Monday, December 14, 2015

Farewell 2015!

I don't know about you, but I'm SUPER excited to wish 2015 a grand farewell and to leave it behind. I've learned a ton, like a ton a ton, this year, but I'm really glad it's almost over.

It's interesting to look back on the year, and to see what has taken place. So many good things. A brother's wedding. A brother's graduation. Another brother with great health. For me, we are down to 3 fingers when counting how many more classes I have left in my Masters…which means I've gotten through a major chunk of it this year. (Yep. You know it. in April - I will answer to Master Lindsay. ;)) I've had great spiritual experiences. New opportunities to be vulnerable with and connect with people I serve with, and a great new ward. Again, so many great things.

But among the great things, there have been silent battles fought. Battles fought within myself that very few know about and are aware of. Maybe one day I will share more about it. It's been kind of a long year inwardly, and one that has caused me to reflect on the testimony that I have and that I hold so dear to my heart.

I've gained great strength from the scriptures, (even though I need to be so much better at reading them). I have felt the promise in Mosiah that the Lord will strengthen our backs to bear the burdens placed upon them. I've been reminded of the promise in Matthew that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I've remembered and sympathized in a very small way with the Prophet Joseph when he was in liberty jail, when the Lord promises Him that if he endured his struggles well, that he will exalt him on high. What a powerful promise. I've been reminded of how perfectly God knows me as I've studied my patriarchal blessing, and received priesthood blessings.

I've learned the great strength that comes from the admonition from God to "Be still, and know". Be still….there is great power in being still, in pondering and in listening for His voice. Sister Dew gave a talk one time about how sometimes we may not feel that God is near, so our prayers need to change. Instead of the insistence to get an answer, we need to pray to recognize and know His voice. Because sometimes THAT is the problem, that we don't recognize His voice, it's not that He isn't near. I've learned a little bit more about His voice as I have taken the time to "Be still".

Elder Holland gives a great talk, called "Like a Broken Vessel", and this year I have understood on a very new and very personal level what that talk means. He is talking about the struggle of depression, and he says "Trust in God. Hold on in His love. Know that one day, the dawn will break brightly and all shadows of mortality will flee. Though we may feel we are "like a broken vessel", we must remember that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter. Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed". He goes on to say that we need to look for the little victories along the way. I've gained a personal testimony of this. We are in the hands of the divine potter. No matter how broken we feel, we can be made whole. There are SO many victories. Every single day. Some days, it doesn't help with the depression that comes, but most days it does. And every single day, the strength and the power of the Atonement buoys me up to help me remember that hope is never lost, faith can never be forsaken, and His love always conquers. How grateful I am.

I've learned the power of God's timing. When things we want are righteous and good, and yet they don't seem to be given to us, I've learned to be grateful for the knowledge that His plan is greater than my plan, and His ways are far more perfect than mine. No matter what personal struggles arise, they will be for my good as I trust in His ways.

This year has been a year of learning, and growth. A year of heartache and tears. A year of change and acceptance. This year has been of year of increased perspective, coming closer to my Savior, and gaining greater trust in the truths of the gospel. This year has been a year that, while good, I'm grateful to leave it behind.

I'm excited for a fresh start. New goals. New adventures. And new learning opportunities. In 2016 I'm going to be embarking on a great journey. A huge journey, but a great journey. 2016 is going to be a year of accepting me for who I am. I've never ever done that. Truly coming to believe in my strengths, and coming even closer to God.

And it's going to be great.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Can you see it?

We were given a challenge in the Illinois Peoria Mission, 
to see everyone that we meet as if they were dressed in white, standing in the baptismal font, in the temple, being sealed to their families, etc.

The purpose of this was to help us see their potential. When we met someone, we didn't want to get caught up on their temporal selves, but we wanted to see them as they COULD be. 
For me, that was easy. I saw them as relief society presidents, as primary presidents, as the future bishop, as future missionaries, etc. I saw them as valiant servants of God that had endless potential, and I saw them dressed in white, ready, at some time, to meet their maker. 

