I have come to the realization that the Lord must really trust me! The reason I say this is because I have felt so many burdens of life these past few months and the challenges I have been faced with have, at times, felt overwhelming and even impossible. But I know that He never gives us more than we can handle. That being said, He must have more faith in me than even I do...
I am so thankful for trials! Yes, I really mean that! I must admit that I am not always thankful when I am going through them, but when they pass (and they do) I look back and am so thankful for the lessons I have learned.
As we have been tried and tested like no other, these past almost 6 months, I would be remiss to go on without expressing my sincerest gratitude to my family for their patience and unconitional love, generosity and support for Brad and me. They are amazing people and I am ever so blessed to be a part of their lives.
So here are a few of the lessons that I have learned:
1. God is God and He know EVERYTHING about us. My friend, Angela, posted an amazing "ah ha" moment for me on her blog here. She said that she was at the Y when she heard her husband's voice in another room. She KNEW it was him because she knows his voice! It made her realize that Heavenly Father KNOWS our voice because He knows us! I have never really thought about Him knowing my voice, what comfort this give me...Thanks, Angela.
2. All that I have is really not mine...It is all on loan from the Lord and His generosity to me has often gone unappreciated and, more times than not, I have felt entitled to the "things" I have "acquired".
3. Family is ALL we really have in life. It's what is real and it's what keeps us gounded. My family is so imperfect, but they are perfect for me! We love each other and we respect each other. When the going gets rough, we are always there for each other and to know that I can count on them is the greatest blessing I could ever hope for.
4. Forgiveness is the most healing balm.
5. I don't need much to be happy. Happiness is not contigent upon the size of my house, the style of my wardrobe, the money in my bank account, where I go for vacations or the model of car I drive. It's contigent upon my relationship with my Heavenly Father and Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
6. Real, true friends are always there for you. They forgive and KNOW our hearts.
7. Good health is a gift that must be nurtured and protected. Exercise is exactly that...Exercise...it's not easy and it often requires a lifestyle change that isn't always easy. Proper diet and moderation is difficult at best.
8. Serving others is the only way to really find yourself. I have had the opportunity to offer more service this past year than ever and I am so saddened by the fact that I have denied myself the amazing opportunities for blessings all of these years by being "too busy" to involve myself in the service of others. The reality is, I have received so much more than I have ever provided...this is still a work in progress, but it feels great!
9. Children are the greatest teachers of the most basic principles. I am constantly amazed at the unconditional love of my *Littles*. They are always forgiving and they forget the transgression. They are humble and submissive to the ways of their parents, teachers and the Lord. Their appetite for learning is unmeasurable and ever inspiring. The pure beauty and joy in their innocence is a lesson for us all.
10. Good Old-Fashioned Kindness is one of the most important things we can offer to others. I see a world of busy, selfish people with their own agendas. Common courtesies are often tossed by the wayside and we have become a world of hurtful, self-righteous, arrogant people. Let's stop and remember that every person we come in contact with has a back story that we do not know. As an example, maybe we can remember to show a bit more appreciation for the "meanial" bag boy at the grocery store by thanking him for the great job he did in bagging our groceries.
I am so thankful for the trials and challenges I have been given to deal with so far in my life. Now don't get me wrong, I didn't always appreciate them while I was going through them, they haven't been easy and I have had many failures along the way. But I have also had many successes and have had to learn to forgive myself and give myself a break!
Life is hard and it's only getting harder with the weakening economy, more forward problems in our societies and general decline of moral values. But we can rise above it and we can set a standard for those we come in contact with by our examples of displaying Christ-like attributes.