Sunday, August 21, 2016

Becoming perfect

I was having a conversation with my boyfriend Jordan this morning about making mistakes in our lives. I expressed concern that I was not as perfect as I should me. To this he gave the well known response "we don't need to be perfect." As we were discussing this I thought a lot about why I am so hard on myself. I know I am not expected to be perfect and yet I still expect it of myself. I find myself thinking "after 25 years of making mistake after mistake I should have this figured out already. I should know what to do to avoid sin. I should be a pro" But this isn't the case. As I sat in sacrament meeting I thought a lot about this and I wrote my thoughts down. Here are my Sunday thoughts I wanted to share:
Each of us makes mistakes that no one except ourselves and God knows about. We also feel as though we should hide the fact that we sin from the world. We feel as though we need to put on a show for others. Pretend to be perfect if you will. But at what cost?

Being imperfect brings us closer to the savior. He was perfect and chose to endure the struggles and trials we all face. When we embrace our imperfections we embrace that we need a savior. That we can't do this on our own. We embrace that we have work to do.

There is beauty in imperfection. If we were all perfect in this life we would not have characters and personalities.  I am who I am because of the mistakes I have made. I will become the woman I am meant to be by embracing the mistakes I will make today and tomorrow and learn from them. I will become who I am meant to be by embracing the need for a savior.

I have many faults. I have anxiety, fears, worries, trust issues and major indecisiveness. I am a piece of work. But every great masterpiece has been exactly that, A piece of work molded into something beautiful.

We are the clay in the potters hands... Will we let him help smooth and shape us? Will we allow ourselves to find beauty in our imperfections?

I know I am going to focus less on being perfect and more on learning from and finding beauty in being imperfect.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I deserve this....

Entitlement is so sneaky. It creeps up on you when you least expect it. It some how finds a place in your heart and twists your thinking. All the sudden your thoughts go from : "That is such an greedy way of thinking" to "ya, I totally deserve that!" I have found over the last few months that entitlement comes easier when  you do the right things in your life. Let me explain...
When we follow Gods commandments Satan loses power. We literally bind his ability to tempt us to commit sin... Now some may ask "but isn't entitlement a sin?" To this I will say... Most definitely and I feel that it is one of the most dangerous. When we follow Gods commandments we tend to see and feel the Good word of Christ filling our lives... All the sudden abstaining from the larger sins in life is a no brainier; stealing, killing, cheating, breaking the Sabbath, etc... We avoid the larger sins at all cost because they speak danger to us from miles away. But what about the smaller but no less important sins like lying, entitlement, jealousy, and judgement? Do these not matter? No, in fact I feel that they sometimes matter more because they can be the gateway to bigger sins ("oh what's a little lie now and again going to do?")
In my life I have done everything right... (cliche saying I know... but really) I worked hard all through high school, I went to college, I never slept around, I never partied, I went to church every Sunday, I went on a mission, and I continually try and better myself.... so now comes the tricky "staying away from entitlement part"... with all of these life events in mind it has been soooo easy for me to look at myself and say: "what did I do to deserve this? I don't deserve to not know where I am headed in life, I don't deserve to be single at almost 25, I don't deserve to have a little sister that I love choose drugs over her family, I don't deserve to have my perfect and wonderful family fall apart for reasons I don't know ." Is this true though... do I really not deserve all these things?
Did Christ our Lord and Savior deserve to have nails driven through his hands and feet? Did he deserve to have his best friend that was like a brother to him deny him?  Did he deserve to be betrayed by another he loved? Did he deserve to die...

I emphatically declare no! He did not deserve these things... because He is the son of God and he is perfect! Now I am a daughter of God and he loves me... but am I perfect? Far from it.... so how in the world can I think "I don't deserve this" when the most amazing man to walk this earth didn't deserve what he endured. How can I think "I don't deserve this" when my challenges don't even scratch the surface of what the savior went through? I completely deserve this...I signed up for this... I welcomed the possibility of challenges in the pre-mortal world. So where does my woe and forelornement fit in?...
Not only is entitlement tricky and sneaky... But it is also suffocating. When we get into a spirit of I deserve this we come up empty. We struggle for air to breathe and we feel so lost. I've been there. We all have. It doesn't have to be this way though. Instead of seeing our trials as unfair and cruel we can change our perspective. President Uctdorf gave a talk this last general conference that beautifully outlines how we can change our perspectives and find happiness in trials:

