Today is the first day of our new lives. It's been a loooong time since my last post. Blake graduated in April with a bachelor's degree in Psychology. I guess we figured that once he was graduated, he'd get his dream job right off, make lots of money, and all our monetary worries would be over. Instead we both just went through an entire summer (second one for me ) jobless. Things kept getting tighter and worries seemed to take over both our lives. We kept somewhat busy with the four callings we had in church, but we've both been stressed for a long time. Getting our car totaled in California didn't help at all.
To say the least, I was having a really hard time with my faith. I started doubting God, his love for me and his love for all his children. It was a really dark place in my life. I was upset that there was so much suffering in the world, upset that I saw God differently and upset that I didn't at all seem to be the same person I once loved.
I grew cynical, and I don't know where I'd be without Blake, friends, and especially my mom to guide me back to faith. I didn't understand why my Heavenly Father wouldn't give us the blessings we so desperately needed. All we wanted was a job so that we could get by, provide for our essential needs and be in the position to bless others. We were SO greatly blessed with friends and family that supported us, loved us and truly blessed us in our time of need. I was scared though, that we would always be the ones receiving help and never be able to give it. I began to have lots of negative self-talk. Convincing myself that I wasn't good enough, not pretty enough, not kind enough, smart enough, or special at all. Believing these things was the worst thing that happened to me. I lost touch with the girl I once loved in me.
I had several key talks with my mother. Anyone who knows her, understands what an angel she is and how her testimony of the gospel blesses so many lives. She taught me I couldn't give up on the things I believed in. I had to stay strong, stay true and that if there was a time to show that I will obey my Heavenly Father no matter what, that time was now when I was being tested. It really put things into perspective for me. I was being blinded by so many things that I really forgot what this life was all about. It wasn't about being comfortable, it wasn't about making lots of money, or having an easy ride. I think I had kind of thought that as long as I did all the things I was supposed to, Heavenly Father would give me everything I ever wanted. I came to realize that in this life we find joy, but it is also necessary to have sorrow. Even if we keep all the commandments, we cannot escape trial and sorrow. We are meant to know these things and it is OK because this is the only way we become perfected. Over weeks of building my faith back up, I rediscovered my Savior's love for me and for all of Heavenly Father's children.
This life IS hard. It is hard for everyone. My mother told me that she sometimes wishes she could just take all my pain away, that she could take away all the hard things from my life and save me from the worry and hurt. . . .but she doesn't love me as much as my heavenly father does. She would be hurting my chances at growth by taking away all the hard things from my life. My Heavenly Father LOVES me. And more than anything, he wants me to return to Him so that I can become like him. I know that seeing his children in pain must be difficult because he loves us, but he has the foresight to see what blessings and growth we will receive in overcoming those trials.
I have seen the blessings from my trials. I have increased faith, hope, love for my spiritual brothers and sisters. I have more longing to do right, MORE compassion for those in pain, MORE gratitude, more trust in the Lord. . . . . and I am HAPPY.
I am happy. . . I am HAPPY. I have peace. I have joy. My only fear is that I might someday forget the things I've learned.
It is a difficult thing for me to always remember the things I'm working for and what really matters in this life; what brings true happiness. It is a battle everyday, every hour to keep myself focused and grateful for the things I have.
Blake has been recently blessed with a job in Salt Lake. We can't begin to express our thanks for this opportunity. It's bigger and better than anything we could have dreamed up for ourselves. We have an outpouring of blessings. I have nothing but gratitude for my father in heaven who knew to keep certain blessings from us so that we could grow and receive the greatest of blessings now at this time in our lives. He is all-knowing and has infinite love for a sinner like me.
In getting this job, I'm only understanding better and better that the worldly things in this life are not the ones that bring happiness. Yes, money is important in the fact that we need it to provide for our physical needs, but other than that simple security it brings, money does not bring happiness. Money brings swift and fleeting pleasure. I'm certain that those who use their lives to make more money just so they can buy more things are never happy. They do make the money, and buy the item. And in the moment they buy that item they may seem satisfied. But that satisfaction is short lived and then they're immediately onto the bigger, brighter and showier. But when the focus is on the eternal. When the focus is on others, on personal development, on blessing the people around us, we find peace, joy and contentment. At least for me it's so easy to get caught up in things of the world; having this, doing that, owning such and such. . . . having the things others have. It only makes me tired, proud, and unhappy. There's always someone with more and you start resent others for the things they have. If I can just keep a reminder every hour of the things that bring joy (family, friends, good spiritual standing, relationship with my savior, talents, blessings, service, gratitude, etc. ) Then I will not only be happy with the life I have, but I will be happy for others who get blessed in their own special ways instead of always envying them.
I know that right now life is working out. But I also know that soon I will have another trial to grow through. I ache for all those in the world going through tough times. I ache and feel guilty that my troubles are relatively small. I pray for all of you that struggle right now and promise you that there is hope.
I have come to love Alma chapter 34. It reads, "[I would] that ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you. Yea, and I also exhort you, my brethren, that ye may be watchful unto prayer continually, that ye may not be led away by the temptations of the devil, that he may mot overpower you, that ye may not become his subjects at the last day' for behold, he rewardeth you no good thing [...] But have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions."
Have hope. One day you WILL rest from ALL your afflictions. They may be great and hard to bear. Our Savior is there. His atonement is not only for our sins, but for our sorrows also and He will make our burdens light if we believe Him. If you feel broken and fragmented (as I did), He will make you whole again. He is good, He is perfect, He loves us and will never leave us as long as we keep choosing Him. This life is ours to make of it what we will. We choose to believe, we choose to trust in Him, we choose to obey, we are grateful.
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