Thursday, March 27, 2014

I See His Hand

For the anniversary of the Voices of Hope project, I want to share something somewhat unrelated. Something I’ve been thinking about since Sunday.

In the Book of Mormon, Alma says that “all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator” (Alma 30:44). I’ve been thinking about what things “witness that there is a Supreme Creator” in my life, so here’s a little bit of a quick list.

1.      I see His hand in every picture I see my sister-in-law post of my nephew Carson. The little boy has an adorable innocent smile.
2.      I see His hand in every video I see of my “niece” Rachel, either posted on Facebook by her mother or sent to me by her grandma. This adorable 20-month-old always makes me smile.
3.      I see His hand when I hear just the right song at just the right time. I have a Christian radio station (kLove) favorited in my car and sometimes I’ll turn the car on and a song comes on to bless me in just the way I need.
4.      I see His hand when I see the numbers 4-4-4 together on a license plate, in a phone number, or wherever. Like I’ve said before, the triple-4 reminds me of serving with Elder Call and how it reminded him of his favorite scripture Alma 44:4. Now these numbers remind me of that scripture, that great missionary I had the honor to serve with, and the scripture that gives me strength to warrior on and keep going.

5.      I see His hand in a rainy day. I remember being on bikes on my mission with Elder Call and just how excited he was when it was rainy and stormy. Especially on those summer days in Toronto when it was really warm, I enjoyed the rain too.
6.      I see His hand in the welcoming arms of my friends. I am blessed to know some of the most Christ-like people and I am learning not to question why they would want to be friends with someone as ordinary and flawed as me. Regardless, every warm hug, every loving text, and every Christ-like act of love shows me that I am not alone and that God has answered the prayers that I prayed for years as a teenager, that I would finally have friends.

7.     I see His hand in the progress I’ve made emotionally over the past year or so. I look back at the person I was a year ago or two years ago and I feel such empathy for the young man who thought he’d never be capable of being happy. I have my stormy days still, but in them I try to hold onto the memory of all the good.
8.      I see His hand in the Voices of Hope Project. Sometimes I’ll be having a difficult day and a new video will come out that day and what is said is exactly what I need (on that note remember to like their page on Facebook).

I am grateful for the knowledge I have of a loving Heavenly Father. I am grateful for His love which helps me grow. I am grateful for the many blessings He has given me. I am grateful to know that He can help me in my life in whatever I am doing. I know He loves me.

In the comments, I’d love to hear how you see His hand in your life.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Your Happy Ending

Sometimes I look back at the past few years (pretty much all the way back to when I came home from Toronto, I suppose) and just marvel at all of what has happened. All of the good. All of the bad. A lot of it has been messy, but a lot of it has been miraculous as well. When I graduated from high school, I would have never guessed that I would have told ANYONE about my SSA (never mind putting it on Facebook). I would have never guessed I would go through the trials I’ve gone through.


"Your happy ending may not be what you expect..."

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a fan of ABC’s show “Once Upon a Time.” Their mid-season finale “Going Home” was great, in my opinion (you can argue that if you want, but I’m not up for arguing opinion). For those who are unfamiliar with the show, each episode is split into two storylines: present-day action and flashbacks. Usually the flashbacks tell one story from start to finish. The mid-season finale was different; each flashback was completely separate from the others. However, they had a common theme: finding a “happy ending.”

Each character had something different for their flashback. Snow White and Prince Charming’s flashback talks about finding the hope of a happy ending, even if it wasn’t the one that they expected. Captain Hook’s flashback has to do with his alternative to a happy ending: revenge. In Rumpelstiltskin’s flashback he says that his ending will not be a happy one. All of these have their own point to make, but I want to focus on the last flashback: Henry’s. In Henry’s flashback he is given his storybook by his teacher, Miss Blanchard/Snow White. Henry is becoming aware of the oddities in their town and is becoming depressed. Miss Blanchard gives him the storybook to give him hope of a happy ending. One quote of hers in particular I want to mention: “Your happy ending may not be what you expect, but that is what will make it so special.”

This quote rings true with me. I am far from my happy ending, but what I had once thought would be my “happy ending” (serving a two-year mission, getting  married, and becoming a dad) is not what I got or what I may get. I didn’t get to serve for two years. I’m not married (I’ve only ever briefly had one girlfriend) and I don’t know when that will happen (I do believe it will happen… but maybe not as quick as I want). My happy ending is a perfect family life, but that’s not going to happen. It’s part of mortality to struggle, to whatever extent, throughout life. I believe that it’s through struggle that we grow and become more like Christ.

My happy ending has not been what I expected, but the “happy ending” I’ve had so far has been special… Had I not come home from Toronto, I wouldn’t have met Eric, Justin, or many others. My experiences have helped me grow, bond with others, and become a strong man with a stronger faith. If it was not for my loneliness growing up, I would not appreciate my friends that I have now that have become my brothers and sisters.

3 years after I went into the MTC my little brother went in

I am grateful for my “happy ending.” However, I’m not done yet. I still have many great things to come. I still have a true love to find and a family to have. I have an undergraduate degree to finish. I have weaknesses and insecurities to work on. My happy ending isn’t here yet, but that’s the fun part. I still have great and hard things to do. And I can do hard things.