Hard times are a gift to us.

It has been a huge blessing that I was called into the YW a little after I started this blog. Since I was planning, thinking and creating material for my lesson anyway, this blog became the perfect outlet to share what I was already doing. It also gave me the chance to share the dearest part of my heart and life-my testimony of the reality of Jesus Christ. Teaching YW provided topics and resources and became the perfect ground to talk about, share and fine tune for myself the beliefs I had.

Having said that, I hope these lessons, although initially intended to teach teenaged girls in a church group, can be read and applied to anyone’s life. Mothers, girls, women, boys and men. These are principles of a happy, fulfilling life.

With that said, the things I share are true feelings, beliefs and stories that I share with my YW but I share them to also hopefully help anyone else along too.

The lesson was I teaching on was Why do we have adversity? Which was timely for me.
The last couple weeks I’ve been pretty sick. I had a fever higher than I can ever remember having. It was 103-104 degrees for 4 days. I was weak and exhausted. I somehow still had to take care of my 3 sick kids on top of that. I knew complaining and getting frustrated at my situation would only make things worse so I did what I could to redirect my focus to what I COULD do and think (not to say I didn’t have my weak moments of utter defeat!). I thought of the YW lesson I was preparing to teach and thought, “Oh perfect. There is no better way to learn about why we have adversity than to go through this.” My thinking shifted to “What can I learn from this? and “How can this experience help me grow?”

That mental shift changed everything.

Here some of the things I learned.

Tribulations brings a softening and humbling of spirit and heart.
When I was so physically weak from illness, I was reminded of how I feel when I fast. The physical weakness and lack of energy can be turned to a precious moments of humility and direct one to a different power beyond physical strength-spiritual strength.

I have learned every experience, evening if unpleasant at the moment, can be used to create more room in ones soul to allow greater strength and experience deeper peace and joy later.

Feeling spiritually disconnected and alone
The most difficult moments for me are not the physically weak ones but the moments when I feel alone, left in the dark and disconnect from the source of peace and joy. The most trying challenge comes when I can hardly feel that spiritual strength and power within myself.

Being sick for that length of time combined with the demands of parenthood left me unbalanced in all sorts of ways. Despite my efforts, I wasn’t getting enough rest for what my body needed to recover. I didn’t leave for the gym in the mornings because I felt too sick. Which meant I didn’t get the exercise I usually get which helps keep me emotionally, mentally and physically afloat. This threw me for a mental/spiritual/emotional spin off. It left me feeling really down casted, unmotivated, depressed and easily discouraged by everything. It was that familiar dark place where it feel like something inside me has died. Life feels dismal and meaningless. Everything I was once excited about–my passions, my ideas, my insights– all seem to disappear. Thinking about things like that at the time of gloom seemed like foolish nonsense.

Having gone through this several times before (see “dealing with mommy blues“) I have learned that this is actually part of the test. It is the most difficult testing point for me. It is where I must make good choices when I feel no motivation for them. It is a slippery time when I feel my very faith and sentiment toward God seems dim and waning. It is where the darkness of doubt, fear and insecurities creep in again to confuse everything inside me.

I have learned that however seemingly illogical, I must still continue to seek the God I can no longer feel and the light that seems like is no longer there to guide me. I must make good choices for myself and respect others even when I don’t feel like it. It is the only way to get out the dark.

positive-choices-quote

It is a moment where my FAITH becomes a principle of  deliberate DECISION and ACTION  instead of a genuine sentiment or feeling.

I thought of Joseph Smith and how he must have also felt abandoned when he cried out, “Oh God, where art thou?” in Carthrage Jail. I know my experience is not nearly as dramatic and devastating as that of the prophet but I believe that no matter our outer challenges it is the inner workings and battles of the soul in each of us that are the most challenging and ultimately where our character is built.

greatest-battles-silentchambers-of-your-own-sould

 

Heavenly Father answers Joseph’s plea with, “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;” (D&C 121:7)
I thought, “This too shall pass and I will enjoy greater happiness once I am able to overcome this yucky time!”

