Posts tagged ‘strength’

turning weakness into strength

My last blog as a missionary…I decided to touch on a subject that I have seen personally in effect. Before I entered the Missionary Training Center in Feb. 2010, I talked in sacrament meeting as a farewell to my family and friends. The topic I was asked to address was turning weakness into strength. Being at the start of my mission, I knew I’d be turning some of my weak points into assets. Now that I’m at the end of my mission, I can look back with satisfaction on how I have grown. Certain weaknesses of mine are now a strength, maybe not my greatest strength (yet), but much more so than 17 months ago. Ralph Waldo Emerson explains this process perfectly,”that which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is increased.”

Of course, I know it is because of my Savior that I have been able to improve upon my imperfections. A biblical account found in John 9:2-3 testifies of His power to change our weaknesses into strengths. It reads:

2 And his disciples did ask him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

The word manifest really stood out to me when I read this. We read that word a lot in the scriptures and understand what it means but I wanted a solid definition. Manifest is to make clear or evident to the eye or the understanding; to show plainly, to put beyond doubt or question. Synonyms of the word manifest include obvious, apparent, unmistakable. The blind man becomes fully aware of Christ’s power to turn his weakness into a strength. This account manifests to us that He can do the same in our lives.

A quote by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf explains how Christ can change us. “We must try…try and keep on trying until that which seems difficult becomes possible–and that which seems only possible becomes habit and a real part of you.” I don’t know about you but to me, that sounds very doable! It really is as simple as that; doing something consistently until it becomes second nature. God wants commitment, not just conversation. I can speak from experience that as we trust in our Savior, we can do whatever might be required of us. I felt the enabling power of His atonement filling in where I lacked as I began my mission. I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

As a representative of Jesus Christ, I testify that the Church of Jesus Christ as He organized it originally was lost for many centuries along with the priesthood authority of God, but because He loves His children, He called another prophet to restore said church and priesthood. I have spent the last 17 months teaching this most remarkable message. I have seen it change the lives of many who have found a special place in my heart! I know Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon and that it is the word of God! Through those ancient scriptures, all can know of the truthfulness of this message. As I’ve said countless times on my mission and will continue to say til my dying breath: THE CHURCH IS SO TRUE!

Test Drive? Sample? Preview?

What do test driving a corvette, Costco food samples and the Holy Ghost have in common? They are all a preview of what could be yours if you take the required steps to obtain them. Behind the wheel of a ZR1 corvette, feeling the way the engine accelerates and how the gears shift gives you an idea of whether or not the car lives up to your expectations. Samples while shopping at Costco, provides a taste of the foods you’d like to purchase. The Holy Ghost is a foretaste of eternal life.

My favorite thing about the gospel of Jesus Christ is the Holy Ghost. He testifies of truth, warns of physical or spiritual danger, brings things to our remembrance, etc. It is through the spirit that we receive any blessing from the Father. When we pray for answers, our revelation comes by the Holy Ghost. If we ask for strength, comfort or peace, we feel that aid with the presence of that divine personage of spirit. Without Him, we would be left to our own understanding and own strength to make it through this life.

Being a member of the Godhead, the Spirit is the next best thing to having the Savior by your side throughout your life. Now there are two different ways the Holy Ghost works. The power of the Holy Ghost is how we receive a testimony of Christ. He comes into our minds and hearts to bear witness of gospel truths such as Joseph Smith being called as a prophet or the Book of Mormon being the word of God. The GIFT of the Holy Ghost, however, follows baptism by the proper priesthood authority that allows you to have the Spirit as your constant companion as long as you’re worthy.

Sometimes when the Spirit is extra strong, I feel so happy I could burst, like I could explode with happiness. One member I met who lives in Billings explained the Spirit’s impact well. She said, “It feels too good to be true…but it’s not because it’s so real!” His presence is undeniable to one who is humble and listening. You can think of it like a pep talk from the Spirit. He testifies that what you are doing is right, worth it, and that there is more where that came from. With the Holy Ghost, we are able to endure all things. Remember during the hard times, when feeling at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on! God will hear your prayers and send His Comforter to build you up enough to carry on. There were times in my youth where I’d think, I’m done. I’m not praying or reading anymore. As soon as I finished that thought, a reoccurring statement would rebuttal that threat: No I won’t do that because I KNOW that won’t make me happy.

There is such happiness from living the Gospel. Feeling that ’bout to burst happiness,’ gives me understanding and conviction that no worldly pleasure is worth sacrificing salvation. If we are faithful, we can receive eternal life where we experience never-ending happiness. Ya just can’t beat that!

Nothing more constant than change

“There is nothing so unchanging, so inevitable as change itself. The things we see, touch, and feel are always changing. Relationships between friends, husband and wife, father and son, brother and sister are all dynamic, changing relationships. There is a constant that allows us to use change for our own good, and that constant is the revealed eternal truths of our Heavenly Father.” Marvin J. Ashton

How true that is! Think back over the last 5 years of your life and all of the changes that have occured. As I do so, I see myself in the second half of my junior year in high school. Now I currently live in Billings, MT as I continue to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. Had I viewed a glimpse of my life now to 17 year old Sister Nielson, I doubt I would have found it possible to believe. Over those last 5 years, I have experienced many trials, challenges and struggles along with times of happiness, satisfaction, and contentment. Of course we grow and learn from the adventure of life, whether positive or negative.

Years ago, change and the unknown terrified me. Being a missionary for the LDS church is all about changes and unknown places, people and tasks. How am I handling this life of instability you might ask? My Savior, Jesus Christ is the key!

I know with all the assurity of my heart that my Savior will not fail me! Elder Holland puts it well when he encourages us all: “We have to live in such a way that we cannot do it alone anymore- where we will resort to the Lord- where we will cry ‘Without thy help, I will fall. Help me fly.’ Faith, hope, trust. Words that are associated with Jesus Christ and my relation to him. I know He will aid me in as I change, progress, grow, learn for He is constant and He is stable. If we allow, He will make us far more effective and able than we ever thought possible. We can peacefully face the uncertainty of the future when we cultivate our relationship and faith in our Lord and Savior. “Our future is as bright as our faith” (Pres. Thomas S. Monson).

Ways to develop that faith and trust:
1. Hearing the word of God (attending church weekly).
2. Reading the word of God (daily if only a verse from the Bible or Book of Mormon).
3. Obedience to God’s commandments (if you don’t know all His commandments, find them out).

I am a witness that with Christ all things are possible! Even dealing with the unknown and changes in life. “[We] can do all things through Christ who strengthens [us].” Philip 4:13