No Moi! Miten mene! :)
Man I have to tell you, these past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about talking to you guys...not more than necessary, but I just have so much to tell you...I didn't know what I was going to say. I know I am a stress case, but I was stressing pretty hard! I wanted to say something that would help you. I know that you guys have so much faith and belief in me. At the end of the day, when I feel like I am the worst missionary on earth and that everything went wrong and I sit down at my desk all exhausted and ready to cry and I just look at the picture of our family and I know that if nothing else, you are all cheering for me and praying for me and wanting me to be successful. You have no idea what that means to me! It was so wonderful to talk to people who just understand me and love me and Oh man, I could just go on for hours talking about you! Thank you for being who you are and for loving me so much! I wish I could tell you all how much I love you, but when people say I love you in Finnish, they really mean it so
MINÄ RAKASTAN TEITÄ!!!
That's how much I love you! Just picture me screaming that and you should get the picture! :)
I have been thinking a lot this week about expectations. Kind of random, but that's what happens when you learn finnish...random junk comes into your head...i think it's a sign of brain malfunction :) just kidding but expectations really are funny things. We all have them, whether we realize it or not. It's kind of interesting because one problem that comes from this is that we set unrealistic expectations. Whether of ourselves or investigators our members or friends or family or anybody. This kind of hit my brain like a lightning bolt. All my life, I have tried to live up to expectations. Not even from anybody else, just from me. I set expectations for myself, as do we all, and at least when I don't achieve those expectations, I get really down on myself. I think, "Come on Liv...Sister Bitner...you can do better than that" or "Why couldn't you have just done it right?" I have been talking to Sister Fronk about this a lot this week, especially with Frances' baptism falling through. I have wondered and have concluded that I think we set our expectations really high quite often as people. We think we can do and should do more than we do a lot of the time. We rarely feel like we do enough. I think this applies to all situations in life. As a daughter or son, a sibling, a friend, a student, an athlete, a missionary, a mother, a father you name it...the funny thing about this all is that when we feel like we can't do what is being asked of us or when we feel like we can't live up to those "expectations", or when we feel like we have fallen short, it is because we are trying to do too much on our own.
One of my favorite scriptures...since being a missionary...is Mosiah 4:27. It says.
"And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize therefore, all things must be done in order."
Last night, I was really upset. Not going to lie, I just felt like I wasn't the missionary that you all thought I was. I was feeling pretty bad and sad that I hadn't had more success on my mission and that I didn't have any cute baptismal pictures to send home with my investigators all dressed in white and me smiling like I'd just won the lottery. I kind of felt like I had let you down. Not because of anything you had done or said. You are all so wonderful and have strengthened me and supported me more than you could ever know, but I just want SO BADLY to make you all proud. I want to be this wonderful, successful missionary that you all think I am. I want to be the best oldest sister ever and to do something to help my siblings who I love more than anyone...I just felt like I hadn't done enough as a missionary.
Anyways, the most bizarre thing happened. The song came into my head from Brother Bear...yes a Disney movie, yes I am still 5 years old, yes I am going to Disneyland right when I get home :) ....But anyways the song is called "Take a look through my eyes." Kind of a random, weird way to get an answer to a prayer, but God works in mysterious ways, hence I am in Finland learning Finnish. But I knew that I wasn't looking at this situation through the eyes of Heavenly Father who loves me or a Savior who suffered everything I have and loves me unconditionally. I was looking through my eyes and seeing only "the bad things" or "everything I haven't done". Now granted, I haven't done a lot, but what I took from all of that and what I want to share with you all is that Heavenly Father doesn't expect perfection. He doesn't expect us to run faster than we have strength. He expects us to do everything in wisdom and order and be diligent, and He will take care of the rest. I can't be the missionary I am supposed to be on my own. I can't be the daughter or sister or friend I should be on my own. But I know that I can try. I can do my best each day and really work hard at doing all I can. The best part is, that is enough. I know that, especially girls, get down on themselves a lot. We are never what we should be in our eyes. We should be thinner, we should be prettier, we should be funnier...always "should be" something more. Imagine how Heavenly Father feels when we think like that. He made us exactly the way we are. We are his greatest creation. I can't even imagine how his heart breaks when we are so critical to ourselves and to others. Every little imperfection, every little quirk or crazy thing we do is a part of who we are. I guess, in the end I would just say Don't ever feel like you aren't enough. That feeling is real, but it is from Satan. He wants us to get down and to feel like giving up. Heavenly Father loves us all so much. I feel His love so strong each day and that is what keeps me going. I know that if I am trying my best, I am doing what He would have me do. Anytime you feel like that, listen or think or sing the words to "I am a Child of God". You will feel better! Guaranteed!
Anyways, sorry to ramble....actually I shouldn't say sorry about that because I know I will do it again :) Sister Fronk taught me a new word this week...in english actually :) Pontificate: it means to speak, talk, or preach A LOT. Not the most accurate definition, but I think pontificating is therapeutic! :) Hopefully you all get some sort of laugh or joy out of my letters, but what I really hope is that you can all feel how much I love you through my letters. I want you all to be a part of my mission with me. Not only because you're my family and you should be, but because I love you. I know that you all work so hard. I know Dad that you work so hard to be the best dad you can be. I know, Mom that you want more than anything to be a good mother and to help your children. Joce, Anne, Lauren, Luke and Caroline, I know you all want to do what is right. I just want you to be able to feel, through my letters, how I am feeling. I want you to know that it is frustrating to be a missionary. It is frustrating and hard to just be a person. Life is hard. Satan is running rampant. But...the most important thing I want you to know is that I can testify to you that when we make the Gospel of Jesus Christ the center of our lives, we will be happy and we will be successful. I know that is true because I have experienced it. In spite of everything else, we can have peace, love, joy and happiness in this life. We have a loving Heavenly Father. He wants us to talk to Him each day through prayer. We can talk to Him and receive answers. This Gospel is the most wonderful thing in the world. I know that if we help each other and build each other up, we will be able to make it through whatever comes our way. Not only endure to the end, but enjoy to the end. That's what the gospel is about. So, Be Happy! Smile! Love everyone around you! Remember what is says in "Les Mis"..."To love another person is to see the face of God." I am so grateful for all of you. Really, you are incredible and I love you so much! Thank you for your support! It means the world to me! Well I've got to run...people need to be baptized here in Finland :) I hope you all have a wonderful week! Just think...Joku Suomessa rakasta teitä! Someone in Finland loves you! :) You are the best!! I love you!!
P.S. "Follow Me Mr. Moon" Happy Mother's Day again Mom! I love you, lady! :)