Today has been quite the Sunday, my dear readers. Quite the Sunday.
In sacrament meeting, as I sat and waited for the bread and water, I thought to myself, I hope I can feel the Spirit today.
Lately, I've been having some troubles really, truly feeling the Spirit, and I've noticed its absence. It's not a good feeling, and up until today I wasn't too extremely stressed by that (read: not missing its presence very much), but finally I came to terms with my recent weakness and had that quiet thought.
I guess Heavenly Father has been waiting for me to have that thought, because today was one of the most powerful meetings I've attended in a long time.
During the sacrament, I read this talk for Sunday school, and it touched me and inspired me to be more diligent in my daily scripture study, and to try to learn by way of the Spirit and by faith. That prepared me for the rest of the meeting, because instead of giving talks, the bishop invited the congregation to come forward and share our experiences going through the Gilbert temple these past weeks.
But first, we had a special musical number by the war choir. The choir director came to the podium and invited those of us who weren't in the choir to come to the front and join them, and I decided to go up and sing with my mother. What a good experience that was! It further allowed me to feel peaceful and ready to receive, and it only got better as the meeting progressed.
Hearing my ward family express their love for the temple and the peace it brought them was a good reminder for me, as well. When I went through the temple for the first time, I remember thinking, this is where I want to get married. It's so beautiful, really, and the pictures would turn out great! Then, as I continued thinking about getting married, I realized that WHICH temple I got married in was small potatoes next to getting married IN a temple.
Photo cred goes to Lexi. Thanks for sending them my way! :^)
Friday, I was able to go to Thatcher, AZ with my friend Lexi to tour our future college, EAC. It was an exciting and intimidating experience, but my favorite part was being able to go to the Gila Valley Temple and just sit there for a few minutes.
How blessed I am to be able to attend college with a temple so close by. I know I need the temple in my life, and having one so close to me is going to be a tremendous help. I've never lived more than fifteen minutes from a temple before, and not having one really near me would make me so sad. I love the temple for all it symbolizes, especially the truth that families can be together forever.
The Gila Valley Temple. So, so perfect.
Family is so important to me. As I've gotten older, I've noticed that I love them more and more with each passing year. They are literally my best and closest friends, and I wouldn't trade the relationship I have with them for anything. I'm so grateful that God saw fit to send me to a family that loves me so much (even when I don't deserve it), and I'm even more grateful that sometime in the near future, I will be able to have a family of my own.
The mere thought of my future husband and I being able to raise tiny children to walk in righteousness is overwhelming to me. I hardly feel adequate enough to give talks in church- how will I be able to be a mother? As scary as it is though, I know that I have been given the ability to bear children because Heavenly Father KNOWS I can do it, even if I don't think I can.
In Sunday school, we briefly talked about the gift of music, and how wonderful and sacred it is.
I have a testimony of good music, as well, because I've seen the blessings that come from both listening to and creating beautiful music. Singing and making music is literally a prayer unto God. Isn't that wonderful? I can think of no higher form of worship than reverently singing songs dedicated to them.
Finally, in Young Women's we discussed our bodies as temples. My leader has struggled with cancer in recent years, so this was a very emotional lesson. At the beginning of the lesson, she explained that she wasn't going to talk about our bodies as temples in the usual sense- as in, we weren't talking about the law of chastity, and we weren't talking about modesty. She said she felt that we were all living in such a way that we didn't need to be reminded of those things just at the present. That right there was a comfort to me, because I realized that I really don't have an issue with being modest, and I know who I am and what I will not stand for in terms of chastity. It was so sweet to recognize that the girls sitting with me were each living their lives in a way that was harmonious to God's ways, and that we would have an opportunity to learn about our bodies in a different way.
We discussed the amazing abilities our bodies have, and how precious they are. We spoke of physical trials, and how we can overcome them because our bodies are built to heal. Our bodies can do the most amazing things, and it's not very hard to guess how and why. Heavenly Father created these awesome bodies for us, and He gave us abilities to get the most out of them.
However, we read in 1 Corinthians 6:19, which reads:
What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
Ye are not your own. Isn't that an interesting concept? We may say that we can do anything we want, because it's "our body", and it doesn't affect anyone but us, but in reality, these are God's, on loan to us. Would you want to loan someone a book only to have it come back completely trashed? Of course not! Heavenly Father wants us to take good care of ourselves so that we may return to him in a more perfect condition. It's OUR responsibility to care for ourselves. And that doesn't mean just physically, either. It means emotionally, too.
So often in the past would I look at myself in utter disgust. I hated who I was, and I couldn't believe how ugly I looked. Nothing was right with me. I was next to worthless, and the worst part of all?
Nobody ever said that to me. I was the only one convincing myself that I was of a lesser caliber than someone else. I was the one who couldn't see my own beauty. I yearned for perfection, as I'm sure so many of us do. The airbrushed skin, the firm, smooth muscles, the flawless hair and stunning makeup. I wanted it all! And I'm sure I'm not the only one.
I still have days where I feel ugly or fat, but you know what? My body is beautiful. I can do so many things with a body like this! Why should I rely on some twisted "standard" of beauty? I am ME. THAT is awesome. I am a very healthy individual, and I have so much to give! Why waste time wishing for what I'll never have? I appreciate this temple, and there is nothing wrong with loving it.
Think about that. The next time someone asks you what your favorite temple is, you could easily answer yourself! YOU are one of God's most wonderful temples, and I hope you can remember that.
You are loved. :^)