“There is enough that doesn’t go right in life, so anyone can work themselves into a puddle of pessimism and a mess of melancholy. But I know people who, even when things don’t work out, focus on the wonders and miracles of life. These folks are the happiest people I know.”
“But,” Eva said, “you can’t just flip a switch and go from sad to happy.”
“No, perhaps not,” Aunt Rose smiled gently, “but God didn’t design us to be sad. He created us to have joy!3 So if we trust Him, He will help us to notice the good, bright, hopeful things of life. And sure enough, the world will become brighter. No, it doesn’t happen instantly, but honestly, how many good things do? Seems to me that the best things, like homemade bread or orange marmalade, take patience and work.”

God created us to have JOY! Hold on to that promise! Now that is something that we deserve... no entitlement involved. 
An orange water color texture paired with a quote by Dieter F. Uchtdorf that reads, "God didn’t design us to be sad. He created us to have joy!".

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The storm

The waves pound.
Wind howls
All are wet with despair.
Though one stands at the helm
Declaring we are all heirs.
He is surrounded by light.
Peace flows to our souls
as he declares with his might:
"Peace, be still."
The waves fall
the storm has passed
for Christ is at the helm.

The Carpenter

Rough, Coarse, Hard
Stubborn, Dull, Lifeless.
In his hands everything changes.

Shaping, sweating, suffering

He places all his strength to the task.
Never losing sight of the potential he sees.

Rough, Coarse, Hard
Learning, Listening, Living.
In his hands everything changes.

Lifting and loving each piece.

He places all his strength to the task.
Never losing sight of the potential he sees.

Rough, Coarse, Hearing
Learning, Loving, Laughing.
In his hands everything changes.

In his hands perfection is set in motion.
In his hands all are safe.
In his hands everything changes. 

The Artist

The whole world is his canvas.
He paints pain in red,
Joy in yellow,
and confusion in darkness.
The canvas is alight with colors and patterns,
Continually changing at his hand. 
My pain... my red
He lovingly covers with his own crimson. 
While my red is pain his is blood.
Crimson becomes hope.
A chance to see beauty. 
He has covered my canvas. 
I am crimson. 
I am beauty.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The life of a returned missionary...

My time as a  missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints has come to an end, but 
the impact it has made on my life is far from over. I can honestly say that my mission opened my eyes, and helped me to recognize my role in our Father in Heaven's work. In the Doctrine in Covenants section four it states: "Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;" I recognized over the course of my mission that I have been called to be an instrument in our Father's hands... not just for 18 months, but for my whole life. This has led to a lot of reflection over the last couple of weeks since I have returned home. As a missionary I spent 24/7 walking on the streets and talking to people about our savior Jesus Christ. It was the most demanding work of my life and I loved it. It tore me down, it brought me to the point that I was raw. It was the most vulnerable I have ever been, and yet it was a good thing. I was raw in a way that allowed me to overlook myself and turn to my savior in order to see the need of those around me. I allowed our savior to guide me, mold me, and use me in whatever way he needed in order to reach out to those around me. The Lord truly protected me in my travels, and He led me to those that needed Him most at that time. Since coming home, I have been struggling to find a way to continue to see how I can be apart of this work that I have been called to. 
A few nights ago, when I was calling upon the Lord I felt very strongly that my mission has not ended, but the method in which the Lord will use me has changed. I felt that I needed to continue using this blog as a way to share the Good word of our Lord and Savior. I hope that my inner thoughts and feelings can help someone else on their journey with Christ. Here was some of my thoughts from a personal study a few days ago..."I have been feeling as though very few impactful things have been happening in my life since I returned from my mission. I want to follow the Lord's will and I want more than anything to be married... but How am I ever to do that If I am not allowing my high expectations to increase?How am I to continue to have a rock solid foundation if I am not feeding it? I need to find the time to read more than a few verses of scripture a day. I spent 18 months studying extensively... that is all for nothing if I don't continue to do so now. I know that life will find more meaning as I continue to put the Lord first. I need to hold myself accountable and start making goals/expectations for myself. This is NOT the time for me to slack up. I prayed to have my questions answered through General Conference and they were! (LDS church meeting that happens 2 times a year. Learn more here: Whitney Clayton talked in conference about choosing to believe. Each week that I partake of the sacrament (communion) I am CHOOSING to believe. That is the most important use of my agency I can ever have. This choice cannot be idle though. President Uctchdorf of the First Presidency had a talk about two brothers jumping off a cliff into a pool of water. One was getting scared and the other said: "Brother I'm Committed"... and jumped. If we follow the council in Joshua 24:15 ad we "choose" to follow Christ we must choose NOW to be commuted to continue to be a truth seeker, a light seeker.  I choose today and everyday to believe. I choose today to try each day to increase my testimony and to stand as a daughter of my Father in Heaven. I choose... to Believe. "

