Sunday, July 27, 2014

All Is Well, All Is Well

Today as I attended sacrament meeting, I was feeling pretty down. A young woman in the ward gave her farewell talk, for she is reporting to the MTC this Wednesday for her mission to California. I also asked for my mission plaque to be removed from the wall outside of the bishop's office until I figure out whether I'll be going back on my mission. It was also the first time in a few weeks that I was able to partake of the sacrament because of travel and illness. My feelings were tender and I struggled to pay attention to what the speakers were saying, and I continued to struggle until the choir stood up to sing a special musical number. The piece they selected to perform was "Come, Come Ye Saints," and it wasn't until hearing it today that it had special meaning to me. 
"Come, come ye saints, no toil not labor fear. But with joy wend your way. Though hard to you this journey may appear, grace shall be as your day."
One mission companion loved the phrase "grace shall be as your day," because grace is part of Christ's love and His sacrifice for us. Because of the Atonement, we are able to partake of His grace and be healed and forgiven. When going through a difficult time, like I am right now, we need only rely on the Atonement. To be honest, that is something that I struggle to do. I like to be my own savior, but that's not how this life works. We don't have to be our own savior, because we have a Savior who sacrificed all for us because of love. 
"Gird up your loins, fresh courage take, our God will never is forsake." When we face something that looks so daunting and difficult, like the loss of a loved one, or a mental illness like depression or anxiety, sometimes we want to curl up in the corner and close ourselves off to the world. But this hymn counsels us to gird up our loins and take courage! Roll up your sleeves and labor with all your heart, might, mind, and strength to overcome the trial that looms before you. 
"We'll find the place which God for us prepared, far away in the West." That was my mission. God prepared a place for me to serve my mission there in the Salt Lake City West mission. There I labored diligently, but fell under a difficult trial that I couldn't overcome while on my mission. 
"And should we die before our journey's through, happy day all is well!" I "died before my journey's through," because I had to go home before my mission was over. It's a social stigma that you have to finish your mission to have served an honorable mission. What a load of lies and deceit! I served honorably, and it's okay that I didn't finish, because all is well! God will bless me because of my service, and will strengthen me through my weaknesses. So through these trials, I will "make the air with music ring, shout praises to my God and King." I am His daughter, and I will pull through this. And I know that whatever trials each of you is going through, you can pull through them as well. Don't give up when the fight gets hard. Have faith, and everything will work out the way God intends it to. I know this with all my heart. God bless you all. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Right Place at the Right Time

Does it seem like the Lord has a sense of humor sometimes? Or that maybe He gets frustrated with us when we're too impatient to wait for good things. Or when we're not grateful in every circumstance. Like when things go horribly wrong but somehow turn out okay, or blissfully right, and you think to yourself, "God, you really do know what you're doing up there!" That's the moment that we, as His children, begin to trust Him. And every time we lose our way, but have these moments again, we again realize that the Lord has His hand in our lives, and He is directing our paths. 
One example of this is a series of incidents that have happened to me over the past month or so. After five and a half months of my mission, and dealing with depression and anxiety daily, along with little to no sleep, I finally asked my mission president to consider letting me go home to take care of the problems I was dealing with. Three days later, I was crying myself to sleep in my own bed at home. I struggled with adapting back to "civilian" life, and was so lost and confused about my situation. I was tearful a lot, and angry that I was in this situation. I began regretting putting my papers in and going on my mission. I regretted not being a healthier person. I cursed my genetics and biological makeup for causing me problems. I resented my sister, who has no health problems, and just observes as I deal with the "gifts" I found at the shallow end of the gene pool. I also lost myself. I stopped reading my scriptures and praying. I completely cut myself off from my loving Heavenly Father. I convinced myself that He didn't love me anymore, and that He really didn't care what I did with my life. Even when I went to the temple, I pleaded with Him for an answer to my questions, but I had cut myself off, and allowed no communication to occur between Father and daughter. Then, a miracle happened. My cousin's wedding day was approaching, and where should she decide to be married? Why, no other than the beautiful Nauvoo, IL temple! Nauvoo always has and always and forever will hold a special, tender place in my heart. My pulse will always quicken, and my heart jump into my throat whenever I see or hear anything that draws my nostalgic thoughts back to the City of Joseph. I now had this glorious opportunity to revisit the place that means so much to me, and soak in the spirit that occupies that sacred city. I was restless the entire trip there, and made myself sick with nervousness as excitement. I had a few close friends serving as young performing missionaries in Nauvoo this summer, and the thought of seeing them, coupled with the ever-nearing destination of Nauvoo, made my heart flutter and my mind soar. When I finally arrived, I felt whole and complete. Like a missing part of me had been found and replaced. I can now say that I'm content with where I am. I can feel God smiling down at me, and I have a feeling He is saying, "Now, this is what happens when you just trust me. I know you. I know what you need. Please, daughter, trust me and follow me." I can see the path laid out for me. Even though I didn't want to return from my mission, and even  though I was angry and resentful, I can now say that all of these things had a reason. And this isn't the final outcome of the incidents that have occurred in the past month. The things that have happened will have an eternal impact on me, and I will have to carry them for the rest  of my life. But now I know that I really don't have to carry them alone. I now know that the Lord will always make sure that we are in the right place at the right time, but people, we've got to trust Him.