Today I want to share my thoughts on God, our Heavenly Father. Whenever I think of a song that portrays Heavenly Father in the way that I imagine him, I immediately think of "Names" by Cherie Call.
Names- Cherie Call
He's been known throughout time by so many names
God is so much more than the master of the universe to me.
He is my Heavenly Father.
He created me in His image.
He loves me.
He wants the best for me.
He knows me.
In all that I do and all that I say, I want to make Him happy.
I care what He thinks of me and the choices that I make.
I know that He loves me as I am, but I also know that He wants me to be a better person than I am.
I know that He is grateful when I am a good person, but He is more grateful when I take that goodness and use it to do all that He has asked me to do and when I keep the covenants that I have made with Him.
I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me and knows who I am.
Knowing that gives me courage to face each day, power to overcome the distractions and temptations that I am faced with, and fills me with confidence and power.
I am extremely happy to introduce a very special guy to you. I have known him for the past 19 years, ever since I was introduced to the wonderful Ogden family. He was only 7 years old at the time I met him, and I instantly loved him. He has a heart as big as the Grand Canyon, a smile that lights up the room, and knows more sports statistics than anyone I have ever met.
Let me introduce you to my sweet nephew, Nate Davis.
I Can Do Hard Things- Nate Davis
Isn't he so handsome? I have loved having Nate in my life and I know that everyone who knows him feels the same way. He is a sweetheart and definitely one of the best basketball players I know.
Nate was born 5 1/2 weeks early and weighed 4 lbs. 7 oz. Fortunately he did not have to spend extra time in the hospital, but unfortunately for him, he was forced to wear Cabbage Patch Doll clothes. :)
Everything looked good until Nate's 4 month old checkup when the doctor discovered that his head was not growing as it should. After a CT scan and MRI, Nate was diagnosed with a right hemiparesis. According to Google, a right hemiparesis means this...
"Hemiparesis is unilateral paresis, that is, weakness of the entire left or right side of the body (hemi- means "half"). Hemiplegia is, in its most severe form, complete paralysis of half of the body."
In layman's terms, the left side of Nate's brain did not form correctly. Because the left side of his brain does not work correctly, this has presented a lot of problems for Nate in his 26 years of life on this earth. His left eye vision is impaired and the hearing in his left ear is as well. The right side of his body does not function properly so the left side of his body has to compensate for that. Also, because of the loss of function in the left side of his brain, his reading ability and speech are also affected.
None of this has stopped Nate from doing exactly what he has wanted to do in his life. I have never seen someone so determined. One of the things I love about Nate is that he keeps trying until he can do something. I mentioned that he is a great basketball player. His mom, Julie, tells me that he spent hours shooting hoops in their driveway and all of that practice time shows. He has won many medals in the Special Olympics and I know that he will continue to play basketball as long as he is breathing. He loves it.
Julie shared a story with me about when Nate was 7 years old. They had recently moved into their home and the kids were outside playing. Natalie (Nate's older sister) came running in the house and said, "Mom! Come watch Nate!" Julie ran outside where low and behold, Nate was riding a bike. Natalie and her friends had worked with him and taught him how to ride a bike. Julie could not believe it.
Nate has had Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy since his diagnosis and when he was four years old he started having seizures at night. Fortunately after years of tests, medication, and trying different natural remedies, they have been able to keep his seizures under control. Julie says that one of the hardest parts in helping Nate grow and develop has been the fact that he stays in each developmental stage probably three times as long as a "normal" child. His reasoning skills have been slow to develop which has made parenting him a challenge at times.
And while we are talking about people doing hard things, I cannot close this post without giving a shout out to Nate's mom, Julie. She has endured many hard times in trying to help Nate through his developmental challenges. She is grateful for all of the help that she has received from family members, especially her parents. She also received a lot of strength from priesthood blessings and time spent in prayer. One of the things that helped her the most was when Nate received his patriarchal blessing. In that blessing, Nate was told that he is here to gain a body and to help others draw closer to Christ. What an incredible mission this young man has in this life. He is a very special child of God.
We love Nate and are so grateful to have him in our family. He makes me smile all the time and I love his sweet and gentle spirit. Thank you, Nate, for being such an awesome example of someone that can do super hard things!
Check out this video that some of Nate's friends put together...
Today is a special day here in the great state of Utah. Today we honor our pioneer ancestors who made the journey of more than 1,000 miles across the United States to escape the awful persecution that had descended upon them. They did not know where they were going. They did not know what hardships were ahead of them, but they pressed forward anyway.
I have a deep love and great respect for these faithful children of God. Many of them were my own ancestors and as I have read stories about them and journal entries that they wrote with their own hands, I have felt a great surge of love and feel privileged to have their brave blood flowing through my veins.
With each story that I hear, my testimony of this gospel of Jesus Christ deepens.
How could this gospel be anything but true?
These faithful men and women had testimonies that burned bright and they knew that all would be well in the end. I, too, have had my testimony forged in the flames of great despair as I have faced many of my own Rocky Ridges. Through all of those experiences, I have chosen to stick with my Savior because in Him, I find peace.
Yes, the unknown is scary. Yes, it is hard to not know the answers to questions that try my faith. But, like the pioneers, I choose to press forward with Christ. I choose to rely on faith instead of fear. Humility instead of pride. I choose to turn to God when I have questions and not to the world. I choose Faith because it is the only way that will bring me everlasting peace.
I found a great video that describes the journey our pioneer ancestors took. It's a bit lengthy, but well worth the time on this Sabbath Day. As you watch it, I hope that you are able to reflect on your own ancestors, whether they were LDS pioneers or not. We are all pioneers in something and we all have the opportunity to choose to press forward or to stay in our comfort zone.
