I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know who I am. I know God's plan. I'll follow him in faith. I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ. I'll honor his name. I'll do what is right; I'll follow his light. His truth I will proclaim.

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Gospel Message Day 34

Exaltation, Part 2

I feel like I should take a different angle on my topic today, as I don't think it coincidence that my daily Gospel study related to a conversation I saw on Facebook today. So, I'm blogging about it.

I made an acquaintance over the weekend, who posted this video on Sunday. It is excellent, I highly recommend you watch it. Very touching, eye-opening in some ways, and a great reminder that not only are we loved, but we need to show love to others and be there for them.

The video reminded me of the darker times in my life. The suicidal thoughts were in my younger teen years. I look on it now and think it is silly, especially as I wasn't exactly suffering from depression. Like most teens, my emotions where anywhere and everywhere. And where I was in the family line-up, I often felt misunderstood. Perhaps even unwanted. I used to wonder if I would even be missed if I were to die--hence the occasional suicidal thought. I just didn't feel like any one would care if I wasn't around any more. Hindsight, of course, lets me see that it is a silly notion. But to the person suffering through whatever they are suffering, it isn't silly. It's real to them.

It is ironic to me that what finally got me out of that funk--my dreams and desires to marry my best friend and raise our children together--are still not in my life, yet. But I have come to know that that isn't what life is all about. My life is about living as Heavenly Father wants me to. I want to make Him happy, and that makes me happy. And He wants me to live my life to its fullest.

I learned that as a teen. But that doesn't mean the road of my life was free from bumps, pitfalls, detours and such. And a few years ago, I was going through the most difficult time of my life. I don't think I was suffering from depression, but I know I was suffering from depressing things that just kept coming at me one after another, without allowing anything to let up. I was bombarded with trials and and struggles, and trying to deal with all of it while I was significantly tired. I'm almost a lost cause when I don't get enough sleep! I didn't want to get out of bed on some mornings because the thought of facing another day just seemed impossible, unbearable, or not worth it. Some days I needed to take random breaks to go cry. I created an I Need to Cry playlist on my iTunes just for that purpose. I listened to this song on repeat many times a day because it felt like the last strand of hope that I was hanging on to.

I felt like I was drowning and I was never going to make it back on solid ground. But I knew there were friends and loved ones ready to help me. I just didn't know how to reach them. Or I'd reach and feel like I was getting pulled further away. I gained a very great testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and I learned to trust and have hope in Him as well as in the people He was sending my way. Elder Holland was right--there are angels all around us.

Two of my music videos were created as I came to firmly believe that I was loved and life was worth fighting for and living in.


I often re-read the blog entries I wrote during that time, because it amazes me how difficult things were. But I also never want to forget how much I felt of His love. How much I fought to find happiness, joy, and gratitude one day at a time. How much those around me reached out to me and finally were able to get a hold. All of those things helped me get back to shore. I've been climbing higher and higher ever since, and trying to remember to help others along the way to climb up high with me. In the end, you can only be responsible for your own exaltation, but you can certainly help a whole lot of others on their way to theirs.

I have loved this song since I was a child, and in 2008, on National Sisters Day, I made a music video tribute to my friends.

The lyrics in the bridge of the song are very applicable for what I've been writing about tonight:
So many lonely souls are calling
And our brightest stars would not be falling
If only they had a friend--
A real friend.

My dark times and the struggles and eventual joy as I pulled through them are what I thought of or remembered as I watched that video that my new friend posted, and then later read his follow up comment. So, when I read these verses tonight, they really struck home with all of this being on my mind. In Alma 56, the army of Antipus--which is tired and worn out and as low as they could get--finds that Helaman's army has come to their aid. In verses 16 and 17 we learn:

16 Yea, and they were depressed in body as well as in spirit, for they had fought valiantly by day and toiled by night to maintain their cities; and thus they had suffered great afflictions of every kind.

17 And now they were determined to conquer in this place or die; therefore you may well suppose that this little force which I brought with me, yea, those sons of mine, gave them great hopes and much joy.

"Great hopes and much joy." Isn't that so wonderful and beautiful? We can offer others great hopes and much joy. And having been on the receiving side of great hopes and much joy, I definitely want to be a giver of those now.

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