It is always sad to say goodbye…
Sometimes no matter how many doors open, you still don’t want to close the ones behind you. I cannot help but to express gratitude to my Father in Heaven for knowing me so intimately well so as to take me on this glorious journey with Him over these last couple years. It has been exquisite, and I see more clearly now than ever before. It is amazing how everything truly does serve a purpose in our short life here on earth. We suffer darkness and pains of all kinds, yet due to those times we are blessed with increased compassion for our brothers and sisters, and our hearts are enlarged in every which way. How wise is our God!
Though I will be saying farewell, I will leave you with a short list of six major lessons I have learned over this past year of blogging, and pray some part of it resonates with you, and allows you to move forward in at least one area in your life.
- Sharing your “deep dark secrets” rids them of their power! I had no idea why Heavenly Father told me to share my stories when I first prayed for guidance as a newly separated mother. Not a clue. To me, it totally went against what I then understood about the atonement of Jesus Christ. I didn’t see how opening up to a large group of people, many of which I had never met, about experiences I never talked about was supposed to somehow help me end up where I am today! Well, I can assure you that allowing your secrets to stay secrets means you accompany them with shame – maybe not always, but I have witnessed that to be the case quite a bit. Shame is of the Big Idiot, and does not allow the atonement to fully work in your life. Shame keeps you from being a light for others that need you. Ipso facto, be transparent. Our world is in desperate need of those who are willing to be open of what has tormented them and how they have come out of it with the help of the Lord.
- Your course is as unique as you are! Oh. My. Gosh… I wanted to scream out a few months ago “Does anyone else ever feel like they are getting the run around from the Lord, because I do not think that is how it’s supposed to go!?!” Gosh, I was so incredibly peeved that He needed me to move again…and to a state far, far away, and in the middle of the country. But, boy oh boy, does He sure follow through with what He says, and at rapid paces when we are just as quick to obey. You do not have to follow the course you want to get to where you think is best at the time you think. Your Father has known you forever. He created you! Never in my entire life did I ever imagine up the future that my Father is speedily rendering for me. It is glorious, and I would go through everything all over again to be right here right now, and to experience what I am about to. Life is beautiful!
- Families are forever! I really wanted to wait until I published my first book before I put this out there, but it is my truth, and I feel the easiest way for me to come out of hiding with it is to state it on this beloved platform of mine. So, here we go. Hand in hand with the Lord, on the longest, most scenic and detailed journey I have ever been on, I know for certain that one of my greatest missions on the earth is to stay married to my husband, Wesley Elijah Swank, for time and all eternity. I must also publicly apologize for the times I disgraced him on this platform and all other social media. At the times, it was just a small amount of the rage I felt coming out, but I have since learned a great deal about the worth and glory of God’s spirit children, and I will always stand by the fact that of all the sins I have committed in my life the only one I ever regret is speaking ill of others. That goes for my husband just as well. With that, I am so grateful to know that there is life after death. I am so grateful to know that there is a Christ who atoned for the sins of the world. I am so grateful to know that through saving ordinances and sacred temple covenants, and regular attendance and adherence to the covenants made, families can be together for time and all eternity, and families can be healed. I am so grateful to know that as we turn to the Lord in prayer, fasting, scripture study, and church and temple attendance, that He can bless us with confirmation after confirmation through the Holy Spirit – that He can answer our prayers and questions so precisely that there can be no room for doubt. I am so grateful for strong men of old to study about in the scriptures – that I can look up to them and how they faced adversity with courage, and think to myself I can do that too.
- We are all enlisted! No matter how strongly I was feeling that this blog had already served the several purposes it was meant to, I did not want to let it go. The excuse that kept coming back to me was “But it’s missionary work! It’s good to do missionary work! We’re supposed to do missionary work!” As valid and pleasing as those excuses were, they were misguided. There is much work to be done, yes. And we should all be missionaries every day of our lives! We should walk in a way where people see our light. We should talk in a way where we emanate Christ. We should serve in a way that says “I am a believer!” And we should post good, uplifting messages of love, understanding, and kindness on our Facebook walls. But! There is a divine order to the Lord’s church. He speaks, and the prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, listens. He leads and guides, and has men he serves with who listen and delegate as well. It trickles down and trickles down until we reach wards and branches. And I must say that over the last three plus years alone, over half of the wards I have attended have had less than 50% activity. Once again, there is much work to be done! You do not need to be called as a ward missionary to do the work! Once you were baptized, you symbolically placed a black name tag over your heart with the bold print letters reading “Jesus Christ” on it. Be a missionary! One major lesson I have learned since living in small town Iowa is that we all could be spending a lot more time ministering to those in our ward who really need someone who is anxious to lift up the hands that hang down and strengthen feeble knees. Let’s all be missionaries where we are. Let’s bloom where we are planted!
