“Each of us has a part to play in the plan, and each of us is equally valued in the eyes of the Lord. We should remember that a loving Heavenly Father is aware of our righteous desires and will honor His promises that nothing will be withheld from those who faithfully keep their covenants. Heavenly Father has a mission and plan for each of us, but He also has His own timetable. One of the hardest challenges in this life is to have faith in the Lord’s timing.” -Bonnie L. Oscarson
I believe in a loving Heavenly Father. And I believe that He finds little ways (and not so little ways) every single day to show that love for us. I like to call those individualized evidences “love notes from God.” The things we care about are important to Him, simply because they matter to us, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant they may be. I promise that if you will just look, you will find examples of God’s love for you. Sometimes those love notes are small. Like when I got to sit by and hold the cutest baby on a flight this summer. Just that day I had been talking about how much I love babies and how long it had been since I held one. Yeah, I could call it a coincidence, but I choose to call it a love note from God. So many times this summer, in classes, meetings, and activities that were planned for hundreds of people, there was a message that was meant just for me. Love note from God every time.
“I would charge you to say again and again to yourselves, as the Primary organization has taught the children to sing “I am a [son or a daughter] of God” and by so doing, begin today to live closer to those ideals which will make your life happier and more fruitful because of an awakened realization of who you are.” -Harold B. Lee
9 weeks!?! This summer has been crazy awesome and this was a good way to end it. This week was another stay-at-home session so it was fun to be able to hang out with the other counselors at night. I was one of the counselors in charge of the musical program, so I was worried that I wouldn’t see them much, but we bonded in a unique way this week. Basically all of my kiddos ganged up on me and tried to make me pass out as many times as possible. Even my co-counselor was in on the planning. I’m pretty much the human version of a fainting goat, so they thought scaring me was pretty funny. This was another one of those weeks where I would get talking to the kids and forget that they’re not my age. Maybe it’s because I’m still a 15-year-old at heart.
I wasn’t supposed to work this week, but I got called in just a couple of days before this session started. Provo usually isn’t my favorite place to work just because there are so many people, but it was fun to see so many counselors again, as well as a few of my EFY kiddos from last year. My girls this week were a hoot and I’m glad I got to be with them. They would pray about the cutest things (like clouds during games night–which totally happened). It was a pretty chill week, compared to the rest of the summer. One of the craziest parts of a session in Provo are the classes because there are so many to choose from and they are in different buildings all over campus. This week was especially insane because Brad Wilcox and Hank Smith were both teachers and all of the kids wanted to go to their classes. Kids were sprinting to get to classes and a lot of people were frustrated that it got kind of out of control, but come on, how cool is it that these kids were running to a class to learn more about the gospel?!?! Definitely a “problem” I’m willing to deal with.
This was my first “stay-at-home” session, meaning the kids go home at 9pm every night at come back at 9am. My biggest fear was that I wouldn’t get to know the kids as well because I feel like that hour before lights out is when I get to have the most one-on-one time with them. But I ended up bonding with these kids so much. From cinnamon roll hugs every night to learning how to catch whipped cream in our mouths, I couldn’t love them more. We laughed and cried together so many times this week. I felt so strongly of the love that Heavenly Father has for each one of them. I don’t know everything that these kids were struggling with, but He does, and I felt guided at every moment to know what to do or say. I know that God si aware of us personally and uses other people to answer our prayers. I know that He finds little ways every day to show us that He cares.
What a week! It was insane, but still one of my favorites. I went to the hospital 4 times and found out I have a blood clot in my foot. It’s not a big deal, but those few days of not knowing were scary. Luckily I had the world’s best co-counselor this week and knew that our kiddos were always in the best hands 🙂
The dorms were sketchy and the heat was nearly unbearable, but there were so many good moments this week that made it all worth it. I loved our session director, who happened to be my seminary teacher my sophomore year. I made sure everyone asked him about his proposal story because it is easily the best I have ever heard.
