The Power of Trying with Cristi Brazao

Tue Aug 01 05:00:07 EDT 2023

An important part of our Heavenly Father’s plan is that he doesn’t want us to simply do what is right, but he wants us to choose to follow him and his will for us. Showing up with a willingness to God is a level of faith that will lead us to more peace. When we do this, we can know, like Nephi, that the Lord will prepare a way for us to accomplish his purposes as we courageously say, “I will go and do.”

Peace comes at the end of your rope. That's where you push through and prove yourself as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Christi Brazao

Cristi Brazao joins Kathryn on this episode of Magnify to discuss how willingness is an important attribute of a peacemaker and how it can lead to more personal peace in our lives.

Top Takeaways from this episode

  1. Heavenly Father will never force us to do anything because of our agency, but when we follow him, our return is everlasting peace.
  2. When we are facing hard times, we can remember to go back to those moments where God has proved us and we can then remember to follow his will.
  3. Accepting God's will for us helps us know that things will fall together.
  4. The Lord will help us to hold on when we simply try to get back to his will.

Small & Simple Challenge

Write down the times where you've seen answers to prayers. Those will be your personal scriptures when you face times that you need to find more willingness to follow God.


Kathryn Davis 00:00

It's one thing to have the faith to say Lord, what would you have me do but it's a whole nother level to say, Okay, I'll do it. How can we increase our willingness to follow the Savior as we are searching for more personal peace? Hi and welcome to Magnify, an LDS Living podcast where we cheer, inspire, and embolden each other as women and followers of Jesus Christ. We hope to use our influence to make a difference in the world. I'm your host, Kathryn Davis, a mom, a seminary teacher, and a grilling enthusiast who loves God. An important part of our Heavenly Father's plan is that he doesn't want us to simply do what is right. But he wants us to choose to follow Him and His will for us. Showing up with a willingness to God is a level of faith that will lead us to more peace. When we do this, we can know, like Nephi, that the Lord will prepare a way for us to accomplish his purposes as we courageously say, I will go and do. Joining me to think through and discuss how we can increase our willingness to follow the Savior as a new friend to Magnify, Cristi Brazao. We're so excited that you're here.

Cristi Brazao 01:12

Thank you so much. I'm so happy to be here.

Kathryn Davis 01:14

It's gonna be so great. I'm looking forward to discussing more of President Nelson's talk, and every week, as you know, on the Magnify community, we've been delving into one attribute that can help us be more of a peacemaker. And this week, I'm excited to talk about willingness, and how that can help us be more of a peacemaker. But before we do, I am excited to get to know you a little bit better. And I want our listeners to get to know you a little bit more. So I have some rapid fire questions for you.

Cristi Brazao 01:46

Let's go. Let's do it.

Kathryn Davis 01:48

Okay, so you teach college in Florida, where you're located? Yes. What courses do you teach? And why do you love teaching them?

Cristi Brazao 01:59

I teach writing research, English composition, and African American literature. I love all of my classes. African American literature is my favorite, because this is a literature that I grew up reading. And now I get to talk about it with all these amazing students. And so just seeing them, their openness and their willingness to learn, and I learn a lot from them still. We are constantly in the space, a safe space where we can talk to each other, learn from each other. Get outside our comfort zones, myself included. And so we all learn together. I just think literature is fascinating. And this type of literature has always been a special part of who I am.

Kathryn Davis 02:39

So this is going to be a hard question for you. Okay, if you had to choose one book that has made kind of the biggest impact on your life, what would it be?

Cristi Brazao 02:52

That is hard. I know. Okay, so I'm gonna stick with what we're talking about with my African American literature course. And that will be Richard Wright's Black Boy, I'm from Natchez, Mississippi, where Richard Wright is from. It is a rite of passage to read Black Boy. And I've seen my students blossom when we get to his writing. He's very much a realist when he writes. It's definitely impacted me. I think, as a Southerner, someone who loves to tell stories. I'm very much from a culture where we sit outside on the porch, and we talk about life. And we talk about things that we've gone through. And we tell stories. And so that's what Richard Wright does so beautifully in his autobiography Black Boy. I recommend that to everybody.

Kathryn Davis 03:34

I haven't read it. Oh, yeah. So I'm gonna go read that. Oh, yes. And I actually love that visual that you said in the south where you just sit on the porch and tell stories. I think that's one thing that I love about Southern culture. Is this just a more? I don't know, openness and yes, okay. So you have four children, right? Yes, I do. What is one of your favorite activities to do with your kids?

