Tuesday, November 25, 2014

You Never Know...

How many things did you get checked off your “to- do” list today? Sometimes, the most important things you do each day were never even on your list. As we help a neighbor or family member, we often overlook the results. You might worry about the things you never get done, but President Gordon B. Hinckley reminds us, “You never know how much good you do.”

Family is Forever

Heavenly Father has made it possible for family relationships to continue after this life. If family members are sealed in the temple and faithfully keep the commandments, they can be united as a family eternally and live in Heavenly Father’s presence.

I love my family and wouldn't trade these crazies for the world. I know because of Heavenly Father's perfect plan, I get the rest of eternity with the people I love most. 


    "To forgive is a divine attribute. It is to pardon or excuse someone from blame for an offense or misdeed. The scriptures refer to forgiveness in two ways. The Lord commands us to repent of our sins and seek His forgiveness. He also commands us to forgive those who offend or hurt us." - Lds.org Definition for Forgiveness

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Step of Faith Towards Little Rock


  "Dear Sister Case, You are hereby called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. You are assigned to Labor in the Little Rock Arkansas Mission.... You should report the Provo Missionary Training Center on February 11th. You will be prepared to preach the gospel in the English Language."
    I never would have thought 6 months ago I would be opening my mission call but as I read these words the Spirit was so strong. This was a moment when my testimony of God's knowledge and love of who I am as His  daughter grew stronger. 
      My life is completely filled with curve balls, I always have a plan of how I want life to be but Heavenly Father throws me a curve ball and completely changes everything but changes it for the better! It happened when my family situation changed, when I switched into a seminary class where I gained my personal testimony, when I chose to go to Herriman High school, when I dated a boy I never thought I would, and when I decided to go Utah Valley University. Seriously, these were choices that completely changed my life but for the better. They were never in my personal plans but I know that these events occurred on purpose because they lead me to this stage in life where I am now preparing  to serve the Lord. 
      When I emailed my friends who are serving missions all over the world, one emailed me back asking me to share how I received the answer to serve The Lord. So here you go.
       I didn't have the desire to serve a mission when I was younger, even when the age changed. I was just excited for my younger sister who has always wanted to serve a mission and all the boys I was friends with. I wasn't ever against the idea of serving a mission though, it just was never apart of my plans.  As a senior in high school I served as the seminary president and my mindset began to change. The Gospel has always brought me so much joy and It made me so happy to share my testimony with my fellow seminary students. The desire to share my testimony of Christ became stronger and stronger. So I prayed.
       My answers from The Lord come in the strangest of ways but they are personal to me. Sometimes they don't come in the way I though they would or take forever to come but his timing is always right. I prayed and prayed and prayed. The answer I received was very specific: "Go to UVU for a semester and then ask me" For awhile I was like "Serious? I could go on a mission right out of high school. That is the weirdest answer but ok I will do it." 
       So here I am and I love it and now I understand why I needed to come here first. Heavenly Father needed me to experience more of life then just high school. My faith needed to be strengthened but most of all I needed to experience sacrifice. I have a great job that I love, I work with people I love, I am at a school I love, I live with people I love, and my family are my favorite people and I love them. I am going to leave these blessings behind which isn't easy but it is nothing compared to the sacrifice that God made. He sent His only Begotten Son to this earth who sacrificed His own life to pay the price of all our sins.
        With a better understanding of the Gospel and the semester coming to a close, I continued to pray. As I was pondering in church one day, I was reminded of advise someone gave me; "Sometimes we need to take that step of faith to show Heavenly Father that we are willing to serve Him and if it is the wrong step, He will stop you." I was overcome with joy! Beginning the mission process was my 'step of faith'.
         This past month has been a roller coaster of excitement! With that 'Step of Faith' I filled out my mission papers, got my call, and now I am preparing to serve The Lord in Little Rock Arkansas! I can see myself there already.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Simple Truth

           President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said in his talk The Love of God "God does not need us to love Him. But oh, how we need to love God!" 
           We all have been through trials in our life that have tested our faith. Oftentimes we ask God "Why me?". There needs to be a change in our attitude if we want to recognize Tender Mercies in our lives. God gives us trials to grow and become humble so that we, through his son Jesus Christ,  can come closer to Him. 
            There are many feelings that can hold us back from this realization. We have to learn to forgive. When we hold grudges against others or against ourselves we are filling our lives with negativity. Negativity is a great shield if you don't want to receive promptings from the Spirit. Laman and Lemuel are prime examples of this (1 Nephi 17:44). I urge you to forgive others and forgive yourselves, if you don't you will drown yourself in negativity. Never did I say it is easy, it is hard, but oh is it worth it to love God for all that he has given you and all the people he has placed in your life. 
I am no expert but there are many talks o-n Forgiveness. 


