Heavenly Father is Always There -- I Was Never Left Alone

To be honest, as I was scrolling through this Facebook page I felt so inadequate to be putting my simple thoughts on a page filled with beautifully written words, by some amazingly inspired and strong women. Then I remembered why I “Choose to Believe.” I Choose to believe because I know that no matter how small or inadequate I feel, Heavenly Father still loves me. Just the way I am. He can hear my simple prayers pleading for help throughout the day. He sends me angels here on earth, many in the form of you wonderful sisters, helping me with my kids, being great friends and examples to me. I choose to believe because I know that this simple mother of 5, here in Layton Utah is loved by her Heavenly Father. I know that He answers our prayers, and I know that if we choose to find the good in the world, we will always see His hand it.

In March of this year, just like most of you, I found myself quarantined at home with 5 little ones. 2 of which I was trying to homeschool, and 3 others I was just trying to keep alive. ☺️ at the time it seemed so lonely and hard, but looking back over the past 7 months I was never left alone. I had ministering sisters checking in on us, neighbors dropping things off, wonderful school teachers who would try and help at the drop of a hat with any questions that we had (and there were a lot!). Bishop emails coming in each week, and awesomely planned social distanced relief society activities. He never left me “alone” but instead he had sent His earthly angels to watch over one another. I choose to believe because if we look hard enough He’s always there, and always has been. He loves me. He loves you. He loves us! That’s why I choose to believe. ❤️
Lots of love my sisters,

Hold on to Your "Spiritually Defining Memories"

I choose to believe because I love Heavenly Father and His son, my Savior Jesus Christ. My love for them binds me to them. I have felt Their love for me in real, tangible ways - my own spiritual experiences with God. Elder Neil L. Anderson spoke about these experiences in his talk “Spiritually Defining Memories” from the April 2020 General Conference.

Elder Anderson said “Along with the peaceful direction we receive from the Holy Ghost, from time to time, God powerfully and very personally assures each of us that He knows us and loves us and that He is blessing us specifically and openly. Then, in our moments of difficulty, the Savior brings these experiences back into our mind.
Think of your own life. Over the years, I have listened to thousands of profoundly spiritual experiences from Latter-day Saints all across the world, confirming to me beyond any question that God knows and loves each of us and that He eagerly desires to reveal Himself to us. These experiences may come at pivotal times in our lives or in what may at first seem as uneventful happenings, but they are always accompanied by an exceptionally strong spiritual confirmation of the love of God.
Remembering these spiritually defining experiences takes us to our knees, declaring as did the Prophet Joseph: “What I received was from heaven. I know it, and I know that God knows that I know it.
As I think about my own life, I can gratefully say that I too have had experiences where God powerfully and very personally assured me that He knows me and loves me and that He is blessing me specifically and openly. I cling to these experiences and recount these moments when doubt creeps in.
One experience happened a few years ago. I had just learned that someone I loved dearly had left the church. It was a shock and a blow to me. It left me wondering “If they leave, why do I stay?” When the next General Conference came up, I listened intently to Elder Ballard’s talk “To Whom Shall We Go?” Elder Ballard spoke about church members struggling in their faith. It felt so applicable to my life and those around me. I re-read that talk many times. A few weeks after that general conference, I attended a stake training meeting. I was tired and discouraged. As I sat in the meeting I kept thinking “Why am I here? I don’t feel like this is really helpful.” Then the concluding speaker stood to speak. As she began, she said something to the effect of “I had prepared a message, but I don’t actually feel I should share that after all. I want to talk about Elder Ballard’s talk from conference.” At that moment I felt God’s love wash over me in abundance and I knew her words were for me. It was a sacred experience that I cherish. With Elder Anderson and the Prophet Joseph, I also say “What I received was from heaven. I know it, and I know that God knows that I know it.” And once again, I choose to believe.

~Ashley Pabst

Christ has Given "Beauty for Ashes" in My Life

I was recently thinking about what I was doing a year ago at this time. The kids were all in school. I was trying my hand at some home canning and thinking about Halloween decorations. Fast forward a year and canning is about the only thing that is familiar. We’re now a good six months or so into a once in a hundred year pandemic and it has put its mark on just about everything- church, work, school, and social lives. Meanwhile, our country is in an extremely divided time politically. There is civil unrest and protests around the nation as we try to work out our issues with race. There are wildfires that are consuming large swaths of the West. Even locally, there are contentions about school schedules, and wearing masks, etc. IT CAN BE A LOT.

When it is A LOT, I have learned to turn to my Heavenly Father in prayer and to turn to my Savior for comfort, counsel and example. I “CHOOSE to believe” in them because I have tested Christ’s gospel in my life and it works. I have trust in Jesus Christ because when I have put his counsel to the test, it has born out to be true. He has helped me through the darkness. He has helped me to grow and become stronger.