Cristi Brazao 04:02

Music, we do music. I have a violinist that's my oldest. My 16 year old plays the oboe. My son's going into middle school wants to play the drums. And then I have a four year old who plays the bells. And then I sing too, and dabble in a little piano. So music is definitely what we love to do together.

Kathryn Davis 04:22

What's one of your favorite songs to play?

Cristi Brazao 04:25

There's this song by this Korean pianist called Yiruma. The song's called "When the Love Falls." That's one that I've been practicing and working on. So I love that one. Right now, I'm working on some arias from Messiah, because I'm preparing for an audition in the fall to sing with the choir in in DeLand, Florida. So I'm hoping that works out but if not singing Messiah is a blessing. And I'll be there definitely.

Kathryn Davis 04:54

So that is something that I did learn is that you have sung with the choir at tabernacle square for a number of years. Yes. And why do you love to sing you just even as you were talking about it? Why is singing so important for you?

Cristi Brazao 05:10

I think that it helps me to share the gospel with people in a way that I think is authentic to who I am. I think it helps me connect with people, especially members of the church. I mean, in Utah, we would have gospel music firesides, because I'm a Baptist background, gospel music. And I can tell you, I've never seen members of the Church move like that before. And it it strengthened my testimony, too, to see them swaying and clapping, and really getting into the music, and being so open to it. And so that was really fun, my mom is still in the Baptist church. She lives in Utah, and she would sing with us at these firesides because that's where we started with singing together. And they were so welcoming to my mother, and being able to express ourselves in that way. So music is something that I brought with me when I joined the church. And I always go back to the words that President Hinckley said, when I was investigating the church, he said, bring all that you have that is good. And we'll see we can add on to it. So definitely bringing music was what I brought too.

Kathryn Davis 06:20

Okay, Cristi, I just have to ask you, you don't have to do this. But can I hear you seeing like a line or two from your favorite gospel song?

Cristi Brazao 06:28

Let's see. I can sing a song from Mahalia Jackson. That's just solo that I used to do Yeah, okay. "How I got over. How did I make it over? You know, my soul looks back in wonder how I made it over. How I got over. How I got over. You know, my soul looks back in wonder how I made it over." So this is a woman who's looking back over her life. And she's saying, Oh, wow, look at look at how Heavenly Father brought me through these things that I've been through. So this is a snippet of it.

Kathryn Davis 07:23

Oh, my gosh, the power in that. Cristi. I love that. Wasn't that amazing! Just the music, the depth that I think other religions have with music. I loved that. Hearing you there's just there's a spiritual attribute that can only be I think, portrayed with music. And you're right.

Cristi Brazao 07:47

I agree with that. There's no other way for me to worship than without music.

Kathryn Davis 07:52

Beautiful. Well, you can feel it when you sing, you can feel it. You can feel the love that you have for God, and for Jesus Christ. Like that just comes across as you sing.

Cristi Brazao 08:04

That's what I want.

Kathryn Davis 08:06

So Cristi, I am interested to talk to you about the attribute of willingness and aligning our will with God, and how that can lead to more peace and how that can lead to allow us to be more of a peacemaker. And I think willingness is an interesting attribute to discuss. Because I don't think it's one that we often talk about. But the more you dive into willingness, the more you understand how important that is, if we want to be more of a peacemaker. So why do you think willingness is so important or so crucial? And what does that term mean to you?

Cristi Brazao 08:46

I think willingness is part of Heavenly Father's plan, because he gave us agency. And so in this talk that we're reading, "Let God Prevail," President Nelson says that he won't make us do anything. He won't make us gather Israel, he won't make us let him prevail in his life, we have to be willing to do those things. Anytime we're willing to follow the will of Heavenly Father that brings peace automatically. For example, I have been thinking about retirement, I've had to talk to someone about my retirement, I can't believe it, but it's going to come. But I've been learning about investing. And so you never really know what's going to happen when you're investing. But in this case with our Heavenly Father, we know what the return will be. If we're willing to follow Him, then we will have the everlasting peace that we're looking for. And so it makes it to where I know that I can trust him. And I can follow His plan for me because he will never let me down. He'll always be there. And I think where my struggles have come has been when I've been willing, and I know heavenly Father will help me. I know that he will bless me because he asked me to do it. And I'm going to do it. My struggle has come When I've done those things, and I didn't see the return, I guess, or I didn't notice it, or it turned out in a way that I didn't even think was good. And so yeah, those kinds of things can shake your faith a little bit. Where I go, I'm doing exactly what you asked me to do. And the return didn't come.

