Friday, January 3, 2014

2013: The Year of Surrender and Better Promises

My heart is so full right now! I've been working the last month on reviewing my year and writing my new goals for 2014. Part of my process is going through my old journals for the year and looking back at what I learned through my life experiences both good and bad. I have had the most amazing year of my life! What a blessing it has been to experience all I have!

Reliving all those moments again I remembered all the lessons I learned. Some of them I wouldn't have chosen to learn in the way I learned them had I been given a choice at the beginning of the year, but I am truly grateful for each lesson learned. Lessons like determination and courage. The importance of being present and enjoying the little moments in life. The power of prayer and patience when looking for answers. The realization that even though I may not have had huge traumatic experiences in my life, I can use my normal little life experiences and knowledge to inspire others to live their best lives. There were moments when my heart was overflowing with sweet love and gratitude that words could not express. Moments when lifelong dreams became reality. The surprise moment of being asked to marry the love of my life. 
All these moments come together in the perfect symphony whose beautiful highs and lows remind me that a happy life isn't a life of ease and comfort, but a balance of joy and pain, easy answers and challenges, tender mercies and trials. And through it all is the loving, supportive hand of the Savior gently leading us on the path to eternal life. Helping us along when we struggle. Forgiving and sanctifying us when we sincerely repent of wrong doing. Allowing us to learn the lessons we need to learn in order to become more like our Father in Heaven. Rejoicing with us when we overcome. I am so thankful for the path I have been led on. I have learned so much and gained a greater testimony of the love and power of the Atonement. 
Recently one of my church leaders suggested that I write down my experience of being single for all these years and how I continued to build my testimony and have faith. A friend also asked me what I did to attract such an amazing guy. The answer to that, I know, is that I was being led by a loving Heavenly Father on the perfect path for my life. I know that all the hard things we experience in life, all the trials and heartaches, no matter what they are, are for our learning and for our good. For me a big one was being single. For others it could be disease, depression, death of a loved one, and so many more. There are many things that I've learned that I'd like to share some of that so others can no matter their trial. Unfortunately it would take some major time to write them all down for you. So we'll start with one of the big tools I have learned: surrender. I know I've talked about this before, but it's such a powerful tool that I'm going to talk about it again!:0) if you missed that post click here.
A couple weeks ago My-Handsome-Guy-with-the-Killer-Smile was sharing a scripture with me that I found illustrated surrender in an amazing way. It is in Ether 6 and is the story of the Jaredites crossing the ocean to the promised land. In earlier chapters we learn that the Jaredites language was not confounded at the Tower of Babel and the Lord promises to lead them to a choice land and make them a great nation. The Lord leads them through the wilderness until they come to the "great sea which divideth the lands" (Ether 2:13).  They pitched their tents and lived there for four years. After four years the Lord comes to the brother of Jared and chastens him for not calling on the Lord.  He repents and the Lord instructs him to go and build barges like they had build to cross other seas on their journey.  They build the ships and prepare for the journey with light, water, food and their flocks. When they had done all they could to be ready, they got on their "vessels or barges, and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God" (Ether 6:4). Their ships were not the kind of ships where they could steer with sails or other things.  They were vessels built tight like a dish.  They surrendered their lives to the Lord, trusting that the wind and waves would take them to the promised land.  It wasn't an easy journey.  In Ether 6:5-11, it tells how "...the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters..." They were "buried in the depths of the sea." There were "mountain waves which broke up on them" and "great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fiercemess of the wind." And what did the Jaredites do? "They did cry unto the Lord." "They did sing praises unto the Lord...and...did thank and praise the Lord all the day long...they did not cease to praise the Lord." Finally after a being in the ocean on their vessels for 344 days, they landed on the shore of the promised land.

Our lives are very much like the journey of the Jaredites.  We have righteous desires in our lives.
We can do everything we have the capacity to do to prepare for a situation or to change a situation, but there comes a time when we arrive at a shore looking out at a "great sea" and get to surrender to the Lord's will for us. It won't always be easy. Just like the Jaredites, there will be storms pushing us in the correct direction towards our own promised land, but we can do it with His help!

One I righteous desire I had was to find my own prince charming and be married in the temple. I did everything I could and got as far as I could go and then I came to a "great sea" and I realized that there was really nothing more I, myself,  could do. During my journey of getting to this "great sea" of mine, I had been led by my Heavenly Father, and He had prepared me for what would come next in my life. I commended myself and my life to Him.  I surrendered! I surrendered in a way I never had before.  I not only gave my situation to Him to lead me where I wanted to go, I gave Him all the pain and hurt and unrealized dreams, and I made a promise to Him that I would do everything in my power to help and serve others instead of worrying about my situation.  After that I got to work.  I took small steps and everytime I was overwhelmed with loneliness or heartache or frustration, I would pray and look for the tender mercies that surrounded me everyday.  I thanked Him for those blessings.  I kept myself anxiously engaged in assisting others. I trusted that His timing was going to be perfect for my life.  And it was! Looking back on my journey of singlehood, it was full of learning opportunities that were hard to get through, but they helped me learn and grow and become who I need to be to get to this promised land. In all my daydreaming and list making, I never imagined how amazing and maginificent it would be to be here.  I'm so thankful for all that my Father in Heaven has blessed me with in my short life. 

If there is one thing that I could give to you it is the faith that Heavenly Father is very aware of you and your storms. I know that our trials and challenges are learning experiences to help us become who we need to be in order to reach and fully appreciate the better promises God has for us. If we can hold on and have faith and trust in our Heavenly Father no matter how long it takes, He will bless us with a promised land far and above anything we ever dreamed! He has better promises for us!


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