Neglect Not the Gift that is in Thee

Monday, December 9, 2013

Warning: this is going to be another loooong email.
Another warning: this email is probably gonna take up most of my computer time, and I gotta dash to Zone I probably won't be replying to anyone this week. BUT! Pictures and replies will be done next Monday. PROMISE!

So this week has been an extremely difficult week. A jumble of my birthday, American Thanksgiving, and the Christmas season coming up; a bunch of other emotions and trials piling up on top of each other, and with being sick with migraines and having appointments dropped....this week has just been a very trying one. It's definitely hard to keep up and a lot of the time my heart was just aching. BUT, no matter how hard things were this week, I've never felt so much of my Heavenly Father's love before. And thus in the spirit of Amuuuurican Thanksgiving and for the love I owe back, I want to show my gratitude. (Before I said i wish I could share everything I learned in scripture study? Well get ready cuz I'm about to go off...)

I am grateful for music: I have always had a testimony of music and the effects it has on a person's feelings. And I LOOOVE my music. I love how close it brings me to my Heavenly Father as I listen to the testimonies of these artists. With that being said, one of my favourite albums: Higher by Mercy River has reminded me of so much this week. So I may quote their songs quite a bit. But I highly recommend that album to anyone.

I am grateful for Momma & Daddy-O: Mom and dad, thanks for raising me to make the right choices and to always put others before myself. There's always room to have more charity and love. You can never give enough of it away. But I'm grateful for the foundation you've given me. It doesn't make loving people so hard when I need to put a little more effort in to love someone.

I am grateful for Laura & Arielle: I guess mom and dad get credit for this one too. But thank you for teaching me how to be a big sister, and also the Ate of everyone. If I didnt have you two I guarantee giving, sharing, and sacrificing of myself would be a lot harder that it is.

I am grateful for my leaders: Thank you to ALL of my leaders in the church for your examples you've been to me growing up. You've taught me how to be a better servant of the Lord. You'll be surprised how much I say in lessons and trainings comes from what I've learned from you. Just to name a few: Sis Dagleish, Sis Michèle Stone Hynynen, Sis Mark, Emily LimJulie Nelson, Sis Morrison, Dinora Herrera Acosta, President Burns, President Moore, President Wong, Rod Dyciangco, Derrice Bell andStacy Bell, Sis Debbie Wasylenko Brooks, Sil Racioppo, Melissa Popiel, Sis Burns, Sis Patty Rodgers-Deeks, Bro McMullen, Bro Goldthorp...Thank you

I am grateful for eternal friends: Dont even get me started on this one! Ha, but I guess I already have. Yes, I'm grateful for eternal families. It's something I have a huge testimony of. BUT, I need to mention eternal friends too. I am grateful that the friendships I have with some of you special wonderful people won't end after this life. I am so grateful for your examples. I am SO lucky to have such righteous friends who are always trying to do their best. If there's one thing I'm looking forward to, it's reuniting with all of you, especially those who were on their missions when I left. I feel happy that I can say I can go on temple trips with my friends.

I am grateful for commandments and standards: I was reading in Mosiah 10 and verses 1-2 stood out to me. Zeniff talks about making weapons of war of every kind and how they have guards round about their land. My journal entry on that:Keeping one commandment or standard isn't going to help up against our enemy. Zeniff and his people had to have weapons of EVERY KIND. It's not enough to only keep the standards/commandments that we find easy to keep. We must obey and strive to live all the commandments and standards in order for us to have that protection barrier against Satan and the evils in this world. Zeniff put guards all around the land. It's not like they knew WHEN the Lamanites were coming, but he knew they had to be cautious and keep a look out. Likewise for us. We dont know when Satan is going to attack. And oft times he does it so subtly. Little by little, until he chokes you right out and you've made a huge mistake. But I can testify that if we are doing what we are supposed to, the Spirit will help us do what is right, even when the subtle attacks come. We need to wear the whole armour of God and dare to stand alone.

