Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Surviving Trials

Sometimes, it just boggles my mind how many things I've "survived" that I swore I could never survive.
Where is my life? You know, that one I had planned from when I was a little girl?
It's completely non-existent and in it's place is the beautiful {but completely opposite} life I currently live.
There are days where I'm smiling for no apparent reason and I think, "But why?! Why are you smiling? You shouldn't be able to smile right now."
But the truth is, I should be smiling right now. I should've been smiling a year ago. And I also should've been smiling two years ago. Etc. Etc. Etc...
Happiness doesn't come from what my life looks like on the outside; happiness is something that has evolved within my heart and soul. Nobody gets to take it away from me. Ever.

"Happiness is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ." And yes, that is a link.
That quote has always been one of my favorites. In my darkest hours, I can wade through the thick, uninviting fog and find my way to sunshine. It is always there. The sunshine I refer to is a never-changing commitment that Christ made when he suffered for our sins. Not just yours, not just mine---ours. Everyones'. He is the only person who knows "to the T" what I am feeling so who better to turn to?

And let me tell you, this isn't some gimmick where I tell you my life is perfect because I am a Mormon and we're all just happy and perfect and the best homemakers everrr.
That is a sincere lie.
First of all, I'm a crappy homemaker. I know that. I hate cooking. I have to force myself to clean.
Second of all, trust me when I tell you I'm not always happy. It doesn't work that way. Every day, I work hard to achieve my happiness. And some days, it doesn't come. Some days are just crap. Some days I scream into my pillow and then punch it 50 times.
But I don't let days like that determine how I feel about my life as a whole.
That is my point.
I'm not here to tell you that it's bad to be angry or sad or depressed. "Feelings aren't right or wrong, they just are." I'm also not here to tell you that happiness is something I'm great at! It's hard work for me right now.
But if you're struggling like I'm struggling or have ever felt lonely, I'm here to change your mind. I'm here to tell you that you're never alone and you can find happiness in any situation. I promise. It's hard and you're still going to be sad sometimes but counteract those days of sadness with days of joy.

This isn't to boast or tell you how super awesome I am but let me tell you a short story.
On a Saturday in August, my husband and I separated. Sunday, I was a mess. I couldn't be anywhere with anyone without breaking down. I knew I couldn't live my life this way so I decided to write down some goals for Monday. I wanted to be there for my kids and show them that I can be ok! The very first goal I wrote down was, "Find someone else to serve today.". I don't tell you that because I'm the best servant of Christ ever. I tell you that because I wholeheartedly believe that is something that has gotten me through some of the lowest times in my life.
There are so many people who have it worse than me and when I break open my little bubble, I find them and then I realize how blessed I am. And even if those people don't have it "worse than me" {because really, who am I to even compare?}, everyone struggles. Everyone has trials that are huge and hard and scary to them. On that particular Monday, I tried to stop thinking about me for a few hours and focus on someone else who was also struggling.
All we did that day was take cookies to a friend but it was helpful to me. It got my mind thinking of others instead of just pitying myself.
I hadn't truly smiled in days but that day, I remember the feelings of gratitude for friendships, for service, and especially for knowledge of my Savior. I go back to that day often because it was only 48 hours after one of the hardest days in my life and I need to remind myself that only 48 hours later, I was still alive and I even smiled.
It's amazing how healing that is to my soul.

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