Talents

I’ve been thinking about talents for the past few days and all of the many talents each of us has been given.  This has been mostly brought on by a compliment I received after playing in Church on Sunday.  I’m a pianist, as well as a singer, and played this song in between Sacrament talks, and it is one of my favorites to play.  Although, as I listen to it again, I will say that I have a terrible problem with tempo as I believe the middle and final sections should be played much faster than they are written, and with different dynamics, and….wow, I’m rambling.  NOT the purpose of this talk.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to be more gracious when I receive compliments about my various talents and abilities.  I sing, play piano, dance (sort of and with guidance), act, create costumes, and write.  These are all various creative outlets that I have found I excel in, or at the very least I enjoy.  Someone at Church pointed out these talents to me at Sunday, and it was followed by “I’m amazed how so much talent can be put into one person, and miss so many other people.” I’m paraphrasing but that’s the gist of it.  My return phrase was said with great adherence to prompting.  “That just means that you have other talents that bless the lives of others.”  Again, I’m paraphrasing but that’s the gist of it.

This brief conversation has had me thinking, that while there are many talents I have (and that’s not me being prideful.  Everyone has talents and acknowledging them is to better understand yourself.), there are many that I just don’t have and most of these come from a Church related mindset.

  1. I do not have a talent for understanding scripture.
    • Now, hold the phone.  I’m not saying that I cannot understand the Beattitudes, or the Parables, or many of Christ’s teachings.  But if I’m reading a story or some sort of historical  event in the scriptures, I cannot find the deep hidden meaning that if you read this scripture and revert back to a twenty lines before it and cross reference to this in an entirely different book you’ll find that it means X, Y, Z.  I cannot find the hidden meaning.  I’m a top level learner, and honestly, that works for me.  It’s the simple truth that I think many people have a tendency to overlook in favor of that meaning that you have to sweat over in order to find.
  2. I do not have a talent for impromptu speaking.
    • Just don’t ask me.  Seriously.  Don’t ask me to just give my testimony, or to give my opinion, without giving me the all important T-I-M-E.  It will seriously end with embarrassment for me, because what are words?,  and you, since the desired result is not what you originally wanted.  Need me to speak?  Give thoughts?  Just basically say anything?  Yeah, I’ll need time and the length of that depends on exactly how long you want me to speak.

While there are many more talents that I do not have possess, these two I find cause me the greatest issue since they happen alot, especially during Fast and Testimony meeting, and when I’m in Church related classes, like Sunday School, Institute, or Relief Society meeting.  Do I get dismayed and really downhearted because these two things are serious personal issues for me?  You bet I do!!

But you know what?  That’s okay!  It’s totally okay that things things are things I cannot do well.  (Yes, I put the word “things” three time in a sentence.  Grammar Nazi in me is SO IRRITATED!).  But there are others, so many others, who have these talents and I can choose to be uplifted and find great guidance in their words and thoughts.  I have my talents to share and they have theirs.  Together, we create a beautiful word where we can share the Gospel and teach all kinds of people!

– Dee

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When Heavenly Father Speaks

Good evening, my wonderful Roses!!

I’ve been thinking a lot these past few weeks about prayer and the many different ways that Heavenly Father answers our requests for his guidance and blessings.  I know I’m not alone in the thought that we all feel there are times in our lives where we feel like God just isn’t listening, or the gates, doors, and windows to Heaven are shut.  I hate that feeling.  It’s like you’re stranded on a deserted island and no one is going to save you.  All of your problems, stress, and worries just weigh down on your shoulders and it’s like an impossible burden that you have to carry because no one will help.

So, what do we do in that situation?  It can be hard going to family, friends, or church leaders to discuss this because we feel as though we’re alone in this.  If Heavenly Father, someone who is supposed to always love and guide us, isn’t there, then how can we trust the people here on earth that we trust?

The truth is, we shouldn’t be looking to others for help.  At least, not at first.

Often times, it’s impossible for their to be open communication between us and Heavenly Father because something is blocking our path.  Usually, that comes in the form of sin, or a transgressions, that has occurred on our part.  We’ve not repented of it, and so it just sits there becoming a huge road block.  So, take care of the road block first.  Confess that sin, no matter how small or how large it is.  Truly repent and resolve to do all within your power to forever turn away from that transgression.  Also, apologize and ask forgiveness for those you may have injured in word or in deed.

Oh, wait.  You’ve done all that?  Well, then I guess we can move to the next part!  And that’s how Heavenly Father actually communicates with us, and answers our prayers.  For this part, I’ll be pulling from a talk by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  I also strongly recommend you go listen to this talk which can be found here.  It’s a truly wonderful talk and gives really good points on prayer.

Heavenly Father answers prayer in many ways, and at times we can get accustomed to one particular way, like a fire in the heart, or emptiness, or actually hearing a voice (which if that’s happened to you, good on you!).  I, personally, believe that how He speaks to his children varies and depends on what each of us need.

