The past few days have been some of the funnest days of my time here. I had the mission president's daughters from the Quito North and the Quito South mission staying at my house for several days. What fun I had with them!! We went to the Iguana park and held iguanas, climbed the santa ana hill and walked around Las Penas and some days we just stayed in and played games and swam. It was so good to be able to talk and laugh about things, talk and feel understood. It was so amazing to me to see these two girls and see and hear about what their experiences have been as a mission president's child. I came to the obvious conclusion that,"Yep, it's not easy." haha. While talking with these girls, I kept thinking about how we go through so much, and yes it's so different but we feel a lot of the same things. Though all of us are different in our own ways and see things in our own ways, we all experience similar emotions and feelings. We all have our own "fires" to go through, our own wars to fight, yet so many times we go through them alone, thinking there is no one else around us that could possibly help or feel our pain. That's not true. There is always someone around. They may be going through different things yet they may feel the exact same way. We don't have to go through our fire alone.
How often do you feel lonely? What do you feel? Do you get tired of it, scared that it's always going to be this way or even feel like you're doing something wrong? If you do, I understand. You may be 13, 33 or 75 and going through a completely different stage in life but I cant relate to you, even if it's just a little. Lately I've been going through fire, a small hell, if you will. I have been feeling so, completely alone. I don't usually do things with people on the weekends, I'm not in contact with as many people as I used to be, lot's of our wonderful sister missionaries left who I have grown really close to, and sometimes it's hard not to feel forgotten or let down. Lately I've just been kicking myself, remembering back to when I lived in Utah and had so many friends but did not appreciate them or realize that they were there. Heavenly Father has been testing me in so many different ways and it's been extra hard trying not to crumble in the process. I always think to myself about what I may be doing wrong or how I can improve or what I'm not doing... but I never considered what I am doing and what I am doing right.
What if Heavenly Father tightens things when he sees us growing? What if things get harder instead of easier? I've started thinking of life like braces... it's all part of a straightening process... you have to keep going back to the dentist to change the wire and get things tightened and get things checked out to get them straight. It takes time but with time comes progress. Different wires have different results and lift of pull down different teeth or make things a certain shape. Life is quite the same, Heavenly Father gives us different wires or experiences to get a lower left tooth or get results or a change in a certain area of our lives. No, we can't see what he is doing, none of us can see what the dentist sees inside of our mouths, we can't see all the cavities and imperfections because that is not our area of expertise and it's hard to see all over inside your own mouth. Similarly, we can't always see or understand what God is doing in our lives, we cant always see what adjustments need to be made or how one thing will impact another area of our life. But, just like with the dentist, we have to trust God that in the end, there will be a "straight" and beautiful result. With braces, sometimes to make things easier or less painful we take painkillers or sometimes we have to put in wax to keep the braces from cutting our mouths. Well, in live, God gives us painkillers and wax, he gives us blessings, people, the scriptures, the gospel and the atonement. These are the things that help us through our lives or this process. No, we may not have people with us all the time or we may not have all the comforts we wish we had but that doesn't mean there is nothing or that we have to go through the process in pain. We still have the gospel, the atonement, the spirit, scriptures and prophets, these are the things that never go away. Just because we don't have one kind of "wax" doesn't mean we don't have any at all. These few days with these girls for me was a tender mercy and a kind of wax haha. Things are hard and no they aren't always going to be here for me but I think this opportunity and experience was Heavenly Father telling me that I wasn't alone and that he hadn't forgotten me. It was just what I needed to keep going, and yeah it wasn't a very long time but it was sufficient to lift my spirits and encourage me to keep going. Sometimes God doesn't send a huge miracle or change but he will send supports and things for encouragement. He will send just enough.
While Katie and Andrea were here we were playing this game one night called "In a Pickle". In this game you have all these cards and you have to put down a card of something that can fit inside what the other person put down. So for example, someone puts down pickle and the next person might put down worm or atom or seed and then at the end you look at the whole long story. So as we were playing, an interesting couple came up and that couple was life and fire. Someone had put down the card life and another had put down the card fire. In that very moment I felt a wave of inspiration and it was like I had a little revelation. I had been thinking that whole day about how it was possible that I was still going, how all of us were still going despite the hard things we were being asked to go through. I was thinking of why all that I was going through was significant and why some of it would matter for me in my life. I kept thinking "Is this all that it will ever be? Just experience after experience, hit after hit trying to change me?" But that is not all there is. Life in the Fire. Maybe, this is a test to see if I can find life in the fire, to see how and if I can move on in the midst of all that is happening in my life. While certain experiences change me, all of them put together makes for one big test. Are we going to chose to keep on living even though it may not seem worth living for? Are we going to push forward and find the light even when it seems there is none? Are we going to keep becoming and evolving even though it seems like nothing more can be done or it feels like there is no point? What it all boils down to is, are we going to trust God? God's plan and work is so much more complex than I understand, when I try to explain it or think about it or think about the whole process and everything I feel like I understand or feel a concept of it but I can never find the words or even begin to describe. All I can say is this: trust God. There is life in the fire. It is the life that you make for yourself, a life that you build upon your foundation of faith. We are never alone, there is always some kind of aid to help us if we just open our eyes reach out our hands and use them (Book of Mormon, Bible, praying, words of the prophets, the spirit, the atonement etc.). And lastly don't stop believing, we will never make it through the fire if we don't believe that we can get through it. That is not building on faith. We can do it but we can't do it alone.
I love you all. Even though I don't know all of you or know your backgrounds, I know you are children of God, that he loves you and that you are fighting your own spiritual battles everyday. You may think a 16 year old doesn't know anything and can't possibly understand the things of this world or even the things of God. You are right. I don't understand. I don't know much in comparison to all that is out there. But I am am learning and I am trying to figure it out from the truths I receive from the scriptures, from our prophets and from my own life experiences. I know I am less experienced than many of you out there but I still want to help, I know there is something we all can do with the bit we have been given, and I'm not going to let the fact that I am young and still living with my parents, stunt my growth or hold me back from doing what I can do. I respect you all so much and your contribution to this world, I respect all of you who keep moving forward and keep trying even though it's hard and who keep pushing for self improvement and who do hard things, the right things, even when it is unpopular from what a certain group or the rest of the world is doing. I know if we follow Jesus Christ and his example and try the hardest that we can to do our best and be our best, we will be blessed and we will never be alone.