Monday, September 30, 2013

Just a Quick Pregnancy Update: Quickening

I felt the baby move for the first time today! It was so exciting :) I've had a lot of gas bubbles and such in my tummy lately, but I've always been completely confident that that's what it was. Today was very different. I distinctly felt three little taps in my abdomen, like baby was kicking his/her feet in excitement, and I almost stood up in the middle of choir and shouted out the news! Instead I went to the restroom and texted my husband, who was also in class, to let him know. We are so excited for this little baby to come into our family, and to find out soon whether it will be a boy or a girl! If you haven't yet, take the poll in the upper right hand corner and let us know what you think the gender will be! Life is such a wonderful adventure :)

I Love the Fall, and General Conference

I love fall. I love pumpkins, crunchy leaves, cozy sweaters, changing colors, halloween costumes, preparing for our little baby to come, but one of my absolute favorite things about fall is General Conference! I get to spend two full days listening to the words the Lord wants me to hear. He speaks through prophets and apostles, just like he did in the Bible. I always feel the spirit so strongly and I love the opportunity to refocus and remind myself of who I am and where I want to be going.

This past weekend was the General Relief Society Broadcast: a special session of General Conference just for women. I loved the messages shared, especially about how God loves us, and is always willing to give us the peace and strength we need to keep going, no matter how difficult our lives are, if we are only willing to pray and ask for it and to try our best to be obedient to his commandments. If you would like to watch this broadcast and see what the female leaders and prophet had to say to the women of this church last saturday, click here. Men are of course welcome to watch as well, the messages are just directed at the sisters.

If you would like to watch the main body of conference (split into four sessions, beginning Saturday morning and ending Sunday evening) you can go to this link. There is also a priesthood session, specifically for men in the church ages 12 and up. This will be on the same website on Saturday evening. Also, if you get BYUTV, you can watch it on the television.

I am super excited for this weekend (admittedly also for the brunch I traditionally make to eat on Sunday morning as well as for General conference) and I hope that you can feel the spirit of the Lord touch your heart and guide your life if you chose to watch with me this weekend.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

In Women's Chorus we're singing "Come, Thou Fount" at our concert this coming week. I am so excited! I love this song. The music is so beautiful and the lyrics are so sweet. Until this past week I'd always felt the spirit in this song, but never had the words stand out  to me so clearly, especially during one particular line.

"Jesus sought me, when a stranger wandering from the fold of God, came to rescue me from danger from the downward path I trod."

Due to the King James-y English and poetic grammar, I rearrange the words in my head to make more sense and they come out something like this:
"Jesus sought me when I had estranged myself from him and was wandering away from God's fold. He came to rescue me from the spiritual danger in which I was placing myself." He came for me. How powerful is that message?

I have been the sheep that has wandered from the fold. There have been far too many times when I have turned my back on my Savior. I am so sorry that I have done this, and I keep trying to be better, but I am human and I make mistakes. I am proud, and I am selfish, and I ashamed when I let myself and others down. I often feel that when I am going through something difficult that I could have avoided if I had been smart and following the spirit, that I should take care of it myself--that I don't deserve the help and care of my loving Father in Heaven and the Savior. Yet the moment I fall to my knees, the very second I humble myself and ask for help and forgiveness, the Savior is there to sweep me up in the arms of his love. He takes away my pain, my sadness, my guilt, and my stress. He is always waiting to take care of me. No matter how far I wander, he follows me and waits for me to let him help and strengthen me. He leaves the ninety-and-nine for my sake. (Luke 15.)

I am so grateful for the love of my Savior, and for his amazing atonement which allows me to repent and be cleansed so that I can move forward, and upward, without being hindered by my past mistakes. I know that the Lord loves each of us. He will always, always accept and forgive us as we repent and try our best to change. He doesn't expect perfection, he only asks that we do our best. I am so grateful for this knowledge. I am grateful for music. I am so thankful for the way that music and singing can soften my heart when nothing else can, and give me a way to bear my testimony when my own words don't seem like enough.

I love my Savior. I know that he lives and loves us, that his atonement is perfect, and that he wants so much for us to come home to him. I have felt the spirit testify of this to me, and I cannot doubt that.