Sometimes, God answers a prayer with a resounding “yes.”  It makes me so happy when I know that something I’ve asked for has come to pass.  I also feel really confident in what I’m doing as well.  Like, Heavenly Father has given me the green light, so to speak, and I’m able to make the right choices accordingly.

Sometimes, God answers a prayer with a heartbreaking “no.”  Those can be the hardest for us to deal with, because we’re human and sometimes subject to feelings of entitlement and so forth.  I’m personally struggling with a prayer that was answered with a “no,” at least, I think it was “no.”  Like I said, my impressions from God are so confusing and always have been.  It’s not like I know that He answers my prayers, because He does.  I’m just confused if what I’m feeling is my own doubts, struggles, worries, and human nature, or if it really is the final answer.  We’ll see in a few years.  🙂

The thing about having a prayer answered with “no” is that it’s not because God doesn’t love us.  It’s to prevent error.  You’re not supposed to do this thing, or have that, because God knows all things and sees what would happen if such a thing were to come to pass.  So, it comes down to faith, and trust on our part. Scary thing, isn’t it?

Another way that Heavenly Father answers prayer is by withholding an answer, and that right there is, personally, the scariest thing EVER!!  That’s one of those moments where I’m like “WHAT DID I DO?”  I’m so confused, because I feel like it’s something that I’ve done that has caused another road block in communication.  But the Elder Scott’s talk goes on to say that it’s during those times where we must exercise faith and trust in God.  Make a decision, based on a willingness to act on truth, and an obedience to His commandments, and, if you’ve made the wrong choices, He’ll let you know.

The talk also mentions those times where we come to Heavenly Father where we’re conflicted between two things and we need guidance from Heavenly Father on which one we should pick or do.  This sort of scenario was a huge burden on my heart for almost two months until this talk was brought up during an Institute class.  Both of these things were not bad, in fact it was basically a choice between two very wholesome activities for an upcoming Saturday.  However, doing one over the other would have a lasting effect in the upcoming months.  I asked, for guidance, and received no answer.  That’s because not ever question has a wrong or right answer.  Elder Dallin H. Oaks said that “we have prayed about a decision, for one cause or another, we should make without guidance by revelation…No answer is likely to come to a person who seeks guidance in choosing between two alternatives that are equally acceptable to the Lord.”

It was like BOOM!  I had my answer.  I wasn’t going to receive guidance or an answer, and that was okay.  So, I did what I usually do when I have to make a choice.  I go to my pros and cons chart.  Make a list of all the good and not so good things about each thing and go from there.  I also had to act the faith that if I was doing something Heavenly Father didn’t want me to do, He would let me know.

Like I’ve said, Elder Richard G. Scott’s talk goes on to explain so much more about prayer and communication from Heavenly Father, but I’ve been really focused on these three points for a while now.  I hope that this has been a help to you, reader.  If it hasn’t, then feel free to ask questions and I’ll do my best to answer you.  If it has, I hope that you’ll feel more confident when approaching Heavenly Father in prayer and understand that He does love you, more than any of us can comprehend.

Much love,

Deanna

New Calling – Dee’s Dailies 9/1/2016

Alright, so it finally happened!  I’ve been given a calling at my YSA Branch.  I’ve been asked to be a Sunday School teacher and I have a strong feeling I’ll be spending most of my time in the Gospel Principles class.

There.

Now.

We can enter total freak out mode!

I have NO idea what I’m doing, so I’m just going to throw that out there right now!  I have been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for almost 7 years ( little over a month til my baptism anniversary!! ) and about 6 1/2 years of that has been spent in Primary.  That’s children.  Ages 3-12.  I’ve been the Pianist, a Teacher, and the Music Leader, thankfully not all at the same time.  I’m also not the most social person when it comes to new people that are around my age.  Seriously, I’ve literally freaked people out when they actually see me in my “natural habitat.”  (i.e. with my best friends or my family)

Anyway, story for another time.

It’s been really pressed upon me during the week to read Exodus 3 and 4.  You know, the part where Moses talks to God and it’s basically a “how in the world could you ask me to be the deliverer?” kind of conversation.  Because quite frankly, I can have a bit of an understanding of how Moses feels.  Let me break it down a bit.

Exodus 3:11 – “And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

Exodus 4:1 – “And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee.

Exodus 4:10 – “And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slowtongue.

Like, those statements are very much some of what I have been feeling.  I mean, I know the lessons I’ll teach aren’t about me, but I fear that my own personal insecurities and self-doubt will be a hindrance to the Spirit’s teachings.  I mean, literally,  Who am I?  I am not fluent in the scriptures and no references like so many can.  Days where I’m in classes like that are the worst for me, by the way.  There are so many other people who are, in my opinion, far better suited to be in a class like this, but at the YSA Branch, there is no Primary.  But, callings are not about where you should be. Heavenly Father I know has a plan for me and I’m supposed to teach for a reason.  Maybe I’ll figure it out before long.

