Wednesday, October 26, 2016

{ glimpsing the atonement }

I feel like I've hit the point on my mission that's hard.
That's a word that was thrown around a lot as I was preparing to serve and I would ask returned missionaries for advice. That was always the common theme: "It's hard." Everyone always had their own unique sentence they would tack on the end of it though, like: "It's hard, but you'll love it!" or "It's hard, but the miracles make it worth it." or "It's hard, but you won't regret it."
That word would frustrate me so bad! What was hard??
But no one ever had an answer that would satisfy wide-eyed, don't-know-what-I'm-getting-myself-into, freshly nineteen me.
But, almost halfway through my mission, I think I'm beginning to realize what "hard" means and why those past missionaries could never adequately explain themselves.
Their version of hard, isn't my version of hard, and mine isn't going to be yours.
Buuuuut if I could give one piece of advice to any prospective missionary out there it would be: pray that your mission is hard.
Pray that your mission at some point just beats you and you feel like you can't keep going and you question everything.
I hope you pray that your mission utterly breaks you.
Breaks the person you were and reshapes and builds you into the child of God you are. And because of that, I hope you discover the atonement in a way you had never accessed before.
I'm not saying to go looking for hardship. Best believe I'm still afraid to pray for patience.
But how blessed are we that in our darkest realms of our evermore harrowing sorrows, when we feel like we must have reached our limit of pain and we simply cannot endure any longer, we cry out and Someone is there to relieve us.
One who will succor us.
One who had never done wrong, or caused any ill.
One who was completely, supremely perfect.
One who when He cried out during His realms of sorrow, none were with Him.
Do we ever stop to think that our sufferings are sacred? That they are glimpses of the very act that saved us from our sufferings? That they are opportunities given to us so we, even for a moment, can understand what He did for us?
I believe Heavenly Father doesn't want us to just suffer though.
He's not looking down at us from Heaven going, "Heh heh heh. Suckas."
He desires us to have happiness in this life and joy throughout all eternity.
And if opposition really is in all things, doesn't that mean that when we are amidst pain we didn't think possible, that also means doors of joy once locked have become opened to us? 
I think that deserves a congratulations to whoever, right now, is dealing with trials they feel they can't survive. Your capacity to love and be happy just widened because of that pain you were called to bear.
This is life eternal! This is the journey of becoming like God!
One of my favorite, and I feel the most real, scriptures in The Book of Mormon is found in Alma 31:38, "Yea, and he also gave them strength that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ."
There is no period after the word "afflictions."
God won't just take away our afflictions. If he were to never let us suffer, we would never know Christ and if we never knew Christ, we could never inherit eternal life. John 17:3.
How wonderful the promise that we will suffer and that with that suffering, comes joy as we turn to Christ. Aaaand in turn, we become like Him.
It's really a win-win situation right there.
So again, to the prospective missionary, I hope your mission is hard! I hope you have no choice but to rely on the atonement. I hope you come to know the Savior better than you already do. I can promise you, just like those missionaries told me, you will love it, the miraclesare worth it, and you will never, ever regret it.
But, when it does get hard, the kind of hard that will be uniquely catered to you, and you ask the Father, "Why?" Just remember that someone a lot greater than us already asked that question a long time ago. And though none were with Him and He was left completely forsaken, you won't be.
In fact, it is because of His stripes we are healed.
It is because of exquisite suffering, there is also everlasting, redeeming joy.  

Sincerely, Sister Soloa'i

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