I honor these brave men, women, and children this day and every day. Their strength, courage, and determination to follow Christ has helped my own faith, strength, courage, and determination increase. I know that they knew. They knew that by having faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ, would be what would save them. They knew that even if they did not make it to the Salt Lake Valley, that all would be well in the end.
"What else but a divine restoration would prompt such an endeavor
I know that there has been a divine restoration of Christ's full gospel. I know that the prophet, Joseph Smith, did in fact see God and Christ and that they did speak to him. I know that God still speaks to a living prophet today to give us direction and guidance to help us navigate the stormy seas of life. I know that following Jesus Christ requires sacrifice, hard work, and obedience to things that we sometimes don't fully understand.
I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I choose to follow Him and I choose to work hard and exert massive amounts of effort so that I don't mock His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. I choose to have faith in every footstep, even when it takes every ounce of faith that I have and then some. I do this because I want to hear "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." I want to humbly bow at my Savior's feet knowing that I have given it my all.
Summer is in full swing and that means that my "normal" schedule has flown right out the window. Which is a good thing because that means we are having a ton of fun, right? Right. Between Trek, working on our Stake Float for the Days of '47 Parade, family reunions, and trying to keep my kids from being completely BORED all the time (at least that's what Ellie keeps saying), it's been pretty crazy around these parts.
However, I will be posting a new "You Can Do Hard Things" post next Tuesday and I cannot wait for you to read it. I will only give you one little teaser...I am happy to say that I will be having my first male participant because girls aren't the only ones who can make it through tough times, right? :)
**I am also always on the hunt for guest bloggers for this series (or any of the other series I do on this blog...Songs for the Sabbath, Survivor Sister Scoop, etc. If you are interested, please let me know! Email is preferred or you can reach out to me on Facebook.
I am excited to share today's Songs for the Sabbath song with you because it is one that I have loved from the very first moment I heard it. I have also always thought that it was a song that I would love to use as part of a lesson, talk, or video someday and that day will be coming very soon.
In case you haven't heard, I will be speaking at a special event next month and I am so very excited about it! I am calling it "Powerful Daughters of God" and it is for girls age 8-108.
I know, I know. It's hard to imagine yourself as a girl when you are over the age of 18, but we are all girls at heart and we are all daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. We are Daddy's little girls, if you will.
The song, "Valiant Faith" by Jenny Phillips, is perfect for this event. When I think of the word "powerful" I also think of both the words "valiant" and "faith." We are powerful when we are valiant in following the Savior and faithful in God's plan for us. I hope you enjoy the song as much as I do and if you will be attending the event on August 28th, I would love to have you participate in the choir that will be singing it! Check out my "EVENTS" page for more details.
Valiant Faith- Jenny Phillips
Three words that describe events that take place in the world today. My heart, along with many of your hearts, has cried out in pain and anguish as I have heard the news reports, read the stories, and seen the pictures that have been plastered on my TV and computers screens. So much heartache. So many lives lost by someone else's hands. So much hatred and evil.
It hurts and I am not one who has been directly affected by these events. I cannot begin to imagine what the families, friends, and other loved ones must be feeling at this time. My prayers are with them as they now try to move forward and heal their hearts one agonizing piece at a time.
So what is my role here? What can I do to combat the hatred? I am only one person living in Utah. I am not a minority and I have not lost a loved one because of hatred and evil. So what, exactly can I do?
I Can Teach.
I can teach my children to not be full of hate.
I can teach my children that
love is powerful,
much more powerful than hate.
I can teach my children that we are ALL sons and daughters of a loving Father in Heaven.
I can teach my children to
turn to God
for the answers and not to the Internet.
I can teach my children that service is the key; that by "forgetting themselves and going to work" [i], they can not only heal hearts around them, but will also be able to heal their own.
I Can Love.
I can love by practicing
what I preach.
I can love by sharing my talents and abilities with others.
I can love by not being part of the problem; by sharing positivity online and not hatred, by not allowing myself to react negatively to every little thing I may disagree with, by realizing that
words have power--
for good and for bad.
I can love by reaching out to those who feel lost and lonely.
What Will I Tell My Kids?
I will tell them that evil and hatred are senseless and that until the Savior comes again, they will exist with us.
I will tell them that they can be part of the solution and not part of the problem by reaching out to others in
love, kindness, and charity.
I will tell them that bad things do happen to good people but that doesn't mean that God has forsaken them.
It just proves to us that God has given us agency. Some people use their agency for good and some do not.
This is why our choices DO matter and the choices that we make do not just affect one person.
Our choices affect many- including our posterity.
I will tell them that God has a plan and that plan is much more grand than just this life here on earth.
We are eternal beings and our earth life is but a tiny speck in the grand scheme of the eternities.
I will tell them that I love them, that I am proud of them and that they are strong, capable, and amazing human beings.
I will tell them that although they are just one person, they can make a difference-- and that difference could be good or bad depending on the choices that they make, but they can and will make a difference in this life.
It is my responsibility to teach my children tolerance, patience, kindness, and love. Then it is up to them to choose whether or not they want to continue practicing those virtues. I have faith that they will and I have faith that everything will be alright in the end.
Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
If you want to hear a very moving rendition of this amazing verse, watch this video of an ex-marine singing it A cappella.
May we as a nation NEVER FORGET that we are One Nation, Under God. This country was founded by people who believed in a higher power and who followed that power in doing what they knew would be the best thing for this country. I have so much respect for the great men and women who fought bravely so that this country could be free.
Happy Birthday, America. I love you.
(This is a really great video that tells the history of the Star Spangled Banner. Well worth the watch.)
America the Beautiful- Mormon Tabernacle Choir
GOD BLESS AMERICA.
I am loving my second chance at life.
What's Happening on
Copyright Desirae Ogden, www.desiraeogden.com, 2015.
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