It has been one year since returning from my mission in Denver, Colorado. I would also say that it has been a rough year, but it has also been a year of blessings pouring from above. I have been able to see God's hand time and time again in my life. I still can say, "I know He lives."
I feel as if all return missionaries should have a handbook--and no, not like the scriptures, but a "Here's what to do when" book. On my mission, I felt like I had all the answers and I felt that I could do anything. Coming home, I had that same mentality. However, the Lord has humbled me over and over. These past twelve months, He has taught me that things happen in His time and in His way--but the blessings that we so desire WILL come if we are true and faithful. He does not tell us when those blessings will come, but He does promise us that we can be happy.
Most of you know that this year has been a time of challenges that I did not anticipate. Throughout every setback, I have been able to feel the Lord's love and peace. The Savior truly has the ability to heal the broken hearted and the power to raise the heads that hang down. I have seen this regularly. How wonderful is it to know that the son of the most powerful being loves us more than we could imagine and that He came to Earth to mend our souls when we have fallen. He truly loves us. This I know! I feel it everyday.
While experiencing trials, often times we shake our fists at God and ask Him, "Why? Why me? Why did You choose me to experience this? I just don't understand." I have felt to ask those same questions, but again and again, I am humbled and I remember Hugh B. Brown's experience with his currant bush. We must remember that Heavenly Father is the Gardener. He knows what He wants us to be. He loves us enough to hurt us, to cut us down so that we can grow into something more wonderful and beautiful than we can imagine ourselves to be.
Remembering this has helped me to see the bigger picture. While going through trials and difficult times, it is so hard to see the light at the end. But I think that's why we have the scriptures or the temple. Those blessings help us to keep an eternal perspective.
Although I am not set apart as a full time missionary anymore and even though I don't feel the Savior's guidance in my life as much I did in Denver, I still KNOW that Jesus Christ is there for me. I know that He is by my side--He is on my left hand and on my right. He has fulfilled His role as the Second Comforter during these past months in my life as I have struggled. No fact, science, or opinion can change the experiences I have had, nor can they change my feelings. These things I know.
Regardless of my knowledge about these things, I still slip up. I have definitely not been as best as I can be. I am so imperfect and I realize that more and more everyday. I will never be perfect in this life. I have so so much to learn. I am so undeserving of His love. However, even with my flaws and my mistakes, I know, without a doubt, that He knows me, He hears me, He loves me. The most quoted and well known scripture throughout Christianity demonstrates just how much our Father in Heaven loves each person that has walked this Earth:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
Tis the season to remember Him and that He lives! Because of him, guilt becomes peace, regret becomes relief, despair becomes hope. Because of Him, I can be happy. He suffered so that we might not have to. He died so that we can live again. He did the impossible. He came to ransom us from sin. Our Father in Heaven loved us enough to ask His Son to do that--all so that we can live together after this life with those we love most.
Remember He is the Gift.
He is the best gift of Christmas. #rememberHim