Sunday, July 23, 2017

How can I...?

  With God, we can do anything.

It's almost been two months since I've posted.

I am still here! :)

Between enjoying our summer schedule and working on writing a chapter for a collaborative book for widows (more on that soon!), I've been doing a lot of soul searching since my last post.

Life's changes for my family have settled in and we are getting better adjusted to our "new normal." Instead of looking back and longing for what we once enjoyed, I am continually trying harder to face forward with an appreciation for the foundations my marriage with Tony has laid for the obstacles in life ahead. I find myself more grateful for the time I had with Tony, and my longing to be with him again increases with every new sunrise-- but the longing isn't in despair or anxiousness, it is now a desire to find where my path in life needs to be and who I need to become so that we can be together again.

Of course, with any close associations with death, it often leaves us wondering, "Why am I still here? Why was it not me?" These inevitable questions have been on my mind and I've done a lot of deep thinking on it.

I haven't found an answer yet; in fact, I don't think I will while I'm alive. And I realized I don't need the answer.

My questions have changed to some that are actually helpful to my searching soul, "How can I be better? How can I increase in strength to live a good life?" While journaling and reading at night, I came across a scripture that says, "And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high..." (Doctrine and Covenants 1:28).

So, when we are humble, we receive strength, a strength not of our own but from God. Humility is often defined as not being vain or prideful, and in the context of faith it is a submission to God's will, or recognizing that He is our Father and we are His children. We can show respect to God by living His laws and by giving due credit to Him in our life. When we are blessed, it is because God blessed us. When we grow and learn, it is by His help in our life, etc.

A phrase I often say to my kids popped into my mind one night while journaling. My kids can almost finish my sentence when I say, "God loves you so much, and He also loves everyone else just like He loves you." I think when we understand that God loves everyone equally and then we act on that thought and treat others with the love and respect God shows us, this can be another way we can increase in humility. We can take that even one step further and try to change our thoughts toward others and try to feel more love to everyone we interact with in our daily lives. This is hard! And this is why humbling ourselves opens our hearts and allows us to love deeper, which in turn increases our strength to stand strong during the difficult times in our lives.

It is amazing that God loves us and will always help us in our times of need. Asking for help is another way we increase in humility. We recognize our inability to do it on our own and know that the only way to live a fulfilled and happy life is to be strengthened by others. I know firsthand from lots of experiences that asking for help is very difficult, but that it has increased my gratitude for the family and friends in my life and my resolve to be better in a way I wouldn't experience otherwise.

That ties into my other question of "How can I be better?" Here is the opportunity to step back and look at our lives, trying to find what our motivations are behind our actions. Why do we do what we do? (That's a mouthful!) When we discover what our motivations are, it is easy to pinpoint where our corrections can be made. Then we can use our search for humility to channel our motives in the right direction. Starting with a good heart is the biggest part, as when we want to be a light in the world then our actions will follow suit.

When you feel discouraged at the end of your day, and don't feel you measure up to who you want to be (which is your best self and no one else!), sit down and write what you are struggling with and where you want to improve. And on the days you feel great and I strong, write down what was good in your day and find the reasons behind it. Then look up and feel grateful for the opportunity to try again tomorrow and for the strength that's been given to you.

Keep moving forward! Keep doing your best! God loves you and is proud of the big and small wins in each day. Nothing is more important to Him than you!