January 24, 2011

A new year, a new you

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:40 pm by Jess Ward

Cameramen in New York City ask some (very funny) people in a diner what a new year means… especially because Christ told us not to dwell on the past, but to move forward with faith. Before you watch, ask yourself: do you know who Lot’s wife is? See what they say!

January 22, 2011

Flocks, fields, and rent

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:31 pm by Jess Ward

There’s this one scripture in the Book of Mormon about a man who prays over his flocks and fields and children and houses… which basically says God cares about EVERYTHING in our lives. Which is good, because (although I don’t have flocks/fields/etc), I do have RENT (not to mention an upcoming wedding) . And with a job that pays minimum wage at minimum hours (shout out to the writing tutors of the world!), I was getting nervous about how everything would work it.

Which brings us to Friday. My dream student job (being a teacher at the Missionary Training Center) called and said they wanted to interview me for a teaching position… that exactly conflicted with my current class schedule. Incredibly disappointed, I had to tell them no. And then I prayed for a job (it was a cross between pleading and complaining) and within 10 minutes, they called back saying they’d like to interview me anyway. I went in, had my interview… and just got hired as a teacher! (Pretty excited about this.) I’m not telling this story to brag–I’ve definitely prayed about my share of things that haven’t worked out quite the way I wanted them to. But I just wanted to reaffirm that Heavenly Father does care about our flocks, our fields… and our rent. Keep praying; he’s listening.

Sometimes we feel He answers everyone else’s prayers… but not ours. See what a modern-day apostle, Richard G. Scott, has to say: Learning to Recognize Answers to Prayer.

January 20, 2011

Priesthood power

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:35 pm by Jess Ward

Yet another confessional: last week was kind of hard. I don’t know why, but I suddenly just felt… overwhelmed with life. Kind of like I was drowning and didn’t know how to get out. And even my standard cure-alls (prayer, scripture reading, service) weren’t able to lift me out of my out-of-it-ness.

I decided to ask for a priesthood blessing. (Definition time: The priesthood is the authority to act in the name of God.) And I didn’t have to call my bishop or my priest or someone “high up” in the church to give me this blessing–I just called my fiancé. The power of God is NOT restricted to a few people in leadership positions–Heavenly Father wants that power in every single home, which is why men over the age of 18 who are living worthily and have been baptized and received the Holy Ghost can have that power. Husbands, fathers, brothers (and even fiancés) have this power to bless others.

And so I got my blessing. And it was wonderful. David laid his hands on my head, and spoke the words Heavenly Father wanted me to hear–that I was loved, that it was all going to be OK, and some other things that are too special to share here. More than the words was the feeling of peace–like I’d really been pulled out of the river I’d been drowning in. I felt the power of the priesthood last Sunday night, and I’m grateful Heavenly Father has restored the priesthood to the earth to bless families.

January 13, 2011

Don’t second-guess yourself

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:51 pm by Jess Ward

For those of us who have moments of “this is what I’m supposed to do with my life!” and then second-guess:

“Once there has been genuine illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts . . .  Don’t give in. Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. He wants everyone to be miserable like unto himself. Face your doubts. Master your fears. “Cast not away therefore your confidence.” Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, modern-day apostle).

Click here to read his whole talk: “Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence.”

January 10, 2011

We are Children of God

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:16 am by Jess Ward

These are the words from my favorite children’s song, “I Am a Child of God“:

I am a child of God, and He has sent me here
Has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do to live with him someday.

The story goes that the author, Naomi Randall, originally wrote “teach me all that I must know” but the prophet asked that she change it to “teach me all that I must do”–it’s not enough to say we know Christ; we must follow Him. After all, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

January 5, 2011

Don’t endure–ENJOY!

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:48 pm by Jess Ward

Studying my scriptures today. Came across a verse so familiar I almost skipped over it. Luckily, I didn’t:

Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:25).

Isn’t that AMAZING? “Men (and women!) are that they might have joy” … our loving Heavenly Father gave each of us (yes, you!) this capacity to experience joy. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the “tribulation worketh patience” mindset, but one friend always said, “It’s not enough to endure to the end–we must enjoy to the end.” That changes things. No longer are we wallowing through trials or just praying for release–we get to look for the good in life, and trust that ours is a Heavenly Father who wants our happiness more than anything. Life isn’t easy, but it is joyful.

