Posted in Christian, exmormon, mormonism

UNCONDITIONAL…

Well, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted anything.  I enjoyed a great vacation and am adjusting to new changes in my life.  But, I’m back and pray that I can continue to post on a more regular basis.

Facebook reminded me today that 1 year ago today is when I started writing my blog.  It’s amazing how fast time seems to go and how many things can change in 1 year.  One year ago, my life was so different than it is now and the changes that have happened in my life weren’t even on my radar a year ago. However, there is one thing I have been praying for, for the last 2-3 years and God finally gave me a yes and a wide-open door to that prayer.

overwhelming

For the past 2-3 years, I have struggled with my place of employment.  I have spent a lot of time pleading with God to open the doors for a new place to work.  I went to interviews and whatever the circumstance, the timing wasn’t right.  No matter how many times the door shut in my face, I knew in God’s time, He would provide what I was praying for. Although, the last several months have been very difficult, I know God is watching over me and only wants the best for me.  My answered prayer is a new place of employment and for the first time in a long time, I’m excited about the future of my career.

I still struggle sometimes with that internal dialogue of not feeling good enough when God doesn’t give me the answers I want when I pray. I often think it’s because I’m not good enough for God or I’m not living right.  It’s amazing how quickly those thoughts can over take me when God says, “No” or “Not right now”.  I get so caught up in what I want, I forget that God loves me and has a plan for me.

In my Mormon belief system, the ongoing message was live according to what the church teaches you and Heavenly Father will answer your prayers.  One high up leader, Boyd K. Packer said, “Keep your covenants and you will be safe.  Break them and you will not.”   A more recent quote by another high up LDS leader, David A. Bednar said, “Ordinary people who faithfully, diligently, and consistently, do simple things that are right before God will bring forth extraordinary results”.

Romans 3 28

I feel like when I was growing up, I was never really taught about God’s love.  I believed God’s love was contingent on being the faithful, diligent, consistent Mormon; which I was not even close to.  So, how could God love me? I believed God’s love was always connected to how I was living my life and when prayers weren’t answered, it was because I needed to learn something or because I wasn’t reading my scriptures enough. I think back now about being a kid and the things I prayed for.  It’s a good thing God doesn’t answer every prayer.

As a Christian, I have learned God’s love is unconditional.  I don’t have to earn it.  I don’t have to be good enough.  It doesn’t matter what I have done in my life, God loves me.  I am His child.  It still blows me away when I stop and think about God, he created the universe and he created me.  He wants the best for me in my life.

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Now when prayers aren’t answered, I know it’s because God has something better for me.  When those thoughts creep into my head and I feel like I have to be better, I stop, and laugh at myself because I know God isn’t going to withhold blessings because I’m not good enough.

PSALMS 136 1 4

I’m just a Small Town Girl…living in a world of God’s unconditional love.

Posted in Christian, exmormon, mormonism

Great Expectations…

I had plans to post a blog all week last week but I have been super busy and, much like life, things didn’t go as planned.  So here I am, a week later, finally finding time to write my blog.  So often, this is how life goes.  We have great expectations of how we want things to be or things to turn out.  I never thought my life would be the way it currently is. expext define

I recently read an article that talked about the biggest problem in relationships, and it wasn’t anything most people think.  It listed the biggest problem in relationships as “expectation”.  I completely agree with the article.  And although it was referring to romantic relationships, I feel expectation is the biggest problem in every relationship; including our relationship with God and our relationship with ourselves.

Expectation creates so many problems in life.  I live in Idaho and we “expected” thousands of people in our area for the eclipse.  As of today, those expectations haven’t even come close to reality.  And, that’s the problem with expectations.  So often, we have a prefect picture of how things are “supposed to be”. We know in our heads how everything is going to happen.  We worry and fret over this picture in our heads and when things don’t turn out like the picture, we are angry and frustrated; and often feel like life isn’t fair.  The thing is, life isn’t fair and nothing is certain.

