Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November Higher Challenge: Will the Lord Rent me of my Kingdom?

Yesterday I posted the November challenge post about my fear with my goal to overcome people's perceptions of me. I decided if I'm going to get over this fear and be ready to stand and bear my testimony in Church on December 1, I better get started NOW!

I went to the Topical Guide and found all scriptures I could about Fear, being Afraid, Fearful, etc.  Let me tell you, I knew there were some examples of fear in the scriptures but I was hoping to find more than just Jonah when he was in the whale and I was not disappointed.  Maybe I'll have to study one different story each day until December 1 (and possibly longer).

The story I studied today was of King Saul, the first king of a united Israel.  In case you were like me having early morning Seminary (5 AM start time Freshman, Sophomore and Junior year) didn't help with you learning all of the stories of the Old Testament or if you suffered from Seminary-induced Narcolepsy, here's a quick refresher on Saul's story:

Samuel was a prophet in Israel who had two sons that weren't exactly the most righteous of men.  They took bribes and did not follow their father's teachings.  When Samuel became old, he appointed his sons to be judges over Israel (stick with me, this does relate to Saul) but the people feared that their perverted ways would hinder their people.  The people asked Samuel to appoint a king over them that was a goodly man and a righteous man.  Samuel warned the people of the consequences and problems with a king but they did not listen and after talking with the Lord, the Lord agreed to anoint a King over Israel.

This is where Saul comes into play; his father (Kish) had donkeys who were lost and needed to be found so he sent Saul to find them.  Saul went with a servant to find the donkeys; they looked all over but could not find the animals.  Saul's servant told Saul of Samuel and how Samuel might be able to help them find the donkeys; Saul agreed and they went unto Samuel.  The day before Saul came unto Samuel, the Lord revealed unto Samuel that he would send a young man to him tomorrow who Samuel should "anoint to be captain over... Israel." (1 Sam 9:16) And the rest is pretty much history... really it is.

Now that we're all caught up, Saul had been commanded by the Lord to smite and destroy the Amalekites and all that they had.  Saul went unto the Amalekites to destroy them but kept some of their animals to sacrifice because of the people's encouragement and feared them.  "And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice."  (1 Sam 15:24) Samuel, the prophet, was saddened by Saul's disobedient and after much prayer with the Lord was sent to tell Saul that his kingdom will be given to his neighbor because of his disobedience.

What does this mean for you and more importantly, me? Honestly, everything.  Saul feared the peer pressure and influence of the people, he feared what they would think of him if he destroyed all the animals of the Amalekites.  Sara fears the thoughts and opinions of friends and family if she were to be more humble if that meant she would be more in-tuned with the spirit and show a more emotional/soft side.

Will the Lord rent my Kingdom from me? Will I be removed from the blessings that were meant to be mine? Will I disappoint the Lord because of my fears of others rather than building myself up to be who He would have me be?

Easier said than done, but Saul is just the first story of many. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Time Out for Women: Higher Inspiration

Time Out for Women is a women's conference organized as a subsidiary of Deseret Book Company.  "For over 10 years, Time Out for Women has been inviting faithful women to step away from the daily routine and make space for themselves and their spiritual lives... TOFW women are choosing to be uplifted, reenergized, educated, entertained, and inspired with thousands of women all over the world."

I have been to TOFW once before, about 3 years ago, and so when Clark's family decided to go and invite all the wives and daughters to come also I decided I wanted to go.  After just the first night I had decided it was good I had decided to do so, all of the speakers were inspirational and definitely good for me.  

So, time for a little back story; growing up, I've al
ways been rough around the edges, I've always thought I had to be the tough little girl that had the outer shell that couldn't be cracked and who nobody could hurt.  I did well building up that personality and found it was easier to stay pent up and private.  There was a time when I thought I wanted to change who I was but was afraid of what everyone else would think of me.  I was afraid that everyone would think I was becoming 'emotional' or that it would draw the attention of everyone and the mocking and making-fun would begin.

I stayed the tough little girl and it hindered me with my desire to seek spiritual knowledge and to feel the spirit of my Heavenly Father.  Now, I'd like to take a moment and discern that I am not saying that anyone who has a tough exterior is not spiritual and I am not saying that any girl who is sweet and more mild manner is very spiritual, I am just saying that this is how it affected me.

Now, what does that have to do with TOFW 2013? Well, one of the great things about TOFW is that it is put on by Deseret Book Company which happens to have one of the most influential, spiritual women I know at it's helm, Sheri Dew.

I've heard Sheri talk before at young single adult conference and of course at General Conference but when she talked to us on Friday night, I finally heard something I never had before.  I heard her say, "You can be a strong opinionated, rough around the edges, tough woman in this church and still have every spiritual experience the Lord wants you to, IF you put in the effort."

