Feelings, Fears, and Frustrations: It’s All Part of the Journey

Infertility is a beast. It doesn’t matter how long you battle against it, or what you decide to do with it; it’s a nightmare. You’re going to feel things, and sometimes those feelings might not make a lot of sense. However, each emotion, fear, and frustration is part of the journey. Here are some things you can do with them, and how to keep moving forward.

Accept Them

There’s an incredible book by Dr. Sarah Jane Arnold called A Pocket Coach Guide to Self-Care. In her book, Dr. Arnold talks about how emotions are like signals your brain uses to let you know something is going on. Your job is to analyze the signal and figure out what your body and mind are trying to tell you. If you suppress or try to ignore the message two things happen. First, you miss the opportunity to sit down and figure out what’s going on. Second, the signal gets louder because you’re not answering.

The first step in dealing with challenging emotion is to accept them. There’s no such thing as a “bad” emotion or an “unjustified” feeling. We need to recognize our feelings for what they are without judgment and try to figure out what they’re trying to say. Only then can we process and work on letting go.

Open Up

You don’t have to be like me. I wave my infertility and mental health flag because I want other people to feel comfortable to do the same thing. Not everyone wants to open up like that, and that’s fine. However, you do need a place to let it out. Brad is my favorite person to talk to about my feelings. Luckily, I also have my mother who happens to be a therapist. Then, I won the in-laws jackpot, and I can talk to them about anything. On top of that, I have a whole passel of siblings, friends, and spiritual giant for a bishop. I consider myself blessed in terms of a support network.

Not everyone has that kind of support network. My advice would be to try and find at least two people with whom you feel comfortable sharing your emotions. Try starting with your spouse. However, you might want to find someone who doesn’t live inside those experiences with you as well. Your bishop, a close relative, a neighbor, an old friend, or a therapist are all excellent options.

Turn to the Lord

Luckily, we’re all blessed with the power of prayer. We can turn to the Lord with everything. Pour out your heart to Heavenly Father. Tell Him everything. He’s always listening, and He knows exactly what you need. Say everything that’s on your mind and let it out. Then, pause to listen.

Infertility is a nightmarish journey. You end up with a lot of challenging emotions, fears, and frustrations. However, it’s important to remember that there’s no such thing as stagnation. We’re either moving forward or moving backward. If you’re doing your honest best, you’re moving forward. You might stumble. You might fall, but if you take a breath, get up, and keep walking, you’re still moving forward. That’s the point of any journey. Get up, keep going, and gain strength along the way.

If They Only Knew: Developing Compassion for People Who Say Unintentionally Hurtful Things

Any time you experience a tragedy, there are going to be people who come out of the woodwork to try and help you feel better. A lot of people are fantastic and know what to say and do. However, a lot of people do their best to help you, but they end up making you feel worse. When you encounter well-intentioned neighbors, family members, and friends that say the wrong things it’s important to dig deep and develop compassion for them. Here’s what I do to try my best to forgive, and love those who say unintentionally hurtful things.

Take a Deep Breath…Or Five

When you stub your toe, touch a hot stove, or smack your head into your car door, you might notice that your blood pressure goes up, your heart rate speeds, and your adrenaline spikes. You get a similar physical response when you experience emotional pain. Before you respond to a hurtful comment, take a few deep breaths and try to calm things down.

Look for the Love

Do your best to look for the love the other person tried to show you. Focus on that. Hold it in your heart. It doesn’t take away the sting of the comment, but it helps you put aside the anger that might bubble up.

Choose Forgiveness

This one is the hardest step for me. I tend to want to hold on to how badly the other person hurt my feelings and get angry about how unfairly they treated me. It’s easier than forgiving them and letting it go. However, that added anger only hurts me and makes my situation worse than it was before. I have to work hard and choose to forgive the other person and do it quickly. The longer I put off forgiveness, the harder it is to forgive.

Pray for the ability to forgive the other person.