Kathryn Davis 10:22

Can you give me an example of that?

Cristi Brazao 10:25

I have so many. Well, shortly after my dad died, I received a prompting to apply to teach seminary and go through those seminary classes. And after he had died in December, those classes started in January, I was actually excited about something. I was excited to start these classes. I'm gonna follow Heavenly Father's will. And I went through the whole process to teach seminary, and I went to do my student teaching. And I got the call at the end saying that we're not going to hire you on. And it was just such a blow, you know, I mean, I hadn't cried like that, since his death. And I thought I had to go through all of this and months of the trainings and the student teaching and doing what I knew Heavenly Father wanted me to do, I couldn't doubt that. And that wasn't what I was expecting this to get all the way to the end and be told no. And those moments, I go back to what I know is true, what I'm completely solid in. And that is that he loves me. That is that I was clear on what he told me to do. And I can rest assured that I followed his will for me. He told me to do it, and I did it. It didn't turn out like I thought it would. But I can go back to those solid things where you know, I, I can prove that I will follow Heavenly Father's will for me, even if I don't understand what the outcome is.

Kathryn Davis 11:52

So is that where the peace has come for you?

Cristi Brazao 11:55

Oh, yes, yes, it definitely comes from knowing that if I don't take my eyes off of Jesus Christ, I just go out, and the way is not perfectly clear, I can still prove that I'm willing to do God's will too. And so many examples. I mean, one was getting baptized. It wasn't like I was not happy in the faith that I was in. I had strong Baptists roots. I talked about this before, my great grandmother helped to build this church with a hammer and nail and my whole family was there. My cousins. The music that I love was there. Stepping away from that, and going off on my own to be baptized was definitely following the will of Heavenly Father. And as long as I kept my eyes on Jesus Christ, I kept my eyes on the moment where I felt this conversion in my heart, then I knew that I was doing the right thing, and that I will be okay. But it takes courage to do that. And unwavering faith to go and to do that.

Kathryn Davis 12:54

Yeah, I think there is a difference between being willing, and then acting on that willingness. Yes. Right. And obviously, in your conversion story, you had to not only be willing, but you had to act on that willingness. Can you tell me a little bit about that experience? And what you learned from that?

Cristi Brazao 13:14

Well, I didn't just want to leave the church, because I have such strong roots, like I said, and my family was there. And so we wrote a letter that was read to the church the Sunday that I would get baptized into the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Kathryn Davis 13:30

Did you write a letter to be read?

Cristi Brazao 13:33

Yes, I did. And I tried to fill it with as much gratitude as possible, because that's where my foundation was. You know, those were my roots. But for me, it was time to grow, I think spiritually, and I just knew that I was doing the right thing. I was on a fast, and no one knew I was fasting. But I learned that from my mom to fast if I had questions, spiritual questions, and that's when I came in contact with the missionaries. It was through watching TV. And I saw commercial advertising Lamb of God, I called to get the video. And the missionaries showed up in my house with that Lamb of God video, but also the Book of Mormon and asked me to read it.

Kathryn Davis 14:14

And you were willing to read it?

Cristi Brazao 14:16

I was willing to read it. Yes. I read it and received answers to prayers that I had. And they talked to me about baptism, and being baptized by those with the proper authority. I decided to go out on faith. I was 17 years old. And I went out on faith, and I had the support of my mom. And she was the one that I was concerned about the most. And she showed me love and support throughout the whole thing. And so when I wrote this letter to my Baptist Church, and it was read my last Sunday there, I received an overwhelming amount of love and support, because most of my family was there. And so I feel really blessed that I that was my experience because I know that wasn't for a lot of people who joined the church. Yeah, but I was sent off with a lot of love and support. But it was still hard.

Kathryn Davis 15:09

Were you expecting that? Was it hard because you were willing to receive answers you were willing to pray and ask about the Book of Mormon. And that requires a willing heart. But then you also were willing to act upon the revelation you received, and were you expecting your family to be supportive?

Cristi Brazao 15:32

My family shows support so much throughout my life, that I didn't think they would not support me in what I was doing joining the church. And so my mom was someone who received a lot of concern and thinking, okay, she's too young, does she really know what she's doing? You know, is she rebelling? So it was mainly my mom who received some comments from here and here and there. People in the congregation, but as far as support, I got that from my family 100%. No matter what, though, I would have follow God's will for me.