Living in my Mormon world, there were a lot of expectations but the outcome was certain. I knew if I was good enough, I would reach the highest level of heaven with my family.  That was the ultimate goal.  I’ve talked in many blogs about all of the requirements that the Mormon faithful have to accomplish.   The picture that is painted is one of bliss and happiness if you remain faithful to the end.  But I struggled to fit into the picture of what those expectations were. I liked the picture but had a hard time being one of the faithful followers.  It didn’t matter how much I tried, I would always give into my sinful nature at some point.

uncertainty

As I mentioned, the biggest problem in relationships is expectation, that includes our relationship with God and ourselves.  As I progressed through my Mormon life, my expectations for myself began to change and hopelessness filled me.  How could I ever reach the perfect picture if I couldn’t even manage a day without doing what was expected of me.  Hopelessness turned to depression and suicidal thoughts.  I hated life and myself.  At times, I was angry with God.  The expectation was that God would help me through my struggles and God would give me strength.  But time after time I failed and the only thing that was certain was that I wasn’t going to make it.  I have never done well with expectations.

peace

As a Mormon, my expectation was that I could complete the requirements necessary to go to Heaven.  My expectation was if I lived according to what the Mormon Prophets taught, I would be happy and be able to be with my family forever.  The requirements were black and white and I could check them off as I completed them.  Baptism ü, Young Women’s awards and recognition ü, Marry a return missionary in the temple ü, and so on.  The criteria are clear and the expectation is that you will complete all criteria to go to heaven.

As a Mormon, I relied a lot on myself and the Mormon leaders for my salvation.   Becoming Christian and understanding what it means to give your life to Christ was a life saver for me.  I learned very quickly that my salvation had little to do with me and everything to do with Christ.  I also learned when you truly rely on God and try to live life for Him, expectation goes out the window.  So often as a Christian I think God should do things the way I have pictured in my head, and a majority of the time, that is not what happens.  The best part of being a Christian, is when I have those expectations and the perfect picture in my head, God’s is always better.

There are many times when I have gone through difficult times as a Christian and I have cried out to God to make things different; or there have been times when I have been angry with God about the struggles in my life.  The biggest problem with both of those scenarios, those are my expectations.  And even in those times when I am struggling and saying to God, “this isn’t fair” the positive results far outweigh the struggle.

I have said many times, I don’t think I could have gone through my current situation if I was still Mormon.  I truly feel that way about most experiences in my life.  This most recent struggle is life changing and sometimes it’s difficult to see there might be something positive that comes out of it.  But if there is anything that I expect as a Christian, God is always faithful, and he wants more for me than I could ever even imagine for myself.  On the hardest days when I get overwhelmed with the struggles in life I focus on that.  I know Who is in control and I know He only wants the best for me.

His promises

I’m just a Small Town Girl…living in a world of great expectations.

Posted in Christian

Storms of Life…

Well, this Small Town Girl is back at it.  Before I get started I want to thank Cheyenne for writing my blog while I was out.  She did a great job.  I am so proud of her. She has such a heart for God and is a great example to me.

The last several months have been a huge struggle for me.  The end of February I fell and injured my hand and shoulder.  In the last 3 months, I have had 2 major surgeries and one minor surgery.  There have been times when I have felt as if I was being tossed around on the waves and whipped around in the wind and yet I felt God’s calming presence in the chaos.  Even though I was in the midst of the storm and most often after a moment (days) of panic and struggle God calmed me and I knew it would be ok.   Then there were times when the chaos died down and things didn’t seem to be so bad.  God would calm the storm and although, I knew the struggle wasn’t over, I knew it was God who was in charge of the storm.

storm

I’m still in the midst of the storm and have a very long road ahead.  Through it all, there were ups and downs and there are many more to come. So many days, I struggled with depression and being overwhelmed by the current life I was living.  “This isn’t how my life was supposed to go!  Life isn’t supposed to be this hard”.  I already overcame that struggle and yet, here I am struggling with many of the same feelings I have fought so hard to move past.  Life is supposed to be easier with God.  Right?