I am grateful for covenants: I feel like this has been a HUGE focus of my mission life so far. Everything that is talked about always goes back to covenants. And DUH, I'm like teaching the most important covenant of all to people....Baptism. Cuz without it, you can't make all the important covenants you make in the temple. One of my favourite scriptures is Matthew 11:28-30. I've always loved it because it is an invitation from Christ to come unto Him. He tells us to take His yoke upon us so that our burdens may be made light. But something new stood out to me a couple months ago as I was considering my covenants. My journal entry on this: What happens if we let go our side of the yoke? Christ is left to bear the burden by Himself. That wasnt the deal. Christ promises to lift our burdens, but only if we are working all our might and doing everything we can. he promises to help us, but we gotta be doing His work as well. And that's why we're all here. Cuz Christ is never going to walk away from His side of the yoke. But lets face it. Sometimes we might. And when we do that, the work that we were sent here to do stands still. We aren't keeping our covenants of taking Christ's name upon us if we aren't doing what He would do to bless and help Heavenly Father's other children. There's a reason why missionaries have to go through the temple before coming on their mission. Likewise with anybody who goes through the temple. They ask you to wait till you're older/mature or until you go on a mission or get married. You gotta live the law of consecration. We all gotta be mature and spiritually-minded enough to be consecrating our efforts in the work of the Lord. Whether that's in our current calling, or eternal calling. It's not about us anymore. It's about Him.

I am grateful for my scriptures, my patriarchal blessing, and personal revelation: Haha, as if you couldn't guess already from my entries above. Like I said, I was having an extremely difficult time this week and on Thursday I totally broke down. I was reading in Mosiah 12 and verse 15 stood out to me at two different times. My journal entry on that: I had been praying and begging so hard this morning for Heavenly Father to help me because I just needed to make it through the day. Mosiah 12:15 stood out to me. It started off as "we are strong, we shall not come into bondage, or be taken captive by our enemies." And so at first I'm like Ok...I can be strong. I wont and shouldn't let things take a hold of me and bring me down. But then I looked into the context of the scriptures and found out it's Noah's people who are taking Abinidi captive who is speaking. Satan is soooo bad. You know what he made me feel after I read the context? That because it was evil men speaking, I couldn't apply this scripture to myself. Does the Book of Mormon not state that everything written in there will be for our good? Sheeeesh, Satan. Anyway, so I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere in my study. But then we start comp study and Sis Linton asked me what I learned. I felt prompted to share Mosiah 12:15, even though I feel like I didn't really learn much from it. But as I read the scripture again, the last part of the verse really hit home. "...thou hast prospered in the land, and thou shalt also prosper". The moment I read those very words to her, I just felt these arms wrapped around me, consoling me (cuz let me telllll you, I was crying at that point). I was gaining revelation and peace right there and then as I was explaining what this scripture meant. Between chokes of tears I told my companion that Heavenly Father was saying, "you KNOW everything is going to be ok. Because of your faith you've been able to receive the things you needed to make sure you succeeded in persuit of your righteous desires. And even though you don't feel it now, you WILL succeed and prosper. You're going to be blessed in ways you can't yet imagine". GAH. can you see why I was crying?

I am grateful for the Priesthood: So the above note happened Thursday, and by the time Friday evening rolled in I thought it was time I ask my district leader for a blessing. He was talking to me on the phone and he said something very profound. He said, "I'm glad you weren't afraid to ask for a blessing, Sister Limas. Cuz it's only through the Priesthood that you'll be able to access the Atonement to get the peace that you need". Saturday morning, the Kramers, Elder Williams, and Elder Rauche came over to our apartment to give both Sister Linton and I a blessing. (Wanna add to the list of struggles this week? My companion said "i don't know if I wanna do this anymore". I know she didn't mean it and she was just going through a tough time like I was, but it's always hard to hear another missionary say that). She went first and I started to tear up because I know that everything that was said was what she needed to hear. I sit down, they anoint my head, and the moment Elder Williams starts talking I have tears just flowing down my face. Peace didn't come flowing in right after, but I definitely felt the comfort. I am also grateful for hugs. They took their hands off my head and I was just sitting there with my hands in my face. Sis Kramer just told me to get up and she gave me the biggest hug.

