Su estrella sigue ahí…

Bethlehem Star of Wonder

Hace muchos años, yo estaba cantando en un coro de la iglesia para un programa de Navidad. Aprendimos una melodía hermosa e inquietante en relación con un joven que fue testigo del nacimiento de Jesús Chris. (Canción está vinculado a continuación.)

El momento más conmovedor de la canción viene cuando el niño se convierte en un hombre y comienza a perder su fe. En su punto más bajo, canta “Oigo la llamada a alguien …” No te desesperes, su estrella sigue ahí. ‘”

Hace unos años, esta lección se debió a mí de una manera inolvidable. Era la temporada de Navidad y en lugar de sentir alegría, yo sólo podía sentir la miseria, la oscuridad y las lágrimas. El año anterior había traído muertes de la familia, el divorcio y un corazón roto y yo pasamos los próximos 11 meses en su mayoría en la ira y la depresión. Yo estaba enojado con Dios. Puede que no haya reconocido plenamente, pero que estaba allí, sin embargo. Así como me sentí yo estaba empezando a tener una apariencia de la vida de nuevo, mis horas de trabajo fueron cortados por la mitad y un momento más desgarrador en relación con un hombre que me importaba que me sacudió hasta la médula. Era la Nochebuena.

Fue la gota que colmó el vaso. Sentí verdadera desesperación. Me preguntaba si Dios existía. Todo lo que había esperado en la vida parecía simplemente desmoronarse a mis pies. Lágrimas de rabia corrían por mi cara. Me senté de que la Nochebuena mirando a mi hermoso árbol en la oscuridad y ojalá la vida iba a terminar.

La ironía no pasó desapercibida para mí. La celebración de la vida llevado por el nacimiento del Salvador fue la noche que ya no deseaba vivir. Lloré hasta quedarme dormida. Sin embargo, incluso en ese momento más oscuro, sentí los zarcillos de esperanza sigue haciendo señas a mí a no darse por vencido.

La mañana de Navidad amaneció claro y glorioso. Aunque todavía me sentía el peso de la tristeza de la noche anterior, no había duda de que la Navidad estaba empezando a trabajar su magia. Jugué mi parte en las fiestas de Navidad siente subyugado. Sin embargo, con el amor y la risa de mi familia, me sentí las capas de dolor comienzan a levantar uno por uno.

En el momento en que regresé a casa esa noche, me sentí humillado. Empecé a ver cómo mis propios errores habían interferido con mi felicidad. Había pasado un año de estar enojado con Dios cuando debería haber estado aprendiendo las lecciones que mi Padre y el Salvador estuviera tratando de enseñarme. Esta vez me inclinó la cabeza en humilde oración y pidió perdón.

Fue entonces que hermosa línea pasó por mi mente “No se desespere, su estrella sigue ahí.” La limpieza, la sanidad y las lágrimas humillantes derramó por mi cara. Fue un punto de inflexión en mi vida. Puede que no haya entendido su plan, pero lo hizo … y Él me amó. Por lo tanto, todo lo que Él planeaba era lo mejor, incluso si no se sentía como si a veces. No quiere decir que todo en mi vida cambió de repente, pero dejó de ser enojado y permitió que su amor, la curación, y la luz para reparar mi alma herida.

La profundidad de lo que significa que la Navidad trae ahora es una fuente constante de felicidad para mí. Yo chispa, brillo e irradiar desde dentro hacia fuera. Estoy enamorado de la vida! Yo canto desde la pura alegría de entender lo bendecido y cómo amado yo. Cómo encantó somos todos!

Este poderoso mensaje es un recordatorio de por qué celebramos la Navidad. La estrella, para mí, es sólo otro símbolo del Salvador que nos ama de una manera que no podemos comprender con nuestras mentes terrenales. Pero también es un recordatorio de que Él sigue siendo ahora y siempre estará allí.

Mis amigos, no importa lo oscuro que pone la vida, no importa que tan olvidada que te pueden creen que eres, no importa cuánto la desesperación que puede sentir, por favor recuerde … su estrella sigue ahí.

Feliz Navidad a todos y cada uno y puede este nuevo año lograr que el mejor año de su vida (hasta ahora)!

Your Star is Still There…

Star of Bethlehem
Star of Bethlehem

Many years ago, I was singing in a church choir for a Christmas program. We learned a beautiful and haunting melody regarding a young boy who witnessed the birth of Jesus Chris.  (Song is linked below.)