Use Gentle Honesty

You don’t have to grit your teeth and take the hurtful comments. You can use loving, gentle honesty to help the other person realize that their good intentions are missing the mark. Turn to them and say something like, “Thank you so much for trying to show me your love and support. But, that comment is painful because___________.” Or, “I appreciate your support, but it hurts when people say that because______________.” It’s an opportunity for connection and for other people to gain understanding.

Service and Prayer

The best way to forgive someone is to pray for them and to serve them. Fortunately, prayer and service also tend to help us develop a love for that person. It doesn’t take long for hurt and anger to fade and for love and compassion to replace them. Then, you have a friend instead of an enemy.

They Don’t Know

If they knew how badly their comments hurt you, they wouldn’t say them. They’re only trying to help. Do your best to remember that they don’t know. You can do very little to change other people’s behaviors. The only thing you can change is how you respond. Choosing anger may be easier and feel good at the moment, but it’s damaging.

Choose love. Work at it. Strive for it. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

 

 

You’re Amazing: Celebrating Who You Are and Where You Are

It’s been a long time since Brad, and I have planned out the new year without including plans for infertility treatments, foster care, or adoption. It’s strange. We have a lot of mixed emotions about it. On the one hand, we’re relieved. We can relax and find another path. On the other hand, we’re sad and frustrated because we fought so hard and for so long and it didn’t work.

We’re working on accepting all the emotions that accompany our situation. However, we have to continually remind ourselves of how amazing our life is right now, and all the progress we made getting here. Here is a look at how we’re trying to celebrate who we are and where we are in life.

Count Your Blessings

Brad and I have a lot of blessings. We could sit around and stew about how we don’t have kids (and sometimes we do) but, it’s crucial for us to remember the blessings we do have. It’s not about discounting our trials, or “at least-ing” our way to happy thoughts. It’s about sitting down and genuinely feeling gratitude for Heavenly Father’s blessings.

Build Each Other Up

Sometimes it feels like the world only wants to talk about what you’re not. Comments like “Oh, you’ll have kids one day, I’m sure.” Or, “It’s too bad, you would have made wonderful parents” can make you feel pretty bad about yourself. That’s why it’s so vital for Brad and me to take every opportunity we can to talk about each other’s talents and positive attributes. We try to build each other up with sincerity to help negate some of the world’s focus on what we’re not.

Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-talk is one of the things I struggle with the most. However, it’s also one of the most powerful tools for improving self-esteem. I’m working on it. I consciously try to think about the skills I have, the qualities I like about myself, and my worth. My goal is to celebrate myself as a Daughter of God, a wife, a writer, a sister, and all the other amazing things that I am.

“Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of man” (D&C 18:10.) 

Be Here

Heavenly Father put us here, so here is where we are supposed to be. We try to practice being in the moment and finding the joy and the unique opportunities in our current situation. There is joy in the journey if you look for it. We try to focus on this part of our journey and find as much joy as we can.

Sometimes, it’s not easy to celebrate who you are and where you are. However, there are hosts of things to celebrate about yourself and your life. The key is to work together moment by moment. It takes practice, but it’s worth the effort. Remember, you are a child of God. He loves you and wants you to be happy. If you follow Him, and trust in Him, he will lead you to joys beyond your wildest dreams.

Don’t Forget to Play: The Power of Couple’s Game Nights

Family Home Evening is still relevant even if there aren’t little ones running around your house. It’s time to connect, bond, and grow together. One excellent option for FHE is a good, old fashioned, couple’s game night. Here’s how the power of games can help you bond with your spouse.

Connection

Playing a game is an excellent chance to connect with your spouse with something fun. Make memories, laugh at yourselves, and have a good time. You don’t have to sit and worry about the bills, or the chores, or anything else. Just relax and have fun.

Healing

There’s evidence to suggest that playing games can help you heal from trauma. I’ve you’ve experienced trauma together in the past, playing games might be good for both of you.