Kathryn Davis 16:07


Cristi Brazao 16:07

Because if I don't follow His will for me, then I don't have that opportunity to show him that I will follow him, to witness a miracle or be part of a miracle, I wouldn't have the opportunity if I didn't follow him. Even now in my life, without following him, I wouldn't have that opportunity to strengthen my testimony. And so I won't not do it because of fear. And I won't not do it because of pride. Because what's the trade off with that? Okay, maybe comfort, but there's no growth, maybe happiness, but that's not lasting, something fleeting of the world. And so if what I'm searching for is everlasting peace, then I will follow Heavenly Father's will no matter what.

Kathryn Davis 16:55

Well, Cristi, it just sounds like from really a young age, we mentioned this earlier, but you really have applied President Nelson's counsel, when he said this, he said, the word willing is crucial to this interpretation of Israel. We all have our agency, we can choose to be of Israel or not, we can choose to let God prevail in our lives or not. We can choose to let God be the most powerful influence in our lives or not. Right. And that choice, you said you were 17? Yes. That choice that 17 allowing and choosing to let God prevail in your life. How has that influenced other choices you have had to make the older you've gotten?

Cristi Brazao 17:44

Well, I think with accepting callings, and not only callings that are given to me at church, but call to, to teach at the school that I'm teaching at now. And I'm a mother and I have four kids. And sometimes people wonder how all this is going to fit together. And I've accepted a call to teach. I go forward again, not knowing how it's going to work out. But keeping my focus on Jesus Christ. And things fall together. They always do. I think with singing, sometimes I would get scared to sing. Sometimes hymns of the restoration scare me. And you have to stand there and sing. You know where I'm used to being able to move. I'm used to be able to clap. But you stand there and you sing. Sometimes that was scary. And it takes faith to go and use your gifts and share them with people and realize that it's not about you. It's not about it's not about me. If I really wants to do the Lord's work, then I have to be willing to do things that will make me uncomfortable.

Kathryn Davis 18:46

It reminds me of this quote, which I love. It says, "Faith to be faith must go into the unknown. Faith to be faith must walk to the edge of the light and then a few steps into the darkness." Why do you think that's how it is? Because I feel that, Cristi, like I feel that in in my life so many times that it is these steps into the unknown, with your teaching seminary or with your baptism or with other experiences you have had. It's like the steps into the darkness. What if it seems too dark or too scary? And we can't necessarily find the willingness to make that leap.

Cristi Brazao 19:26

I would say think back to your lowest moment where you can't go any lower. And if you're there, just try it. Just Just try him is what I would say. We can't go any lower and we don't have anywhere else to turn than just try Heavenly Father and see. And then, the most of us I think if we're able to look back over our lives, we can remember, even if we were little, we can remember a time when I prayed for that. It happened a lot when we were little. A little kid. So we pray that things happen. We pray for... you know, my kids in Utah pray for snow and then a snow the next day, they will pray to find something and they found it. Those were training grounds. And I think that those were experiences that Heavenly Father gives us when we're little to let us know that he is there for us. And we can look back on it. It can be something so small, but he will answer the prayer of a young person, a little person, when we can remember feeling something in your heart and just knowing something. Knowing Heavenly Father was there knowing that he's working something in our lives. I would say go back to that moment, and then try.

Kathryn Davis 20:37

So what does it look like to try? Try what?

Cristi Brazao 20:40

Talking to Heavenly Father, whether it's out loud, or whether it's in your heart. Just talk to him and say, I don't even know how to try. I want to be willing, I don't know how to be willing, or just be really honest. And say, I'm scared. This is scary. And I don't know what to do. And just pour your heart out. That's trying to me Yeah, and a loving Heavenly Father will never leave you.

Kathryn Davis 21:05

No, because I love that the Savior is always inviting us to come, come and see come and feel, come and experience, knowing that he is there. Yes. And sometimes it takes that willingness to trust that he is there. And to try it.

