Like many of you, my heart and soul have been deeply troubled these past months by all the turmoil, distress, unrest, division and animosity that has plagued the world and much of our country for nearly two years now. l have cried into my pillow at night for the lost hopes and dreams of people everywhere as their voices are silenced and evil is promoted as being good, justifiable and the voice of the people instead of the wants of a few who have certain political agendas in mind. I have found myself longing for the simpler days of my youth. While they were not without struggles, the world was not in such complete commotion as it is today, and I've struggled to find my equilibrium in times that test my patience and understanding but not my beliefs.
I know that God lives. That his son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, rules and reigns with the complete devotion, gentle caring and eternal truths that will not change. While the world around us may be in complete chaos, the work preceding Christ's return to this earth is proceeding as it should. I believe the main reason for my own tired soul and weary body has been my forgetting my place in God's eternal plan. I am not in charge. I am merely one of his children who has been blessed to come to earth in a day when my inner peace and brightness of hope can bless the lives of others who are struggling with things I might never truly understand.
My sister and I just got back from a trip to Branson, Missouri. We try to go there twice each year to reconnect with friends and enjoy time together. We love being in a place where God, country and family are honored and everyone recognizes the bravery and sacrifice of our veterans who have put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms so many today seem almost eager to give away. I love knowing I can walk down the streets in safety and express my innermost feelings without fear of being mocked, targeted or even punished for having them. It is a place where everyone is equal and no judgments are made.
While Christian beliefs may vary when it comes to certain doctrine, I always feel among friends. We attended a worship service on Sunday morning, not knowing beforehand that it was being conducted in Spanish. Neither of us understood a word, but following along in the hymnal I felt as if my poor attempt at singing the words was acceptable to my Savior as my voice tried to blend in songs of praise and devotion. The people were welcoming, kind and appreciative of us being willing to spend time worshipping with them. I came away feeling an even greater gratitude for the universal message of our Savior.
Since then, I have been trying to find the peace that seemed to be missing from my life for much too long. I have taken more time to enjoy quiet moments in nature, additional time on my knees not just asking for blessings and giving thanks but listening for whatever counsel might be placed in my heart and contemplating what in my own life needs to change so I will feel less stressed.
I've come to the conclusion that being too tuned in to what is happening in the nation and world isn't really in my best interest. In most every way I can think of, I am as prepared for the future as I can possibly be. But I can't do anything about what other people think or how they act. I can only control my own little spot in the universe. I can decide which music I listen to, which programs or movies I watch, which books I read, the kind of nourishment I take into my body, and even how much exercise I will force myself into doing each day. I will quit beating myself up because I don't have the energy I used to and my entire body aches most of the time. I will pace myself better when doing strenuous tasks so I don't have to spend two or three days in recovery after a mad day of digging, weeding, pruning and cleaning things up outside.
I will set aside more time for family and friends and doing something I enjoy. I will quit judging myself by what I see others my age capable of doing. I will search for whatever talents I might possess that may bring a moment of peace, understanding or love to someone else. I will pray more fervently, study the scriptures with a more clear purpose and render service wherever I can. But most importantly, I will LET GOD PREVAIL. He knows exactly what he's doing. And if I'm too afraid to trust him, he will find someone else who might be even better than I am in fulfilling my reason for being here.
This is a challenging time, but it is also a glorious time to be alive. Anyone familiar with the scriptures knows that prophesy is being fulfilled at an exponentially expanding rate and Satan is rejoicing in the actions of the rich and powerful and those who care nothing about anyone but themselves. If I want to make it and not be deceived, I must remain strong in my convictions and ready to bend my will to that of my eternal Father. I want to be with him again. I want to be like the servant in the scriptures who was called good and faithful and invited into his rest.
Whether I'm looking into a clear blue sky, the clouds of stormy weather or the stars at night, I know my Savior and my Heavenly Father are watching over me. They know my sorrows, my pain, my concerns, my weaknesses, my strengths and my often misguided thoughts and actions. But they are always there to help if I but turn to them. With that in mind, I know I can make it. And I know you can make it too.