About a year and a half ago, I had an amazing friend who I was confiding in, and we were having a real heart to heart, and she is an office manager at a counseling office. She suggested that I may find some benefit in seeing a counselor every so often. Just to work through a couple things and be able to have someone who could just help me sort some things out. (Ps: EVERYONE should see a counselor at some point, it has been incredible)

Well, I was recently talking to him and he said something that changed my life. 
He said: 
"If the thoughts you have about yourself do not have a divine origin, they should not be entertained"

Mind. Blown. 

Like seriously. 
Why is it so easy for us to see others with nonjudgmental eyes?
Why is it so easy for us to see the potential of others, despite their mistakes? 
But for us? We have a tendency to see ourselves as broken, worthless, powerless, and of little worth. 
Why is it so easy for us to focus on our mistakes, on our shortcomings, and on our imperfections? 

Why can't we picture ourselves as CEOs, Managers, Husbands and Wives, Parents, and Leaders of all kinds? 
Even more importantly, why can't we see ourselves having all that He has, with worlds without end, being perfected and being as He is?

Satan attacks us on at all angles, and strives to make us feel like dirt. 
Social media. 
TV, Movies, Magazines, etc.
Celebrities with fake and plastic everything (if you know what I mean!) 

And those things are made to look glamorous, and popular and happy. 

So, before we get caught up on everything we aren't, and everything we don't have, let's focus on who we have the potential to become.
Let's picture OURSELVES dressed in white, standing before the Savior, being perfected, exalted beings, even as He is. 
Can you see it?

Let's focus our thoughts there, instead of where the world would have us focus.

That's what I want to become. 


Let's all be a little kinder…to ourselves. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Blessings

I recently decided to move my records to a family ward at church, and let me just say, it has been the best thing ever. Like, I should've made the move months ago.

I once had a very wise person say to me, "There comes a point in your single life when everyone is trying to help you out, and motivate you, but they really don't have any idea what position you are in and how you feel, and you will come to realize that the only one that DOES is the Savior".

I'm finally beginning to realize what that means. I have so many incredible people in my life, and so many loving examples of faith and righteousness that have really blessed me and helped me. Since I have moved into the family ward, that list of people has just become longer. My new bishop and his wife are phenomenal, the ladies in the young women's presidency with me are amazing, it's just been good, but I'm learning more and more that Christ is the only one who knows. Like truly.

Sometimes, that is hard to feel too. You pray, and you cry, and you plead and you want to see HIs hand, and even if the answer doesn't come right away, peace comes at some point.

The last few months, since I've been in a new ward, for the first time since my mission, I feel like I have a place in the church. I feel like I belong in the ward that I'm in, and I feel like I'm where I need to be. Once I finish school, I will be more active at singles activities, (I try now, but I'm just swamped) but for now, this is where I need to be.

Anyway….there's some random thoughts on my life right now, and the reminder that God is good, and you are never alone, no matter what.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I am currently in a marketing class, (and I am loving it by the way) and in this class, we had to do a project where we had to evaluate a group of companies, and had to analyze who their key audience was, how effectively they targeted that audience, and what they did to effectively market their product/service/etc. We then had to come together as a team and discuss what each of our thoughts were, and why we thought it was so effective. The assignment was prefaced with the fact that these marketing ads were some of the most successful marketing campaigns ever to be launched.

This seems like a pretty chill assignment, but I really struggled with it, a lot. And it came down to one thing, and out of the 28 people in my class, I stood alone. I even got ripped apart by my teacher.

Every single company had sex laced through their marketing campaigns (I.E. Carl's Jr.). Some of them I had never seen before, but some of them I had heard of/seen before. But my first comment was that I would never want to support those companies simply for what they stood for.

I'm not against people who believe differently than me, or that have different values than me, but I'm not about to support multimillion dollar companies who make their money off of sexual advertisements.

My class and teacher found this to be completely unfathomable. "Why don't you see the brilliance in this? Do you understand how successful this ad has been? Doesn't this make you want to buy their products?"