What is happening TO you is happening FOR you.

I used to stay in the dumps for a long time before I was able to climb out. I used to panic and condemn myself for what I was experiencing and it would start a vicious cycle that made it difficult to climb out of. Now I know to not freakout. I am getting quicker and better because of what I have learned. Doom and gloom are lies from the adversary we must learn to not believe. It is not because God has abandoned us. He is ALWAYS there, even in and especially during the times we can’t feel Him. He lets us experience dark moments and soul shaking attacks from the adversary because He knows we grow tremendously every time we can conquer those times with His strength.  It is pressing forward in faith and continuing to make positive choices even when we don’t feel like it. Overcoming the dark cavities within ourselves create greater room for the Spirit to dwell with in us.  It is preparatory for us to enjoy greater joy and peace and connection to God later. He allows these sorts of things FOR OUR OWN GROWTH and GOODNESS. Trust.

I feel like this fits in so well with Linda S. Reeves temple analogy:

Provo Tabernacle before fire (source)

“Almost three years ago a devastating fire gutted the interior of the beloved, historic tabernacle in Provo, Utah. Its loss was deemed a great tragedy by both the community and Church members. Many wondered, “Why did the Lord let this happen? Surely He could have prevented the fire or stopped its destruction.”

Provo Tabernacle fire. (Source)

Ten months later, during the October 2011 general conference, there was an audible gasp when President Thomas S. Monson announced that the nearly destroyed tabernacle was to become a holy temple—a house of the Lord! Suddenly we could see what the Lord had always known! He didn’t cause the fire, but He allowed the fire to strip away the interior. He saw the tabernacle as a magnificent temple—a permanent home for making sacred, eternal covenants.4

Rendering of upcoming Provo temple (end of 2015-beg of 2016). (Source)

My dear sisters, the Lord allows us to be tried and tested, sometimes to our maximum capacity. We have seen the lives of loved ones—and maybe our own—figuratively burned to the ground and have wondered why a loving and caring Heavenly Father would allow such things to happen. But He does not leave us in the ashes; He stands with open arms, eagerly inviting us to come to Him. He is building our lives into magnificent temples where His Spirit can dwell eternally.

Painting saved from the fire. Christ never leaves us alone. He is alway there with His arms extended towards us. (Source)

If you would like to use this analogy to teach your family, or church group, here is the download of the pictures in a PDF. It can be printed on paper (or cardstock) to display as you tell the story.

Download “Provo Tabernacle Images” trials-provo-tabernacle-images.pdf – Downloaded 174 times – 6 MB

I’ve had this comes to my mind often:

rebuild-in-a-beautiful-way

I think it is important to write down our thoughts and impressions we receive in moment of clarity and wisdom. Quotes and scriptures that touch us and help us through are essential to write down so we have positive references when life isn’t looking or feeling good. It’s all about REMEMBERING. I created this handout for anyone to use to help them remember the good stuff that will pull us through!

spiritual-strength-adversity-01

Download “Spiritual Strength thru adversity PDF” spiritual-strength-adversity.pdf – Downloaded 239 times – 392 KB

 

For my lesson I showed the video, “Mountains to climb” and had girls fill out above handout as they heard things that impressed them. Through out lesson they wrotte down thoughts that could help them.

YOU CAN DO THIS MY FRIEND!

Other helpful links:

ALL FEBRUARY CFM LESSONS

Object lesson video and handout about finding solutions to challenages

6 ways to be happy during tough times

RS presentation video about mentally/emotional/spiritual wellbeing 

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Feelin’ and givin’ the love

I’m preparing a young lesson called, “How can I develop Christlike love?“,  As I pondered about how His love in my life works, here is a handout idea that I was inspired with.

