words were a wake-up call, I had been feeling great sorrow in my life. Yes, so many incredible joyous blessings are happening around me but the mental and emotional battles I was facing inside made me feel as if I were drowning and somehow I allowed these weaknesses within me to shrivel up my heart as I become filled with much selfishness, causing much sorrow.

This winter season has been long, oh so very long. It's been a very dreary winter, but yesterday as I was in my car, I saw it. I saw the light. I saw the beauty of the snow. I saw the joy of the season; the winter season that Heavenly Father created with his intelligence of knowing what is best. I felt God's love overpour throughout my body and I felt peace and hope. It was there all along, but yesterday was the day it truly spoke to me.

It was a wake-up call to give love and serve those around me. It was a reminder that when we feel God's love, we can pass it on. But on the flipside when we serve and invite love into our hearts, God's love suddenly becomes more extremely acute even though it's been there all along.

Then this morning as I was searching for something I came across not one but two videos about service from two of my top 10 role models. It was an incredible wake-up call to me to DO SOMETHING! Yes, Heavenly Father needed to get my attention that service is love, it's forgetting you and going to work. 

Here's the videos:




If you want to love yourself a little deeper and you're looking for a remedy to have more joy, more confidence, and more kindness towards yourself....SERVICE is the answer! I will be finding ways to give service today. They may be small and simple things, but that's where the POWER lies. 

One scripture that I absolutely love is in 1 Peter 4:8 "And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins."

 Charity is the antidote to selfishness, because it CHANGES us. From the inside out it makes us want to sin no more. The mistakes we are making on a daily basis become almost non-excistent because our hearts change to become a little bit more like Christ. Yes, I have so much room to change and I am jumping up and down right now as I type this because Heavenly Father has wanted to remind me of what service is, He's wanted me to get up and do something for a long long time and how humbled I am by His gentle and peaceful reminder today.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2016 - Finding Hope and Healing Admist the Mess






This past year has been an interesting one. It's been very messy emotionally, it's been a struggle to find balance for all the things I feel called to do, and it's been one of learning and growing in a new life as I've fallen in love with the most amazing man. 

The trials that came up this year were unexpected, but that's just how life goes. Heavenly Father likes to keep us on our toes so we can learn and grow. We are here to be changed, changed for the better. We are here to draw near to our Savior, and to learn of Him and have the empathy and compassion that He unfathomably has. 

This year I've had some incredible experiences, ones that weren't so incredible in the midst of me going through them. There was a time this year when all I wanted to do was disappear off of the earth. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, and yet after it was over my heart had this new connection to the Savior, one I hadn't felt before in all the 20-something years of my life.

It was the greatest blessing to be able to launch thepowerofonegirl.com, everything came together perfectly with the website design and the video we made, and the inspiration for what this blog was to be... I felt so connected to God and everything I had been working towards for the past 10 years was finally coming together; THEN life took over once again. I felt writer's block, I felt what I was doing didn't really matter, I felt STUCK (which is something I can't even begin to explain, but if you've experienced it before, you simply GET IT), and on top of all of that I had anxiety that paralyzed me and I don't use those words lightly. I knew my life had turned into chaos and something had to be done. On top of all of this I was experiencing some digestive issues and some not so fun physical symptoms and I wanted to get to the bottom of it. 

I had been to my family practitioner over and over again and nothing was ever being found. I asked a friend if she had any references of where I could find some help as she gave me the name of an incredible lady. Someone that has helped me immensely this year to have a deeper love for myself and a pointed me towards the messages Heavenly Father has had for me all along. As I've been able to filter out some false beliefs I have had about myself and the nature of God, I have found so much hope and a new sense of wholeness I've never had before. I learned that I have leaky gut which has been one of the main culprits of all the emotional and physical struggles I've been experiencing. 

Upon learning I had leaky gut, I've been approaching eating an entirely new way this year. At first, it was hard. At first, Satan would try and stop me with incredible dark forces from being healed. There were moments this year where I lost all hope, all light, and had no faith or hope in healing or in a need to be healed. I know Satan knows me, He knows my mission, and He knows how to throw the dark forces that have the potential to keep me from fulfilling what I was born to do, which I know with my whole heart ties so deeply into health. I've been able to line upon line learn how to silence Satan's words so I can take power over my own life and eat the foods that are good for my body which means completely getting rid of the SAD (Standard American Diet, it really is SO sad) I've been so accustomed to and eating ONLY whole foods and whole ingredients. 

It's been hard, I go to parties and people either think I'm weird or anorexic. People will say things to me like "You're already so skinny, you don't need to be on a diet." and other people will say "Someone has to be THAT person." UGH. Why do people say things like this? You know what, I know. It's because they aren't comfortable with who they are yet. They are still learning who they are, what their mission is, and what it means to truly love themselves. I've been there, in fact, I'm still there. Learning to really love me. We make judgments about others when we aren't content with ourselves. These judgments come in many forms from jealousy to comparison, to the unkind words we speak directly to others, to even the silent words we may say through our looks, our attitudes, or even the gossip to those whom we most trust. 

On this journey of learning about my physical and mental health, I'm embracing change and a chance to heal; fully and completely. It's not going to be easy. I have brokeness and emotions buried in me that haven't been dealt with, we all have these buried emotions. But it's beautiful that Heavenly Father allows the trials we experience to have deeper meaning than meets the eye. His plan is perfect!

I've been studying so much about holistic health and the way our bodies have the ability to heal and were meant to heal. We have the obstacles we have in this life so that we can learn to OVERCOME! Christ overcame death and we are here to learn how to be like Him. I have found so much incredible peace and joy in studying about healing, wholeness, and the nutrition benefits in all the food God has blessed us with. This year I will be going through a course to be a holistic nutritionist. I'm so incredibly excited. I want to help bring hope and wholeness to others. If you've had any questions about holistic health, we should talk. It is only through Christ we can find complete and everlasting wholeness, but nutrition sure plays a role in our relationship with Him because our emotions have a way of getting in the way and blocking off the Spirit.

So while it's been a year of learning, and growing, it's also been a year of answers, of hope, and of finding Christ in the most beautiful way. Good things are coming and the best is yet to be!