Sunday, July 10, 2016


I want to begin this journal entry by testifying that God knows each of us individually and is mindful of each one of us. We have a way prepared by our Savior, Jesus Christ to grow and become more like Him. I testify that as we follow Him and keep the commandments that God will give us opportunities to bless and be blessed beyond mortal measure.

I had a tender experience while attending institute at the Orem LDS Institute of Religion this week. I had entered the classroom and began my normal routine for Wednesday night when I felt prompted to sit next to a girl sitting alone. I asked her if it would be alright if I sat by her and she replied, "sure, I don't know anyone here anyways". I then took the opportunity to set my things out and introduce myself to her.

What I was then about to find out about her would then change me. I asked her where she was from and she replied that she had just moved here a week ago from South Carolina. She moved here to go to Utah Valley University and begin her study in nursing. Knowing that she was here for school, I asked her if she would be returning home for the holidays. She said that she didn't really have a home back home and no family. She explained that her Father died when she was 15 years old and her mom left her to go to Mexico. She hadn't heard from her mother since her father's death. She had two brothers that she had no emotional connection to. When she told them she would be moving to Utah they didn't care and said , "see ya later". She had moved out of her house at 16 and saved to move to Utah. The only things that kept her in South Carolina were her ward and her best friend whom she lived with.

My heart sunk as I looked at her and the heartache she must have felt losing her family. Humility began to sink in and I just wanted to embrace her (I resisted due to the fact that I was a complete stranger to her) and instead I assured her that it's amazing that she had accomplished getting here and was on her way to accomplish her dream of being a nurse. I knew that she had a passion for helping people and I shared that same passion with her. It was then that I realized how blessed I have been to live in this beautiful place my whole life with a family who loves me and has stayed by me. We all have had our fair share of trials but what stood out to me is what she did with those trials. She was going to make something of herself and offer those around her what she hadn't been given herself. Our trials can be building blocks to higher ground as we tred through those deep spots with faith and trust in a loving Heavenly Father.

President Monson has said, " Decisions determine destiny." I believe that her decision to live, even through difficult trials, had led her here where she could accomplish the things the Lord has in store for her. Attitude is key. President Dieter F. Uchtodorf said, "Our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble but by the number of times we stand up, dust ourselves off, and stride forward." My friend from South Carolina was a living testimony of these profound words. She had many reasons to stay down but she has continued to brush herself off and stride forward.

I had promised myself that I wouldn't forget that experience I had. Throughout the rest of the night I was distracted by Satan's subtle darts. I had felt like the lesson that night was mediocre considering all of the off-the-wall comments that led the class away from the prepared lesson. I began to be annoyed and forgot why I was there.

Later that night, I got a phone call from a friend of mine. She had asked me how my class was that night and I had immediately responded with the answer "boring". She expressed that she was sorry that I didn't enjoy class and we began talking about other things. After getting off the phone I surprised myself with such an awful answer. I sat on my bed pondering my time at institute and immediately felt sadness for being so inconsiderate of the amazing experience I had experienced that night. I immediately texted my friend back and explained that I forgotten the most important thing of my night. She reminded me of the importance of pondering. It was important for me that my friend had asked me about my night and that I was able to ponder my thoughts and feelings. I gained a greater understanding of the meaning of the word ponder. It is important that we take the time to ponder daily and that we write down our thoughts and impressions so that they become imprinted in our hearts.

I have thought about this experience many times throughout the week and it's amazing to me that as we follow the prompting of the Spirit we are able to bless and be blessed beyond mortal measure. If I had not followed the prompting to sit by my friend from South Carolina I wouldn't have experienced that humility and had the opportunity to ponder like I did. I think about Tim McGraw's song "Humble and Kind" and the message is a beautiful principle. Always stay humble and kind. As we reach out to our brothers and sisters with kindness we are able to experience a greater sense of humility. Each of our brothers and sisters are fighting a different battle but we can be united in kindness, love, and humility toward one another.

I challenge each of you to make correct decisions today that will lead you to your destiny. When you stumble and fall (which you will) get back up and stride forward knowing that God will have your back and He will not leave you comfortless. I challenge you to be kind and loving and God will bless you. Don't allow yourself to become distracted from the blessings that God has given and will give to you. Keep His commandments and you will have the opportunities to bless and be blessed. Take time to ponder and write down your thoughts and impressions so that they may be imprinted upon your hearts and so God and give you more.

Be a little better today than you were yesterday. Follow those promptings and I promise you the blessings will be unfolded as you do so. 

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