Improved Cooperation

Playtime teaches kids how to cooperate. The same rules apply to adults. Playing games together, especially co-op games, can help you and your spouse improve your cooperation skills. It helps you learn how to work through problems together, support each other, and work toward one goal, side by side.

My husband and I love co-op games because they allow us to work together instead of against each other. There’s far less chance of hurt feelings or arguments.

Options

If you and your spouse would like to give a game night a try, here are a few suggestions of fun games that work well for two people.

Boss Monster

This card game is a fast, fun game for two to four people. Play as an old school video game monster and build a dungeon to defeat heroes.

It’s easy to learn and quick to play.

Legends of Rayman

If you own a Wii U, this game is fantastic. Work together to save “Teensies” while crawling through fun, colorful platforms. You can both play as heroes, or one of you can play as a supporting fairy named Murphy. (I prefer to play as Murphy.) You can get this game for other platforms besides the Wii U.

Don’t Starve Together

This game is a sandbox style game that also has a storyline. Work together to survive the seasons, build shelters, craft tools, and most importantly, avoid starvation. It’s cartoony, and it has an excellent dark sense of humor. It’s loads of fun.

You can get this game on Steam, or for the PS4.

Playing games together is an excellent way to connect and grow together. So, have some fun, shake off some stress, and dust off a game together. Your marriage is worth the time it takes to play.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mourning With Those That Mourn: Some Helpful Hints

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we have a commandment to “mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort (Mosiah 18:8-10.)” It’s easier said than done. Sometimes we don’t know how to comfort people, and we’re not sure how to mourn with them. It’s difficult. We don’t always know what to do or say, and we’re often afraid we’ll say the wrong thing. However, there are a few things to do, and a few things to avoid that make it go a lot more smoothly. Let’s take a look.

Act In Empathy

Empathy is the ability to connect emotionally, take the perspective of someone else, and internalize it to seek a better understanding. It’s all about connection.

It’s important to note that empathy is the opposite of sympathy. This short video features Dr. Brene Brown’s explanation of the difference.

Sympathy is acknowledging the problem from the point of emotional distance, and though sympathetic people are trying to help, they’re making it worse. Sympathetic people stand on the doorstep, try to point out the silver lining, and drop cookies without taking the time to listen.

Empathy is a skill that we all need to work to cultivate. It takes practice, and we won’t be empathetic all the time. We’ll say things that make the situation worse. We’ll do things that don’t help. The point is to practice and do your best.

Listen

One of the best things you can do to comfort someone is practicing active listening. Sit down with them and let them express themselves. Let them talk to you without interruption. Open your heart and your mind and allow them to connect with you.

It’s hard. You’ll likely want to dive in and say something that makes it better, but you can’t. So, stay quiet. When they’re done, say, “I’m so sorry that this is happening to you. I love you. Thank you for telling me.”

Offer Something Real

Change the way you offer help. Instead of “Do you need anything?” try, “What can I do to help you through this?” Their response might be “pray for me” or “keep listening.” It could be, “I hate to ask, but could you help me clean my house?” or “Would you mind going out to lunch with me?”

Of course, if they’re suffering, they need something. That person needs love and support. Give those freely. However, if you want to offer more, then do so sincerely with willingness and an open heart.

Pray

Prayer is mighty. Pray for the people who need blessings. Pray for empathy. Pray for understanding. Pray for guidance about how you can help those people who need you the most. Just pray.

Do Your Best

When it comes down to it, all you can do is your best. Even if your response isn’t perfect, people will love that you’re trying to help. So, pluck up some courage and some strength and reach out the people who need some love. Do the best you can. Your efforts won’t go unnoticed.

