August 29, 2014

Thank You Mr. Gardner, For Loving Me Enough To Cut Me Down

One of my favorite Mormon Messages is called "The Will of God."  This is a powerful message each time I watch it.  It is a good reminder to me that Heavenly Father knows and understands me.  He loves me so much that sometimes it may even mean cutting me down so that I can grow in the way that will be best for me. 

I feel like I've had so many experiences over the past few years to where the lord has helped me to understand lessons that have brought me to where I am today.

When we moved to Guatemala I struggled with my self-esteem, but I learned how to love myself better, because I stood out and there was no way I was ever going to be like the people around me.  So I had to learn to embrace it.  But in coming back to Utah, I didn't think I would struggle as much as I did with my self-esteem.  I have never felt so low and horrible about myself in my life, but the time that we've been here I've come to understand why I've felt the way I have and have come to love myself more and more every day. 

You see the Lord had to show me that even though I learned a great deal about loving myself in a different country, I only understood a piece of it.  He had to cut me down in order for me to see and understand the things that I need to do to become who I want to be and truly love myself.

 I've still got a ways to go, but I've never felt happier.  It's a blessing to have those moments where the Lord takes a hard thing and turns it into a great learning and growing experience. 

I know that our Father in Heaven wants us to love ourselves.  He wants us to come to understand those things that are bothering us and he wants us to be happy.  It may not seem like it at times, but he does want us to be happy.  It doesn't mean that it will happen the way we would want or expect, but in cutting us down we become better, stronger and happier than ever before.  We will find ourselves saying "Thank You Mr. Gardner, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me."

August 5, 2014

One Adventure To Another

This is what it means to be excited for the adventures of life. ;) 
Well, our adventure in Guatemala has come to an end, for the time being at least.  It's a new chapter in our lives and so the journey continues.

I still have all my previous posts about our adventures in Guatemala here, but have just re-titled this blog to "Little Moments."  The reason I chose this title is, because no matter what the adventure is that we go on in our lives, there are so many precious moments that happen that are worth remembering.  Often times it's the little things that matter the most.  So, our adventure hasn't really ended, we are just adding on to it.  I hope you will still enjoy reading about our adventures where ever we go.  Living in another country is awesome, but no matter where we live there is always something awesome happening in our lives. :)

My husband and I had a thought the other day that I'd like to share with you. This was written by my husband, Travis and he said it so perfectly:

"So often people ask us what we miss most about Guatemala.  There are so many things that we can't really express and so a lot of the time we just say "the people," but that isn't 100% true.  Yesterday, however, I think we finally got into words what we miss most.

There is something so different about that land.  You can look at the moon and the stars here and you feel an appreciation for the beauty of the earth and the majesty of God.  But when you stand outside at night there and stare up at the heavens, you feel a deep and abiding reverence.  You see the mountains covered in mist as you go to Guatemala City and can't deny feelings of sacredness and ancient untold history.  I think most people that come for vacations would pass it off as a novelty of being in a new place and on vacation.  And those that stay for a while and notice that those feelings don't go away call it "breathtaking beauty."  But those of us familiar with things of the spirit recognize that it is so much more.  Perhaps Lake Atitlan is the Waters of Mormon, or maybe it is the place where the Savior appeared after His resurrection.  Maybe it is completely unrelated, but it can't be denied that the Spirit of God rests over that area and you can almost hear the voices of the worlds greatest civilizations (4 Nephi 1:16;Ether*) whispering from the dust (Moroni 10:27) and hissing forth (2 Nephi 29:2).

So, there. That is what we miss most about Guatemala..." -Travis Gowen

Yes, that is what I miss most.

Moving back to Utah has been a tough change.  Surprisingly it was much more difficult than I would have expected.  You would have thought that moving to Guatemala would be the hardest part, but it was actually quite a culture shock and some days I still feel a little out of place.  I can't really express how I feel about Guatemala to people here the way that I wish I could, but those experiences I had will always be in my heart and has given me a new perspective on life.

I have to be honest, the hardest part about being back in this American/Utah culture is all the expectations that are put upon you.  The pressures of being a good Mom, of looking nice wherever you go, having nice clothes, comparing yourself to other people, etc.  These pressures were there before I left for Guatemala, but it's overwhelming when you get all that handed back to you all at once right after being in a culture where those things really didn't seem to matter.

While in Guatemala I was able to look at things with a new perspective.  I was looking at what was happening from the sidelines, what my friends and family were doing and going through, what they were seeing as important, etc.  It was refreshing to be away from the grind of it all having different challenges to worry about, but being back and seeing things from this perspective's almost harder than just before I left.

I can't tell you or even describe to you the feelings I've had being back, but I can tell you that going from one perspective to hard.  I have felt Satan pressing down on me, I've felt heavy, I've felt fearful, doubtful, I've looked at myself in a way that I never thought I could possibly fall into.  My greatest fear leaving Guatemala was that I would forget some of the greatest lessons that I learned, but that has not been the case.  I feel like those lessons were lessons I learned to prepare me for what's ahead in this new chapter of my life.

The Lord always has a plan, you just gotta' go with it.  He knows me better than anyone.  Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at the big picture.  Although, we may not be able to see it perfectly clear, it helps us to be able to pick ourselves back up and keep moving forward.  I feel I have come closer to my Savior through all my many "adventures," so far in my life.  I'm so grateful for the challenges that I have been faced with, because I know that that is what helps me to become what my Heavenly Father knows I can become.

What's in store in this new chapter of life?  I have no idea, but there are so many fun surprises along the way.  We are expecting a new little one into our family in November and although is has been part of the crazy roller coaster of experiences and trials we have been facing since our return, I know that this little one is coming at the time he/she needs to be.  Children have a way of making the adventures of life that much more fun and I wouldn't trade it for the world!

What an exciting time it is! Life is exciting and is not to be feared, it's a time to live, a time to love, a time to serve and is a fun adventure! :)