No. To all of those questions. Now, for the assignment, I had to admit that they nailed it with who they were targeting (still using carl's jr as the example): hormonally raged teenage boys who can only afford cheap food and eat like giants. So yeah, they got to them alright. (PS: Their hamburger with chips and a hot dog on it - most disgusting looking thing I've ever seen)

But, my teacher later graded my assignment and told me that considering the fact that I absolutely made it clear where I stood with immorality, and promoting your company through the use of it, I had the facts and was able to pick out the correct concepts that we are learning about in class.

However, he also said that he wished all business people were willing to stand up for what they believed, and didn't just go with the crowd. He said that the business world would be in a much better place if there were more people who would do that.

Now, I'm not saying this to brag, or say "Look at me! I stood up for what I believe"

But I say this because I re-learned a huge lesson. Respect comes as you stand strong. It's okay to boldly defend your beliefs, and it's okay to do so without backing down, because when you are standing up for things that are right and true, you will gain respect. And the Lord will bless you for that.

Whether it is a school assignment. defending the faith in the workplace. defending the family. or whatever it is. Be bold. Be firm. Be loving. and Be kind.

That's when miracles can happen, and lives will change. Including our own.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Real

You know, sometimes you just have to be real. 
You want to be optimistic and positive, but you sometimes just need to be real. 

So here is Lindsay Ann Witt being really really real. 

My life is awesome. 
My life is full of great things. 
I am so blessed. 

The last couple weeks have been emotional to the max. 
Sometimes I've been emotional because I feel so blessed.
Sometimes I've been emotional because I have great, righteous desires that I want to have come to pass, but for some reason, it just isn't the right time. 
Sometimes I've been emotional due to confirmations that I'm in the right place and doing what I need to be doing. 
Other times I've been emotional because have felt so much love from people I live with, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 
Just a whole array of emotions. And I'm learning that emotions are great, powerful tools to understand where you are at, and that emotions aren't a sign of weakness, but a sign of vulnerability, which is a huge strength that I oftentimes under estimate. 

Throughout the last couple weeks I've realized more and more the strength that comes fro relying on the Savior and His Atonement. Problems aren't immediately solved, fears aren't immediately calmed, and dreams aren't immediately granted, but you are given a strength beyond your own to continue onward and put one step in front of the other.

I'm realizing that there is a point in life when although you are surrounded by great people, and you have a great support system, that there is only one person who REALLY knows how you feel deep down, what you are going through, how deep your desires really are, and how big your dreams are. He is the only one who can help those things become a reality. 

And it's only in HIS time that that will happen. 
And I am not patient. At all. 
I have never in my life wanted to more clearly see His time frame and His plan for me. 
In every area of my life. 
I have never wanted so badly to feel of His infinite love on a constant basis. 
I have never wanted so badly to know of the eternal nature of His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross at Calvary, and what that means for ME. 

I taught the Atonement for 18 months on a daily basis. 
I have learned about it and been taught it since I was a tiny child. 
I have used it and applied it time and time again in my life.
But it is so magnificent, so glorious, that our mortal minds can't truly comprehend it. 

For me, the last couple weeks, I have felt of it's power as I have had loneliness subside.
I have felt it as I have had opportunities to share the gospel with people I know.
I have felt it as I had prayed through tears that I will have strength and peace and hope beyond my own. 
I have felt it as I have served others. 
I have felt it as i have counseled with parents and others. 

I have seen this quote come to life for me: 
"In the gospel of Jesus Christ, you have help from both sides of the veil, and you must never forget that.  When disappointment and discouragement strike, remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened, we would see horses and chariots of fire riding at reckless speed to come to our protection"
-Jeffrey R. Holland

It is much harder for me to be patient with the Lord's timing when it has to do with worthy righteous goals than anything else. I'm learning a lot, I'm trying to have an eternal perspective, and I'm facing each day strong and determined. 

While I may be shedding a few more tears, I know God lives. I know He is there. I know He loves us. 
And therefore, I know it will all work out. 

And for that I am grateful. 
Tomorrow is a new day. 

 
And with His help, I can succeed gloriously. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Only took an ETERNITY…...

I feel like for the first time in a long time I'm beginning to feel really on top of my life. 
Mentally, Emotionally, Physically, Spiritually. 
I'm just feeling good. Which hasn't been the case for a while. 

