Can you feel it? It's building up all around me. Some call it anticipation. Others refer to it as a kind of energy. Momentum, perhaps? World calamities increase in frequency and in their destructive power and heroes step forward to help comfort and rebuild. On a personal level, I don't remember seeing so many people under such heavy burdens of struggle and loss. I stand in awe of the acts of courage and perseverance I've witnessed. It's an increase of forces, good and bad. And while the bad darkens from gray to black, the good continues to grow stronger and brighter.
As I prepare for the 184th Semiannual Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, my gratitude for living prophets knows no bounds. I can't count the number of times I have prayed for direction and peace and heard the Lord answer through His servants. Messages from last April's General Conference have supported me through turbulent waters all summer long.
I try to record my thoughts in a journal every day. It helps me process. I feel sorry for some future descendant who finds the courage to open its pages and read its contents. I tend to repeat myself. Mostly because I am slow to learn and have to retake a lot of life's daily exams.
... I don't know if anyone will ever read these words, but if they do, I hope they feel the hope and joy and gratitude I have for my Savior, Jesus Christ. Life is magnificent - and is filled with lots and lots of learning. I know that doesn't express life very poetically, but it's truth. And even though circumstances, experiences, or whatever one may call them, can be difficult, they are also filled with joy and beauty. There is an opposite to everything - I need opposition in order to learn good from evil. Opposition strengthens me physically, mentally and spiritually.Here are a few of the treasures I gleaned over the last six months of daily scripture study and messages from our living apostles and prophets:
- Fear not, I am with thee...be ye not afraid.
- As I develop greater faith and trust in the Lord, I can access His power to bless and deliver me.
- Heavenly Father has a plan to see me safely home again. He accomplishes His miracles one prayer at a time, one person at a time.
- I can feel peace in the midst of turmoil. I have felt the Lord hold my hand through trials.
- What would I do if I knew I could not fail? Who would I be?
- I am far from perfect, but as I strive to repent and be obedient, the Atonement makes up for my imperfections in my performance.
- I am not alone.
- It is "the load" that gives me the traction I need to stay on the road and out of the pit.
- Do something! and do it with a prayer in my heart and confidence that the Lord will guide my efforts.
- And most recently: Elder Bednar's admonition to close that umbrella of fear and sin that is blocking me from receiving all the blessings that Heavenly Father continually rains down upon me.
Over the past two months far too many of my friends and family members have experienced trauma and loss. Most recently, our daughter-in-law's youngest brother, a bright and loving seventeen-year-old, took his own life. Having Ryan gone still feels surreal. Except for the pain. The pain is all too real. But you know what? Despite the tragedy, the loss, the bitter pain and sorrow - when I walked into that family's home, I felt the presence of the Spirit permeating every corner of every room. Love, friendship, sorrow, hope, peace, and a special reverence could be felt throughout the home. All of this created a healing balm against the negative effects of pain. Because Ryan's family is built on a solid foundation of faith in Jesus Christ, what I did not find was suffering. Through the power of His Atoning sacrifice, something tragic is touching hearts and lives and creating something brilliant.
One of my brightest moments this summer: Our youngest daughter was preparing to be married in the Gilbert, Arizona temple. In preparation for that event, she chose to take out her endowments (an ordinance of making sacred covenants with Heavenly Father) in the Mesa, Arizona temple. As we followed the sidewalk toward the front doors, Micaela stopped for a moment and, gazing at the temple said, "I've always wanted to walk through those front doors. Up to now, I've only been able to go through the back doors (to the baptistery). I'm so excited."
Can you feel it? Good versus bad. Light verses darkness. It's almost tangible. Life's magnificent momentum. I look forward to hearing messages from the Lord through His servants this coming weekend. I know I will find the nourishment in their words that will strengthen my own foundation and help me to be more courageous, more discerning of light and truth, and ready to walk through the front doors of whatever the future has in store.
Here is a link to access the 184th Semiannual Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Everyone who seeks an answer will find one there. I know it.