Cristi Brazao 21:24

And to just try. I mean, Jesus Christ was at a low, low moment, his lowest moments in the Garden of Gethsemane where He asked, you know, that this cup can be taken away from him, and it was not, but Heavenly Father sent an angel to give him comfort. And so something will happen. He did it for Jesus Christ, He will do it for everyone. And my mom was she was teaching me how to pray. She said, You know, you can pull things back to Heavenly Father, Cristi. You can say you did this for Christ, I know that you can do this for me. And as a daughter of God, I like to make my Father in Heaven proud. I like to make him happy. And I know that comes from being willing to follow His will. And talking to him in a way that says, I know that you can do this, I trust you. I'm down right now. I'm so confused. But I know that you love me. Help me to hold on. I want to hold on. And even it's just a sliver of faith. I still want to hold on to this. And he will do it. Because I think we all have those moments where we get super low.

Kathryn Davis 22:32

I think we do. And I think that's part of the plan. And I love how you said how important it is to remember. And maybe that's why it's mentioned so often in the Scriptures and the Book of Mormon, is to remember those times where you have received an answer or remember those times where you have felt light or felt close to our Heavenly Father. And sometimes it's just in the remembering... that holding on to that. That's all we have for an extended period of time.

Cristi Brazao 23:05

Exactly. Just holding on to that and sharing it with other people. You know, my mom would always say, "Cristi, trouble don't last always." It will come to an end. Something will. Whether it's a torment that you're feeling inside your heart, whether it's a pain in your body physically, it's a pain in your mind mentally, Heavenly Father will help. He will come to our aid.

Kathryn Davis 23:28

So true. Well, Bonnie Corden even said this, she said, "True joy rests on our willingness to come closer to Christ and witness for ourselves." Just like what you were saying, like true joy comes when we're willing to take that step into the unknown. When we're willing to leave the boat and walk towards him. When we're willing to follow, even when we're unsure of the outcome, whether that's like you said with being baptized, or trying to teach seminary, a lot of those are in in the unknown, but joy comes when we're willing. And when we act on that willingness, yes. So as you've chosen the Savior's way, and you've been working on increasing your willingness to know Him better, what have you learned about the character of God? And what have you learned about yourself?

Cristi Brazao 24:24

I've learned the Heavenly Father wants his children to grow. So in those moments where I have been willing to follow His will, and I feel like things didn't turn out the way that I thought they would, then that's a loving Heavenly Father saying, Well, it's time to grow in your faith. You know, will you prove yourself here? Which is deep down what I want to do anyway. So it's been helpful for me to learn the way that Heavenly Father works. And it's not just where I put in a request for I do this and automatically get what I think that I'm wanting to get back.

Kathryn Davis 24:57

So do you think he was still leading you when you felt prompted to take those seminary teaching classes and it didn't work out, was he still leading you?

Cristi Brazao 25:07

No doubt, no doubt. And I think it was because I was just excited about something. I wasn't sad. And then I learned some truths. From my teaching preparations that I can use now. I did go on to teach still. And I'm teaching at a college right now. I think that helps me. Because I have students now who are searching. Of course, I'm not at a school that's a church school. But I can definitely lead them through research and my writing and research class. There's no doubt that he was guiding me. But the call was for something else, and not what I thought.

Kathryn Davis 25:44

And you just had to be willing to take those steps.

Cristi Brazao 25:46

Yes, definitely.

Kathryn Davis 25:48

I think of willingness and trying to stay vigilant in my quest to be willing to follow the Savior. And I always think of Nephi. Right, that story of Nephi's courage in Nephi one, chapter three, verse seven, where he says, "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commanded them." I think that took so much faith and willingness for Nephi to understand that the Lord would prepare a way. And I love this quote from Elder Bednar, when elder Bednar was talking about the story to seminary teachers, he said, Do you think in the middle of it, Nephi saw all the things that God was doing? Oh, no. And then he said, I don't I don't think so. I don't think it was until he was looking back and remembering right, and writing the things that he saw God's hand in it. And I think sometimes when we're in the middle of it, whether that's teaching seminary, or whatever that is, for me, when I'm in the middle of it, I don't always necessarily feel like maybe God is leading me. But if I'm willing to be led, when I look back, I can always see his hand.

Cristi Brazao 27:08

Definitely. And I expect obstacles to come. I mean, it's just not going to come easy. So when I am following Heavenly Father's will, for me, I just know that there are going to be some bumps in the road, I'm going to be frustrated, I'm going to shed some tears, I'm going to feel weak at times. But I've made up my mind from the beginning, that I'm going to do this, I'm going to see it through until the end. And so we go in willing, and we say okay, no matter what, we're going to accomplish this task, or we're going to stay with it until the end, then whatever comes, whatever comes, we will accomplish the thing that Heavenly Father has asked us to do.