You see, as rough as this year has been it is not my hardest. My most difficult year was a few years back. I faced some challenges that absolutely shattered me. Every part of me and my life. It was so difficult that it even made me question my idea of who God must be. I couldn’t see how God could be a “loving Father” and have this happen. Why would He allow it?

There is a painting called “Hope” by George Fredric Watts (see photos) When I saw this painting, I could identify immediately with the woman in this painting. I felt blinded and struggling. I was down to my last string straining to hear any sound that might still be there to get me through.

That string was Jesus Christ. It was his life, his example and his teachings that saw me through. I held on and listened to that string for dear life and he did not let me down. Little by little he helped me to find my way. He was sure and unchanging. His teachings were true.

In Japan, there is an art form called Kintsugi, (see photos) where an artist will take a broken piece of pottery and glue it back together. Next they will take gold and place it in the repaired seams highlighting them and making it into something new. When this is done well, it can make them worth more than they were before. This is what Christ did for that shattered me. He put me back together and used my scars to make me into something new. Something better than I was before.

This is what Christ always does. No matter what hard thing you face, He can get you through. No matter what garbage you are given in life, He can make it into something of value and beauty. This is Christ. This is what He does. He gives us “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” (Isaiah 61:3). All we have to do is turn to Him. As that old young women’s song says, “Learn of [Him] and listen to [His] words. Walk in the meekness of [His] light and [He] will give you peace.”
So, when you find yourself down to your last string, listen closely to Christ. He will not fail you. Let Him work in your life. And then, when you find your song again, follow His example by making beauty out of the ugliness around you. Each of us will do this differently but we all can all do it. Ask yourself: What can I do? Can I build? Can I repair? Can I strengthen? Can I teach? Can I care for? Can I forgive? Can I protect? Can I create? It is within each of us to do something like Christ to make our current situations better and more lovely. I hope we can all follow His example. I send my love to you all. ❤️

~ Jamie

I Want to Give My Children the Same Choice I was Given

I look around and I feel like today’s world is the world foretold about in the scriptures of the last days. There is uncertainty and fear all around us. When I see this and the doubt that is overcoming so many, I find myself being thankful to my parents for teaching me the gospel. Because they taught me, I am afforded the ability to choose to believe or not. I choose to believe for so many reasons. However, the biggest reason I choose to believe, and act on that belief, is so I can give my children the same choice I was given. It is my greatest desire to be with my family for all eternity. I choose to believe for them.

~Kim Routson

Trust in the Lord and He Shall Direct Thy Paths

I choose to believe because I know that when I have trusted in Him he has led me through life’s ups, and perhaps more importantly life’s downs!

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

When life gets difficult, I remember this scripture, I repeat it often, and I draw closer to Him. There are times I’ve found a quiet spot and prayed...literally opened my heart to him, and He has brought comfort and peace to my soul! Other times I’ve opened my scriptures and found guidance and direction applicable to me and the situation I’m facing!!

These experiences have led me to know that He was leading the way, carrying me through, comforting me, strengthening me, forgiving me, and bringing me light and understanding when I’ve needed it most.
I trust in Him, and choose to believe in Him, because really I think life would be too hard without Him. He is always there, the one person I know I can count on no matter what! He is waiting and wanting to help!! I invite you to “Trust in Him” and know that “He shall direct your paths,” bringing you comfort, peace, guidance and understanding beyond your own as well. ❤️

~Carolyn Burningham

The Peace of the Savior Subdues the Whirlwinds of the World

I have been pondering this question for a few days now, “Why do I choose to believe” and the answer that I keep thinking is that it is scary to think of what the alternative is. The Gospel brings me peace and hope. My daughter is serving a mission in Newport Beach California. When people ask me how she is doing I can’t help but smile. She brings light into my life; I can see the light of Christ in her eyes and I can feel the spirit (she calls them spirit chills) when she shares her experiences with us and all the tender mercies she is experiencing even in a Pandemic. People are looking for this same peace and hope that we already have and she gets to share the Good News of the Gospel with them. I feel so blessed each day that I know that God knows me, that he hears and answers my prayers. I am so grateful for the tender mercies in my life and my children’s that strengthen my testimony and remind me that God Is there, that he is in the details.

One of our family’s favorite movies is “Signs” and there is a quote that I think about often when things happen that give me the spirit chills. It is “People break down into two groups. When they experience something lucky, group number one sees it as more than luck, more than a coincidence. They see it as a sign, evidence that there is someone up there, watching out for them. Group number two sees it as just pure luck. Just as a happy chance…See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, that sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky?”