 

The Road Less Traveled: Celebrating the Less Traveled Paths of Life

There are some extremely beaten life paths out there. That’s because they work. In the community of the Church, I’ve noticed a few roads that are so beaten we’ve practically paved them. You’re born into the church; you attend faithfully while you go to school and grow. Then, you graduate. You either go on a mission, go to college, or get a job. Later, you get married, have kids, take them to church until they’re grown, become “empty nesters,” and either go on a couple’s mission, or you throw yourself into your church callings and community for the rest of your life.

The truth is that the easy paved road is far less attainable than you might think. We’re not a people of the beaten path. It might seem like it when you look at all the facades people try to throw out there. However, if you get to know people, they’re far more complicated than they seem.

We’re a Trailblazing People

Early Saints carved out our cushy lives after walking across the United States, arriving in a scrubby desert and terraforming it so that it was fertile farmland. They were part of the newly restored gospel. They sealed their testimonies with their blood, sweat, sacrifices, tears, and often, their lives. There wasn’t a path, except for Heavenly Father’s direction and guidance.

If we look at the Book of Mormon, many people didn’t have a path either. Lehi had to leave everything and “wander” in the wilderness. Notice the word “wander” which indicates the lack of a clear directional path. He had direction from Heavenly Father, but no trail. Then, Nephi had to build a boat with only the direction of Heavenly Father while his brothers mocked him.

The only clear cut detailed path ever mentioned in The Book of Mormon is the Iron Rod which leads to The Tree of Life.

In our modern times, all we have to worry about is holding on to The Iron Rod, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and staying on the Covenant Path which is what will lead us to eternal happiness. Those are the paths that you have to care about the most.

Plans Aren’t Paved Roads

You are an individual. Heavenly Father’s plan for you is unique. You will do, experience, see, create, find, and live through things unlike anyone else in the world. Isn’t that wonderful? We’re all different. Heavenly Father needs that difference. So, embrace it.

When it comes to marriage and family, you might be feeling like you’re missing something. Sadly, not everyone gets married in this life. Of all the couples who do get married, some of them will divorce. Even if you have a wonderful marriage, you might not be able to have kids, and adoption may not be an option for you.

No one has an easy life laid out before them. That’s because Heavenly Father’s plans are not smooth, paved roads. In a way, we’re all Pioneers trailblazing our way to our promised land. It’s never easy. It can be painful. We’ll have to make sacrifices along the way. However, if we trust in the Lord, and hold fast to the gospel, we will be blessed in the end.

The Good News

The Children of Isreal wandered in the desert after fleeing Egypt. Lehi and his family wandered in the Wilderness. The brother of Jared and his people got into strange sea vessels and prayed that they’d end up where Heavenly Father wanted them to go. The Pioneers followed Brigham Young on foot and by wagon across the plains of the United States and ended up in a desert which they turned into a home.

None of them got lost. Why? Because they followed the direction of Heavenly Father with faith, and they kept the commandments as best as they could.

We only have to worry about The Covenant Path and The Iron Rod. If we’re staying on those two paths, Heavenly Father will guide us through everything else. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

 

New Goals for a New Life: Setting Goals for a New Start

Last year, Brad and I had very different goals. At the start of the year, we got our Foster Care License so, a lot of our goals revolved around getting adequate toys and clothes and bedrooms set up for potential foster kids. Our objectives were still rotating around finding a way to become parents. This year, things look different. A lot different. We have a whole new set of goals to reach by the end of next year. We’ve decided to change our lives and make a new start this year. Here’s what we’re doing with our goals to start fresh in 2019.

Fun 

There’s no reason for not having fun. So, as part of our New Year’s goals, we’re making a fun bucket list of all the things we want to do and see before 2020. (They can spill over.) Go to a play, hit a theme park, go on an out-of-state vacation, eat at x number of new restaurants. The list can have anything fun that we want to do on it. We want to live more, and experience all the happy things life has to offer. We want to play.

Sit down with your spouse and come up with all the fun things you can do this next year and then get out and do them.