While I know that is what I heard, if you ask her, she will say that she did not say that (as she told the young woman in Brazil when she claimed to have heard Sis Dew say something in a talk that helped her progress forward).  And it is true, she did not say that, but she had "the privilege to be talking" when I heard what Heavenly Father wanted me to hear.

The things that I heard with my physical ears are things that Sis Dew made us promise not to repeat as well as just her overall demeanor.  She is a role model for me and she is truly an astonishing woman who has been a great tool in our Father's hand.

Now to the hard part, what am I going to do about it? Well, wouldn't you like to know? I bet you would, because so would I... I've been lacking with personal scripture study and with personal prayer that I know the first step may very well include something along those lines. I think, however, that it will be more structured than that.  Since I am a health coach and we preach SMART goals, I will apply it to this.

I will overcome my fear of being seen as 'emotional' by studying one specific topic in the scriptures each month. This topic will be something I am wanting to learn more about or something that I need to focus on for myself.

Each month TOFW is doing a Higher Challenge.  To go along with November's challenge and this post, my topic of study is going to be Fear.  To truly help push me to achieve this goal and to give me another fear to get over, I am committing to get up on Fast Sunday, December 1, to bear my testimony and to allow my ward family to see a side of me they have probably not seen before, a vulnerable side to the spirit and to everyone in the congregation that day.

I'm a little nervous, but hopefully over the next 20 days I'll be able to overcome this fear (as silly as it might be to you) and begin to LIVE higher.

"Peace is not the thing you feel right before you face your fears, it is what comes right after you do."--Laurel Christiensen Day

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sickness and Six Months of Marriage

I was astonished to realize last week that Clark and I were coming upon our anniversary of six months! Now, while I'm not one to celebrate every month that we remain a united couple, I couldn't help but pay honor to this anniversary with everything it brought about.
As I woke up to the sun rising Monday morning, I began to panic as Clark was still in bed when he should have been 30 minutes into his work day!  It appears that we, try as hard as I might, had been hit with the flu! Clark was going to spend our six month anniversary in bed with a stuffed nose, low fever and scratchy throat.  I, on the other hand, went to work thinking of this poor man:

I spent all week nursing him back to health and after three days of being ill, he finally went back to work.  I had successfully nursed my husband back to health the way I had always seen my mother doing for my father growing up.  What I was in no way expecting was to go to work the day Clark had started going back to work to feel the onset of my own flu.  Wonderful, wonderful week we've been having!

So here we are, the now-married-six-months Harrop's, fighting off the flu and counting on the other to return us to health.  If nothing else, I've learned this week that there is nothing more I love than to care for my husband; perhaps this is what eternal marriage is all about.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Our Short Story

I'm beginning to wonder if I'm just a boring person.  I've thought and thought about how it is I'm going to keep up with my blogging but all in all, I'm finding I'm a rather boring person.  With no children and no pets it's just my handsome superman of a husband and myself.

Clark and I met during a church meeting in September of 2011.  The first thing that caught me was how incredibly handsome he stood as he bore his testimony and shared his sense of humor.  I made the decision that I had to meet him.  In my ever planning mind, I began scheming how I would arrange it just so I could get to know him more.  Later that day, the opportunity arose and I was hooked! I waited and flirted and waited for him to ask me out.  I waited SIX weeks until a friend finally convinced Clark he should ask me out.  We went flying on our first date, Clark has had his private pilot's license since before he could drive and it was the perfect fall evening of flying and pumpkin carving.

I had applied to grad school in Utah the end of September and was contemplating moving there the end of October to find a job and get settled in hopes of preparing for beginning with school the next summer.  Clark and I had been dating a couple weeks but by the second week of November I still felt I needed to take the journey up to Utah.  I packed up my entire life into my car and drove! By the time I had gotten to Provo, 9 hours away, I knew I was going to be moving back to Arizona.  Instead of turning right around and making my great expedition an 18 hour day I continued on my way and stayed for 2 weeks visiting friends and family and trying to piece together what I was going to do now and why I had made such the long journey.

Upon my return to Arizona, I had learned a few things: I did not want to go to grad school anymore and I wanted to continue to date Clark, luckily he wanted to do the same.  Four months later, on April Fool's day and at the Mesa Temple, we became engaged, it couldn't have been more perfect and I couldn't have been more surprised.

We were married in July, probably the HOTTEST time of the year in Arizona, but luckily on our wedding day, as we were coming out of the Temple, the skies opened up and began with a down poor.  It's good luck if it rains on your wedding day, right? Never the less, it was a perfect day to be sealed to my best friend and the most handsome guy I know.  I know most people say their spouse is their best friend, but I truly believe it.  We have quite the relationship and I am not sure I could have such a relationship with any other.

We moved into our house in August and have been learning and growing together.  Life is a journey, and this is just our work in progress.