Monday, June 10, 2013

Good Always Triumphs

Every fairytale is a fight between good and evil. And always, good triumphs. But it is never an easy path. Prince Phillip had to overcome obstacle after obstacle before he could slay the dragon and save Sleeping Beauty. Snow White went through trial after trial before her Prince Charming saved her and she finally escaped the evil queen. And Cinderella's path to happily ever after definitely wasn't a piece of cake thanks to her evil stepsisters and stepmother. But in the end, it was always good that won.
True to all fairytales, there is a villain in mine. His name is Satan and he is doing everything he possibly can to stop me from reaching the next step in my happily ever after: A mission. The moment you decide to serve a mission, he steps it up a notch. When you get your call, he tries a little harder. And when it gets close to you actually going, he comes at you full force. At first it was simply by putting doubts and fear into my mind. "I don't know if I really want to do this. I'll be so behind in school and I'll miss too many things at home." And then it got worse. "What if I chose wrong and this isn't what I'm supposed to do? I definitely can't learn Tagalog, I couldn't even learn Spanish! I don't know anything, I'm not ready for something like this. What if I don't even make it through the MTC?" And the big one, "Why the Philippines? I'm not supposed to go there. What if my prosthesis has problems over there? And I wanted to learn Spanish like everyone else is. This is all wrong." DO NOT DOUBT YOUR MISSION CALL. That is the worst thing you could do because then you doubt everything. You are called where you are needed. It is inspired by God, I know that surely now. After talking to a San Pablo RM and the mission president the doubts went away and I was nothing but excited! Haha Satan! It's over, I won! Or so I thought.

When my villain couldn't get into my thoughts anymore, his attempts became more visible. Just smaller things at first, my sister's glasses broke, the lawn mower died, we found out I needed an extra vaccination, there was a pretty minor car accident, and I started having problems with a cyst on my leg that hadn't made a comeback for 3 years. But then there was this. My single mother who is raising 3 expensive teenagers lost her job. And I was angry. How could Heavenly Father let this happen? I'm trying to do His will! "Why?" I wanted to scream at Satan, "Why are you attacking my family?! It's me you want, not them! Just leave them out of this! Don't you realize what this will do to my family?" He knew. He knew that in order to get to me he had to use the people I loved the most.

That night I had a dream. Every time I went downstairs to my room there was this darkness that would overcome me and I would feel so afraid and alone and run back upstairs to the light and my family. One of those times, it didn't let go and it was threatening to overcome me completely and I was just about to give up when I realized that I had a choice here. I was stronger than Satan because I had a sidekick. My Savior, Jesus Christ, was on my side. I was not going to let Satan win. Good always wins. And the darkness receded, not completely but enough that I could carry the burden. I realized that Satan isn't going to give up, he's still going to be there. But with the help of my family and most importantly, my Savior, the temptation will be less and my strength will be enough. I want nothing more than to fight this battle alone. I wish that he would leave my family out of it. But villains never fight fair. They always use the people you love the most against you.

D&C 84:88 
But you know what, there is always someone with a kind heart willing to help. Cinderella had her Fairy Godmother, Snow White had the 7 dwarves, and Ariel had Flounder and Sebastian. I have angels. Not all of my angels have wings. In fact, most of my angels are just regular people. From the time I was trying to decide if I should serve a mission until now angels have been helping me. Before I had even decided I was going, I knew money would be an issue. But a couple of angels made it possible not only to go, but to go a lot sooner than I could have otherwise. When I had doubts, the angels I called roommates eased my fears. Then when my ward found out that my mom had lost her job and that I still needed so much for my mission, they immediately and silently stepped in. I have had angel after angel show up on my doorstep with a check. People who hardly had anything themselves were sending envelopes full of cash. One pregnant sister even showed up with a bag of feminine products because she'd heard I was going to need 18 months worth in the Philippines and she wasn't currently in need of them. I was amazed and touched by the outpouring of love and service these people, my angels, so freely gave. And that's when I realized you can't put out a light with darkness. Darkness doesn't even exist. Darkness is simply the absence of light. But light, light banishes darkness instantly. It doesn't even stand a chance. So take that Satan. You will NEVER win. Because good ALWAYS triumphs. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Words of Wisdom from T-Swift

This past weekend I had the chance to witness Taylor Swift's Red Tour, up close and personal. Okay, not really that close. We were on the 3rd row from the very, very top. But it was still AMAZING! I was definitely more excited about it than the 12 year old girls behind us. I never, ever, ever wanted to leave. Like ever.

Say what you will about the woman, but she really is a great role model. So she hasn't been so lucky in love and maybe she does have one too many break up songs. But that's life. It happens to a lot of people. Their personal lives just aren't printed on the cover of a magazine. It can't be easy trying to find the man of your dreams while touring around the country and having every detail of your personal life, true or not true, plastered on the front page for everyone to see. At least she hasn't shaved her head yet.  And hey,  I, like most people, write my feelings in a journal that no one reads. She writes them in songs. And she makes millions. Props to her.

She gave a little bit of an intro and background to each of her songs and I loved the things she said. She is just so down to earth and honest. She's real. I think that's why so many girls relate to her. Before she sang "Mean," she talked about how she hadn't always had 14,000 people to hang out with on a Saturday night. She wasn't super popular in school and people were mean. And she thought that when she got older, the bullies would go away. But they didn't. And then she said something that I think resonates with a majority of her audience. "No matter what you do, there are always going to be people trying to tear you down. But you can't let them win."

She's right. There will always be someone trying to knock you down. There will always be someone trying to tell you that you aren't good enough, that you can't do it. Sometimes that person is you. For me, the current struggle is my mission. Sometimes people say things to me that make me doubt my decision and my ability. But here's the thing, I am good enough. And I can do it. And so are you. Be confident in who you are and in your dreams, whatever they may be. Don't let anyone knock you down. Don't be afraid to go out and prove people wrong. Show them just how bright you can shine :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Walking away on the Final Foot

This past week I walked away from Shriners Hospital on my final foot. Literally. For the past 19 years I have been making trips down to Shriners Hospital, initially for my amputation, sometimes to get my prosthesis lengthened because I was growing, more than once to get a new foot because I broke the current one completely off, sometimes for surgeries, and sometimes just to make sure everything was working well. These trips were usually made with my mom or my grandma and never passed by without a stop at the Old Spaghetti Factory! I've had 5 different prosthetists over the years and 18 different legs. I've broken foot after foot after foot. Once I even broke my entire leg in half during gymnastics! And Shriners has always been there to help.

I honestly don't know what I would have done without Shriners' Hospital. Most people have no idea what Shriners is and that's really a shame because it is an AMAZING organization. Shriners' Hospital for Children specializes in the treatment of children ages 0-18 years old with burn injuries, neuromusculoskeletal conditions, and other special healthcare needs. There are 20 different locations throughout the United States and they serve patients from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Panama. Now ready for the most amazing thing about Shriners' Hospital? It is a non-profit organization. They do everything for free! Everything. If you remember from my earlier post, I have 18 prosthetic legs. Since I am a below-the-knee amputee my prostheses are a lot cheaper than the ones that require the knee component. Each one of my 18 legs costs between $5,000 and $15,000. Yep. I could trade one in for a car. Or three. So that makes the total cost of my legs at least $90,000 plus the cost of my surgeries. There is NO way that my family could have covered those costs. Shriners is seriously a blessing in my life and the lives of so many others who are in the same situation.

Because it is a non-profit organization a huge part of their funding comes from donations. If you would like to learn more about or donate to this amazing organization, just click here.