Clearing Out

We have hundreds of pounds of baby stuff in our house. At this point, is a physical manifestation of all the sorrow we’re holding inside. Yes, I still find baby socks around the house and cry. This year, we want to clear out the baby stuff and fill our home with things that bring us joy. At the same time, we want to clear out our hearts and fill them with happiness.

If you’ve got items that bring up sorrow, get rid of them. Give them to neighbors, sell them online, donate them to shelters. Do whatever you can to free your home of the shadows of a sad past and replace them with joy.

Organization

Along the same lines of clearing out the baby stuff, we want to get a little more organized. Clutter drives me nuts and a lot of it builds up in our space. We’re going to re-organize our home while we re-organize our hearts and minds.

If you’ve got clutter like me, and it drives you nuts, get rid of it. Re-organizing can help you feel more at peace in your home.

Soul Work

I am terrible at working up the motivation to go to church and to stay the whole time. Yes, it’ll be more comfortable with the new two-hour block, but the time commitment isn’t the point. I need to work on myself so that I have joy in the Sabbath. Currently, I have dread in the Sabbath. I love sacrament meeting where nobody talks to me. Sunday School and Relief Society, on the other hand, can be a struggle. There are so many comments that drag up challenging emotions in me. It’s a problem with me, not with other people. They’re not doing anything wrong; I’m just sensitive about the fact that I’m not a mom. It’s easy for me to feel like I’m on the outside looking in.

My goal is to work on my confidence and re-focus my Sabbath on worshiping the Savior. It’s going to be hard work, but I hope at the end of it I’ll feel more comfortable with where I am, and feel joy in the Sabbath.

If you don’t feel comfortable at church due to your lack of kids, you’re not alone. Do some soul searching to find out what’s niggling you the most about being at church. Then, address those issues. You deserve to feel comfortable at church. You’re there because Heavenly Father needs you, and so do the other people in your ward. Let’s all work together to find joy in the Sabbath.

Goals can help us all reach new heights and find new strength. My goals are all about finding joy in my life again and finding better ways to live. Your goals can be about anything that makes your life better.

Do you have some exciting New Year’s Resolutions? Tell us about them in the comments below.

Happy New Year!

A Merry Kidless Christmas: How to Have Joy for the Holidays Even Without Kids

I’ll be the first to admit that Brad and I experience a gambit of emotions around the Christmas season. First, we feel excitement and joy to celebrate Christmas. We love it. It’s the most beautiful time of the year. On the other hand, there’s a pang of sorrow that we don’t get to plan out a Christmas for children. We don’t have kids to take for photos with Santa or see their school Christmas concert or take sledding. Some days, all the excitement of Christmas has a little bit of a bitter aftertaste. Over the years we’ve worked hard to make sure our Christmas season is joyous, and we’ve worked out a few traditions that help us have a merry kidless Christmas.

Decorate the House

No, we don’t have kids but, that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve fun decorations and pretty lights. Some years we go all out, and some years we keep it a little simple. However, we don’t let Christmas pass without a decorated tree and a few festive decorations around our home. It helps us feel festive and reminds us to be joyful.

Service

We’ve found that serving others helps alleviate the pain of what we don’t have and helps fill those voids with love. We try to do a few small acts of service throughout the season to help us feel joyful. It can be anything from baking cookies and doorbell ditching them on our neighbor’s doorstep or giving to a toy/clothing drive. Service is magic for helping you feel joy.

Fun and Spiritual Events

We try to hit some fun Christmas events during this time of year to get into the festive and spiritual mindset of the holidays. This year we went to Luminaria, a celebration of lights at Thanksgiving Point (a park/garden/event center/ museum and more in Lehi, Utah.) It was so much fun, and it was a few hours where we could be kids and enjoy the magic and wonder of the light displays. The gardens where the event took place also feature a section that hosts spectacular statues depicting the life of Jesus Christ. It was a sacred experience walking among those statues in the glow of lantern light. It reminded us of why we celebrate Christmas.

