August 5, 2013

miracles happen

I'm kind of a sucker for animated classics. When I was home schooled, I pretty much did two or three hours of schooling a day, cleaned my room, read the scriptures, ran, babysat, and ate cookies. During all of that time, I listened to Disney music on Pandora nonstop. Listening to it now is like an instant kick of nostalgia. I love everything childish and sweet and clean about Disney movies and movies like unto it. The Swan Princess can send my girlish heart into spasms without fail. Anastasia ... oh, don't even get me started.

Yesterday, I was cleaning the kitchen after a little weekend trip when I heard this in the background. It was pretty faint, but I instantly stopped what I was doing and made a trip to the living room.

Yep, it was the Prince of Egypt. And it wasn't even one of the three copies we owned on VHS. It was ACTUALLY on Netflix. Oh, happy day! The Prince of Egypt is such a sweet, sweet movie, and I sob every time I watch it. I cry when the people are in bondage. I cry when the plagues are making the Egyptians ache. I cry when the people get out of bondage. Yeah ... there is a whole lot of crying involved when I watch the Prince of Egypt. This time, it was ten times more fulfilling because I have been reading the Bible from the very beginning, and I love the story of Moses more than anything in the world. This movie is soooo accurate. LOVE IT!

Anyways, for those of you who haven't seen this movie ... watch it. Okay? Just watch it. It will change your life.

At the end of the movie, there is a song called, When You Believe.

It is really a beautiful piece of music, and I think it captures the essence of what the Hebrews must have been thinking as they left Egypt. Holy cow ... I'm leaving this place that is my home. I know that there is something better out there, but how can I know that Heavenly Father will help me to find it? It was already super hard to get out of Egypt ... it's going to be just as difficult to get to a land flowing with milk and honey. 

Yet, they had seen ALL of these wonderful and terrifying miracles. They knew that THEIR GOD would protect them. And their song towards the end shifted from one of timid faith to pure rejoicing. This is definitely when I start bawling the hardest. There is sooo much emotion in the range of this song. I love it.

While I was watching the Prince of Egypt last night, I was thinking about miracles that have happened in my own life. There are so many beautiful and wonderful things that have happened to me that I can CLEARLY see the hand of the Lord in. I have been so blessed to have my eyes opened to see my life in the focus of Heavenly Father's grand design, and it has changed who I am. Recently, with all of the changes that are happening in my life, I have been able to see EVEN MORE things that the Lord has done specifically with me in mind.

Financially, I am pretty aware of my situation. My dad has been teaching me for as long as I can remember how to save and spend money wisely. I bought my first house in February (which was pretty spectacular), and I've been saving up more of my money in the bank to prepare for my future.

At the beginning of the year, I was really unsure about how my future was going to pan out. I had a mission AND college to be saving up for, and I just couldn't foresee how I was going to be able to manage it. I hadn't applied for very many scholarships, and the applications I had in hand were proving to be really difficult for me to complete. I have a nice job cleaning out my Nandy's house a couple of times a week, but that wasn't going to be enough to fund my future on its own.

I sat down in December or January and figured all of this out. It wasn't a dire situation yet, but I knew that I wanted to avoid getting into debt for schooling as much as I possibly could. I knew that the prophets have counseled us to get our houses in order and I sure didn't want to start mine off in a bad way. I really felt that when I was inspired to go on a mission, anything I did before or after would work out. I felt confident that Heavenly Father would help me so that college would not pose a financial stumbling block for my mission. Knowing that the Lord will give "no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way," I decided to take my problem to Heavenly Father. I laid everything out for him. I said, "Heavenly Father, this is what I have. I'm struggling to know where to find the rest. I am willing to eat Ramen for every meal of every day and work as many jobs as necessary, but I am committed to staying debt free in college. Help me to know what to do and guide me to know how to do it."

It was AMAZING to see the floodgates opened. Every stumbling block I had first encountered melted away. On one essay that I was struggling with, I felt inspired to write something totally different than what I had in mind. I was able to come up with the money to buy my house. I threw my best effort out; I applied for EVERY scholarship I could, and even applied for ones I didn't qualify for. I'm not going to lie, it took a LOT of time to fill those puppies out. I would have much rather sat around and done my homework (that's really sad to admit), but I knew that I had made a commitment with Heavenly Father, and I was not about to back up on my part of the bargain.

For a little while, I was incredibly nervous that none of the scholarships would work out. BYUI and BYU were taking the longest time to get back to me, and I received a few rejection letters for the scholarships that I had applied for earlier in the year. This time was so discouraging. Like the Hebrews in Egypt, I felt like I had done all I could. I had thrown my all into the unknown, expecting immediate gratification, but instead I was asked to wait. I have a lot of faith in the fact that things will all work out, but it was so hard to trust in the Lord's timing.

As I waited, however, I was able to find solace in the fact that I would find answers to my never ending questions and pleas for help eventually.

Eventually came. I heard back from BYUI the day of the awards ceremony for scholarships at my school. I cried (in private) when I realized that I was receiving full tuition from BYUI, the highest merit based award that the school grants. Tuition at BYUI is so cheap that the scholarship would only account for half of what I needed to get to school, but it was a huge start. I was SO grateful for that scholarship, for the fact that someone recognized the hard work that I tried to accomplish in high school. It immediately served to relieve my feelings of anxiety concerning my financial situation for the future. I knew that I was in the Lord's hands, and I was beginning to see the wonders that he had in store for me.

Later in that day, I attended WHS's scholarship awards ceremony. The bulletins that they handed out before the ceremony had every award that was granted listed within its pages. I saw my name four times ... and I felt like crying again. This mountain that I was dreading so much ended up to be relatively small. I have no doubt that the Lord recognized my commitment and helped me to honor it, even though it might seem like a small thing. There truly can be miracles seen in every day situations. They did not stop after biblical times.

So many miracles have happened in my life as I have sought Heavenly Father's will and direction. Alone, I am so weak and inadequate. I sometimes get nervous because there are challenges that I know will arise in the future. I spend some anxious nights on my knees wondering how my life will work out and pleading fo guidance. I will soon be leaving my awesome home in search for better things, not knowing where or with whom I'll find them. But, I am sure of one thing. When I am on Heavenly Father's side, on his errand, I can do anything. I can graduate college debt free in a world where debt seems to be the only financial option. I can serve the Lord on a mission, well beyond my own capacities. I can love others without any restraint. I can do all things.

Miracles have not ceased. They are all around us if we are willing to open our eyes and believe.

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