The most poignant moment in the song comes when the boy grows into a man and begins to lose his faith.  At his lowest point, he sings  “I hear someone call…’Do not despair, your star is still there.'”

A few years ago, this lesson was driven home to me in an unforgettable way. It was the Christmas season and instead of feeling joy, I could only feel misery, darkness and tears.  The previous year had brought family deaths, divorce and a broken heart and I spent the next 11 months mostly in anger and depression.  I was angry at God.  I may not have fully acknowledged it, but it was there nevertheless. Just as I felt I was beginning to get a grasp on life again, my hours at work were cut in half and another heartbreaking moment regarding a man I cared about shook me to the core. It was Christmas Eve.

It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  I felt true despair.  I wondered if God even existed.  Everything I had hoped for in life seemed to just crumble at my feet. Angry tears coursed down my face.  I sat that Christmas Eve staring at my beautiful tree in the darkness and wished life would end.

The irony was not lost on me.  The celebration of life brought by the birth of the Savior was the night I wished no longer to live.  I cried myself to sleep.  Yet, even in that darkest moment, I felt the tendrils of hope still beckoning at me to not give up.

Christmas morning dawned clear and glorious.  Though I still felt the weight of sadness from the previous night, there was no doubt that Christmas was beginning to work it’s magic.  I played my part in the Christmas festivities feeling subdued.  Yet with the love and laughter of my family, I felt the layers of grief begin to lift one by one.

By the time I returned home that night, I felt humbled.  I began to see how my own mistakes had interfered with my happiness.  I had spent a year being angry with God when I should have been learning what lessons my Father and the Savior were trying to teach me.  This time I bowed my head in humble prayer and asked for forgiveness.

It was then that beautiful line passed through my mind “Do not despair, your star is still there.”  Cleansing, healing and humbling tears poured down my face.  It was a turning point in my life.  I may not have understood His plan, but He did…and He loved me.  Therefore, whatever He was planning was for the best, even if it didn’t feel like it at times.  It didn’t mean that everything in my life suddenly changed, but I stopped being angry and allowed His love, healing, and light to mend my wounded soul.

The depth of meaning that Christmas now brings is a constant source of happiness to me.  I sparkle, glitter and radiate from the inside out.  I’m in love with life!  I sing from the pure joy of understanding how blessed and how loved I am.  How loved we ALL are!

This powerful message is a reminder of why we celebrate Christmas.  The star, to me, is just another symbol of the Savior who loves us in ways we cannot comprehend with our earthly minds.  But it is also a reminder that He is still now and ALWAYS will be there.

My friends, no matter how dark life gets, no matter how forgotten you might believe you are, no matter how much despair you might feel, please remember…your star is still there.

Merry Christmas to one and all and may this New Year bring you the best year of your life (so far)!

Gratitude for the Little Things

The other day someone asked me “When was the last time you were really happy for a long period of time?”  I paused for a moment and said “I’m happy now!”  He seemed stunned and almost didn’t know how to respond.

life_is_beautiful_3

I suppose that’s not an answer we hear very often these days.  For many people, the idea of happiness seems almost out of reach.  I used to think that.  There were many times I just felt as if I was existing and the idea of long-term contentment and happiness just felt almost impossible.

As adults, we are taught to be polite, answer “fine” to everything and when we aren’t feeling “fine”, we hide it and tell people we are “fine” anyway.  I have a dear friend who described F.I.N.E. as Fed-up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional.  I always chuckled when I responded “fine” and she responded back with that.  It’s often true that when someone answers in that manner, they are most definitely NOT fine. When one has more disappointments and rejections than one can count, it is often difficult to pick yourself up and keep going.

But something has changed for me.  Instead of relying on those “possibilities” and “potentials” to bring me happiness, I’ve begun to look at everything I already have and feel immensely grateful. I am not rich in the financial sense, I don’t have a significant other, nor was I ever able to have children, but oh my goodness…I have more friends than I can count! I have loving, supportive family members who remind me on a daily basis how truly lucky and blessed I am.

I have a little place I can call my own and I smile every day as I wander pass the flowers I planted or look at the pictures I’ve hung.  The other day I stood there and just gazed at my bookshelf.  I finally had unpacked books and mementos that have been in boxes for years and just seeing them brought back beautiful memories.

I really am grateful…grateful for life with all of its laughter, peaceful moments, brilliant storms, trials that strengthen me, magnificent scenery,  and most of all, for all the shared love.

