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Life Lessons Learned

Friday, November 7, 2014

SOUPS SORRY that I didn't give anyone a heads up about emailing later in the week. But I promise its for a good reason! You ready? I GET TO GO TO THE TEMPLE TODAY!!!!!!!! :D (aka today is pday for me). Why this is such a big deal to me, I will let you know in a little bit. Tons has happened the past 2 weeks and I've been pondering hard what I wanted to share with you all. But as my header states: Life Lessons Learned. That's pretty much what sums up the past couple of weeks and I'll try to make as much sense as possible :p

Lesson #1: Never give up on getting to the Temple. 
So like I stated in my last email home, I've been totally neglecting all my "home-prep" stuff, including getting myself to the temple. Our current temple policy is that we can only go to the temple at our half-way and end mark of our mission. For the past transfer I've been desperately trying to find someone to go with me! Every Sister who is either going home with me or at their half-way mark has already gone to the temple. I can't even explain the amount of phone calls I have had to make to try and figure this out. The Assistants finally found me someone to go with...and I totally slacked at trying to find her because by the time I finally got a hold of her, she had already gone. GAH. So faiiiiiil. And so it's just been a constant Sister-Limas-begging-the-Assistants to give me more Sisters to try. I was finally able to get them to approve of me asking Sister Gadi, the other Filipino Sister in the mission. And she was sooooo set to go with me. But then a couple days later I get a call from President. He tells me that to avoid all this hassle of trying to find companions to go with to the temple, he's just going to send everybody with their own group when they hit their half-way/end mark. So he told me to present Sister Gadi with the option of going with her group or going with me. OBV, I knew she was going to pick to go with her group. And I had to tell her it was ok to do so. So there I am, Monday morning, NOT having a Pday because I'm still hoping that I can go on Friday...but still no companion to go with. President gave me a few more Sisters to try and, of course, when I called to ask, they had all already gone. I had been preparing myself to not be disappointed in case I really couldn't go. But after having to tell Sis Gadi she didn't have to go with me anymore I was like just about to give up, but still hanging on to the hope that at this point, Heavenly Father's got to make something work. Monday night comes and I receive a voicemail from President telling me to call him because he has a solution. We call him up and the following conversation happens:

President: Sister Limas, you sure all the Sisters I asked you to call went already?
Me: Yes, President! Everyone has gone already!
President: Sister Huppi, when did you last go to the temple for your half-way mark? 
Huppi: In May.
President: Ok, here's my solution. We all know how hard Sister Limas has been working to get herself to the temple. You have to promise not to tell anyone this, but Sister Huppi, I'm going to let you have a 2nd half-way temple trip so that you two can go together.
Me: ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!?!?!?! AHHHHHHH!!!! Thanks, Dad!

Lessons learned:
a. You never, ever, EVER give up on getting to the Temple. EVER.
b. Keep trying and keep working and the Lord has something working up His sleeves.
c. Align your will with God's, and everything will be ok. 

I'll explain the last one. Sister Huppi and I kept saying, "gah, they should just let us go together! It would make things so much easier!" But we didn't dare ask because we knew that's not part of President's temple policy. I've been learning a ton about aligning my will with Heavenly Father's and my agency over the past 2 1/2 transfers. There are tons of things I don't dare ask Heavenly Father, not because I don't have the faith (because I sure as heck do), but because I don't know if it's His will. But, this experience proved to me when we try to listen to Heavenly Father's will, despite what I think might be better, He will provide a way. And he did :) One of the quotes I love that best describes this experience:

"he knew that he could never ask in prayer for something that was not in harmony with the will of the Lord. He fasted that he might know how to show the Lord he had faith and would accept God's will in their lives. He wanted to make sure he had done all that he could do..."
(Book of Mormon Institute Manual; "Thou Shalt Not Ask That Which Is Contrary To My Will".) Read the whole story in the manual. It's super good!

Lesson #2: "He will consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain".
I've been pondering a lot about where my faith is at. As I've been reflecting and flipping through my journals, I came across this entry and wanted to share it with you:

"On the way back to the car, Sister Sperry asked me a question (I forget what exactly) about my mission experience. I had told her something along the lines of 'I feel like its been a constant battle with satan'...like with my feelings of inadequacies. It happens all the time, and I know its because of satan. But then I told her that Elder Robbins talk from conference is SO true--some weaknesses we are going to have to accept is going to be a challenge our whole mortal life. And I told her that there are weaknesses I have that I feel like I can never get rid of; and sometimes when I feel like I've finally got a grasp on it, I'm reminded how attached I am still to that weakness and how easily it triggers. I explained that at times I get frustrated and ask WHY that even has to be a weakness. But I've come to learn that it keeps me on the ball and constantly relying on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. To be frankly honest, I don't think I would have the testimony I do about the Atonement if I didn't have these weaknesses that make me depend on Christ so much."