I know that the more we recognize the Hand of God in our lives, the more we see it. “The peace of the Savior,“ said Elder Neil L. Anderson, “subdues the swirling whirlwinds of the world.” Peace comes from knowing that the Savior knows who we are and knows that we have faith in Him, love him, and keep his commandments, even and especially amid life’s devastating trials and tragedies. (Elder Cook)

~Wendy Johnson

Love More

In this unpredictable world that we are experiencing, it has been easy for me to feel anxious and frustrated. I have learned to pray with more intent and I have searched the scriptures more diligently . I believe, because doing these things brings me calm and peace and I feel His love for me. One thing that has never changed is the need to love others more. The guidance that the Holy Ghost has whispered to me as I teach beautiful children at school is to just love them more. Show more kindness and understanding. Speak softer. As I strive to do these things I have felt happiness in the storm of this life.

~Connie King

I Can Rely on My Savior to Bring Me Peace

With everything going on in our world right now, I find myself feeling anxious at times. It’s easy for me to get caught up in all the confusion and chaos. When I find myself heading down that unsettling path, I remember that my Heavenly Father loves me and has a plan for me. And that everything will work out according to his will. Having the knowledge of His plan and of our Savior’s Atonement in my life is such a comfort to me. I can rely on my Savior to bring me peace. That’s why I choose to believe.

~Camille Stevens

I Listen for His Voice Every Day

What a unique moment in my life to write you a note on why I choose to believe. I have some challenges I am facing right now that are weighing very heavy on my shoulders and in my heart. And while I am sitting here writing this, at my feet sit the fragrant aroma of yummy peaches, filling my nostrils knowing the deadline I am facing will prevent me from getting them bottled. Some things you just must let go.

A week ago my husband and I were studying the “Come Follow Me” chapters 3 Nephi 8-11. These are my most favorite scriptures we have. The people were gathered together at the temple in the land Bountiful and they were “conversing about this Jesus Christ.” Then they heard a voice and they understood not, “it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.” “Then the third time they heard the voice they opened their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.”
I listen for this voice every day.
As I have been listening, I have witnessed many miracles in the lives of my children, tangible miracles. I have witnessed miracles in my life, the finger of God reaching into my life and touching me and those I have stewardship over.
As I look out into the world on social media, the news, conversations of those around me, the fires on the west coast, the fear of Covid-19 I have found it all to be very loud and unsettling, wondering where the truth really lies. When I close my ears and mind to all of that and become still and open my ears and look with my eyes towards this other voice, a small voice, not a harsh voice, but a voice that makes my heart burn, I am comforted by the Holy Ghost letting me know that everything will be okay and that I am dearly loved and not forgotten by my Heavenly Father. Our Heavenly Father. President Russell M. Nelson said: “Does God really want to speak to you? YES!...Oh, there is so much more that your Father in Heaven wants you to know.”
As “I Choose to Believe” I hang on to the gospel principles I have been taught. I hang on to the covenants I have made with Him. I hang on to the teachings that happen in my home. I hang on to the gospel conversations I have with my adult children, their faith, their testimonies. My faith, my testimony, the Book of Mormon, are among my most prized possessions.
What an incredible time to be on earth, to witness first hand the unveiling of prophecy spoken to us in our day in the Book of Mormon. To be lead by modern day prophets in this dispensation. To be here with our loved ones offering love and support and having those actions strengthen our own testimony and bring us peace. Peace in Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice.

~Melinda LeCheminant

Seeing the Hand of the Lord in Your Life

Last November I was counseled through a Priesthood blessing to increase the amount of time studying the scriptures. I pondered the blessing for a few weeks and then decided on my plan of action. I’m so grateful for that blessing! As I read and studied the scriptures for a few additional minutes each day there were so many teachings that seemed to jump off the page, things that I hadn’t noticed before. As I look back on difficulty of these past several months it is the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon that has helped me to keep going. I have also found great peace in General Conference talks.

A few years ago I read in a book that President Eyring wrote in his journal about how he had seen the hand of the Lord in his life that day. I wasn’t much of a journal writer at the time but I decided that I could at least write a few lines as President Eyring suggested. Since then I have tried to write in my journal about how I had seen the hand of the Lord that day. As I began to record these experiences I became so much more aware of the blessings and the tender mercies me and my family were receiving on a daily basis. There have been days lately when it’s been difficult to come up with something to write about since most days aren’t real exciting and they all seem to run together. When this happens and I get down or discouraged I go back and read some of the entries from my journal. I am reminded of the many blessings the Lord has given me and how grateful I am for those experiences. It helps me to put one foot in front of the other and to move forward.

I Choose to Believe that the Lord speaks to us through the scriptures and the words of our modern day prophets and apostles. These words have brought so much peace and strength to my soul and I’m so grateful for the wonderful blessings that have come to me by studying the scriptures.