Kathryn Davis 27:51

So what has been the most important lesson that you've learned as you let God prevail and been willing to follow those promptings?

Cristi Brazao 27:59

The most important lesson that I've learned is that he will always answer prayers. I know we hear that a lot, but he will always answer our prayers in whatever way that he sees fit for us to grow. And I can't deny that, because I've had so many experiences where he has, where I called out, and I've asked for help from the atonement of Christ. And he has been there. And so at this point in my life, there's just no denying it. So I've gone through struggles, I've gone through spiritual struggles. But I made up my mind at 17 that I'm going to stay focused on Jesus Christ. And so the ways will come, I knew they would, and they did come. They were just here last week. But I've kept my focus on Jesus Christ. And that's how I'm still here. That's how I'm still a member of the church. That's how I'm still serving. Because I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers.

Kathryn Davis 29:02

What happened last week?

Cristi Brazao 29:03

You know what, last week, my mind focused on "the only one." I just felt like, we're always the only ones in my family, the only ones and I was just sick of it. We're always the only black family. We're always the only ones who want, you know, this type of music. And we were okay with that. But for some reason, last week, I just said, I'm sick and tired of being the only one. You know, and we don't want that anymore. But then where are we going to go to? To whom will we go? to who will we go? To have all the knowledge to have all the blessings, the temple and just feeling just not really knowing where home was anymore as far as a faith. And this is the first time I've ever been through that. This is the first time I've ever experienced this. Yes. And I'm looking up and thinking, after 25 years, everybody returns home at some point. But then where's home now? It just took a lot of prayer. And I think that came because I was preparing for this podcast, too. And I went, and I was reading over the talk again from President Nelson. Our come follow me, we're studying in Acts and the gospel being going out to everyone. I don't know, I just started to feel that inclusion again, because I was feeling like no one understands me, no one understands my family. We're just always the only ones. And we just have to pray and, and fast and forgive and be kind. But just feeling weary, I guess.

Kathryn Davis 30:44

Feeling weary. And I might not be able to understand a lot of maybe how you felt last week. And maybe a lot of listeners can't. But I think we can all understand the feeling weary. Yeah. And so when you feel that, when you feel weary, when you feel like you've reached a limit, that maybe I don't know how much more I can do... last week, or whenever that is in your life, how has willingness to go to and turn to our Heavenly Father, how did that help you find peace this last few days?

Cristi Brazao 31:25

That's where it comes. That's where it comes right then when you're just at the end of your rope. That's where we get to prove ourselves. I don't know if that comes from a bit of stubbornness. I don't know if that comes from Satan, you're not going to win. But it's just when you get right there at the end. And you just push through right there. That's when we get to prove ourselves as disciples of Jesus Christ. I want to be among those who chose him when it was really hard. And so yes, we got right there, right there at the end and go, You know what, it could be as simple as I'm going to get up and go to church. I'll show you. Okay, yes, I'm going to do that. I'm still going to get on my knees and pray, I'm going to do that. I'm going to read from the Book of Mormon, because I didn't come this far, just to come this far. And I can look back and go, you know, you've been through harder. This is all in your head. First of all, you made it up, or came from somewhere. But it's all in your head right now. I like being able to prove myself to Heavenly Father. I care about what he thinks of me. Not anyone else, what does heavenly father think of me? And I often think about this where my mind goes to our conversations, what is it going to be like, when we get to sit down and talk face to face? Me and Heavenly Father. I want to be able to sit and reminisce on remember this time when you know... but I want him to say, "yes, but you chose me." That's what I want. This world can give you that type of peace that won't come from any other person. If we have our sights set on that. He mentioned in this talk, not being myopic, nearsighted, but if our focus is on the eternal, and we're sitting with our Heavenly Father, and we were at that lowest point that I want to be able to say, I didn't turn my back, I was hurt, I was confused. I really didn't even understand you, Heavenly Father, at that moment, I did not understand what you're doing with my life. But I knew that there was no other alternative. I knew that if I turn my back... to what? to something that's not lasting. That's where I want to be in my relationship with my Heavenly Father. And to think of a more, you know, think of things in a more eternal perspective. And when I do that, when those moments come, like last week, when I'm feeling down about things, I look to that and go, I'm going to be willing to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I'm going to go and do it anyway. And I might fall on my face, but you know what, I'm going to crawl and I'm just going to be there. And I'm going to stay there. I'm going to stay with Heavenly Father. In the Baptist Church in a song we sing it says, "I think I'll run on and see what the end is going to be." I think I'll go ahead and stay in this race, and I'll see what the end's going to be.

