This week was tougher than usual. We all get to those points in life where we just feel like things keep piling on top of us faster than we can get through them. That was my week. And unfortunately, it seems that the most important things are the ones we always neglect first. I had an experience yesterday that reminded me that I need to keep my priorities straight. I need my scripture study and prayers to be the first thing I think of when things get overwhelming. I need charity, patience and diligence to be the attributes I remember rather than anger, frustration, and selfishness. I was getting so tired of feeling like I was the only one trying – trying to be better, trying to keep myself spiritually stronger, trying to be friends, and tired of feeling like that because I know it’s not true. All I wanted was a break. Time where I could forget about everything. Time to read a book for however long I wanted. Time to watch movies without feeling like the most unproductive person on the planet. Time to play the piano without worrying about wasting time when I should be doing homework. Just… time to not worry about anything.
When I got home last night, I just planned to call a friend, talk for a while, read some scriptures then go to bed. Well… I thank my friend dearly for not answering the phone because it blessed me so much more than I anticipated. I learned a powerful lesson… for probably the hundredth and definitely not the last time – The Lord needs to be the first person we turn to, ALWAYS, no matter what is going on. He loves us, truly He does. He’s aware of our needs before we ever are and He gives us what we need to get through the tough times. It’s unfortunate that I forget that so often, but very fortunate that Heavenly Father knows I forget it more than I should and reminds me of it often.
So, instead of talking to my friend, I decided to study my scriptures. I needed to prepare my lesson for young women’s anyway, so might as well. About five minutes into that study, I realized I hadn’t prayed… NEVER start a scripture study without praying. When I stopped to pray, I just was going to make it quick so I could continue where I was. Just a “please bless me with the Spirit so I know what to say tomorrow” prayer. Those are never good enough. Thankfully, my mission taught me a lot about prayer and the fact that if it’s not sincere, it’s not real. At least, it doesn’t feel real. Within a few seconds of starting my prayer, I knew there was more I needed to say and ask my Father in Heaven before I was done talking to Him. It’s amazing and sounds kind of weird since Heavenly Father is the one you’re praying to, but the Spirit can play a rather huge part in prayers and guiding you to know what to ask, what to say and what you need. Like I said, Heavenly Father knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows what we need before we pray for it. So why do we pray? Because WE need to pray. We are the ones who need to develop that relationship with Him. Not because Heavenly Father needs us to. He is always wanting to improve our relationship with Him, but WE are the ones who have to do something about it, otherwise, it compromises our agency.
Anyway, questions that I needed to ask during the lesson, questions I needed to ask myself as I studied and ideas of what to study immediately started flowing into my mind once I’d realized that prayer was exactly what I needed right then. What I needed, what Heavenly Father knew I needed most at that moment, was to forget myself and do what I’ve been called to do, not just as a Young Women’s leader, but as His Daughter. I’ve said it once, and I’m sure I’ll say it many times again: I love my life so much more when it isn’t about me. I’m happier when I serve and I learn so much more when I stop focusing on what I need. It’s wonderful the way that works. 🙂 So my so-called five second prayer turned into a five minute prayer and I felt immensely better when I returned to my studies. And as I studied, I felt the Spirit more abundantly than I have in a while. I knew that what I was studying was what I needed to share with the young women, but almost more importantly, I gained a stronger testimony of this beautiful Gospel and what it has done for me in my life. As I watched a video about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how one, Wilford Woodruff, came to know of it’s truth, I was overwhelmed with such gratitude to my Savior for allowing me to be born into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and for allowing me to finally find my own personal testimony and witness of its truth when I was 17. And I am so grateful that I can continue to strengthen that testimony as I teach others what I know to be true.
Last night, that experience humbled me. It taught me again that I can’t give up. It taught me again that I’m not alone, nor am I ever. It taught me again that I am important and a tool in the Lord’s hands. He is using me to strengthen and beautify others, who they are, their knowledge and their testimonies. Through my diligent, humble, kind and loving service, lives will be changed and the world will become a better place. I know that I have touched so many lives throughout the years I’ve been privileged to live on this earth, but just the same, those lives have touched me. They have been tools in the Lord’s hands as well, to shape and change me into who I am today, and to continue shaping and changing me into who I can become.
I am so happy and grateful for the things that I learn and re-learn every day. I will forever be grateful to those who have touched my life, even if it was only briefly and I will be forever grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, who has made it possible for me, for all of us to change and become as He is. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom established once again and for the final time on the Earth today. I know that through Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ has restored all the truth we need to be able to live again with our Heavenly Family forever. I confidently and forever stand behind the Lord’s prophet, seer and revelator today, Thomas S. Monson. I proudly stand behind President Monson’s two counsellors, Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf. I know that they, and the Quorum of the 12 Apostles and other leaders throughout the Church, are all men (and women) of God. They have been called of God to lead us in these latter days, and I know that when they speak, they speak the truth. They speak the words that Christ would say if He were here, physically, today.
The Lord, our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, is wonderful. He is the center of my life, and I plan to never look away from Him. Only good things come from following Him, and ultimately, only the best comes from doing as He has done.