I don’t think God ever promised anything would be easy.  Actually, if you read the Bible, most of the people in the Bible that God used had a very hard and difficult road.  People like Jonah, Gideon, Moses, David, Rahab, Rachel, Paul, they all had very hard situations they had to work through.  Their situations required God’s guidance and direction.

God had great plans for their lives.  Their struggles and hardships are documented in the greatest book of all time.  God had a purpose for their struggle.  I don’t think Jonah ever thought “I bet I’m going down in the history books for being swallowed by a whale”!  He didn’t want to go through the struggle but in the end, he did what God wanted and God used his struggle to help others and we get to read about Jonah in the Bible.  Life isn’t supposed to be easy especially when we do things on our own.

Recently, I had a very important but difficult situation I had to confront.  The outcome of this situation would be life altering. I was so anxious and nervous.  Consumed with my own expectations in life and how limited I was in the situation.  I had no control.  I knew in the situation I was in there was absolutely nothing that I could do to affect the outcome.  And honestly, I was unsure of what I wanted the outcome to be.  As I was waiting for this situation to resolve its self, Danny Gokey’s song “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” came on the radio and I broke down in tears.  I felt it was God saying to me, “I know things have been hard.  I know you are grieving and hurt, but you are going to be ok.  I have great things for you”.

song

My life has been altered by this whole experience and it will never be the same.  I still have a long road ahead but today is a new beginning for me.  The situation I discussed above is still unresolved.  I still have a long road for recovery.  There is a lot of unknown in my world but the one thing I know for certain is that God is in control of my future and He has bigger and better plans for me than I can ever have for myself.

Every day I still struggle with the overwhelming feelings, I fight the depression and the desire to stay in bed and hide from the world.  But when I take time to talk to God and remember He is the one who is writing the script to my life, it makes it a little easier.  I’m so glad to be back writing my blog and I’m looking forward to where this new path will lead. I hope you all will be patient and willing to continue to ride through this storm with me.

peace

I’m Just a Small Town Girl… Living in a Stormy World.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4rRCjrAyCs&spfreload=10

Posted in Christian

Tag Backs

Hey everyone!  I have some great news!  My mom will be returning to her blog next week, so unfortunately this is my last blog.  However, I am thinking about starting my own blog.  I haven’t decided yet, but I will make sure my mom keeps you all updated.  If I do start one it won’t be until school starts back up again.

This week I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about.  I was thinking about just writing about some of the awesome things God has done in my life.  Then yesterday I was listening to Klove on the way home from work and “Prodigal” by Sidewalk Prophets came on.  Instantly I knew that’s what God wanted me to write about.

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This song comes from the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32.  The son of a wealthy man takes his inheritance and squanders it all on partying and worldly things.  Then he comes back, hoping he can at least work in his father’s fields.  But his father welcomes him home with open arms and throws him a huge feast.  That’s how God sees us.  He wants nothing more than for all His prodigal sons and daughters to come home and He will welcome us all home with open arms.  No matter what you’ve done, all He wants is for you to come home.  “Where ever you are, whatever you did, it’s a page in your book but it isn’t the end.  Your Father will meet you with arms open wide.  This is where your heart belongs.  So come running like a prodigal.”

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This song seems to be more targeted at an audience that thinks there is too much bad in their past for God to love them, but I think it also has a meaning for believers.  There are no lost causes.  In 1 Timothy 2:3-4 it says, “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” God wants everyone to come to know Him, no matter what they’ve done.  I see this song as not only a message saying God loves me and wants me no matter what, but also a reminder that there are no lost causes.  You never know how much a single prayer or word can change someone.  The simplest things can move mountains.  So don’t think that the extreme atheist or the most devout of other religions can’t be saved.  God wants ALL of His children to come home.  Everyone can be saved.  So go out and help them get there! Show them the love of God!

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No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve come from, God wants you to come running into His arms.  It’s our job as believer to help others find their way home too!  So, I leave you with this; “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19.

I’m Just the daughter of a small town girl…living in a prodigal world.

