February 17, 2013

little miracles

My weekends can be described in two words: incredibly short. The two days allowed for me to rest are vital to my sanity, but I often feel like the time is flying. Luckily, it's speeding up in all areas in my life ... which is actually kind of scary, but that can be a topic for a different post. Anyway, I had two really awesome experiences today that I feel like I need to record.

Before I talk about my lovely Sunday, I guess I should mention my fantastic Saturday. Since I've been in middle school, I have been a member of our school's Science Olympiad team. I even wrote about it here. I have not always been the best participant of the club, but I have been able to grow in my learning and in my friendships with others. I was able to participate in our Regional Competition in three events (Rocks and Minerals, Disease Detectives, and Fermi Questions) and with minimal preparation I did well in all of my events. I am so pleased with our efforts as a team. When I look back on my high school experience, I can recognize that Science Olympiad has been a force for good in my life.

With that said, my fantastic Saturday led to my lovely Sunday. I really haven't been getting as much sleep in the past week as I should, and although that isn't much of an excuse for anything, I had a hard time waking up and getting ready for church this morning. I suppose that it doesn't help that our meeting time was changed to 9:00. It makes for a hectic morning. I felt the spirit during all of the meetings, but I wasn't as focused as I should have been. I went home with Savannah as soon as we said the closing prayer for Young Women's, but I had to return to church to drop off the car for my dad to be able to drive home.

As I was taking the 8 minute drive back to the church, I was able to let my thoughts settle a bit and I started to pray. Praying in the car is a kind of weird habit that I have acquired as I have been able to drive places by myself. I just start to talk to Heavenly Father and to voice my gratitude and concerns. Something that I haven't really been worried about surfaced to my mind as I was praying out loud. I have been slowly but surely compiling my Family History, one generation at a time. Unfortunately, a couple of months ago, I struggled to find any new names. I would sit at the computer for hours looking for a lead but would find NOTHING. So, as I was praying today, I felt like telling Heavenly Father about it. I explained that I knew that he desired my family members to have the same blessings of the Gospel that I do. I also described the problems I found in my genealogy that needed to be addressed before I could move forward. This was quite a long list, and by the time I finished, I had pulled into the church parking lot.

When I got home, I hopped on the computer for a few seconds, intending to research online to find the "missing link." However, I felt like I needed to look through the written records that are slowly gathering dust in our family office. As I pulled out the binders and the books that contain my ancestors information, I felt a peace and a true connection with my family. That feeling is what I love about doing my family's work. It never ceases to amaze me how important every person is to Heavenly Father. I know that the work I do for them now will be such a blessing to me and my future family as well.

Sometimes little miracles happen. Today, my little miracle was in those binders. I became a little frustrated as I looked through the pedigrees that are a little bit complicated for me. I couldn't understand where I was supposed to be looking for these two ancestors. I went through one binder with no success. As I opened the next, I wasn't hoping for much ... however, I was able to flip right open to the page that had my two people! I literally clapped my hands for joy and started cry/laughing. I don't know exactly how to describe my emotions, but I was SO EXCITED to have found these names. Although I didn't find any other names, these two people were enough. Heavenly Father removed the barriers ahead of me and made a way for me to find these people. Ahhhhhh! It's just incredible to think about the power that Heavenly Father has with the simple matters in our life.

On to experience NUMBER TWO! Today we had our YW in Excellence/New Beginnings Program. It seems like we've been planning this for months and months, and all of the planning COMPLETELY paid off. I was conducting, and it was a special experience for me because I have a very limited amount of time that I get to remain in Young Women's. I felt the spirit very distinctly throughout the meeting. As Sister McIntosh talked about keeping an eternal perspective, I felt the spirit reminding me that my involvement in YW has helped me to keep that perspective. As we sang a special musical number, I felt the spirit encouraging me to continue to keep the commandments and to stand in holy places. I love the Young Women program of the church.

After our musical number, each of the current Young Women were able to share a display with the audience, describing a value that they worked on during the year. I was assigned the Honor Bee, which is the award that Young Women can obtain after they earn their Personal Progress by completing the Book of Mormon again and completing 40 hours of service. As I shared my experiences that I had while working on my Honor Bee, I got really emotional (I blame it on a general lack of sleep). As I thought about the people I served and the testimony that I had gained while working on my Honor Bee, I recognized the difference it has made in my life to be able to have these experiences. I really feel like I know what it means to serve "the least of these." I also know that I am one of the least and I am so grateful that Heavenly Father loves each of his children enough to send his Son to die for them. He knows who I am. He loves me.

As I have been in the Young Women's program, I have been able to recognize his hand in my life and gain a FIRM testimony of the gospel. It truly has prepared me to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and prepare for the blessings of exhalation. I am so far from perfect, but Young Women's has taught me how to live the gospel in the best way that I can. As I was talking to the little girls that are going to be coming into Young Women's this year, I thought back to when I was a Beehive and I thought about how little I knew about life then. Now I feel as though I have truly been able to blossom into an individual who knows where she is going.

This whole post has been kind of a ramble ... I just love the gospel so much that I have a hard time articulating my feelings about it. It's true! I'm so excited to share the message it contains when I serve a mission!! I can't wait until I can go to the temple and complete the ordinances for my ancestors. Life's such an amazing road to be on.

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