I am grateful for the Atonement and my Saviour, Jesus Christ: After they left our apartment I went back upstairs to do studies by myself. I couldn't concentrate, so I got on my knees in the middle of my room and just prayed and prayed. I am going to quote one of Mercy River's songs: Mercies in Disguise. It'll describe exactly what kind of peace I feel. We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear. We cry in anger when we cannot feel you near. We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love, as if every promise from your word is not enough. And all the while You hear each desperate plea and long that we'd have faith to believe. Cuz what if our blessings come through raindrops? What if our healing comes through tears? And what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near? What if my greatest disappointment--or the aching of this life--is a revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy? And what if trials of this life--the rain that storms the hardest night--are your mercies in disguise? And I can testify of those mercies. I may not had a thousand sleepless nights, but this week has brought a few sleepless nights with body-wrenching pains of hopelessness. But I know my Saviour suffered for me, with pain greater than I can imagine, so that I can access his redeeming love. No words can describe that feeling of warmth when you know your Saviour lives and He's there. And the past couple of nights I have slept like a baby, THANK GOODNESS.

I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father: I found myself singing "I am His Daughter" tons of times this week just because I needed the reminder of who I am and how much I am worth. The message we've been focusing on the past couple of weeks to share in members homes is that they are a child of God. We share the Mormon Messages video of everyone singing I am a Child of God, followed by President Uctdorf's youth mormon message about our true identity. SO GOOOOOD. Why? Well, something remarkable happens when it becomes a true reality of accepting and figuring out who you really are. Knowing that I'm a beloved daughter of the Almighty King enables me to have courage and faith to do what I need to do. Trials aren't as bad when you know your Father is giving them to you for your own good (refer to my Gratitude talk ;P). And so we share the message with others and challenge them to share it with their friends. I want to share Mercy River's song "Like a Father Would" to express how much love I feel from my Heavenly Father: You always know when I'm drifting; when I'm lost and I'm hurt. Somehow you know the pleadings of my heart though I havent spoken a word. When i fail you're there to catch me and say, 'I know you've done the best that you could. Just like a Father; just like a Father would. You gently show me my weakness then you teach me how to change. And though i wanted on my journey, Your love always remains. When heartache comes and i'm devastated, somehow you turn it for my good. Just like a Father; just like a Father would. Your heart breaks when my heart is breaking cuz You've been down this road before. When you desperately want to rush in and help, You know I have to learn these lessons for myself. You know the burdens I carry; how they've built up like a damn. You help me see the mistakes I have made; they don't define who I am. You softly whisper when it's time to let go, when I hold heartache longer that I should. You believe in me. You love me perfectly, as only as the Father of my Spirit ever could. Just like a Father, just like my Father would. There was definitely a lot of one-on-one Daddy-Daughter time with my Heavenly Father this week. How grateful I am that I can kneel and talk to Him, and that He can speak back.

I am grateful for weaknesses: If there's one thing that has never been so true to me as every before is Ether 12:27. I can testify that my weaknesses have become strengths as I've relied on the Lord to help me to overcome. This mission ain't easy, yo! But I have been reading the line "in the strength of the Lord" quite a bit in the scriptures lately. And it's so TRUE. Like Jenny Philipps' song says: In the strength of the Lord I can do all things. He knows how to change the weakness in me. So I will let His love lift me up. He believes I can do hard things if I will trust Him and walk forward in the strength of the Lord. And I found that so apparent, especially this week! With all my emotional weaknesses and trials of a mission. But here's just a little example of what I mean. The STLs texted me and said that the Zone Leaders want me to give a training at our Zone Training Meeting tomorrow. (THE POOOOOP. They would ask! Ugh! This is what happens when they show up at the district meeting you are giving a training at! BAH! Hahaha. Ok enough complaining.) So I had an epiphany as I was sleeping as to what I could do as my object lesson, and what I needed to say. Anywho, as I was contemplating my reactions to accepting the zone leaders request, I flashed back to the first time Elder Anderson asked me to do a training as district meeting. I was crying! And I was so mad at him for asking me! And I remember writing in my journal about how inadequate and weak I felt and that I didn't know what was wrong with me. Cuz I usually accept any challenge/calling/assignment from any of my church leaders with excitement. And there I was SO NERVOUS to give a training. That was how I reacted the first time I was asked to give a training. But this time I was just like "KAY! What's the topic? And wooo, let's come up with a good object lesson." Where did that come from? NOOO CLUE. But I know the Lord truly does strengthen us, both spiritually and temporally, when we humble ourselves and rely on Him for help.