 

Download “Taste Sweetness Handout” taste-sweetness-handout.pdf – Downloaded 466 times – 102 KB

 

A fun object lesson and treat to go along with it is to include a wrapped chocolate or candy. Explain that any negative feeling can block us from feeling God’s love, just like like the wrapper is blocking us from tasting the chocolate.

To overcome our negative feelings, we must be willing to forgive others and ourselves. Once we are willing to change our thoughts and attitudes to overcome our negative feelings, through the help of the Spirit, we can once again come to taste the sweetness of God’s love within us.

Click here for all “Come Follow Me” Lessons in OCTOBER.

How to manage emotions in a healthy way.

Key Point of video and some additional insight

One the of the greatest life skills

One the of the greatest life skill we and our kids can learn in this life is how to deal with our emotions.  Dealing with our feelings in a healthy way is key to achieving a sense of wellbeing and vital in creating healthy relationship with others and ourselves.

How to manage emotions in a healthy way

The Sun

In the video above I illustrated a sun and it represents all our good and happy feelings. Feelings that communicate that we are happy, lovable, competent and important. Basically any feeling that is warm and yummy to us and that help us feel our real worth. It is always available to us.

The Cloud

A build of up negative feelings creates a cloud between us and good feelings we could have.  It essentially ‘blocks’ out the sun. Many times we even believe that the ‘sun’ (or good feelings) don’t exist because of the cloud that is not letting  happy feelings in.

The Inner Battle

It doesn’t matter what is going on around us, what is going on inside us speaks our reality.  (See this post about how I discovered inner peace was my biggest priority of the day) What we think and feel IS our world. If we feel choatic inside, we will see chaos everywhere around us. If we feel unloved, everything around us will only justify that emotion. Take care of what is going on inside first, let the sun in and you will be able to see things clearer! Then you will be are ready to better take on the world around you.

How to deal with the yuck inside. Releasing the rain, letting the clouds part, go.

Learn ways to help you channel out the yucky feelings. I have found journaling what I’m feeling and resolving to feel peace again in writing helps does wonders! Going for a run to clear out my head is a great way too. Speaking an argument outloud in another room just to get it out of me (instead of on a person) has the same effect without hurting me or another person. If there is a lot of tension, CRYING helps me release much of that build up. Whatever you do, your job is to:

1.validate your own feelings: I feel this way and it is ok to feel anything. Feelings, though strong, potent, vivid and real are NOT facts. Negative feelings can lie and distort reality.

2.Release the emotion, get the yuckies out. (cry, run, punch pillow, scream in closet, journal it out.) Take POSITIVE action with negative Feelings.  Your negative feelings will strongly tell you otherwise but you are can be incharge of what you do.

3.Then let it go by not blaming anyone: not yourself, situations or others. FORGIVENESS of others AND YOURSELF is the most freeing thing you can possibly do. It heals and helps you move forward.

4. You will feel more calm and ready to better conquer the outer battles

Remember, own your feelings but don’t let them own you.

own your feelings, but don't let them own you

Many Great methods: Recovery International

My fabulous friend Erin (in the video) teaches the Recovery International (RI) method to mothers and helps us learn how to turn around our negative and insecure thoughts around whenever we feel ourselves getting worked up (raise your hand if you get worked up over stuff!!!).  It has worked wonders in her own life! I have personally have learn SO much from her and Dr. Lows (RI creater) methods and readings. I highly recommend it to anyone. For more info, go to her fb group, here is the official RI website explaining more and here are some ‘spots’ (truths that help turn our thoughts around).

The Rain can help you Grow

Anytime we release that negative emotion in a positive way and turn our feelings around, we GROW!  We receive greater strength and wisdom to deal with negative emotions for the next time we encounter them. Our self control rewards us with self-respect and confidence. Our relationship flourish. We enjoy greater happiness! We can feel the sun again!  we need the rain

Are you feeling inspired to make a change in your life? Here are my 7 tips for success!  I’m all about learning how to be a happier healthier mama! It helps me and everyone around me. Enjoy happiness my friend!.