I'm still working at the same place. 
I'm in a Master's program, which has given me so much purpose and feelings of confidence. 
I'm in a new living situation. (No roommates!)
Due to the above statement, I'm also in a new ward, which I'm still getting used to. 
I am starting to feel great physically which I haven't REALLY had since before my mission.
Just lots of good things. 

Throughout my journey to get to this point, I have learned some lessons, let me share. 

One made me think of an experience I learned on my mission. We got a member referral to go visit a young woman who was completely inactive but who had been asking about the law of chastity. So we were asked to go teach her. After getting to know her and leaving a generic lesson and commitment, we set an appointment to come back and teach her about the Law of Chastity. Well, we come back, and we knew this girl had some learning disabilities, so we had to teach her clearly and simply. Well, at the end of the lesson, I'm sitting there thinking that we nailed it, and my companion asked "So, after talking with us about the Law of Chastity, what does it mean to be chaste?" She sits there and scrunches up her face like she's thinking, and then she says, "Oh! I know! It means to be followed real fast!!" Face palm. Not CHASED, CHASTE. Bah. 

I left there so frustrated, and then I had the thought come to me, so powerfully from the spirit, "You didn't teach to her needs, or to her level, how would I have taught her?" 

I've kind of relived that in my life recently, only I have been on the end of the one being taught. The Lord is teaching us individually and personally, and the way He teaches, and loves and nurtures you is totally different than He does me. I've felt more than ever before that He knows and loves me individually and is so aware of my needs. He has taught me things individually, sometimes through what Elder Holland referred to as earthly angels, in a way I could understand and grow from. 


The next lesson I have learned is what Elder Holland talked about in his talk "Like a Broken Vessel". When I took off my missionary name badge, I felt as though my whole sense of identity was gone, ripped out of me. A few years after my return, my brother got extremely sick and I spent 18 months worrying and wondering, and losing sleep, and wondering if he was going to live. I found that I had worked myself up so much, that it was hard to find happiness, and in a way, was just in a very discouraged state. 

Elder Holland states: 

While those dealing with [emotional struggles] may feel like a broken vessel, they must remember the vessel is in the hands of the divine potter. Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed…Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven who loves you more than you can comprehend. Faithfully pursue the times tested devotional practices that bring the spirit of the Lord into your life. Seek the counsel of those who hold keys for your spiritual well being. Take the sacrament every week and hold fast to the perfecting promises of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. BELIEVE IN MIRACLES. 

Coming from someone who never really understood depression, and what it was, I can say that I have so much more happiness now that I have embraced the struggle, and gotten on top of it. I can say now that I am happier than I have been in a LONG time. I am much less judgmental and more compassionate than I've ever been (though still far from perfect). I understand the Atonement and the power it has. And just as important, I know myself better than I ever have. I know who I am, and I know what I need. There's still things I struggle with as I am queen of perfectionism, but I'm learning to embrace progress and embrace the positive, I'm learning to find balance. 

Physically I'm active and striving to continue to improve. My health is much better (due 100% to way less stress I'm sure). 

I've learned so much the last 9 months, and I wish I could put it all onto paper. It only took an ETERNITY for me to figure out the simple things that some people get immediately I'm sure, but I'm learning. 

One thing that I'm trying to figure out. 
How do you continue to seek to improve, and continue to be better, while still being happy with where you are at? How do you truly love yourself and who you are and yet continue to strive for the things you desire? I have desires that are good and righteous, and will only bring me closer to God, and it's a hard balance to love who I am now, and yet continue to work for the things I know the Lord is willing to bless me with. I don't want to be so consumed with those things, that I'm not happy with where I'm at, and I don't want to be so thrilled with where I am, that I get complacent in striving for the goals and desires I wish for. I kind of go back in forth right now with wanting things (okay, I will say it: marriage and motherhood) and doing things to be prepared for that, and being happy with where I am. It's hard to not look inward and get discouraged. 

But I'm continuing to learn. I'm continuing to grow, and I'm continuing to be more accepting of me, and more faithful and true. 

I'm learning more and more the power and truth behind this quote: 

"Wonderful, glorious things are in store for you, if only you will believe, obey, and endure" 
-President Monson