Sunday, March 27, 2016

He Lives

"I know that my Redeemer lives
What comfort this sweet sentence gives
He lives, He lives who once was dead
He lives, my ever living Head"

Words cannot describe how much I love my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Even though I am 2000 miles away from my family this Easter Sabbath, I woke up with such a feeling of gratitude and joy when I started thinking about Him, and all that He did for me, and all that He continues to STILL do for me.

Because of Him, my broken heart has been healed.
Because of Him, the regrets that I have about my past vanish.
Because of Him I can have a clean slate every day.
Because of Him, I can be with family forever.
Because of Him I have a family.
Because of Him, no 'Friday' of my life will ever be permanent. Sunday WILL come.
Because of Him hope is possible, I have a reason to hope,always. He is the reason.
Because of Him death is not the end. There is not such thing as the end.
Because of Him I can receive answers to prayers.
Because of Him I am NEVER alone.
Because of Him we all will be resurrected.
Because of Him, I have someone with a constant, steady, never wavering, never lessening, unconditional love for me. Even when I do not deserve it. He is that love.
Because of Him I can keep going, even when I don't want to and don't think I can.
Because of Him I live, I walk, I talk, I hear, I see, I enjoy this beautiful Earth.
Because of Him I know there is a reason for everything. A purpose in pain. A reason to keep living, keep trying, keep trusting. Him.

"He lives
All Glory to His name.
He lives, my Savior, still the same
Oh sweet the joy this sentence gives
I know that my Redeemer lives"

Monday, March 21, 2016

Walking in the Wind

It's been a bit since I've updated about my life in Utah.
I think the best way to do that is to let the pictures speak for themselves. Not that they are anything spectacular- they are just phone shots of some pretty awesome places I've been.

I spent A LOT of times at Temples. From Mt. Timpanagos, to Ogden, to Bountiful, to Oquirrh Mountain, to Draper, to Payson and so many others. I just love them and can't get enough. And in my drives I find some other pretty places. And this new, warm, sunny spring air makes me feel alive. I have been craving travel and adventure and filling my free time with exploring. It's pretty fantastical.

God sure has given us some pretty amazing sights and blessings on this earth. I never thought I'd love Utah so much.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I can't decide

When I was about 20 or 21, I had a decision to make. A decision involving a boy. I had to decide to either pursue a relationship with him, and wait for him (despite the time, distance, and unsurety), or simply put, to not wait and pursue other things.
I have grown up a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have been taught ever since I can remember about prayer, and that God answers prays. I never had any real problem receiving answers before. And I thought this was no exception. I don't remember an absolute specific time asking the Lord if it was right to wait for him. But he was a good guy, a priesthood holder, a best friend of mine, that I truly loved at that point in my life. It seemed like an obvious answer- DUH, wait for him. He could be your eternal companion, yo!
So wait I did. And I waited faithfully. I remember my mom saying she was worried that I was missing out on opportunities because of him, but I staunchly denied that and recommitted to my patience, and my waiting, thinking FOR SURE I was doing the right thing.
When he returned home, I thought, THIS was it. I really felt like my prayers were answered. I remember sitting next to him the day after he got back as we were eating dinner with his family, and without my asking for it, I just received SUCH a strong impression that I was sitting next to my future husband. It was such a peaceful and happy feeling, and I was sure that it was a very clear confirmation that I had chosen correctly- that I had followed the Lord's will in waiting for him, that it was right.
Fast forward 4 months to me collapsing on the stairs in my house sobbing uncontrollably, feeling literally broken from the inside out. This boy had chosen not to be with me. I had been wrong in waiting.
I'm not trying to turn this into a pity fest or a sob story, but it serves as a necessary background to what I've been thinking a lot about ever since that day, every time I make a decision- and there have been a LOT of big decisions since that time in my life. I have struggled since that day to come to grips with my choice.

Did I really make the right choice? 
Was the Lord telling me no all along and I just ignored Him?
Had I really received the answer I thought I had to that prayer?And if I did- WHY had it turned out that way? 
Why was I left with nothing? 
Why didn't it turn out like it was 'supposed' to?
 Did he receive the same answer I did and just chose differently? 
Or was it me that had received an answer and chosen differently? 