And speaking of joy, I’m happy to announce that I’m getting married this summer in the Newport Beach, California temple. More on that later. (One of my resolutions is to be a more faithful blogger because Christ’s plan of salvation brings me so much happiness, so stay posted.)I’m very excited! (Understatement–I’m so excited it’s hard to breathe.)

Check out what a modern-day prophet has to say about joy: “Finding Joy in the Journey” by President Thomas S. Monson.

December 1, 2010

Let it snow, get me home

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:34 pm by Jess Ward

I’m kind of a California girl. Which means I’m skeptical about the whole snow thing, and downright terrified of driving in it. Which was a problem, because this past Sunday I had to drive from Laguna Hills, CA back to Provo, UT in an outright blizzard.

And it was really scary. I have a wonderful boyfriend who drove most of the way, but I still saw the snow pelting down at us and felt the slide of the car as it struggled to grip the icy highway. But, at a time when I had no control over the storm’s severity of the car’s traction, I was able to find peace through prayer. And we were blessed, and now I’m sitting in my kitchen in UT reminded, once again, that Heavenly Father answers prayers. Because He cares about us. When’s the last time you prayed?

September 23, 2010

Turn on the light

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:56 pm by Jess Ward

Interesting observation: darkness cannot coexist with light.

Think about it: you walk into a room, you turn on the switch. The darkness doesn’t say, “We’re really not in the mood to go away. Let’s squelch that lightbulb.” It can’t–it must disappear. Light wins, no contest.

Other observation: there is a lot of darkness in the world, and I’m not just talking about places without electricity. Promiscuity, dishonesty, and cynicism pervade our society and are leaking into our lives.

So how do we fight this? Well, we can either try to regulate the darkness (good luck with that) … or we can INCREASE THE LIGHT. You know–read scriptures, serve others, pray a little more, remember Christ. Darkness cannot win against light, and if we are filled to capacity with the good, there is simple no room for the bad.

How will you turn on your light?

September 21, 2010

Being the Lord’s Wind

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:42 pm by Jess Ward

I still think of New York everyday. Then again, I’ve only been back a month. On Sunday, I listened to a man who had been back from his mission to Tonga for 60 years.

John Groberg is now a leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but as a young elder he struggled finding people to teach. Finally, he heard of a family on a distant island who would be willing to listen to missionaries–if they arrived by sunset on a given day. Elder Groberg and his friends eagerly set out by sailboat early in the morning, but around mid afternoon the wind died, and they couldn’t move anywhere.

Now this is where an interesting lesson on faith comes in. Elder Groberg, a faithful missionary, prayed for a headwind. Nothing happened. He then prayed for a good wind. Still nothing. He felt the Lord was not answering his prayer. Suddenly, his much older friend told him to get into the row boat and the man began ROWING Elder Groberg to this distant island. As he told the young elder, “Today, I can be the Lord’s wind.” The man was blessed with strength to get them all the way to the island.

John Groberg, looking back on the experience after 50 years, told us that sometimes we try and limit the Lord by telling him how he can and cannot bless us. We see simple solutions, when He sees an opportunity for us to work and grow. Faith is not waiting for good things to happen–it’s working and praying the Lord will strengthen your efforts. Sometimes, we get to the be the Lord’s wind.

August 30, 2010

Miracles aren’t just for missions

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:18 pm by Jess Ward

I’m sitting here in the Brigham Young University Library reading the Book of Mormon, and I just read this great passage from 2 Nephi 2:13:

“And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments.”

Now, don’t worry that I’m going into another wo-is-me-my-mission-is-over spiel (looking back, I wrote quite a few of those!). Instead, I want to share a CIVILIAN (AKA non-missionary!) experience I had with the Lord guiding me in the wilderness.

The particular wilderness was English 293: Introduction to British Literature. Our huge essay exam was only a day away and (due to extenuating family circumstances) I had not been able to study. Panicked would be an understatement. I only had a few hours to review all the material before the test, but I prayed that the Lord would guide my studying. And He did. I studied passages I’d only read in passing; I found some commentaries online I hadn’t know existed. And then, after doing EVERYTHING I could do in such a short time, I took my test.

That four hour essay exam was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. As I took the test, I remembered things with unprecedented clarity–I made connections and wrote confidently about ideas that I’d never thought threw–I had studied just the right things–I was enLIGHTened by the Lord.

So for those of you back home who are saying, “Oh, the Lord talks to you only because you’re a full-time missionary,” think again. He cares about what we care about. Even 293 English tests.

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