Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Talks

Sean and I were asked to give talks for today. I was really freaked out to so it but it turned out ok. Sean's was amazing. He doesn't write his talks down though so I only have mine to put on here. But I can paraphrase his talk. Sean just reads on his topic and then knows mostly what he will say. He is impressive. 

So here was my talk; 

I’m Deana Howell and this is my husband Sean. We have been married for 3 ½ years. We have a 2 year old named Noah and a 7 month old named Rebekah. Sean just graduated with his bachelors in Psychology. I am a stay at home mom to my cute little ones. Noah is thinking about using the potty someday and Rebekah just smiles at everything and eats anything put in front of her. So that’s a little about us.  

The topic we were given to speak on was faith. As soon as I was told by Sean 2 weeks ago we were asked to give talks I immediately had an anxiety attack. I’ve been having anxiety and other issues since having my daughter and it's hard for me to do things. I wanted to just say no we couldn’t do it. Sean said for me to think about it and to let him know in a day or two if he needs to say we can’t do it. I was ready to tell him the next day that I really didn’t want to do it. Just thinking about writing the talk and having to stand in front of everyone and speak made me short of breath. I prayed about it and still felt like I just didn’t want to do it but also felt a need to not say no. Finally Saturday night last week as I was going to bed and I still hadn’t told Sean weather I wanted to give talks or not. He told me that by now they are probably just assuming we are since we haven’t gotten back to them. As I went to sleep I was filled with anxiety, doubt in myself and kind of irritable. I prayed again that I would be calm and that I could just do what I was supposed to do. I closed my eyes and started to drift off and then a scripture from the Book of Mormon popped into my head.  1 Nephi 11:17

17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.

I’m not sure why but that was all I needed to know that I can do this. Writing a talk I can do. Now actually doing it is kinda freaking me out.  It may seem silly that it was so much effort to get me to me ok to give this talk and then all I needed was a scripture that didn’t really completely apply to my issue with talking but that’s just what I needed. I know Heavenly Father loves me. He can help get me through this. I know for some giving a talk is not a big deal, some people actually enjoy it. I know that some people aren’t the biggest fan of giving talks and that its mostly just something they get nervous for and then when its time they just do it. For me its kind of different. I literally have an anxiety attack the night before and then again in the morning of. Standing here right now is really hard. But I have faith that I can get through it because Heavenly Father loves me.

I know that this Church is true. I have a testimony of the Gospel. I have had many instances in my life that give example of this. Yet I also have some things that make it hard to want to have faith. I continue to have the knowledge of the Gospel even in hard trying times. I can’t just un-know the things I have been taught.  I have sometimes however made a choice to not act on my faith of that knowledge.

A talk given in the October Conference in 2010 by the presiding Bishop Richard Edgley spoke of Fathing being a choice perfectly. The talk was titled “Faith—The choice is yours”

In the talk Bishop Edgley said “Because of the conflicts and challenges we face in today’s world, I wish to suggest a single choice—a choice of peace and protection and a choice that is appropriate for all. That choice is faith. Be aware that faith is not a free gift given without thought, desire, or effort. It does not come as the dew falls from heaven. The Savior said, “Come unto me” (Matthew 11:28) and “Knock, and it shall be [given] you” (Matthew 7:7). These are action verbs—come, knock. They are choices. So I say, choose faith. Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and the unseen, and choose faith over pessimism.

Yes, faith is a choice, and it must be sought after and developed. Thus, we are responsible for our own faith. We are also responsible for our lack of faith. The choice is yours.


Back to the scripture I read in the beginning. There are a lot of things I don’t know. I don’t know why I have anxiety as bad as I do, I don’t know why My friends and family have the struggles with some of the trials they are going through. I don’t know exactly how the atonement works and how Jesus is able to take away our sins and pain if we ask him to and are repentant. I could go on and on because there really is a lot I don’t know.

But even more important than the things I don’t know are the things I do know. I know that even though I don’t know how the atonement works that it does work. I know that because of the atonement that I can go in prayer to my Father in Heaven and I can ask for help in the things I struggle with. And I can chose every day to have that faith in the things I know even if I don’t understand them.

Bishop Edgley said “But while I don’t know everything, I know the important. I know the plain and simple gospel truths that lead to salvation and exaltation. I know that the Savior did suffer the pain of all men and that all repentant people can be cleansed from sin. And what I don’t know or don’t completely understand, with the powerful aid of my faith, I bridge the gap and move on, partaking of the promises and blessings of the gospel. And then, as Alma teaches, our faith brings us to a perfect knowledge. By moving forward into the unknown, armed only with hope and desire, we show evidence of our faith and our devotion to the Lord.”


So even if your testimony isn’t very strong, or you are just starting out in learning about the Church and Heavenly Fathers plan, or if you are struggling with trials in your life and you don’t understand, or you have doubt and fear in your heart. You can chose to have faith. Faith is an action word. There is a reason why Faith is the first principle of the Gospel as stated in the 4th article of Faith. We must first have faith and then from there we build to our testimony. You first have to have faith that the Church is true and then that faith becomes knowledge that it is true.

I know that this Church is true. I know that my Father in Heaven loves me. I know that the atonement is real and that it is there for everyone to partake of. I know that our families can be together forever through the sealing power in the Temple. I’m grateful for this knowledge. I chose to have faith. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.  "

I had a hard time getting through the talk. I started crying and my chest got really tight. I got through it though.  My dad and friend Kara were in the congregation and took care of the kids for us. 

Sean gave his talk next. He spoke about some examples of faith he saw on his mission and in his own life. Then he used the movie the karate kid as an example of faith. It was so funny that he used a movie. Haha. He is always so good at making principles easy to understand. 

After sacrament the Bishop came and told us we both did great. He then told me that before he was called to be the Bishop he suffered from a stutter and had horrible anxiety but that through his faith he was able to overcome the stutter. But that he still has anxiety sometimes. A couple other people came and shook our hands and told us they really enjoyed our talks. Then a few people came and told me that they have anxiety too and that it was good hearing my talk. One older man came and told me that he has had anxiety since he was 12yrs old. He said he went to psychologists to help but it never went away. And that one of the doctors told him that it is just his cross to bare. And he said that he went to Israel and saw the cross and that they point upward. We have to look up to Heavenly Father to help us with out cross to bare. 

 Sean had to take Noah and Rebekah home because Noah threw up and was running a fever. I was so grateful to my dad and Kara for watching the kids for us. They are awesome. 

Im glad I was able to get through the talk and that Sean did so well. I hope you all had a great Sunday :) 

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