Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas Bells are Ringing

I LOVE music.  I love singing.  I love playing the piano and guitar.  I love listening to music, and I love directing music.  It's one of the things that makes me the happiest!  The best way for me to feel unified with my companion is when we sing together.  The most meaningful Sundays at church for me have always included singing my favorite hymns.  The quickest way for me to cast away fear, or discouragement, or to motivate myself is through music!  My favorite way to bring the Spirit into a lesson is to sing a song.

A couple of years ago, a returned missionary in my ward in Texas gave his homecoming talk and spoke about how he had found out the way that the Spirit speaks to him.  He LOVES food, and he realized that when the Spirit was confirming the truth of something to him, he felt like he had just eaten a warm, yummy apple pie.  When he was being prompted to leave a dangerous situation, or that something was wrong, it felt like he had just eaten something rotten or really sour.  The Spirit spoke to him through his stomach and tastebuds!  I have always remembered that, and since then I've been searching to hopefully find the specific way that the Spirit speaks to me. 

I think i've finally found out how the Spirit speaks to me.

First of al, the Spirit does not only speak in one specific was to a specific person.  Just like us - we talk to people on the phone, sometimes face to face, we send a text, or sometimes we know exactly what someone is trying to say without them even having to say it - the Spirit has many forms of communication.  For example: the best way to communicate with my grandma is definitely NOT through text messaging.  Calling is much more effective.  But, if I really need to, I can reach her through a text.  The Spirit knows that the best way to communicate with me is not through giving me visions and dreams, but sometimes if He really needs to, He can reach me that way. For me, the most effective way that the Spirit speaks to me is through the thing that I love the mostL MUSIC!  When I hear things that I know to be true, or someone bears a powerful testimony, the phrase, "music to my ears" is the best description of how I feel.

For the last couple of weeks I have been struggling spiritually.  I felt like my soul was just in pain.  I was questioning why I was even on a mission, questioning my testimony, not wanting to do all these things I've been doing my whole life anymore, just wanting to throw in the towel and not have to go to church, not have to be a missionary, and not have to deal with my problems.  This week I was really searching for some kind of relief.  I was still praying.  I was still reading my scriptures every day.  I have been exactly obedient, but I felt like I was just going through the motions.  The Spirit told me a lot of things this week, and at first I didn't want to listen.  But then we had Christmas Conference in Zurich, and between listening to President and Sister Kohler speak to us, and hearing all the dying missionaries' testimonies, my heart was softened and I started listening.  I found this quote in my personal study this week by Neal A Maxwell:

"Discipleship is to be lived in crescendo."

For some reason that totally clicked in my head and I finally got it!  I don't need a break.  i don't need to continue having pity parties for myself.  I need to step it up and keep working harder and harder, and growing stronger and stronger spiritually for the rest of my life!  A mission is not an uphill climb at the beginning and then simply sustaining a really long and boring note.  It's starting small and then as your strength and capacity grows, getting louder and louder, and making it more powerful and interesting!  And it's not over after the mission.  Your LIFE is to be lived in crescendo!  

We saw tons of miracles this week after I decided to rededicate myself to this work and this gospel.  I know that Heavenly Father blesses us beyond our imagination when we give Him just a TINY bit.  So just think how much He would bless us if we gave Him our ALL!  That's easier said than done, but it has become my quest again...to give Him my everything.  Because He has given me everything.  

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Thunell
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