Over the span of 4 years (actually a lifetime) I have been prompted on multiple occasions to keep a journal. I have volumes of journal. Mostly they have documented the happiest parts of my life and occasionally outlined a few lessons. I have never, however, written down the struggles in my life. I didn't want to think of my life in a that way. In the last 4 years I have learned how beautiful the struggle is though. I often wish I had written the hardest part of every journey because coming through the other side has been what has molded and shaped my very happy life. It has given me perspective, deeper love for mankind, compassion, empathy, patience, self esteem and an undeniable understanding of God's love for me and all of His children and more perspective on the glorious atonement that is absolutely mandatory in each of our lives. The struggle is what strengthened me, healed me and made me happier than I though possible in every word. Because if this, I have decided to take my 4 year journaling sabbatical to a close. I love my life! I love the visible mercy and love that falls upon it even during the hardest parts. I have decided to share it for two reasons; (1) I have felt prompted to do so, even if some of the contents may be uncomfortable for me to share or hard for others to accept. When prompted, I am learning to stop questioning and act in haste. (2) I hope that opening up to others in a world (made small by internet) that humankind can learn from each other. Take it or leave it... Some of these realizations are nearly half a decade old, some may be more recent and still there are those that make me realize that the Lord is not done with me... I am a constant work in progress.
Years of digging has brought me to an understanding: TRIAL, TRIBULATION, ADVERSITY, and AFFLICTION are not all the same thing. I have often heard something to the effect that we chose our trials in the pre-existence. I'm not sure that is doctrine (Sometimes I think that is hogwash) but I am certain that we choose our trials here. Trials are brought on by the very consequences of our weaknesses and poor choices. For example; I choose to have financial problems because I didn't change the things I was taught before me, or I overspent etc. (whatever it is) OR I have no relationships with anyone because I choose to focus on negativity and their shortcomings rather than overcoming my own and serving those who need my help. You get the point. Think about it...
Tribulation and adversity is different from trial. What about the earthquake that destroyed my neighborhood, the hurricane that broke my home, the tidal wave that obliterated my coast line and claimed the lives of my family? What about the years I spent unable to have children, the cancer that my daughter was born with? I certainly didn't choose that. It was an act of God... maybe a cleansing... maybe not. But it happened and I can be carried through it and learn things about myself because it is a struggle that Heavenly Father knows I can handle with His help.
Affliction. And then there is that one guy who opted to make choices that inflicted a negative change on me. Abuse in every one of its detrimental forms, kidnappings, addictions which allow dark angels to control their body which in turn may do and say hurtful things to mine, teachings of self loathing ingrained upon our young minds, self pity stitched into the fabric that controls my young mind, his greed leading to taking advantage of... Well... take your pick there... He/she chose it and took it out on innocent me. Insert here: This is crap! But it happens to good people, to ancient prophets, to neighbors and friends and sometimes to us! DARN IT!!! But when I finally come through the other side of this, I have empathy to help another. I have knowledge that can make a difference. I am less judgmental. Would anyone sign up for such garbage? Heck NO! Would the Savior put us in that for a trial of our faith? ABSOLUTELY NO... NOT EVER! But He also won't take away another's agency. He can however heal every part of our wounds.
The great lessons come from wading through "it" and finding the joy that the atonement offers in any of these situations. In our trials God will make weak things to be strong. We become more like Him. We have more understanding.
The Almighty powerfully blesses us as we pick up the pieces of tribulations and help each other recover from losses that are sent our way. We learn about our strengths, loving another more than ourselves and the blessings that come as we depend more on God than the arm of the flesh. We are more like Him. He will show Himself every second of every day if we are willing to look for Him.
Even though Heavenly Father will not take away the agency of one to choose wrong, It certainly does not mean that He condones it, it is not a trial we chose or tribulation from Him. It is a simply a choice made by one who chooses evil and inflicts it upon another. Even still, Heavenly Father will mercilessly carry us. The Savior's atonement will still heal us in any of these situations. The very Gods of Heaven will cheer us on to overcome every evil and natural man choice of this mortality. In the process we learn some empathy, have the potential to partner with the angels who are carrying others in these same situations and to have a greater understanding of agency and the blessing of it as it divides good and evil by our own choices.
Undoubtedly, My favorite part of it all is that the Christ, omnipotent, can make right any of these situations. We are His work and His glory and He is 100% of the time successful. Allowing Him to take over is the hard part for all the thick heads that live on earth. Understanding these things has made me so happy because I know that even when its hard, Heaven will lead and guide me if I want these things in my life.
I couldn't trade that I am a mother, daughter, or sister. I wouldn't trade that I am a wife. I love people, especially kids, European chocolate, salmon on the BBQ, and fresh strawberries. I crave running and Nate. I am a hopeless wanderlust. and wanna be full time LDS missionary.
I Wouldn't trade any of it.