As I read that, I realized I now personally understood Lehi's council to Jacob in 2 Nephi 2:2. A testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is what keeps me going. Its what makes sharing the gospel possible for me every single day. Christ is the reason for all of this. Otherwise I wouldn't be out here. "He bled from every pore for us, so let us sweat from every pore for Him." One morning this past week as I was saying my prayers before my study, I just poured out my heart in gratitude to Heavenly Father for the Savior. I realized that He's the only reason I hold on. If I didn't have my life centered on Jesus Christ, I don't know where I'd be. As I tried to think about it, I realized how much darker despair can be if we don't have the hope of the Savior's light. He is what gives me hope to hold on. 

Lesson #3: Trust your Priesthood holder.
Sooooo I have been an absolute emotional mess almost every morning. I wake up feeling super empty and during comp study as I'm sharing my insights with Sister Huppi, I'm bawling my eyes out for whatever reason. Hahaha. I can only laugh at myself because it's pretty funny (and almost pathetic) how emotional mornings are for me. I finally figured out why though! One morning as I was running, I just told myself to take it day-by-day; to focus on what was happening that day instead of worrying about a bajillion other things I had to get done. As I did that, my heart began to smile, which in turn started making me smile. Then I realized what was wrong with me. The work brings me so much genuine joy. The idea of leaving it soon has been emotionally hard. I realized what I feel in the morning is the same feeling like right after the Christmas holidays and you wake up and say, 'aw man, it's back to school/work/regular schedule already?' OR when you've spent months preparing for a huge event and the day after it's over it's like 'err....now what's my next goal/project in life?' THAT'S exactly how I feel EVERY SINGLE DAY. But I keep telling myself IT AIN'T OVER TILL ITS OVER SISTER LIMAS! QUIT! Anyway, so I figured it was time to get a blessing from my district leader. Just a little BG: my district leader and I clash so hard. We have different ways we do missionary work and we are just so opposite. But over the past transfer, I have come to love and respect him as my leader. Do I still make faces of disappointment when I feel like he's not doing what he should be? Yes. Do I trust him a little bit more now than I used to? Most definitely. So we go into a room and the following conversation happens:

E. Peterson: ok what's going on?
Me: --me going on and on about everything and crying--
E. Peterson: yep. I get it. That was me a few days ago. This last weekend, I was done. I'm ready to go home. But the mission nurse gave me some advice. When you get home, fulfill your callings, read your scriptures, go to church, and pray. Do those things and everything else will fall into place.
Me: I KNOW that. That's the only thing in my life I'm not concerned about because that's the only thing I have to hold on to, man!
E. Peterson: Oh. Well good on you. Sister Limas, you are a converted missionary. I can tell you that. 

OK. I just officially stamped myself with ultimate jerk status. Haha. Seriously, Elder Peterson is always looking out for all of us and I always give him such a hard time. Anyway, in the blessing I was told twice one very important thing:Above all else, remember Heavenly Father loves you. Being reminded that Heavenly Father loves me isn't new. Almost every blessing I receive it is said. But this time it was different. This time I realized that the things I may be questioning or iffy about in my life will all be made up for. Whatever happens, its because Heavenly Father loves me. Its funny, because I've always known that (that's what my blog is all about. duh.): "I believe in Christ, so come what may", right? But there's a difference in believing in Christ, and then believing in His promises to me. I didn't realize how far I've strayed from the latter. And this is why I've been re-evaluating myself and where my faith is at. 

Lesson #4: Hold on to the faith you do have.
As I've been trying to answer the question, "where is my faith at", over the past few weeks, I have definitely learned a ton. Lets just say satan has just been trying super hard on me to doubt myself. But what confused me was all the miracles we were seeing. The miracles in this work don't happen unless there is faith!!! And I have countless amount of stories and experiences from the last two weeks alone that confirm that! So what I didn't get was that if I have faith sufficient for these miracles to happen, whyyyyy do I still feel like I'm lacking? When it comes to the work, when it comes to the people we teach, when it comes to finding, when it comes to the Atonement working to change people....I have full faith and trust in the Lord that the miracles will happen. Then I realized I've been feeling like I'm lacking because I don't have that same strength of faith and trust for the Lord to work the same miracles in my life. That was definitely a face-slapper. So over the past few weeks, I've been having a lot of Daddy-Daughter time trying to strengthen that faith. I've been praying for continuous healing and forgiveness and more purification of heart. Anyway, a few days ago I was reflecting on how most of the lessons we've been teaching I've been testifying on trusting in the Lord and spiritual healing. I kinda cringed when I thought about it because at first I was like, "oh geez. how am I testifying of these things when I feel like they aren't happening in my own life". What comes out of my mouth are things I say with my whole heart...and I just didnt get how I was testifying of those things when everyday I'm trying to evaluate myself on it. Among my conglomeration of doubting thoughts, the Spirit gently whispered, "you are bearing testimony of it because you are finally in the process of it. You're allowing the healing to happen." I LOVE the Spirit. I love how one gentle whisper turns all doubts away. 