Thanks for listening...

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Week Ending March 3rd, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,
I cannot believe that 18 months has come and gone... It feels like I left my home yesterday... and yet sometimes it feels like I left a millennia ago. So much happened in this last week, but as this in my last chance to email all of you as "Sister Franzen" I would like to take the chance to share my testimony with all of you.
I would like to steal some words from another dear Sister Missionary:
"I found a quote to perfectly explain my mission this week
"If you are on the right path, it will always be uphill. The Lord is anxious to lead us to higher grounds"

My mission has been the hardest thing in my entire life. But it has been such a special thing that I would never trade for the world."
I too feel the same way about my mission... 4 areas, 13 companions, having to wear a boot, kidney stones for over 10 months of my mission, having to go gluten free, horrible car crash, having 2 companions get sick and have to go home... Missions are tough... but I would not have it any other way. My mission has truly been the best preparation I could possibly have for my future.

I love my savior. I know that He was born to save me, He lived to save me, He died to save me, and He was resurrected to save me. He is and will always be my everything. I cannot go through life without my savior… it is too hard, too heavy. But that is the beautiful thing about this gospel… we don’t HAVE to do it on our own… ever. Christ is there for us every single step of the way…. He is standing at the door knocking… WAITING to rescue us. If we will but open the door to him, he can enter in.
I know with all my heart that God is STILL a God of miracles. I have 18 months worth of a daily journal full of them if you ever need proof that he lives and loves us. I saw him change lives every day… It was the most amazing and powerful feeling to be able to see him close the mouths of those that tried to tear down our faith and desecrate the name of the Savior… I saw this again last night. God is so loving and so amazing.

I have seen Satan and his minions try with all their might to tear others down. Whether my making them think that they are not good enough, or by making things around them fall apart… but I have seen what “Just one small seed” can do. Just ONE seed of faith changes people’s lives and gives them hope. I saw this in the lives of the families I was able to teach J Satan cannot have power over us as we turn to the savior and give him our life… we are protected, blessed, safe.

I know with all my heart that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real and that it truly does carry us. I know that God is reaching out to us still as he has in times of old through a prophet on the earth once again. True, prophets are just men and they make mistakes too, but I know that God is still leading and guiding us just as he has in times past… with a foundation set upon apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God just as the Bible is. I love the feeling of peace and comfort I get as I read both books of Scripture. I love that I can turn to my Father in Heaven at any time and ask him with a sincere heart if what I am reading is true, and I KNOW he will answer me! I know He will answer anyone that goes and asks with a sincere heart because he is Truth and light and He cannot be deceived. I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ once again on the earth. I know this because I have 1. Studied, 2. Fasted, 3. Prayed to get my answer directly from My Father in Heaven. I know that God hears and answers us. I know that He loves us.

I have loved my mission... I have not wanted to leave but I have been praying and thinking a lot about what my mission president told me in my last interview and I am now ending with the beginning in mind. I have created an action plan on how I will continue to be a missionary in my home ward. I still do not want my mission to end... but I know that it does not have too. I am simply receiving a permanent outside of mission boundaries transfer ;) I will forever and always be a missionary... I love the Lord and I know that I cannot deny it, he has changed me and made me whole and I have seen him do that for others over and over. I love this gospel.
I leave this testimony with all of you in the name of our Dear and sweet savior and redeemer, even Jesus Christ, Amen.
Sister Jenn Franzen