- Live your truth! Goodness, I have had the most difficult time trying to figure out how I could fit in in this world. Well, guess what? By being born on planet earth, we all fit in! No matter what you do there will always be someone who disagrees. I have also realized that just as much as allowing shame of our past sins to overtake us, shame from embarrassment of what others think or say about us does the same exact thing. Don’t let shame rule any bit of your life. It does not serve you! Live your truth! And find out what that is. Really dig deep into who you are as a human on this planet, and as a spirit child of the Most High God – why you function the way you do in every way. When you really find out more about yourself, your confidence radiates and you begin to care a whole lot less about what others say about you, and start to care a whole lot more about what you can do to be your best self and please your Heavenly Father most of all.
- These are indeed the last days! As I have spent hours, days, months, and years pondering and pondering and pondering all things pertaining to myself, to the gospel, to the world, and to my family, I have come to more deeply understand how crucial this time is. There really is no time to waste, and we all ought to step out of our comfort zones and get to work! Part of me is upset at myself for having to get kicked so low to wake up and realize that I have got to get a move on, but another bigger part of me is so grateful that it really did happen. We do not have to choose to sit in comfort and wait for discomfort to wake us up like I did. Let us move ourselves forward. Say a special prayer today. Ask the Lord what more you can do. Oh, He will have something to say to that! There is always more work to be done, and we are the ones to do it! You have a very special work that awaits you, and you will be rewarded immensely for stepping into it. Trust me! But, there are also consequences for those who sit by idly watching. Let’s get moving!
There you have it, From Which We Grow Family! Still bold, still preaching. But, as we are eager to serve, the Lord is eager to bless us in ways that will allow us to serve in a manner that will benefit His children in the way He sees fit. In other words, when we want others to taste of the goodness we have been blessed with, the Lord grants us miraculous ways to make that happen on potentially larger scales. After all, there are over seven billion of His children here on the earth right now, many of which are desperately searching for the true and everlasting light. Lastly, please create some serious dreams and goals for yourself and your family! The Lord truly glories in our power of creation. When we set high-reaching goals for ourselves and our families, He works with us to make those dreams a reality. When we have righteous desires we prove to ourselves and Him that we have what it takes to be absolutely magnetic to all that is good. Stay the path, continue the course, and have joy therein.
~with love and drive~
your friend and sister,
Tiana Mariah Swank
And for those who wish to know the latest update on this book of mine, I will give it to you just as I texted it to a good friend of mine recently: “Ever since I was a very young teenager I had a strong pull towards humanity. Like I knew a huge mission of mine on the planet was to facilitate a major positive change. I just knew it. I also knew that one of the ways I would go about fulfilling this mission was by way of a book. It really hit me in 2012 when it hit me like a bullet without me even knowing why. Ever since then, my subconscious has been searching for the “why” – the plot – the message. Well, over the last couple years, I assumed my book was simply to do with my stories, since God counseled me to put them out there. I was so wrong. I recently realized He counseled me to do so in order to get that garbage out of the way – to clear it out for healing, and much more – and to grant me the courage to write the book He needs me to. So, the message of this first book is not only about the eternal importance of family, but the divine role of the woman in her family. I will be using the beautiful tool of my own experience and journey with the Lord of my own marital story to compose a call to the world, and namely the women therein to better understand their role as wives and mothers. That they can heal their husbands. That they can save their families instead of allowing the horrible powers that be to slowly inch their way into their home and heart to tear them apart. And to find joy in doing so. That is the message of my story… Our husbands need our help, not our cold shoulder out of lack of understanding of the pains they suffer. The Big Idiot is trying to destroy men with all his icky tools, and the men need strong, Christlike, healing, soft and gentle women willing to see them as their True Self.” My latest goal is to have my full manuscript completed, edited, and submitted to my interested publisher, Deseret Book (can you tell I am always so proud to say that? Eeee!!), by December 31st of this year, though I recently submitted a sort of prayer journal to them that the heavens kept nagging me about. Wish me luck! And, for any and all who may be trying to figure out what everything else is that I am being so vague about, let’s just say I have been working very hard on a business venture – one that the Lord has practically handed every possible tool imaginable necessary for me to be a great success in. I will be entering the business of Life Coach, or rather how I like to refer to myself: Self-Empowerment Facilitator. Ahh!! So exciting! Already designed my branding, and hope to work with some people for trademarking purposes real soon (or rather, in the Lord’s time, like everything else 😉 ). Much love!! Thanks for your constant awesomeness!