Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Means Redemption

Merry Christmas! Rather, Merry Christmas Eve. What a wonderful time of year! The best in fact. A time of family, being with the ones you love and giving. Ever since returning home from my mission almost five months ago, Christmas and its coming means so much more to me than it ever has before. It means PEACE. It means LOVE. It means JOY. It means FAMILY. It's when we sing carols, give gifts and serve all those around us. It's when we celebrate the birth of One who brings all of us hope--who suffered and died to bring us light and love when we fall--Jesus Christ. Yesterday, something hit me like a ton of bricks as I watched the live performance of Charles Dicken's Christmas Carol. I realized something that shifted my paradigm of the Christmas season. Christmas is all the joy, treats and happy spirits. But, more than anything, Christmas means REDEMPTION. You and I, we can get back to live with our Heavenly Father again...HAPPY, CLEAN, PURE and BETTER PEOPLE because of He who has given His life so that He could help guide us through our journey here on earth.

The story of Scrooge really changed my perspective of everything and of exactly who Jesus Christ is as our Savior. Think about it---Scrooge was a man that was hard, who hated Christmas and wouldn't give anybody the time of day. Scrooge was a man of strong distaste for life and the Christmas Spirit itself. Money and success was his bliss and his savior. But, after he was shown what HAD BEEN what CURRENTLY was and WHAT COULD BE (which is what the repentance and atonement process is all about in our own lives) he changed. Scrooge became the most giving, selfless person in all of England. HIS VERY CHARACTER CHANGED. HE REPENTED. HE DECIDED TO DEDICATE HIS LIFE TO GOD. We too are all like Scrooge in a sense. We all have our mountains to climb, our own trials, character flaws, and barriers that keep us from progressing to God. There is only one way to change, and that is through our Savior Jesus Christ. That is why I love this time of year. It's all about Him.

Scrooge says something at the end of the play after he has changed his life around and has been softened. He says to himself, "You know I really don't deserve to be this happy." That is exactly how I feel. I have messed up SO much in my life, yet through the atonement I have been healed. He has CHANGED me and made me WHOLE. Although I probably don't deserve to be this happy, I am!!! And it is all thanks to He who wants us to see ourselves and those around us as God does. What a beautiful time of year. To remember that we are REDEEMED by that perfect Child who was born so long ago. The hope, the joy and the bliss that comes from following Jesus Christ and trusting Him to pick us up and make us into everything we are meant to be is what truly allows us to soar. All of us have access to Christ, the ULTIMATE gift. That gift being the ATONEMENT.

"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" is one of my favorite Christmas songs this year because I feel that it perfectly reflects the gift of the ATONEMENT. Christmas truly means REDEMPTION. And that is why CHRISTMAS NEVER HAS TO DIE AFTER DECEMBER 25. It is something we can have everyday---as we continue to change and better our lives---to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ. That is the true Spirit of Christmas. Using that gift we have been so graciously given. I will never stop using that Gift. Because, it has been what has brought the most joy, peace and happiness in my life. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I can't wait to one day personally thank Him for the Gift that has allowed me to have joy in this crazy morality stage. I love my Savior. I strive daily to be like He is. All of us can. He will fill us with love, if we let Him in. He is always there with His arms wide open. Here are the lyrics to that song, they have changed my perspective on life. We can all REST and have JOY and be COMFORTED because of Jesus Christ and His Atoning Sacrifice. Embrace and BELIEVE these lyrics:

God rest you merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
For Jesus Christ, our Saviour,
Was born upon this day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy!

In Bethlehem in Jewry
This blessed Babe was born,
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessed morn;
The which his mother Mary
Nothing did take in scorn. Refrain

From God our heavenly Father
A blessed angel came,
And unto certain shepherds
Brought tidings of the same,
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by name. Refrain

'Fear not,' then said the angel,
'Let nothing you affright;
This day is born a Saviour
Of virtue, power and might,
So frequently to vanquish all
The friends of Satan quite.' Refrain

The shepherds at these tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind,
And went to Bethlehem straightway
This blessed Babe to find. Refrain

But when to Bethlehem they came,
Whereat this Infant lay,
They found him in a manger
Where oxen fed on hay;
His mother Mary, kneeling,
Unto the Lord did pray. Refrain

Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace.
The holy tide of Christmas
All others doth efface. Refrain

Merry Christmas! I love you all more than anything in the world.
Remember, there is more to you than you think. Always.

Your biggest fan,

Brooke Weenig

**This post is dedicated to my Savior Jesus Christ and to my neighbor, Ted Hangsen (my adopted grandfather), who has always showed me the most kindness and believed in me ever since I was 4 years old. Thank you for the example and inspiration you and your family have been in my life.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Its OUR time.

Dear YOU,

I LOVE BEING A DAUGHTER OF GOD. WOW! It is our time to become. To become like God. Time is so short, and I wish there was more of it in a day. But at the same time, realize that change is a PROCESS. It takes time. Refining and BECOMING takes consistent, hard work and effort. I have started this blog as a continuation of the blog that I had on my mission. For those of you that are first time readers, my name is Brooke Weenig. I recently returned home from serving an LDS mission in Washington DC Spanish Speaking. It was the best 18 months FOR my life. How I longed to stay with the people there, and continue to watch them grow and succeed, but my mission has changed. I no longer have a badge over my chest, but I wear it in my heart. I am choosing to BE WHERE MY FEET ARE. I am here, back to good ol' Orem, UT. And just like you, I am here to make a difference in the world to become something much better than I currently am. That is why God sent us here. To become more than we currently are. Missions are hard, but then again, that is what makes them so incredible. Anything in our lives that is hard is meant to stretch us and make us more than we currently are. ANYTHING that doesn't stretch you, doesn't help you grow...which then frusturates your inner self and Spirit that God has given to you, that has a natural craving to GROW, CHANGE and DEVELOP.

