Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Blessings of Trials

Lately, I've been feeling the most wonderful joy inside of me, for no apparent reason at all. Well, sort of. There hasn't been any big, extraordinary event in my life lately, and I still have struggles, but my life is just so happy.
I feel so overjoyed to be alive. I know that I have a special and divine purpose here on earth. I can feel that. I am starting to see my part in life and it's so exciting.
As you may know, this past winter, spring, and summer were really tough for me. They were the hardest months I've ever known. I went through many long, drawn out trials. I prayed over and over again for solace, healing, and peace. They were months filled with pain and desperation. Now, however, I'm seeing those trials come to a close and I am experiencing a very blessed reprieve. I feel so grateful to my Heavenly Father that He gave me the strength to come out on top. I am so blessed.
Looking in retrospect, I can see just how much those painfully, seemingly excruciating trials helped me grow. I can see how much my relationship with my Savior, Father in Heaven, and the Holy Ghost have grown. I have learned to pray with all of my might to my Heavenly Father. He listens, and loves me. I've realized how magnificent and marvelous Christ's atonement is for me. And, I've come to recognize the Holy Ghost's influence more precisely in my life. These are incredible gifts that help me every day.
For example, the past seven months I have worn a back brace. When I first got it, I was devastated. It looked so awful on me, and I felt so self conscious. Sometimes I didn't even want to leave the house. Plus, it was uncomfortable. I tried and I tried to accept it. I prayed continually that Father would grant me the power to see myself as He did, instead of just seeing how I looked. It took a long time, about six months, but finally I started being able to see myself as a beautiful daughter of God. This is one of the main things I learned from wearing my brace. I realized that it truly is not what's on the outside that counts. My identity is not what color my hair is, or how shirts may look on me, that is just an earthly shell. My identity is a noble, royal, elect daughter of God, saved through the ages for such a time as this. Finally, a few weeks ago, my doctor gave me permission to stop wearing the brace. I feel so incredibly liberated and exhilarated. I didn't realize how much of a blessing it is to be able to bend over, twist my torso, and stretch my back until I had a large, ugly, green piece of plastic wrapped around my body everyday.

This is kind of what my brace looked like, except it was forest green (it had a water droplet pattern), and the straps were a little different. But, the top went to a bit under my neck, the bottom went over my hips.

Also, ever since last fall, one of my dear friends has been suffering a devastating trial. It practically destroyed this wonderful person. It was so difficult to see my friend in so much anguish, and know that they wouldn't accept the Lord's help. I've been praying for this person everyday for a year, and fasting for them every single fast Sunday. Sometimes I even fasted for my friend on non-fast Sundays. But, about a week or to ago, I put this person's name on the temple prayer roll. I'd never done that for anyone before, but I knew it couldn't hurt. Almost immediately, I saw a change in this person. My friend's habits have begun to change for the better. I've seen this person begin to draw closer to the Lord. And my relationship with this friend has increased ever so much just in this short period of time. I'm so extremely grateful that the Lord is answering my prayer and helping my amazing friend. I have developed a testimony of the temple prayer roll. I'm so incredibly thankful for it. And I'm so very glad that my friend is beginning to be healed by the Savior's atonement.
This, my dear friends, is why I am so full of joy. I am just so wonderfully glad that I have such a loving and merciful God. My testimony has truly been strengthened through my trials, and there have been many. I'm so eternally grateful that I am the daughter of my Father in Heaven. I know for sure that there are great things in store for me. I know that He has a plan and purpose for me here on this earth.
If you are struggling, upset, angry, afflicted, depressed, grieving, or are in any other way facing trials, turn to the Lord. He holds the balm for your pain. I know this to be true with every fiber of my being. The Lord loves you. I know this. You are a precious child of a King.

Christ's arms are always open. He will carry you.

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