Don’t get me wrong, part of me is SUPER excited to be teaching, and to be learning and to become more knowledgeable in my scriptures, and I do think that this is the perfect way for me to do just that.  I mean, if I’m in Gospel Principles, that means I’m in a class filled with investigators and new converts, which can be some of the most amazing people in the Church.  Period.

But I am very nervous.  I’m eloquent when I have the words in front of me, but to think at the drop of the hat…to dive deep into scriptures and find some hidden meaning…it’s just not how my head works.  I’m a surface learner, and maybe that can be seen as more of a weakness than a strength. But, I think, for now, I’m going to see it as a strength.  It’s served me well in Primary, and I guess it’s just not time for me to do anything about it.

Heavenly Father’s plans for us are truly something wonderful and we learn one step at a time.  Everything is built on top of what we already know.  I’ll start teaching on September 11 so let’s see how this all goes!

Much love,

Deanna

New Adventures

Good morning!  Or afternoon…or evening!  Wherever and whenever you’re reading this.  So, I’ve been almost a whole week post-show and I’m slowly returning to reality.  It doesn’t help much when my co-workers are now quoting lines from the show and I respond with more lines…or that the kids call me “Ms Belle” or “Ms Beauty” and they color pictures of red roses and give them to me.

Yesterday was my first Saturday without a three-hour rehearsal and I had to do something to stay occupied.  I was going to go to Faire with my roomie, but she bailed on me, so I’m going next week with my Seester.  Instead, I went shopping with one of my friends Cookie.  We went to the mall where I spent lots of money and we saw the movie Love and Friendship.    You have to understand that Cookie and I are Austenites and will usually watch the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice at least once a month.  And it has nothing to do with Colin Firth and that delicious scene of him meeting Elizabeth while he’s “a little less formerly attired.”  The theatre was filled with 28 people (Cookie counted) and it was so much fun being in a room with people who read/love Jane Austen as much as we do.  I have to say I couldn’t have pictured a better way to begin my post-show Saturdays.

Now, today is another day of where one curtain falls and another one rises.  It’s my last day in my Ward where I’ve been since I moved back to Richmond in October of 2014.  It’s a family Ward and I’ve been in the Primary room since last January.  When I was first called to Primary, I was happy to stay in there for the rest of my life and just be with children.  Not to worry about a husband or anything like that.  Then earlier this year, it came to me that this would be my last year in Primary as I was slowly coming to terms with the idea of getting married again.  I’d planned to start in January of 2017 in the Singles Ward up in Lexington but a couple of weeks ago…it all changed.

I was sitting in the living room, recovering from a horrid 24-hour stomach bug and watching When Calls the Heart.  I was watching Elizabeth and Jack and their love story unfold when I realized that it didn’t hurt anymore.  In the beginning, when my ex-husband and I first separated, it was so hard.  I hated going to church because I feared that everyone was judging me.  I mean, in the LDS church, marriage is not just for life…it is for eternity.  We are married in one of the Lord’s holy temples and it is for forever.  Something so special and so sacred had been torn apart, and even though it wasn’t entirely my fault, it was over.

After I slowly made my way past those feelings and I realized that there were those who were helping me along the way, I knew I had to take time for myself.  And that meant, no dating.  Despite interest from some guys, I kept my resolution.  Now was not the time, as they would have been rebounds and that wasn’t fair to either party.  And honestly, I was busy having too much fun being on my own again.  I was learning to manage my own finances, I was making a career change, trying to find a place to live, and I was embracing a life that I never thought I could have.

I see now that that time was important for me.  I had to rediscover myself.  I had to see a life I could lead when I did the things that I loved.  My personal and professional life is a wonderful thing and it is full of so much joy.  I didn’t want it dampened by the pain of opening myself up to a relationship.  Not until I was almost completely solidly grounded in myself.

I’ve avoided romances like the plague because they originally made me angry and then very depressed. Until I watched When Calls the Heart on a pure whim.  There was no pain and no anger.  There were tears, but they were happy ones.  It didn’t hurt anymore.  And that was when I knew, that it was time to attend the Singles Ward and to finally meet people my own age and maybe, just maybe, someone who I can go through the rest of my life with.  Now, marriage is the ideal object of everyone at Singles Ward and I think they’re going to be a bit surprised, because I rushed into my first marriage and I will not make that mistake again.

So, it’s my last day in Primary which means no more little children.  I’m not going to say when it’s going to be like for me to function like an adult during Church hours again.  I work 40 hours a week with children and then spend part of my weekend with children.  So, to say that it’s difficult to carry on conversations with people my own age is an understatement.  People much older than me and much younger than me?  No problem?  People from my own generation?  Psh, I’d rather sit through Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

So, here’s to last day in a Family Ward because next week it a new adventure awaits!!  Promise I’ll keep you updated.

– Deanna