I was originally going to make this post concerning a week I spent with Alexa, on my own, as Nick was at a conference in California. I felt good at the end of that week! I had done a lot of things I wasn't sure I could do, and I wanted to brag about it. And while the title of the post remains true, I would like to take this conversation to another place.
A place of humility instead of pride.
A place that I wish to take my little sister, Suzy, as she is about to embark on fulfilling a call from God to serve a mission in the Texas Houston area, come November 16th.
I want her, and all of you, to know that we, as children of a divine creator, can do hard things. I can do hard things. Before I ever think about retreating from something, I say this mantra to myself, and then re-evaluate. If it is not necessary that's one thing, but those things are not to what I am referring. I am saying I can do hard things that God wants me to do because he will make me capable to do them.
Just after Nick and I got engaged, and just after we decided to begin our family we read this speech given by Elder Jeffery R. Holland, one of the Lord's disciples on the earth today, in which he said
"Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For you have need of patience that after ye have done the will of God, ye receive the promise...We are are not of them that draw back into perdition...I think that is to say, sure it's tough, that is the way it has always been...Don't panic and retreat. Don't lose your confidence. Don't forget how you once felt. Don't distrust the experience you had."
I think about the experiences in my life that have given me the most cause for retreating. My first year in college was one, and my trial with infertility has been another. In both cases there was so much adversity that I doubted God remembered me at all, let alone had my best interests at heart. And both times I had experiences that proved those times of doubt completely false! And both times I received rewards for my continued efforts that I could never have imagined!
My pleading call to my little sister today is to always remember how much God loves you! Always remember and hold tightly onto the experiences you have had that testify of that truth to your heart! Always remember that no matter how hard life gets, now and forever, that as a beloved daughter of an almighty Father, you can do hard things! Always remember that "after you have gotten the message, after you have paid the price to feel his love and hear the word of the Lord, 'go forward.' Don't fear, don't vacillate, don't quibble, don't whine." The hard things you can do are completely worth their reward!
God is not cheap in his gift-giving like some of our relatives...you know who you are! ;)
Be strong, kid-o. Everything in life from here on out is going to be hard because you are doing good things and The Adversary wants to destroy good as often as He can. But always remember, you can do hard things! I love you so much, Suzy! You make everyone in our family so proud because of all the good that you do and the joy and hope you give to each of us as you daily remind us that we can all do hard things!
Just in case you'd rather not read the talk, this YouTube video gives highlights. Enjoy!
***One last, seemingly unrelated thought. Jen, our sister, gave me some advice before I left for BYU that I will never forget. She told me "People are the most important." More than anything else, how we treat others is a testament to how we live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. More than getting somewhere on time, more than getting work done, and even more than our own personal path of perfection. People, God's children, are His greatest glory, and they should be ours, too. That piece of advice has served me well, so I thought I would pass it along to you.***
I'm excited to hear about all the good, hard things you will do in the mission field! You will be surely missed, though. Perhaps more than I can understand right now. Love you!