This week has been pretty fantastic for me. I love when things seem to just fall into place, especially after a few weeks of struggling, even if those struggles weren’t extremely difficult. But the events in my life over the past week have made me reflect quite a lot about the Lord’s hand in my life. It’s pretty amazing and awe-inspiring. It’s exactly what I need to remember everything I know and stand for, and to remember all that I want in my life.
Since I’m a leader in Young Women’s in my home ward, I had the privilege of spending five days this week at girl’s camp with the girls in my stake. Let me just say that it’s pretty awesome being a leader at camp – you get to sit and relax almost the whole time. And the girls were so willing to help and at least two or three always jumped at the opportunity to help with making a fire, cooking food, cleaning the camp site, walking up the hill to get stuff from the main pavilion, etc. They were such champs and wonderful helpers! I definitely appreciated that so me and the other leaders up there didn’t have to work so hard to get things done. Anyway, I always loved girl’s camp as a youth. I loved being in the mountains, away from the world. I cherished that time in the morning as the sun came up and I was one of the only people who’d wake up so early. I always read my scriptures in the peaceful mornings with the sounds of nature surrounding me. It was amazing. But my favorite part has always been testimony meeting on the last night up there. Each ward gathers together and gives every person there an opportunity to bear their testimonies. I’d almost forgotten how powerful such a simple meeting could be, and honestly, it’s even more powerful than the monthly testimony meetings we have every month at church because almost everyone gets up and you get to see a side of people that doesn’t often show, especially in 12-18 year old girls. The Spirit is always powerful and this time was no different in that sense for me. However, there was a difference – I was a leader, and a return missionary. I felt so much more love for each of those girls than I ever have before. Those beautiful girls have powerful testimonies and though they’re young, they have some pretty amazing experiences in their lives already. My life was changed because of their examples and so was theirs. I know that callings in church (and even in life!) come directly from the Lord. I was called as a Young Women’s leader because these girls need to hear my testimony and experiences, but I think mostly I was called to this position because I need to hear their testimonies and experiences. We all need each other, one way or another, and because of that, our specific gifts and talents are given to us for just that purpose – to help one another change and become better and closer to Christ. I know Heavenly Father knows each of us better than we could ever know ourselves, so He knows exactly what we’re in need of, when and who is best to help us during every minute of every day.
The second example from this week’s thoughts: This country was completely and totally inspired. I’ve been reading a book series called “Prelude to Glory”. It’s written by an LDS author, and it’s about the Revolutionary War and the spiritual side of that entire point in history. I’ve not yet finished the first book, but it’s made me think more deeply about things related to it. I have no doubt in my mind that the Founding Fathers were absolutely and 100% inspired by God to rebel against England in order to form a country where we could be free to worship, say, think, and act in whatever manner we feel is right for us. Because of the revolution and the formation of the United States of America, the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was made possible. Without our Founding Fathers, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or all the other denominations, for that matter) wouldn’t be here today. We wouldn’t have the blessing and privilege of worshiping Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father with the Priesthood, the covenants and the ordinances that we have – baptism, temples, etc. Sure we might have religion, but more likely because it was forced upon us than that we chose it, and that never works out very well.
Finally, I have no doubt that I was meant to be at home this long after my mission. The past few months have been filled with ups and downs where I constantly was wishing I was back at school and more productive than I have been. I kept thinking that I shouldn’t have decided to stay at home this long. At one point, I thought I’d be moving to southern Utah for a couple months before school started, but it ended up not working out. At first, I was bummed, but then I realized that staying home is exactly where I’m needed most and where the people I need are at. I don’t think my life would’ve been awful had I been able to move early, but I would’ve missed out on things that have changed my life and strengthened me – Girl’s Camp and friends coming home from their missions. Because I’ve been home for this long, I’ve been wonderfully blessed with spiritual experiences at church with the Young Women, and in the past couple months with childhood friends returning home I’ve had the chance to talk with them and be strengthened by their powerful testimonies and mission experiences. They are exactly what I need at this point in my life.
As I’ve had the chance to talk with my friends about different spiritual experiences and topics, I’ve had some amazing realizations and thoughts. I have a favorite scripture from Doctrine and Covenants 50:21-22 that says “Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth? Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.” While I have these spiritual discussions, I do everything I can to be open to what the Spirit has to teach me, and as I do that, I learn so much more about myself, about my friends, about the Gospel and about Jesus Christ. I understand better and I can truly say that I am edified. And honestly, those are my happiest moments – when I can feel the Spirit working through me or through others to the point where it changes me or the people around me. I’d rather have a spiritual discussion than spend all day laughing at random jokes or comedy shows. And that says a lot, because I absolutely love to laugh.
I’m so thankful for the men and women throughout history from the time of Adam and Eve who have listened to the promptings of the Spirit so that we can all be here and have the opportunity to progress and change every day. I’m thankful for the Spirit in my life to show me the correct paths to take – the ones that will bring me the most joy and bless me with what I need every day. I’m grateful that I served a mission where I learned to recognize those spiritual promptings. And today, more than ever, we are in need of that inspiration from God to keep us on the right path, to bring us true joy and to help us strengthen others. I’m so grateful for my inspired friends and family who let spiritual discussions happen. And I’m so thankful for my Father in Heaven, who loves us enough to inspire people so that all of His children have the chance to be blessed and changed.
Because of those few experiences and more I’ve had throughout my life, I have no doubt that Heavenly Father is always watching out for us. If you take time to talk with Him and listen to His answers, I promise you that you won’t ever go astray. He won’t let you go too far down a path without telling you if it’s right or wrong. You just have to be listening and open to whatever the answer is.