~Shauna Weidman

Combating Satan's Tactics Day by Day

In the October 2019 Conference, Elder Peter M. Johnson of the Seventy gave some incredible counsel that I am just now beginning to fully appreciate.

In his talk, he discussed how we can find peace, remember who we are, and overcome the three Ds of the adversary. Those three Ds were Deception, Distraction, and Discouragement.
If ever there was a time when we are seeing these tactics of Satan’s being used in full force, it is today.
I choose to believe my Savior and my Father in Heaven. I choose to believe the promises They have made. I know that if we read our scriptures, pray, partake of the sacrament, repent, attend our church meetings, go to the Temple (when we can!), and remember that we are daughters of God; we will be just fine. It doesn’t matter what goes on in this world.
I know this is easier said than done. So, one of my most favorite ways to remember these principles, to truly feel peace, and to fight back against the deception, distraction, and discouragement is to be out in this amazing world our Father has created for us. So, my dear Sisters; if you are struggling to believe or to feel peace during this time and haven’t found your own way yet, please use mine.

~Mona Andrus

I Know the Lord Loves Me Because I Have Seen His Hand in My Life

I choose to believe because believing helps me to have HOPE for a better world AND to feel PEACE in the midst of this troubled one. I must admit that this pandemic has not been too much of a road bump for me. I have enjoyed extra family time, I have loved having church at home, and I have also improved my focus on studying various gospel topics. I am so thankful for a living prophet on the earth and how his words bring me comfort.
I know that the Lord loves me because I have seen His hand in my life so many times. How can I not believe, when I know that He is very aware of me? I feel that believing is so much easier than not believing! I definitely feel His strength every day helping me to become the person He wants me to become.

~Tammy Foote

Making Time to Hear Him

Why do I believe? Nothing is sure in life except the love of our Savior and the Gospel. As the world is in total chaos right now, I am so grateful to know something that is true and that I can believe in. My sister told me of a challenge her husband gave to her. When she is in the car alone, not to turn on the radio. Let there be silence so she could “hear”. I loved that challenge and try to do it myself. It is a time where I can just focus on what the Savior wants me to do, a time where I can just hear Him. I am thankful for that time alone to listen. It brings me peace. I am with people daily that don’t have the same belief as me but hope by my example they can see what the Gospel brings into my life. Awhile back a co-worker of mine asked me if I would pray with her. She is not a religious person but knew that I was and hoped that I could help her. There we were in the back room of my business and I offered up a prayer with her as she was going to the doctor that day and was worried. Heavenly Father blessed her life that day. Our Prophet also helps me to stay believing. He brings such hope and love when he speaks to us. I am a little anxious about his comment that “We need to buckle up”, but know that if I am doing all I can, I will be blessed. I don’t know what is coming down the road, but I am just leaning on the scriptures, family, the words of the prophet, and the Holy Ghost that will get me through “still believing”.

~Jamie Hancey

Choosing Light Over Darkness Makes All the Difference

I choose to believe because I know what it is like to choose otherwise and I have learned how quickly the light of Christ can leave you and darkness can start to creep in. I somehow thought that certain things would hurt less if I chose to believe that the Gospel was not essential to happiness. Shockingly (haha), it didn’t work and I found myself struggling with anxiety and depression even more than usual. I distanced myself from those around me and felt overwhelmed. I knew what I needed but it wasn’t easy. I was embarrassed and ashamed and had to humble myself. It didn’t take long to feel the light start to come back and heal my soul. The trials we all go through, quite frankly can stink but I can testify that the difference between choosing to walk them alone or with our Savior by our side, is literally choosing light over darkness. In the end, I realize my Savior was always there just waiting for me to let him back in.

I often feel a little envious when I hear others testimonies of how they have never wavered but I have actually become grateful for my experiences, they are what makes me who I am today. I have a simple testimony and I am not eloquent with my words but I have come to realize that I am enough. Whether we don’t feel worthy or maybe just can’t find the energy to muster the strength to get on our knees, it’s OK! He is there waiting patiently with unconditional love. HOPE is all we need and CHOOSING to believe is the first step. It is never too late! Our Savior will never leave our side and I am so grateful for that knowledge.

~Shelly Franklin

We Know the Outcome of this Battle

I choose to believe because I know my Heavenly Father and Savior know me personally and love me beyond my understanding. They both want me to be happy and successful especially in these trying times. The spirit has confirmed these things to my soul. I know we are all loved and cherished. The Lord is very aware of the spiritual battle we face on a daily basis and we have been prepared to live in these trying times. We know the outcome of this battle. We know the Lord will win this battle and He will come again! I feel so much hope in good things to come because of this knowledge. I choose to hold on to the iron rod so that I can be with Him again!

~Darci Burnett