Things have been weird and hectic lately, and I realized suddenly that again I've gotten into one of those "woe is me" slumps; forgetting all the blessings I have. So I'm going to take some time again to vocally (or in this case, typographically) express my gratitude for the wonderful blessings in my life.
I am still grateful for my trials. I must mention these first, because yes, I'm still in the thick of them. It's amazing how only a year and a half ago I was told by my bishop that I had "passed" an ardurous Abrahamic trial. While those words didn't provide immediate relief from the heartache I was feeling at the time, they stuck with me and helped me heal remarkably well. By the end of that very same year, as I had guessed would happen but feared might not, I had met the man that God had been preparing for me (and I for him).
Little did I know that an even more painful trial was just beginning. I think this one might be approaching Job-like, but I just read some of Job again tonight and I realized, just as Joseph Smith was chastized, "I am not yet like Job." And I'm not. Things could be so much worse. But it is, indeed, another Abrahamic trial. Another test of faith and patience; of endurance and perseverence, of love and of obedience. The things I have learned already in 2004 have been amazing. I gained an extremely firm testimony and an amazing will and strength in overcoming one of my greatest weaknesses. It will never be completely gone; this I know; but the testimony I have gained of the reason for the laws that God has given us; for the covenants I have made in the temple -- well, now I truly know. I am grateful for that. The consequences of those mistakes are as far-reaching as even today, as I sit here. I know I was forgiven a long time ago. I know I forgave myself a long time ago too. But for those consequences I am grateful. They have hurt, yes indeed, but how else would I gain such knowledge and strength that I have? I am so grateful for the gifts that the Lord has given me in my weaknesses and my foibles. It is heart-wrenching, yes, to have to humble myself and admit to the mistakes I have made or to the things I seem to just not get RIGHT. Those mistakes I make frequently -- we all have these tendencies. But knowing about the miraculous gift of repentance and forgiveness, I mean, wow. The fact that anger no longer enters my heart when someone wounds me. The fact that I am able to freely offer my forgiveness and my love, and to seek forgiveness from those who I have hurt...it is an amazing step in conquering "the natural (wo)man" and truly becoming like Christ.
I am so grateful for the trials and the consequences of both good and bad decisions I have made. I am grateful for the gift of personal revelation and the knowledge that I can, and do, receive inspiration and guidance through the gift of the Holy Ghost. I am grateful for the promises I have made to my Father in Heaven, and for the promises He has made to me. I am grateful that he doesn't give me everything that I want and when I want it; because that truly would go against the great plan of happiness and would greatly hinder my eternal progression.
I am also, of course, grateful for the obvious blessings in my life. My wonderful family. My loving friends. My solid and sometimes entertaining job:) I'm so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and for the roadmap that I have in the Holy Scriptures. I'm grateful to know that a living prophet walks on the earth today, and that I know he walks and talks with God. I'm grateful for the peace and serenity granted to me when I enter the Holy temple. I'm grateful for sweet, joyous music that uplifts my soul and gives me if even but a glimpse of what heaven may be like. I'm grateful for my memories, my opportunities, my capabilities, my talents, and my strengths. I'm even grateful for this body of mine! I'm so grateful that I have the opportunity to learn how it works, and how to treat it as the temple of God that I know it is. I'm grateful to be able to take time to go to the gym when I can and to take the daily vitamins and minerals that I need to nourish it. I'm grateful for its weaknesses; for they keep me humble but at the same time encourage me to learn about health and fitness in ways that people who aren't "metabolically challenged" fail to ever learn. Are they lucky because they can eat whatever they want, sit around as much as they want, and still not gain weight? I used to think so, but I don't anymore. It's too easy to take such a thing for granted when you haven't known anything else in your life.
I'm just grateful to be alive. I have so much more to learn; so much more I can do. I'm grateful for finally getting an answer to my prayers, after all these years, to know that I am suppose to be a teacher. I'm grateful for the example my mother has been to me both as a mother, a teacher, and a friend.
But most of all, I'm grateful for the Atonement. The fact that Jesus Christ spilled blood from every poor while in the Garden of Gethsamanee for me...that He suffered for every sin I have committed and will commit; that he felt every pain, of the heart, soul and body alike...and that he died on the cross for me to be able to live with Him and with Our Heavenly Parents again...well...the love I feel for my Elder brother is amazing. And the fact that He would have still done it; if it was only me on this whole Earth, is even more astounding. But considering that He did this for each and every one of us; well, it sends "taking it personally" to an entirely new level! How much He loves us! He willingly sacrificed himself for us...and He could have said "no". What greater love is there than this?? Because of His gift, we, through true repentance and through faith AND good works, can return again! It's just so beautifully simple and marvelously amazing!!!
I know that I have said this several times, but my love for my Savior and Brother is just overbrimming. I can't say enough. I want to shout it from the rooftops. I know that my Redeemer LIVES.
Yes, I am grateful for everything in my life -- the heartache and despair, and the sweet joy and peace. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for making me who I am and blessing me so abundantly.