I am grateful for talents and spiritual gifts: I am just going to share what I wrote in my journal for this one...Matthew 25, starting at verse 15. The Lord gives us ALL talents. And the Lord expects us to use them. Never be like the 3rd man who hid up his talent and saved it because he thought it was precious. Makes sense, right? If you're given something important, then you want to preseve it. In most cases that is true. But not when it comes to the gifts that Heavenly Father has bestowed upon us. He expects us to use them to bless us--but most importantly to bless others. Everything comes from Him to bless us, but that's NOT the sole purpose. He gives us talents and abilities to bless others. Sure, reaping the rewards of having the ability to do something is definitely there. We are definitely blesses when we use our talents. But that's just an aftermath. The PURPOSE of our abilities and talents is to bless someone else. You think you got nothing to share? Look again. The Lord have the 1st man 5 talents, and the 2nd man 2. Does that mean the man who had more received more blessings? NO. When both men came to Him, he says THE EXACT same thing to both men, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many thing; enter thou into the joy of the Lord" (vv 21 & 23). Heavenly Father has given each and every one of us talents. And sometimes Satan takes a hold of us to make us believe we don't have any. But I testify that we ALL do. Every single person on this planet lived with Heavenly Father. And we all once chose to follow Jesus Christ. that's why we are all here. We have been raised in the presence of our Father for eons. We might feel like we don't got a lot to give...but we DO! We've been prepared for so long. These talents and ablilties, whether we already know what they are or whether they are just waiting for us to sprout and bud them--the talent is there. Our father has promised us SO MUCH, but that all depends if we are willing to work at our potential. We reap what we sow. The promises are there. We just need to do our part. in D&C 82:3 the Lord says for of him unto much is given much is required. We all know who we are, and we should all be grateful for that knowledge. Now we got to share that with others. Missionary work is scary!! But the whole sense of charity and sharing the pure love of Christ is something all TRUE FOLLOWERS of Christ need to do (Moroni 7:48). In D&C 60:2-3 the Lord says, "but with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talents which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man. Wo unto such, for mine anger is kindled against them. And it shall come to pass, if they are not more faithful unto me, it shall be taken away, even that which they have". Dont let Satan make you believe that you cant share the gospel. Dont let him make you believe you dont have talents. He tries to affect us that way because if you combine the two together, diving power is able to intervene. Missionary work isn't done just one way. There's plenty of ways to share the gospel with others, and the Lord has trusted each and every one of us with a talent/ability so we can help move His work forward. Dont let Satan rob you of the blessings. Our Father's promises to us a greater than what we think we're capable of receiving. Like Marianne Williams says, "our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness,that frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'who am i to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually who are you not to be? You are a Child of God. You’re playing small does not serve the world" Dont let Satan allow you to stop you in your own progression. Satan works hard on us because we're the only one who CAN stop our own progression (ha, there's that darn agency!) Dont be acted upon! We are children of the Almighty God! We have divine origin, and such beautiful and wonderful potential.

NEGLECT NOT THE GIFT THAT IS IN THEE. Im not sharing this with everyone to expose how blessed I am. But I share this with you so YOU can know that these blessings are available to you too BECAUSE you are a precious son or daughter of God. Doesn't matter what you've done or where you're at--He will always love you. And there is always a way to get back on the path to returning to Him. I testify that my Saviour lives and that He died for us so that we can reach our highest potential. He KNOWS that is where our happiness lies. If He didn't, I don't think He would have bothered to suffer for us. He loves us that much that He suffered for our eternal happiness. I testify that Heavenly Father loves each and everyone of His children, and that we all are capable of helping each other return to Him. I leave this lengthy, lengthy email and my testimony with you in the name of our beloved Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

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