Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Testimony Tuesday

Over the summer we enjoyed the unforgettable experience of our 2014 Crockett family reunion.  I was able to catch up with relatives I hadn't seen in over five years!  My family is absolutely crazy, but I love them just the same.

A Crockett family tradition that has been around for as long as I can remember was singing around the piano while my mom played old tunes and family favorites.  It was extra emotional on this particular trip as we all sang, watching grandchildren and great-grandchildren take part in our tradition, knowing how rare it will be to have the entire family together like this anytime in the near future if ever again.

As I soaked in the words to the music dancing off the pages, my eyes filled with tears and I began to think of the pains and trials I was going through back at home.  My heart stung with sadness as I took part in a tiny personal life evaluation and was disappointed with the challenges I was struggling with.

Then I looked up.

I examined all the beautiful faces in the room with me.  The facial features of my sweet cousins had grown and reshaped since their innocent childhoods and I looked around and realized we were all grown up now.  As I studied every individual I realized that each one was dealing with their own versions of personal hardships just as difficult as mine.

Whether it was health, family relationships, anxiety, stress of being a parent, stress of expectations, careers, schooling, loneliness, depression: each person was carrying something.

I reflected back on my life and realized that I was so grateful for the life I had and that I didn't want to change a single thing or switch my hardships with anyone else in the room.  They were my heavy burdens that shaped who I was and they were beautiful.

I have a testimony that every trial we face in this mortal life is for a purpose and will build us up and shape us into something more, like the compression that shapes a lump of coal into a diamond.  I believe we all have a unseen plan, that we all have our own mortal missions that we agreed to fulfill in our premortal existence.

Recently my mom shared with me a comforting quote by Wendy Watson Nelson:
"To what did I agree in the premortal world that my Heavenly Father is honoring and is therefore not able to respond to my present request?"

She continues, "And when we are in the midst of surviving something unbelievably difficult - even hideous - when the Spirit whispers the assurance that this is part of our life mission and is on our "to do" list, everything changes.  Our perspective enlarges as our vision clears.  Our energy flows.  Our faith in the Lord and our courage and ability to endure increase."

My testimony of the atonement is always growing and strengthening with each bright, new day.  Our Savior suffered for our pains and sorrows along with our sins.  He will always be there to carry us and comfort us.  When we put our full trust and reliance in Him, He will cradle us in His arms and lighten our loads.  I know this to be true!

Just like Alma and his brethren in the Book of Mormon, I have experienced this too where my trials, although still with me, feel as though they have been lifted from my shoulders and are no longer dragging me down.

 14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
 15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.


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