Testimony Tuesday: a whole lot of wonderful

I've been so busy today. But I didn't want to slack off on only the second week of my "Testimony
Tuesday" idea... that would just be lame :) So here I am, trying to hurry and write just a wee bit. Last week was a pretty great week when it came to spiritual study.
I got to teach Relief Society on Sunday, so I spent much of last week preparing for that. I keep getting opportunities like this. Being called as the Preach My Gospel teacher in Sunday School, then being called to the RS presidency, then actually teaching in RS... Sometimes I think, it's like I'm getting cursed for planning to serve a mission! Why? But then I realize that in reality it really is all a blessing. Each of these opportunities is such a blessing- that I can get more comfortable teaching, and become more in tune with the Spirit as I teach, and get better at planning things to teach... because I'll be doing a whole lot of it on my mission. So really, it is quite a blessing. That still won't stop me from complaining though if I get asked to teach any more ;)
I do love the lesson planning process though. I love studying the scriptures, conference talks, watching church videos- I LOVE IT. It's just the standing up in front of lots of people that I don't love quite as much... :) It helps me to grow though, so for that I am grateful. Really. Even if I do complain. Sometimes it's rough knowing this church is true ;) sometimes I almost think life could be easier if it weren't true.... I mean, I wouldn't feel inclined to wake up early for ward council at 8 on Sundays, or for church at 9:30. I wouldn't have to stress about teaching or being nervous, or having any callings at all! I wouldn't be saying goodbye to Carter in a month to leave on a mission, and I wouldn't be stepping outside of my own comfort zone to go on a mission myself. But THE CHURCH IS TRUE! And really, it would be a whole lot harder to face this life if it weren't. It's quite ridiculous I could ever think of thinking that.... if the gospel of Jesus Christ were not true, where would I turn for peace? What would I do when I felt alone or when I needed comfort? When I felt discouraged or depressed? I don't know what I would be doing without the gospel in my life. Some people have lived thus far, some have lived entire lives, without even hearing about the gospel. But honestly, I don't know if I could. THE GOSPEL IS MY STRENGTH. IT IS MY PEACE. IT IS MY SOURCE OF JOY. I like to think of myself as a happy person. But really, if it weren't for the gospel I don't know if I would have that same happiness. The gospel is what gives me the strength to keep on smiling even when the day has been hard. It's what makes me keep on singing even when bad things happen. It is my source of HOPE. The gospel of Jesus Christ is what makes me want to keep on trying. What makes me strive to be better; to constantly put forth the effort to improve myself. It is what gives me the hope to keep trying. The gospel gives me courage. It gives me confidence. It gives me love- it makes me feel loved, but also helps to put love in my heart when I can't do so alone. When I'm angry or frustrated, the love of Christ and my Heavenly Father are what bring love into my own heart.
Where would I be without this gospel? Honestly, I don't know. But I do know that I wouldn't have the same courage and joy as I face each day. Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has made me who I am today. So really, I could never trade that for the ability to sleep in on Sunday mornings, to lose the stress of teaching the Relief Society, or the heartache of saying goodbye to Carter for 2 years. I'm pretty sure I'd have a lot more sleepless nights, a lot more stress, and probably more heartache as well if I didn't have the gospel in my life. I LOVE being a member of this church. And I am so grateful that I was born into the gospel. It really scares me sometimes to wonder if I would have accepted the gospel, were I taught it as a convert? Would I face it with an open heart? I like to think I would... but I am so grateful that I was raised in the church, that I have such wonderful parents who raised me in the gospel and that I have developed my own testimony of these wonderful things.
The church is true :)

Sorry, this is kind of rambling... it took a direction I wasn't really planning on, but I guess that's fine :)
I also wanted to share a scripture really quick... or maybe a few :)

2 Nephi 4-
Basically this entire chapter. It just makes me HAPPY. Nephi's example of faith is amazing to me... I want to be more like him. I love verse 19, and 20 and 21... Well, I love the whole thing, but ESPECIALLY those three..
"... I KNOW IN WHOM I HAVE TRUSTED. My God HATH BEEN MY SUPPORT; he hath LED ME THROUGH MINE AFFLICTIONS in the wilderness; and he hath PRESERVED ME upon the waters of the great deep. He hath FILLED ME WITH HIS LOVE..."

I love 28-30: "NO LONGER DROOP IN SIN!... give place no more for the enemy of my soul..."

And verse 34: "Oh Lord, I have trusted in thee and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I KNOW that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yeah, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm."

I do know in whom I have trusted! It is my savior Jesus Christ who suffered the atonement and died for me. It is my loving and eternal Father in Heaven. Why would I trust in the things of this world when I have this wonderful knowledge that there is a God? When I know that I have this loving Heavenly Father, and this wonderful savior who suffered for my sins and sorrows? The gospel is true, and I will trust in my God. Just like Nephi- He is my support, he LEADS me through my afflictions. He helps me grow because of them and helps me to remain strong throughout. He has preserved me amidst my trials. And he has FILLED ME WITH HIS LOVE. I know I can't even comprehend the love my Father in Heaven has for me and for each of us. But I do know that he loves us all. Unconditionally. Individually. With this knowledge, how can I not TRUST IN HIM?

And a few more random scriptures from last night's scripture study....
Alma 22:15-
I love this verse. Aaron has been teaching the king, who now realizes the truth of Aaron's words. He realizes the light and the JOY that come from the gospel. He says" What shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive His Spirit, that I may BE FILLED WITH JOY, that I may not be cast off at the last day?... I will give up ALL THAT I POSSESS, yeah I will FORSAKE ALL my kingdom, that I may RECEIVE THIS GREAT JOY."

This just really makes me realize. ANY SACRIFICE is worth the presence of God in my life. Any sacrifice is worth that ETERNAL JOY and HOPE that come from living righteously and with obedience to Heavenly Father. It makes me wonder: what more can I sacrifice to become closer to Him? What things in my life are keeping me from receiving that joy and hope? What more can I do to draw closer to Him?

And just one more...
Alma 23:7
"For they became a righteous people; they did lay down the weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more, neither against any of their brethren."
Am I fighting against God in any way? I guess my thoughts kind of go along with that last scripture of wondering WHAT MORE CAN I DO to turn towards him? What "weapons" are keeping me from turning to my savior? What is keeping me from greater humility, greater obedience, greater joy? What temptations? What pride? What trials are keeping me from turning to my savior? Whatever they are... go and lay down the "weapons" of my rebellion! Bury them as did the "Anti-Nephi-Lehies". Is there really anything that should keep me from that?
When these humble people put away their weapons of war it was a risk to their lives. The Lamanites could come and kill them while they had no defense. So many might have justified that they needed their weapons- that they literally needed them to survive. But these people placed even their own lives below their desire to turn to God. What amazing examples. Sometimes it seems too difficult to put certain things away; it can be hard to see from God's view that the things on this world don't really matter. It can be hard to realize what is really important. That the "treasures" we can lay up in Heaven would be so much greater than anything given worldly importance. I need to remember this. I need to remember to "put away those weapons"- whatever they may be- that may block the spirit in my life.

Well, I think that's all. Hopefully not too long. Kind of a bunch of rambling, but I just wanted to let out a few of my thoughts from the week :) Hopefully it's not too long to read!

Oh, and if anyone wants even more reading, feel free to read Elder Hamula's talk from last General Conference, called The Sacrament and the Atonement. It's what I did my lesson on :) Maybe I'll talk more about that later... but yes. Happy reading and happy Tuesday! :D)


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