As I think about the amazing experiences I’ve had, the wonderful people I know, and all the “best days so far” to come, who am I not to be happy?!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

beautiful_beach_sunsets_wallpaper_hd_free

 

Getting Through 3:00 AM

It is 3:00 am and I am awake.  While the world sleeps on, I am listening to the crickets outside my window. They are signaling the end of summer.  Another season passes, another year rolls away.  I listen quietly and feel that sad wistfulness that often comes with being awake at this time of the night.

As one author stated, 3:00 am is “the wisest and most accursed hour of the morning.”  I believe I understand why she said this. In the middle of the night, when you can’t sleep, you face your real self without all the distractions or pressing details of the day.  It is that time of night when you think over your life and wonder if you have measured up to your expectations of yourself and the world.

Another 3:00 am night... (Picture from http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-woman-lying-bed-sleepless-night-image45620433)
Another 3:00 am night…

That hour can be harsh.  As you lay silently, images of your past and present creep into your mind.  Worries and fears about the future press in upon you. Family, work, relationships, illness and other challenges flood your heart and you can often feel overwhelmed by the complex life you lead.  Tears are common at 3:00 am.

But there are a few tricks to getting through the “fourth watch of the night.”  You might face a stark reality of your life without the mask of day, but facing these stark realities are also the beginning to positive changes that can be made. Allowing yourself to wander over thoughts of the future and setting reachable goals can give you a new hope for the coming day.  Thinking over past accomplishments and good times can also bring a smile to my face and give me courage to continue on.

Yet, there are times when even this does not work for me.  There are times when all the cliches and positive sayings just won’t work.  It is then I reach for that one force that does not fail me…prayer.  Prayer is my key to getting through 3:00 am. My flickering candle of faith is often the only thing that sustains me in that darkest hour of the night.

The answers come softly and gently and the feeling of peaceful reassurance reminds me of times when my mother used to hold me telling me it would all be ok.  She’s not here anymore, but the feelings remain.

So on nights like this, when expectations have failed and I look at my life harshly, I remember that there is One who holds me and tells me “It’s going to be ok, Melissa.  It’s going to be ok…” And I know that it will be.

Picture credit: http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-woman-lying-bed-sleepless-night-image45620433

 

This Journey Called Life

Provo Tabernacle Transformation http://lds.net/blog/buzz/entertainment/transformationtuesday-provo-tabernacle-mormon-temple/
Provo Tabernacle Transformation http://lds.net/blog/buzz/entertainment/transformationtuesday-provo-tabernacle-mormon-temple/

A few years ago, I wrote an article called “Out of the Ashes” regarding a church that had burnt down and was to be rebuilt into a beautiful new temple.  I likened this event to my own life and how after great disappointments, grief and more, I felt as if I, too, had been burnt to the ground.  But I ended that article by saying that “I began to realize that maybe, just maybe, God had a different plan for me.  Here I am trying to build a nice, comfortable life, but maybe He’s trying to build something grander.  I don’t know what He has in mind, but it’s a beautiful thought: to think that, with His help, that my life might mean something greater than it does at the moment.  He knows so much better than I.”

If I had known then the journey that my life was to take, I would have been better able to endure the grief.  At the time of this writing, I’m not only living in the place I’ve yearned to live in for several  years, but my writing is taking off in directions I never thought it would go.  I am now officially a songwriter, probably the last thing I ever thought I would do with my writing. And yet, it has been proven to be a joy.

Last night, I sat and listened to my friend, Violeta Skye, the singer and her producer create the music to accompany my lyrics…MY lyrics!  It was almost as if I was listening to what could only be described as the musical equivalent to the birth of a child.  I listened to hypnotic voices blend in harmonious rhythms and I felt chills.  It was suddenly as if the future opened before me.  My own words, words that had come from my soul, intertwined with such beautiful music was a moment I never thought I would experience.  Just listening to the creation of that song was uplifting in a way that is hard to describe.

All the years of pain, the tears, the never-ending disappointments, the rejections, the struggles and failures culminated into this moment.  And as I felt a tear of happiness slip down my face listening to an exquisitely beautiful line of music, I thought “This…this is what I’ve been waiting for.”

That church I formerly spoke of will be finished next March and the artist’s rendering of the new building is found in the photo above.  It is truly magnificent.  As I look at that photo, I realize that sometimes you figuratively have to be burnt to the ground to be rebuilt into the person you were meant to be.  And thanks to Heavenly Father and the fires of life, some day that person will be glorious.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865630404/Provo-City-Center-Temple-open-house-to-begin-in-January-dedication-in-March.html