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Christ is With Us Every Step of the Way.


         Some days I am reminded about how much I am loved by my Heavenly Father. These are the days where everything seems to be perfectly timed or even just the smallest of things happen that give you a smile on your face that was put there by God.
         One day in particular I had one of the days that everything was perfectly time. I felt that my day was perfectly crafted by every heavenly being.
          Pre-cursor to the story so you can have a better understanding of why this particular day was perfect. There was a night that I felt very much alone. I am surrounded by people I love all the time, the men I work with always make me laugh and feel good, the people that live in my apartment building (The Ambassadors of UVU) are incredible people and we are all really close friends, and I love all the people I meet throughout my days. But yet I felt alone. I felt like no one truly understood me or took me seriously. That night I was kneeling in prayer with tears just streaming down my face  because I felt so alone and like there was something in my life I wasn't doing correctly. I had so many prayers that weren't being answered and I was at a breaking point. I was comforted as I finished my prayer and crawled into bed that night. (pre-cursor now finished.)
          The second day after that sincere prayer was given very unusual moments were occurring. I got off work as normal and went to my leadership class and then my Comm 1020 class. Normal right? My last class of that day was English 1010, it had spaced my mind that class was cancelled that day. So I came to find out that indeed it was cancelled as I approached the classroom (one of the happiest moments.) I could have gone home and hung out with people, or eat dinner, or you know do some homework but for some reason I was impressed to just hang around campus. I rode my scooter over to an area right outside the gym and I saw my roommate...
           "Hey Nat, What are you doing here?!" (I hardly ever see my roommates, basically the only time I see them is in the morning before work and at night after, so seeing her on campus was a pleasant surprise)
           "I am about to go to the temple, do you want to come with me and some other people?"
           "No thanks, but I hope you guys have a good time" *WHAT THE HECK?! I love the temple?!?! Why did that come out of my mouth?!* (It was as if someone had put these words in my mouth and they just came out. Here is the weirdest thing.. It felt right to say. The Spirit told me to say this.)
           We departed and I started out towards my car. I called my mom to update her on life, she informed me that the rest of my family members were on campus at a baseball game and suggested I go but yet once again I had another one of those weird moments "No thanks Mom." *WHAT THE HECK?1 WHAT IS GOING ON WITH ME?! Two things I love so much, my family and the temple but for some reason I said 'No Thanks'?? What is wrong with me?!*
            Me and my mom continued talking and after a little while I made it to my car. I was about to get in and drive home when I saw two boys that I am good friends with across the road "Mom I have to go, there are attractive men and I need to be friendly." I ended up walking to their car with them. On our way to their car we met up with a girl named Myra. Little did I know that Myra was in my ward, she told me that she was going to Relief Society. I was hesitant to go but one of the boys looked me in the eyes and told me I had to, this struck my soul. So I went.
            I arrived at the church to find it was a stake activity and there were about 6 girls from my ward there. There was food I didn't want and I just felt that there was something better I could be doing. The adversary was working really hard to get me to leave but I was glued to my chair. I was weirdly guided here and I was missing out on the temple and family, I had to get some spiritual-ness some how.
            After dinner was over a lady got up to spoke and as she spoke I began to be overwhelmed with The Spirit. Every question that was haunting my soul was answered, every burden was lifted, every fear was comforted, every hole was filled. She provided me with information to help me better study the scriptures and receive the answers that Heavenly Father has waiting for me. I knew as she spoke that every single step of the day lead me to that seat, in that cultural hall, at that activity, that night and EVERY step was provided to me by my Savior Jesus Christ because He didn't want me to feel alone anymore. He loves me and His hand crafted that day and crafts everyday to come.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The First 2 Steps to Seeing Miracles