Family Time

We’re lucky enough to live close to all of our immediate family. We have the opportunity to spend time with our parents and siblings often during Christmas. We focus on sharing the love and finding joy with our family members. We play games, we eat amazing food (sorry y’all but you can’t beat my sister’s 14-layer bean dip), and we celebrate the birth of our Savior together.

Movies

Remember when you were a kid, and you wanted to watch all the Christmas movies? Why should that change just because we’re adults? Brad and I spend all of the Christmas seasons watching our favorite Christmas movies, and there are a lot of them. You don’t need little ones around to justify watching cartoons, claymations, and other spectacular cinematic achievements. Relax, grab some popcorn and watch your favorites while you cuddle.

Treats

Christmas treats are a must. White chocolate popcorn, peppermint ice cream, cookies, Papa Murphey’s Pizza (long story), the aforementioned 14-layer bean dip, and other traditional Christmas treats are a must for the holidays. You don’t have to be five to munch on a little Christmas junk food. It’s good for you. Your mental health is just as important as your waistline, so treat yourself.

Cry Time

Not all the jolly merry-making in the world can eclipse our past pains and current lack of children. Sometimes we cry a little, and that’s OK.

Part of the miracle of Christmas comes with room for sorrow. After all, Christ came into the world to save us from our sins. It was a glorious day of hope for redemption. However, as the angels sang and the star shined in the Heavens, a solemn hush whispered through the world because, to save us, Jesus Christ, the Lord of Lords, would suffer all the pains and sins of the world. Then, he’d be tortured, mocked, spat upon, and crucified. And He loves us, so He endured it all. And as He laid in the manger, every prophesy pointed toward His suffering, death, and resurrection.

There is room to mourn at Christmas. Amid all the joy and celebration, it’s OK to pause and grieve. However, we must turn to the Savior in our grief. After all, the whole reason He was born was so that he could endure all things and save us in our sins and succor us in our sorrows. He loves us. So, turn to HIm in your anguish and seek His love. He has the power to heal your broken heart.

Seeking Joy

The best way to overcome sorrow is to seek out the joy of Christmas. So, seek Christ. Allow His peace to fill your heart. Allow His light to shine through you, and seek out the pure happiness of the Christmas season. Yes, it’s good to cry, but balance it out with fun, wonder, service, and joy.

May your kidless Christmas be filled with joy this year.

Healing, But Not Healed: The Process of Recovering from Trauma

This time of year is hard for Brad and I. In the past, we’ve gone through some hellish experiences between December and February. Yes, it’s Christmas, and we love it. But, we’re still stinging from the nightmares of our past. During this time, it’s important to remember that healing is a long process. Sometimes, it can take a lifetime. But, just because you’re healing it doesn’t mean you’re done. It’s a process, and that’s OK. Here are a few things I try to remember when old wounds start hurting again.

Pain Is Not Regression 

Just because you still hurt, or something hurts again, it doesn’t mean you’re going backward. When I was a teenager, I pretty much obliterated all the tendons in my ankle. It took over a year to heal, and now it hurts every time it rains, snows, or we experience a barometric pressure change. My ankle healed. It’s as recovered as it’s ever going to get. Most of the time, I don’t even think about it. However, once in a while it hurts pretty badly.

That’s what can happen when we experience trauma. Healing makes it, so we’re stronger, and most of the time we don’t hurt anymore. However, once in a while those old wounds get agitated, and the pain shows up again. It’s doesn’t mean you’re regressing in any way. Regardless of where you are in the healing process, sorrow can creep up on you. It’s not a failure or a regression. It’s just part of healing.

Even Jesus Wept

It’s OK to mourn. Crying is allowed. Even Jesus Christ wept over Lazarus before He raised him from the dead. This life wasn’t designed to be easy. We experience sorrows. We undergo tragedy. We fall. We hurt. We strive to seek joy and happiness, but we will experience grief and pain. In those times, we must turn to the Savior and plead for help and healing. However, we aren’t expected to hold back our tears. Cry it out. Mourn. Give yourself the space to feel your feelings and process them. It’s only healthy.