Posted in Christian

There’s a place for everyone

Hey everyone.  Sorry I missed last week.  I got my wisdom teeth out and with everything that followed I forgot to write.  But now I am pretty much healed up and excited to continue!

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about people in the Bible and how God was able to use them no matter what circumstances they were in.  He uses us the same way.  No matter our circumstances, no matter how broken we think we are, God has a plan for each and every one of us that will use our skills and gifts He has given us to the fullest and further His kingdom.

god uses peop;e

God uses all sorts of people to witness and disciple to others; people from all walks of life.  Jesus himself used sinners and tax collectors to help spread the Gospel.  Think of Paul.  He was one of the biggest persecutors of Jesus’s followers until God changed his heart.  After that Paul helped the church grow so much and helped write a large portion of the New Testament.  God chose David, the smallest and youngest of his family, to defeat Goliath and become king.  He also used David to do so many more amazing things even though he was an adulterer and did a lot of other bad things. God can use you, no matter how broken, no matter what we’ve done.  God has a plan for each and every one of us.  He is going to use you to do amazing things!

I never thought God was going to use me for outreach.  I’m an introvert.  I don’t like talking to people I don’t know.  I won’t talk to anyone I’m not super close to unless they talk to me first.  I always thought God would use me to build up other Christians that I already knew.  I thought He would use me to help my friends and family grow in Christ and maybe bring some of my non-Christian friends to Christ.  But God had other plans.  I’m going to be a Chi Alpha leader, which means I have to go out and talk to people I don’t know a lot of the time, as well as building up my friends, old and new.  He is going to be using me in ways I never imagined, but He knows I have the skills I’m going to need in order to do my job as a student leader.

god can use you

God has a plan for all of us.  He has a way to use everyone.  And with that we need to remember the lesson taught by Balaam.

One of my favorite people in the Bible is Balaam.  In Numbers chapter 22, Balak son of Zippor sent a message to Balaam asking him to place a curse on Israel, but God said, “You are not to curse these people, for they have been blessed.” In response to Balak’s persistence, Balaam said, “Even if Balak were to give me his palace filled with silver and gold, I would be powerless to do anything against the will of the Lord my God.”  Balaam is so dedicated to God.  He refuses to do anything that is not God’s will.  So whatever God’s plan is for us, we need to listen.

gifts

I didn’t want to be a Chi Alpha leader.  I thought there was too much wrong in my past and that I couldn’t do it because of my introvertedness.  But, like Balaam, I chose to follow God’s plan for me, no matter what doubts or fears I had.  God has a great plan for you.  He will use you in the best way possible.  And it’s your job to follow that plan no matter what.

I’m just the daughter of a small town girl… following God’s will.

Images taken from Google.

Posted in Christian

Even If

“I know the sorrow and I know the hurt would all go away of you’d just say the word.  But even if you don’t, my hope is you alone.”  So many people turn away from God when things get hard.  When the going gets tough we can get angry at God and blame Him for our pain because we know He can take it away.  This song by MercyMe should be our prayer in times of hurting.

even if

We all have been hurt.  We have all had times in our lives where we are at our absolute worst and have no hope at all.  There is so much pain and sorrow and we wish it would go away.  Most of the time we curse God and beg for Him to take away whatever is causing us so much hurt, most of the time believing He won’t.  So instead people turn to drinking or drugs or self-harm or something else to take away their pain.  We put our hope into materialistic things that in reality won’t help at all.  Instead of getting angry at God for not helping us in times of great sorrow, we need to put our trust and hope in Him.

hope

Once again we’re going to go back to when I was in middle school and high school.  I was in so much pain during those few years.  I turned away from God thinking He couldn’t help me.  I was one of those people that turned to self-harm.  I had so much heartache from feeling so alone that I thought the physical pain would help and take it all away.  But it didn’t.  Finally, when I was completely at breaking point, God saved me.  I put my hope in Him and He was able to bring me away from all of that and showed me I wasn’t alone.  If I had put my hope in Him from the beginning I would have saved myself a lot of pain and trouble.