One night, I got in the elevator to go down to dinner and a bunch of my boys were already inside. “Don’t get in!” they yelled, but I didn’t listen. I figured out that one of them was shirtless and the others were hiding them in the corner. Right after I figured this out, the elevator door opens and the first thing my co sees is me videoing the situation. Ir doesn’t sound as funny when I write it, but trust me, it was dang funny.
This was such a good session! I was one of the counselors in charge of the variety show, so I felt like I spent a lot of time away from my kiddos, but I did convince a few of my boys to be in it 🙂
I just kept thinking over and over, “these kids are wicked awesome.” I learned so much from them and loved getting to know them. Sometimes I forget that they’re a few years younger than me because they are leaps and bounds ahead of where I was at their age.
These kiddos were so good at watching out for each other and making everyone feel included, even people who weren’t in our company.
None of my girls had ever been to The Pie, so of course I had to introduce them to the wonderful delight of a 23-inch pizza 🙂
After months of waiting, the day finally came and that white envelope showed up in the mail. Sam chose to go downtown and open it on Temple Square. He wanted it to be a small group so it was just our family and my mom’s parents. Sam’s best friend and my dad’s parents were able to watch via FaceTime. We’re so excited for Sam and know he will be able to do great things. Here are a few pictures and a video at the very end 🙂
I’ll always remember the summer of 2008 as the time my parents decided to completely remodel our house. We knocked down every wall in the whole house except for one. I remember using a sledgehammer to help take out the tile in the kitchen. And climbing on the rebar sticking out of the new cement. I remember the craziness of all the kiddos sharing a room and my mom having a baby in the middle of the process. But probably the most important thing I remember happened when my dad and I installed the new washing machine.
We worked together to get it lined up and then leaned together to shove it into place. As we got a few inches away from the wall, I swear I watched in slow motion as a screwdriver rolled off of the window ledge and fell behind the washing machine just as we finished pushing it into place.
My dad looked at me and said, “Well. That’s going to stay there for the next 10 years.” (In case you’ve never tried moving a washing machine, those suckers are heavy.)
So here we are 10 years later and that screwdriver is still there. I’ve thought about that experience a lot and I’ve reached this conclusion: the screwdriver isn’t doing anybody any good by hiding behind the washing machine. Sometimes I feel like I “hide behind a washing machine” and don’t allow God to use me as the tool I could be. Because here’s the thing: God is not a tool on my tool belt. I am a tool on God’s tool belt.
DON’T HIDE BEHIND A WASHING MACHINE! God can use you and will use you if you let Him. The quote below is long, but it is one of my very, very favorites!
I love this quote so much and agree 100%! Everyone has a contribution to make. If you haven’t figured out what your individual talents are, ask God and ask those around you! One of our greatest collective weaknesses is our lack of faith in ourselves. Too often, we fail to see our tremendous worth. That simply won’t do. God needs us to be everything we can be!
The Atonement doesn’t just allow us to repent and be forgiven, but it also enables us, strengthens us, and gives us a desire and power to serve beyond our natural capacity. Being a tool on God’s tool belt means that we allow Him to use us in ways we never thought possible. It means that we go to sleep each night knowing that our talents and unique abilities were used in a way to bless others.
Being a tool on His tool belt means that we are never alone or expected to do things on our own. If you do all that you can with the talents and abilities God has given you and pray for help and guidance, He will reach out and take you by the hand. He will use you. If you give your heart to Him and allow yourself to be led, He will use you. He will use you in ways you can’t even imagine right now. And He will bless you in ways you can’t even imagine right now.
Since the beginning of time, God has used average people like you and me to do His work. He doesn’t need you to be mighty, brilliant, fashionable, eloquent, or wealthy. He only needs you to allow yourself to be used. No tool on God’s tool belt is ever forgotten and each has a use. Choose to be useful to Him instead of hiding behind a washing machine!
Be a tool. Not in the worldly way, but in God’s way.