"See through His eyes" has become my new slogan for life. There are so many people around us that NEED and are STARVING for love---which can be expressed in something as simple as smile, a sincere compliment or a simple act of kindness. But so often we get caught up in the busyness of life and forget why we are here on the earth. God puts us exactly where He needs us right when He needs us to be there if we are living the best we can. I have been reading a book called, "7 habits of Highly Effective People" written by Stephen R. Covey. It is changing my life and I invite you to read or re-read it if you haven't in a while. One thing that has jumped off the pages of his book and has become apart of my life in the past couple weeks has been the idea of paradigm shifting. We cannot change the people around us, but we can change the way that we see others and the situations that we are put in. Instead of using our energies and efforts to try to change others, we can look inwards at ourselves and honestly ask, "What action can I take to change myself in order to better act in this situation and see this situation through different eyes?" Often, we as human beings are so quick to judge and to take offense if something doesn't go the way that we think that it ought to. People are imperfect. That is why we are here, to refine to let go of the natural, ugly, nasty man/woman that is inside of us. So why waste an ounce of energy getting worked up about when things don't go our way? LOOK at what you can BECOME because of the circumstances you have been put into.  BE PROACTIVE and pray to see through a different set of eyes. The paradigm shift that I have been working on, is rather than criticize, compare or complain about others, I am determined to look within myself and change who I am before thinking about how others must change, or how I am always right. Because I am not always right. We are all His children, we all have great ideas, and we all do dumb things sometimes. But that is how we learn. So, we can choose to embrace the learning experience by striving to see each other with loving eyes, or we can choose to be upset and worked up about it. CHOOSE to look through God's eyes---see ALL people with love. Starting with yourself. If you don't love yourself, you just can't love others. This is OUR TIME TO LOVE. SPREAD LOVE WHEREVER YOU GO. Let people remember you as the "one who always loved me." BE that person.

MIRACLE. This past weekend we had the opportunity to go up to Park City to see all of the sights and go down a couple of the rides at the Olympic Park. The night before I had prayed to show someone God's love for them and share the Gospel with them. I prayed again in the morning. When we got up to Park City the lines were AWFUL. It looked as if we would never get to the front of the line. But God's plan is perfect. Just in front of us, this boy of about 15 years of age was being chewed out by what looked like a family member. He was being treated like an idiot. I tuned into the conversation, and realized this child was being demeaned and ridiculed. He was trying to be patient and respectful but frustration was written all over his face. The woman who was chewing him out stayed at the bottom of the lift and this boy jumped on the lift with his head hanging down. As I got on the lift up towards the Alpine Slide I thought, "FIND HIM." So I hurried and got off the lift, and we found him. He was standing in the LONG line right in front of us, and it was blazing hot outside. PERFECT. We began to chat. We talked about his life, his dreams, his passions. His dreary face started to light up. He was only a 15 year old boy named Jake from California that was visiting his aunt, who had been quite hard on him for the past week. He was not a member of the church. Our conversation led, naturally, to the Gospel. I was able to teach him the restoration, the Book of Mormon and the Plan of Salvation, just while we waited in line. But the incredible thing was is that is wasn't FORCED. It was natural. He had heard and studied a bit about the church, and so he had a ton of questions. We chatted, and while we waited in line for 2 hours, we become great friends. Jake will be my friend forever and I know that someday he will be baptized. But the most incredible part about this experience was feeling the love of God for Jake. By the time we got to the front of the line to get on the Alpine Slide, I was sweaty, happy and filled with love. And I had made a life-long friend. My exhilarating experience was not the Alpine Slide that day, it was stopping to care for someone in need. God LOVES His children and wants them to feel it. And usually it is through YOU and I that others can feel that LOVE OF GOD. TAKE EVERY CHANCE YOU CAN TO LOVE OTHERS. Instead of looking at your phone, checking Facebook or Instagram, or judging...trying LOVING the person next to you. Sometimes it'll require things that aren't standing in the hot sun in a 2 hour line in Park City. Sometimes it will be as easy as a smile to someone you don't know. We are all here fighting this battle, there is not a moment to waste on feeling inadequate or worried about yourself. There are people who need YOU. Now is the time to LOVE---yourself, God and all those around you. I challenge you to pray and look for opportunities everyday to show your love to someone new. God will light the way. BE THE ONE WHO ALWAYS LOOKS TO LOVE BEFORE STAYING IN YOUR OWN BUBBLE.

The transitioning stage back into the "real" world has been different than I thought. Change brings--well-- change, and that is what I love about it. Sometimes it isn't always what I want at first, but it ends up being exactly what I need to become the woman God needs me to become. The Lord is continuing to teach me about the aspect of change. Our lives are made up of little small moments that, in turn, create us and shape us into someone GREATER than we ever imagined--if we let it--if we embrace it. Every time that there is a change in our lives, we change. We are pushed to our limits, and often feel like giving up. Which, at that point, there comes two different roads that we can choose to take. We can choose to succumb to pressure, loose ourselves and give up our standards, or we can choose to stand up, love and serve others and stand strong, though we may feel abandoned or clueless to what we are doing with our lives. The world is constantly shifting and changing, that is why I am realizing more than ever how crucial it is to be built upon a rock that never shifts. Christ never changes. Build on Him.

Always remember...
You are His. That is why there is SO much more to you than you think. So much more to be. So little time. Use it well.

Your biggest fan,

Brooke Weenig

The chance to show love and kindness to someone can come in the least expected waiting in line for the Alpine Slide.