Monday, May 29, 2017

{ the Father's love }

Let's get real, real quick:

Can we talk for a minute about the reality of Satan?
Can we talk about how freaking (sorry, Mum) hard life is sometimes?
I know that it's pretty taboo to talk about trials and difficulties we face, especially in today's world of pretend where we make-believe realities that aren't actually real, but just look pretty on the outside.
It's even harder to talk about weaknesses we have as missionaries. 
Wait. What.
Missionaries aren't perfect??
I can't speak for others, but I can definitely speak for myself: I'm absolutely not perfect.
On my mission, I've clearly seen every possible flaw I have, felt every insecurity I'm bound to fight through, heard every little whispering Satan had to tell me, and especially, at times, known the stifling darkness of perceived abandonment from my Heavenly Father who I thought loved me. 
At times, I have felt like my whole life, personality, beliefs, goals were all going up in smoke and I felt like I didn't have anything anymore.
And honestly, maybe they were.
Maybe, for a time, Heavenly Father allows us to feel like we have literally nothing left.
Maybe Heavenly Father lets these spiritual fires happen so that we will turn to Him, and there find blessings that we originally wouldn't have found on our own.
Maybe the purest love can only come though the pains of the purifying process. 
That was definitely true of our Savior and His atonement.

Just like these Elders in my mission turned to God during literal flames in their life, we should be doing the same amidst our spiritual fires.
Trials are meant to bring us closer to God.
Closer to Him and especially, like Him.
"He asks us to walk with Him, of course, that path goes through Gethsemane."

For several months, I feel like I've been trying to put limits on my Savior's atonement. Trying to earn it, rather than accept it and it's left me probably the darkest I've ever felt in my life.
And... no, duh.
Because we will never, ever earn the atonement of our Savior.
Honestly, it's blasphemous to even think we could be on the same playing field as the very core of creation.
I was taking the very source of light and adding my own opinion and philosophy onto it, so of course, that light was bound to get a little dimmer in my life.
But like those Elders, I began praying.
And did so patterning it after Christ's example as He went through His own darkest times: "being in an agony he prayed more earnestly."
The answer to those prayers? After several months of emptiness that I felt would never end, this statement came true in my life:
"It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s atonement shines."
And it seems the more light I notice, the more there is to find.

[ examples of His love in my life ]

He called me to serve in a state where my favorite flower is the state flower

Driving around Indiana is like driving through one of God's best landscape paintings

He blessed me with the best area in the mission, complete with beautiful architecture

He showed me the beautiful blessing of witnessing the formation of an eternal family. 
I cried more than the bride.

When I told my brothers (who are currently living in my mission) not to come and see me, but they came anyway. Heavenly Father knew I needed a hug from my big bros.

Me: I can't stop crying! 
Regan: We don't have tissues... here, use this New Zealand flag. #casual

He blessed me to serve near His home.

When Milcar (my eternagator from my last area) who hasn't progressed since I left (barely even did when I was there) decided to end her years of investigating and organized her own baptism FOR THIS WEEKEND and just casually invited me to it yesterday.
Got Sister Rowley and I like...

He introduced me to my best friend on my mission

What can I say? She's one in a melon.

So yes, Satan is real. Yes, trials are real. Yes, people aren't perfect.
But the best part is that God is real. And so is His Son. And so is their love.
In the end, our beloved Prophet says it best:
“Your Heavenly Father loves you—each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there.”

Sincerely, Sister Soloa'i

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