Get Some Help

There is no shame in seeking help. Heavenly Father gave us medicine to help us live happier, healthier lives. Therapy is a beautiful treatment that can help you learn how to cope, and heal. If you got hit by a truck, you’d seek medical attention. Why should getting hit by an emotional truck be any different?

If you’ve gone through any infertility journey, trust me. You’ve been hit by an emotional truck. Seek help. You’re worth it.

Turn to the Lord

The Savior loves you. He wants to help you. Turn to Him in all your anguish. He can help you find peace, healing, and hope. Your bishop is a fantastic resource to help you find direction as you turn to the Savior.

This life is hard enough without denying yourself the right to feel sorrow. Pain is not weakness or regression. It’s healthy to feel. Don’t deny yourself help from the Lord, and from professionals who can help you heal. It’s all a process, and that’s OK. Be patient with yourself and remember that you’re human. It’s going to be hard, but the Savior is strong enough to carry you through. Hold onto Him, and you won’t fall.

Serving the Savior: Finding Healing and The Spirit of Christmas Through Service

Right now my ward is gathering gifts to provide Christmas presents to an entire ward in need. What’s even more impressive is that the Priests and Laurels (youth groups between the ages of 16 and 18) are spearheading the service project. Their example of the pure love of Christ got me thinking about how much serving someone else can help me heal from my sorrows and find the Spirit of Christmas.

“Inasmuch As Ye Have Done It Unto The Least of These My Brethren, Ye Have Done It Unto Me” (Matthew 25:40) 

I love this scripture. It’s a reminder that all service we do is for the Savior. It’s one way we can show our love for Him, and whenever we show our love for the Savior, it invites the Spirit to be with us. When we have the Spirit with us, we are more susceptible to feel the Savior’s peace and love. What a gift. When we serve others, we get to experience the Savior’s love not only for those we serve but for ourselves.

Beyond Myself

Serving, especially with this project in my ward, helps me look beyond myself. My disappointments, my pain, my frustrations, my experiences all take a back-seat when I serve others. It’s a chance for me to focus on bringing relief, comfort, or happiness to someone else. I get to focus on being a force for good instead of dwelling on my trials.

Serving helps me feel better about myself. Sometimes, I’m too hard on myself. I beat myself up for all the things I’m not. When I serve, I don’t have time to dwell on what I’m not. I get to focus on someone else and making their life better.

Sunshine

One of my favorite quotes comes from one of my favorite authors. J.M. Barry once said, ” Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” It’s true. Have you ever brightened someone’s day and felt grumpy about it? Probably not. If serving others is serving the Lord, then you will feel His love. So, if I’m feeling extra depressed, then the best thing to do is follow the advice of the Hymn “Scatter Sunshine” and “cheer and bless and brighten every passing day.” The world is dark enough. My world is hard enough. We all need to make a little extra sunshine. It’s something that takes effort, but through service, we can all help each other live a happier life.

Ebenezer Scroodge

If you’ve ever read or seen an adaptation of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, you’ll see joy and misery in the same man. When Scrooge was miserly, he lived in a dark shroud of despair. However, what he found brought him joy was sharing his life with others. He gave to the poor, he helped the needed, he offered love and kindness, and in return, he lived joyfully for the rest of his life.

Giving, serving, and loving are some of the best ways to infuse our lives with more joy. The Savior wants us “to love one another, and to serve one another.” (Mosiah 4:15) Keeping those commandments will bring us an added measure of joy and healing. Service is an opportunity to help others, and also to draw closer to the Savior. Follow after His example. Jesus Christ spent his life in the service of others. He healed the sick, raised the dead, forgave the penitent, and brought us the Gospel. For Christmas, let’s all enjoy the blessings of Service and give our time and efforts to the Savior. If we do, we will find peace and healing in our hearts.