I don't know about you, but I'm SUPER excited to wish 2015 a grand farewell and to leave it behind. I've learned a ton, like a ton a ton, this year, but I'm really glad it's almost over.
It's interesting to look back on the year, and to see what has taken place. So many good things. A brother's wedding. A brother's graduation. Another brother with great health. For me, we are down to 3 fingers when counting how many more classes I have left in my Masters…which means I've gotten through a major chunk of it this year. (Yep. You know it. in April - I will answer to Master Lindsay. ;)) I've had great spiritual experiences. New opportunities to be vulnerable with and connect with people I serve with, and a great new ward. Again, so many great things.
But among the great things, there have been silent battles fought. Battles fought within myself that very few know about and are aware of. Maybe one day I will share more about it. It's been kind of a long year inwardly, and one that has caused me to reflect on the testimony that I have and that I hold so dear to my heart.
I've gained great strength from the scriptures, (even though I need to be so much better at reading them). I have felt the promise in Mosiah that the Lord will strengthen our backs to bear the burdens placed upon them. I've been reminded of the promise in Matthew that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I've remembered and sympathized in a very small way with the Prophet Joseph when he was in liberty jail, when the Lord promises Him that if he endured his struggles well, that he will exalt him on high. What a powerful promise. I've been reminded of how perfectly God knows me as I've studied my patriarchal blessing, and received priesthood blessings.
I've learned the great strength that comes from the admonition from God to "Be still, and know". Be still….there is great power in being still, in pondering and in listening for His voice. Sister Dew gave a talk one time about how sometimes we may not feel that God is near, so our prayers need to change. Instead of the insistence to get an answer, we need to pray to recognize and know His voice. Because sometimes THAT is the problem, that we don't recognize His voice, it's not that He isn't near. I've learned a little bit more about His voice as I have taken the time to "Be still".
Elder Holland gives a great talk, called "Like a Broken Vessel", and this year I have understood on a very new and very personal level what that talk means. He is talking about the struggle of depression, and he says "Trust in God. Hold on in His love. Know that one day, the dawn will break brightly and all shadows of mortality will flee. Though we may feel we are "like a broken vessel", we must remember that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter. Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed". He goes on to say that we need to look for the little victories along the way. I've gained a personal testimony of this. We are in the hands of the divine potter. No matter how broken we feel, we can be made whole. There are SO many victories. Every single day. Some days, it doesn't help with the depression that comes, but most days it does. And every single day, the strength and the power of the Atonement buoys me up to help me remember that hope is never lost, faith can never be forsaken, and His love always conquers. How grateful I am.
I've learned the power of God's timing. When things we want are righteous and good, and yet they don't seem to be given to us, I've learned to be grateful for the knowledge that His plan is greater than my plan, and His ways are far more perfect than mine. No matter what personal struggles arise, they will be for my good as I trust in His ways.
This year has been a year of learning, and growth. A year of heartache and tears. A year of change and acceptance. This year has been of year of increased perspective, coming closer to my Savior, and gaining greater trust in the truths of the gospel. This year has been a year that, while good, I'm grateful to leave it behind.
I'm excited for a fresh start. New goals. New adventures. And new learning opportunities. In 2016 I'm going to be embarking on a great journey. A huge journey, but a great journey. 2016 is going to be a year of accepting me for who I am. I've never ever done that. Truly coming to believe in my strengths, and coming even closer to God.
And it's going to be great.