Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Guess What? God is Real.

I report to the MTC two weeks from today. It's crazy.

It's been really interesting watching so many of my friends report to the MTC... I counted recently and I have upwards of 20 friends out on missions, though the number is steadily rising and will likely hit 30 really soon. I am so incredibly proud of all the elders and sisters I know who are out serving or preparing to serve. And I can't wait to serve the Lord just as they are!

As I prepare to leave in just 14 days, people ask me all the time if I am nervous, excited, or both. The truth is, it depends on the day. I am ridiculously excited to go and pin that name tag on my chest and serve the Lord and tell people all about the gospel!


I mean how cool is that?!

The gospel is amazing. It brings so much joy. I literally have no idea who I would be if I wasn't a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because I am a member, I know that I am a daughter of God. I have learned over and over recently that He loves me. He has a plan uniquely for me. He knows what He's doing, even when I have absolutely NO idea what's going on in my life. Honestly, if I didn't absolutely know that God is real and that He loves me, I would question my purpose and everything that ever happens. 

But guess what. 

God is real.

He loves me, He loves you. Wow. Have you ever thought about that?? Let me share something one of my good friends wrote in a letter home a few weeks ago (He's serving a mission in the West Indies... meaning the Caribbean).

"This past week, we were walking back from an area called Brighton. It's about a mile and a half away from home, so I had a little time to think. As I was walking, I was looking up at the night sky and I thought about how Heavenly Father knows and manages all of that. Among all the other things He has to take care of, I was amazed to know that He knows me."

Does it get much better than that?

I love everything he said, and I love the way he said it. "Among all the other things He has to take care of, I was amazed to know that He knows me." He knows YOU. It's that the greatest thing ever?!?

Think about all those times where things just went your way. You knew you needed something to go right, and it did. Those times were you just got a fuzzy feeling inside. Your perfect days. The things that made a bad day better--a friend called at just the right time, the rain stopped right as you walked outside, things like that. That's how you know God knows you and loves you. It's usually hard to see it while you're in the middle of feeling awful, but once you realize that He's there and that He is always looking out for you, that's when you feel peace. It may not make every situation feel much better, but it WILL help you be okay with how things turn out. Trust me on this one.

You have a father, right? Of course, everyone does. Whether your dad is a single father who does everything for you or maybe he was just a sperm donor, everyone literally must have a dad. That's just how it works (go ask you mom if you don't believe me). Now, imagine the perfect father. Is he like your dad? Is he better than your dad?

That's God--He is THE perfect Father. He is the Father of our spirits, just as we all have a father of our bodies. That's why I (and other Mormons) like to refer to Him as Heavenly Father. Take a look at what the Bible says:

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:16-17)

Have you ever thought about that? Not only are we children of God (which is SUPER AWESOME), but we are His heirs, in that as we work to develop our characters to become more like Him and Christ, we can inherit all of the blessings They want to give us. And that in and of itself is amazing. We could talk about all that God wants to give us for ages and ages.

But for now, let's just focus on how God is our Father. Literally. He loves us. He loves you. He wants to bless and help you in whatever you ask Him. Sometimes we will have to go through difficult times in life, and it may seem like He isn't there. But that is never, EVER true. He is always there. Difficult times mean we are learning something that we will be grateful for later. (Remember how I was super upset that my mission papers couldn't go in "on time"? Yep, I'm super grateful that happened, actually. I learned a lot. If you don't remember that story, here it is.)

Please. If there is nothing else that you learn from knowing me (or finding my blog), please know that God loves you. If I know you, I love you! You're awesome! If I don't know you, I still love you! You're awesome! BUT. God loves you way way way more than I do. He just is way more capable of loving you than I am. Because He's God! 

God loves you. God is real. If you don't know this, pray to Him. Just ask him if He's there. As long as you really actually want to get an answer to that question, you WILL receive an answer. I promise.

2 weeks until I serve Him full-time!
Rachel