Now for a story where I did put my hope in God.  Going to college is a really scary thing at first.  You are alone, without friends, and expected to do a lot of things for yourself because you’re an adult.  You have to completely start over.  After my first day of classes my first semester I completely broke down.  I cried for hours.  I felt so alone and had no idea what I was doing.  I was convinced I wasn’t going to make any friends because of how introverted I was.  I had my roommates but I knew I wasn’t going to be good friends with them because they were all into the party scene.  I had so much sorrow and hurt, but instead of just letting it consume me, I turned to God.  I prayed and asked for peace and comfort.  I asked Him to give me complete contentment in Him.  I put all my hope in Him.  I knew that God would provide me with friends.  Maybe not right away but I knew he would provide for me.  The very next day I met one of my best friends completely by chance.  We had two classes together and ended up being paired up for a short class project.  Ever since we have been best friends and I know we will be friends for the rest of our lives.

psalm 62.5

It is so important that we put our hope in God in the midst of all our hurt and fear.  I know it’s hard, but even when He doesn’t give us an answer right away or doesn’t take away our sorrow right away; we still need to completely trust and rely on Him.  He will provide for us, just like I talked about last week.  Even the sparrow knows He holds tomorrow.  Put your hope in God even in your darkest times.

I’m just the daughter of a small town girl… putting my hope in God alone.

images taken from Google.

Posted in Christian, LDS

Even the Sparrow

I am a worrier.  I always have been.  I worry about everything from having enough time to get everything done with my busy schedule, to my future and everything in between.  For me, it’s worry, worry, worry and go, go, go and sometimes I barely have time to catch a breath.

From the moment I first heard it, “Sparrows” by Jason Grey, has been one of my favorite songs because it is the perfect reminder that God has everything in control and I need to let go of my worry.  When I feel overwhelmed and like everything is spiraling out of control with no hope, this is my go to song.  This song is the perfect reminder that we are always in God’s sight and He is in control. He will make sure everything turns out exactly the way it should.

Worry

A few weeks ago my boyfriend, who is LDS, got his mission call.  This was a moment I had been dreading and worrying about for months.  When he opened his call and read that he was going to Ghana, Africa, the whole world seemed to turn upside down.  As I walked out to my car afterwards I was a mess.  I couldn’t help but think of all the things that could happen to him while he is gone and worrying he would never come to a relationship with Jesus if he left.  We had already spent many months arguing about our differing beliefs and all hope seemed lost.  But God always know exactly what I need to hear.  As soon as I turned on my car I heard the words I needed.  “If He can hold the world He can hold this moment.  Not a field or flower escapes His notice.  Oh, even the sparrow knows, He holds tomorrow.”  When I heard that song I knew God was telling me I needed to let go of my worry and that everything was going to work out.

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“If He can hold the world He can hold this moment.”  God holds the entire world in His hands.  He is in control of everything.  If He can carry the weight of the world, He can definitely hold you in the moments your worry gets the best of you.  Trust Him to hold your worry. Let it go and give it to the God of the universe.  “Not a field or flower escapes His notice.”  God’s eye is on everything.  He takes care of even the smallest plant, so why would He not take care of you? He will provide for your every need.  Sometimes you may think your problems are too small for God to handle, but nothing is too small for Him to notice.  “Even the sparrow knows He holds tomorrow.”  This is my favorite part of the song.  God holds our future.  He holds tomorrow in His hands.  The sparrows know that.  So why don’t we understand it?  Matthew 6: 25-27 says “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear.  Isn’t life more than food and your body more than clothing?  Look at the birds.  They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them.  And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”  Jesus said it himself; we are God’s favorite creation, His pride and joy.  He made us in His image.  He cares and provides for all the plants and animals on the earth, so why would He not take care of you, too?  God wants to take care of you in every way.  He wants to take your worries and fears away.  Worrying will only stop you from living life to the fullest.  So give your worries to God!

sparrow

I’m just the daughter of a small town girl… who’s smallest worry doesn’t escape God’s notice.