Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Out of the Ashes

Tonight I was cleaning stalls, like I do every day, enjoying the quiet and the cool weather, being under the stars, and contemplating many of the events that have transpired in my life in the past two months. I have dealt with being hurt beyond my worst nightmare by several people who I loved the most in my life, loosing many of my best friends, suffering the consequences of my mistakes, and dealing with very scary health issues, having to make some hard choices, financial troubles, and loosing communication with the one person who I want to talk to the most out of all this, all on top of my normal stress from school and work. I know that other people go through so many more problems and much more severe than mine, but I believe that I would have been justified if I cried out why me… But this time I didn’t. If you would have put me through this same chaos a year ago, I do not believe that would not have been the case. I feel like-- no, I know that I have grown up and learned so much this past year.

As I reflect on all that has occurred recently, I realize how truly blessed I am in my life, and how I am so grateful for those trails and hardships that I have faced. Sounds morbid, right? Actually, it’s quite the contrary. It is such a blessing in my life to have gone through such hardships to make me rely truly on my God and my faith, to be grateful for what I have in my life, to develop such a strong and pure love for my enemies and those who have hurt me, to mold me into a stronger, yet more humble, young adult, and to grow a beautiful love for who I am and what I stand for in my life.

I have learned that though all the pain, hurt, and anger, though everyone tells you to just have faith, that you do not have to go through it alone. God does not expect you to go through it alone. I have been so blessed through all of this to have so many wonderful resources, strengths, and guides to help me through my trying times. One of my strongest strengths is my scriptures. I know that they are the word of God and that they are true and contain promises directly to me that will never be broken as long as I do my part. Matthew 5: 44 is one of those scriptures—“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” I felt such a strong fire of anger inside me when I was hurt that it actually scarred me. I had never been so angry in my life. I felt that anger begin to burn me inside, and as I realized just how strong it was, and what I could do with that, it was so terrifying. I knew at that moment that I needed to get rid of it before it consumed me. I began to pray, fast, and study the scriptures. I pleaded with the Lord to take away my anger and pain. I told him that I was giving him my problems and putting all faith and trust in him, which was so hard to do when questions in my mind would ask why such horrid things would happen to me, but nonetheless, I pushed through it relying on pure faith. A scripture of hope for me was Matthew 11:28-30—“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I constantly watched the Mormon Messages videos, read talks given by my leaders in my church, listened to uplifting music, surrounded myself with many people who loved me and took such amazing care of me, received blessings from men who hold the sacred power of the Priesthood, and fervently prayed for the anger to be gone. My prayers were truly answered when the Lord took the anger from me and replaced it with the truest and most pure love that I have felt for anyone in my life. That scripture about loving your enemies is not for them, it’s for me. It’s for you who have been hurt.  Even after I gave my sincerest apologies to those that had been affected in that chaos, they would not accept it. I know that it was because of my love that I had for those people before I gave my apologies, that I was able to press forward through being hurt not once, but yet again by those who I loved so dearly. I am not going to hide it or deny it—I was still very hurt—but the love I felt for them continued to grow and I was able to rid my body of anger that could have created detrimental effects to my own body, others, and my faith.

Another blessing in my life through all of this is that I was able to witness the blessings of faith in such a short period of time, and in such a clear and compelling way. I had some very dear, personal, and sacred belongings stolen from my own home, by someone I loved so much. I was told that my belongings were destroyed. I would never have those precious belongings again.  Through turning my anger into pure love, I was able to truly forgive that person within such a short amount of time as I turned everything over to the Lord. Forgiveness is one of the most beautiful things on this earth. Time went by, and thoughts would try and flood my body with anger again, but I did all I could to rid the negative emotions out. I would start to feel these emotions and right away, no matter where I was, I began to pray. My prayers were answered, and each time as I would go through this cycle, it would get easier and easier to love and keep forgiving.  Two weeks went by and I went to check my mail one day and opened it to find a little package with a pink ribbon around it. I opened it up and in complete shock I saw and held my belongings that had meant so much to me. I sat in my driveway speechless and motionless. I finally made it inside my house where I sat down at my table and began to pray. I was so full of gratitude, and thanksgiving. As I was praying, I heard almost as clear as day that the only reason that I got these things back was because of my faithfulness and love. I began to cry. I was so grateful to have received such blessings, and so quickly from my faith and obedience. Many people do not see the effects of their faith during trying times for quite some time, if even at all. I built my faith with the knowledge that I was not expecting a reward, or everything to be perfect, but that only in him can I be rewarded eternally and find perfection. But I was so blessed to have this earthly reward and for things to work out the way they did.  The Lord and my Savior, Jesus Christ, never said it would be easy—they only said it would be worth it. I promise it’s worth it.