Lesson #5: Parable of the Pearl Necklace.
Before I go on about this lesson, I have to tell you the parable first. This is a story that was shared with me at the beginning of my mission and has stuck with me all throughout. And it's only in the last few weeks that I have been pondering it hard core:

There was a little girl who had a pair of fake pearl earrings. She loved wearing them. They made her feel pretty and all grown up. One day her father calls her over and says, "sweetie, I have something for you. But I need you to give me your pearl earrings." She responds, "No, daddy! I don't want to give you my earrings. I love them too much!" Her father replies, "ok, if that's what you really want, then you can keep them." A few days later the little girl comes up to her dad crying. Her father asks her what the matter is. Between sobs, the little girl takes her earrings off and says, "here daddy. You can have my pearl earrings." Her father smiles down at her and says, "thank you, sweetie." He then pulls out a real pearl necklace and puts it around her neck. 

Moral of the story: Heavenly Father has beautiful blessings in store for each of us. Sometimes we forget that what we're holding on to might not necessarily be the biggest and better blessings Heavenly Father wants us to have. He doesn't take away our agency. And it isn't until we choose to let go when He can start pouring them out to us. I love love love sharing this in lessons to teach people about the commandments. And this week I realized I needed to apply it to my own life as well. 

I was reading D. Todd Christofferson's talk: As Many As I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten. This is definitely one of my favourite talks and has been one that has changed my life and attitude since the first time I read it. It's interesting to look back at my notes and what I've highlighted then and what I've highlighted this time around. Christofferson says that divine chastening has at least 3 purposes:

#1. To persuade to repent.
#2. To refine and sanctify us.
#3. To redirect our course in life to what God knows is a better path. 

So, MIND=BLOWN. I realized that #1 and #2 were things that stood out to me 8 months ago and are things I have constantly been working on. #3 however wasn't something that I felt applied to me 8 months ago. As I've been pondering about why it all of a sudden was sticking out, I realized its because I have come to that point: Heavenly Father wants to redirect my life for something better. It's been such a constant battle trying to figure out what He wants for me, and then BAM, I get a "I'm still not telling you what I have for you, but know I have something better in mind." I was so shocked!!! I have always been so used to being on the same page as Heavenly Father! If I were to describe my relationship with Heavenly Father, I will use the Brother of Jared story (Mahonri Moriancumer is my main man! I always reference his story to people because there are just so many awesome principles!). Very rarely does Heavenly Father tell me exactly what to do. But the times He does, I do it. Most of the time it's Him waiting for me to do something, and me doing it and having it slowly unfolded to me that this is what I am supposed to be doing. The reason I'm able to do that is because of the Spirit. The line in my patriarchal blessing that says, "through the Gift of the Holy Ghost you received at baptism, you have the power to choose the right in all you do" has been the confidence factor behind all the things I do. When I know I'm living the way I'm supposed to, I know I won't be guided incorrectly. I've always felt confirming peace that whatever I did was Heavenly Father's will. And for the first time EVER I realized I was on a different page than Heavenly Father. He's been calling out to me to be on the same page, but I haven't been heeding. MIND=BLOWN.

Realizing that has brought me SO MUCH peace though! I've been feeling like I've had a stunt in my progression, and now I know why! I've been wanting a new challenge or something new to work on, but I couldn't pinpoint what it was that Heavenly Father wanted me to work on. Now I know. It also helped my heart know that Heavenly Father has my best interests in mind. I trust that. 

Also, realizing that I'm on a different page made me question how that even happened. Then I realized, it's because I've applied #1 and #2 so much, and am STILL applying it. And of course when you're repenting daily and seeking for refinement and sanctification constantly, you become a changed person. You have a changed heart. So OF COURSE #3 is going to happen! That's the automatic result of repentance, change, and refinement. You become a different being. And when you do, the Lord has bigger and better plans for you. And thus I prayed and told Heavenly Father I was giving Him my pearl earrings. I know the Lord can do a lot more with my life than I can, so i just need to keep giving my heart to Him.

ANYWAY.
Yep, lots of lessons learned over the past few days, weeks, transfers, ...and obviously the whole mission. 

Gots to go to the temple now! Sorry I didn't have time to respond to anyone!

MUCHO LOVE!
Sister Limas
(i'll email again in 3 days :p)



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