It was just about two months ago siting in therapy when we were having the typical, let's discuss everything so then we can delve into specifics. (I have to admit this process is the most anxiety producing experience for me. I pre-judge everything, censor and worry about sounding too...anything.) On this specific occasion I was sharing about some experiences of the past two years, exploring emotions that have become negatively colored and my therapist gently asks, "How's your faith?" I sat shocked at not knowing how to really respond. There was tension rising in my chest, I struggled with breathing and then there was a big release of tears. I hadn't cried in months and he sits there and just asks what was going on at that moment. All I could muster was, "I don't know but I know [the faith is] there." And we sat in that feeling of release for awhile.
I know I have written about being home from my mission as a tough time. Sometimes it has felt so hard and lonely. Other times I have spoken about this move to Utah as tough and lonely - difficult. Yes, they both have been difficult. Honestly as I sit here with some clarity on the other side of the flu and on into the New Year, I have to say I have had so many more blessings than trials this past year - 'specially these past 7.5 months. At some point I had chosen to see the darker trials and times as when Laman and Lemuel spoke of how Laban was so terrible because he could command and slay 50. I had been looking at things as Laman and Lemuel for some months that I didn't see the power of my God. I have become inspired these past few weeks by the words of Nephi reminding his brothers that God (our God) is mightier than all the Earth. Now as I sit here and look back on the past year I'd like to acknowledge the blessings of a wonderful God that have come because of His Son, Jesus Christ.
January of 2016 - meeting and getting to be companions with a wonderful Sister Condie. Meeting such amazing people in the Hidden Valley and YSA 2nd wards in Tucson, AZ. Getting to work with wonderful people who helped my faith grow so much.
February 2016 - seeing a RM who I respect so much return to Tucson to baptize someone he taught. Having sacred evenings with members and people I was blessed to meet. And then in those sacred moments - feeling the love of MY Savior for them "even unto the consuming of my flesh." The opportunity then came to feel His love for me and that was more than my soul could handle! I burst with joy each time I think about it. :) Returning home to two wonderfully and supportive Parents and a ward that I didn't know who took the time to get to know me.
March 2016 - spending time in Oklahoma with my Sister's family. A trip to Utah for some interviews and seeing friends who had become family. Feeling peace. God's hand was in that whole trip.
April 2016 - surgery to help with the pain I had while I was on my mission and the opportunity to meet a great couple of Doctors. They gave me good news as to what the issue isn't! :)
May 2016 - moving to Utah following the Spirit that had grown stronger and stronger. Gaining the support of some new friends in the Parker family. Experiencing for some time the kindness of strangers. Having the time to experience the true joys and beauties of the mountains, temples and Sunday Music & the Spoken Word. Meeting new friends of friends.
June 2016 - moving everyday in faith to find a job. Interviewing, talking to people, exploring options. I am grateful for this month of searching because it made me keep pushing and learning more about God's timing and my plans. Meeting and making connections in a friends family that put me on to a job lead. Witnessing a wonderful friend's wedding.
July 2016 - that job lead turned in to a job offer and now the one I am in! It's tiring but I *love* it. This miracle came after about 14 interviews and over 120 applications sent out - being required to hold on for some time and then the Lord rewarded that effort. He is so good.
August 2016 - temple blessings and group. :) God led me to both. Starting jiu-jitsu which brought me into another community of support which at this time I am too shy to use. But they are amazing men and women I feel blessed to know.
September 2016 - meeting some of the most brave and courageous kids I think I will ever know. This blessing comes back to me over and over. Being really vulnerable for the first time in years. Making positive connections with people at work.
October 2016 - being able to go to the Doctor and get insurance :) General Conference. Meeting some more brave kids! Spontaneous trip to Rexburg to see Brother Whoolery - one of the most influential people in my life. Being invited into another family's Holiday.
November 2016 - getting to see my whole family together for the first time in 7 years. Being invited into another family's Holiday. Beginning to see a therapist.
December 2016 - getting to work through the Holiday. Yes, I complained. Yes, I didn't see it as the blessing I now do. I got to deepen connections with friends. I was able to reflect on the impact of my actions this past year. I was able to see the joy and surprise in kids' eyes Christmas morning as they opened gifts they didn't expect to receive and see the sincerest gratitude as one mentioned she thought Santa wouldn't find her. Being invited into another family's Holiday - for three days straight (that's a lot of me...). Getting the flu. Yep - because it has brought me a lot of clarity.