Thursday, July 31, 2014

When the going gets tough... (28/7 email)

I can't believe that this is the last week of the transfer! It has gone so quickly! I've been doing some reflecting lately, and I think the biggest lesson I've been learning this transfer is about diligence... to just keep going even when it's hard. I was blessed to have a phone call from my dear friend Sister Tolman last night where we were able to say our goodbyes and remember the good times and give each other much needed support and advice. I am so grateful for her. I expressed to her how I was feeling about training... how I want so badly to be the best missionary I can be, to be a strong example for my companion but how I felt like I've been letting her down because we haven't seen much tangible success. Sister Tolman reminded me that all that the Lord requires is for us to try our best. As long as we get up each day and try he will bless us and help us. The only failure is if you stop trying. Her words helped me to feel better. I haven't and will not stop trying. Of course there is lots of room for improvement..there is always more we can do, but I am reassured that as long as I am trying my best each day that Heavenly Father is pleased with me.

I hope that my experiences can help those of you who are reading this. We are all going through things that are hard. My advice to you is to just keep going! Don't give up! And don't forget to involve the Lord in ALL that you do. He loves you so much and is anxiously waiting for you to turn to him and let him help you.

I guess this email is a bit different than the ones I normally write with all the things we got up to during the week, but I just wanted to let you know how I'm feeling and what's in my heart. I don't usually write about the struggles that I have because I want my emails to be positive and uplifting. But I feel like its important to talk about struggles too. Not in a depressing "wo is me" kind of way but to address the fact that we all have trials, and I feel that one of the reasons why we go through trials is so we can help others. So I hope that something that I say will help you with whatever you are going through.

I want to share with you my favourite quote by Elder Richard G. Scott. It has helped me so much.
"Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (see Prov. 3:11–12). He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain."

I first read this quote when I was going through a really hard time, and I feel that it was God's way of helping me to see the reason why I was going through that trial. It wasn't a punishment, it was an opportunity to turn to God and to grow and become more like him.
I know that Heavenly Father is so aware of us. In my studies this week I read 2 Nephi chapter 4. What a beautiful chapter. It meant so much to me to read the struggles that Nephi had. I always think of Nephi as such a strong, obedient and faithful man, and it wasn't until I really read and pondered about this chapter that I was able to see that he was no different from us. He had struggles and feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy too. It gave me such comfort and hope. I just love these words found in verse 28:
"Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul."

Trials are a necessary part of life. God gives them to us to help us learn and grow, but He doesn't want us to mope around and have a pity party because of them! We need to 'wake up' and actively do something about it. We need to fill our lives with positive and constructive things. When we allow ourselves to be miserable and dwell on our misfortunes we are basically opening a door in our heart and Satan can just walk right in and do whatever he wants. It was made so clear to me this week how I let this happen in my life. Satan can have such a big influence on us but ONLY when we let him in. and when he's in, boy does he have a party! One of his favourite things to do is make us feel like we aren't good enough... If you feel like that right now, STOP! You are a child of God! Which means you have the potential to become like Him! Try to picture yourself the way that He sees you. He loves you so much that He sent His son to die for you that you might be able to return to live with him again. Don't let Satan in your heart! Remember how much God loves you and turn to him so he can help you.

I am so grateful for the important lessons I am learning on my mission. It's not all sunshine and rainbows, but like President Uchtdorf said in conference "How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?"

Let's be grateful for the trials that God gives us and let's turn to him to help us see what he wants us to learn from them. I know that as we involve God in every step of our lives he will help us reach our potential and we can experience true and lasting happiness. Not just when things are going good, but also during our trials. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

All my love xoxo Sister Riley

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