        You may be questioning, "Courtney, What do you mean recognizing the Lord's hand?! You have this cute little story but seriously what do you mean?" Well I will tell you what I mean! 
         On lds.org when you research "Recognizing The Lord's hand" the first option it gives you to look at is "How can I learn to see the Lord's hand in all things" [https://www.lds.org/youth/learn/ss/godhead/hand?lang=eng] and it says,  "The prophet Alma taught, “All things denote there is a God” (Alma 30:44). Heavenly Father loves us and blesses us daily. If we are observant, we can see evidence of His power and influence in our lives and in the world around us. Though we may not see Him personally, recognizing His hand in all things can strengthen our testimony that He lives." 
          We must FIRST have the DESIRE to see "evidence of His power and influence.." There might me something holding you back like you feel you aren't "spiritual enough" to see his hand for example. YOU ARE WRONG. It doesn't matter what you have done or where you have been, if you are fully active in the church or not, all you need is the DESIRE to see. People would not have joined this church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints) if they did not have the DESIRE to know God or Jesus Christ
           Now you have the Desire to see the Lord's hand in your life, or the tender mercies of God, or blessings (all the same thing). You must now PREPARE yourself. Have an open mind, you are going to need it. Heavenly Father doesn't always answer our prayers in the way that we think he will or the way that we hope for or plan on. He may throw you a curve ball. You must be ready to accept what doors of opportunity He wants you to enter. Gordan B. Hinkley said "I know that we are not perfect men [or Women]. We know the perfect way, but we do not always act according to our knowledge. But I think that for the most part we are trying. We are trying to be the kind of men [or Women] our Father would have us be. That is a very high objective, and I commend all of you who are trying to reach it. May the Lord bless you as you seek to live exemplary lives in every respect." https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2005/10/if-ye-are-prepared-ye-shall-not-fear?lang=eng
           You don't have to be perfect to receive blessings from Heavenly Father, you just have to try. My challenge to you this week is to have the desire to see the Lord's Hand and then prepare, the first to steps to seeing miracles. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Trash To Treasure

        It all started one Sabbath afternoon in my summer Singles Ward during Sacrament meeting... Let me give you some background to my story- When I was in the singles ward for the first time it was an adventure (by adventure I mean culture shock). If you already think church is the longest three hours of your life, wait until you have Relief Society first and Sacrament last, then you may you say church is the longest 3 hours of your life. Anyways.. I made it through the first two hours (don't get me wrong I love church and look forward to it every week, but 3 hours is a long time in a skirt) and finally came the best part of the day SACRAMENT MEETING. I was pumped! But this wasn't your typical Sacrament meeting... No screaming baby's, no siblings fighting, no mom's telling their children to sit still, in fact STILL is the exact word to describe this meeting. It was so quiet you could here yourself think and even better you could here the Spirit. It was incredible. Then the Sacrament came... After the prayer was over I lifted my head... THIS IS NOT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE DID! I looked around and mostly everyone's heads were still bowed! I used my best judgement and assumed that they were each saying their own prayer. WHAT A GREAT IDEA! So I took this first day to heart and I now do it in every meeting.- Now you have the background let's get to the REAL story.
        One particular Sunday afternoon in Sacrament I was saying my personal prayer and I was praying to focus on one specific thing throughout the coming week, I asked Heavenly Father "Please help me recognize The Hand of The Lord in my life each day."  and of course as some (most) people do I went throughout the rest of my day almost forgetting some of the prayers I sent God's way UNTIL later that night. 
         I was on a walk with a boy I used to date just around my neighborhood and this boy like picking up trash. As we walked he looked down an saw a small piece of trash and when he picked it up he told me with surprise in his voice "Look Court! It is half of a Passalong card!" (A passalong card, if you don't know, if a small index card that the missionaries usually hand out and it typically has a picture of Christ.) He handed it to me and I began to giggle to myself... It was a recognizable card and just like he said it was only part of the card left but what made me giggle was that it was literally THE LORD'S HAND and JUST his Hand. Heavenly Father is funny and He knows it! I looked heavenward and I sent a thought God's way "I like your answer. You are funny!" 
       Unlike most pieces of trash, I kept this one. I keep it with my in the back of my phone case to remind me to look for The Lord's Hand in my life EVERYDAY and it helps because when great things happen I pull it out and explain to whoever is with me at that time that GOOD THINGS HAPPEN WHEN THE LORD'S HAND IS IN YOUR LIFE. 
        Since that particular Sabbath day I have been able to recognize when The Lord is blessing me because of a simple prayer, God's humor, and a piece of trash that is now my Treasure.