Monday, July 27, 2015

If By Tomorrow


...I'm all about being real on this blog...

I KNOW....NEWS FLASH  haha


SO....kick it back...

"let's talk about life
let's talk about trust
let's talk about LOVE"

yea...i know...that escalated quickly cause I'm pretty sure I know I haven't talk about that on here before....so this should be good...

It seems like ever since I've come home from the mission, with my two oldest siblings now married, it's been nothing but elbow nudges, repeated winks, and side smiles accompanied with an unending supply of "you're next's." 

Trust me, there's not an emoticon for the face I WISH I could make.....but don't...haha
...It seriously feels like I'm fresh meat being sent off to market....
And with that pressure and the reality that that stage of life IS fast approaching, comes a whole tsunami of questions, doubts, expectations, and concerns. 

And through it all, the world is constantly staring me--and every girl and woman out there--in the face, with a slew of unrealistic and harsh expectations, telling us that if we don't have the perfect body, the perfect skin, the perfect social life, the perfect hair, the perfect job, the perfect grades, the perfect family, the perfect wardrobe, the perfect skills, the perfect....the perfect EVERYTHING....

that we're not worthy of being loved.




too strong? sorry, but that's how I feel, and I'll guess I'm not the only only girl out there that feels the same way. Who we are on the inside--the qualities, virtues, talents, and values--that shape our true selves....don't seem to count for anything, in a world that tells us that looks are everything.

Which is why my first-hand witness of the Nielson's love story was an unexpected breath of fresh air.....one that renewed my faith in romance truly fulfilling the "I Do."
It's a love proving that beauty is much more than skin deep.

As an aspiring blogger, it's not every day that you get to meet one of the top Mormon mommy bloggers in the nation (aaaannnnddd....one of your idols....btdubs), but this girl got to do just that earlier this summer at at regional women's conference where Stephanie Nielson was attending as a guest speaker.
opening ceremony of the Women's Conference

I was asked to give the prayer at the opening ceremony (...with thousands of women in attendance....NBD haha) and with that assignment, I got to slip backstage before the conference began, where I ended up seeing the Nielsons for the first time.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Neilsons story, they were involved in a plane crash that left them both scarred (Stephanie burned over 80% of her body) for life, but who miraculously fought their way back through recovery and treatment, and now live to inspire others through their story.

Sitting in that room, I first saw the Nielsons from behind and I guess I should preface this by saying...that I could write a whole screenplay called Confession of a People Watcher. (Hey c'mon, I know I'm not the only one who does it....ehhh...ehhh;) we ALL know we love to do it haha! 

 SO when I first saw them, but didn't recognize who they were, my first thought was, "That's one twitterpated couple...probably newlyweds....uh HUH...." But at the same time, there also seemed to be something more than just the starstruck casualness of young love....and when I finally realized that it was the Nielsons....i was BLOWN away by just how deep that love truly went.

Thirty minutes later, on the public stage, Stephanie would tell us that in the aftermath of the
accident, she would be told by therapists and counselors to prepare herself for divorce.....that it was almost inevitable--based on statistics--that her marriage wouldn't survive such a devastating life event. And then she would say, (this is me paraphrasing) "But they didn't know that Christian and I had a life and a love based on much more than what was on the outside. And we were determined to make this work."


Right before we walked onto that stage, I had just a few minutes alone with the Nielsons as the staff was trying to figure out logistics, and in those few short minutes, I witnessed first hand what she was talking about. I saw a man who treated his wife--a woman who to the world, as Stephanie would say, was"a monster," but to him, was BEAUTIFUL, and he treats her as such. He treats her like his QUEEN......I could see it...in every look he gave her, in the way he spoke to her, the way her opened the door for her, held the curtain for her, let her go first in everything, waited for her to be seated, held her things, squeezed her hand and kept his arm around her whenever he could.....and not only that, but it came as NO surprise to me when he treated other women with equal respect.


      
and her loves her now....
he loved her then...
                            

Now I don't think that Mr Nielson will ever know the impression he had on me, but to a girl, being launched into a stage of life, with the world constantly shouting at her that she has to be a certain way physically in order to find love.....seeing the Nielsons that day gave me hope. 


Hope that true love......TRUE LOVE....the kind that cannot be lost but only grows stronger with time....the kind that doesn't just ride off into the sunset or ends with "happily every after".....the kind that doesn't fade when the glass slippers eventually collect dust and the music of youth dies away in the night....

They gave me hope that there are still men out there that see beyond the fleeting flashiness of pretty face and instead look for the beauty of the soul and mind. Hope that there are still those that believe that love is a commitment, not a hobby.

As I heard Stephanie tell her story, while her husband looked on with nothing but admiration and love in his eyes, I could not help but think of one of my FAVORITE old-school songs that I remember my Dad turning on and singing along to when I was growing up....

Jenny Oaks Bakers' rendition of it is absolutely BREATHTAKING....so I'll let her do the honors:




Ok, if you don't know the lyrics to this song....go look them up.....NOW (here:)



The lines that repeated over and over in my head as this post was formulating in my mind were the words, "Believe me, if all those endearing young charms which I gaze on so fondly today, were to change by tomorrow and flee in my arms...thou would still be adored...."


For the Nielsons, this WAS their story.

Overnight.

Instantly.

In one moment.

Those charms, those faces, that loveliness, that so-called beauty.....it was all gone.

But what remained.....was their deep incredible TRUE love.
They are a living testimony to what truly matters in any relationship. 


Ok, I'm going to get on my soapbox here for a moment...so if ya don't wanna hear it...well...you should still read it:) haha

Guys.....as cliche as it sounds....focus on what really matters. Prove to the women and girls in your life that they are are loved NO MATTER WHAT they look like. Respect them because of who they are on the inside. The world puts enough physical (and often inappropriate) expectations on us; treat us in such a way that we aspire to improve ourselves inwardly, rather than desperately trying to only satisfy the world's demands. 

Honestly, the hottest thing a guy can EVER do, is make me feel grateful that I'm a girl...and NOT physically, but emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Make us feel needed, appreciated, respected, loved, and valued for who we are as daughters of GOD. Help us realize our potential, our worth, and our true inner beauty.

Ok girls....our turn....and this is basically my to-do list, so again....this is me breaking down my walls and being honest. We will never be able to satisfy the world's expectations...EVER. But God's...YES. Because His love is unconditional. So focus instead on THAT love. You are always worthy of love. Even if every ounce of physical beauty was taken from you tomorrow, you would still be worthy of every ounce of love this world had to offer, because YOU are a daughter of it's CREATOR. For those of you who have reached out to me with your questions and doubts on this.....i want you to know specifically that you are loved NO MATTER WHAT. PERIOD. 

I don't have answers to everything in life, but I DO KNOW that God is a LOVING Heavenly Father....and I believe that He has a special place in His heart for His daughters. 
Girls, never doubt your worth. 

You are beautiful.

Inside and out.

I don't care what the world says.

Neither does HE.

And one day, He's going to tell you that Himself.


For now, remember that YOU ARE HIS, and He never forgets His own.  One of my favorite quotes from Stephanie Nielson is this, 

"It's a beautiful heart, not a perfect body, 
that leads to a beautiful life."



...So go make a beautiful life for yourself...
And don't let the world or anyone else tell you differently





(And one last warm-fuzzy video....)