Hopes and dreams for the coming year

I've always been a dreamer. I have big goals and ambitions. The problem is I often don't accomplish the things I set out to do but, I think I'm growing and learning from past mistakes. Last fall Ayelen was very insistent on me going to church with her. She often went with family members or neighbors, but she didn't want that anymore. She wanted me there with her. This was extremely hard for me. I have never been good at attending church. Even though I have great love for the gospel, attending church was always really hard and almost painful for me. No matter where I am, I have always felt as an outcast, and church seemed to bring that feeling out even more. I didn't like being reminded of all the things I should be doing and everything I'm not. I thought if I wasn't perfect in everything the church asked from me, I was being a hypocrite. And rather then be a hypocrite I'd stay home and spend time with my family, and worship God in my own way. After all I was a good person, and not going to church wasn't going to change that. Church would only make me feel worst for all the things I wasn't doing. Then something interesting happened. A friend of mine was going through a really difficult trial in her life, and through it all, in spite of her young age, she was so wise and strong. We spent a lot of time together, talking. Which was such a great blessing in my life. She opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking. Her strength and wisdom came from God and her awesome faith. I shared with her some of the worst moments in my life and through it all she listened, she didn't interrupt, she didn't judge. I had never been felt such peace. She taught me that being perfect in the eyes of God wasn't the same perfection that we seek, but instead being whole and feeling peace within ourselves. And the guilt that I felt so often, wasn't a bad thing. It was a blessing that God gave us to lead us in the right direction. Without guilt, we'd be lost, not knowing what is right or wrong. So with my new found knowledge I came home and told Ayelen we'd go to church on Sunday. I was excited to but scared. Sunday rolled around and my stomach was in knots. I thought everyone would know I didn't belong, and would not want me there. I got the kids ready and then got in my dress. I felt sick. I didn't want to go. I started having a panic attack. For sure I would see people I knew. They would know what a hypocrite I am and they would judge me, rightfully so. I couldn't breath I felt itchy all over and I started to sob. Not cry, but sob. The ugly messyness, with the runny nose and screaming body shaking cry. I hated church and I didn't want to go. But I made a promise, so I said a prayer and tried to talk my self out of the craziness in my head. I cleaned my face and off we went to met my friend at her church. We missed sacrement but we made it. It was hard and uncomfortable. I had to keep telling myself "I love church, I want to be here. I love church. I want to be here." to try and make things easier. The following Sunday was a little tough, but not nearly as bad. So for that last few months, we been getting dressed and going to church every Sunday. We have not missed one. I don't ever remember being that consistent in my church attendance. So my goal for the rest of the year is to keep it up. To keep going every Sunday. My next goal is to actually make it to my home ward, at 9 am. That's going to be hard, but I have come so far. And I'm proud of myself. I do feel peace and a sense of pride. For once I have made a goal and stuck to it.

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