Monday, October 6, 2014

Thankful For My Trials

It takes a lot of time and perspective to get to the point where I'm grateful for my trials. But I always, always, always see the point of them much later. I firmly believe that there is always a lesson to be learned, always a point to what's happening, always growth to be had if I respond to my trials appropriately.

I don't always respond appropriately and it takes so much longer to come out of the thick darkness of a trial when I get angry and lash out and want others to hurt as much as I am hurting.

But when I allow myself to be humbled and I search deeply for answers and guidance within the Gospel - with the knowledge that there are lessons to be learned in this - I can always look back and see how much the trial was specifically made for me. To test my specific weaknesses. And I can see how I handled it well or didn't. If I stood strong in my beliefs or if I wavered. And why. And what I can do differently in the future.

For that, I'm thankful. That's the only way I can learn and grow as a person. If I can learn to face tough challenges with grace, not always get what I want when I want it, but still see the beauty and opportunities to serve in the hardest of circumstances, and come out on the other side with a better perspective and an awesome battle scar, then that's exactly what needs to happen. I'm reminded that we have a wise Father in Heaven who knows us all individually and knows what we need to face, what trials we need to overcome, to become what He knows we can be. Trusting that He knows what He's doing makes being able to be grateful for our trials possible.

I talked to an old friend who I hadn't seen for a year and a half. We didn't know anything about each other's lives in the meantime (no Facebooking). And it was so interesting to catch up and to be able to tell her all that had transpired in that time and to be able to say this-this-and-this happened, "But it's okay. I feel great!" And to list all the reasons why. All is well. Seriously. She wanted to know about the new baby (that never came... failure) and how the business I started with my friend was going (HA HA... another failure). It was so refreshing to catch up with her and see the whole past year and a half laid out like that. And to know that I survived and I know better about things that I didn't have a clue about then. I feel like the last several years especially have been a battleground of learning for me.

But now I am stronger. I am more grounded in my faith. I am wiser. More confident. I care less about what people think about me. I know that I have a voice and I don't have to sit down and shut up. I know that I can do hard things. I know that I can be brave. That I can be me without apologies. That I deserve good things. That God works on a timeline that has nothing to do with mine, but that He loves me and is ever-constant in being mindful of me and giving me what I need, not always what I want. I know more about trust and who I should give it to and who I shouldn't. I am better because of my trials. I can look back and feel satisfaction in knowing that all that has happened in my life has happened for very good reasons and has led to today. And today is beautiful.

I think a couple years ago I thought that we wouldn't face failed adoptions... because life has been hard enough and I deserved something to work out in my favor. I was wrong. That's not how life works. Now I know better. Now I know that if it's something I need to face and learn from, it's going to happen. And I'm never going to be fully in control of my life. Letting go and letting God lead is the biggest lesson to be learned for me. I know that my circumstances have been unique to me and my life has been crafted to show me just what I'm capable of and who I can be and what I can overcome.

Now that the knife-to-the-heart feeling has faded, I know everything's gonna be all right. Because I'm still here. And still smiling. Life is good. Not just despite of the bad things that have happened, but because of them. Life is not over because bad things have happened - there is so much more to my story to go!

We Are Not Made for Endings

In light of what we know about our eternal destiny, is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings of life, they seem unacceptable to us? There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings.

Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny.

The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful.

How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings.                    
                                                             -- Dieter F. Uchtdorf (Grateful in Any Circumstances)

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