I had prayed so much, exercised so much faith, put in so much trust and hope and work. Needless to say, that experience absolutely bewildered me and shook me to the core. I didn't know if Heavenly Father really answered prayers anymore. I didn't think He heard me. I didn't have faith in the process of prayer anymore.
Since then, in the almost 5 years since that happened, I have been haunted by that experience more than I have realized. It took me years to realize how little trust I had in getting answers to prayers anymore. I thought as my heart healed, and as I regained my faith that had been broken, that the whole answers to prayer thing would just heal too. But every time I have had to make life decisions, it haunts me, and it has taken me all this time to REALLY come to grips with it.
I was talking to my mom on the phone about a big decision I have in my life right now. And she said to me 
"McKenzie, you need to trust. You trust the Lord, which is wonderful and right, but you need to trust YOURSELF too."
It hit me, hard. I don't trust myself when I make decisions, even when I am prayerful about them. Which I am, ALL the time. I never make a big decision without the Lord. But even when I feel like He has given me a "yes," I doubt it. In the back of my mind I think back to the "yes" I thought I had gotten before, and how horribly that turned out. And it paralyzes me. And I doubt my decision. Even with a feeling of "yes" from the Lord it truly is rare for me to feel ALL IN about something. I analyze it OH so much. I take away the peace that should be mine. I have so much anxiety.

But, it is teaching me so much. Even as I write this I am getting clarity. I truly believe that those years ago, I did get a yes. Why wouldn't it have been? That was the ideal. If that boy had acted according to correct principles, and not out of fear, and been the man he was supposed to be, there was every reason in the world we would have been wonderful together if he had kept choosing the right. It could have been a yes.

But that's just it. You can't force people. God doesn't force people. He doesn't make you choose the right, even if it effects someone else's life- like his choice effected and even changed mine. I learned a very crucial and difficult lesson because of that. It may not have been fair, BUT it was what I needed.  

And now, I see that it is for the best that the whole situation with him turned out the way it did. And I am grateful that because of that experience, I have changed 1000%. Most of the time I feel like I don't even know that girl from those years ago. 
I may still have lingering doubts and difficulties with receiving answers to prayers but it comes down to this-
All of them. Every single last one.
Whether it is with a yes
not now
or silence for a time.
Prayers ARE answered. Because He loves us. Absolutely and perfectly. He wants to lead and guide and help and answer. Our part is to decide, to pray,and to move forward TRUSTING that He will answer in one way, at one time or another. That NO MATTER WHAT IT WILL BE OKAY. No matter how it turns out. 
Hold to hope, pray unceasingly, & trust in His will, timing, and plan.

Sunday, March 13, 2016


Last month my little sister came out to Utah to visit me for her birthday! She was only here a few days but I can say it was the best few days I have spent in Utah, hands down. She's my bff and I miss her so much! No one really understands how close we are. We have been inseparable ever since starting homeschool together 11 (YIPE!) years ago.  We just have done everything together for the last decade+. We have been a constant in each other's lives while other friends have faded, moved, gotten married, etc. So it was SO super hard to say goodbye to her when I moved here almost 5 months ago!

I am SO grateful that she got to come visit. My roommates asked me what I planned for us, and most of our plans, to be honest, revolved around food. HAHA! So many yummy places out here that aren't back east. We were reunited with Kneaders, fell DEEPLY in love with Fiiz, devoured pizza at The Pie, nibbled on Yogurtland, and more. Such a yummy, gluttonous few days. We were seriously sick by the end haha.

In between eating we explored and I got to show her some places I have been wanting to since I've come out here. We went to The District and caught a movie, saw the UP house in Herriman, took in the Bountiful and Ogden Temples, saw The Finest Hours (SO GOOD) at Station Park which she fell in love with like I have. We projected some quality chick flicks and disney movies on a screen at my house while we savored Fiiz and pizza, and more. It was just all so perfect and we had SO much fun! Take me back! It was incredibly hard to put her on a plane to fly back home.
When I moved out here, and had to drop my mom off at the airport and hug her goodbye, I think the Lord was seriously shielding me from the sadness and fear I could have been experiencing. I was just so happy to be starting my adventure and excited for the possibilities. I didn't really feel anything, because it didn't feel real.

But since then I have had the some of the hardest days I never knew were coming. I have felt absolute, thick & gripping loneliness that has gripped me so hard at times that sometimes I feel like I will lose my mind. There have been many solo trips to the movies, to grab food, go shopping, church events, etc, many days and nights spent alone.Because of these experiences, I had a very different time this trip to the airport. I barely pulled away before I burst into tears. The feeling of utter and completely loneliness was staring me in the face and I didn't want any part of it. I knew what was waiting for me this time. There was no naiveté.

I am so grateful that even though I can feel and be completely and utterly alone, I never truly am. Heavenly Father and His Son live. They are there. They have been my comfort, solace, and Best Friends this whole time. I am grateful I can pray and receive comfort and peace, and a feeling of love that takes over, even in the dark, lonely times.

I am so grateful my family that God has given me. I don't think I could ever fully express how much they all mean to me. I am SO,SO,SO blessed. And I am so grateful for a little sister that has been my sidekick all these years. It was so wonderful to have her visit and celebrate her being alive for 25 awesome years! Heaven knows I needed her all this time, and this amazing visit.