Kathryn Davis 34:20

Cristi, first of all, thank you for being so real and so vulnerable. Because I think we can all relate to those moments where we just feel a lack and we feel where do we turn? or we're without hope and things are hard, and they're not turning out like we think they should, even though we're trying to do our best and do all the things, it's not looking like how we think we should and your willingness is such an example to me. That if we're willing to turn to our Heavenly Father in hard moments and in good moments that he can fill us with peace, that that's where peace comes. I love how you said that, that that's where peace comes, is him the Prince of Peace.

Cristi Brazao 35:10

Yes. I mean, can you imagine Jesus Christ saying to you, will you leave me too? Oh, no, and go where?

Kathryn Davis 35:20

And go where? And it all starts with trying to have that willing heart. And it's the willingness that can grow, right, like even in Alma 32, where we're talking about gaining a testimony, it all starts with that desire, it all starts with that willingness. And so, if we are lacking, if we are questioning, if we are wondering, it starts with willingness, it starts with the desire to, I love how you said that, try. To just try.

Cristi Brazao 35:53

And it doesn't have to be something grand either. I mean, I have a little garden that I'm working in. I spent a lot of time in the garden with my four year old son, and just watching him has helped me to increase my willingness to just plant a seed, because he plants a seed, and he just expects it to grow. And me, I'm watching over it. Did I put it in the sun right? You know, did I plant it too deep? You know, here in Florida, sometimes those seeds rot underneath the ground. But he just plants a seed and he goes about his life. And I thought, that's the type of unwavering faith that that I want. And then he planted a seed and it was knocked over and it didn't grow. And he says, Why didn't it grow? And then he went and he just planted another one. I mean, he wasn't hung up on why didn't this seed grow? What happened? What did I do wrong? Or is something wrong with me? Is something wrong with the seed? No, he just went and he planted another one.

Kathryn Davis 36:45

He's just willing to try again.

Cristi Brazao 36:47

He's just willing to try again. Yes. So small things like that have really helped. Working in the garden with my son have really helped me. So when those big things come, especially when it comes to trials of your faith. I can think back to this little time in the garden with my son, and his example of unwavering faith and to be willing to be willing to just plant the seed and watch it grow. If it doesn't grow. Okay, well, we're going to plant another. Learning from little kids is wonderful.

Kathryn Davis 37:19

Well, and I get to learn from you right now. Like, not only being willing, but acting on that willingness, letting God prevail. I love that thought that God can make more of our lives than we could possibly ever do on our own. And in order for that to happen, we have to be willing to let him be in charge. No matter how scary that seems.

Cristi Brazao 37:44

Definitely. I think it'll be more scary to go at it without him. Yeah, by myself, or with something that was fleeting, in this world, unreliable, unsure. That's scary. That's scarier, I think, than to trust in God, and trust in his will for me.

Kathryn Davis 38:04

So Cristi, we like to end every episode with a small and simple challenge, something that we can work on throughout the week. So what would be your small and simple challenge for us to increase our willingness to follow the Savior this week?

Cristi Brazao 38:22

Okay, so now you're bringing up the English professor. And so I would ask you to write down things. You know, just think about things in life, even when you're a kid, where Heavenly Father has blessed you, when you prayed for something and you received an answer to your prayer, write that down. Because that will be golden. That will be your scriptures. As you've written when those times do come when you're on shaky ground and being tossed. So write it down and go if you could do it for five year old me. You can do it for me right now. And I think that will help with willingness.

Kathryn Davis 39:02

Because those times will come they will come. Such good advice. Cristi, thank you so much for being willing to share today and being willing to talk with us. I have learned so much about my personal relationship with the Savior and how I can be kind of a better disciple.

Cristi Brazao 39:21

Oh, yeah. Okay. It's gonna be hard. It's gonna be rough, but we'll be there together. Thank you.

Kathryn Davis 39:29

I loved when Cristi said peace comes at the end of your rope when you're willing to follow him. And I have found that in my life, way too often it's at the end of my rope, but the peace always comes. He has promised. Thanks for being here. And hop on over to Instagram at magnify community for more inspiration and conversation. And of course, subscribe and listen to the bagpipe podcast wherever you get your shows. Let's meet up again next week.

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